Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Charles Buddy Bolden

Charles “Buddy” Bolden was born on 6 September, 1877 and died on 4 November, 1931. Charles Buddy Bolden was buried in an unmarked grave in Holt Cemetery, a pauper’s graveyard in New Orleans. In 1998 a monument to Charles Buddy Bolden was erected in Holt Cemetery, but his exact gravesite remains unknown.

Charles Buddy Bolden was an African American cornetist and is regarded by contemporaries as a key figure in the development of a New Orleans style of rag-time music which later came to be known as jazz.

Charles Buddy Bolden was known as King Bolden, and his band was a top draw in New Orleans from about 1900 until 1907, when he was incapacitated by schizophrenia, which was called dementia praecox at that time. Charles Buddy Bolden left no known surviving recordings, but he was known for his very loud sound and constant improvisation.

While there is substantial first hand oral history about Charles Buddy Bolden, facts about his life continue to be lost amongst colourful myth. Stories about him being a barber by trade or that he published a scandal-sheet called the “Cricket” have been repeated in print despite being debunked decades earlier.

Charles Buddy Bolden suffered an episode of acute alcoholic psychosis in 1907 at the age of 30. With the full diagnosis of dementia praecox, he was admitted to a mental institution where he spent the rest of his life.

Many early jazz musicians credited Charles Buddy Bolden and the members of his band with being the originators of what came to be known as “jazz”, though the term was not yet in common musical use until after the era of Charles Buddy Bolden’s prominence. At least 1 writer has labelled him the father of jazz. Charles Buddy Bolden is credited with creating a looser, more improvised version of ragtime and adding blues to it; Bolden’s band was said to be the 1st to have brass instruments play the blues. Charles Buddy Bolden was also said to have taken ideas from gospel music heard in uptown African American Baptist churches.

Instead of imitating other cornetists, Charles Buddy Bolden played music he heard “by ear” and adapted it to his horn. In doing so, he created an exciting and novel fusion of rag-time, black sacred music, marching-band music and rural blues. Charles Buddy Bolden rearranged the typical New Orleans dance band of the time to better accommodate the blues; string instruments became the rhythm section, and the front-line instruments were clarinets, trombones, and Charles Buddy Bolden’s cornet. Charles Buddy Bolden was known for his powerful, loud, “wide open” playing style.

Joe “King” Oliver, Freddie Keppard, Bunk Johnson, and other early New Orleans jazz musicians were directly inspired by his playing.

Although Charles Buddy Bolden was recalled as having made at least 1 phonograph cylinder, no known recordings of Charles Buddy Bolden have survived.

Some of the songs 1st associated with his band such as the traditional song “Careless Love” and “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It”, are still standards. Charles Buddy Bolden often closed his shows with the original number “Get Out of Here and Go Home”, although for more “polite” gigs the last number would be “Home! Sweet Home!”.

One of the most famous Charles Buddy Bolden numbers is a song called “Funky Butt” (known later as “Buddy Bolden’s Blues”) which represents one of the earliest references to the concept of “funk” in popular music, now a musical subgenre unto itself. Charles Buddy Bolden’s “Funky Butt” was, as Danny Barker once put it, a reference to the olfactory effect of an auditorium packed full of sweaty people “dancing close together and belly rubbing.” Other musicians closer to Charles Buddy Bolden’s generation explained that the famous tune actually originated as a reference to flatulence.

I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say,
Funky-butt, funky-butt, take it away.

The “Funky Butt” song was one of many in the Charles Buddy Bolden repertory with rude or off-colour lyrics popular in some of the rougher places Charles Buddy Bolden played, and Charles Buddy Bolden’s trombonist Willy Cornish claimed authorship. It became so well known as a rude song that even whistling the melody on a public street was considered offensive. However the strain was incorporated into the early published ragtime number “St. Louis Tickle”.

Sidney Bechet wrote and composed “Buddy Bolden Stomp” in his honour.

Duke Ellington paid tribute to Charles Buddy Bolden in his 1957 suite “A Drum is a Woman”. The trumpet part was taken by Clark Terry.

Dr. John, in the liner notes to his Goin’ Back to New Orleans (1992), describes “I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say” (track 5) as “Jelly Roll Morton’s memory of a jazz pioneer”.

Charles Buddy Bolden has inspired a number of fictional characters with his name. Most famously, Canadian author Michael Ondaatje’s novel Coming Through Slaughter features a “Buddy Bolden” character that in some ways resembles Charles Buddy Bolden, but in other ways is deliberately contrary to what is known about him.

