a long time ago in a galaxy far away….

Star WarsAmerican actor, voice actor, producer, director, and writer Mark Richard Hamill was born September 25, 1951. He is best known for his performance as Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars trilogy, as well as his voice role as the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series, its various spin-offs, and the video games Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City. Hamill has also lent his voice to various other villains and anti-heroes in various other animated productions.

Mark atended Nile C. Kinnick High School in Yokosuka, and was a member of the drama club. After that he attended Annandale High School in Annandale, Virginia. He subsequently enrolled at Los Angeles City College and majored in drama. Hamill’s early career included voicing the character Corey Anders on the Saturday morning cartoon Jeannie by Hanna-Barbera Productions. He also portrayed the oldest son, David, on the pilot episode of Eight Is Enough, though the role was later performed byGrant Goodeve. He acted in TV series such as The Texas Wheelers, General Hospital, The Partridge Family, and One Day at a Time. One of his earliest films was the made-for-TV film The City. Robert Englund was auditioning for a part in Apocalypse Now when he walked across the hall where auditions were taking place for George Lucas’ Star Wars. After watching the auditions for a while, he realized that his friend, aspiring actor Mark Hamill, would be perfect for the role of Luke Skywalker. He suggested to Hamill that he audition for the part; Hamill did, and won the role. Released in the summer of 1977, Star Wars became hugely, successful and Hamill also appeared in Star Wars Holiday Special (1978) and the Star Wars sequels The Empire Strikes Back(1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). For each of the sequels, Hamill was honored with the Saturn Award for Best Actor given by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Horror Films. He reprised the role of Luke Skywalker for the radio dramatizations of both Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, but did not act in theReturn of the Jedi radio drama.

After the success of Star Wars, Hamill found that audiences identified him very closely with the role of Luke Skywalker. He attempted to avoid typecasting by appearing in Corvette Summer (1978) and the better-known World War II film The Big Red One (1980). Hamill also made a guest appearance on The Muppet Show as both himself and his role of Luke Skywalker. C3PO and R2-D2 were along with him on a search for Chewbacca in that episode. During the 1980s, Hamill did little film work outside of Star Wars. Instead, he acted on Broadway, starring in The Elephant Man, Harrigan ‘N Hart (for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination), The Nerd, and other stage plays. Hamill also played the antagonist Hawkins in the Swedish action movie Hamilton in 1998. Some of his other film credits include The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Britannia Hospital, Slipstream, The Guyver, and the 1995 remake of Village of the Damned. In 1990, he played an escaped mental patient who terrorizes Michael Dudikoff and his wife in Midnight Ride. He also narrated The Sci-Fi Files, a four-part documentary about the influence of science fiction upon present society. In 2001, Hamill starred in Thank You, Good Night alongside Christian Campbell, John Paul Pitoc, and Sally Kirkland. Hamill appeared in the film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and parodies Luke Skywalker, The Joker, The Trickster (of “The Flash” fame), and the rest of the vast array of super-villain voices he has done and himself all at the same time.

In live-action television, Hamill had recurring roles in General Hospital and The Texas Wheelers, and a small role in The Bill Cosby Show. He guest appeared in two episodes as the Trickster in the live-action television series of The Flash, a role he would later reprise in the animated series Justice League Unlimited. He has made cameo appearances on MADtv (where he played the estranged father ofMs. Swan), and appeared on Saturday Night Live (playing himself being sold on a Star Wars-themed home shopping sale). Hamill appeared on single episodes of 3rd Rock from the Sun and Just Shoot Me! He also had a guest spot on The Muppet Show as both himself and his “cousin” Luke Skywalker, along with C-3PO, Chewbacca and R2-D2. In 1986, he appeared in an episode of the TV seriesAmazing Stories (“Gather Ye Acorns”) in the role of Jonathan. He also had a recurring role as Tobias LeConte on seaQuest DSV. It has been recounted by Richard Hatch that, shortly after the filming of Star Wars, when Mark appeared on set for a guest appearance onStreets of San Francisco, he was asked by Richard about recent work, to which Mark had reportedly replied “I just finished a movie called Star Wars.”Hamill also directed and starred in the 2005 direct-to-DVD Comic Book: The Movie. A comic book fan who attended science fiction and comic conventions before he became famous, Hamill claimed that his character was based on an exaggerated version of himself. He and his crew shot most of the “mockumentary” film during the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con, and enlisted Stan Lee, Kevin Smith, andHugh Hefner in small roles. The movie won an award for Best Live-Action DVD Premiere Movie at the 2005 DVD Exclusive Awards.

Mark Hamill has gained a reputation as a prolific voice actor. He previously did voice acting work in the Ralph Bakshi film Wizards, where he played “Sean, leader of the Knights of Stardust,” which was released just three months before Star Wars in 1977. Though the voice-role he is most known for is Batman’s archenemy the Joker, his success as the Joker has led him to portray a wide variety of characters (mostly villainous) in television, film, anime, and video games including the Hobgoblin in the 1990sSpider-Man cartoon series, Lawrance “Larry” 3000, in Cartoon Network’s animated series Time Squad. He also guest starred in The Simpsons episode “Mayored to the Mob”, he played the Gargoyle in the animated series of The Incredible Hulk, the Hobgoblin in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Maximus in Fantastic Four, Captain Stickybeard inCodename: Kids Next Door, and the deranged shock jock anchorman Dr. Jak in Phantom 2040. He even parodied his Joker role in theTom & Jerry Kids episode “Droopy Man Returns,” and in the Animaniacs episode “The Cranial Crusader”, as Johnny Bad-Note. He voiced Dr. Julius Pendecker in The Tick, and Niju the Evil Wolf in Balto II: Wolf Quest. He also voiced Christopher “Maverick” Blair in the animated series Wing Commander Academy. In 1999, he provided the voice of Van Ripper in The Night of the Headless Horseman.

