Alan Dean Foster

Prolific American fantasy and science fiction novelist Alan Dean Foster was born November 18, 1946. He is known for his science fiction novels set in the Humanx Commonwealth, an interstellar ethical/political union of species including humankind and the insectoid Thranx. Many of these novels feature Philip Lynx (“Flinx”), an empathic young man who has found himself involved in something which threatens the survival of the Galaxy. Flinx’s constant companion since childhood is a minidrag named Pip, a flying, empathic snake capable of spitting a highly corrosive and violently neurotoxic venom.

One of Foster’s better-known fantasy works is the Spellsinger series, in which a young musician is summoned into a world populated by talking creatures where his music allows him to do real magic whose effects depends on the lyrics of the popular songs he sings (although with somewhat unpredictable results).

Many of Foster’s works have a strong ecological element to them, often with an environmental twist. Often the villains in his stories experience their downfall because of a lack of respect for other alien species or seemingly innocuous bits of their surroundings. This can be seen in such works as Midworld, about a semi-sentient planet that is essentially one large rainforest, and Cachalot, set on an ocean world populated by sentient cetaceans. Foster usually devotes a large part of his novels to descriptions of the strange environments of alien worlds and the coexistence of their flora and fauna. Perhaps the most extreme example of this is Sentenced to Prism, in which the protagonist finds himself trapped on a world where life is based on silicon rather than carbon, as on Earth.

Foster was the ghostwriter of the original novelization of Star Wars which had been credited solely to George Lucas. After two other writers had declined his offer of a flat fee of $5,000 for the work, Lucas brought to Foster the original screenplay, after which Foster fleshed out the backstory of time, place, planets, races, history and technology in such detail that it became canonical for all subsequent Star Wars novels. Foster wrote the novel Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, a Star Wars sequel published in 1978, two years prior to the release of The Empire Strikes Back. Foster’s story relied heavily on abandoned concepts that appeared in Lucas’s early treatments for the first film. Foster was stunned when Return of the Jedi revealed the characters of Luke and Leia as brother and sister; in Splinter, the characters exhibit quite a bit of romantic and sexual energy. Although Splinter was contradicted by later entries in the Star Wars film canon, it was the first “Star Wars expanded universe” entry written (although not the first published—a Marvel Comics story holds that honor). Foster wrote the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Foster is also credited with writing the story for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He also wrote 10 books based on episodes of the animated Star Trek, the first six books each consisting of three linked novella-length episode adaptations, and the last four being expanded adaptations of single episodes that segued into original story. In the mid-seventies, he wrote original Star Trek stories for the Peter Pan-label Star Trek audio story records. He later wrote the novelization of the 2009 film Star Trek, his first Star Trek novel in over 30 years. He later wrote the novelization for Star Trek’s sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness.

His Dark Materials

I am watching BBC 1’s Lavish 8 Part adaptation of Philip Pullman’s epic fantasy trilogy, His Dark Materials, hoping it does more justice to The source trilogy than the film did. It stars James McAvoy, Ann Marie duff, and Ruth Wilson. It takes place in an alternate universe and features a twelve year old orphan named Lyra Belacqua, who lives a carefree existence at Jordan College, Oxford under the guardianship of the College’s Masterwith herFriend Roger and her daemon Pantalaimon. Daemons are the physical manifestation of humans’ souls which naturally exist outside of their bodies in the form of sentient “dæmons”, talking animal spirits.

Meanwhile her Uncle, Lord Asriel is off exploring the North Pole researching the controversial nature of an illusive substance called dust, however this could get him into serious trouble, as it is considered heresy by a mysterious, all powerful and rather sinister religious group called the “Magisterium”. Lyra then meets the seemingly pleasant and glamorous Mrs Coulter. Then when her Uncle Lord Asriel returns she witnesses the Master poison wine intended for Lord Asriel, Lyra’s rebellious and adventuring uncle. She warns Asriel not to drink the wine, then spies on his lecture about “Dust”, mysterious elementary particles attracted to adults more than to children. Asriel shows the college scholars images of a parallel universe seen through the Northern Lights amidst a concentration of Dust.

