Tag Archive: early death


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

When Hollywood people die, it is always heard that they passed too young.

In the case of Cory Monteith, one of the stars of Glee that is true. The 31-year-old actor had been a star for the last four years because of the Fox TV show that featured musical song-and-dance numbers. His character, Finn, may have been a bit dim in the brain but quite the sweetheart.

Cory Monteith with Kevin McHale, Image from IMDb.com

Cory Monteith with Kevin McHale, Image from IMDb.com

The Canadian actor had started branching out into movies recently. His last role was that of a young man dealing with the aftermath of trauma and Monteith felt he could bring something dark to the role considering his past drug use. The movie is called All The Wrong Reasons and word is the film is heading to the Toronto Film Festival in September.

Monteith struggled with drug addictions for the last 15 or so years. Families who deal with that know how hard it is to watch a love one fight and not be able to help that person. There is no word yet how Monteith’s death will be dealt with on the show but I hope they give him a huge sendoff.

On Monday afternoon as I was trying to get something done, my husband announced that Dennis Farina passed away at the age of 69. Maybe you recognize Farina from his days on Law and Order, maybe you recognize him from his days on Crime Story. Farina played mob guys or cops and he did it well. The former Chicago police officer was a tough talker who was ready to throw a punch when he had to do it. But playing one sort of character can lead to typecasting for an actor and soon enough, Farina was more of a side character than the featured role.

Perhaps his most well-known part was that of Ray ‘Bones” Barboni in Get Shorty, a movie based on an Elmore Leonard novel of the same name. It was a tough role in which Farina plays a South Florida mobster looking for the Shylock he does not like who now lives in California.

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

But this was not his reportedly best movie. That came nearly 20 years later when he starred in The Last Rites of Joe May. The story follows a down-on-his-luck low-level gangster who has always believed that good fortune is around the corner. When the man is diagnosed with a terminal illness, one would think he would finally feel down. That is until he believes that good fortune may once more be waiting for him.

If anything, the legacy of Dennis Farina is that you can be an ordinary guy and find your dream. He was good-looking enough and talented enough to get into a movie here and there until he wound up on a poplar TV show. Then came more movies, more TV shows, and special projects. It took a lot of work, a lot of perseverance. But if that is your dream, isn’t that what you will do to make it happen?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

Over the weekend Whitney Huston passed away. 

 

She had a glorious voice along with a talent for acting. And a taste for drugs that would ruin her voice and destroy her life. 

 

I admit that I am torn about Whitney. Many of us who are her age remember coming up with her songs in the background. We sang along with those songs, hoping to hit all of the notes without our voices cracking. Singers across this country listened to her and imitated her style. This past Sunday, as I sang in the praise choir, I hoped that my voice soared as hers did.

 

Similar to Adele, Whitney’s talent shined bright by the time she was 20.

 

When she turned to acting, was it any surprised that the woman who put so much emotion in her songs was able to find those notes in her acting?

 

Most people remember The Bodyguard as her break-out film, perhaps more for the song ‘I Will Always Love You.’ Here she plays a singer who gets a new bodyguard in Kevin Costner. Of course, he protects her well and they fall in love. 

 

Image from IMDb.com

For many women, it is in Waiting To Exhale that Whitney shows depth as a successful TV producer who is having an affair with a married man. Her character must deal with  pressure from her mother to find a ‘good’ man while trying to find one that loves only her. It was well balanced performance.

 

The last movie that she is known for is The Preacher’s Wife.  Whitney is a pastor’s wife and choir director. Her husband is seldom home because he is constantly ministering in their poor neighborhood. He is also dealing with a developer who wants to buy the church grounds. He asks God for help and gets it in the form of Denzel Washington who promptly falls in love with the wife.

 

There is one movie to be released, Sparkle, that will always be known as Whitney’s last movie.  There was also a rumor going around that Simon Cowell was thinking of asking Whitney to be a judge on his X-Factor talent judging show.

 

As great as her talent was, here is my problem with Whitney. I never felt her sincerity. I never felt as if she was just being herself. To me every interview was a chance to spin the story her way. You could see her thoughts process as she answered questions. She wasn’t being contemplative; she was trying to pick the answer we would most likely believe.

 

The other issue for me is the wasting of her talent. Whitney stopped being current in the late 90s when she disappeared into heavy drug use. Those years were tough and when she made her come back, it was clear to me her voice was gone. How many of us envied that voice? How many of us wondered why she could not take care of a magnificent instrument?

 

Whitney’s death is sad but it needs to be a reminder, just like Amy Winehouse or any other artist who has died too young. There is only one person in charge of your talent, your instrument, your life. You make the decisions to use it, to waste it, to find ways to destroy it or to let it go on for decades.

It is you who must take the time to listen to people who actually care about you when they are concerned about your drug use. It is you who must learn to say no to the drugs, the joy of the drama and the insecurities that drive you. Remember how you propelled yourself onto that stage/film set/studio? Use that drive to keep your life on track and not dead before the age of 50.

 

 

  Until next year, see you in the rental aisle.