He voiced the character of Chanukah Zombie for the 2007 straight-to-DVD release Futurama: Bender’s Big Score. He also voiced the character Adolpho in Loonatics Unleashed.Hamill was also the voice of Judah in the DreamWorks film Joseph: King of Dreams As well asSolomon Grundy and the Trickster in the DC animated universe seriesJustice League and Justice League Unlimited. He voiced the murderous gangster Tony Zucco in The Batman, an animated series unrelated to the various DCAU shows. He also voiced the Spectre, in an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, another animated series unrelated to the DCAU.Hamill performs the voice of Undergrowth in the Danny Phantom episode “Urban Jungle.” He provided the voice of series antagonist Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Skeleton King in Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!. He also guest starred as The Moth in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode “Night Light”. Additionally, he played the latter character in the Mina and the Count shorts. In the Hanna-Barbera Productions cartoon SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, Hamill voiced Jonny K., the Red Lynx, and Burke, among others. He is also a recurring voice actor on Seth Green’s Robot Chicken. He also voiced Cry Baby Clown in Sccoby Doo Mystery Incorporated And had a voice cameo in the NASA animated short “Robot Astronomy Talk Show: Gravity and the Great Attractor,” part of the web-series IRrelevant Astronomy, produced by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

he also appeared in Star Wars episode VII alongside Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and is also doing voicework for several characters in the Metalocalypse animated series. He voices Skips in the animated series Regular Show and also voices Frank the Director in Random! Cartoons on Frederator Studios. He provided the voice for Abraham Kane in the new series, Motorcity. He voiced Colonel Muska in the English-language version of Castle in the Sky and the Mayor of Pejite in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, both directed by Hayao Miyazaki and distributed by Disney. Hamill provided the voice of Commander Taylor in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, the sequel to the 1980s adapted anime series Robotech. He was also in Afro Samurai Resurrection. Hamill provides the voice of Jameson Burkright in the miniseries comedy The Wrong Coast, and Yamma in the joint Cartoon Network/Production I.G anime series IGPX Immortal Grand Prix. In early 2010, he voiced as Dante’s father in the anime film version ofDante’s Inferno. Hamill also co-wrote The Black Pearl, a comic book miniseries published by Dark Horse Comics. He wrote an introduction to the Trade Paperback Batman: Riddler Two-Face which reprints various stories involving The Riddler and Two-Face to tie in with Batman Forever. He has also written several stories for Simpsons Comics, including “Catastrophe in Substitute Springfields!”, which parodies DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and also references several other classic comics. It was confirmed that Hamill is also doing the voicework for Alvin the Treacherous, a villain who is appeared in DreamWorks Television Series, Dragons: Riders of Berk.

Christopher Reeve

American actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, author & activist Christopher Reeve was born September 25, 1952. He achieved stardom for his acting achievements, in particular his motion-picture portrayal of the fictional superhero Superman. Reeve had been asked to audition for the leading role as Clark Kent/Superman in the big budget film, Superman: The Movie . A meeting between director Richard Donner, producer Ilya Salkind and Reeve was set in January 1977., Reeve was sent a 300-page script for the film. He accepted & was told that Marlon Brando was going to play Jor-El and Gene Hackman was going to play Lex Luthor. He based his portrayal of Clark Kent on Cary Grant in his role in Bringing Up Baby & felt that the new Superman ought to reflect a contemporary male image.Although Reeve was a talented all-around athlete, portraying the role of Superman would be a stretch for him, but he was tall enough for the role & had the necessary blue eyes and handsome features. However, his physique was slim & he went through an intense two-month training regimen supervised by former British weightlifting champion David Prowse, (Darth Vader). Despite landing the role, Reeve was never a comic book fan, though he had watched Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves.

The film was a worldwide hit & Reeve won a BAFTA Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles & became an instant international star. He also guest starred in Smallville, about Clark Kent/Superman’s childhood. He appeared as Doctor Virgil Swann, in two episodes titled “Rosetta” and “Legacy”, while his death was made known in the fourth season episode “Sacred”.Reeve’s first role after 1978′s Superman was as Richard Collier in the 1980 romantic fantasy Somewhere in Time which co-starred Jane Seymour . Sadly reviews savaged the film as overly sentimental & melodramatic, however thanks to screenings on cable networks and video rentals; its popularity began to grow and it has since gone on to become something of a cult classic. Director Jean-Pierre Dorléac was also nominated for an Academy Award in Costume Design for the movie.In 1980 Reeves played the lead in the successful play The Front Page,as well as a disabled Vietnam veteran in the critically acclaimed Broadway play Fifth of July. In his research for the role, he was coached by an amputee on how to walk on artificial legs. After The Fifth of July, Reeve played a novice playwright opposite Michael Caine in Sidney Lumet’s film Deathtrap, Reeve was then offered the role of Basil Ransom in The Bostonians alongside Vanessa Redgrave. In 1984, Reeve appeared in The Aspern Papers with Vanessa Redgrave and played Tony in The Royal Family and the Count in Marriage of Figaro.

In 1985, Reeve hosted the television documentary Dinosaur! having been Fascinated with dinosaurs since he was a kid. DC Comics also named Reeve as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for his work on the Superman film series. In 1986 He starred opposite Morgan Freeman, in the film Street Smart, for which Freeman was nominated for his first Academy Award. The film also received excellent reviews.Reeve was very active and went sailing, scuba diving, skiing, aviation, windsurfing, cycling, gliding, parasailing, mountain climbing, Played baseball, tennis and went horse riding after learning to ride for the film Anna Karenina, he also built a sailboat, The Sea Angel, which he sailed from the Chesapeake to Nova Scotia. He was also a licensed pilot and flew solo across the Atlantic twice, & also raced his sailplane in his free time and joined The Tiger Club, a group of aviators who had served in the Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, who let him participate in mock dogfights in vintage World War I combat planes. He was approached by The producers of the film The Aviator to fly a Stearman in the film, Reeve readily accepted the role and did all of his stunts.