Lyra’s best friend Roger then goes missing, and is presumed kidnapped by mysterious child abductors called “Gobblers”. Mrs Coulter, a charming socialite, adopts Lyra. Before Lyra leaves Jordan, the Master secretly entrusts her with an alethiometer, a strange truth-telling device, which she quickly learns to use intuitively. After several weeks, Lyra discovers that Coulter is actually involved with the sinister Gobblers, or “General Oblation Board”, a secret Church-funded project. Horrified, Lyra flees to the Gyptians, canal-faring nomads, many of whose children have also been abducted including a Gyptian named Billy Costa And they reveal information concerning Asriel and Coulter.

So the Gyptians led by Farmer Coram journey to the Arctic with Lyra, where they believe the Gobblers are holding their children. They stop in Trollesund, where Lyra meets Iorek Byrnison, the dispossessed royal heir of the panserbjørne (armoured bears). Lyra uses her alethiometer to locate Iorek’s missing armour; in return, he and his human aeronaut friend, Lee Scoresby, join her group. She also learns that Lord Asriel has been exile on Svalbard. Trollesund’s witch consul tells the Gyptians of a prophecy about Lyra which she must not know, and that the witch clans are choosing sides for an upcoming war.

The search party continues towards the Gobbler research station at Bolvangar. Where, Guided by the alethiometer, Lyra discovers the Gobblers sinister agenda. Unfortunately Lyra is then captured and taken to Bolvangar. Meanwhile Lee Scoresby, Iorek, Roger, the Gyptians, and the witch clan of Serafina Pekkala, are in hot pursuit in Lee Scoresby’s hot air ballooon. However This does not go well and Lyra is then taken by the panserbjørne to the castle of their usurping king, Iofur Raknison who eventually confronts Iorek Bernyson to reclaim his rightful place as King of the Panserbjorne throne. Lyra, Iorek, and Roger continue onwards to Svalbard, looking for Asriel and Lyra learns more wonderful things Concerning the nature of Dust, including Parallel Universes, however she also learns that there are many who believe it is evil and who would stop at nothing to destroy it

Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Terminator Genisys)

English actress Emilia Isabelle Euphemia Rose Clarke was born 23 October 1986 in London. She was brought up in Berkshire. Her father was a theatre sound engineer from Wolverhampton, West Midlands. She has an older brother. Clarke’s interest in acting began at the age of three after seeing the musical Show Boat, on which her father was working. She was educated at Rye St Antony School and at St Edward’s School, graduating in 2005. Clarke then studied at the Drama Centre London, where she appeared in a number of stage productions, and starred in a theatre production by the Company of Angels. After making her screen debut in a short film, her television debut came with a guest appearance as a character named Saskia Mayer in an episode of the British soap opera Doctors in 2009. Clarke’s early work includes two plays at St. Edwards, ten plays at Drama Centre London, the 2009 Company of Angels production of Sense, and two 2009 commercials for Samaritans. One of her first film roles was for a University of London students’ short film. The following year, she was named as one of the UK Stars of Tomorrow by Screen International magazine following her role as Savannah in the Syfy film Triassic Attack (2010).

In 2010 Clarke was cast as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, based on the Epic fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, when fellow British actress Tamzin Merchant was replaced for undisclosed reasons, Her portrayal of Daenerys, sees her transformed from a frightened girl who is forced to marry a warlord named Kal Drogo to an empowered woman, who unites the people and ends up at the head of a mighty army which threatens to take over Essos and Westeros.

The role has garnered her critical acclaim and several accolades, including three nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and six nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. Clarke won the 2011 EWwy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her role as Daenerys. In 2013, Clarke was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards. She was nominated again in the category in 2015 and 2016. Clarke has received widespread praise for her performance.

