Jane Austen

English novelist Jane Austen was born 16th December 1775. Austen’s works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature. Her realism and biting social commentary have gained her historical importance among scholars and critics. Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry. She was educated primarily by her father and older brothers as well as through her own reading. The steadfast support of her family was critical to her development as a professional writer. Her artistic apprenticeship lasted from her teenage years into her thirties. During this period, she experimented with various literary forms, including the epistolary novel which she then abandoned, and wrote and extensively revised three major novels and began a fourth. From 1811 until 1816, with the release of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816), she achieved success as a published writer. She wrote two additional novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both published posthumously in 1818, and began a third, which was eventually titled Sanditon, but tragically died in 18th July 1817 before completing it.

Sense and Sensibility begins upon the death of the elderly Mr Henry Dashwood and his grandson, inherits his house, Norland Park. His second wife, Mrs Dashwood, and their daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, inherit only a small income. On his deathbed, Mr Henry Dashwood extracts a promise from his son John to take care of his half-sisters. However John’s greedy wife, Fanny, soon persuades him to renege on the promise claiming that providing the promised help for Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters will unfairly impoverish their son. John and Fanny immediately move in as the new owners of Norland, while the Dashwood women are treated as unwelcome guests by a spiteful Fanny. Mrs Dashwood seeks somewhere else to live. In the meantime, Fanny’s brother, Edward Ferrars visits Norland. Mrs Dashwood moves her family to Barton Cottage in Devonshire, near the home of her cousin, Sir John Middleton. Where they are welcomed into local society, and meet his wife, Lady Middleton, his mother-in-law, the garrulous but well-meaning Mrs Jennings, and his friend, Colonel Brandon. Colonel Brandon is attracted to Marianne, and Mrs Jennings teases them about it displeasing Marianne

Then when Marianne injures herself John Willoughby helps her and Marianne soon succumbs to his charms leading Elinor and Mrs Dashwood to suspect that the couple are secretly engaged. However Mr Willoughby Leaves for London on business upsetting Marianne. Then Edward Ferrars visits Barton Cottage but he seems unhappy. After Edward departs, Anne and Lucy Steele, the vulgar cousins of Lady Middleton, come to stay at Barton Park. Lucy informs Elinor in confidence of her secret four-year engagement to Edward Ferrars. Elinor realises the truth behind Lucy’s visit and revelations. Elinor and Marianne accompany Mrs Jennings to London. Willoughby and Marianne attempt to contact one another before eventually meeting at a dance, however this does not go well.

Colonel Brandon visits the sisters and reveals to Elinor that Willoughby’s aunt disinherited him after she learned that he, seduced, impregnated, then abandoned Brandon’s fifteen-year-old ward, Miss Williams. This is why he chose to marry for money rather than love. Brandon was in love with Miss Williams’ mother as a young man, when she was his father’s ward, but she was forced into an unhappy marriage to Brandon’s elder brother that ended in scandal and divorce; Marianne strongly reminds him of her. The Steele sisters come to London as guests of Mrs Jennings and stay at John and Fanny Dashwood’s London house.
Sadly Anne Steele betrays Lucy’s secret and the Steele sisters are evicted and Edward is ordered to break off the engagement on pain of disinheritance. Edward refuses to comply and is immediately disinherited in favour of his brother, however he gains respect and sympathy from Elinor, Marianne and Colonel Brandon. Mrs Jennings takes Elinor and Marianne to visit her second daughter, Mrs. Palmer. Marianne still destraught, becomes dangerously ill. Meanwhile a repentant Willoughby returns regretting his actions. However Marianne realises that she could never have been happy with Willoughby’s immoral, erratic, and inconsiderate nature anyway and marries Colonel Brandon instead

Austen’s works critique the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century realism. Her plots, though comic, highlight the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Her work brought her little personal fame and only a few positive reviews during her lifetime, but the publication in 1869 of her nephew’s A Memoir of Jane Austen introduced her to a wider public, and by the 1940s she had become widely accepted in academia as a great English writer. The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of Austen scholarship and the emergence of a Janeite fan culture. Biographical information concerning Jane Austen is “famously scarce”, according to one biographer. Only some personal and family letters remain (by one estimate only 160 out of Austen’s 3,000 letters are extant), and her sister Cassandra (to whom most of the letters were originally addressed) burned “the greater part” of the ones she kept and censored those she did not destroy. Other letters were destroyed by the heirs of Admiral Francis Austen, Jane’s brother. Most of the biographical material produced for fifty years after Austen’s death was written by her relatives and reflects the family’s biases in favour of “good quiet Aunt Jane”. Scholars have unearthed little information since. Since her death Jane Austen’s novels such as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Emma, have all remained popular and have given rise to numerous television and film adaptations.

