Day in History 25 November – Malcolm II King of Scots

Flag of Scotland

17th Century depiction of Malcolm II

On this day in 1034, King of Scots from 1005 to 1034, Máel Coluim mac Cináeda (Modern Gaelic: Maol Chaluim mac Choinnich), Malcolm II, died at Glamis, a small village in Angus, Scotland (the location of Glamis Castle, the childhood home of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother).  The son of Kenneth II King of Scots.  He was succeeded by his grandson Donnchad mac Crínáin, Duncan I.

19th Century engraving of King Malcolm II’s grave stone

The Final Footprint – Malcolm II is interred in what is now the ancient burial ground, the Rèilig Odhrain (Oran’s burial place or cemetery) of Iona Abbey.  None of the graves are now identifiable; their inscriptions reportedly had worn away by the end of the 17th century.  Iona rose to prominence in Scotland following the establishment of the Kingdom of Alba, Gaelic for Scotland, in the later 9th century.  The ruling dynasty of Alba traced its origin to Iona, and the island thus became an important spiritual centre of the new kingdom, with many of its early kings buried there.  Tradition knew the Pictish stone now called “Glamis 2” as “King Malcolm’s grave stone”.  The stone is a Class II stone, apparently formed by re-using a Bronze Age standing stone.  Its dating is uncertain, with dates from the 8th century onwards having been proposed. While an earlier date is favoured, an association with accounts of Máel Coluim’s has been proposed on the basis of the iconography of the carvings.

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Day in History 24 November – John Knox – Freddie Mercury

Portrait of Knox from Theodore Beza’s Icones

On this day in 1572, Scottish clergyman, a leader of the Protestant Reformation and the founder of the Presbyterian denomination in Scotland, John Knox, died in Edinburgh at the approximate age of 62.  Born sometime between 1505 and 1515 in or near Haddington, the county town of East Lothian.  Believed to have been educated at the University of St Andrews.  Influenced by early church reformers he joined the movement to reform the Scottish church.  Knox was caught up in the ecclesiastical and political events surrounding the murder of Cardinal Beaton in 1546 and the intervention of the regent of Scotland, Mary of Guise.  He was taken prisoner by French forces the following year and exiled to England on his release in 1549.  While in exile, Knox was licensed to work in the Church of England, where he quickly rose in the ranks to serve King Edward VI of England as a royal chaplain.  In this position, he exerted a reforming influence on the text of the Book of Common Prayer.  When Mary Tudor ascended the throne and re-established Roman Catholicism, Knox was forced to resign his position and leave the country.  Knox first moved to Geneva and then to Frankfurt.  In Geneva, he met John Calvin, from whom he gained experience and knowledge of Reformed theology and Presbyterian polity.  He created a new order of service, which was eventually adopted by the reformed church in Scotland.  He left Geneva to head the English refugee church in Frankfurt but he was forced to leave over differences concerning the liturgy, thus ending his association with the Church of England.  On his return to Scotland, he led the Protestant Reformation in Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Protestant nobility.  The movement may be seen as a revolution, since it led to the ousting of Mary of Guise, who governed the country in the name of her young daughter, Mary Queen of Scots.  Knox helped write the new confession of faith and the ecclesiastical order for the newly created reformed church, the Kirk.  He continued to serve as the religious leader of the Protestants throughout Mary’s reign.

Stained glass window, Knox admonishing Mary, Queen of Scots, Covenant Presbyterian Church Long Beach, California

In several interviews with the queen, Knox admonished her for supporting Catholic practices.  Eventually, she was imprisoned for her alleged role in the murder of her husband, Lord Darnley, and James VI enthroned in her stead.  Knox openly called for her execution.  He continued to preach until his final days.  Knox married twice, first to Marjorie then to Margaret Stewart, the daughter of an old friend, Andrew Stewart, a member of the Stuart family and a distant relative of the queen, Mary Stuart. The marriage was unusual because he was a widower of fifty, while the bride was only seventeen.  One of my great-great grandfathers was a Knox.  I was baptised as an infant in The First Presbyterian Church of Canadian, Texas.

