Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Bruce Willis

Walter Bruce Willis was born on 19 March, 1955 in Idar-Oberstein, West Germany. Bruce Willis is an American actor and singer-songwriter. Bruce Willis came to fame in the late 1980s and has since retained a career as both a Hollywood leading man and a supporting actor, in particular for his role as John McClane in the Die Hard series. Bruce Willis was married to actress Demi Moore and they had 3 daughters before their divorce in 2000 after 13 years of marriage. Bruce Willis has released several albums and has appeared in several television shows. Bruce Willis has also starred in over 60 films, including Pulp Fiction, Sin City, Die Hard, Unbreakable, Armageddon and The Sixth Sense

Motion pictures featuring Bruce Willis have grossed US$2.55 to US$3.04,000,000,000 at North American box offices, making him the 7th highest-grossing actor in a leading role, and 8th highest including supporting roles. Bruce Willis is a 2-time Emmy Award-winning, Golden Globe Award-winning, and 4-time Saturn Award-nominated actor and has publicly shown his support for the United States armed forces.

Bruce Willis is the son of a Kassel-born German mother, Marlene, who worked in a bank, and David Willis, an American soldier. Bruce Willis was the oldest of 4 children (his siblings are Florence, David, and Robert). After being discharged from the military in 1957, Bruce Willis’ father took his family back to Penns Grove, New Jersey, USA where he worked as a welder and factory worker. Bruce Willis’ parents separated in 1972 while Bruce Willis was in his teens. Bruce Willis was always an outgoing youngster, although he grew up with a stutter. Bruce Willis attended Penns Grove High School in his hometown. Finding it easy to express himself on stage and losing his stutter in the process, Bruce Willis began performing on stage and his high school activities were marked by such things as the drama club and school council president.

After high school, Bruce Willis took a job as a security guard and he also transported work crews at the DuPont Chambers Works factory in Deepwater, New Jersey, USA. Bruce Willis quit after a colleague was killed on the job,and became a regular at several bars. Bruce Willis learned to play the harmonica and joined an R&B band called Loose Goose. After a stint as a private investigator (a role he would play in the television series Moonlighting as well as in the 1991 film, The Last Boy Scout), Bruce Willis returned to acting. Bruce Willis enrolled in the drama programme at Montclair State University, where he was cast in the class production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Bruce Willis left school in his junior year and moved to New York City, USA.

Bruce Willis returned to the bar scene, only this time for a part-time job. After countless auditions, Bruce Willis made his theater debut in the off-Broadway production of Heaven and Earth. Bruce Willis gained more experience and exposure in Fool for Love, an appearance on television’s Miami Vice, and in a Levi’s commercial.

Bruce Willis left New York City and headed to California to audition for several television shows. Bruce Willis auditioned for the TV series Moonlighting (1985–89), while competing against 3,000 other actors for the position and was selected to play David Addison Jr. The starring role helped to establish him as a comedic actor, with the show lasting 5 seasons. During the height of the show’s success, beverage maker Seagram hired Bruce Willis as the pitchman for their Golden Wine Cooler products. The memorable ad campaign paid the rising star between $5 and $7,000,000 over 2 years. In spite of that, Bruce Willis chose not to renew his contract with the company when he decided to stop drinking alcohol in 1988. One of his 1st major film roles was in the 1987 Blake Edwards film Blind Date alongside Kim Basinger and John Laroquette. However, it was his then-unexpected turn in the film Die Hard that catapulted him to fame. Bruce Willis performed most of his own stunts in the film, and the film grossed US$138,708,852 worldwide. Due to its box office success, the film would eventually tender 3 sequels, with the most recent entry, Live Free or Die Hard,released in June 2007. Following his success with Die Hard, he had a supporting role in the drama In Country as Vietnam veteran Emmett Smith, for which he received a Golden Globe Award nomination for “Best Performance by an Actor in Supporting Role in a Motion Picture”. Bruce Willis also provided his voice for a talking baby in Look Who’s Talking and its sequel.

In the late-1980s, Bruce Willis enjoyed moderate success as a recording artist, recording an album of pop-blues entitled The Return of Bruno, which included the hit single “Respect Yourself”, promoted by a Spinal Tap-like rockumentary parody featuring scenes of him performing at famous events including Woodstock. Follow-up recordings were not as successful, though Bruce Willis has returned to the recording studio several times. In the early 1990s, Bruce Willis’ career suffered a moderate slump starring in flops such as The Bonfire of the Vanities, Striking Distance and a film he co-wrote entitled Hudson Hawk, among others. Bruce Willis starred in a leading role in the highly sexualized thriller Colour of Night (1994), which was very poorly received by critics but has become popular on video. However, in 1994 he had a supporting role in Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed Pulp Fiction, which gave a new boost to his career. In 1996, he was the executive producer of the cartoon Bruno the Kid which featured a CGI representation of himself. Bruce Willis went on to play the lead roles in 12 Monkeys and The 5th Element. However, by the end of the 1990s, his career had fallen into another slump with critically panned films like The Jackal, Mercury Rising, and Breakfast of Champions, saved only by the success of the Michael Bay-directed Armageddon which was the highest grossing film of 1998 worldwide. The same year his voice and likeness were featured in the PlayStation video game Apocalypse.

In 1999, Bruce Willis then went on to the starring role in M. Night Shyamalan’s film, The Sixth Sense. The film was both a commercial and critical success and helped to increase interest in his acting career. Bruce Willis once had to appear in the sitcom Friends without pay, because he lost a bet to Matthew Perry, his co-star in the comedy The Whole 9 Yards and its sequel The Whole 10 Yards. Bruce Willis won a 2000 Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his work on Friends (in which he played the father of Ross Geller’s much-younger girlfriend). Bruce Willis was also nominated for a 2001 American Comedy Award (in the Funniest Male Guest Appearance in a TV Series category) for his work on Friends. Bruce Willis was originally cast as Terry Benedict in Ocean’s Eleven (2001) but dropped out to work on recording an album. In Ocean’s Twelve (2004), he makes a cameo appearance as himself. Bruce Willis recently appeared in the Planet Terror half of the double feature Grindhouse as the villain, a mutant soldier. This marks Bruce Willis’ 2nd collaboration with director Robert Rodriguez, following Sin City.

Bruce Willis has appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman several times throughout his career. Bruce Willis filled in for an ill David Letterman on his show 26 February, 2003, when he was supposed to be a guest. Bruce Willis interviewed Dan Rather in what he would later call “the most serious conversation of my entire life”. On many of his appearances on the show, Bruce Willis stages elaborate jokes, such as wearing a day-glo orange suit in honour of the Central Park gates, having one side of his face made up with simulated buckshot wounds after the Harry Whittington shooting, or trying to break a record (parody of David Blaine) of staying underwater for only 20 seconds. On 12 April, 2007, he appeared again, this time wearing a Sanjaya Malakar wig. Bruce Willis’ most recent appearance was on 25 June, 2007 when he appeared wearing a mini-turbine strapped to his head to accompany a joke about his own fictional documentary entitled An Unappealing Hunch (a wordplay of An Inconvenient Truth). Bruce Willis also appeared on Japanese Subaru Legacy television commercials, optimizing the car for sale, with the backing music of Jade from Sweetbox, “Addicted” and “Hate Without Frontiers”. Tying in with this, Subaru did a limited run of Legacys, badged “Subaru Legacy Touring Bruce”, in honour of Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis has appeared in 4 movies with Samuel L. Jackson (National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1, Pulp Fiction, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Unbreakable) and both actors were slated to work together in Black Water Transit before dropping out. Bruce Willis also worked alongside his eldest daughter, Rumer, in the 2005 film Hostage. In 2007, he appeared in the thriller Perfect Stranger, opposite Halle Berry, the crime/drama film Alpha Dog, opposite Sharon Stone, and marked his return to the role of John McClane in Live Free or Die Hard.

Bruce Willis appeared on the 2008 Blues Traveler album North Hollywood Shootout, giving a spoken word performance over an instrumental blues-rock jam on the track “Free Willis (Ruminations from Behind Uncle Bob’s Machine Shop)”.

Bruce Willis’ future projects include 3 other films that will debut between 2008 and 2009. Bruce Willis will join the Assassination of a High School President, which is a 2008 comedy where he will be a Catholic school principal and his real-life eldest daughter, Rumer, will star as a student investigating missing SAT tests. Bruce Willis’ 2 2009 films will include the drama Morgan’s Summit, where he will depict a late night radio host who promotes kindness, but changes his demeanor after a brutal crime causes him to seek revenge and The Last Full Measure, a drama film based on a true story about a Vietnam War veteran. Bruce Willis has also signed on to play Kane in a film adaptation of the game Kane & Lynch: Dead Men.

Bruce Willis was slated to play U.S. Army general William R. Peers in director Oliver Stone’s Pinkville, a drama about the investigation of the 1968 My Lai massacre. However, due to the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, the film was cancelled and Bruce Willis instead joined the film, The Surrogates, which is based on the comic books of the same name.

At the premiere for the film Stakeout, Bruce Willis met actress Demi Moore who was dating actor Emilio Estevez at the time. Bruce Willis married Demi Moore on 21 November, 1987 and had 3 daughters (Rumer Glenn Willis (born 1988), Scout LaRue Willis (1991) and Tallulah Belle Willis (1994)) before the couple divorced on 18 October, 2000. The couple gave no public reason for their breakup. Bruce Willis reacting on his divorce stated “I felt I had failed as a father and a husband by not being able to make it work” and credited actor Will Smith for helping him get through the divorce. Bruce Willis and Demi Moore currently share custody of the 3 daughters they had during their 13 year union. Since their breakup, rumors persisted that the couple planned to re-marry, but Demi Moore has since married the younger actor Ashton Kutcher. Bruce Willis has maintained a close relationship with both Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, even attending their wedding. Since his divorce he has dated models Maria Bravo Rosado and Emily Sandberg and also was engaged to Brooke Burns, until they broke up in 2004 after dating for 10 months. In 2007, he was spotted dating Playboy Playmates Tamara Witmer and Karen McDougal on different occasions. Bruce Willis is currently dating girlfriend Emma Heming. Bruce Willis has expressed interest in getting married again and having more children.

Bruce Willis was, at one point, Lutheran (specifically Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod); but no longer practices, based on a statement he made in the July 1998 issue of George magazine:

“Organized religions in general, in my opinion, are dying forms”, he says. “They were all very important when we didn’t know why the sun moved, why weather changed, why hurricanes occurred, or volcanoes happened”, he continues. “Modern religion is the end trail of modern mythology. But there are people who interpret the Bible literally. Literally!” he says incredulously. “I choose not to believe that’s the way. And that’s what makes America cool, you know?”

In early 2006, Bruce Willis, who usually lives in Los Angeles, moved into an apartment located in the Trump Tower in New York City. Bruce Willis also has a home in Malibu, California, a ranch in Montana, a beach home on Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos, and multiple properties in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Bruce Willis owns his own motion picture production company called Cheyenne Enterprises which he started with his business parter Arnold Rifkin in 2000. Bruce Willis also owns several small businesses in Hailey, Idaho including The Mint Bar and The Liberty Theater and is a co-founder of Planet Hollywood along with actors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. Bruce Willis’ dog, a Yorkshire Terrier is named Wolf Fishbein (“Wolfie”) after a character in the Woody Allen movie Deconstructing Harry.