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International Tea Day

International Tea Day is observed annually on December 15. It has been celebrated since 2005 in tea producing countries like Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia, Uganda, India and Tanzania. International Tea Day aims to draw global attention of governments and citizens to the impact of the global tea trade on workers and growers, and has been linked to requests for price supports and fair trade. The first International Tea Day was celebrated in New Delhi in 2005, with later celebrations organized in Sri Lanka in 2006 and 2008. International Tea Day celebrations and the related Global Tea Conferences have been jointly organized by trade union movements. In 2015, the Indian government proposed expanding the observance of International Tea Day through the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Tea is an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to Asia. After water, it is the most widely consumed drink in the world. There are many different types of tea; some teas, like Darjeeling and Chinese greens, have a cooling, slightly bitter, and astringent flavour, while others have vastly different profiles that include sweet, nutty, floral or grassy notes.

Tea originated in Southwest China, where it was used as a medicinal drink. It was popularized as a recreational drink during the Chinese Tang dynasty, and tea drinking spread to other East Asian countries. Portuguese priests and merchants introduced it to Europe during the 16th century. During the 17th century, drinking tea became fashionable among Britons, who started large-scale production and commercialization of the plant in India to bypass the Chinese monopoly. The term herbal tea usually refers to infusions of fruit or herbs made without the tea plant, such as steeps of rosehip, chamomile, or rooibos. These are sometimes called tisanes or herbal infusions to prevent confusion with tea made from the tea plant.

Tea plants are native to East Asia, and probably originated in the borderlands of north Burma and southwest China. Camellia sinensis is thought to have originated in the northern part of Burma, and Yunnan and Sichuan provinces of China. Tea drinking may have begun in the Yunnan region during the Shang Dynasty in China, when it was used for medicinal purposes. It is also believed that in Sichuan, “people began to boil tea leaves for consumption into a concentrated liquid without the addition of other leaves or herbs, thereby using tea as a bitter yet stimulating drink, rather than as a medicinal concoction.

Chinese legends attribute the invention of tea to Shennong in 2737 BC, although tea drinking may have also been introduced from the southwest of China (Sichuan/Yunnan area). The earliest written records of tea come from China. The word tú 荼 appears in the Shijing and other ancient texts to signify a kind of “bitter vegetable” (苦菜), and it is possible that it referred to a number of different plants such as sowthistle, chicory, or smartweed,as well as teaIn the Chronicles of Huayang, it was recorded that the Ba people in Sichuan presented tu to the Zhou king. The state of Ba and its neighbour Shu were later conquered by the Qin, and according to the 17th century scholar Gu Yanwu who wrote in Ri Zhi Lu (日知錄): “It was after the Qin had taken Shu that they learned how to drink tea

The earliest known physical evidence of tea was discovered in 2016 in the mausoleum of Emperor Jing of Han in Xi’an, indicating that tea from the genus Camellia was drunk by Han Dynasty emperors as early as the 2nd century BC. The Han dynasty work “The Contract for a Youth”, written by Wang Bao in 59 BC. contains the first known reference to boiling tea.The first record of tea cultivation is also dated to this period (the reign of Emperor Xuan of Han), during which tea was cultivated on Meng Mountain (蒙山) near Chengdu.

Another account of tea drinking dates to the third century AD, in a medical text by Hua Tuo, who stated, “to drink bitter t’u constantly makes one think better. However, before the mid-8th century Tang dynasty, tea-drinking was primarily a southern Chinese practice. It became widely popular during the Tang Dynasty, when it was spread to Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. In India, tea was drunk for medicinal purposes, But was not used as a beverage until the British introduced tea-drinking there much later.