Charles Buddy Bolden is also prominent in August Wilson’s 7 String Guitars. August Wilson’s drama includes a character (King Hedley) whose father, in the play, deliberately named him after King Buddy Bolden. King Hedley constantly sings, “I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say…” and believes that Buddy Bolden will come down and bring him money to buy a plantation.

Additionally, August Wilson’s King Hedley II continues 7 Guitars, thus Charles Buddy Bolden continues in the play as well.

Charles Buddy Bolden is a prominent character in David Fulmer’s murder mystery titled Chasing the Devil’s Tail, being not only a bandleader but also a suspect in the murders. Charles Buddy Bolden also appears by reputation or in person in Fulmer’s other books.

Charles Buddy Bolden is the titular character in the film Bolden!, which is currently in production. Charles Buddy Bolden is being portrayed by Anthony Mackie.

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The End of Dementia Series

I hope you have enjoyed reading about “What is Dementia?” and of the Famous People that have or had suffered from Dementia.

Sadly, we have come to the end of our “Dementia  Series”. We now begin our “Hearing Impairments Series” so please enjoy reading.

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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Willem De Kooning

Willem de Kooning was born on 24 April, 1904 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and died on 19 March, 1997. Willem De Kooning was an abstract expressionist painter.

In the post-World War II era, Willem de Kooning painted in a style that came to be referred to variously as Abstract expressionism, Action painting, and the New York School. Other painters that developed this school of painting include Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko, Hans Hofmann, Robert Motherwell, Philip Guston and Clyfford Still among others.

Willem De Kooning’s parents, Leendert de Kooning and Cornelia Nobel, were divorced when he was about 5 years old, and he was raised by his mother and a stepfather. Willem De Kooning’s early artistic training included 8 years at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Arts and Techniques. In the 1920s he worked as an assistant to the art director of a Rotterdam department store.

In 1926, Willem De Kooning entered the United States as a stowaway on a British freighter, the SS Shelly, to Newport News, Virginia. Willem De Kooning then went by ship to Boston, and took a train from Boston to Rhode Island, and eventually settled in Hoboken, New Jersey, where he supported himself as a house painter until moving to a studio in Manhattan in 1927. In 1929 he met the artist and critic John D. Graham, who would become an important stimulus and supporter. Willem De Kooning also met the painter Arshile Gorky, who became one of Willem De Kooning’s closest and most influential friends.

In October 1935, Willem De Kooning began to work on the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Federal Art Project, and he won the Logan Medal of the arts. Willem De Kooning was employed by this work-relief program until July 1937, when he resigned because of his alien status. This period of about 2 years provided the artist, who had been supporting himself during the early Depression by commercial jobs, with his first opportunity to devote full time to creative work. Willem De Kooning worked on both the easel-painting and mural divisions of the project (the several murals he designed were never executed).

In 1938, probably under the influence of Gorky, Willem De Kooning embarked on a series of male figures, including Two Men Standing, Man, and Seated Figure (Classic Male), while simultaneously embarking on a more purist series of lyrically coloured abstractions, such as Pink Landscape and Elegy. As his work progressed, the heightened colours and elegant lines of the abstractions began to creep into the more figurative works, and the coincidence of figures and abstractions continued well into the 1940s. This period includes the representational but somewhat geometricized Woman and Standing Man, along with numerous untitled abstractions whose biomorphic forms increasingly suggest the presence of figures. By about 1945 the two tendencies seemed to fuse perfectly in Pink Angels.

In 1938, Willem De Kooning met Elaine Marie Fried, later known as Elaine de Kooning, whom he married in 1943. Elaine also became a significant artist. During the 1940s and thereafter, he became increasingly identified with the Abstract Expressionist movement and was recognized as one of its leaders in the mid-1950s. Willem had his first one-man show, which consisted of his black-and-white enamel compositions, at the Charles Egan Gallery in New York in 1948 and taught at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1948 and at the Yale School of Art in 1950/51.

In 1946, too poor to buy artists’ pigments, he turned to black and white household enamels to paint a series of large abstractions; of these works, Light in August (c. 1946) and Black Friday (1948) are essentially black with white elements, whereas Zurich (1947) and Mailbox (1947/48) are white with black. Developing out of these works in the period after his first show were complex, agitated abstractions such as Asheville (1948/49), Attic (1949), and Excavation (1950; Art Institute of Chicago), which reintroduced colour and seem to sum up with taut decisiveness the problems of free-associative composition he had struggled with for many years.

Willem De Kooning had painted women regularly in the early 1940s and again from 1947 to 1949. The biomorphic shapes of his early abstractions can be interpreted as female symbols. But it was not until 1950 that he began to explore the subject of women exclusively. In the summer of that year he began Woman I (located at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City), which went through innumerable metamorphoses before it was finished in 1952.