In 2012, Clarke appeared in Spike Island, a film named after the location of The Stone Roses’ seminal 1990 gig. From March to April 2013, Clarke played Holly Golightly in a Broadway production of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a role requiring Clarke to perform a nude scene. That year, she also starred in Dom Hemingway alongside Jude Law. Critical reaction to the film was mostly positive, though it was a commercial failure. Clarke was offered the role of Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but turned down the part because of the nudity required. She played Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jai Courtney, and Jason Clarke and received nominations for awards like the Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer Movie Star – Female and Germany’s Jupiter Award for Best International Actress.

In 2016, Clarke starred as the female lead, opposite Sam Claflin, in the movie adaption of the best selling book Me Before You, The film was a commercial success, grossing over $200 million worldwide and is Clarke’s highest-rated film on the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. For her role as Louisa Clark, she shared nominations with Sam Claflin for the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Liplock and the MTV Television Tearjerker Award. She played the lead as Nurse Verena, in the film Voice from the Stone which was released on April 2017 in limited release, video on demand and digital HD. In November 2016, Clarke was cast as Q’ira in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Clarke was cast as the lead in the upcoming English language adaptation of the 2015 Korean romantic comedy, The Beauty Inside and is starring in The Guns of August opposite Helena Bonham Carter, and Above Suspicion opposite Jack Huston

Emilia Clarke has also contributed time and effort to a variety of charitable organisations. In September 2011, she joined SMA Trust team as their celebrity ambassador. In August 2017, she became a patron of Open Door, a non-profit that aims to help young people gain access to drama school auditions. Clarke auctioned a chance to watch an episode of Game of Thrones with her at the 2018 Sean Penn Charity Gala, which raised over $120,000 benefiting the J/P HRO & Disaster Relief Organization. In February 2018, Clarke appeared at London’s Centerpoint Awards, which celebrates the courage shown by homeless young people. In April 2018, she was named ambassador to the Royal College of Nursing in the UK.

Ursula k. LeGuin

American Sci-fi and Fantasy novelist Ursula K. Le Guin, was born in Berkeley, California, on October 21, 1929. Her father Alfred Louis Kroeber was an anthropologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Le Guin’s mother Theodora Kroeber had a graduate degree in psychology, but turned to writing in her sixties. She developed a successful career as an author: her best known work was Ishi in Two Worlds, a biographical volume about Ishi, an indigenous American who was the last known member of the Yahi tribe. Ursula had three older brothers, Karl, Theodore, and Clifton. The family had a large book collection, and the siblings all became interested in reading while they were young. The Kroeber family knew well-known academics such as Robert Oppenheimer. Le Guin would later use Oppenheimer as the model for her protagonist in The Dispossessed.

The family divided its time between a summer home in the Napa valley, and a house in Berkeley during the academic year. Le Guin’s reading included science fiction and fantasy: she and her siblings frequently read issues of Thrilling Wonder Stories and Astounding Science Fiction. She was fond of myths and legends, particularly Norse mythology, and of Native American legends that her father would narrate. Le Guin developed an early interest in writing; she wrote a short story when she was nine, and submitted her first short story to Astounding Science Fiction when she was eleven and She was also interested in biology and poetry but had difficulties with mathematics. Le Guin attended Berkeley High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Renaissance French and Italian literature from Radcliffe College in 1951, and graduated as a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Le Guin undertook graduate studies at Columbia University, and earned a Master of Arts in French in 1952. Soon after, she began working towards a Ph.D., and won a Fulbright grant to continue her studies in France from 1953 to 1954.

In 1953, she traveled to France aboard the Queen Mary, And met historian Charles Le Guin, whom she married in Paris in December 1953. While her husband finished his doctorate at Emory University in Georgia, and later at the University of Idaho, Le Guin taught French and worked as a secretary until the birth of her daughter Elisabeth in 1957. In 1959 Charles became an instructor in history at Portland State University, and the couple moved to Portland, Oregon. Le Guin received further Fulbright grants to travel to London in 1968 and 1975. The couple had two daughters, Elisabeth and Caroline, by the time they moved, and a son, Theodore, was born in Portland in 1964.

