Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Sir William McMahon

Sir William “Billy” McMahon, GCMG, CH was born on 23 February 1908 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and died on 31 March 1988 of cancer in Sydney, Australia aged 80. Sir William McMahon was an Australian Liberal politician and the 20th Prime Minister of Australia.

Sir William McMahon’s father was a lawyer. Sir William McMahon was of Irish ancestry.

Sir William McMahon was educated at Sydney Grammar School and at the University of Sydney, where he graduated in law. Sir William McMahon practised in Sydney with “Allen, Allen and Hemsley”, the oldest law firm in Australia. In 1940 he joined the Army, but because of a hearing loss he was confined to staff work. After World War II he travelled in Europe and completed an economics degree.

Sir William McMahon was elected to the House of Representatives for the Sydney seat of Lowe in 1949, one of the flood of new Liberal MPs known as the “forty-niners”. Sir William McMahon was capable and ambitious, and in 1951 Prime Minister Robert Menzies made him Minister for Air and Minister for the Navy. Over the next 15 years he held the portfolios of Social Services, Commerce and Agriculture and Labour and National Service. In 1966, when Harold Holt became Prime Minister, Sir William McMahon succeeded him as Treasurer and as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.

Despite his steady advance, Sir William McMahon remained unpopular with his colleagues. Sir William McMahon was highly capable, but seen as too ambitious and a schemer. Sir William McMahon had never married, and there were frequent rumours that he was homosexual. However, in 1965, aged 57, he married Sonia Rachel Hopkins who was (born in August 1932), with whom he had 3 children: Melinda, Julian McMahon (the actor and model) and Debra.

When Harold Holt drowned in December 1967, Sir William McMahon was assumed to be his automatic successor. But John McEwen, interim Prime Minister and leader of the Country Party, announced that he and his party would not serve in a government led by Sir William McMahon. John McEwen did not state his reasons publicly, but privately he told Sir William McMahon he did not trust him. There was also John McEwen’s personal dislike of Sir William McMahon for the reasons suggested in the previous paragraph, but also John McEwen, an arch-protectionist, correctly suspected that Sir William McMahon favoured policies of free trade and deregulation.

Sir William McMahon therefore withdrew, and John Gorton won the party room ballot. Sir William McMahon became Foreign Minister and waited for his chance at a comeback. Sir William McMahon stood as a candidate for the Liberal Party leadership (and therefore Prime Minister, as the Liberal/Country Party coalition held a majority in the House of Representatives) after the 1969 election but was defeated by John Gorton. In January 1971 John McEwen retired as Country Party leader and his successor, Doug Anthony, did not continue the veto against Sir William McMahon. In March 1971 the Defence Minister, Malcolm Fraser, resigned from Cabinet and denounced John Gorton, who then called a party meeting. When the confidence vote in John Gorton was tied, he resigned, and Sir William McMahon was elected leader.

Sir William McMahon found being Prime Minister an unenjoyable experience. The Vietnam War and conscription had become very unpopular. Sir William McMahon was unable to match the performance of Labor leader, Gough Whitlam, who campaigned on radical new policies such as universal health insurance. Sir William McMahon was undermined by plotting from John Gorton’s supporters. Sir William McMahon attacked Gough Whitlam over his policy of recognising the People’s Republic of China, then had to back down when President Nixon announced his visit to China.

Sir William McMahon reputation for economic management was undermined by high inflation. Sir William McMahon voice and appearance came across badly on television, and he was no match in parliamentary debates for Gough Whitlam, a witty and powerful orator. The press further weakened Sir William McMahon’s popularity.

Sir William McMahon lost his nerve, and in the December 1972 election campaign he was outperformed by Gough Whitlam and subjected to further humiliation in the press. When Gough Whitlam won the election Sir William McMahon resigned the Liberal leadership.

Sir William McMahon had been a minister continuously for 21 years and 6 months, a record in the Australian Parliament. Only Sir George Pearce and John McEwen had longer overall ministerial service, but their terms were not continuous.

Sir William McMahon served in the Shadow Cabinet under his successor, Billy Snedden, but was dropped after the 1974 election. In 1977, he was knighted. Sir William McMahon stayed in Parliament as a backbencher until his resignation in 1982, by which time he was the longest-serving member of the House.