Through the centuries, a variety of techniques for processing tea, and a number of different forms of tea, were developed. During the Tang dynasty, tea was steamed, then pounded and shaped into cake form, while in the Song dynasty, loose-leaf tea was developed and became popular. During the Yuan and Ming dynasties, unoxidized tea leaves were first pan-fried, then rolled and dried, a process that stops the oxidation process that turns the leaves dark, thereby allowing tea to remain green. In the 15th century, oolong tea, in which the leaves were allowed to partially oxidize before pan-frying, was developed.Western tastes, however, favoured the fully oxidized black tea, and the leaves were allowed to oxidize further. Yellow tea was an accidental discovery in the production of green tea during the Ming dynasty, when apparently sloppy practices allowed the leaves to turn yellow, but yielded a different flavour as a result.

Tea was first introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China during the 16th century, at which time it was termed chái. The earliest European reference to tea, written as Chiai, came from Delle navigationi e viaggi written by a Venetian, Giambattista Ramusio, in 1545. The first recorded shipment of tea by a European nation was in 1607 when the Dutch East India Company moved a cargo of tea from Macao to Java, then two years later, the Dutch bought the first assignment of tea which was from Hirado in Japan to be shipped to Europe. Tea became a fashionable drink in The Hague in the Netherlands, and the Dutch introduced the drink to Germany, France and across the Atlantic to New Amsterdam (New York).

The first record of tea in English came from a letter written by Richard Wickham, who ran an East India Company office in Japan, writing to a merchant in Macao requesting “the best sort of chaw” in 1615. Peter Mundy, a traveller and merchant who came across tea in Fujian in 1637, wrote, “chaa — only water with a kind of herb boyled in it ” Tea was sold in a coffee house in London in 1657, Samuel Pepys tasted tea in 1660, and Catherine of Braganza took the tea-drinking habit to the British court when she married Charles II in 1662. Tea, however, was not widely consumed in Britain until the 18th century, and remained expensive until the latter part of that period. British drinkers preferred to add sugar and milk to black tea, and black tea overtook green tea in popularity in the 1720s. Tea smuggling during the 18th century led to the general public being able to afford and consume tea. The British government removed the tax on tea, thereby eliminating the smuggling trade by 1785.[44] In Britain and Ireland, tea was initially consumed as a luxury item on special occasions, such as religious festivals, wakes, and domestic work gatherings. The price of tea in Europe fell steadily during the 19th century, especially after Indian tea began to arrive in large quantities; by the late 19th century tea had become an everyday beverage for all levels of societies The popularity of tea also informed a number of historical events – the Tea Act of 1773 provoked the Boston Tea Party that escalated into the American Revolution, and the need to address the issue of British trade deficit caused by the demand for Chinese tea led to a trade in opium that resulted in the Opium Wars.

Tea was introduced into India by the British in an attempt to break the Chinese monopoly on tea. In 1841, Archibald Campbell brought seeds of Chinese tea from the Kumaun region and experimented with planting tea in Darjeeling. The Alubari tea garden was opened in 1856 and Darjeeling tea began to be produced. In 1848, Robert Fortune was sent by the East India Company on a mission to China to bring the tea plant back to Great Britain. He began his journey in high secrecy as his mission occurred in the lull between the Anglo-Chinese First Opium War and Second Opium War The Chinese tea plants he brought back were introduced to the Himalayas, though most did not survive. The British had discovered that a different variety of tea was endemic to Assam and the northeast region of India and that it was used by the local Singpho people, and these were then grown instead of the Chinese tea plant. Using the Chinese planting and cultivation techniques, the British Offered land in Assam to any European who agreed to cultivate it for export.

Walt Disney

Legendary American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur and entertainer ”Walt” Disney tragically died 15 December 1966 from acute circulatory collapse, caused by lung cancer. He was born December 5th, 1901. In 1906, when Walt was four, He moved to a farm in Marceline, Missouri. Here, Disney developed his love for drawing . The Disney family moved to Kansas City in 1911 where Walt and his younger sister Ruth attended the Benton Grammar School. At school he met Walter Pfeiffer who introduced Walt to the world of vaudeville and motion pictures. Before long Walt was spending more time at the Pfeiffers’ than at home. Walt also attended Saturday courses at the Kansas City Art Institute. In 1917, The Disney family moved to Chicago. Walt went to McKinley High School and took night courses at the Chicago Art Institute. He became the cartoonist for the school newspaper, drawing patriotic topics and focusing on World War I. in 1919 Walt moved back to Kansas City to begin his artistic career. He decided on a career as a newspaper artist, drawing political caricatures or comic strips. Walt also worked briefly at the Pesmen-Rubin Art Studio where he met cartoonist Ubbe Iwerks and they decided to start their own company together called, “Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists”. However Disney & lwerks both Joined Kansas City Film Ad Company. where they made commercials based on cutout animations, Disney then became interested in animation, and decided to become an animator.

