Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Thomas Dorsey

Thomas Andrew Dorsey was born on 1 July, 1899 in Villa Rica, Georgia, USA and died on 23 January, 1993 in Chicago, Illinois. Thomas is known as “the father of gospel music”. Earlier in his life he was a leading blues pianist known as Georgia Tom.

As formulated by Thomas Dorsey, gospel music combines Christian praise with the rhythms of jazz and the blues. Thomas’ conception also deviates from what had been, to that time, standard hymnal practice by referring explicitly to the self, and the self’s relation to faith and God, rather than the individual subsumed into the group via belief.

Thomas Dorsey was the music director at Pilgrim Baptist Church in Chicago from 1932 until the late 1970s. Thomas’ best known composition, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, was performed by Mahalia Jackson and was a favorite of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, and “Peace in the Valley”, which was a hit for Red Foley in 1951 and has been performed by dozens of other artists, including Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

In 2002, the Library of Congress honored his album Precious Lord: New Recordings of the Great Songs of Thomas A. Dorsey (1973), by adding it to the United States National Recording Registry.

Thomas Dorsey’s father was a minister and his mother a piano teacher. Thomas Dorsey learned to play blues piano as a young man. After studying music formally in Chicago, he became an agent for Paramount Records. Thomas Dorsey put together a band for Ma Rainey called the “Wild Cats Jazz Band” in 1924.

Thomas Dorsey started out playing at rent parties with the names Barrelhouse Tom and Texas Tommy, but he was most famous as Georgia Tom. As Georgia Tom, he teamed up with Tampa Red (Hudson Whittaker) with whom he recorded the raunchy 1928 hit record “Tight Like That”, a sensation, selling seven million copies. In all, he is credited with more than 400 blues and jazz songs.

Personal tragedy led Thomas Dorsey to leave secular music behind and began writing and recording what he called “gospel” music. Thomas Dorsey was the first to use that term. Thomas Dorsey’s first wife, Nettie, who had been Rainey’s wardrobe mistress, died in childbirth in 1932 along with his first son. In his grief, he wrote his most famous song, one of the most famous of all gospel songs, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”.

Unhappy with the treatment received at the hands of established publishers, Thomas Dorsey opened the first black gospel music publishing company, Thomas Dorsey House of Music. Thomas Dorsey also founded his own gospel choir and was a founder and first president of the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses.

Thomas Dorsey’s influence was not limited to African American music, as white musicians also followed his lead. “Precious Lord” has been recorded by Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Clara Ward, Roy Rogers, and Tennessee Ernie Ford, among hundreds of others. It was a favorite gospel song of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was sung at the rally the night before his assassination, and at his funeral by Mahalia Jackson, per his request. It was also a favorite of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who requested it to be sung at his funeral. Thomas Dorsey was also a great influence on other Chicago based gospel artists such as “Queen of Gospel” Albertina Walker and The Caravans.

Thomas Dorsey wrote “Peace in the Valley” for Mahalia Jackson in 1937, which also became a gospel standard. Thomas Dorsey was the first African American elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and also the first in the Gospel Music Association’s Living Hall of Fame. Thomas Dorsey was inducted into the Gennett Records Walk of Fame in 2007. Thomas Dorsey papers are preserved at Fisk University, along with those of W.C. Handy, George Gershwin, and the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

The works of Thomas A. Dorsey have proliferated beyond performance, into the hymnals of virtually all American churches and of English-speaking churches worldwide.

Thomas Dorsey was a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated.

In 2007, he was inducted as a charter member of the Gennett Records Walk of Fame in Richmond, Indiana.

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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Sir Rudolf Bing

Sir Rudolf Bing was born on 9 January, 1902 in Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire and died on 2 September, 1997 from Alzheimer’s disease and respiratory failure aged 95 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Yonkers, New York.

Sir Rudolf Bing was an Austrian-born opera impresario. Sir Rudolf Bing was General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York from 1950 to 1972. Sir Rudolf Bing was knighted in 1971.