He also served as a board member for the Charles Lindbergh Fund, which promotes environmentally safe technologies, & lent support to causes such as Amnesty International, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and People for the American Way. He joined the Environmental Air Force and was also awarded The Bernardo O’Higgins Order and the Obie Prize and the Annual Walter Brielh Human Rights Foundation award, for helping to save the lives of 77 Actors in Santiago during 1987. Reeve was a member of the Creative Coalition, an organization designed to teach celebrities how to speak knowledgeably about political issues. along with Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, and Blythe Danner. In 1990, Reeve starred in the Civil War film, The Rose and the Jackal, in which he played Allan Pinkerton, the head of President Lincoln’s new Secret Service, he was also offered the part of Lewis in The Remains of the Day. The film was deemed an instant classic and was nominated for eight Academy Awards. In 1994, Reeve was elected as a co-president of the Creative Coalition. Reeve was also asked by the Democratic Party to run for the United States Congress. He also went to New Mexico to shoot Speechless (co-starring Michael Keaton). Reeve also played a paralyzed police officer in Above Suspicion. He research the role at a rehabilitation hospital and learned how to use a wheelchair to get in and out of cars. Reeve was then offered the lead in Kidnapped and also planned to direct a romantic comedy entitled Tell Me True until his life took An unexpected turn…

Not long after making these plans, Reeve was invited to compete in the Commonwealth Dressage and Combined Training Association finals at the Commonwealth Park equestrian center in Culpeper, Virginia . He took horse riding seriously and was intensely competitive with it and finished fourth out of 27 in the dressage, before walking his cross-country course. He was concerned about jumps sixteen and seventeen, but paid little attention to the third jump, which was a routine three-foot-three fence shaped like the letter ‘W’. Sadly during the event On May 27, 1995, Reeve’s horse refused to jump the 3rd fence and Reeve fell and sustained a cervical spinal injury that paralyzed him from the neck down. He had no recollection of the incident but landed headfirst on the other side of the fence. His helmet prevented any brain damage, but the impact of his 215-pound (98 kg) body hitting the ground shattered his first and second vertebrae which meant that his skull and spine were not connected. When paramedics arrived he was taken to the local hospital, then flown by helicopter to the University of Virginia Medical Center. He had an operation to reattach his skull to his spine.Reeve was taken to the Kessler Rehabilitation Center in West Orange, New Jersey. At the Institute, one of his aides was a Jamaican man named Glenn Miller, nicknamed Juice, who helped him learn how to get into the shower and how to use a powered wheelchair, which was activated by blowing air through a straw. Reeve had occupational therapy and physical therapy in rehab. In the therapy gym, Reeve worked on moving his trapezius muscle, every day he would try to do better. The most difficult part of rehabilitation was respiratory therapy, the ammount of air Reeve could inhale had to be 750 ccs before getting off the artificial respirator could even be considered. Initially, Reeve could hardly get above zero. By the end of October, he was able to get around 50 ccs. This inspired him, and he felt his natural competitive edge coming back. The next day, he went up to 450 ccs. He reached 560 ccs the day after, and by December 13, 1995, Reeve was able to breathe without a ventilator for 30 minutes.

In July 2003, Christopher Reeve’s continuing frustration with the pace of stem cell research in the U.S. led him to Israel,which was at the center of research in spinal cord injury, He was invited by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to seek out the best treatment for his condition. During his visit, Reeve called the experience “a privilege” and said, “Israel has very proactive rehab facilities, excellent medical schools and teaching hospitals, and an absolutely first-rate research infrastructure.” Throughout his intensive tour, Reeve visited ALYN Hospital, Weizmann Institute of Science, and Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, among many other places. Israelis were very receptive to Reeve’s visit, calling him an inspiration to all and urging him to never give up hope.Reeve left Kessler feeling deeply inspired by the other patients he had met. Because he was constantly being covered by the media, he realized that he could use his name to the benefit of everyone with spinal cord injuries. In 1996, he appeared at the Academy Awards to a long standing ovation and gave a speech about Hollywood’s duty to make movies that face the world’s most important issues head-on.

He also hosted the Paralympics in Atlanta and spoke at the Democratic National Convention. He traveled across the country to make speeches, he narrated the HBO film Without Pity: A Film About Abilities. The film won the Emmy Award for “Outstanding Informational Special.” He then acted in a small role in the film A Step Towards Tomorrow.Reeve was elected Chairman of the American Paralysis Association and Vice Chairman of the National Organization on Disability. He co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, which is now one of the leading spinal cord research centers in the world. He created the the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to speed up research through funding, and to use grants to improve the quality of the lives of people with disabilities. Reeve used his celebrity status for good causes.He lobbied on behalf of people with spinal-cord injuries and for human embryonic stem cell research, founding the Christopher Reeve Foundation and co-founding the Reeve-Irvine Research Center. Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he visited terminally ill children. He joined the Board of Directors for the worldwide charity Save the Children. and has done more to promote research on spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders than any other person before or since.

In 1997, Reeve made his directorial debut with the HBO film In the Gloaming with Robert Sean Leonard, Glenn Close, Whoopi Goldberg, Bridget Fonda and David Strathairn. The film won four Cable Ace Awards and was nominated for five Emmy Awards including “Outstanding Director for a Miniseries or Special. In 1998, Reeve produced and starred in Rear Window, a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film. He was nominated for a Golden Globe and won a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance. On April 25, 1998, Random House published Reeve’s autobiography, Still Me. The book spent eleven weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list and Reeve won a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album. In 2000, he also began to regain some motor function, and was able to sense hot and cold temperatures on his body, and was also able to move his left index finger on command, Reeve also lobbied for expanded federal funding on embryonic stem cell research. In 2002, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, a federal government facility created through a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention non-compete grant, was opened in Short Hills, New Jersey. Its mission is to teach paralyzed people to live more independently. In 2004, Reeve directed the A&E film The Brooke Ellison Story. The film is based on the true story of Brooke Ellison, the first quadriplegic to graduate from Harvard University Reeve’s second book, Nothing is Impossible was also published, Reeve also directed the animated film Everyone’s Hero.