Le Guin began writing in the 1950s, but the time she spent caring for her children constrained her writing schedule. She also became an editor and a teacher at the undergraduate level. She served on the editorial boards of the journals Paradoxa and Science Fiction Studies, in addition to writing literary criticism herself. She also taught courses at Tulane University, Bennington College, and Stanford University, among others.

Le Guin’s first published work was the poem “Folksong from the Montayna Province” in 1959, while her first short story was “An die Musik”, in 1961; both were set in her fictional country of Orsinia. Between 1951 and 1961 she also wrote five novels, all set in Orsinia, which were rejected by publishers on the grounds that they were inaccessible. Some of her poetry from this period was published in 1975 in the volume Wild Angels. Le Guin turned her attention to science fiction after lengthy periods of receiving rejections from publishers, knowing that there was a market for writing that could be readily classified as such. Her first professional publication was the short story “April in Paris” in 1962 in Fantastic Science Fiction, and four other stories followed in the next few years, in Fantastic or Amazing Stories Among them was The Dowry of the Angyar, which introduced the fictional Hainish Universe, and “The Rule of Names” and “The Word of Unbinding”, which introduced the world of Earthsea.

Rocannon’s World, Le Guin’s first published novel was released in 1966. Followed by, Planet of Exile and City of Illusions these became known as the Hainish Trilogy and contained many themes and ideas also present in Le Guin’s later works, including the “archetypal journey”, cultural contact and communication, the search for identity, and reconciling opposing forces. Le Guin’s next two books brought her sudden and widespread critical acclaim. A Wizard of Earthsea, published in 1968, was a fantasy coming of age story set in the fictional archipelago of Earthsea, the book received a positive reception in both the US and Britain

Her next novel, The Left Hand of Darkness, was a Hainish Universe story exploring themes of gender and sexuality on a fictional planet where humans have no fixed sex. it won both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards for best novel, making Le Guin the first woman to win these awards, and a number of other accolade. A Wizard of Earthsea and The Left Hand of Darkness were described by critic Harold Bloom as Le Guin’s masterpieces. She won the Hugo Award again in 1973 for The Word for World is Forest. Between 1966 and 1974, Le Guin also wrote the Hugo Award-winning “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” and the Nebula Award-winning “The Day Before the Revolution”, the next two novels in the Earthsea series, The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore, were published in 1971 and 1972. Her next novel The Dispossessed, was published in 1974 and took place in the Hainish Universe and explored anarchism and utopianism. This won both the Hugo and the Nebula awards for best novel, making her the first person to win both for the same two books.

However Le Guin refused a Nebula Award for her story “The Diary of the Rose” in 1975, in protest at the Science Fiction Writers of America’s revocation of Stanisław Lem’s membership. Le Guin attributed the revocation to Lem’s criticism of American science fiction and willingness to live in the Soviet Union, and said she felt reluctant to receive an award “for a story about political intolerance from a group that had just displayed political intolerance”.

Next Le Guin published the speculative fiction collection The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, the novels The Eye of the Heron, Orsinian Tales, Malafrena and Far Away from Anywhere Else, a realistic novel for adolescents, in 1979 she released a collection of essays entitled The Language of the Night and a volume of poetry entitled Wild Angels. Between 1979, and 1994, Le Guin wrote primarily for a younger audience releasing an adolescent fantasy novel called The Beginning Place, the experimental Always Coming Home together with 11 children’s picture books, between 1979 and 1994. Le Guin also wrote four more poetry collection and another Earthsea novel Tehanu in 1992. In 1983 she delivered a commencement address entitled “A Left-Handed Commencement Address” at Mills College in Oakland, California.