Bust of William McMahon by sculptor Victor Greenhalgh located in the Prime Minister’s Avenue in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens William McMahon was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1966, a Companion of Honour in the New Years Day Honours of 1972 and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1977.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Georgia Horsley

Georgia Faye Horsley was born in 1987 in Malton, North Yorkshire, England. Georgia Horsley won the Miss England 2007 title and the opportunity to represent England in the Miss World 2007 pageant which was held in Sanya, China on the 1 December that year. During her year as Miss England Georgia Horsley is keen to help the deaf association and cancer charities.

Georgia Horsley hails from and has been working as a model and florist. Georgia Horsley has 10 GCSEs, an A Level in Art, 2 AS Levels in Geography and Sociology, a diploma in Anatomy and Physiology, and a Red Cross Therapeutic care course qualification. Georgia Horsley’s aim was to pursue a career as a media make-up artist and she was due to start a degree in design and media make-up at university before she won the title of Miss England.

Georgia Horsley has her success at one of the fast track events held during the pageant when she was one of the top 18 semifinalists of the Miss World Talent. In spite of being one of the early favourites of the contest, she failed to secure a place in the top 16 on the final night.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Juliette Low

Juliette Gordon Low was born Juliette Magill Kinzie Gordon in Savannah, Georgia, she became known as “Daisy” after her uncle saw her as a baby girl and said, “I’ll bet she’ll be a daisy!” Daisy was always jumping into new games, hobbies and ideas. Another one of her nicknames was “Little Ship”. Juliette acquired this nickname while living with her maternal grandparents in Chicago during the Civil War. Juliette’s grandfather, John Kinzie, was a Native American agent and young Juliette often played with Native American children. Juliette loved to hear the story about her great-grandmother, who was captured by Native Americans. A grain of rice thrown at the wedding became lodged in Juliette’s bad ear. When it was removed, her ear drum was punctured and became infected, causing her to become completely deaf in that ear. Juliette’s hearing was severely limited for the rest of her life. Juliette is responsible for founding the first girl scout organization of America.

Juliette was an American youth leader and the founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA in 1912.

Juliette was the adopted daughter of the Seneca chief Cornplanter in the years she dwelt with the tribe, Eventually, the Seneca said they’d give Juliette’s great-grandmother whatever gift she wanted, and she chose to go back home. The Seneca let her go. The shorter version of the nickname was bestowed on young Juliette.

Juliette was educated in several prominent boarding schools, including the Virginia Female Institute (now Stuart Hall School) and Mesdemoiselles Charbonniers (a French finishing school in New York City).

When she was about 25 years old, Juliette suffered an ear infection that was treated with silver nitrate. This treatment damaged her ear, causing her to lose a great deal of her hearing in that ear.

At the age of 26, even though her parents had apprehensions, she married William Mackay “Willy” Low, the son of a wealthy cotton merchant in Savannah and England. William’s mother was a native of Savannah, Georgia. Their wedding took place on 21 December, 1886 which happened to be her parents’ 29th wedding anniversary. A grain of rice thrown at the wedding became lodged in Juliette’s good ear. When it was removed, her ear drum was punctured and became infected, causing her to become completely deaf in that ear. Juliette’s hearing was severely limited for the rest of her life.

Juliette’s marriage to Mr. Low proved to be childless. Although the couple moved to England, Juliette continued her travels and divided her time between the British Isles and America. During the Spanish-American War, Juliette came back to America to aid in the war effort. Juliette helped her mother organise a convalescent hospital for wounded soldiers returning from Cuba. Juliette’s father was commissioned as a general in the U.S. Army and served on the Puerto Rican Peace Commission.

As early as 1901, due to her husband’s infidelities, Juliette intended to get a divorce. However, her husband died in 1905 before the divorce proceedings could be finalized. When his will was read Juliette discovered that her husband had left his money to his mistress. Juliette was left with a small widow’s pension. It was in 1911 that Juliette met Second Boer War hero (and founder of the Scouting movement) Robert Baden-Powell, his wife Olave, and his sister Agnes. Juliette and Sir Robert (later Lord) Baden Powell shared a passion for sculpture and art. Juliette also enjoyed working with iron.