Sir Rudolf Bing was born to a well-to-do Jewish family(his father was an industrialist) Sir Rudolf Bing studied at the University of Vienna and as a young man worked in theatrical and concert agencies. In 1927 he went to Berlin, Germany and subsequently served as general manager of opera houses in that city and in Darmstadt.

While in Berlin, he married a Russian ballerina, but in 1934, with the rise of Nazi Germany the Bings moved to Great Britain where, in 1946 Sir Rudolph Bing became a naturalised British subject. There he helped to found the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and, after the war, organized the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland.

In 1949 he went to the United States, to become General Manager of the Metropolitan the following year, a post he held for 22 years. Sir Rudolph Bing supervised the move of the old Metropolitan to its new quarters in Lincoln Center and his administration was, by any account, one of the great eras of Metropolitan Opera. It was summed up as follows:

Wielding his powerful position at the Metropolitan Opera with intense personal charisma over two decades, Sir Rudolf Bing ruled much of the operatic universe in autocratic fashion, nurturing young artists and cutting superstars down to size with equal enthusiasm. Sir Rudolph Bing oversaw the abandonment in 1966 of the stately but somewhat dilapidated old Metropolitan Opera House and the construction of a grand monument to his regime, the building the company now occupies, which dominates Lincoln Center. For good or ill, his conservative musical and dramatic bent, predilection for Italian opera and concern for theatrical values yielded an identifiable artistic legacy.

During Sir Rudolph Bing’s tenure, Marian Anderson became the first African American to sing at the house.

After leaving the Met, Sir Rudolph Bing wrote 2 books, 5000 Nights at the Opera
(1972) and A Knight at the Opera (1981).

Sir Rudolf Bing’s wife Nina died in 1983. In January 1987, he married again and his wife took him to the Caribbean. However, she was reputedly unbalanced, and as he himself had been suffering for many years from Alzheimer’s disease, an American court eventually declared him incompetent to enter into a marriage contract and annulled the marriage. The case was a cause célèbre.

In 1989 Roberta Peters and Teresa Stratas arranged for Sir Rudolph Bing to be admitted to The Hebrew Home for the Aged in Riverdale, Bronx, where he resided until his death.

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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Ross Macdonald

Ross Macdonald was born on 13 December, 1915 in Los Gatos, California and died on 11 July, 1983 in Santa Barbara, California of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Ross Macdonald was the pseudonym of the American-Canadian writer of crime fiction Kenneth Millar. Ross Macdonald is best known for his highly acclaimed series of hardboiled novels set in southern California and featuring private detective Lew Archer.

Ross Macdonald was raised in his parents’ native Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, where he started college. When his father abandoned his family unexpectedly, Ross Macdonald lived with his mother and various relatives, moving several times by his sixteenth year. The prominence of broken homes and domestic problems in his fiction has its roots in his youth.

In Canada, he met and married Margaret Sturm in 1938. They had a daughter, Linda, who died in 1970. Ross Macdonald began his career writing stories for pulp magazines. Ross Macdonald attended the University of Michigan, where he earned a Phi Beta Kappa key and a Ph. D. in literature. While doing graduate study, he completed his first novel, The Dark Tunnel, in 1944. At this time, he wrote under the name John Macdonald, in order to avoid confusion with his wife, who was achieving her own success writing as Margaret Millar. Ross Mcdonald then changed briefly to John Ross Macdonald before settling on Ross Macdonald, in order to avoid mixups with contemporary John D. MacDonald. After serving at sea as a naval communications officer from 1944 to 1946, he returned to Michigan, where he obtained his Ph.D. degree.

Ross Macdonald’s popular detective Lew Archer derives his name from Sam Spade’s partner Miles Archer and from Lew Wallace, author of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. Ross Macdonald first introduced the tough but humane private eye in the 1946 short story “Find the Woman.” A full-length novel, The Moving Target, followed in 1949. This novel (the 1st in a series of 18) would become the basis for the 1966 Paul Newman film Harper. In the early 1950s, he returned to California, settling for some 30 years in Santa Barbara, the area where most of his books were set. (Ross Macdonald’s fictional name for Santa Barbara was Santa Teresa; this “pseudonym” for the town was subsequently resurrected by Sue Grafton, whose “alphabet novels” are also set in Santa Teresa.) The very successful Lew Archer series, including bestsellers The Goodbye Look, The Underground Man, and Sleeping Beauty, concluded with The Blue Hammer in 1976.