Willem de Kooning, Woman III, (1953), private collectionDuring this period he also created other paintings of women. These works were shown at the Sidney Janis Gallery in 1953 and caused a sensation, chiefly because they were figurative when most of his fellow Abstract Expressionists were painting abstractly and because of their blatant technique and imagery. The appearance of aggressive brushwork and the use of high-key colours combine to reveal a woman all too congruent with some of modern man’s most widely held sexual fears. The toothy snarls, overripe, pendulous breasts, vacuous eyes, and blasted extremities imaged the darkest Freudian insights. Some of these paintings also seemed to hearken back to early Mesopotamian / Akkadian works, with the large, almost “all-seeing” eyes.

The Woman’ paintings II through VI (1952-53) are all variants on this theme, as are Woman and Bicycle (1953; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York) and Two Women in the Country (1954). The deliberate vulgarity of these paintings contrasts with the French painter Jean Dubuffet’s no less harsh Corps de Dame series of 1950, in which the female, formed with a rich topography of earth colours, relates more directly to universal symbols.

From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, Willem De Kooning entered a new phase of nearly pure abstractions more related to landscape than to the human figure. These paintings, such as “Bolton Landing” (1957) and “Door to the River” (1960) bear broad brushstrokes and calligraphic tendencies similar to works of his contemporary Franz Kline.

In 1963, Willem De Kooning moved permanently to East Hampton, Long Island, and returned to depicting women while also referencing the landscape in such paintings as Woman, Sag harbor and Clam Diggers.

Willem de Kooning was diagnosed with, in all probability, Alzheimer’s disease. After his wife, Elaine, died on February 1, 1989, his daughter, Lisa, and his lawyer, John Eastman were granted guardianship over Willem De Kooning. As the style of his later works continued to evolve into early 1989, his vintage works drew increasing profits; at Sotheby’s auctions Pink Lady (1944) sold for US$3.6 million in 1987 and Interchange (1955) brought $20.6 million in 1989.

There is much debate over the relevance and significance of his 1980s paintings, many of which became clean, sparse, and almost graphic, while alluding to the biomorphic lines of his early works. Some have said his very last works, most of which have never been exhibited, present a new direction of compositional complexity and daring color juxtapositions. Some speculate that his mental condition and attempts to recover from a life of alcoholism had rendered him unable to carry out the mastery indicated in his early works, while others see these late works as boldly prophetic of directions that some current painters continue to pursue. Unfortunately, gossip has tainted the scant critical commentary afforded these last works, which have yet to be seriously assessed.

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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Tom Fears

Thomas Jesse Fears was born on 3 December, 1923 in Guadalajara, Mexico and died on 4 January, 2000 after spending a 6 year long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Tom was the son of an American mining engineer who had married a Mexican woman, and moved with his family to Los Angeles at the age of 6. There, he began to display his ample work ethic by unloading flowers for 25 cents an hour, and later serving as an usher at football games for double that amount.

Tom was an American football wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams in the National Football League, playing 9 seasons from 1948 to 1956.

Tom first played football at Los Angeles’ Manual Arts High School, then advanced to compete for Santa Clara University. Tom spent 1 year at the latter school before he was drafted for World War II and spent the next 3 years in military service. After his father became a Japanese prisoner of war, Tom sought to become a fighter pilot to fight Japan. Tom became a pilot, but was instead shipped to Colorado Springs to play football for a service team.

Upon his release, he had been drafted by the Rams in 1945, but remained in school and transferred to UCLA, winning All-American following each of his 2 seasons at the school. Tom’s senior campaign nearly ended in abrupt fashion in 1947, when he and some Bruin teammates were investigated for posing in local advertisements for a Los Angeles clothing store. When it was determined that Tom and the other players worked for the store, and were not identified as athletes, the matter was dropped.

The job had been one of many provided by school boosters, and included a brief bit as a pilot in the Humphrey Bogart film, “Action in the North Atlantic.” The largesse by such people led Tom to joke that his $6,000 first-year contract and $500 bonus from the Rams meant that he was taking a pay cut.

Tom was the first player in NFL History to line up on the line of scrimmage, away from the tackle, thus making him the first Wide Receiver in NFL History. Selected as a defensive back by the Rams, Tom quickly made his mark as a wide receiver in 1948, while also displaying his versatility by playing on defense and at tight end. During his first 3 seasons at the professional level, he led all NFL receivers in catches, and broke the league’s single-season record with 77 catches in 1949.

The record would be short-lived as he increased that mark to 84 during the 1950 NFL season, including a then-record 18 catches in one game against the Green Bay Packers on 12 November. Tom also helped the team advance to the NFL title game with a trio of touchdown receptions in the divisional playoff against the Chicago Bears, winning All-Pro accolades for the second consecutive year.