Bruce Willis, an avid New Jersey Nets fan, made controversial comments on 29 April, 2007 during a live broadcast of a Nets home playoff game vs. the Toronto Raptors on TSN by saying a catch phrase from his Die Hard films, “Yipee-ki-yay motherfucker”, at the end of the interview. Reacting to the backlash, he later blamed his actions on jet lag, stating: “Sometimes I overestimate my ability to function under duress with less than enough sleep”.

On 5 May, 2007, someone using the screen name “Walter_B” started posting detailed responses onto Ain’t it Cool News, where people were discussing the fact that Live Free or Die Hard received a PG-13 rating, instead of an R rating like the earlier 3 Die hard films.The responses included detailed information on Live Free or Die Hard, which was yet to be released; the theme of the Die Hard film series, direct criticisms of other movie crews and casts, and many movie trivia answers. “Walter_B” was Bruce Willis himself, directly posting his opinions. Many people were skeptical that “Walter_B” was indeed Bruce Willis, but on 9 May, Bruce Willis revealed his identity on a video chat session.

Bruce Willis is an avid fight fan and often attends boxing matches. Bruce Willis has attended both the Floyd Mayweather, Jr. v Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe v Bernard Hopkins fights, which have come to be known as the ‘British Invasion’ fights, after the popularity of the ‘British Invasion’ bands of the 1960s to the late 1970s in America.

Having begun to suffer from Male Pattern Baldness at a relatively young age (his receding hairline is visibly starting by Die Hard), Bruce Willis chose to shave his head once the loss was too severe to stylistically hide. However, he has worn a hairpiece or a toupee for several of his roles – but only when the character is known to have hair (such as in Sin City). Bruce Willis is one of the very few actors in Hollywood who has not pursued hair replacement in his personal life, and this has endeared him to the millions of men who themselves suffer from hair loss.

Bruce Willis is close friends with Matthew Perry.

In 2007, Bruce Willis stated he was not in favour of war in Iraq, but instead liked, “to support the young men and women who are over there participating in the war.” Bruce Willis has endorsed every Republican presidential candidate except Bob Dole in 1996, because Dole had criticized Demi Moore for her role in the movie Striptease. Bruce Willis was an invited speaker at the 2000 Republican National Convention,and continues to vocally support gun ownership. Bruce Willis has criticized the religious right and its influence on the Republican party. In February 2006, Bruce Willis appeared in Manhattan to talk about 16 Blocks with reporters. One reporter attempted to ask Bruce Willis about his opinion on current events but was interrupted by Bruce Willis in mid-sentence:

“ I’m sick of answering this fucking question. I’m a Republican only as far as I want a smaller government, I want less government intrusion. I want them to stop shitting on my money and your money and tax dollars that we give 50 percent of… every year. I want them to be fiscally responsible and I want these goddamn lobbyists out of Washington. Do that and I’ll say I’m a Republican… I hate the government, OK? I’m apolitical. Write that down. I’m not a Republican.”

In several June 2007 interviews, he declared that he still maintains some Republican ideologies but is currently an independent. In an interview for the June 2007 issue of Vanity Fair, Bruce Willis said he was skeptical that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and suggested that some people involved in the assassination are still in power today.

In 2006, he proposed that the United States should invade Colombia in order to end the drug trafficking. In several interviews with USA Weekend, Bruce Willis has said that he supports large salaries for teachers, and says that he is disappointed in the United States’ foster care and treatment of Native Americans. Bruce Willis also stated that he is a big supporter of gun rights:

“Everyone has a right to bear arms. If you take guns away from legal gun owners, then the only people who have guns are the bad guys.” Even a pacifist, he insists, would get violent if someone were trying to kill him. “You would fight for your life.”

Throughout his film career, Bruce Willis has depicted several military characters in films such as The Siege, Hart’s War, Tears of the Sun, and Grindhouse. Growing up in a military family, Bruce Willis has been publicly supportive of the United States armed forces. In 2002, Bruce Willis’ youngest daughter, Tallulah, suggested that he purchase Girl Scout cookies to send to troops. Bruce Willis purchased 12,000 boxes of cookies, and they were distributed to sailors aboard USS John F. Kennedy and other troops stationed throughout the Middle East at the time. In 2003, Bruce Willis visited Iraq as part of the USO tour, singing to the troops with his band, The Accelerators. Some reports from military officials suggest that Bruce Willis tried to enlist in the military to help fight the 2nd Iraq war, but he was turned away because of his age. It was believed he offered $1,000,000 to any civilian who turns in terrorist leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; in the June 2007 issue of Vanity Fair, however, he clarified that the statement was made hypothetically and not meant to be taken literally. Bruce Willis has also criticized the media for its coverage of the war, complaining that the press were more likely to focus on the negative aspects of the war:

“I went to Iraq because what I saw when I was over there was soldiers — young kids for the most part — helping people in Iraq; helping getting the power turned back on, helping get hospitals open, helping get the water turned back on and you don’t hear any of that on the news. You hear, ‘X number of people were killed today,’ which I think does a huge disservice. It’s like spitting on these young men and women who are over there fighting to help this country.”

Bruce Willis has said that he wants to “make a pro-war film in which American soldiers will be depicted as brave fighters for freedom and democracy.” The film will follow members of Deuce 4,the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, who spent considerable time in Mosul and were decorated heavily for it. The film is to be based on the writings of blogger Michael Yon, a former United States Army Special Forces Green Beret who was embedded with Deuce 4 and sent regular dispatches about their activities. Bruce Willis described the plot of the film as “these guys who do what they are asked for very little money to defend and fight for what they consider to be freedom.” Bruce Willis does not appear to have spoken publicly about his plans for this movie since 2005.

Since March 2008,Bruce Willis has been playing the role of the ‘Child Catcher’ in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium.

In 1996, Roger Director, a writer and producer from Moonlighting wrote a roman à clef on Willis titled A Place to Fall. Cybill Shepherd wrote in her 2000 autobiography, Cybill Disobedience, that Bruce Willis was angry at Director, because the character was written as a “neurotic, petulant actor.”

In 1998 Bruce Willis participated in Apocalypse, a Sony Playstation game. The game was originally announced to feature Bruce Willis but was soon discovered he appeared as a sidekick, not as the main character. The company reworked the game using Bruce Willis’ likeness and voice and changed the game to use him as the main character.

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Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Joe Meek

Joe Meek was born Robert George Meek on 5 April 1929 and died on 3 February 1967 in London. Joe Meek was a pioneering English record producer and songwriter acknowledged as 1 of the world’s 1st and most imaginative independent producers.

Joe Meek’s most famous work was The Tornados’ hit “Telstar” (1962), which became the 1st record by a British group to hit #1 in the US Hot 100. It also spent 5 weeks atop the UK singles chart, with Joe Meek receiving an Ivor Novello Award for this production as the “Best-Selling A-Side” of 1962.

Joe Meek’s other notable hit productions include “Don’t You Rock Me Daddy-O” and “Cumberland Gap” by Lonnie Donegan (as engineer), “Johnny Remember Me” by John Leyton, “Just Like Eddie” by Heinz, “Angela Jones” by Michael Cox and “Have I the Right?” by The Honeycombs, “Tribute to Buddy Holly” by Mike Berry. Joe Meek’s concept album I Hear a New World is regarded as a watershed in modern music for its innovative use of electronic sounds.

Joe Meek was also producing music for films, most notably Live It Up! (US title Sing and Swing), a 1963 pop music film starring Heinz Burt, David Hemmings and Steve Marriott, also featuring Gene Vincent, Jenny Moss, The Outlaws, Kim Roberts, Kenny Ball, Patsy Ann Noble and others. Joe Meek wrote most of the songs and incidental music, much of which was recorded by The Saints and produced by Joe Meek.

Joe Meek’s commercial success as a producer was short-lived and Joe Meek gradually sank into debt and depression. On 3 February 1967, using a shotgun owned by musician Heinz Burt, Joe Meek murdered his landlady before turning the gun on himself. Aged only 37, he died 8 years to the day after his hero, Buddy Holly.

A stint in the Royal Air Force as a radar operator spurred a life-long interest in electronics and outer space. From 1953 he worked for the Midlands Electricity Board. Joe Meek used the resources of his company to develop his interest in electronics and music production, including acquiring a disc cutter and producing his 1st record.

Joe Meek left the electricity board to work as a sound engineer for a leading independent radio production company that made programmes for Radio Luxembourg, and made his breakthrough with his work on Ivy Benson’s Music for Lonely Lovers. Joe Meek’s technical ingenuity was 1st shown on the Humphrey Lyttelton jazz single “Bad Penny Blues” (Parlophone Records, 1956) when, contrary to Humphrey Lyttleton’s wishes, he ‘modified’ the sound of the piano and compressed the sound to a greater than normal extent. The record became a hit. Joe Meek then put enormous effort into Dennis Preston’s Landsdowne Studio but tensions between Dennis Preston and Joe Meek soon saw Joe Meek forced out.

In January 1960, together with William Barrington-Coupe, Joe Meek founded Triumph Records. The label very nearly had a #1 hit with Joe Meek’s production of Angela Jones by Michael Cox. Michael Cox was one of the featured singers on Jack Good’s TV music show Boy Meets Girls and the song was given massive promotion. Unfortunately, Triumph Records, being an independent label, was at the mercy of small pressing plants, who couldn’t (or wouldn’t) keep up with sales demands. The record made a respectable appearance in the Top Ten, but it proved that Joe Meek needed the muscle of the major companies to get his records into the shops when it mattered.

Despite an interesting catalogue of Joe Meek productions, indifferent business results and Joe Meek proving difficult to work with eventually led to the label’s demise. Joe Meek would later license many of the Triumph recordings to labels such as Top Rank and Pye.

That year Joe Meek conceived, wrote and produced an “Outer Space Music Fantasy”‘ concept album I Hear A New World with a band called Rod Freeman & The Blue Men. The album was shelved for decades, apart from some EP tracks taken from it.

Joe Meek went on to set up his own production company known as RGM Sound Ltd (later Meeksville Sound Ltd) with toy importer, ‘Major’ Wilfred Alonzo Banks as his financial backer. Joe Meek operated from his now-legendary home studio which he constructed at 304 Holloway Road, Islington, a 3-floor flat above a leather-goods store (currently empty).

Joe Meeks’ 1st hit from Holloway Road was a UK #1 smash: John Leyton’s Johnny Remember Me (1961). This memorable “death ditty” was cleverly promoted by John Leyton’s manager, expatriate Australian entrepreneur Robert Stigwood. Robert Stigwood was able to get John Leyton to perform the song in several episodes of the popular TV soap opera Harpers West One in which he was making a series of guest appearances. Joe Meek’s 3rd UK #1 and last major success was with The Honeycombs’ Have I The Right? in 1964, which also became a No.5 hit on the American Billboard pop charts. The success of John Leyton’s recordings was instrumental in establishing Robert Stigwood and Joe Meek as 2 of Britain’s 1st independent record producers.