St. Giles at night

The Final Footprint – Knox is interred in the churchyard of St. Giles Cathedral, or the High Kirk of Scotland, though no grave marker exists.  St. Giles was the patron saint of Edinburgh, cripples and lepers.  A statue of Knox was incorporated in the International Monument to the Reformation (French: Monument international de la Réformation, German: Internationales Reformationsdenkmal).  Usually known as the Reformation Wall, it is a monument in Geneva, Switzerland that honours many of the main individuals, events, and documents of the Protestant Reformation by depicting them in statues and bas-reliefs.  One of the bas-reliefs features Knox preaching at St. Giles before the court of Mary Stuart including, James Stewart, Lord Darnley and Matthew Stewart.

Freddie_Mercury_performing_in_New_Haven,_CT,_November_1978On this day in 1991, singer, songwriter, lyricist, lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury died at the age of 45 surrounded by friends at his home in Kensington, London, from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.  Born Farrokh Bulsara in the British protectorate of Sultanate of Zanzibar, East Africa (now part of Tanzania) on 5 September 1946.  As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range.  As a songwriter, he composed many hits for Queen, including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Killer Queen,” “Somebody to Love,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” and “We Are the Champions.”  In addition to his work with Queen, he led a solo career, and also occasionally served as a producer and guest musician (piano or vocals) for other artists.  The Final Footprint – On 27 November 1991, Mercury’s funeral service was conducted by a Zoroastrian priest.  An intensely private man, Mercury’s service was for 35 of his close friends and family, with the remaining members of Queen (Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon)  and Elton John among those in attendance.  Mercury was cremated at Kensal Green Cemetery, West London.  In accordance with Mercury’s wishes, Mary Austin took possession of his ashes and buried them in an undisclosed location.  The whereabouts of his ashes are believed to be known only to Austin, who has stated that she will never reveal where she buried them.

The outer walls of Mercury’s home purchased with Ausitn, Garden Lodge in 1 Logan Place became a shrine to Mercury following his death, with mourners paying tribute by covering the walls in graffiti messages.  Three years after his death, Time Out magazine reported, “Since Freddie’s death, the wall outside the house has become London’s biggest rock ‘n’ roll shrine.”.  Today fans continue to visit to pay their respects with messages in letters appearing on the walls.

In 1992 he was awarded the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music, and the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was held at Wembley Stadium, London.  As a member of Queen, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2004, and the band received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2002.  Also in 2002, Mercury was placed at number 58 in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons.

In my opinion, Mercury is one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music.  In 2005, a poll organised by Blender and MTV2 saw Mercury voted the best male singer of all time.  In 2008, Rolling Stone editors ranked him number 18 on their list of the 100 greatest singers ever.  In 2009, a Classic Rock poll elected him the best rock singer of all time.

Another notable cremation at Kensal Green: Ingrid Bergman.

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Knox preaching to Scottish nobles, painting by David Wilkie

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Day in History – 23 November – André Malraux – Larry Hagman

JFK, Marie-Madeleine Lioux, Malraux, Jackie Kennedy, LBJ

On this day in 1976, adventurer, author and statesman, André Malraux, died in Créteil, near Paris at the age of 75.  Born on 3 November 1901 in Paris.  Known for his novel entitled La Condition Humaine (Man’s Fate) (1933).  He served in several minister positions during De Gaulle‘s entire presidency (1959–1969).  Malraux married three times; Clara Goldschmidt (divorce), Josette Clotis (her death) and Marie-Madeleine Lioux (separation).  I inherited a copy of his book The Voices of Silence (Les Voix du Silence) from my Grandmother Ruby Christner.  Memorable quotes from The Voices of Silence: “Art is an object lesson for the gods.” “The art museum is one of the places that give us the highest idea of man.” “Humanism does not consist in saying: ‘No animal could have done what I have done,’ but in declaring: ‘We have refused what the beast within us willed to do, and we seek to reclaim man wherever we find that which crushes him.’”  The Final Footprint – Malraux was cremated and his cremains were interred in the Verrières-le-Buisson (Essonne) cemetery.  In 1996 on the twentieth anniversary of his passing, in honor of his contributions to French culture, his ashes were moved to the Panthéon in Paris. The Panthéon is a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens.  Other notable Final Footprints at the Panthéon include: Victor Hugo, Louis Braille, Pierre and Marie Curie, and Alexandre Dumas, père, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Voltaire, and Émile Zola.