During the ensuing offseason, Tom became embroiled in a contract dispute with the team for the second straight year. The year before, he hinted at leaving the team to work for General Motors Corporation, then announced on 13 March, 1951 that he was retiring to work for a local liquor distributor. Neither threat materialized, and despite offers from four Canadian Football League teams, Tom signed for $13,000.

That season, Tom played in only 7 games, but helped lead the Rams to their 3rd straight championship game appearance. After 2 disappointments, the franchise captured its 1st NFL title since moving to the West Coast, with Tom an integral part of the title game victory when he caught the winning score. Tom’s 73-yard touchdown reception midway through the 4th quarter broke a 17-17 deadlock with the Cleveland Browns.

After bouncing back in 1952 with 48 receptions for 600 yards and 6 scores, the beginning of the end of his career began after he fractured 2 vertabrae in a 18 October, 1953 game against the Detroit Lions. Limited to just 23 receptions that year, he would average 40 catches the next 2 years, but after a preseason injury in 1956, he hauled in only 5 passes and retired on 6 November. For the remainder of that campaign, he served as an assistant coach, finishing his playing days with 400 catches for 5,397 yards and 38 touchdowns.

Tom was out of the game for the next 2 years, but returned briefly as an assistant in the 1st year of Vince Lombardi’s reign with the Packers. Business conflicts back in California caused him to leave the position at midseason, but Tom resumed his coaching career the following year with the Rams under former teammate Bob Waterfield. After 2 seasons in that role, Tom returned to Green Bay for a 4 year stint as an assistant, where he was part of championship teams in 1962 and 1965.

Tom applied for the head coaching job with the St. Louis Cardinals (football) after the 1965 NFL season, but after not being chosen, he joined fellow Packer assistant Norb Hecker, who had been named head coach of the expansion Atlanta Falcons. In the first game of the 1966 regular season, Tom caused controversy when he accused Rams coach George Allen of attempting to garner inside information on the team from a player that had been cut, charges that were never proven.

After that 2-12 first season in Atlanta, Tom became a head coach for the first time when he was hired by the expansion New Orleans Saints on 27 January, 1967. Despite the promise of the team scoring on the first-ever kickoff return in franchise history, Tom’s nearly 4 years at the helm of what became a perennial losing franchise were an exercise in frustration.

In 1970, Tom was recognized for his professional playing career when he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That March, rumors of Tom replacing the departed Don Shula with the Baltimore Colts surfaced, but Don McCafferty was hired by the Maryland team in early April. Issues between Tom and Saints owner John Mecom, Jr., primarily Tom seeking the additional role of general manager, fueled such speculation. On 20 April, the matter ended when he was given control over all player personnel matters.

Tom’s tenure in his new dual roles, however, would be short, when the team ended the first half of the 1970 NFL season with a 1-5-1 mark, resulting in his dismissal on 3 November after compiling an overall mark of 13-34-2. Tom resurfaced a few months later, serving as offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles, but when head coach Ed Khayat was fired at the end of the 1972 NFL season, Tom was out of work again.

After spending 1973 off the gridiron, Tom was named head coach of the fledgling World Football League’s Southern California Sun on 14 January, 1974. The fragile financial condition of the entire league resulted in Tom leading the team for less than 2 years before the WFL folded in October 1975.

Tom’s disappointment was soothed somewhat when he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1976, the same year he was named president of the All-Sports Council of Southern California, which helped amateur sports in the area. 1 year later, he returned to coaching as an assistant at San Bernardino Junior College.

During this period, he was also working as a technical adviser for movies with a football connection, and in 1979, began a football scouting service. The 2 roles came together in controversial fashion when Tom began working on the production of “North Dallas Forty,” a film that took a look at the sordid side of the professional game.

Tom had 3 clients: the Packers, Houston Oilers and Pittsburgh Steelers, but after the movie was released, Tom saw all 3 teams drop his services. Claiming that the NFL had blacklisted him, Tom spoke with league commissioner Pete Rozelle (who had worked for the Rams during Toms’ playing days), but never again found work in the league.

Remaining on the fringes of the sport, Tom in 1980 worked as a coach for the Chapman College club football team, then became a part-owner of the Orange Empire Outlaws of the California Football League the following year. In 1982, he was hired as player personnel director of the new United States Football League’s Los Angeles Express. Bolstered by huge spending from team owner William Daniels, the team reached the conference championship game, but saw financial troubles doom not only the team, but the league as well.

Tom’s final position in football came in 1990, when he was named head coach of the Milan franchise in the fledgling International League of American Football.

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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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