In 1990 Le Guin published – “The Shobies’ Story” containing the story “Coming of Age in Karhide”. She also published Four Ways to Forgiveness, and “Old Music and the Slave Women”, and In 2000 she published The Telling, her final Hainish novel. Several collections and anthologies of Le Guin’s work were also published. A series of her stories from the period 1994–2002 was released in 2002 Including The Birthday of the World and Other Stories, the novella Paradises Lost, the novel Changing Planes and the anthology The Unreal and the Real. In 2008 she published Lavinia, this was based on a character from Virgil’s Aeneid and the Annals of the Western Shore trilogy, consisting of Gifts, Voices and Powers which received the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 2009.

Le Guin’s final publication, was a collection of non-fiction, titled Dreams Must Explain Themselves. Le Guin also resigned from the Authors Guild in protest over its endorsement of Google’s book digitization project. “You decided to deal with the devil”, she wrote in her resignation letter. “There are principles involved, above all the whole concept of copyright; and these you have seen fit to abandon to a corporation, on their terms, without a struggle. In a speech at the 2014 National Book Awards, Le Guin criticized Amazon and the control it exerted over the publishing industry, specifically referencing Amazon’s treatment of the Hachette Book Group during a dispute over ebook publication. Sadly. Le Guin died on January 22, 2018, at her home in Portland, Oregon at the age of 88 having been in poor health She was survived by her husband Charles and her three children. Private memorial services for her were held in Portland and A public memorial service, which included speeches by Margaret Atwood, Molly Gloss, and Walidah Imarisha, was held in Portland in June 2018.

Jim Henson (The Muppets)

Best 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.

After 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.

In 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.

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. The naturalistic, lifelike Yoda became one of the most popular characters of the Star Wars franchise. 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 where he tried to create a sense of realism, which was helped immensely by the conceptual artwork created by Brian Froud.a year later, The Muppets Take Manhattan (directed by Frank Oz) was released, then In 1986 the film Labyrinth, was released, a Dark Crystal-like fantasy featuring David Bowie as The Goblin King which has since become a cult classic.

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 of his 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.

George R.R.Martin

George Raymond Richard Martin was born September 20, 1948. As a boy He began writing and selling monster stories for pennies to other neighborhood children, dramatic readings included. He also wrote stories about a mythical kingdom populated by his pet turtles; the turtles died frequently in their toy castle, so he finally decided they were killing each other off in “sinister plots”. Martin attended Mary Jane Donohoe School and then later Marist High School. While there he became an avid comic-book fan, developing a strong interest in the innovative superheroes being published by Marvel Comics and joined the fledgling comics fandom of the era, writing fiction for various fanzines and winning the Alley Award in 1965 for his prose superhero story “Powerman vs. The Blue Barrier”, the first of many awards he would go on to win for his fiction. In 1970 Martin earned a B. S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, graduating summa cum laude; he went on to complete his M. S. in Journalism in 1971, also from Northwestern. Martin became a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, and did alternative service work for two years (1972–1974) as a VISTA volunteer, attached to the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation. An expert chess player, he also directed chess tournaments for the Continental Chess Association from 1973 to 1976. Then from 1976 to 1978 he was an English and journalism instructor at Clarke University (then Clarke College) in Dubuque, IA, becoming Writer In Residence at the college from 1978 to 1979. He became a full time writer After the sudden death of friend and fellow author Tom Reamy in the fall of 1977 and resigned from his job, and moved to Santa Fe in 1979.