Larry Hagman
Hagman wearing a cowboy hat

Hagman attending the “Night of 100 Stars” for the 82nd Academy Awards viewing party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills, California, on March 7, 2010

On this day in 2012, United States Air Force veteran, actor, director, producer, Larry Hagman died at Medical City Dallas Hospital in Dallas, Texas at the age of 81 from complications of acute myeloid leukemia. Born Larry Martin Hagman on September 21, 1931 in Fort Worth, Texas. Perhaps best known for playing oil baron J.R. Ewing in the 1980s primetime television soap opera Dallas and astronaut Major Anthony “Tony” Nelson in the 1960s sitcom I Dream of Jeannie.

Hagman had supporting roles in numerous films, including Fail-Safe, Harry and Tonto, S.O.B., Nixon and Primary Colors. His television appearances also included guest roles on dozens of shows spanning from the late 1950s until his death and a reprisal of his signature role on the 2012 revival of Dallas. He also worked as a television producer and director.

Hagman was the son of actress Mary Martin. He underwent a life-saving liver transplant in 1995.

Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden on
I Dream of Jeannie (1965)

Larry Hagman, 1973

TV series Here We Go Again (1973).
From top: Dick Gautier, Nina Talbot,
Larry Hagman and Diane Baker.

Hagman with Maj Axelsson in 1983

 Hagman in August 2011

In 1954, Hagman married Swedish-born Maj Axelsson (born May 13, 1928, in Eskilstuna, Södermanlands län, Sweden – died May 31, 2016, in Los Angeles, California). Longtime residents of Malibu, California, they then moved to Ojai.

The Final Footprint 

In a statement to the Dallas Morning News, Hagman’s family said: “Larry’s family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for.”

Upon his death, he was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at the Southfork Ranch in Parker, Texas.

Actress Linda Gray, who played Sue Ellen Ewing on Dallas, called Hagman her “best friend for 35 years”, and was at his bedside when he died. In a statement, she said: “He was the Pied Piper of life and brought joy to everyone he knew. He was creative, generous, funny, loving and talented and I will miss him enormously. He was an original and lived life to the fullest.”

Actor Patrick Duffy, who played Bobby Ewing on Dallas, was also at his bedside when he died. In a statement, he said: “Friday I lost one of the greatest friends ever to grace my life. The loneliness is only what is difficult, as Larry’s peace and comfort is always what is important to me, now as when he was here. He was a fighter in the gentlest way, against his obstacles and for his friends. I wear his friendship with honor.”

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Day in History 22 November – JFK

On this day in 1963, U.S. Navy veteran, U.S. Congressman, U.S. Senator, the 35th President of the U.S., author, American Icon, Jack, JFK, John F. Kennedy, died in Dallas, Texas at the age of 46.  Born John Fitzgerald Kennedy on 29 May 1917 at 83 Beals Street in Brookline, Massachusetts.  He graduated from Harvard in 1940 with a degree in international affairs.  Kennedy met his future wife Jacqueline Lee “Jackie” Bouvier at a dinner party.  They married 12 September 1953.  They had four children; Arabella (23 August 1956 – 23 August 1956), Caroline Bouvier (27 November 1957 – ), John Fitzgerald Jr. (25 November 1960 – 16 July 1999), Patrick Bouvier (7 August 1963 – 9 August 1963).  On Tuesday 8 November 1960, Kennedy won the presidential election over Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon.  The Kennedys were popular on a level more common with movie stars than politicians.  This popularity and his charisma led to his administration being referred to as Camelot.  The Kennedys travelled to Texas in an attempt to reconcile a widening rift in the Texas Democratic party between the conservative wing led by Governor John B. Connally and the liberal wing led by U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough and Don Yarborough (no relation).  Kennedy was fatally shot while riding in a Presidential motorcade with Jackie, Governor Connally and his wife Nellie Connally.  He was succeeded as president by vice president Lyndon Baines Johnson.  Conspiracy theories abound as to who was behind the assassination.  The Warren Commission finding that Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman has been debated and disputed since the findings were released.  Groups behind supposed assassination plots include; the Mafia, the CIA, the Cubans, the Russians, the military industrial complex, or some combination of the above.  Mrs. Connally, who as mentioned was riding in the car with JFK, believed to her grave that there was more than one shooter.  November 22nd was a Friday that year.  All three major networks suspended their regular schedules and switched to all news coverage through November 25th, 70 straight hours.  I was three years old and Daddy and Uncle Ben told me later that I was upset because Saturday morning cartoons were not shown.