During his recovery He experienced a number of illnesses, including mononucleosis, malaria, and superior mesenteric artery syndrome. He also suffered from mastocytosis, a blood cell disorder and fought off a number of serious infections believed to have originated from bone marrow. He also had asthma and many allergies and More than once he had a severe reaction to a drug. In Kessler, he tried a drug named Sygen which helps reduce damage to the spinal cord. The drug caused him to go into anaphylactic shock and his heart stopped, He fell into a coma and was taken to Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York. Eighteen hours later, on October 10, 2004, Reeve died of cardiac arrest at the age of 52. His doctor, John McDonald, believed that it was an adverse reaction to the antibiotic that caused his death. During the final days of his life, Reeve also urged California voters to vote yes on Proposition 71, which would establish the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, & allot $3 billion of state funds to stem cell research. A memorial service for Reeve was held at the Unitarian Church in Westport, Connecticut, which his wife attended. Reeve was cremated & his ashes scattered. Proposition 71 was also approved less than one month after Reeve’s death.

Four candles

The late, great English actor, comedian, writer, critic, broadcaster and businessman Ronald William George “Ronnie” Barker, OBE was born 25 September 1929. He was known for his roles in various British comedy television series, such as The Frost Report, Porridge,The Two Ronnies and Open All Hours.He began his acting career in repertory theatre and decided he was best suited to performing comic roles. Barker gained his first acting successes at the Oxford Playhouse and later in various roles in the West End including Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound. During this period, he became a cast member on BBC radio and television comedy programmes such as The Navy Lark.

Barker got his television break with the satirical sketch series The Frost Report in 1966 where he met future collaborator Ronnie Corbett. He joined David Frost’s production company and was to star in a number of ITV shows including a short film during this period.After rejoining the BBC Barker found fame with the sketch show The Two Ronnies (1971–1987) with Ronnie Corbett. After the series of pilots called Seven of One, he gained starring roles in the sitcoms Porridge, its sequel Going Straight and Open All Hours. Apart from being a performer, he was noted as a comedy writer both under his own name and the pseudonym Gerald Wiley, which Barker adopted to avoid pre-judgements of his talent. Barker won the BAFTA for Best Light Entertainment Performance four times, amongst other awards, and received an OBE in 1978.Later television sitcoms such as The Magnificent Evans and Clarence were less successful and he decided to retire in 1987. After his retirement, he opened an antiques shop with his wife, Joy. After 1999, he appeared in a number of smaller, non-comic roles in films. Barker died of heart failure on 3 October 2005, aged 76.

Peter Salisbury (The Verve)

VerveBest known as the drummer for The Verve Peter Salisbury was born 24 September 1971.. He co-founded the Verve in 1989 in Wigan with lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. The guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong later became a member. Beginning with a psychedelic sound indebted to shoegazing and space rock, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and three albums. It also endured name and line-up changes, breakups, health problems, drug abuse and various lawsuits. Filter referred to them as “one of the tightest knit, yet ultimately volatile bands in history”.

The band’s commercial breakthrough was the 1997 album Urban Hymns, one of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history, and the single “Bitter Sweet Symphony”, which became a worldwide hit. In 1998, the band won two Brit Awards—winning Best British Group, appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in March, and in February 1999, “Bitter Sweet Symphony” was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. Soon after this commercial peak, The Verve broke up in April 1999, citing internal conflicts. During an eight year split, Ashcroft dismissed talk of a reunion, saying: “You’re more likely to get all four Beatles on stage.”

However The Verve eventually did reunite in June, 2007 for a new tour and a future album. Pete is believed to have been the one behind getting the ball rolling in terms of reuniting the band. After Ashcroft learned that Salisbury, was in contact with the former guitarist, Nick McCabe, over a possible side project, Ashcroft used this as an excuse to call McCabe. Ashcroft made peace with him and bassist Simon Jones and the band reformed. In a band interview with the NME in 2007, Salisbury mentioned that the problems between them weren’t that bad in the first place.

After the band’s demise in 1999, Salisbury played with various bands including Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. He filled in on a UK/EU tour in 2002 when their original drummer Nick Jago could not get a working visa for BRMC’s British gigs. Salisbury owns and runs a drum shop, “Drummin”, in Stockport, England. He played drums on the first three of Richard Ashcroft’s solo albums and this was his most notable musical contribution away from The Verve. In October 2010, he played drums on The Charlatans UK tour while their regular drummer Jon Brookes was undergoing treatment for a brain tumour. Brookes sadly died in late 2012, and Salisbury has continued to work as The Charlatans drummer since then, though he has not been made a full member of the band. As of 2013, Salisbury has continued to support Richard Ashcroft’s live performances.

Doctor Seuss

Most widely known for children’s picture books, the American writer, poet, illustrator and cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel Died 24 September 1991. Born March 2, 1904 He had used the pen name Dr. Theophrastus Seuss in college and later used Theo LeSieg, and once Rosetta Stone, as well as Dr. Seuss. Geisel published 46 children’s books, often characterized by imaginative characters, rhyme, and frequent use of anapestic meter. His most celebrated books include the bestselling Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, The Lorax, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Horton Hatches the Egg, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas! He won theLewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958 for Horton Hatches the Egg and again in 1961 for And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.

Geisel also worked as an illustrator for advertising campaigns, most notably for Flit and Standard Oil, and as a political cartoonist for PM, a New York City newspaper. During World War II, he worked in an animation department of the United States Army, where he wrote Design for Death, a film that later won the 1947 Academy Award for Documentary Feature. He was a perfectionist in his work and he would sometimes spend up to a year on a book. It was not uncommon for him to throw out 95% of his material until he settled on a theme for his book. For a writer he was unusual in that he preferred to only be paid after he finished his work rather than in advance .Geisel’s birthday, March 2, has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association. Numerous adaptations of his work have been created, including 11 television specials, four feature films, a Broadway musical and four television series including The Cat in the Hat, the Grinch, The Lorax and Horton hears a Who, and his books and illustrations continue to be popular.

Jim Henson

Bert_Ernie_richBest known as the creator of The Muppets, The late great Jim Henson was born on 24th September 1936 in Greenville, Mississippi. Raised in Maryland he was educated atUniversity of Maryland, College Park, where he created Sam and Friends. He spent his early childhood in Leland, Mississipi moving with his family to Hyattsville, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., in the late 1940s. He later remembered the arrival of the family’s first television as “the biggest event of his adolescence,”having been heavily influenced by radio ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and the early television puppets of Burr Tillstrom and Bil and Cora Baird. In 1954 while attending Northwestern High School, he began working for WTOP-TV, creating puppets for a Saturday morning children’s show called The Junior Morning Show.