At the Age of 21 Martin began selling science fiction short stories professionally. His first sale was “The Hero” and His first story to be nominated for the Hugo Award and Nebula Awards was With Morning Comes Mistfall, published in 1973 in Analog magazine. Between 1977 and 1979 Martin became the Southwest Regional Director for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and from 1996 to 1998, he served as its vice-president.In 1976 Martin was nominated for two Hugo Awards at the 34th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), but lost both awards, to the novelette “…and Seven Times Never Kill Man” and the novella The Storms of Windhaven, co-written with Lisa Tuttle. Although Martin often writes fantasy or horror, a number of his earlier works are science fiction tales occurring in a loosely defined future history, known informally as “The Thousand Worlds” or “The Manrealm”. He has also written at least one piece of political-military fiction, “Night of the Vampyres”, collected in Harry Turtledove’s anthology The Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century and, The Armageddon Rag. In 1983 Martin was hired as a staff writer and then as an Executive Story Consultant, for the revival of the Twilight Zone. Martin also worked on Max Headroom and created the show’s “Ped Xing” character (the president of the Zic Zak corporation, Network 23’s primary sponsor). However the show was canceled in the middle of its second season. Martin was then hired for the fantasy Beauty and the Beast writing 14 of its episodes.

He also oversaw development of the multi-author Wild Cards book series, which takes place in a shared universe in which a small slice of post–World War II humanity gains superpowers after the release of an alien-engineered virus; new titles are still being published in the on-going series from Tor Books. In Second Person Martin “gives a personal account of the close-knit role-playing game (RPG) culture that gave rise to his Wild Cards shared-world anthologies”. Martin’s own contributions to Wild Cards have included Thomas Tudbury, “The Great and Powerful Turtle” – a powerful psychokinetic whose flying “shell” consisted of an armored VW Beetle. Other titles in the series include Low Ball and High Stakes. Martin’s novella, Nightflyers, was adapted into a 1987 feature film of the same title.

In 1991 Martin briefly returned to writing novels and began what would eventually turn into his epic fantasy series: A Song of Ice and Fire, which was inspired by the Wars of the Roses and Ivanhoe. It is currently intended to comprise seven volumes, including Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire and A Feast for Crows, which became The New York Times No. 1 Bestseller and The Wall Street Journal no 1 bestseller. A Feast for Crows was also nominated for both a Quill Award and the British Fantasy Award. The fifth book Dance with Dragons, was published July 12, 2011, and quickly became an international bestseller, including achieving a No. 1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List and In 2012, A Dance With Dragons made the final ballot for science fiction and fantasy’s Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, Locus Poll Award, and the British Fantasy Award and won the Locus Poll Award for Best Fantasy Novel. There are Two more novels in the Ice and Fire series: The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

He is also a screenwriter and television producer andis best known for A Song of Ice and Fire, his international bestselling series of epic fantasy novels which HBO adapted for its dramatic series Game of thrones after acquiring the television rights for the entire Song of Ice and Fire series in 2007. Titled Game of Thrones, it ran weekly for ten episodes, each approximately an hour long.Although busy completing A Dance With Dragons and other projects, George R. R. Martin was heavily involved in the production of the television series adaptation of his books he also participated in scriptwriting; the opening credits list him as a co-executive producer of the series. The first season was nominated for 13 Emmy Awards, ultimately winning two, one for its opening title credits and one for Peter Dinklage as Best Supporting Actor.

The second season of ten episodes, based on the second Ice and Fire novel A Clash of Kings, was nominated for 12 Emmy Awards, including another Supporting Actor nomination for Dinklage. It went on to win six of those Emmys in the Technical Arts categories. The first season of 10 episodes was also nominated for a 2012 Hugo Award, fantasy and science fiction’s oldest award, presented by the World Science Fiction Society each year at the annual Worldcon; the show went on to win the 2012 Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, at the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, in Chicago, IL; Martin took home one of the three Hugo Award trophies. The second season episode “Blackwater”, written by George R.R. Martin, won the Hugo Award at the 71st World Science Fiction Convention, in San Antonio, Texas. Martin serves as the series’ co-executive producer, and In 2005 Lev Grossman of Time called Martin “the American Tolkien” and in 2011 Time Magazine listed him as one of the “most influential people in the world.” Game of thrones has become immensely popular and has spawned eight seasons.