The Final Footprint –  Kennedy was interred in a temporary plot at Arlington National Cemetery on 25 November 1960.  On 14 March 1967, he was moved to his current plot at Arlington.  His grave area is paved with irregular stones of Cape Cod granite, which were quarried around 1817 near the site of the president’s home and selected by members of his family.  Clover, and later, sedum were planted in the crevices to give the appearance of stones lying naturally in a Massachusetts field.  His grave is lit with an “Eternal Flame”.  His brother Robert F. Kennedy was interred nearby following his assassination in 1968.  Upon her death in 1994, Jackie was interred next to JFK.  Upon his death in 2009, JFK’s brother Edward Kennedy was interred nearby.  Other notable Final Footprints at Arlington include; the Space Shuttle Columbia, the Space Shuttle Challenger, Medgar Evers, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, RFK, Edward Kennedy, Lee Marvin, Audie Murphy and Malcolm Kilduff, Jr.

There were other notable final footprints on this day in history including the authors C. S. Lewis, Aldous Huxley, Jack London (1916), lyricist Lorenz Hart (1943), a Stooge, Shemp Howard (1955), Mae West (1980), Scatman Crothers (1986), INXS frontman Michel Hutchence.  But for now at least, we dedicate this page to JFK and his memory.

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Day in History 21 November – Henry Purcell

On this day in 1695, organist and Baroque composer, Henry Purcell, died at his home in Dean’s Yard, Westminster at the age of 35 or 36.  Born on or about 10 September 1659 in St Ann’s Lane, Old Pye Street, Westminster.  His legacy was a uniquely English form of Baroque music, a style of European classical music  extending from about 1600 to 1750.  This era begins after the Renaissance and was followed by the Classical era.  The word “baroque” came from the Portuguese word barroco, meaning “misshapen pearl”.  Baroque music forms a major portion of the classical music canon and is associated with composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Antonio Vivaldi, Claudio Monteverdi and Purcell.  Most importantly to me, it was during this period that opera became established as a musical genre.  Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (c. 1689) is, in my opinion, the first important English opera, and is still performed.  Purcell had a direct influence on rock and roll.  Apparently, both Pete Townshend of The Who and Queen, list Purcell’s music as an influence on their own.  The Final Footprint – Purcell is entombed in Westminster Abbey near the organ in the North Choir Aisle.  His epitaph reads: “Here lyes Henry Purcell Esq., who left this life and is gone to that blessed place where only his harmony can be exceeded.”  A bronze memorial sculpture by Glynn Williams, The Flowering of the English Baroque, in tribute to Purcell was installed in a park on Victoria St,. Westminster.  Other notable Final Footprints at Westminster include; Robert Browning, Lord Byron, Geoffrey Chaucer, Oliver Cromwell, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Edward The Confessor, Elizabeth I, George II, George Friederic Handel, James I (James VI of Scotland), Samuel Johnson, Ben Jonson, Charles II, Edward III, Edward VI, Henry III, Henry V, Henry VII, Richard II, Rudyard Kipling, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Milton, Sir Isaac Newton, Laurence Olivier, Mary I, Mary II, Mary Queen of Scots, Thomas Shadwell, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, and William III.