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Cinderella http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MVG8F9ULW6w

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After reading the Edwin G. Lutz book Animated Cartoons: How They Are Made, Their Origin and Development, Disney considered cel animation instead of cutout animation & opened his own animation business, recruiting fellow co-worker Fred Harman, as his first employee. Walt and Harman then secured a deal with local theater owner Frank L. Newman, to screen their cartoons at his local theater, which they titled Laugh-O-Grams, these soon became popular and he Soon acquired his own studio. Disney and his brother Roy set up a cartoon studio in Hollywood. Disney’s New York distributor, wanted more live-action/animated shorts based upon Alice’s Wonderland, which began focusing more on the animated characters rather than Alice. In 1927 Disney created a new animated series, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which became a popular figure and also develeloped a mouse character based on a mouse he had adopted as a pet while working in his Laugh-O-Gram studio . Ub Iwerks reworked the sketches made by Disney to make the character easier to animate although The voice and personality were provided by Disney himself until 1947. Originally named “Mortimer”, the mouse was later re-christened “Mickey”. Mortimer later became the name of Mickey’s rival for Minnie – taller than Mickey and speaking with a Brooklyn accent. The first animated shorts to feature Mickey were Plane Crazy and The Gallopin’ Gaucho. Disney added sound for the next cartoon Steamboat Willie, which became an instant success. Thanks to Plane Crazy, The Galloping Gaucho, Steamboat Willie Mickey’s popularity skyrocketed during the early 1930s. Next a series of musical shorts titled, Silly Symphonies were released in 1929. The first, The Skeleton Dance was entirely drawn and animated by Iwerks.

By 1932,the popularity of Silly Symphonies was decreasing. and Max Fleischer’s flapper cartoon character, Betty Boop, was gaining popularity among theater audiences. So Flowers and Trees was reshot in three-strip Technicolor, and it won the first Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons in 1932. Through Silly Symphonies, Disney also created his most successful cartoon short of all time, The Three Little Pigs, which featured the song “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf”.In 1932, Disney received a special Academy Award for the creation of “Mickey Mouse”, who was soon joined by characters likeDonald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto. Pluto and Donald became standalone cartoons in 1937, with Goofy following in 1939. Donald Duck, also teamed up with Mickey in the 1934 cartoon, Orphan’s Benefit, and became Disney’s second most popular character

In 1934 Disney began planning a full-length animated feature-length version of Snow White, This premiered on December 21, 1937 and went on to become the most successful motion picture of 1938. Following the success of Snow White, Disney received one full-size, and seven miniature Oscar statuettes and this ushered in a period known as the Golden Age of Animation during which Pinocchio Bambi, Fantasia, the Three Caballeros, and Dumbo were also made. In 1945. Disney was asked to make an educational film about the Amazon Basin, called The Amazon Awakens and also started making full-length dramatic films that mixed live action and animated scenes, including Song of the South and So Dear to My Heart. In the late 1940s, work began on Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella and Peter Pan. In 1948 the studio also made a series of live-action nature films, titled True-Life Adventures.

During the 1940s, Disney Visited Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California and had the idea for an amusement park .This was originally intended to be built on a plot located across the street to the south of the studio. These original ideas developed into a concept for a larger enterprise that would become Disneyland, which was officially opened to the public in 1955. Walt Disney Productions also began expanding its other entertainment operations. In 1950, Treasure Island became the studio’s first all-live-action feature, soon followed by 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Old Yeller, The Shaggy Dog, Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson, The Absent-Minded Professor, and The Parent Trap. The studio also produced its first TV special, One Hour in Wonderland. During the 1960′s Disney made Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone. In early 1964, Disney announced plans to build Disney World a few miles southwest of Orlando, Florida. This was to include “the Magic Kingdom”, a larger, more elaborate version of Disneyland and would also feature a number of golf courses and resort hotels. The heart of Disney World, however, was to be the Experimental Prototype City (or Community) of Tomorrow,( EPCOT).