Rupert Grint (Harry Potter)

English actor Rupert Alexander Lloyd Grint was born 24 August 1988. He rose to prominence playing Ron Weasley, one of the three main characters in the Harry Potter film series. Grint was cast as Ron Weasley at the age of 11, having previously acted only in school plays and at his local theatre group. From 2001 to 2011, he starred in all eight Harry Potter films alongside Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson.Starting in 1999, casting began for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the best-selling novel written by author J.K. Rowling. Rowling personally insisted that the cast be British and assisted Susie Figgis and director Chris Columbus in casting the roles. Grint chose to try out for the part of protagonist Ron Weasley, one of Harry Potter’s best friends at Hogwarts, because he had ginger-coloured hair, and was a fan of the book series. Having seen a Newsround report about the open casting, he sent in a video of himself rapping about how he wished to receive the part. His attempt was successful as the casting team asked for a meeting with him .On 8 August 2000 Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and an 11-year old Grint were selected to play the roles of Harry, Hermione Granger, and Ron, respectively. Grint is the oldest member of the trio.

The release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 2001 was Grint’s debut screen performance. Grint won a Satellite Award in the category of “Outstanding New Talent”, and a Young Artist Award for “Most Promising Young Newcomer”.A year later, Grint again starred as Ron in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), the second instalment of the series. The film opened to positive reviews and critics generally enjoyed the lead actors’ performances. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) was released on 31 May in the UK. The film sees all three of its lead characters hover on the brink of adolescence, “and while they look braver and more capable than before, the dangers they face seem far more grave and their own vulnerability more intense.”Academy Award-nominee Alfonso Cuarón took over direction for Prisoner of Azkaban which remains the lowest-grossing Harry Potter film with US$795 million in revenue.

Nonetheless it was the second highest-grossing movie of 2004 behind Shrek 2. Despite this it remains the second highest rated in the series in terms of critical reaction. In 2005, Grint reprised his role again for the fourth film in the series – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The adaptation, unlike previous projects, explored romantic elements and included more humour. This film was directed by Mike Newell. “Goblet of Fire stands as one of the best reviewed instalments within the series, and is noted for the maturity and sophistication of its characters, darker and more complex plotline, writing and performances of the lead actors. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth film in the Harry Potter franchise, was released to cinemas in 2007. A huge financial success, Order of the Phoenix set a record worldwide opening-weekend gross of US$394 million, superseding Spider-Man 3 as the title holder. This entry was directed by a new filmmaker, David Yates, who would continue to direct all of the following movies. Grint said the laid back director was “really good” and helped keep the material fresh.

On 15 July 2009, the series’s sixth instalment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was released. This adaptation centred around more being learnt about Lord Voldemort’s dark past. Half-Blood Prince remains one of the most positively reviewed entries within the series among film critics, who praised the film’s “emotionally satisfying” story, direction, cinematography, visuals and music. Grint observed a change in Ron in this entry, pointing out that his once insecure, often overshadowed character started to become more secure and even began to show a dark side of himself. The actor found it fun to personify a more emotional Ron. Between 2009–2010, his work received three nominations, including one win – an Otto Award from the German magazine Bravo. For financial and scripting reasons, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was divided into two films which were shot back to back, with filming concluding in June 2010. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (2010) was released in November. His portrayal of Ron again earned him critical praise. Grint reprised his role for the eighth time, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, the last Harry Potter instalment. This film picked-up from where the previous film left-off and included a lot of action, whereas the first part had focused more on character development. Rupert, along with the film, was critically acclaimed: Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is currently the 4th highest-grossing film of all time.

From 2002, Grint began to work outside of the Harry Potter franchise, taking on a co-leading role in Thunderpants. He has had starring roles in Driving Lessons, a dramedy released in 2006, and Cherrybomb, a small budgeted drama of limited release in 2010. Grint co-starred with Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt in Wild Target, a comedy. His first project following the end of the Harry Potter series was the 2012 anti-war film, Into the White, in which he stars as the main role.  Grint starred in the 2013 film CBGB and he has been cast in CBS’s new pilot Super Clyde. Grint also made his stage debut in Jez Butterworth’s Mojo in October 2013 at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London.