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Day in History – 20 November – Leo Tolstoy – Tom Horn

On this day in 1910, writer, Leo Tolstoy, died in Astapovo, Russia at the age of 82.  Born Lyev Nikolayevich Tolstoy on 9 September 1828 in Yasnaya Polyana, the family estate in the Tula region of Russia.  Perhaps best known for his masterpieces Anna Karenina (1877) and War and Peace (1869).  Some condsider Tolstoy to be the worlds greatest novelist.  Tolstoy is also known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.  His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist.  His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on other thinkers and reformers.  On 23 September 1862, Tolstoy married Sophia “Sonya” Andreevna Bers, who was 16 years his junior and the daughter of a court physician.  Their relationship was apparently passionate and tumultuous and they had 13 children.  The Final Footprint – Tolstoy is interred in the  “Place of the Green Wand” in the Forest of the Old Order at Yasnaya Polyana.




Tom_Horn,_Lincoln,_NEOn this day in 1903, American Old West scout, hired gunman, Pinkerton, range detective, cowboy, and soldier Tom Horn executed by hanging in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  Born Thomas Horn, Jr. on the Horn family farm in rural northeastern Scotland County, Missouri.  Believed to have committed 17 murders as a hired gunman in the West, in 1902 Horn was convicted of the murder of 14-year-old Willie Nickell near Iron Mountain, Wyoming.  The boy was the son of sheep rancher Kels Nickell, who had been involved in a range feud with neighbor and cattle rancher Jim Miller.  The Final Footprint – Horn was buried in the Columbia Cemetery in Boulder, Colorado on 3 December 1903.  Rancher Jim Coble paid for his coffin and a stone to mark his grave.  While in jail he wrote his autobiography, Life of Tom Horn: Government Scout and Interpreter (1904), which was published posthumously. Numerous editions have been published of this book since the late 20th century, and debate continues as to whether he was guilty of Nickell’s murder.  Horn was portrayed by Steve McQueen in movie Tom Horn (1980).  While the film took liberties with facts, McQueen’s performance was highly praised, and the film was well received.

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Day in History 19 November – Nicolas Poussin – Thomas Shadwell

Nicolas_Poussin_078On this day in 1665, classical French painter, Nicolas Poussin, died in Rome at the age of 71.  Perhaps the leading painter of the classical French Baroque style, although he spent most of his working life in Rome.  He worked in Rome for a circle of leading collectors there and elsewhere, except for a short period when Cardinal Richelieu ordered him back to France to serve as First Painter to the King.  Most of his works are history paintings of religious or mythological subjects that often have a large landscape element.  He served as inspiration for classically-oriented artists, notably Paul Cézanne.  The Final Footprint – Poussin is interred at Basilica di San Lorenzo in Lucina in Rome.  The French writer, politician, diplomat and founder of Romanticism in French literature, François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand, donated the marble memorial in honour of Poussin in 1820.  It reads; POUR LA GLORIE DES ARTS ET LHONNEUR DE LA FRANCE.



Venus and Adonis – Nicolas Poussin – 1624 – Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas.

Cephalus and Aurora – Nicolas Poussin – 1627 – National Gallery, London.

Acis and Galatea – Nicolas Poussin – 1629 – National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.



Adoration of the Golden Calf – Nicolas Poussin – 1633-34 – National Gallery, London.

A dance to the music of time – Nicolas Poussin – 1640 – The Wallace Collection.


On this day in 1692, English poet and playwright who was appointed poet laureate in 1689, Thomas Shadwell died from an overdose of opium at Chelsea on 19 November 1692.  Born ca. 1642 at Stanton Hall, Norfolk, England.  The Final Footprint – Shadwell was interred at Chelsea Old Church which was destroyed during World War II bombing.  He has a memorial in Poets’ Corner of Westminster Abbey.  Other notable Final Footprints at Westminster include; Robert Browning, Lord Byron, Geoffrey Chaucer, Oliver Cromwell, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Edward The Confessor, Elizabeth I, George II, George Friederic Handel, James I (James VI of Scotland), Samuel Johnson, Ben Jonson, Charles II, Edward III, Edward VI, Henry III, Henry V, Henry VII, Richard II, Rudyard Kipling, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Milton, Sir Isaac Newton, Laurence Olivier, Henry Purcell, Mary I, Mary II, Mary Queen of Scots, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Dylan Thomas, and William III.