Walt Disney was a chain smoker his entire adult life, which affected his health and a tumor was eventually discovered in his left lung which was malignant and had spread throughout the entire left lung. Having removed the lung, doctors informed Disney that his life expectancy was six months to two years. After several chemotherapy sessions, Disney and his wife spent a short amount of time in Palm Springs, California. On November 30, Disney collapsed at his home and rushed to St. Joseph’s Disney’s final production was The Jungle Book and the animated short Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, as well as the live-action musical feature The Happiest Millionaire, all released in 1967.

During his lifetime he received four honorary Academy Awards and won 22 Academy Awards from a total of 59 nominations, including a record four in one year, giving him more awards and nominations than any other individual in history. Disney also won seven Emmy Awards. In 1967 construction began on Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. His brother Roy Disney inaugurated the Magic Kingdom on October 1, 1971. and he also gave his name to the Disneyland in the U.S., as well as the international resorts Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland.

Paul Simonon (The Clash)

Paul Simonon , the Bass player with English punk rock band The Clash was born 15th December 1955. Formed in 1976 as part of the original wave of British punk. The Clash’s music incorporated elements of reggae, ska, dub, funk, rap, dance, and rockabilly. For most of their recording career, the Clash consisted of Joe Strummer (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Mick Jones (lead guitar, vocals), Paul Simonon (bass guitar, vocals) and Nicky “Topper” Headon (drums, percussion). Headon left the group in 1982, and internal friction led to Jones’s departure the following year. The group continued with new members, but finally disbanded in early 1986.

The Clash achieved commercial success in the United Kingdom with the release of their debut album,The Clash, in 1977. Their third album, London Calling, was released in the UK in December 1979, and brought them popularity in the United States when it came out there the following month. It was declared the best album of the 1980s a decade later by Rolling Stone magazine. The Clash’s politicised lyrics, musical experimentation and rebellious attitude had a far-reaching influence on rock, alternative rock in particular. They became widely referred to as “The Only Band That Matters”, originally a promotional slogan introduced by the group’s record label, CBS. In January 2003, the band—including original drummer Terry Chimes—were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the Clash number 28 on their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

Gone with the Wind

The epic romance Gone with the Wind, premiered at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, United States on December 15 1939. Based on the Pulitzer Prizewinning novel written by Margaret Mitchell, it is set in Clayton County, Georgia, and Atlanta during the American Civil War (1861–1865) and the Reconstruction Era (1865–1877) that followwhere the war. Set against the backdrop of rebellion, during which seven southern states, including Georgia declare their secession from the United States (the “Union”) and form the Confederate States of America (the “Confederacy”), after Abraham Lincoln was elected president. A dispute over states’ rights has arisen involving enslaved African people.

it begins April 1861 at the “Tara” plantation, which is owned by a wealthy Irish immigrant family, the O’Haras including sixteen-year-old Scarlett O’Hara. Scarlett learns that Ashley Wilkes, is getting engaged to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton and informs Ashley she loves him. However he refuses her marriage proposal. Then Scarlett meets local rogue Rhett Butler alone in the library and learns that war has been declared. Seeking revenge for being jilted by Ashley, Scarlett accepts a proposal of marriage from Melanie’s brother, Charles Hamilton. They marry two weeks later. Charles dies from measles two months after the war begins. Widowed Scarlett is pregnant with her first child and gives birth to a boy, Wade Hampton Hamilton, named after his father’s general. As a widow, she is bound by tradition to wear black and avoid conversation with young men much to her chagrin.

Melanie, who is living in Atlanta invites Scarlett to live with them. In Atlanta, Scarlett’ begins Work at the hospital for the Confederate army & encounters Rhett Butler again at a dance for the Confederacy. The men must bid for a dance with a lady and Rhett bids for a dance with Scarlett shocking everyone, however Melanie defends Rhett because of his support for the Confederate cause. Ashley is granted some land by the army and returns to Atlanta to be with Melanie. Atlanta is under siege from the Union (September 1864), and descends into a desperate state while hundreds of wounded Confederate soldiers lie dying or dead in the city. Melanie goes into labour with only the inexperienced Scarlett to assist, as all the doctors are busy attending the soldiers. In the chaos, Scarlett, is left to fend for herself, and the Confederate States Army sets Atlanta ablaze as they abandon it.