While in the UK, Juliette worked as a Girl Guide leader for troops she organized in Scotland and London. On returning to America in 1912, Juliette placed her historic telephone call to a cousin: “Come right over! I’ve got something for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world, and we’re going to start it tonight!” On 12 March, 1912 Juliette gathered 18 girls to register the first troop of American Girl Guides. Margaret “Daisy Doots” Gordon, her niece and namesake, was the first registered member, but did not attend the first meeting. The name of the organization was changed to Girl Scouts the following year. The organization was incorporated in 1915, with Juliette serving as president until 1920 when she was granted the title of founder.

In personality, Daisy was known for being eccentric and charming. One commonly related anecdote recounts how, at an early Scout board meeting, she stood on her head to display the new Girl Scout shoes that she happened to be wearing. Juliette Low also wrote poems; sketched, wrote and acted in plays; and became a skilled painter and sculptor. Juliette Low had many pets throughout her life and was particularly fond of exotic birds, Georgia mockingbirds, dogs, cats, and a few horses. Daisy was also known for her great sense of humor.

Juliette Gordon Low contracted breast cancer in 1923, but kept it a secret and continued diligently working for the Girl Scouts. Juliette Low died on 17 January, 1927 from this cancer, and was buried in her Girl Scout uniform in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah.

In Savannah, Georgia tourists and locals can visit three historic sites which relate to the life of Juliette Gordon Low. The home of her birth, The Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is one of the most visited house museums in Georgia. The Andrew Low House became her Savannah home after her marriage to William Mackay Low in 1886, and The Girl Scout First Headquarters is the former carriage house of the Andrew Low family. Juliette converted the carriage house into her Girl Scout headquarters shortly after the first meeting in 1912 and willed it to the local Savannah Girl Scouts upon her death in 1927.

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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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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Betty Schwartz

Betty Robinson Schwartz was born on 23 August, 1911 in Riverdale, Illinois, a small town south of Chicago. Betty died on 17 May 1999. Betty Robinson Schwartz who in 1928, as a 16-year-old high school junior became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in track and field. Betty suffered from cancer and Alzheimer’s disease in recent years.

Betty’s life story included prodiongious athletic glory, a life-threatening accident and an amazing Olympic comeback and sounded like the product of an overimaginative screenwriter.

Betty’s career began when a high school teacher and assistant track coach in Harvey, Illinois, saw her running for a commuter train (the legend is that she caught it). Betty later ran 50 yards for him in a school corridor, and a track career began.

These were the nascent days of organized women’s track and field at the national level. As she told The Los Angeles Times in 1984: ”I had no idea that women even ran then. I grew up a hick. That is when I found out that they actually had track meets for women.”

3 weeks after being discovered, Betty made her racing debut in a regional meet and finished 2nd to Helen Filkey, the United States record-holder at 100 meters. In her next meet, the Chicago-area Olympic trials, she equaled the world record of 12.0 seconds (the current world record is 10.49, set by Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988). In her third meet, the United States final trials in Newark, she finished 2nd and made the Olympic team.

In 1928, the year Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic, female track and field athletes were allowed to compete in the Olympics for the first time. The 1928 Amsterdam Games would mark the fourth meet of Betty’s career, just 4 months after she took up the sport at age 16.

A week after qualifying for the Olympics, she and her teammates sailed to Amsterdam and worked out on a quarter-mile linoleum track laid around the ship’s deck. In Amsterdam, she finished second in her trial heat and first in her semifinal and became the only American to reach the finals.

The finish was close in the finals, and the judges declared Betty the winner over the favored Fanny Rosenfeld of Canada in an official time of 12.2. Because the 100-meter race was the first of five women’s track and field events at the 1928 Games, Betty Robinson Schwartz had won the 1st gold medal handed out in her sport.

”When the flag went up after the race,” she said, ”I started crying like a baby.”

Rosenfeld and her Canadian teammates later defeated Betty Robinson Schwartz and the American team in the 4×100-meter relay, with the United States team taking the silver.

After Betty Robinson Schwartz won the gold, Douglas MacArthur, then the president of the American Olympic Committee, presented her with a small gold charm shaped like the world. When she returned home, she was honored by ticker-tape parades down Broadway in New York and State Street in Chicago. In her hometown, she received a diamond watch from an adoring public and a silver cup from her high school.

