On this Day 29 September – Émile Zola – Carson McCullers – W. H. Auden – Casey Stengel – Tony Curtis

emileZOLA_1902BOn this day in 1902, writer Émile Zola died at his home in Paris of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by an improperly ventilated chimney at the age of 62.  In my opinion, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism.  Zola was a major figure in the political liberalization of France and in the exoneration of the falsely accused and convicted army officer Alfred Dreyfus, which is encapsulated in the renowned newspaper headline J’accuse.  Zola was nominated for the first and second Nobel Prize in Literature in 1901 and 1902.  The Final Footprint – Zola was initially buried in the Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris, but on 4 June 1908, just five years and nine months after his death, his remains were relocated to the Panthéon.  The Panthéon is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris.  It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens.  The inscription above the entrance reads AUX GRANDS HOMMES LA PATRIE RECONNAISSANTE ( “To the great men, the grateful homeland”). By burying its great men in the Panthéon, the Nation acknowledges the honour it received from them. As such, interment here is severely restricted and is allowed only by a parliamentary act for “National Heroes”.  Other notable Final Footprints at the Panthéon include: Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, Pierre and Marie Curie, André Malraux, and Alexandre Dumas, père, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire.

CarsonmccullersOn this day in 1964 the author of the The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) and one of my favorites, Carson McCullers died in Nyack, New York after a brain hemorrhage at the age of 50.  Born Lula Carson McCullers on 19 February 1917 in Columbus, Georgia.  McCullers married Reeves McCullers (1937 – 1941 divorce and 1945 – 1953 his death).  The Final Footprint – McCullers is interred in Oak Hill Cemetery in Nyack.

whAudenVanVechten1939On this day in 1973, poet W. H. Auden died in Vienna at the age of 66.  Born Wystan Hugh Auden on 21 February 1907 in York, England.  In my opinion, Auden is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.  His work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievements, its engagement with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, form and content.  The central themes of his poetry are love, politics and citizenship, religion and morals, and the relationship between unique human beings and the anonymous, impersonal world of nature.  In the 1950s and 1960s many of his poems focused on the ways in which words revealed and concealed emotions, and he took a particular interest in writing opera librettos, a form ideally suited to direct expression of strong feelings.  He was also a prolific writer of prose essays and reviews on literary, political, psychological and religious subjects, and he worked at various times on documentary films, poetic plays and other forms of performance.  Throughout his career he was both controversial and influential.  After his death, some of his poems, notably “Funeral Blues” (“Stop all the clocks”), “Musée des Beaux Arts”, “Refugee Blues”, “The Unknown Citizen”, and “September 1, 1939”, became known to a much wider public than during his lifetime through films, broadcasts, and popular media.  The Final Footprint – Auden is buried in a Kirchstetten churchyard in Kirchstetten, Austria.

On this day in 1975, baseball Hall of Famer, player, manager, The Old Perfesser, Casey Stengel died in Glendale, California at the age of 85.  Born Charles Dillon Stengel on 30 July 1890 in Kansas City, Missouri.  The only manager to win five consecutive World Series championships, all with the New York Yankees. Between playing and managing, he is the only man to have worn all four of New York’s major league clubs’ uniforms.  His number 37 was retired by both the Yankees and the Mets.  The Final Footprint– Stengel was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.  His grave is marked with a flat bronze on granite marker.  A plaque on a wall near his grave reads in part: FOR OVER SIXTY YEARS ONE OF AMERICA’S FOLK HEROES WHO CONTRIBUTED IMMENSLEY TO THE LORE AND LANGUAGE OF OUR COUNTRY’S NATIONAL PASTIME, BASEBALL.  “THERE COMES A TIME IN EVERY MAN’S LIFE AND I’VE HAD PLENTY OF THEM” CASEY STENGEL.  His plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium reads; Brightened baseball for over 50 years; with spirit of eternal youth; Yankee manager 1949-1960 winning 10 pennants and 7 world championships including 5 consecutive.  Monument Park is an open-air museum containing a collection of monuments, plaques, and retired numbers honoring distinguished members of the Yankees.  Other notable Final Footprints at Forest Lawn Glendale include; Lon Chaney, Dorothy Dandridge, Elizabeth Taylor, Jean Harlow, Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, Walt Disney, Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Michael Jackson, Carole Lombard, Jimmy Stewart, and Spencer Tracy.  Other notable Yankees whose final footprints include memorialization in Monument Park; Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, George Steinbrenner, Thurman Munson, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Phil Rizzuto, Billy Martin, Mel Allen and Bob Sheppard.

Tony_Curtis-LeighOn this day in 2010 actor Tony Curtis died at his Henderson, Nevada home of cardiac arrest at the age of 85.  Born Bernard Schwartz on 3 June 1925 in The Bronx.  His career spanned six decades, and had his greatest popularity during the 1950s and early 1960s.  He acted in more than 100 films in roles covering a wide range of genres, from light comedy to serious drama.  Although his early film roles were partly the result of his good looks, by the later half of the 1950s he became a notable and strong screen presence.  He began proving himself to be a fine dramatic actor, having the range to act in numerous dramatic and comedy roles.  He won his first serious recognition as a skilled dramatic actor in Sweet Smell of Success (1957) with co-star Burt Lancaster.  The following year he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in another drama, The Defiant Ones (1958). Curtis then gave what could arguably be called his best performance: three interrelated roles in the comedy Some Like It Hot (1959), possibly one of the funniest films ever made.  The film co-starred Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe, and was directed by Billy Wilder.  That was followed by Blake Edwards’s comedy Operation Petticoat (1959) with Cary Grant. They were both frantic comedies, and displayed his impeccable comedic timing.  In 1960, Curtis co-starred with Kirk Douglas in Spartacus, which became another major hit for him.  Cirtis married six times: Janet Leigh (1951–1962 divorce), Christine Kaufmann
(1963–1968 divorce), Leslie Allen (1968–1982 divorce), Andrea Savio (1984–1992 divorce), Lisa Deutsch (1993–1994 divorce), Jill Vandenberg (1998–2010 his death).  The Final Footprint – Curtis was interred in a private estate at Palm Memorial Park Cemetery, a Dignity Memorial property, in Green Valley, Nevada.  His memorial service was attended by his daughters, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kelly Curtis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Jeremy, Rich Little, and Vera Goulet, Robert Goulet‘s widow.  Investor Kirk KerkorianKirk Douglas and singer Phyllis McGuire were among the honorary pallbearers.  His epitaph; “And he was always quietly arrayed, And he was always human when he talked; But still he fluttered pulses when he said “Good Morning!” and he glittered when he walked.”  Other notable final footprints at Palm Memorial include actor Redd Foxx and singer Joe Williams.

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