Grover_richAfter graduating from high school, Henson enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park, as a studio arts major. A puppetry class offered in the applied arts department introduced him to the craft and textiles courses in the College of Home Economics, and he graduated in 1960 with a B.S. in home economics. As a freshman, he was asked to create Sam and Friends, a 5-minute puppet show for WRC-TV. The characters on Sam and Friends were forerunners of the Muppets, and the show included a prototype of Henson’s most famous character: Kermit the Frog. Henson remained at WRC for seven years from 1954 to 1961. He began experimenting with techniques which improved puppetry, such as using the frame defined by the camera shot to allow the puppeteer to work from off-screen. To give his puppets “life and sensitivity,” Henson began making characters from flexible, fabric-covered foam rubber, making them more expressive. Henson also used rods instead of string to move his Muppets’ arms, allowing greater control of expression and to enable his muppet characters to “speak” more creatively than was possible for previous puppets, Henson used precise mouth movements to match the dialogue. Henson asked fellow University of Maryland sophomore Jane Nebel (whom he later married) to assist him on Sam and Friends Which became a financial success, After Graduating from college Henson visited Europe where he was inspired by European puppeteers who look on their work as an art form. Henson also contributed to Saturday Night Live, but eventually found success when In 1969, Joan Ganz Cooney and the team at the Children’s Television Workshop asked him to work on Sesame Street, Which featured a series of funny, colourful puppet characters living on the titular street, including Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster and Big Bird. Henson performed the characters of Ernie, game-show host Guy Smile, and Kermit the Frog, the roving television news reporter.At first, Henson’s Muppets appeared separately from the realistic segments on the Street, but the two were gradually integrated and The success of Sesame Street allowed Henson to stop producing commercials.

Kermit_Rich2In addition to creating and performing Muppet characters, Henson was involved in producing various shows and animation inserts using a variety of methods including (“Dollhouse”, “Number Three Ball Film”), stop-motion (“King of Eight”, “Queen of Six”), cut-out animation (“Eleven Cheer”), computer animation (“Nobody Counts To 10″) and the original C is For Cookie. Henson also directed Tales from Muppetland, a short series of TV movie specials—in the form of comedic tellings of classic fairy tales—aimed at a young audience and hosted by Kermit the Frog. The series included Hey, Cinderella!, The Frog Prince, and The Muppet Musicians of Bremen. Henson, Frank Oz, and his team also created a series of adult orientated sketches on the first season of the comedy series Saturday Night Live(SNL). Eleven “Dregs and Vestiges” sketches, set mostly in the Land of Gorch, Around the time of Henson’s characters’ final appearances on SNL, he began developing two projects featuring the Muppets: a Broadway show and a weekly television series, which was rejected by American Networks however Henson convinced British impresario Lew Grade to finance the Muppet show which featured Kermit the Frog as host, and a variety of other memorable characters, notably Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great, Scooter, Animal, the Swedish Chef, Bunsen Honeydew and Fozzie Bear. The creative team moved to England and began working on the Muppets. Jim Henson was himself the performer for several well known characters, including Kermit the Frog, Rowlf the Dog, Dr. Teeth, the Swedish Chef,Waldorf, Link Hogthrob, and Guy Smiley. In 1977, Henson produced a one-hour television adaptation of the Russell Hoban story Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas and Three years after the start of The Muppet Show, the Muppets appeared in their first theatrical feature film The Muppet Movie, which was a critical and financial success; and A song from the movie, “The Rainbow Connection”, sung by Henson as Kermit, hit number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for an Academy Award. A sequel, The Great Muppet Caper, followed in 1981 and Henson decided to end the still-popular Muppet Show to concentrate on making films, however the Muppet characters occasionally appeared in made-for-TV-movies and television specials. Recently The Muppets  appeared in a Walt Disney Movie in 2012 alongside Amy Adams and remain popular.

Henson also aided others in their work. In 1979, he was asked by the producers of the Star Wars sequel The Empire Strikes Back to aid make-up artist Stuart Freeborn in the creation and articulation of enigmatic Jedi Master Yoda. Henson suggested to George Lucas that he use Frank Oz as the puppeteer and voice of Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back and each of the four subsequent Star Wars films. Lucas even lobbied unsuccessfully to have Oz nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. In 1982, Henson founded the Jim Henson Foundation to promote and develop the art of puppetry in the United States. He also began creating darker and more realistic fantasy films that did not feature the Muppets such as1982’s The Dark Crystal, which he co-directed with Frank Oz from conceptual artwork created by Brian Froud. In 1983 The Muppets Take Manhattan (directed by Frank Oz) was released, then In 1986 the film Labyrinth, was released, a Dark Crystal-like fantasy featuring Jennifer Connolly and David Bowie as The Goblin King.

During production of his later projects, Henson began to experience flu like symptoms. On May 4, 1990, Henson made one of his last television appearances on The Arsenio Hall Show, Feeling tired and having a sore throat, Henson traveled to Ahoskie, North Carolina, for a family visit And consulted a physician in North Carolina before returning to to New York. At 2 am on May 15, Henson started having trouble breathing and began coughing up blood. But delayed visiting the hospital for two hours until he finally agreed to go to New York Hospital, By which time he could not breathe on his own anymore due to abscesses in his lungs and was placed on a mechanical ventilator to help him breathe, but his condition deteriorated rapidly into septic shock, until sadly On the morning of May 16, 1990, Henson died at the age of 53 at New York Hospital. Henson’s death was covered as a significant news story, occurring on the same day as the death of Sammy Davis Jr. The official cause of death was first reported as a Bacterial Infection caused byStreptococcus pneumoniae, Henson’s actual cause of death, however, was organ failure resulting from Streptococcus pyogenes, a severe Group A streptococcal infection. A public memorial service was conducted in New York City On May 21, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Another one was conducted on July 2 at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. As per Henson’s wishes, no one in attendance wore black, and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band finished the service by performing “When the Saints Go Marching In”. Harry Belafonte also sang “Turn the World Around,” a song he had debuted on The Muppet Show, Big Bird, performed by Caroll Spinney, also sang Kermit the Frog’s signature song, “Bein’ Green”. six of the core Muppet performers—Dave Goelz, Frank Oz, Kevin Clash, Steve Whitmire, Jerry Nelson and Richard Hunt—also sang, in their characters’ voices, a medley of Jim Henson’s favorite songs, eventually ending with a growing number of performers singing “Just One Person” which was recreated for the 1990 television special The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson and inspired screenwriter Richard Curtis, who attended the London service, to write the growing-orchestra wedding scene in the 2003 film Love Actually.

