frank

Francis Neil Pintauro “Frank” of North Haven and Williston Park died at his home on Sunday, October 7th. He was 61. Frank was born to Anthony and Dorothy Pintauro on June 9, 1951. He graduated from Brooklyn Prep High School in 1969 and Manhattan College in 1973. Frank started working at NBC when he was in college. He became the youngest Vice President in NBC history at the age of 27. He also worked at ABC and Hal Riney before joining Showtime in 1989. At Showtime he rose to the rank of Executive Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Red Group, where he was instrumental in developing the network’s award-winning branding campaigns, and was responsible for overseeing creative for on-air, editorial production, marketing promotion and graphics, animation, digital content and print. In 2011 Red Group was named Best In-House Agency of the year by PromaxBDA. Frank’s passion was fishing. He started fishing as a kid in Sag Harbor and catching striped bass soon became his favorite sport. He was also a collector of antique fishing lures, and he was one of the founders of the Salt Water Lure Collectors Club. His expertise as both a fisherman and collector were well-known and well-respected. Frank is survived by his wife of 32 years, Kathy, and his two sons, Anthony and David. Frank was not only my boss, he was my friend. He will be missed beyond words.

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obit (the dust) of the month: you’ll never find anyone as good for you as i am

Arthur Laurents, the playwright, screenwriter and director who wrote and ultimately transformed two of Broadway’s landmark shows, “Gypsy” and “West Side Story,” and created one of Hollywood’s most well-known romances, “The Way We Were,” died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan. He was 93. Mr. Laurents once described writers as “the chosen people” and said he was happiest when sitting alone and putting his “daydreams and fantasies down on paper.” He did so in various genres. His film credits include Hitchcock’s “Rope”; “Anastasia,” with Ingrid Bergman; and “The Turning Point,” with Anne Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine. His screenplay for “The Way We Were,” with Robert Redford and Barbra Streisand, was adapted from his novel by the same name. But the stage was his first love, and he wrote for it for 65 years, turning out comedies and romances as well as serious dramas that often explored questions of ethics, social pressures and personal integrity. Early on, he once said, he realized that “plays are emotion,” not simply words strung together, and it became his guiding principle. Read the full story HERE. On a personal note, I knew Arthur and at various times both loathed and loved him. After a long drought on the New York stage, he returned with a play called The Radical Mystique at Manhattan Theatre Club in the early 1990’s.  A thinly veiled satire that took on the Weatherman, Bernstein and the Black Panthers, it was a story rich in both ideas and ideals. Two weeks into the process Arthur inserted himself quite vocally into rehearsals, disapproving the director’s choices and shaping of the story. When the director finally up and quit, Arthur took command. As the AD, I was left to take sides. I had never quit a show before but believed Arthur was artistically misguided on this one and so I, too, left the production. In performance it turned out that his direction of the play was a mistake, undercutting everything I had believed to be good and true about the script. Oh well, it opened and closed with little notice. Years later, however, when I was mentoring a group of up-and-coming musical theater writers, I wrote to Arthur and asked if he would mind sharing his considerable experience with young ears for an afternoon. He agreed immediately, even going so far as to interrupt his summer vacation in Quogue to attend. It made for an insightful and inspiring afternoon, yet before we said our goodbyes I couldn’t help but bring up the first and last time we had worked together. “Arthur,” I told him, “I really loved that play.” I wavered, hesitated, then finally blurted out, “You know you torpedoed it, right?”  He shot me the stink-eye before breaking into a wry smile. “You’re damn right I did, kid.” I like to think he was as pleasantly surprised by my candor as my praise. Chief among Arthur’s many virtues was his near inability to shy away from brutal honesty.

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obit (the dust) of the month: ooh ooh akk akk akk

If Tarzan’s co-star had been human, it’s safe to assume that news of his demise would have been greeted with glowing tributes, a Hollywood funeral and perhaps a retrospective season of his greatest cinematic moments. As it was, the death of an 80-year-old chimpanzee called “Cheetah” was announced quietly by the Florida animal sanctuary where he had spent the past five decades in retirement. There was no grand send-off for the venerable Cheetah. Even his purported role as Johnny Weismuller’s regular primate sidekick remains shrouded in mystery. The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor claims the primate arrived there in 1960 and was donated by Weissmuller’s own estate. He is believed to have been born in 1930 or 1931 and was one of a number of chimpanzees whose owners vied to have recognized as the genuine movie-star Cheetah. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the original simian star of films such as 1932’s Tarzan the Ape Man and 1934’s Tarzan and His Mate was probably a composite of several animals. According to the sanctuary, Cheetah was an outgoing chimp who loved humans. Yet like many Hollywood stars, he could also be temperamental. Sanctuary volunteer Ron Priest conceded the animal had a habit of throwing his feces when discontent. “When he didn’t like somebody or something that was going on, he would pick up some poop and throw it at them,” Priest said. “He could get you at 30 feet, with bars in between.”

One Hollywood star who did mark the potential star’s passing was actress Mia Farrow, whose mother, Maureen O’Sullivan, played Jane in six Tarzan movies. “My mom, who played Jane, invariably referred to Cheetah as ‘that bastard’,” said Farrow on her Twitter account.

Read the full story HERE.

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Doris E. Travis, the Last of the Ziegfeld Girls, Dies at 106

Sad news in today’s New York Times.  And though it has nothing to do with food or travel, it has everything to do with a life well lived.

For a quarter century, Florenz Ziegfeld auditioned hundreds of thousands of young women vying to become chorus girls, the Ziegfeld Girls, those lace and chiffon visions of glamour who were as much a part of the Jazz Age as Stutz Bearcats, the Charleston and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In all, from 1907 to 1931, he picked about 3,000, and on Tuesday the last Ziegfeld Girl died. She was Doris Eaton Travis, and she was 106. She died of an aneurysm in Commerce, Mich., a nephew, Joe Eaton, said.

Beneath towering, glittering, feathered headdresses, the Ziegfeld Girls floated across grand Broadway stages in lavish pageants known as the Ziegfeld Follies, often to the wistful tune that Irving Berlin wrote just for them: “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody.”

They were former waitresses, farmers’ daughters and office workers who had dreamt of becoming part of Ziegfeld’s own grand dream of “glorifying the American girl” (preferably with exact measurements of 36-26-38) in splendiferous spectacles.

They performed with the likes of Will Rogers and Fanny Brice, and everyone flocked to see them, including President Woodrow Wilson and Babe Ruth.

“It was beauty, elegance, loveliness,” Mrs. Travis recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 2005, “beauty and elegance like a French painting of a woman’s body.”

Read the full story HERE.

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