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Day in History 18 November – Marcel Proust – Joseph Kennedy – James Coburn

On this day in 1922, novelist Marcel Proust, died in Paris at the age of 51.  Born Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust on 10 July 1871 in Auteuil, France.  Author of the monumental  À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time; earlier translated as Remembrance of Things Past).  It was published in seven parts totaling about 3200 pages between 1913 and 1927.  W. Somerset Maugham called the novel the “greatest fiction to date”.  Graham Greene called Proust the “greatest novelist of the 20th century”.  The Final Footprint – Proust is entombed in an individual above ground crypt in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.  Père Lachaise is the largest cemetery in Paris and one of the most visited cemeteries in the world.  Other notable Final Footprints at Père Lachaise include; Honoré de Balzac, Georges Bizet, Jean-Dominique Bauby, Maria Callas, Chopin, Colette, Auguste Comte, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Molière, Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Camille Pissarro, Sully Prudhomme, Gioachino Rossini, Georges-Pierre Seurat, Simone Signoret, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Oscar Wilde, and Richard Wright.

Joseph_P__Kennedy,_Sr__1940On this day in 1969, American businessman, investor, and government official, patriarch of the Kennedy Family, Joseph Kennedy died in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts at the age of 81.  Born Joseph Patrick Kennedy on 6 September 1888 in Boston.  He was the father of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, United States Attorney General and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy, naval officer Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Special Olympics co-founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and former U.S. Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith.  He was a leading member of the Democratic Party and of the Irish Catholic community.  Kennedy was the inaugural Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR), and later directed the Maritime Commission.  Kennedy served as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1938 until late 1940, including the early part of World War II.  Kennedy was educated at Harvard University, and embarked on a career in finance, making a large fortune as a stock market and commodity investor and by investing in real estate and a wide range of industries.  During World War I, he was an assistant general manager of a Boston area Bethlehem Steel shipyard, through which he developed a friendship with FDR, then Assistant Secretary of the Navy.  In the 1920s Kennedy made huge profits from reorganizing and refinancing several Hollywood studios, ultimately merging several acquisitions into Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) studios.  After Prohibition ended in 1933, Kennedy consolidated an even larger fortune when he traveled to Scotland with FDR’s son, James Roosevelt, to buy distribution rights for Scotch whisky.  His company, Somerset Importers, became the exclusive American agent for Gordon’s Gin and Dewar’s Scotch.  He owned the largest office building in the country at that time, Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, giving his family an important base in that city and an alliance with the Irish-American political leadership there.  His term as ambassador and his political ambitions ended abruptly during the Battle of Britain in November 1940, with the publishing of his controversial remarks suggesting that “Democracy is finished in England. It may be here, [in the US].”   Kennedy resigned under pressure shortly afterwards.  In later years, Kennedy worked behind the scenes to continue building the financial and political fortunes of the Kennedy family.  Kennedy married Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, the eldest daughter of Boston Mayor John Francis “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald (political rival of his father P. J. Kennedy) and Mary Josephine “Josie” Hannon.  The marriage joined two of the city’s most prominent Irish-American political families.  The couple had nine children, four boys and five girls.  Kennedy survived all but one of his sons and one of his daughters.  The Final Footprint – Kennedy is interred in the Kennedy private family estate in Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts.