Henson was cremated at Ferncliff Cemetery and his ashes were scattered at his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Henson’s companies, which are now run by his children, continue to produce films and television shows. The Jim Henson Company and the Jim Henson Foundation continued after his death, producing new series and specials. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, founded by Henson, also continues to build creatures for a large number of other films and series, such as Farscape, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and the movie MirrorMask). Henson remains one of the most advanced and well respected creators of film creatures and In 2004, The Muppets were sold to The Walt Disney Company. One of Henson’s last projects is a show attraction in Walt Disney World and Disneyland featuring the Muppets, called Muppet*Vision 3D, which opened in 1991, shortly after his death. To date The Jim Henson Company retains the Creature Shop, as well as the rest of its film and television library including Fraggle Rock, Farscape, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

imageAmerican novellist Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald was born September 24, 1896 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, to an uper-middle-class family, Fitzgerald was named after his famous second cousin, three times removed, Francis Scott Key, but was referred to as “Scott.” He was also named after his deceased sister, Louise Scott. Fitzgerald spent he first decade of his childhood primarily in Buffalo, New York and Syracuse, New York between 1901 and 1903). His parents, both devout Catholics, sent Fitzgerald to two Catholic schools on the West Side of Buffalo, first Holy Angels Convent and n Nardin Academy

Fitzgerald was intelligent with an interest in literature, his doting mother ensuring that her son had all the advantages ofan upper-middle-class upbringing. Fitzgerald attended Holy Angels for only half a day—and was allowed to choose which half. In 1908, his father was fired from Procter & Gamble, and the family returned to Minnesota, where Fitzgerald attended St. Paul Academy, St. Paul from 1908 to 1911. When he was 13 he published a detective story in the school newspaper. In 1911, when Fitzgerald was 15 years old, his parents sent him to the Newman School, a prestigious Catholic prep school in Hackensack, New Jersey. There he met Father Sigourney Fay, who encouraged him to pursue his literary ambitions.

After graduating from the Newman School in 1913, Fitzgerald continued his artistic development at Princeton University, New Jersey. At Princeton, he became friends with future critics and writers Edmund Wilson (Class of 1916) and John Peale Bishop (Class of 1917), and wrote for the Princeton Triangle Club, the Nassau Lit, and the Princeton Tiger. He also was involved in the American Whig-Cliosophic Society, which ran the Nassau Lit. The Princeton Triangle was a kind of musical-comedy society. He was also a member of the University Cottage Club, which still displays Fitzgerald’s desk and writing materials in its library.

However Fitzgerald’s writings came at the expense of his coursework. He was placed on academic probation, and in 1917 he dropped out of school to join the U.S. Army. Afraid that he might die in World War I with his literary dreams unfulfilled, Fitzgerald hastily wrote a novel called The Romantic Egotist. the reviewer noted its originality and encouraged Fitzgerald to submit more work in the future. Fitzgerald made several excursions to Europe on the 1920’s, mostly Paris and the French Riviera, and became friends with many members of the American expatriate community in Paris, notably Ernest Hemingway. Fitzgerald supplemented his income by writing short stories for such magazines as The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s Weekly, and Esquire, and sold his stories and novels to Hollywood studios.

Fitzgerald claimed that he would first write his stories in an authentic manner but then put in “twists that made them into saleable magazine stories. Although Fitzgerald’s passion lay in writing novels, only his first novel sold well enough to support the opulent lifestyle that he and Zelda adopted as New York celebrities. (The Great Gatsby, now considered to be his masterpiece, did not become popular until after Fitzgerald’s death.) Because of this lifestyle, as well as the bills from Zelda’s medical care when they came, Fitzgerald was constantly in financial trouble and often required loans from his literary agent, Harold Ober, and his editor at Scribner’s, Maxwell Perkins. When Ober decided not to continue advancing money to Fitzgerald, the author severed ties with his longtime friend and agent. (Fitzgerald offered a good-hearted and apologetic tribute to this support in the late short story “Financing Finnegan”.)

Fitzgerald began working on his fourth novel during the late 1920s but was sidetracked by financial difficulties that necessitated his writing commercial short stories, Fitzgerald rented the “La Paix” estate in the suburb of Towson, Maryland to work on his latest book, the story of the rise and fall of Dick Diver, a promising young psychiatrist who falls in love with and marries Nicole Warren, one of his patients. The book went through many versions, the first of which was to be a story of matricide. Some critics have seen the book as a thinly-veiled autobiographical novel recounting Fitzgerald’s problems with his wife, the corrosive effects of wealth and a decadent lifestyle, his own egoism and self-confidence, and his continuing alcoholism. . His book was finally published in 1934 as Tender Is the Night. Critics who had waited nine years for the followup to The Great Gatsby had mixed opinions about the novel. Most were thrown off by its three-part structure and many felt that Fitzgerald had not lived up to their expectations.The novel did not sell well upon publication but, like the earlier Gatsby, the book’s reputation has since risen significantly.

In 1937, Fitzgerald moved to Hollywood, and Most of the income he made came from short story sales. Besides writing, he also got involved in the film industry. Although he reportedly found movie work degrading, Fitzgerald was once again in dire financial straits, and spent the second half of the 1930s in Hollywood, working on commercial short stories, scripts for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (including some unfilmed work on Gone with the Wind), and his fifth and final novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon. Published posthumously as The Last Tycoon, it was based on the life of film executive Irving Thalberg. Among his other film projects was Madame Curie, for which he received no credit. In 1939, MGM ended the contract, and Fitzgerald became a freelance screenwriter.