Melanie gives birth to a boy named “Beau”, Scarlett , Melanie, Beau, and Prissy seek refuge at Tara and they follow the retreating army out of Atlanta. Rhett then enlists in the army. So Scarlett makes her way to Tara alone where she discovers that Gerald is ill, Her mother is dead andher sisters are sick with typhoid fever, the field slaves have all left after Emancipation, the Yankees have burned all the cotton and there is no food in the house. So begins a desperate journey for post-war survival. A number of Confederate soldiers returning home stop at Tara to find food and rest including Cracker, Will Benteen, and Ashley Wilkes. However Just as Life at Tara is beginning to recover there is more trouble,so Scarlett goes to Atlanta to ask Rhett Butler for help but finds him languishing in jail. Scarlett also runs into Frank Kennedyand they marry two weeks later. Frank wants Scarlett to be happy So he gives her the money to pay the taxes on Tara. In return Scarlett helps at Frank’s store and finds many People owe him money, so she recovers all the debts and runs his business while he is away.

After receiving aloan from Rhett she buys her own sawmill. However Scarlett learns she is pregnant, again & convinces Ashley to come to Atlanta and manage the mill. Scarlett gives birth to a girl named Ella Lorena’. Then Scarlett is almost robbed but she escapes with the help of Big Sam, the former foreman from Tara. Sadly Frank is shot dead in the nearby Shanty Town. And Scarlett finds herself widowed for a second time. Meanwhile Rhett, Hugh Elsing and Ashley deny any knowledge of the raid in the nearby Shanty Town using the brothel as an alibi

Rhett the asks Scarlett to marry him and she agrees. Shortly after The engagement the Butlers move into their new home, Eventually they have two children Wade and Eugenie Victoria whom Melanie nicknames “Bonnie Blue,” after the Bonnie Blue Flag of the Confederacy. Later Melanie gives a surprise birthday party for Ashley and Scarlett. unfortunately Ashley’s sister India Wilkes sees Scarlett and Ashley together at the sawmill beforehand and stirs trouble by spreading rumours of an adulterous relationship between Ashley and Scarlett. Having heard the rumours Rhett returns home drunk and violent leaving town the following morning with Bonnie and Prissy, Scarlett then learns that she is pregnant with her fourth child. Rhett eventually returns a sober, gentler more considerate man, he finds Scarlett seriously ill having lost the baby and broken her ribs. After recovering she returns to Atlanta & sells the mills to Ashley. Bonnie grows up to be a spirited and willful child, however tragedy is not far away…

Peter O’Toole

Prolific British Actor Peter James O’Toole sadly passed away 14 December 2013. He was Born 2 August 1932 and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, before he began working in the theatre, where he gained recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company. He made his film debut in 1959 and achieved stardom playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for which he received his first Academy Award nomination. He received seven further Oscar nominations – for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969),The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006) – and holds the record for the most Academy Award acting nominations without a win. He won four Golden Globes, a BAFTA and an Emmy, and was the recipient of an Honorary Academy Award in 2003.

Peter O’Toole began working in the theatre, Where after gaining recognition as a Shakespearean actor at the Bristol Old Vic and with the English Stage Company, he made his television debut in 1954. He first appeared on film in 1959 in a minor role in The Day They Robbed the Bank of England. O’Toole’s major break came when he was chosen to play T. E. Lawrence in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962). His performance was ranked number one in Premiere magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Performances of All Time. The role introduced him to US audiences and earned him the first of his eight nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actor.O’Toole is one of a handful of actors to be Oscar-nominated for playing the same role in two different films; he played King Henry II in both Becket (1964) and The Lion in Winter (1968). O’Toole played Hamlet under Laurence Olivier’s direction in the premiere production of the Royal National Theatre in 1963. He demonstrated his comedic abilities alongside Peter Sellers in the Woody Allen-scripted comedy What’s New Pussycat? (1965). He also appeared inSeán O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock at Gaiety Theatre, Dublin.