James_Coburn_The_Californians_1959On this day in 2002, Academy Award winning actor James Coburn died of heart attack while listening to music in his Beverly Hills home at the age of 77.  Born James Harrison Coburn III in Laurel, Nebraska on 31 August 1928.  Coburn was featured in over 70 films and made 100 television appearances during his 45-year career, winning an Academy Award for his supporting role as Glen Whitehouse in Affliction.  His rugged and “cool” persona made him a prpminent tough guy in numerous leading and supporting roles in westerns and action films, such as The Magnificent Seven (1960)The Great Escape (1963), Major Dundee (1965), Our Man Flint (1966), In Like Flint (1967), Duck, You Sucker! (1971), Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), Charade (1963) and Cross of Iron (1977).  Coburn married twice; Beverly Kelly (1959 – 1979 divorce) and Paula Murad (1993 – 2002 his death).  James_Coburn_grave_at_Westwood_Village_Memorial_Park_Cemetery_in_Brentwood,_CaliforniaThe Final Footprint – Coburn was cremated and his cremains were inurned in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery (a Dignity Memorial® provider) in Los Angeles, California, and marked by a stone bench inscribed with his name.  Other notable final footprints at Westwood include; Ray Bradbury, Sammy Cahn, Truman Capote, Rodney Dangerfield, Farrah Fawcett, Brian Keith, Don Knotts, Burt Lancaster, Peter Lawford, Peggy Lee, Janet Leigh, Jack Lemmon, Karl Malden, Dean Martin, Walter Matthau, Marilyn Monroe, Carroll O’Connor, Roy Orbison, George C. Scott, Dorothy Stratten, Natalie Wood and Frank Zappa.

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Day in History 17 November – Rodin

On this day in 1917, sculptor Auguste Rodin, died at his villa in Meudon, Île-de-France, on the outskirts of Paris at the age of 77.  Born François-Auguste-René Rodin on 12 November 1840 in Paris.  Among his best known works: Le Penseur, La Porte de L’enfer, Monument à Balzac, Monument à Victor Hugo, Monument aux Bourgeois de Calais, L’homme qui Marche, L’age D’airain, and Le Baiser.  Clearly, Le Baiser (The Kiss) is my personal favorite.  The sculpture was originally titled Francesca da Rimini, as it depicts the 13th-century Italian noblewoman immortalised in Dante’s Inferno (Circle 2, Canto 5) who falls in love with her husband Giovanni Malatesta’s younger brother Paolo.  They fall in love while reading the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, but the couple are discovered and killed by Giovanni.  In the sculpture, the book can be seen in Paolo’s hand.  The lovers lips do not actually touch in the sculpture to suggest that they were interrupted and met their demise without their lips ever having touched.  In 1864 Rodin began living with Rose Beuret, with whom he would have a son.  In 1883, at the age of 43, Rodin met the 18 year-old artist Camille Claudel.  The two commenced a passionate but stormy relationship and they influenced each other artistically.  She inspired him as a model for many of his female figures.  His muse if you will.  Rodin parted with Claudel in 1898.  He married Beuret after 53 years together in 1917, two weeks before her death.  The Final Footprint – Rodin is interred on the grounds of The Musée Rodin in Meudon.  His grave is marker by a bronze and marble cast of Le Penseur (The Thinker). 

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Day in History 16 November – Clark Gable

On this day in 1960, U.S. Army Air Corps veteran, Academy Award-winning actor, The King of Hollywood, Clark Gable, died in Los Angeles at the age of 59.  Born William Clark Gable on 1 February 1901 in Cadiz, Ohio.  Of course his most famous role was that of Rhett Butler with Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).  Perhaps my favorite movie.  His final film, The Misfits (1961), paired Gable with Marilyn Monroe in her last screen appearance.  The screen play for the movie was written by Monroe’s then husband, Arthur Miller.  Gable married five times including; Texas socialite Ria Franklin Prentiss Lucas Langham and actress Carole Lombard.  The marriage to Lombard ended when she died in a plane crash on 16 January 1942.  Gable reportedly had affairs with Joan Crawford, Paulette Goddard, Grace Kelly and Loretta YoungThe Final FootprintGable is entombed next to Lombard in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Trust, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.  Other notable Final Footprints at Forest Lawn Glendale include; L. Frank BaumHumphrey Bogart, Lon Chaney, Nat King Cole,  Sam Cooke, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr., Walt Disney, Errol Flynn, Jean Harlow, Michael Jackson, Carole Lombard, Casey Stengel, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor and Spencer Tracy.

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