When his landlords, who lived downstairs, felt that the noise was too much, they would indicate so with a broom on the ceiling. Joe Meek would signal his contempt by placing loudspeakers in the stairwell and turning up the volume.

A blue plaque has since been placed at the location of the studio to commemorate Joe Meek’s life and work.

Joe Meek was obsessed with the occult and the idea of “the other side”. Joe Meek would set up tape machines in graveyards in a vain attempt to record voices from beyond the grave, in one instance capturing the meows of a cat he claimed was speaking in human tones, asking for help. In particular, he had an obsession with Buddy Holly (claiming the late American rocker had communicated with him in dreams) and other dead rock and roll musicians.

Joe Meek’s professional efforts were often hindered by his paranoia (Joe Meek was convinced that Decca Records would put hidden microphones behind his wallpaper in order to steal his ideas), drug use and attacks of rage or depression. Upon receiving an apparently innocent phone call from Phil Spector, Joe Meek immediately accused Phil Spector of stealing his ideas before hanging up angrily.

Joe Meek’s homosexuality – illegal in the UK at the time – put him under further pressure; he had been charged with “importuning for immoral purposes” in 1963 and was consequently subjected to blackmail. In January of 1967, police in Tattingstone, Suffolk, discovered a suitcase containing the mutilated body of Bernard Oliver, an alleged rent boy who had previously associated with Joe Meek. According to some accounts, Joe Meek became concerned that he would be implicated in the murder investigation when the Metropolitan police stated that they would be interviewing all known homosexuals in the city.

In the meantime, the hits had dried up and as Joe Meek’s financial position became increasingly desperate, his depression deepened. On 3 February, 1967, the 8th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death, Joe Meek killed his landlady Violet Shenton and then himself with a single barreled shotgun that he had confiscated from his protegé, former Tornados bassist and solo star Heinz Burt at his Holloway Road home/studio. Joe Meek had flown into a rage and taken the gun from Heinz Burt when he informed Joe Meek that he used it while on tour to shoot birds. Joe Meek had kept the gun under his bed, along with some cartridges. As the shotgun had been registered to Heinz Burt, he was questioned intensively by police, before being eliminated from their enquiries.

Joe Meek was subsequently buried in plot 99 at Newent Cemetery in Newent, Gloucestershire. Joe Meek’s black granite tombstone can be found near the middle of the cemetery.

Despite not being able to play a musical instrument or write notation, Joe Meek displayed a remarkable facility for writing and producing successful commercial recordings. In writing songs he was reliant on musicians such as Dave Adams, Geoff Goddard or Charles Blackwell to transcribe melodies from his vocal “demos”. Joe Meek worked on 245 singles, of which 45 were major hits (top 50 or better).

Joe Meek pioneered studio tools such as multiple over-dubbing on 1 and 2 track machines, close miking, direct input of bass guitars, the compressor, and effects like echo and reverb, as well as sampling. Unlike other producers, his search was for the ‘right’ sound rather than for a catchy musical tune, and throughout his brief career he single-mindedly followed his quest to create a unique “sonic signature” for every record he produced.

At a time when many studio engineers were still wearing white coats and assiduously trying to maintain clarity and fidelity, Joe Meek, the maverick, was producing everything on the 3 floors of his “home” studio and was never afraid to distort or manipulate the sound if it created the effect he was seeking. For Johnny Remember Me he placed the violins on the stairs, the drummer almost in the bathroom, and the brass section on a different floor entirely.

Joe Meek was 1 of the 1st producers to grasp and fully exploit the possibilities of the modern recording studio. Joe Meek’s innovative techniques — physically separating instruments, treating instruments and voices with echo and reverb, processing the sound through his fabled home-made electronic devices, the combining of separately-recorded performances and segments into a painstakingly constructed composite recording — comprised a major breakthrough in sound production. Up to that time, the standard technique for pop, jazz and classical recordings alike was to record all the performers in one studio, playing together in real time, a legacy of the days before magnetic tape, when performances were literally cut live, directly onto disc.

Joe Meek’s style was also substantially different from that of his contemporary Phil Spector, who typically created his famous “Wall of sound” productions by making live recordings of large ensembles that used multiples of major instruments like bass, guitar and piano to create the complex sonic backgrounds for his singers.

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Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Mary Todd Lincoln

Mary Ann Todd Lincoln was born on 13 December, 1818 and died on 16 July, 1882, at the age of 63 and was interred within the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield along with her husband.

Mary Todd Lincoln was the wife of the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and was First Lady of the United States from 1861 to 1865. After her marriage she was always known as Mary Lincoln, never Mary Todd Lincoln.

Mary Todd Lincoln’s father married Elizabeth “Betsy” Humphreys Todd in 1826. Mary Todd Lincoln had a difficult relationship with her stepmother. Beginning in 1832, Mary Todd Lincoln’s home was what is now known as the Mary Todd Lincoln House, a 14-room upper-class residence in Lexington. From her father’s marriages to her mother and stepmother, Mary Todd Lincoln had 15 siblings.

At the age of 20, in 1839, Mary Todd Lincoln left the family home and moved to Springfield, Illinois, where her sister Elizabeth was already living. Although the flirtatious and intelligent Mary Todd Lincoln was courted by the rising young lawyer and politician Stephen A. Douglas, Mary Todd Lincoln was unexpectedly attracted by Stephen A. Douglas’s lower-status rival and fellow lawyer, Abraham Lincoln.

Elizabeth facilitated their courtship and introduced Mary Todd Lincoln to Abraham on 16 December. It is reported that, on learning her surname was spelled with 2 “d”s, he retorted “Why? One was enough for God”. After a troubled engagement that was marked by at least one breakup, Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln were married on 4November, 1842. Almost exactly 9 months later, on 1 August, 1843, their 1st son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was born.

Abraham Lincoln pursued his increasingly successful career as a Springfield lawyer, and Mary Todd Lincoln supervised their growing household. Their home together from 1844 until 1861 survives in Springfield, and is now the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

Their children, all born in Springfield, were:

Robert Todd Lincoln : (1843 – 1926)
Edward (Eddie) Baker Lincoln : (1846 – 1850)
William (Willie) Wallace Lincoln : (1850 – 1862)
Thomas (Tad) Lincoln : (1853 – 1871).

Of these 4 sons, only Robert and Tad survived into adulthood, and only Robert outlived his mother.

Mary Todd Lincoln was deeply in love with her husband, and sometimes resented his absence from their home as he practiced law and campaigned for political office. During the 1850s, however, Mrs. Lincoln staunchly supported her husband as he faced the growing crisis caused by American slavery. This concluded in Lincoln’s election, in November 1860, as President of the United States.

Abraham Lincoln’s election caused 11 Southern states to secede from the Union. Anti-Union sentiment was very strong in Mrs. Lincoln’s home state of Kentucky, 1 of the 4 slave states that did not secede. Many upper-class Kentuckians, members of the social stratum into which Mrs. Lincoln had been born, supported the Southern cause.

Mary Todd Lincoln was well educated and interested in public affairs, and shared her husband’s fierce ambition. However, her Southern heritage created obstacles for her that became apparent almost immediately after she took on her new duties as First Lady in March 1861. Some facets of Mrs. Lincoln’s character did not help her in facing these challenges. Mary Todd Lincoln was temperamentally high-strung and touchy, and sometimes acted irrationally.(Mary Todd Lincoln may have suffered from bipolar disorder.)Mary Todd Lincoln was almost instantly unpopular upon her arrival in the capital.

Mr. Lincoln’s predecessor, James Buchanan, who had remained unmarried throughout his life, had been unable to fully use the White House for public gatherings under the social rules of the time. As a result, by 1861 the residence was badly worn and shabby. Mary Todd Lincoln initiated repairs to the White House, but the appropriations of public money required came at the same time as public spending was increasing substantially to fight the American Civil War and her actions resulted in severe criticism. Newspapers controlled by the Democratic Party subjected her and the Lincoln administration to scathing criticism, which was fueled by Mrs. Lincoln’s lavish shopping expeditions to New York City and other retail centers.

As the Civil War continued, persistent rumors began to circulate against Mary Todd Lincoln’s personal loyalty and integrity. One rumor claimed that Mrs. Lincoln was a Confederate sympathizer, and even a Confederate spy (many of her relatives served in the Confederate forces, and 2 of her stepbrothers and a brother-in-law died fighting for the South). In reality, Mary Todd Lincoln was a fervent and tireless supporter of the Union cause. Mary Todd Lincoln’s visits with Union soldiers in the numerous hospitals in and around Washington went largely unnoticed by her enemies and contemporaries.

Mr. Lincoln staunchly supported his wife against the vicious attacks disseminated by their enemies. One uncorroborated legend states that President Lincoln, upon hearing the rumors, personally vouched for her loyalty to the United States in a surprise appearance before the Committee on the Conduct of the War. Another story is that Mrs. Lincoln was the 1st First Lady to visit a combat zone when she was present with her husband at the Siege of Fort Stevens on 11 July, 1864.

During the Civil War, loyal Americans of Southern heritage, such as Mary Todd Lincoln, faced the dilemma of how to reconcile their cradle education in white supremacy with the new role of African-Americans as a key element of Union strength. Mrs. Lincoln responded to this challenge by accepting the ex-slave dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckly, as her closest White House friend and confidante. Elizabeth Keckly’s reminiscences would become an essential element for understanding and interpreting the psychological challenges faced by Mrs Lincoln in the White House.

Mrs. Lincoln’s personal trials continued and worsened in February 1862 with the death of their 11-year-old son Willie. When the boy died of typhoid fever within the walls of the White House, the psychologically battered First Lady almost gave way entirely to her grief. Mrs Lincoln paid mediums and spiritualists to try to contact the dead boy, only to lose another small fortune the Lincolns could not afford.

Some Lincoln aides and Cabinet members privately considered Mrs. Lincoln to be a liability to the administration. Mrs Lincoln was ruthlessly criticised, especially behind her back, as a free-spending, overemotional First Lady who tried to climb out of the constraints that were viewed as essential elements of the roles of women in public life. For example, John Hay, an aide to President Lincoln, privately referred to her as “the hellcat.”

In April 1865, as the Civil War came to an end, Mrs. Lincoln hoped to renew her happiness as the First Lady of a nation at peace. However, on 14 April, 1865, as Mary Todd Lincoln sat with her husband to watch the comic play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre, President Lincoln was mortally wounded by an assassin. Mrs. Lincoln accompanied her husband across the street to the Petersen House, where the President died on the following day, 15 April 1865. Mary Todd Lincoln would never fully recover from the traumatic experience.