Betty Robinson Schwartz was still a world-class athlete when a biplane she was riding in with her cousin crashed near Chicago in 1931. Both survived, but Betty Robinson Schwartz spent 11 weeks in a hospital with severe head injuries and a broken leg and arm. A silver rod and pin were inserted to stabilize the leg, which was placed in a hip-to-heel cast. For 4 months, she was in a wheelchair or on crutches, and the leg became a 1/2″ shorter.

”If I had not been in such good physical condition,” she said, ”I would not have lived through it.”

As it was, she was out of competition for three and a half years. When she tried a comeback in 1936, she could not bend a knee, so she had to make a standing rather than a crouching start in the 100 meters. Still, she made the Olympic relay team, along with Harriet Bland, Annette Rogers and Helen Stephens. This time in Berlin, the American team — with Betty Robinson Schwartz running the 3rd leg captured the gold when a member of the record-setting German team fumbled the baton pass before the last handoff. Betty Robinson Schwartz had completed an improbable comeback.

In 1939, she married Richard S. Schwartz, who owned an upholstery firm. They had 2 children.

Besides her son, she is survived by her daughter, Jane Hamilton of Denver, and 3 grandchildren.
Betty career included world records at 50, 60, 70 and 100 yards. Betty was inducted into the National Track and Field, the United States Track and Field and the Helms Halls of Fame. After she stopped running, she was a coach, timer and public speaker.

Betty never received the publicity and public adulation of such American successors as Babe Didrikson, Wilma Rudolph and Griffith Joyner. Years after her Olympic triumphs, she said: ”I suppose most Americans don’t even recognize me. It happened so long ago I still can’t believe the attention I get for something I did so long ago.”

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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Arlene Francis

Arlene Francis, the witty actress and popular television personality, was born Arlene Francis Kazanjian on 20 October, 1907 in Boston, Massachusetts. Arlene’s father was an Armenian immigrant, later painter and portrait photographer; her mother was the daughter of actor Alfred Davis. Even at an early age, Arlene said, “I started out with one goal: I wanted to be a serious actress.” Arlene studied at the Theatre Guild and then went to Hollywood. Arlene’s movie debut was in Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932), in which Bela Lugosi (often cast as a villain or mad scientist in many of his over 40 movies) tied her to an X-cross to extract her blood (trivia: Arlene and Bela were both born on Oct. 20). The live theater, however, was her first love, and she appeared in many plays. In 1935, she married movie executive Neil Agnew; they’d stay together for 10 years. Arlene made her Broadway debut in 1936 and had her first major role in “All That Glitters” two years later. Arlene appeared with Orson Welles in the Mercury Theatre production of “Danton’s Death” in 1938, and in “Journey to Jerusalem” in 1940. Arlene’s big hit was “The Doughgirls” in 1942; it ran for 1-1/2 years. Arlene had auditioned for her first radio part at the same time she was getting started in the theater; she later recalled, “Radio came easily.” In the 1940s, she played in as many as five radio serials a day.

Arlene married actor Martin Gabel in 1946 (he died in 1986), and they had a son, Peter. Arlene also was host of a radio dating show called “Blind Date,” which was adapted to a TV series in 1949 (“Blind Date” (1949)), and she was the host (1949-1952). It was television that brought Arlene fame, and she became one of the highest-paid women in TV. Arlene was a permanent panelist on CBS’ “What’s My Line?” (1950) (a ‘Mark Goodson (I)’ -Bill Todman production) from 1950 through 1967 and continued as a panelist in a syndicated version that ran until 1975, thus being with the show for its entire 25-year run. Arlene was warm, witty and had a cute laugh and was always fashionably dressed. Arlene wore a diamond heart-shaped necklace, which started a fad. Arlene was still doing radio while on TV, and in 1960, she was the star of “The Arlene Francis Show,” a daily interview show in New York, on WOR; it ran for 23 years. Arlene retired from show business after that and lived comfortably. Arlene was still giving interviews in 1991.

Arlene spent her last years living in San Francisco. Arlene died of cancer on Thursday 31 May 2001, in a Francisco hospital, at the age of 93. Arlene’s many fans will miss her, Arlene was truly one of the greats.

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