He played King Henry II in The Lion in Winter (1968) and fulfilled a lifetime ambition in 1970, when he performed in Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot alongside Donal McCann in Dublin. In 1972, he played both Miguel de Cervantes and his fictional creation Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha, the motion picture adaptation of the 1965 hit Broadway musical, opposite Sophia Loren. The film was a critical and commercial failure, criticised for using mostly non-singing actors. O’Toole’s singing was dubbed by tenor Simon Gilbert, but the other actors sang their own parts. O’Toole and co-star James Coco, who played both Cervantes’s manservant and Sancho Panza, both received Golden Globenominations for their performances. In 1980, O’Toole starred as Tiberius in the Penthouse-funded biographical film Caligula. In 1980, he received critical acclaim for playing the director in the behind-the-scenes film The Stunt Man. He received good reviews as John Tanner in Man and Superman and Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, and won a Laurence Olivier Award for his performance in Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (1989). He was nominated for another Oscar for My Favorite Year (1982), a romantic comedy set behind-the-scenes at a 1950s TV variety-comedy show, in which O’Toole plays an ageing swashbuckling film star reminiscent of Errol Flynn. He also appeared in 1987’s acclaimed The Last Emperor.

In 1999 O’Toole won an Emmy Award for his role in the mini-series Joan of Arc and in 2004, he played King Priam in the summer blockbuster Troy. In 2005, he appeared on television as the older version of legendary 18th century Italian adventurer Giacomo Casanova in the BBC drama serial Casanova. The younger Casanova, seen for most of the action, was played by David Tennant, who had to wear contact lenses to match his brown eyes to O’Toole’s blue. O’Toole was once again nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for his portrayal of Maurice in the 2006 film Venus, directed by Roger Michell, his eighth such nomination. O’Toole co-starred in the Pixar animated film Ratatouille (2007), an animated film about a rat with dreams of becoming the greatest chef in Paris, as Anton Ego, a food critic. O’Toole appeared in the second season of Showtime’s successful drama series The Tudors (2008), portraying Pope Paul III, who excommunicates King Henry VIII from the church; an act which leads to a showdown between the two men. On 10 July 2012, O’Toole released a statement that he was retiring from acting.

Cliff Williams (AC/DC)

Cliff Williams, bass player with heavy metal band AC/DC was Born 14th December 1949. AC/DC Were Formed in 1973 by the brothers Malcolm and Angus Young, who have remained the sole constant members.  AC/DC are Commonly classified as hard rock, they are considered pioneers of heavy metal and are sometimes classified as such, though they themselves have always classified their music as simply “rock and roll”. To date they are one of the highest grossing bands of all time. AC/DC underwent several line-up changes before releasing their first album, High Voltage, on 17 February 1975. Bass player Cliff Williams replaced Mark Evans in 1977 for the album Powerage. Sadly within months of recording the album Highway to Hell, lead singer and co-songwriter Bon Scott tragically died on 19 February 1980, after a night of heavy alcohol consumption. The group briefly considered disbanding, but Scott’s parents urged them to continue and hire a new vocalist. Ex-Geordie singer Brian Johnson was auditioned and selected to replace Scott. Later that year, the band released their highest selling album, and ultimately the third highest-selling album by any artist, Back in Black.

The band’s next album, For Those About to Rock We Salute You, was their first album to reach number one in the United States. AC/DC declined in popularity soon after drummer Phil Rudd was fired in 1983 and was replaced by future Dio drummer Simon Wright, though the band resurged in the early 1990s with the release of The Razors Edge. Phil Rudd returned in 1994 (after Chris Slade, who was with the band from 1989–1994, was asked to leave in favour of him) and contributed to the band’s 1995 album Ballbreaker. Since then, the band’s line-up has remained the same. Stiff Upper Lip was released in 2000 and was well received by critics, and the band’s latest studio album, Black Ice, was released on 20 October 2008. It was their biggest hit on the charts since For Those About to Rock, reaching No.1 on all the charts eventually. As of 2010, AC/DC had sold more than 200 million albums worldwide, including 71 million albums in the United States alone. Sadly Brian Johnston was forced to quit AC/DC on health grounds, or face going deaf, and was replaced by W.Axl Rose from Guns’n’Roses

The album Back in Black became the second highest-selling album by any band, behind Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon and Michael Jackson’s Thriller having sold an estimated 49 million units worldwide, making it the third highest-selling album by any artist. The album has sold 22 million units in the U.S. alone, where it is the fifth-highest-selling album of all-time. AC/DC ranked fourth on VH1′s list of the “100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock” and were named the seventh “Greatest Heavy Metal Band of All Time” by MTV. In 2004, AC/DC were ranked number 72 in the Rolling Stone list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time”and In 2010, AC/DC were also  ranked number 23 in the VH1 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.