As a widow, Mrs. Lincoln returned to Illinois. In 1868, Mrs. Lincoln’s former confidante, Elizabeth Keckly, published Behind the Scenes, or, 30 years a slave, and 4 years in the White House. Although this book has, over time, proved to be an extremely valuable resource in the understanding and appreciation of Mary Todd Lincoln, the former First Lady regarded it as a breach of what she had considered to be a close friendship. Mrs. Lincoln was further isolated.

In an act approved 14 July, 1870, the United States Congress granted Mrs. Lincoln a life pension for being the widow of President Lincoln, in the amount of $3,000 a year.

For Mary Todd Lincoln, the death of her son Thomas (Tad), in July 1871, led to an overpowering sense of grief and the gradual onset of depression. Mrs. Lincoln’s sole surviving son, Robert T. Lincoln, a rising young Chicago lawyer, was alarmed by his mother’s free spending of money in ways that did not give her any lasting happiness. Due to what he considered to be her increasingly eccentric behavior, Robert exercised his rights as Mrs. Lincoln’s closest male relative and had the widow deprived of custody of her own person and affairs. Mary Todd Lincoln was misprescribed laudanum for sleep problems which caused her to suffer anxiety and hallucinations. Upon increase of these hallucinations, more laudanum and chloral hydrate was administered, which increased the problem and led to her eventual commitment to an asylum. In 1875, Mary Todd Lincoln was committed by an Illinois court to Bellevue Place, an insane asylum in Batavia, Illinois. There Mrs. Lincoln was not closely confined; she was free to walk about the building and its immediate grounds, and was released 3 months later. However, Mary Todd Lincoln never forgave her eldest son for what she regarded as his betrayal.

Mrs. Lincoln spent the next 4 years abroad taking up residence in Pau, France. Mrs Lincoln spent much of this time travelling in Europe. However, the former First Lady’s final years were marked by declining health. Mrs Lincoln suffered from severe cataracts that affected her eyesight. This may have contributed to her increasing susceptibility to falls. In 1879, she suffered spinal cord injuries in a fall from a step ladder.

During the early 1880s, Mary Todd Lincoln lived, housebound, in the Springfield, Illinois residence of her sister Elizabeth Edwards.

Of the Lincoln children, only Robert lived to marry and produce children.

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Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend James Beck Gordon

Jim Gordon was born James Beck Gordon in 1945 Los Angeles, California, USA. James Beck Gordon is an American recording artist, musician and songwriter. The Grammy Award winner was one of the most requested session drummers in the late 1960s and 1970s and was a member of the blues-rock supergroup, Derek & The Dominos.

James Beck Gordon began his career backing the Everly Brothers in 1963 at the age of 17, he went on to become one of the most sought after recording session drummers in Los Angeles where, in 1968, he recorded with Mason Williams on the hit “Classical Gas”. During this period, he performed on many notable recordings including Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Gene Clark with the Gosdin Brothers by Gene Clark and The Notorious Byrd Brothers by The Byrds. James Beck Gordon at the top of his career was so busy as a studio musician that he would fly back to Los Angeles every night when playing in Las Vegas to do 2 or 3 record dates, then return in the afternoon in time for the 8pm show at Caesars Palace.

In 1969 and 1970, he toured as part of the backing band for the group Delaney & Bonnie, which at the time included Eric Clapton. Eric Clapton subsequently took over the group’s rhythm section — James Beck Gordon, bassist Carl Radle and keyboardist-singer-songwriter, Bobby Whitlock. They formed a new band which was eventually called Derek & The Dominos. The band’s 1st studio work was as the house band for George Harrison’s 3 disc set All Things Must Pass. James Beck Gordon then played on the Derek & The Dominos’ 1970 double album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, James Beck Gordon contributing the elegiac piano coda for the title track, “Layla”, co written by James Beck Gordon and Eric Clapton. James Beck Gordon also toured with the band on subsequent U.S. and UK tours, but the group split in spring 1971 before having completed the recording of their 2nd album.

In 1970, James Beck Gordon was part of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. In 1971, he toured with Traffic, appearing on 2 albums with them, including The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. Later in 1972, James Beck Gordon was part of Frank Zappa’s 20-piece “Grand Wazoo” big band tour, and the subsesequent 10-piece “Petit Wazoo” band. Perhaps his most well-known recording with Frank Zappa was the title track of the 1974 album Apostrophe (‘), a jam with Frank Zappa and Tony Duran on guitar and Jack Bruce on bass guitar, for which both Bruce and James Beck Gordon received a writing credit. James Beck Gordon worked with Chris Hillman again when he was the drummer in the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band from 1973 to 1975. Some of his best work was with Dave Mason on his 1970 album Alone Together, where James Beck Gordon set new standards for rock drumming.

James Beck Gordon was also the drummer on the Incredible Bongo Band’s Bongo Rock album, released in 1972. James Beck Gordon’s drum break on the LP’s version of “Apache” has been repeatedly sampled by rap music artists.

In the late 1970s, James Beck Gordon complained of hearing voices in his head, primarily those of his mother. Unfortunately, his physicians did not diagnose his condition as schizophrenia and instead treated him for alcohol abuse.

In June 1983, he murdered his mother. It was not until his trial in 1984 that he was properly diagnosed. Due to the fact that his attorney was unable to use the insanity defense, he was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison with a possibility of parole. James Beck Gordon has served his sentence at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo, Atascadero State Hospital in Atascadero, and the State Medical Corrections Facility in Vacaville. As of 2008, he remains incarcerated. Currently, there is a petition on line to assist him in either being released from prison or placed in a facility where he is able to receive more sophisticated treatment.

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Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend John Nash

John Forbes Nash, Jr. was born on 13 June, 1928. John Nash is an American mathematician and economist who works in game theory, differential geometry, and partial differential equations, serving as a Senior Research Mathematician at Princeton University. John Nash shared the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with game theorists Reinhard Selten and John Harsanyi.

John Nash is also the subject of the Hollywood movie, A Beautiful Mind, which was nominated for 8 Oscars (winning 4), and was based on the biography of the same name about him, his mathematical genius and his struggle with schizophrenia.

John Nash was born and raised in Bluefield, West Virginia. John Nash was born to electrical engineer John Forbes Nash and his wife Margaret Virginia Martin, an English and Latin teacher. On 16 November, 1930 his sister Martha Nash was born. John Nash was an avid reader of Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia, Life Magazine, and Time Magazine. Later he had a job at the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.

At the age of 12, he carried out scientific experiments in his room. At a young age, he already preferred to work alone. John Nash returned the social rejection of his classmates with practical jokes and intellectual superiority, believing their dances and sports to be a distraction from his experiments and studies.

Martha, his younger sister, wrote about him that “Johnny was always different. [My parents] knew he was different. And they knew he was bright. John Nash always wanted to do things his way. Mother insisted I do things for him, that I include him in my friendships… but I wasn’t too keen on showing off my somewhat odd brother.”

In his autobiography, John Nash notes that it was E.T. Bell’s book, Men of Mathematics—in particular, the essay on Fermat—that first sparked his interest in mathematics. John Nash attended classes at Bluefield College while still in high school at Bluefield High School. John Nash later attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on a Westinghouse scholarship, where he studied 1st chemical engineering and later chemistry before switching to mathematics. John Nash received both his bachelor’s degree and his master’s degree in 1948 while at the Carnegie Institute.

John Nash also created 2 popular games: Hex in 1947 (independently created 1st in 1942 by Piet Hein), and So Long Sucker in 1950 with M. Hausner and Lloyd S. Shapley.

After graduation, John Nash took a summer job in White Oak, Maryland, working on a Navy research project being run by Clifford Truesdell.

In 1948, while applying to Princeton’s mathematics department, John Nash’s advisor and former Carnegie Tech professor, R.J. Duffin, wrote a letter of recommendation consisting of a single sentence: “This man is a genius.” Though accepted by Harvard University, which had been his first choice because of what he perceived to be the institution’s greater prestige and superior mathematics faculty, he was aggressively pursued by then chairman of the mathematics department at Princeton University, Solomon Lefschetz, whose offer of the John S. Kennedy fellowship was enough to convince him that Harvard valued him less. Thus, from White Oak he went to Princeton University, where he worked on his equilibrium theory (Nash equilibrium). John Nash earned a doctorate in 1950 with a dissertation on non-cooperative games. The thesis, which was written under the supervision of Albert W. Tucker, contained the definition and properties of what would later be called the “Nash Equilibrium”.

These studies led to 3 articles:

“Equilibrium Points in N-person Games”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 36 (1950), 48–49. MR0031701

“The Bargaining Problem”, Econometrica 18 (1950), 155–162. MR0035977

“Two-person Cooperative Games”, Econometrica 21 (1953), 128–140. MR0053471
Nash also did important work in the area of algebraic geometry:

“Real algebraic manifolds”, Annals of Mathematics 56 (1952), 405–421. MR0050928.

John Nash’s most famous work in pure mathematics was the Nash embedding theorem, which showed that any abstract Riemannian manifold can be isometrically realised as a submanifold of Euclidean space. John Nash also made contributions to the theory of nonlinear parabolic partial differential equations.

In 1951, John Nash went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a C. L. E. Moore Instructor in the mathematics faculty. There, he met Alicia López-Harrison de Lardé (born 1 January, 1933), a physics student from El Salvador, whom he married in February 1957. Alicia admitted John Nash to a mental hospital in 1959 for schizophrenia; their son, John Charles Martin Nash, was born soon afterwards, but remained nameless for a year because his mother felt that her husband should have a say in the name.

John Nash and Lopez-Harrison de Lardé divorced in 1963, but reunited in 1970, in a nonromantic relationship that resembled that of 2 unrelated housemates. Alicia referred to him as her “boarder” and said they lived “like two distantly related individuals under one roof,” according to Sylvia Nasar’s 1998 biography of John Nash, A Beautiful Mind. The couple renewed their relationship after John Nash won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994. They remarried 1 June, 2001.

John Nash had another son, John David born on 19 June, 1953, with Eleanor Stier, but allegedly had little to do with the child or his mother. However, in a CBS 60 Minutes interview aired in March 2002, the mathematician denied that his relationship with his son from a previous relationship was “non-existent”, that in fact he and John Stier are in contact and that Eleanor Stier even received a share of the film (A Beautiful Mind) royalties.

John Nash began to show signs of schizophrenia in 1958. John Nash began to show signs of extreme paranoia and his wife later described his behavior as becoming increasingly erratic, stating that he began speaking of characters who were putting him in danger. John Nash was admitted into the McLean Hospital, April–May 1959, where he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and mild clinical depression. After a problematic stay in Paris and Geneva, John Nash returned to Princeton in 1960. John Nash was in and out of mental hospitals until 1970, being given insulin shock therapy and antipsychotic medications, usually as a result of being involuntarily committed.