Ross Macdonald is the primary heir to Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler as the master of American hardboiled mysteries. Ross Macdonald’s writing built on the pithy style of his predecessors by adding psychological depth and insights into the motivations of his characters. Ross Macdonald’s plots were complicated, and often turned on Archer’s unearthing family secrets of his clients and of the criminals who victimized them. Lost or wayward sons and daughters were a theme common to many of the novels. Ross Macdonald deftly combined the two sides of the mystery genre, the “whodunit” and the psychological thriller. Even his regular readers seldom saw a Ross Macdonald denouement coming.

Inspired by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ross Macdonald’s writing was hailed by genre fans and literary critics alike. Author William Goldman called his works “the finest series of detective novels ever written by an American”.

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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Raul Henriquez

Raúl Cardinal Silva Henríquez, SDB was born on 27 September, 1907 in Talca and died on 9 April, 1999 at a Salesian retirement house in La Florida, at the age of 91, and is buried in the metropolitan cathedral of Santiago. Upon his death, he left Franz König as the only surviving cardinal elevated by John XXIII.

Raúl Silva Henríquez was the 16th of 19 children. Raul Henriquez was a Chilean prelate of the Roman Catholic Church.

Raul Henriquez served as Archbishop of Santiago from 1961 to 1983, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1962.

Raul Henriquez’s father, Ricardo Silva, was a farmer and industrialist of Portuguese descent. After studying at the Catholic University of Chile (from where he obtained his doctorate in law), Raul Henriquez joined the Salesians of Don Bosco on 28 January, 1930. Raul Henriquez later attended the Pontifical Salesian University in Turin, where he was ordained to the priesthood on 3 July, 1938. From the Salesian University he earned a doctorate in theology and in canon law.

On 24 October, 1959 Raul Henriquez was appointed Bishop of Valparaíso by Pope John XXIII. Raul Henriquez received his episcopal consecration on the following 29 November from Archbishop Opilio Rossi, with Archbishop Emilio Tagle Covarrubias and Bishop Vladimiro Boric Crnosija, SDB, serving as co-consecrators. Raul Henriquez was later named Archbishop of Santiago and thus Primate of the Church in Chile on 14 May,1961.

Pope John created him Cardinal Priest of S. Bernardo alle Terme in the consistory of March 19, 1962. Raul Henriquez attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965and was one of the cardinal electors in the 1963 papal conclave, which resulted in the election of Pope Paul VI. Raul Henriquez later participated in the conclaves of August and October 1978, which selected Popes John Paul I and John Paul II respectively.

A strenuous defender of social change, public housing, and land reform, the Cardinal once said, “Social injustice and poverty foster Communism…It is necessary to be Christian with social justice, with charity, with brotherhood”. Raul Henriquez was awarded the Human Rights Prize from the United Nations on 11 December, 1978 and the Bruno Kreisky Human Rights Prize on 19 October, 1979. The Cardinal was asked to resign as Santiago’s archbishop due to differences with Pope John Paul II, and did so on 3 May, 1983 after 21 years of service.

As founder of the Committee of Cooperation for Peace in Chile (COPACHI) and the Vicarite of Solidarity, he was an outspoken opponent of Augusto Pinochet, the military ruler of Chile from 1973 to 1990.

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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Molly Picon

Molly Picon was born Małka (Margaret) Opiekun on 1 June, 1898 in New York City, New York, USA to Clara and Louis (or Denis) Opiekun (later changed to Picon). Opiekun is a Polish language name meaning, “guardian” or “caretaker”. Molly Picon died on 5 April, 1992 aged 93, from Alzheimer’s disease in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Molly Picon is buried in the Yiddish Theater section of the Mount Hebron Cemetery.

