Yesterday's Magazette

14 – Gone, But Not Forgotten

Entertainers Of Yesterday:

Gone, But Not Forgotten

By E. P. Ned Burke

Years ago, the month of August took away three legendary entertainers: Marilyn Monroe, who died August 5, 1962; Elvis Presley, August 16, 1977, and Groucho Marx, who died the same year, just three days later on August 19.

Each left a considerable void upon their passing, which has still not been filled.



Marilyn Monroe, b. Norma Jeane Mortenson (or Baker), Los Angeles, June 1, 1926, after rising from bit parts, became one of the most celebrated film personalities of her time. Hers was the classic show-business tragedy. Stardom seemed a burden; being an international sex goddess, even more so. Her second husband was baseball star Joe DiMaggio. Following her third marriage to playwright Arthur Miller, she struggled to understand theories of acting and wanted to star in the classics. When this effort proved fruitless, she became so difficult to work with that she was virtually unemployable. Yet, in the handful of comedies in which which she starred, her personal ebullience and freshness shined. The camera and fans loved her. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), The Seven Year Itch (1955), The Prince and the Showgirl (1957), and Some Like It Hot (1959). She also performed in two dramatic roles, Bus Stop (1956) and The Misfits (1961).



Although Elvis Aron Presley (b. Tupelo, Miss., Jan. 8, 1935) did not invent Rock ‘n Roll, he did more than anyone to popularize it, and he was Rock’s most powerful performer. From the mid 1950s, the “King’s” vocal mannerisms, sideburns, and attitude -a combination of sex and sneer- made him an international hero of the young.

Presley’s success began with his recording of the blues song “That’s All Right, Mama.” Presley’s rendition combined his potent vocal style with a fast, hard, country-and-western- music instrumental backing. It won considerable attention and eventually a recording contract with RCA Victor. With national promotion, Presley’s recordings became instant hits: “Heartbreak Hotel” in 1956, followed by “Hound Dog,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Love Me , Tender,” and “All Shook Up.

His concerts and television appearances drew huge audiences, and his 33 movies increased his fame.



Groucho, (b. Julius, Oct. 2, 1890) was the leering, bushy browed, cigar-smoking, wisecracking leader of the famous Marx brothers comedy team.

The team disbanded in 1941.

Only Groucho succeeded as a solo performer, mainly as the aggressive, double-talking host of the radio and television quiz show “You Bet Your Life” (1947-61).

When Frankie Avalon once introduced himself and proudly said: “I’m a singer.” Groucho shot back: “You mean you’re a sewing machine?”

Finally, when asked if he had any final requests, he raised his eyebrows and said: “I hope they bury me near a straight man.”


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