Although prescribed antipsychotic medication, John Nash has said he never really took it. On some occasions he was forced to, but after 1970 he was never committed to hospital again and never took antipsychotic medication again. The film “A Beautiful Mind” fabricated him later taking the then new atypical antipsychotics, which John Nash attributes to the screenwriter (whose mother, he notes, was a psychiatrist)not wanting to incite people to stop taking their medication. Others, however, have questioned whether the fabrication obscured a key question as to whether recovery from problems like John Nash’s can actually be hindered by such drugs and John Nash has said they are over-rated and the adverse effects are not given enough consideration. According to his biographer Nasar, John Nash recovered gradually with the passage of time. Encouraged by his then former wife, Alicia, John Nash worked in a communitarian setting where his eccentricities were accepted. Alicia also said that for John Nash “it’s just a question of living a quiet life”.

John Nash dates the start of what he terms “mental disturbances” to the early months of 1959 when his wife was pregnant. John Nash has described a process of change “from scientific rationality of thinking into the delusional thinking characteristic of persons who are psychiatrically diagnosed as “schizophrenic” or “paranoid schizophrenic” including seeing himself as a messenger or having a special function in some way, and with supporters and opponents and hidden schemers, and a feeling of being persecuted, and looking for signs representing divine revelation. John Nash has suggested his delusional thinking was related to his unhappiness,and his striving to feel important and be recognised, and to his characteristic way of thinking such that “I wouldn’t have had good scientific ideas if I had thought more normally.” John Nash has said that “If I felt completely pressureless I don’t think I would have gone in this pattern”. John Nash does not see a categorical distinction between terms such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. John Nash reports that he did not hear voices at first, only some years later around 1964, until later engaging in a process of rejecting them. John Nash reports that he was always taken to hospital against his will, and only temporarily renounced his “dream-like delusional hypotheses” after being in hospital long enough to decide to superficially conform and behave normally or experience “enforced rationality”. Only gradually on his own did he “intellectually reject” some of the “delusionally influenced” and “politically-oriented” thinking as a waste of effort. However, by 1995 he felt that although “thinking rationally again in the style that is characteristic of scientists”, it was not entirely a matter of joy as he felt more limited.

In Princeton campus legend, John Nash became “The Phantom of Fine Hall” (Fine Hall is Princeton’s mathematics center), a shadowy figure who would scribble arcane equations on blackboards in the middle of the night. The legend appears in a work of fiction based on Princeton life, The Mind-Body Problem, by Rebecca Goldstein.

In 1978, John Nash was awarded the John von Neumann Theory Prize for his discovery of non-cooperative equilibria, now called Nash equilibria. John Nash won the Leroy P. Steele Prize in 1999.

In 1994, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (along with 2 others), as a result of his game theory work as a Princeton graduate student. In the late 1980s, John Nash had begun to use electronic mail to gradually link with working mathematicians who realised that he was “the” John Nash and that his new work had value. They formed part of the nucleus of a group that contacted the Bank of Sweden’s Nobel award committee, and were able to vouch for John Nash’s mental health ability to receive the award in recognition of his early work.

John Nash’s recent work involves ventures in advanced game theory, including partial agency, that show that, as in his early career, he prefers to select his own path and problems. Between 1945 and 1996, he published 23 scientific studies.

John Nash has suggested hypotheses on mental disorder. John Nash has compared not thinking in an acceptable manner, or being “insane” and not fitting into a usual social function, to being “on strike” from an economic point of view. John Nash has advanced evolutionary psychology views about the value of human diversity and the potential benefits of apparently non-standard behaviours or roles.

John Nash has also developed work on the role of money in society. In the context that people can be so controlled and motivated by money that they may not be able to reason rationally about it, he has criticized interest groups that promote quasi-doctrines based on Keynesian economics that permit manipulative short-term inflation and debt tactics that ultimately undermine currencies. John Nash has suggested a global “industrial consumption price index” system that would support the development of more “ideal money” that people could trust, rather than more unstable “bad money”. John Nash notes that some of his thinking parallels economist and political philosopher Friedrich Hayek’s thinking regarding money and a nontypical viewpoint of the function of the authorities.

In 2002 aspects of John Nash’s personal life were brought to international attention when “mudslinging” ensued over screenwriter Akiva Goldsman’s semifictional interpretation of Sylvia Nasar’s biography of John Nash’s life in A Beautiful Mind in relation to the film of the same name. The movie A Beautiful Mind, nominated for 8Oscars,credits Goldsman under “written by” rather than “screenplay by” from the Writer’s Guild as Goldsman’s “omissions are glaring and peculiar, specifically John Nash’s homosexual experiences, his extramarital sexual activities, his racial attitudes and anti-Semitic remarks.” John Nash later claimed any anti-Semitic remarks must have been made while he was delirious.

In the mid-1950s John Nash was arrested in a Santa Monica restroom on a morals charge related to a homosexual encounter and “subsequently lost his post at the RAND Corporation along with his security clearance.” According to Nasar, “After this traumatic series of career-threatening events, he decided to marry.”

Nasar stated about the film that the filmmakers had “invented a narrative that, while far from a literal telling, is true to the spirit of John Nash’s story.” Others suggested that the material was “conveniently left out of the movie in order to make John Nash more sympathetic,” possibly in an effort to more fully focus on the “debilitating longevity” of living with paranoid-schizophrenia on a day-to-day basis.

New York Times critic A. O. Scott pointed to a different perspective. Scott wrote of the Oscar scandal and the artistic choices made in the omissions as well as choices, such as casting actors, that have to be made that “the cold war in A Beautiful Mind in which the paranoia and uncertainty of McCarthy-era academic life is reduced to spy-movie clichés” smoothed over “and made palatable and familiar” a “difficult passage in American history.” Thus the cold war’s effects on John Nash’s life and career were left unexplored. Akiva Goldsman won the Oscar for “Best Adapted Screenplay”.

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The End of Club Feet or Foot Series

I hope you have enjoyed reading about “What Is Club Foot or Feet Series” and of the Famous People that have or had suffered from Club Feet or Foot.

Sadly, we have come to the end of our “Club Feet or Foot Series”. We now begin our “Schizophrenia Series” so please enjoy reading.

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Club Feet or Foot Series-Disabled Legend Claudius

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus or Claudius I was born on 1 August, 10 BC in Lugdunum in Gaul(modern-day Lyon, France)and died on 13 October, 54 AD (Tiberius Claudius Drusus from birth to 4 AD, then Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus from then until his accession). Claudius’ ashes were interred in the Mausoleum of Augustus on 24 October, after a funeral in the manner of Augustus.

Claudius was the 4th Roman Emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, ruling from 24 January,41 AD to his death in 54 AD. Claudius was born to Drusus and Antonia Minor, he was the 1st Roman Emperor to be born outside Italia.

Claudius was considered a rather unlikely man to become emperor. Claudius was reportedly afflicted with some type of disability, and his family had virtually excluded him from public office until his consulship with his nephew Caligula in 37 AD. This infirmity may have saved him from the fate of many other Roman nobles during the purges of Tiberius’ and Caligula’s reigns. Claudius’ very survival led to his being declared emperor after Caligula’s assassination, at which point he was the last adult male of his family.

Despite his lack of political experience, Claudius proved to be an able administrator and a great builder of public works. Claudius’ reign saw an expansion of the empire, including the conquest of Britain. Claudius took a personal interest in the law, presided at public trials, and issued up to 20 edicts a day; however, he was seen as vulnerable throughout his rule, particularly by the nobility. Claudius was constantly forced to shore up his position—resulting in the deaths of many senators. Claudius also suffered tragic setbacks in his personal life, one of which may have led to his murder. These events damaged his reputation among the ancient writers. More recent historians have revised this opinion.

The historian Suetonius describes the physical manifestations of Claudius’ affliction in relatively good detail. Claudius’ knees were weak and gave way under him and his head shook. Claudius stammered and his speech was confused. Claudius slobbered and his nose ran when he was excited. The Stoic Seneca states in his Apocolocyntosis that Claudius’ voice belonged to no land animal, and that his hands were weak as well; however, he showed no physical deformity, as Suetonius notes that when calm and seated he was a tall, well-built figure of dignitas. When angered or stressed, his symptoms became worse. Historians agree that this improved upon his accession to the throne. Claudius himself claimed that he had exaggerated his ailments to save his own life.

The modern diagnosis has changed several times in the past century. Prior to World War II, infantile paralysis (or polio) was widely accepted as the cause. This is the diagnosis used in Robert Graves’ Claudius novels, first published in the 1930s. Polio does not explain many of the described symptoms, however, and a more recent theory implicates cerebral palsy as the cause, as outlined by Ernestine Leon. Tourette syndrome is also a likely candidate for Claudius’ symptoms.

On the personal front, the ancient historians describe Claudius as generous and lowbrow, a man who cracked lame jokes, laughed uncontrollably, and lunched with the plebeians. They also paint him as bloodthirsty and cruel, overly fond of both gladiatorial combat and executions, and very quick to anger (though Claudius himself acknowledged this last trait, and apologised publicly for his temper). To them he was also overly trusting, and easily manipulated by his wives and freedmen. But at the same time they portray him as paranoid and apathetic, dull and easily confused. The extant works of Claudius present a different view, painting a picture of an intelligent, scholarly, well-read, and conscientious administrator with an eye to detail and justice. Thus, Claudius becomes an enigma. Since the discovery of his “Letter to the Alexandrians” in the last century, much work has been done to rehabilitate Claudius and determine where the truth lies.

Claudius was born on the day of the dedication of an altar to Augustus. Claudius’ parents were Nero Claudius Drusus and Antonia, and he had 2 older siblings named Germanicus and Livilla. Antonia may have had 2 other children who died young, as well.

Claudius’ maternal grandparents were Mark Antony and Octavia Minor, Caesar Augustus’ sister. Claudius’ paternal grandparents were Livia, Augustus’ 3rd wife, and Tiberius Claudius Nero. During his reign, Claudius revived the rumor that his father Drusus was actually the illegitimate son of Augustus.

In 9 BC, Drusus unexpectedly died, possibly from an injury. Claudius was then left to be raised by his mother, who never remarried. When Claudius’ afflictions became evident, the relationship with his family turned sour. Antonia referred to him as a monster, and used him as a standard for stupidity. She seems to have passed her son off on his grandmother Livia for a number of years. Livia was little kinder, and often sent him short, angry letters of reproof. Claudius was put under the care of a “former mule-driver” to keep him disciplined, under the logic that his condition was due to laziness and a lack of will-power. However, by the time he reached his teenage years his symptoms apparently waned and his family took some notice of his scholarly interests. In 7 AD, Livy was hired to tutor him in history, with the assistance of Sulpicius Flavus. Claudius spent a lot of his time with the latter and the philosopher Athenodorus. Augustus, according to a letter, was surprised at the clarity of Claudius’ oratory. Expectations about his future began to increase.