Molly Picon’s husband, from 1919 until his death in 1975 from cancer, was Jacob Kalich. They had no children.

Molly Picon was an American star of stage, screen and television, as well as a lyricist. Molly Picon was first and foremost a star in Yiddish theatre and Film, but as Yiddish theatre faded she began to perform in English-language productions.

Molly Picon’s career began at the age of 6 in the Yiddish Theatre. In 1912, she debuted at the Arch Street Theatre in New York and became a star of the Second Avenue Yiddish stage.

Molly Picon was so popular in the 1920s that many shows had the name Molly in their title. In 1931 she opened the Molly Picon Theatre. Molly Picon appeared in many films, starting with silent movies. Molly Picon earliest film still existing is East and West which deals with the clash of new and old Jewish cultures. Molly Picon plays an American-born daughter who travels with her father back to Galicia in East Central Europe. Real-life husband Jacob Kalich plays one of her Galician relatives from Eastern Europe.

Molly Picon’s most famous film, Yidl Mit’n Fidl (1936), was made on location in Poland, and has her wearing male clothing through most of the film. In the film, a girl and her father are forced by poverty to set out on the road as traveling musicians. For her safety, she disguises herself as a boy, which becomes inconvenient when she falls in love with one of the other musicians in the troupe.

Molly Picon made her English language debut on stage in 1940. On Broadway, she starred in Neil Simon’s Come Blow Your Horn and the Jerry Herman musical Milk and Honey, both in 1961. In 1966 she quit the disastrous Chu Chem during previews in Philadelphia; the show closed before reaching Broadway.

Molly Picon’s first English speaking role in the movies was the film version of Come Blow Your Horn (1963), and she portrayed Yente, the Matchmaker in the film adaptation of the Broadway hit Fiddler on the Roof in 1971.

In the 1970s, she was featured as a madame named Mrs. Cherry in For Pete’s Sake, a film starring another famous Jewish-American actress, Barbra Streisand. Molly Picon later played a role on television on the soap opera Somerset.  An entire room was filled with her memorabilia at the Second Avenue Deli in New York
(now closed).

The little “yente” with the big, expressive talent, New York-born Yiddish icon Molly Picon entertained theater, radio, TV and film audiences for over seven decades with her song-and-dance routines while helping to popularize the Yiddish culture into the American mainstream as well as overseas. Raised in Philadelphia, she was performing from age 5 but broke into the big time with a vaudeville act called “The Four Seasons” in 1919, eventually making a comedy name for herself in the Second Avenue Theatres on the Lower East Side back in New York. The indefatigable Molly Picon was a real live wire and played very broad, confident, dominant characters on stage, which ended up making it hard for her to be taken seriously in dramatic pieces.

In film she is best remembered for her Yiddish-language showcases of the 30s, notably in Yidl with His Fiddle (1936), the story of a traveling musician who dresses as a boy to avoid unwarranted male advances. Molly Picon was cast as a Yiddish Cinderella, a dutiful but unappreciated daughter who cares for her father and his large family, in Mamele (1938), the last Jewish film made in Poland. During one musical vignette, Molly Picon portrays her character’s grandmother in several stages of life. In the 1940s, Molly Picon started to include English-speaking plays as well and as she grew into matronly roles, became synonymous as the typical well-meaning but overbearing and coddling “Jewish mama.” Such amusing, unflappable film roles would be found in Come Blow Your Horn (1963) (as an interfering Italian mother) and Fiddler on the Roof (1972) as Yente the matchmaker. Molly Picon long association with husband and corroborator, Yiddish stage star Jacob Kalich, was a fruitful one. Husband Jacob Kalich became her mentor, the author of many of her popular plays and the manager of her career. They Married in 1919, Jacob Kalich died in 1975 but she continued performing albeit sporadically. Vicariously known as the “Jewish Charlie Chaplin” and “Jewish Helen Hayes”, she was a patriot and humanitarian at heart, with an energy, creativity and ability to entertain that couldn’t help but make her one of entertainment’s most beloved citizens.

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