However, Fitzgerald’s alcoholic tendencies still remained, and Fitzgerald and Zelda fell out; she continued living in mental institutions on the East Coast, while he lived with his lover Sheilah Graham, the gossip columnist, in Hollywood. In addition, records from the 1940 U.S. Census reflect that he was officially living at the estate of Edward Everett Horton in Encino, California San Fernando Valley. From 1939 until his death in 1940, Fitzgerald mocked himself as a Hollywood hack through the character of Pat Hobby in a sequence of 17 short stories, later collected as “The Pat Hobby Stories” which garnered many positive reviews. The Pat Hobby Stories were published in The Esquire and appeared from January 1940 to July 1941.

Fitzgerald had been an alcoholic since his college days, and became notorious during the 1920s for his extraordinarily heavy drinking, leaving him in poor health by the late 1930s.Fitzgerald suffered two heart attacks in the late 1930s. After the first, in Schwab’s Drug Store, he was ordered by his doctor to avoid strenuous exertion. He moved in with Sheilah Graham, who lived in Hollywood on North Hayworth Avenue, one block east of Fitzgerald’s apartment on North Laurel Avenue. Fitzgerald had two flights of stairs to climb to his apartment; Graham’s was on the ground floor. On the night of December 20, 1940, Fitzgerald and Sheilah Graham attended the premiere of This Thing Called Love starring Rosalind Russell and Melvyn Douglas. As the two were leaving the Pantages Theater, Fitzgerald experienced a dizzy spell and had trouble leaving the theater; and The following day, as Fitzgerald jumped from his armchair, grabbed the mantelpiece, gasped and fall to the floor. Upon entering the apartment to assist Fitzgerald, it was found that he had died of a heart attack. His body was moved to the Pierce Brothers Mortuary. Fitzgerald died at age 44, before he could complete The Love of the Last Tycoon.His manuscript, which included extensive notes for the unwritten part of the novel’s story, was edited by his friend, the literary critic Edmund Wilson, and published in 1941 as The Last Tycoon. In 1994 the book was reissued under the original title The Love of the Last Tycoon, which is now agreed to have been Fitzgerald’s preferred title.

Fitzgerald is considered a member of the “Lost Generation” of the 1920s and he is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. His works are the paradigmatic writings of the Jazz Age, and have inspired writers ever since the publication of The Great Gatsby which has sold millionsof copies and is a constant best seller and is required reading in many school and college classes. He finished four novels: This Side of Paradise, The Beautiful and Damned, The Great Gatsby (his most famous), and Tender Is the Night. A fifth, unfinished novel, The Love of the Last Tycoon, was published posthumously. Fitzgerald also wrote many short stories that treat themes of youth and promise along with age and despair.

Fitzgerald’s work has been adapted into films many times. Tender is the Night was filmed in 1962, and made into a television miniseries in 1985. The Beautiful and Damned was filmed in 1922 and 2010. The Great Gatsby has been the basis for numerous films of the same name, spanning nearly 90 years; 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, and 2013 adaptations. In addition, Fitzgerald’s own life from 1937 to 1940 was dramatized in 1958 in Beloved Infidel. Fitzgerald is also a 2009 inductee of the New Jersey Hall of Fame and is also the namesake of the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota, home of the radio broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion.Fitzgerald was the first cousin once removed of Mary Surratt, hanged in 1865 for conspiring to assassinate Abraham Lincoln

Phantom of the Opera

the-phantom-of-the-operaThe Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l’Opéra), by Gaston Leroux, was first published as a serialization in Le Gaulois on 23 September 1909. It features a character named Christine Daaé who travels with her father, a famous fiddler, throughout Europe and plays folk and religious music. She I s brought to rural France by a patron, Professor Valerius after both her parents die. As a child her father told her many stories about the “Angel of Music,” who is the personification of musical inspiration. Christine meets and befriends the young Raoul, Viscount of Chagny. One of Christine and Raoul’s favourite stories is one of Little Lotte, a girl who is visited by the Angel of Music who possesses a heavenly voice.

Christine is eventually given a position in the chorus at the Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier) and begins hearing a beautiful, unearthly voice which sings to her and speaks to her. She believes this must be the Angel of Music and asks him if he is. The Voice agrees and offers to teach her “a little bit of heaven’s music.” The Voice, however, belongs to Erik, a physically deformed and mentally disturbed musical genius who was one of the architects who took part in the construction of the opera. Erik falls in love with Christine And has also been extorting money from the Opera’s management for many years, and is referred to as the “Opera Ghost” by the denizens of the Opera. Christine triumphs at the gala on the night of the old managers’ retirement. Her old childhood friend Raoul hears her sing and recalls his love for her. He then hears the “Angel of Music” speaking to Christine. The Paris Opera then performs Faust, with the prima donna Carlotta playing the lead, against Erik’s wishes, in response Carlotta loses her voice and the Erik drops the grand chandelier into the audience causing carnage.

After the accident, Erik kidnaps Christine, brings her to his home in the catacombs beneath the opera House and reveals his true identity. He plans to keep her there for a few days, hoping she will come to love him. Christine begins to find herself attracted to her abductor, until she unmasks him and, beholds his face, which according to the book, resembles the face of a rotting corpse. Erik goes into a frenzy, stating she probably thinks his face is another mask, and whilst digging her fingers in to show it was really his face he shouts, “I am Don Juan Triumphant!” before crawling away, crying. Fearing that she will leave him, he decides to keep her with him forever, but when Christine requests release after two weeks, he agrees on condition that she wear his ring and be faithful to him. On the roof of the opera house, Christine tells Raoul that Erik abducted her. Raoul promises to take Christine away to a place where Erik can never find her. Raoul tells Christine he shall act on his promise the next day.