In the end, it was his work as a budding historian that destroyed his early career. According to Vincent Scramuzza and others, Claudius began work on a history of the Civil Wars that was either too truthful or too critical of Octavian. In either case, it was far too early for such an account, and may have only served to remind Augustus that Claudius was Antony’s descendant. Claudius’ mother and grandmother quickly put a stop to it, and this may have proved to them that Claudius was not fit for public office. Claudius could not be trusted to toe the existing party line. When he returned to the narrative later in life, Claudius skipped over the wars of the 2nd triumvirate altogether. But the damage was done, and his family pushed him to the background. When the Arch of Pavia was erected to honor the imperial clan in 8AD, Claudius’ name (now Tiberius Claudius Nero Germanicus after his elevation to paterfamilias of Claudii Nerones on the adoption of his brother) was inscribed on the edge—past the deceased princes, Gaius and Lucius, and Germanicus’ children. There is some speculation that the inscription was added by Claudius himself decades later, and that he originally did not appear at all.

Gratus proclaims Claudius emperor. Detail from A Roman Emperor 41AD, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. Oil on canvas, c. 1871. When Augustus died in 14 AD, Claudius then 23 appealed to his uncle Tiberius to allow him to begin the cursus honorum. Tiberius, the new emperor, responded by granting Claudius consular ornaments. Claudius requested office once more and was snubbed. Since the new emperor was not any more generous than the old, Claudius gave up hope of public office and retired to a scholarly, private life.

Despite the disdain of the imperial family, it seems that from very early on the general public respected Claudius. At Augustus’ death, the equites, or knights, chose Claudius to head their delegation. When his house burned down, the Senate demanded it be rebuilt at public expense. They also requested that Claudius be allowed to debate in the senate. Tiberius turned down both motions, but the sentiment remained. During the period immediately after the death of Tiberius’ son, Drusus, Claudius was pushed by some quarters as a potential heir. This again suggests the political nature of his exclusion from public life. However, as this was also the period during which the power and terror of the Praetorian Sejanus was at its peak, Claudius chose to downplay this possibility.

After the death of Tiberius the new emperor Caligula recognised Claudius to be of some use. Caligula appointed Claudius his co-consul in 37 AD in order to emphasize the memory of Caligula’s deceased father Germanicus. Despite this, Caligula relentlessly tormented his uncle: playing practical jokes, charging him enormous sums of money, humiliating him before the Senate, and the like. According to Cassius Dio, as well a possible surviving portrait, Claudius became very sickly and thin by the end of Caligula’s reign—most likely due to stress.

On 24 January, 41 AD, Caligula was assassinated by a broad-based conspiracy (including Praetorian commander Cassius Chaerea and several Senators). There is no evidence that Claudius had a direct hand in the assassination, although it has been argued that he knew about the plot—particularly since he left the scene of the crime shortly before the event. However, after the deaths of Caligula’s wife and daughter, it became apparent that Cassius intended to go beyond the terms of the conspiracy and wipe out the imperial family. In the chaos following the murder, Claudius witnessed the German guard cut down several uninvolved noblemen, including friends of his. Concerned for his survival, he fled to the palace to hide himself. According to tradition, a Praetorian named Gratus found him hiding behind a curtain and suddenly declared him imperator. A section of the guard may have planned in advance to seek out Claudius, perhaps with his approval. They reassured him that they were not one of the battalions looking for revenge. Claudius was spirited away to the Praetorian camp and put under their protection.

The Senate quickly met and began debating a change of government, but this eventually devolved into an argument over which of them would be the new Princeps. When they heard of the Praetorians’ claim, they demanded that Claudius be delivered to them for approval, but he refused, rightly sensing the danger that would come with complying. Some historians, particularly Josephus, claim that Claudius was directed in his actions by the Judean King Herod Agrippa. However, an earlier version of events by the same ancient author downplays Agrippa’s role so it is not known how large a hand he had in things. Eventually the Senate was forced to give in and, in return, Claudius pardoned nearly all the assassins.

Claudius issued this denarius type to emphasize his clemency after Caligula’s assassination. The depiction of the goddess Pax-Nemesis, representing subdued vengeance, would be used on the coins of many later emperors. Claudius took several steps to legitimize his rule against potential usurpers, most of them emphasizing his place within the Julio-Claudian family. Claudius adopted the name “Caesar” as a cognomen — the name still carried great weight with the populace. In order to do so, he dropped the cognomen “Nero” which he had adopted as paterfamilias of the Claudii Nerones when his brother Germanicus was adopted out. While he had never been adopted by Augustus or his successors, he was the grandson of Octavia, and so felt he had the right. Claudius also adopted the name “Augustus” as the 2 previous emperors had done at their accessions. Claudius kept the honorific “Germanicus” in order to display the connection with his heroic brother. Claudius deified his paternal grandmother Livia in order to highlight her position as wife of the divine Augustus. Claudius frequently used the term “filius Drusi” (son of Drusus) in his titles, in order to remind the people of his legendary father and lay claim to his reputation.

Because he was proclaimed emperor on the initiative of the Praetorian Guard instead of the Senate — the 1st emperor thus proclaimed — Claudius’ repute suffered at the hands of commentators (such as Seneca). Moreover, he was the 1st Emperor who resorted to bribery as a means to secure army loyalty. This is not entirely how it seems. Tiberius and Augustus had both left gifts to the army and guard in their wills, and on the death of Caligula the same would have been expected, even if no will existed. Claudius remained grateful to the guard, however, issuing coins with tributes to the praetorians in the early part of his reign.

Model of the Temple of the divine Claudius, erected in Colchester after the conquest of Britain.Under Claudius, the empire underwent its first major expansion since the reign of Augustus. The provinces of Thrace, Noricum, Pamphylia, Lycia, and Judea were annexed under various circumstances during his term. The annexation of Mauretania, begun under Caligula, was completed after the defeat of rebel forces, and the official division of the former client kingdom into 2 imperial provinces. The most important new conquest was that of Britannia.

In 43 AD, Claudius sent Aulus Plautius with 4 legions to Britain (Britannia) after an appeal from an ousted tribal ally. Britain was an attractive target for Rome because of its material wealth — particularly mines and slaves. It was also a safe haven for Gallic rebels and the like, and so could not be left alone much longer. Claudius himself traveled to the island after the completion of initial offensives, bringing with him reinforcements and elephants. The latter must have made an impression on the Britons when they were used in the capture of Camulodunum. Claudius left after 16 days, but remained in the provinces for some time. The Senate granted him a triumph for his efforts, as only members of the imperial family were allowed such honours. Claudius later lifted this restriction for some of his conquering generals. Claudius was granted the honorific “Britannicus” but only accepted it on behalf of his son, never using the title himself. When the British general, Caractacus, was finally captured in 50 AD, Claudius granted him clemency. Caractacus lived out his days on land provided by the Roman state, an unusual end for an enemy commander, but one that must have calmed the British opposition.

Claudius conducted a census in 48 AD that found 5,984,072 Roman citizens, an increase of around 1, 000,000 since the census conducted at Augustus’ death. Claudius had helped increase this number through the foundation of Roman colonies that were granted blanket citizenship. These colonies were often made out of existing communities, especially those with elites who could rally the populace to the Roman cause. Several colonies were placed in new provinces or on the border of the empire in order to secure Roman holdings as quickly as possible.

Coins of this type were first issued to commemorate the birth of Claudius’ son Britannicus in 41 AD. Claudius personally judged many of the legal cases tried during his reign. Ancient historians have many complaints about this, stating that his judgments were variable and sometimes did not follow the law. Claudius was also easily swayed. Nevertheless, Claudius paid detailed attention to the operation of the judicial system. Claudius extended the summer court session, as well as the winter term, by shortening the traditional breaks. Claudius also made a law requiring plaintiffs to remain in the city while their cases were pending, as defendants had previously been required to do. These measures had the effect of clearing out the docket. The minimum age for jurors was also raised to 25 in order to ensure a more experienced jury pool.

Claudius also settled disputes in the provinces. Claudius freed the island of Rhodes from Roman rule for their good faith and exempted Troy from taxes. Early in his reign, the Greeks and Jews of Alexandria sent him 2 embassies at once after riots broke out between the 2 communities. This resulted in the famous “Letter to the Alexandrians,” which reaffirmed Jewish rights in the city but also forbade them to move in more families en masse. According to Josephus, he then reaffirmed the rights and freedoms of all the Jews in the empire. An investigator of Claudius’ discovered that many old Roman citizens based in the modern city of Trento were not in fact citizens. The emperor issued a declaration that they would be considered to hold citizenship from then on, since to strip them of their status would cause major problems. However, in individual cases, Claudius punished false assumption of citizenship harshly, making it a capital offense. Similarly, any freedmen found to be impersonating equestrians were sold back into slavery.

Numerous edicts were issued throughout Claudius’ reign. These were on a number of topics, everything from medical advice to moral judgments. 2 famous medical examples are 1 promoting Yew juice as a cure for snakebite, and another promoting public flatulence for good health. One of the more famous edicts concerned the status of sick slaves. Masters had been abandoning ailing slaves at the temple of Aesculapius to die, and then reclaiming them if they lived. Claudius ruled that slaves who recovered after such treatment would be free. Furthermore, masters who chose to kill slaves rather than take the risk were liable to be charged with murder.

Claudius embarked on many public works throughout his reign, both in the capital and in the provinces. Claudius built 2 aqueducts, the Aqua Claudia, begun by Caligula, and the Anio Novus. These entered the city in 52 AD and met at the famous Porta Maggiore. Claudius also restored a 3rd, the Aqua Virgo.

Throughout Italy and the provinces he built roads and canals. Among these was a large canal leading from the Rhine to the sea, as well as a road from Italy to Germany — both begun by his father, Drusus. Closer to Rome, he built a navigable canal on the Tiber, leading to Portus, his new port just north of Ostia. This port was constructed in a semicircle with two moles and a lighthouse at its mouth. The construction also had the effect of reducing flooding in Rome.

The port at Ostia was part of Claudius’ solution to the constant grain shortages that occurred in winter, after the Roman shipping season. The other part of his solution was to insure the ships of grain merchants who were willing to risk traveling to Egypt in the off-season. Claudius also granted their sailors special privileges, including citizenship and exemption from the Lex Papia-Poppaea, a law that regulated marriage. In addition, he repealed the taxes that Caligula had instituted on food, and further reduced taxes on communities suffering drought or famine.

The last part of Claudius’ plan was to increase the amount of arable land in Italy. This was to be achieved by draining the Fucine lake, which would have the added benefit of making the nearby river navigable all year-round. A tunnel was dug through the lake bed, but the plan was a failure. The tunnel was not large enough to carry the water, and crooked, which caused it to back up when opened. The resultant flood washed out a large gladiatorial exhibition held to commemorate the opening, causing Claudius to run for his life along with the other spectators. The draining of the lake was revisited many times in history, including by emperors Hadrian and Trajan, and Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II in the Middle Ages. It was finally achieved by the Prince Torlonia in the 19th century, producing over 160,000 new acres of arable land. Prince Torlonia expanded the Claudian tunnel to 3 times its original size.

Because of the circumstances of his accession, Claudius took great pains to please the Senate. During regular sessions, the emperor sat amongst the Senate body, speaking in turn. When introducing a law, he sat on a bench between the consuls in his position as Holder of the Power of Tribune (The emperor could not officially serve as a Tribune of the Plebes as he was a Patrician, but it was a power taken by previous rulers). Claudius refused to accept all his predecessors’ titles (including Imperator) at the beginning of his reign, preferring to earn them in due course. Claudius allowed the Senate to issue its own bronze coinage for the first time since Augustus. Claudius also put the imperial provinces of Macedonia and Achaea back under Senate control.

Claudius set about remodeling the Senate into a more efficient, representative body. Claudius chided the senators about their reluctance to debate bills introduced by himself, as noted in the fragments of a surviving speech:

“If you accept these proposals, Conscript Fathers, say so at once and simply, in accordance with your convictions. If you do not accept them, find alternatives, but do so here and now; or if you wish to take time for consideration, take it, provided you do not forget that you must be ready to pronounce your opinion whenever you may be summoned to meet. It ill befits the dignity of the Senate that the consul designate should repeat the phrases of the consuls word for word as his opinion, and that every one else should merely say ‘I approve’, and that then, after leaving, the assembly should announce ‘We debated’.”

It is not known whether this plea had any effect on discourse.

The reverse reads “EX SC PP OB CIVES SERVATOS”, meaning “Senatus Consulto” (approved by the Senate), “Pater Patriae” (to the father of his country), “Ob Cives Servatos” (For having saved the citizens).In 47 AD he assumed the office of Censor with Lucius Vitellius, which had been allowed to lapse for some time. Claudius struck the names of many senators and equites who no longer met qualifications, but showed respect by allowing them to resign in advance. At the same time, he sought to admit eligible men from the provinces. The Lyons Tablet preserves his speech on the admittance of Gallic senators, in which he addresses the Senate with reverence but also with criticism for their disdain of these men. Claudius also increased the number of Patricians by adding new families to the dwindling number of noble lines. Here he followed the precedent of Lucius Junius Brutus and Julius Caesar.

Despite this, many in the Senate remained hostile to Claudius, and many plots were made on his life. This hostility carried over into the historical accounts. As a result, Claudius was forced to reduce the Senate’s power for efficiency. The administration of Ostia was turned over to an imperial Procurator after construction of the port. Administration of many of the empire’s financial concerns was turned over to imperial appointees and freedmen. This led to further resentment and suggestions that these same freedmen were ruling the emperor.

Several coup attempts were made during Claudius’ reign, resulting in the deaths of many senators. Appius Silanus was executed early in Claudius’ reign under questionable circumstances. Shortly after, a large rebellion was undertaken by the Senator Vinicianus and Scribonianus, the governor of Dalmatia and gained quite a few senatorial supporters. It ultimately failed because of the reluctance of Scribonianus’ troops, and the suicide of the main conspirators. Many other senators tried different conspiracies and were condemned. Claudius’ son-in-law Pompeius Magnus was executed for his part in a conspiracy with his father Crassus Frugi. Another plot involved the consulars Lusiius Saturninus, Cornelius Lupus, and Pompeius Pedo. In 46 AD, Asinius Gallus, the grandson of Asinius Pollio, and Statilius Corvinus were exiled for a plot hatched with several of Claudius’ own freedmen. Valerius Asiaticus was executed without public trial for unknown reasons. The ancient sources say the charge was adultery, and that Claudius was tricked into issuing the punishment. However, Claudius singles out Asiaticus for special damnation in his speech on the Gauls, which dates over a year later, suggesting that the charge must have been much more serious. Asiaticus had been a claimant to the throne in the chaos following Caligula’s death and a co-consul with the Statilius Corvinus mentioned above. Most of these conspiracies took place before Claudius’ term as Censor, and may have induced him to review the Senatorial rolls. The conspiracy of Gaius Silius in the year after his Censorship, 48 AD, is detailed in the section discussing Claudius’s 3rd wife, Messalina. Suetonius states that a total of 35 senators and 300 knights were executed for offenses during Claudius’ reign. Needless to say, the necessary responses to these conspiracies could not have helped Senate-emperor relations.

Claudius was hardly the first emperor to use freedmen to help with the day-to-day running of the empire. Claudius was, however, forced to increase their role as the powers of the Princeps became more centralized and the burden larger. This was partly due to the ongoing hostility of the senate, as mentioned above, but also due to his respect for the senators. Claudius did not want free-born magistrates to have to serve under him, as if they were not peers.

The secretariat was divided into bureaus, with each being placed under the leadership of one freedman. Narcissus was the secretary of correspondence. Pallas became the secretary of the treasury. Callistus became secretary of justice. There was a 4th bureau for miscellaneous issues, which was put under Polybius until his execution for treason. The freedmen could also officially speak for the emperor, as when Narcissus addressed the troops in Claudius’ stead before the conquest of Britain. Since these were important positions, the senators were aghast at their being placed in the hands of former slaves. If freedmen had total control of money, letters, and law, it seemed it would not be hard for them to manipulate the emperor. This is exactly the accusation put forth by the ancient sources. However, these same sources admit that the freedmen were loyal to Claudius. Claudius was similarly appreciative of them and gave them due credit for policies where he had used their advice. However, if they showed treasonous inclinations, the emperor did punish them with just force, as in the case of Polybius and Pallas’ brother, Felix. There is no evidence that the character of Claudius’ policies and edicts changed with the rise and fall of the various freedmen, suggesting that he was firmly in control throughout.

Regardless of the extent of their political power, the freedmen did manage to amass wealth through their positions. Pliny the Elder notes that several of them were richer than Crassus, the richest man of the Republican era.

Claudius, as the author of a treatise on Augustus’ religious reforms, felt himself in a good position to institute some of his own. Claudius had strong opinions about the proper form for state religion. Claudius refused the request of Alexandrian Greeks to dedicate a temple to his divinity, saying that only gods may choose new gods. Claudius restored lost days to festivals and got rid of many extraneous celebrations added by Caligula. Claudius reinstituted old observances and archaic language. Claudius was concerned with the spread of eastern mysteries within the city and searched for more Roman replacements. Claudius emphasized the Eleusinian mysteries which had been practiced by so many during the Republic. Claudius expelled foreign astrologers, and at the same time rehabilitated the old Roman soothsayers (known as haruspices) as a replacement. Claudius was especially hard on Druidism, because of its incompatibility with the Roman state religion and its proselytizing activities. It is also reported that at one time he expelled the Jews from Rome, probably because the appearance of Christianity had caused unrest within the Jewish community. Claudius opposed proselytizing in any religion, even in those regions where he allowed natives to worship freely. The results of all these efforts were recognized even by Seneca, who has an ancient Latin god defend Claudius in his satire.

According to Suetonius, Claudius was extraordinarily fond of games. Claudius is said to have risen with the crowd after gladiatorial matches and given unrestrained praise to the fighters. Claudius also presided over many new and original events. Soon after coming into power, Claudius instituted games to be held in honour of his father on the latter’s birthday. Annual games were also held in honour of his accession, and took place at the Praetorian camp where Claudius had first been proclaimed emperor. Claudius performed the Secular games, marking the 800th anniversary of the founding of Rome. Augustus had performed the same games less than a century prior. Augustus’ excuse was that the interval for the games was 110 years, not 100, but his date actually did not qualify under either reasoning. Claudius also presented naval battles to mark the attempted draining of the Fucine lake, as well as many other public games and shows.

At Ostia, in front of a crowd of spectators, Claudius fought a whale trapped in the harbor.

“ A killer whale was actually seen in the harbor of Ostia, locked in combat with the emperor Claudius. Ostia had come when he was completing the construction of the harbor, drawn there by the wreck of a ship bringing leather hides from Gaul, and feeding there over a number of days, had made a furrow in the shallows: the waves had raised up such a mound of sand that she couldn’t turn around at all, and while she was pursuing her banquet as the waves moved it shorewards, her back stuck up out of the water like the overturned keel of a boat. The emperor ordered that a large array of nets be stretched across the mouths of the harbor, and setting out in person with the praetorian cohorts gave a show to the Roman people, soldiers showering lances from attacking ships, one of which I saw swamped by the beast’s waterspout and sunk. — From “On Natural History” by Pliny the Elder”

Claudius also restored and adorned many of the venues around Rome. The old wooden barriers of the Circus Maximus were replaced with ones made of gold-ornamented marble. A new section of the Circus was designated for seating the senators, who previously had sat among the general public. Claudius rebuilt Pompey’s Theater after it had been destroyed by fire, throwing special fights at the rededication which he observed from a special platform in the orchestra box.

The general consensus of ancient historians was that Claudius was murdered by poison — possibly contained in mushrooms or on a feather — and died in the early hours of 13 October, 54 AD. Accounts vary greatly. Some claim Claudius was in Rome while others claim he was in Sinuessa. Some implicate either Halotus, his taster, Xenophon, his doctor, or the infamous poisoner Locusta as the administrator of the fatal substance. Some say he died after prolonged suffering following a single dose at dinner, and some have him recovering only to be poisoned again. Nearly all implicate his final wife, Agrippina, as the instigator. Agrippina and Claudius had become more combative in the months leading up to his death. This carried on to the point where Claudius openly lamented his bad wives, and began to comment on Britannicus’ approaching manhood with an eye towards restoring his status within the royal family. Agrippina had motive in ensuring the succession of Nero before Britannicus could gain power.

In modern times, some authors have cast doubt on whether Claudius was murdered or merely succumbed to illness or old age. Some modern scholars claim the universality of the accusations in ancient texts lends credence to the crime. History in those days could not be objectively collected or written, so sometimes amounted to committing whispered gossip to parchment, often years after the events, when the writer was no longer in danger of arrest.

Model of ancient Rome showing the Temple of Claudius, built by Vespasian. The Aqua Claudia aqueduct runs next to it, and the Colosseum sits adjacent. Claudius was deified by Nero and the Senate almost immediately. Those who regard this homage as cynical should note that, cynical or not, such a move would hardly have benefited those involved, had Claudius been “hated”, as some commentators, both modern and historic, characterize him. Many of Claudius’ less solid supporters quickly became Nero’s men. Claudius’ will had been changed shortly before his death to either recommend Nero and Britannicus jointly or perhaps just Britannicus, who would be considered a man in a few months.

Agrippina had sent away Narcissus shortly before Claudius’ death, and now murdered the freedman. The last act of this secretary of letters was to burn all of Claudius’ correspondence—most likely so it could not be used against him and others in an already hostile new regime. Thus Claudius’ private words about his own policies and motives were lost to history. Just as Claudius has criticized his predecessors in official edicts (see below), Nero often criticized the deceased emperor and many of Claudius’ laws and edicts were disregarded under the reasoning that he was too stupid and senile to have meant them. This opinion of Claudius, that he was indeed an old idiot, remained the official one for the duration of Nero’s reign. Eventually Nero stopped referring to his deified adoptive father at all, and realigned with his birth family. Claudius’ temple was left unfinished after only some of the foundation had been laid down. Eventually the site was overtaken by Nero’s Golden House.