The two leave togather but are unaware that Erik has been listening to their conversation and that he has become extremely jealous. In the meantime Erik terrorises anyone who stands in his way or obstructs Christine’s career, including the managers. The following night, Erik kidnaps Christine during a production of Faust and tries to force Christine to marry him. He states that if she refuses, he will use explosives (which he has planted in the cellars) to destroy the entire opera house. Christine refuses, until she realizes that Erik has trapped Raoul (along with The Persian, an old acquaintance of Erik who was helping Raoul). To save them and the people above, Christine agrees to marry Erik, who then tries to clobber Raoul and The Persian for good…

Fay Weldon CBE FRSL

English author, essayist and playwrigh Fay Weldon CBE FRSL was born 22 September 1931 in Birmingham, England, to a literary family, with both her maternal grandfather, Edgar Jepson (1863–1938), and her mother Margaret writing novels (the latter under the nom de plume Pearl Bellairs. Weldon spent her early years in Auckland, New Zealand, where her father worked as a doctor. At the age of 14, after her parents’ divorced, she returned to England with her mother and her sister Jane and never saw her father again. While in England she attended South Hampstead High School.She studied psychology and economics at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, but returned to London after giving birth to a son.

Soon afterwards she married her first husband, Ronald Bateman, who was a headmaster 25 years her senior and not the natural father of her child, and moved to Acton, London. She left him after two years, and the marriage ended. In order to support herself and her son, and provide for his education, Weldon started working in the advertising industry. As Head ofcopywriting at one point she was responsible for publicising (but not originating) the phrase “Go to work on an egg”. She once coined the slogan “Vodka gets you drunker quicker”. She said in a Guardian interview “It just seemed … to be obvious that people who wanted to get drunk fast, needed to know this.” Her bosses disagreed and suppressed it. In 1960 she met Ron Weldon, a jazz musician and antiques dealer. They married and had three sons, the first of whom was born in 1963. It was during her second pregnancy that Weldon began writing for radio and television. A few years later, in 1967, she published her first novel, The Fat Woman’s Joke. For the next 30 years she built a very successful career, publishing over twenty novels, collections of short stories, films for television, newspaper and magazine articles and becoming a well-known face and voice on theBBC.

In 1971 Weldon wrote the first episode of the landmark television series Upstairs, Downstairs, for which she won a Writers Guild award for Best British TV Series Script. In 1980 Weldon wrote the screenplay for director/producer John Goldschmidt’s television movie Life for Christine, which told the true story of a 15-year-old girl’s life imprisonment. The film was shown in prime-time on the ITVNetwork by Granada Television. She also wrote the screenplay for the 1980 BBC miniseries adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, starring Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul. In 1989, she contributed to the book for the Petula Clark West End musical Someone Like You. In 1998 She caused controversy, when in an interview for the Radio Times, Weldon claimed that rape “isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a woman if you’re safe, alive and unmarked after the event.”and was roundly condemned by feminists for this assertion.

During her marriage to Ron Weldon, the couple visited therapists regularly. They divorced in 1994, after he left her for his astrological therapist who had told him that the couple’s astrological signs were incompatible. She subsequently married Nick Fox, a poet who is also her manager, with whom she currently lives in Dorset. In 1996, she was a member of the jury at the 46th Berlin International Film Festival . She was also chair of judges for the 1983 Booker Prize. The judging for that prize produced a draw between J. M. Coetzee’s Life & Times of Michael K and Salman Rushdie’s Shame, leaving Weldon to choose between the two. According to Stephen Moss in The Guardian, “Her arm was bent and she chose Rushdie” only to change her mind as the result was being phoned through. In 2000 Weldon became a member of the Church of England and was confirmed in St Paul’s Cathedral, which was perhaps appropriate because she states that she likes to think that she was “converted by St Paul”.

In 2001 Weldon’s novel The Bulgari Connection became notorious for its product placement, naming the jewelers name not only in the title but another 33 times, while 12 times at least was appointed in the £18,000 contract.In 2006 Weldon was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University in West London: “A great writer needs a certain personality and a natural talent for language, but there is a great deal that can be taught – how to put words together quickly and efficiently to make a point, how to be graceful and eloquent, how to convey emotion, how to build up tension, and how to create alternative worlds.”In 2012 Weldon was appointed Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University where she shares an office with Professor Maggie Gee. Weldon serves together with Daniel Pipes as the most notable foreign members of the board of the Danish Press Freedom Society (Trykkefrihedsselskabet).

Rosamunde Pilcher OBE

British author Rosamunde Pilcher, OBE (née Scott; was born 22 September 1924). She is best known as a writer of romance novels and mainstream women’s fiction. Early in her career she was also published under the pen name Jane Fraser. She retired from writing in 2000. Her son is the writer Robin Pilcher.In 1949, Pilcher’s first book, a romance novel, was published by Mills and Boon, under the pseudonym Jane Fraser. She published a further ten novels under that name. In 1955, she also began writing under her real name with Secret to Tell. By 1965 she had dropped the pseudonym and was signing her own name to all of her novels.

At the beginning writing was a refuge from her daily life. She claims that writing saved her marriage. The real breakthrough in Pilcher’s career came in 1987, when she wrote the family saga, The Shell Seekers. Since then her books have made her one of the more successful contemporary female authors.One of her most famous works, The Shell Seekers, focuses on Penelope Stern Keeling, an elderly British woman who relives her life in flashbacks, and on her relationship with her adult children. Keeling’s life was not extraordinary, but it spans “a time of huge importance and change in the world.” The novel describes the everyday details of what life during World War II was like for some of those who lived in Britain. The Shell Seekers sold more than five million copies worldwide and was adapted for the stage by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham. In 1996, her novel Coming Home won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by Romantic Novelists’ Association.Pilcher retired from writing in 2000. Two years later she was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

Her books are especially popular in Germany because the national TV station ZDF (Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen) has produced more than 100 of her stories for TV starting with “Day of the Storm”. These TV films are some of the most popular programmes on ZDF. Both ZDF programme director Dr. Claus Beling and Rosamunde Pilcher were awarded the British Tourism Award in 2002 for the positive effect the books and the TV versions had on Cornwall and Devon tourism within the UK. Notable film locations include Prideaux Placean Elizabethan Manor with extensive grounds in Padstow. The 9th century stately home in St Germans, Port Eliot, The Duke of Cornwall Hotel a 1863 Victorian Gothic building in Plymouth and much of the coast line of Chapel Port

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