The Flavians, who had risen to prominence under Claudius, took a different tack. They were in a position where they needed to shore up their legitimacy, but also justify the fall of the Julio-Claudians. They reached back to Claudius in contrast with Nero, to show that they were good associated with good. Commemorative coins were issued of Claudius and his son Britannicus—who had been a friend of the emperor Titus. When Nero’s Golden House was buried, the Temple of Claudius was finally completed on Caelian Hill. However, as the Flavians became established, they needed to emphasize their own credentials more, and their references to Claudius ceased. Instead, he was put down with the other emperors of the fallen dynasty.

The main ancient historians Tacitus, Suetonius, and Cassius Dio all wrote after the last of the Flavians had gone. All 3 were senators or equites. They took the side of the Senate in most conflicts with the princeps, as well as the senator’s views of the emperor. This resulted in biases, both conscious and unconscious. Suetonius lost access to the official archives shortly after beginning his work. Suetonius was forced to rely on second-hand accounts when it came to Claudius (with the exception of Augustus’ letters which had been gathered earlier) and does not quote the emperor. Suetonius painted Claudius as a ridiculous figure, belittling many of his acts and attributing the objectively good works to his retinue. Tacitus wrote a narrative for his fellow senators and fit each of the emperors into a simple mold of his choosing. Tacitus wrote Claudius as a passive pawn and an idiot—going so far as to hide his use of Claudius as a source and omit Claudius’ character from his works. Even his version of Claudius’ Lyons tablet speech is edited to be devoid of the emperor’s personality. Cassius Dio was less biased, but seems to have used Suetonius and Tacitus as sources. Thus the conception of Claudius as the weak fool, controlled by those he supposedly ruled, was preserved for the ages.

As time passed, Claudius was mostly forgotten outside of the historians’ accounts. Claudius’ books were lost first, as their antiquarian subjects became unfashionable. In the 2nd century, Pertinax, who shared his birthday, became emperor, overshadowing any commemoration of Claudius. In the 3rd century, the emperor Claudius II Gothicus usurped his name. When Claudius Gothicus died, he was also deified, replacing Claudius in the Roman pantheon.

Claudius’ love life was unusual for an upper-class Roman of his day. As Edward Gibbon mentions, of the 1st 15 emperors, “Claudius was the only one whose taste in love was entirely correct”—the implication being that he was the only one not to take men or boys as lovers. Edward Gibbon based this on Suetonius’ factual statement that “He had a great passion for women, but had no interest in men.” Suetonius and the other ancient authors actually used this against Claudius. They accused him of being dominated by these same women and wives, of being uxorious, and of being a womaniser.

Claudius married 4 times. Claudius’ 1st marriage,to Plautia Urgulanilla, occurred after 2 failed betrothals (The 1st was to his distant cousin Aemilia Lepida, but was broken for political reasons. The 2nd was to Livia Medullina, which ended with the bride’s sudden death on their wedding day). Urgulanilla was a relation of Livia’s confidant Urgulania. During their marriage she gave birth to a son, Claudius Drusus. Unfortunately, Drusus died of asphyxiation in his early teens, shortly after becoming engaged to the daughter of Sejanus. Claudius later divorced Urgulanilla for adultery and on suspicion of murdering her sister-in-law Apronia. When Urgulanilla gave birth after the divorce, Claudius repudiated the baby girl, Claudius, as the father was one of his own freedmen. Soon after (possibly in 28 AD), Claudius married Aelia Paetina, a relation of Sejanus. They had a daughter, Claudia Antonia. Claudius later divorced her after the marriage became a political liability (although Leon (1948) suggests it may have been due to emotional and mental abuse by Aelia).

In 38 AD or early 39, Claudius married Valeria Messalina, who was his 1st cousin once removed and closely allied with Caligula’s circle. Shortly thereafter, she gave birth to a daughter Claudia Octavia. A son, first named Tiberius Claudius Germanicus, and later known as Britannicus, was born just after Claudius’ accession. This marriage ended in tragedy. The ancient historians allege that Messalina was a nymphomaniac who was regularly unfaithful to Claudius — Tacitus states she went so far as to compete with a prostitute to see who could have the most sexual partners in a night — and manipulated his policies in order to amass wealth. In 48 AD, Messalina married her lover Gaius Silius in a public ceremony while Claudius was at Ostia. Sources disagree as to whether or not she divorced the emperor first, and whether the intention was to usurp the throne. Scramuzza, in his biography, suggests that Silius may have convinced Messalina that Claudius was doomed, and the union was her only hope of retaining rank and protecting her children. The historian Tacitus suggests that Claudius’s ongoing term as Censor may have prevented him from noticing the affair before it reached such a critical point. Whatever the case, the result was the execution of Silius, Messalina, and most of her circle. Claudius made the Praetorians promise to kill him if he ever married again.

Despite this declaration, Claudius did marry once more. The ancient sources tell that his freedmen pushed 3 candidates, Caligula’s former wife Lollia Paulina, Claudius’s divorced 2nd wife Aelia, and Claudius’s niece Agrippina the younger. According to Suetonius, Agrippina won out through her feminine wiles. The truth is likely more political. The coup attempt by Silius probably made Claudius realise the weakness of his position as a member of the Claudian but not the Julian family. This weakness was compounded by the fact that he did not have an obvious adult heir, Britannicus being just a boy. Agrippina was one of the few remaining descendants of Augustus, and her son Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus (later known as Nero) was one of the last males of the imperial family. Future coup attempts could rally around the pair, and Agrippina was already showing such ambition. It has been suggested in recent times that the Senate may have pushed for the marriage to end the feud between the Julian and Claudian branches. This feud dated back to Agrippina’s mother’s actions against Tiberius after the death of her husband Germanicus, actions which Tiberius had gladly punished. In any case, Claudius accepted Agrippina, and later adopted the newly mature Nero as his son.

Nero was made joint heir with the underage Britannicus, married to Octavia and heavily promoted. This was not as unusual as it seems to people acquainted with modern hereditary monarchies. Barbara Levick notes that Augustus had named his grandson Postumus Agrippa and his stepson Tiberius joint heirs. Tiberius named his great-nephew Caligula joint heir with his grandson Tiberius Gemellus. Adoption of adults or near adults was an old tradition in Rome when a suitable natural adult heir was unavailable. This was the case during Britannicus’ minority. S.V. Oost suggests that Claudius had previously looked to adopt one of his sons-in-law to protect his own reign. Faustus Sulla, married to his daughter Antonia, was only descended from Octavia and Antony on one side — not close enough to the imperial family to prevent doubts (that didn’t stop others from making him the object of a coup attempt against Nero a few years later). Besides which, he was the half brother of Messalina, and at this time those wounds were still fresh. Nero was more popular with the general public as the grandson of Germanicus and the direct descendant of Augustus.

Arnaldo Momigliano states that during the reign of Tiberius — which covers the peak of Claudius’ literary career — it became impolitic to speak of republican Rome. The trend among the young historians was to either write about the new empire or obscure antiquarian subjects. Claudius was the rare scholar who covered both. Besides the history of Augustus’ reign that caused him so much grief, his major works included an Etruscan history and 8 volumes on Carthaginian history, as well as an Etruscan Dictionary and a book on dice playing. Despite the general avoidance of the imperatorial era, he penned a defense of Cicero against the charges of Asinius Gallus. Modern historians have used this to determine both the nature of his politics and of the aborted chapters of his civil war history. Claudius proposed a reform of the Latin alphabet by the addition of 3 new letters, 2 of which served the function of the modern letters W and Y. Claudius officially instituted the change during his censorship, but they did not survive his reign. Claudius also tried to revive the old custom of putting dots between different words (Classical Latin was written with no spacing). Finally, he wrote an 8 volume autobiography that Suetonius describes as lacking in taste. Since Claudius (like most of the members of his dynasty) heavily criticised his predecessors and relatives in surviving speeches, it is not hard to imagine the nature of Suetonius’ charge.

Unfortunately, none of the actual works survive. They do live on as sources for the surviving histories of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Suetonius quotes Claudius’ autobiography once, and must have used it as a source numerous times. Tacitus uses Claudius’ own arguments for the orthographical innovations mentioned above, and may have used him for some of the more antiquarian passages in his annals. Claudius is the source for numerous passages of Pliny’s Natural History.

The influence of historical study on Claudius is obvious. In his speech on Gallic senators, he uses a version of the founding of Rome identical to that of Livy, his tutor in adolescence. The detail of his speech borders on the pedantic, a common mark of all his extant works, and he goes into long digressions on related matters. This indicates a deep knowledge of a variety of historical subjects that he could not help but share. Many of the public works instituted in his reign were based on plans first suggested by Julius Caesar. Levick believes this emulation of Caesar may have spread to all aspects of his policies. Claudius’s censorship seems to have been based on those of his ancestors, particularly Appius Claudius Caecus, and he used the office to put into place many policies based on those of Republican times. This is when many of his religious reforms took effect and his building efforts greatly increased during his tenure. In fact, his assumption of the office of Censor may have been motivated by a desire to see his academic labors bear fruit. For example, he believed (as most Romans) that his ancestor Appius Claudius Caecus had used the censorship to introduce the letter “R” and so used his own term to introduce his new letters.

Probably the most famous fictional representation of the Emperor Claudius were the books I, Claudius and Claudius the God (released in 1934 and 1935) by Robert Graves, both written in the first-person to give the reader the impression that they are Claudius’ autobiography. Graves wrote it in employed fictive artifice to suggest that they were recently discovered, genuine translations of Claudius’ writings. Claudius’ extant letters, speeches, and sayings were incorporated into the text (mostly in the 2nd book, Claudius the God) in order to add authenticity.

In 1937 director Josef von Sternberg made an unsuccessful attempt to film I, Claudius, with Charles Laughton as Claudius. Unfortunately, the lead actress Merle Oberon suffered a near-fatal accident and the movie was never finished. The surviving reels were finally shown in the documentary The Epic That Never Was in 1965, revealing some of Laughton’s most accomplished acting. The motion picture rights have been obtained by Scott Rudin, with a theatrical release planned for 2010.

Graves’s 2 books were also the basis for a 13 part British television adaptation produced by the BBC. The series starred Derek Jacobi as Claudius, and was broadcast in 1976 on BBC2. It was a substantial critical success, and won several BAFTA awards. The series was later broadcast in the United States on Masterpiece Theatre in 1977. The DVD release of the television series contains the “The Epic that Never Was” documentary.

Claudius has appeared on film on several other occasions, including in the 1979 motion picture Caligula, the role being performed by Giancarlo Badessi in which the character was depicted as an idiot, in complete contrast to Robert Graves’ portrait of Claudius as a cunning and deeply intelligent man. On television, the actor Freddie Jones became famous for his role as Claudius in the 1968 British television series The Caesars while the 1985 made-for-television miniseries A.D. features actor Richard Kiley as Claudius. There is also a reference to Claudius’ suppression of one of the coups against him in the movie Gladiator, though the incident is entirely fictional.

In literature, Claudius and his contemporaries appear in the historical novel The Roman by Mika Waltari. Canadian-born science fiction writer A. E. van Vogt reimagined Robert Graves’ Claudius story in his 2 novels Empire of the Atom and The Wizard of Linn.

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