Archive for Rule 5

Beyond the Dutch treat

Today is the 52nd birthday of Dutch actress Maruschka Detmers, who moved to France as a teenager and promptly drew the attention of director Jean-Luc Godard, who cast her in his 1983 film Prénom Carmen:

Maruschka Detmers in Prenom Carmen

She continued to work for many years. In 1995, she starred opposite Dolph Lundgren in The Shooter:

Maruschka Detmers in The Shooter

Most recently, in 2010, she appeared in a television remake of that first Godard film, titled First Name: Carmen.

She is arguably best known, however, for her role in Marco Bellocchio’s 1986 film Il diavolo in corpoDevil in the Flesh — as a disaffected twentysomething woman, bored with her terrorist fiancé, who takes up with a high-school student who spotted her outside his window. In the film’s most infamous scene, the kid is discoursing about Lenin’s return to St. Petersburg or some such nonsense; she is unable to respond verbally, as she is, um, otherwise occupied.

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Born 1989

It just dawned on me that today is Taylor Swift’s birthday.

Now we’ve already had a couple of pictures of Tay this week, but hey, it’s her birthday.

And I really wonder about this expression she’s wearing at the iHeart Radio Jingle Ball:

Taylor Swift for iHeart Radio

In a more mellow mood, here’s another shot from her Keds campaign:

Taylor Swift for Keds

Ah, those were the days.

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May I have some marmalade, please

In which the lovely and talented Taylor Swift does her best Paddington Bear look:

Taylor Swift in winter wear

Not that I’m going to tell her she can’t wear Ralph Lauren if she wants to:

Taylor Swift in Ralph Lauren collection

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Wende time comes

December 7, 1941, said FDR, was “a date that would live in infamy.” This probably doesn’t say anything about Wende Wagner, who was born the day before. With both parents sports-minded — Mom was a champion skier, Dad a swimming/diving coach turned career Navy officer — she gravitated toward doing those things herself, and it’s said that Billy Wilder, then filming Some Like It Hot at Coronado, California, saw Wagner swimming and invited her to take a screen test. “Not while you’re still in high school,” declared the parental units. (Later, she did the test, but turned down a role in Wilder’s The Apartment.)

And so she became an underwater stunt player on Sea Hunt and The Aquanauts:

Wende Wagner on the rocks

After her first marriage broke up, she decided that maybe standing in front of a camera might not be such a bad thing after all, and signed with 20th Century-Fox, where she had small roles in Rio Conchos and Rosemary’s Baby (on loan to Paramount), and a larger one in the TV series The Green Hornet.

Wende Wagner on the sofa

She retired in the early Seventies, and was seldom heard from thereafter, until her death from cancer in 1997.

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All about that face (no hijab)

Sıla Şahin, twenty-nine today, is a Turkish-German actress who has spent the last five years on the German soap opera Gute Zeiten, schlechte Zeiten — more or less, Good Times, Bad Times, which could be the subtitle of any of a hundred soaps worldwide. You probably should not assume anything from her Muslim-sounding name.

Sıla Şahin in white

Sıla Şahin at a fashion show

A bit of controversy erupted when Şahin appeared in a pictorial for German Playboy (she was even on the cover [NSFW]) in 2011. News reports ran something like this:

A Turkish Muslim model appears naked on the May issue of Germany’s Playboy magazine, sparking debate in the country over Muslim women and sexuality as well as causing a rift with the model’s conservative family.

The Turkish German model, Sıla Şahin, had been living in Berlin and starring on the German television soap opera Good Times, Bad Times. In many ways, she had been an example of how a “well-integrated Turkish German should behave.”

Playboy’s German editor Florian Boitin pointed out some minor details:

“Sila isn’t Muslim. Her father doesn’t belong to any [religion] and her mother is Christian [sic]. And the Playboy cover with Sila Sahin is not a religious statement,” Boitin told FOX411.

Boitin continued to explain that as Editor in Chief he believed there was every reason to put Sahin on the cover to cater to a specific demographic within Germany.

Three million Muslims, half of whom presumably wanted a peek?

Şahin defended her appearance as one of those “freedom” things, though she probably didn’t help her cause by invoking the name of Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

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We’ll show those hatches

Guitarist Jennifer Batten, fifty-seven today, has put out three solo albums, though she’s probably best known for her axe work on tour with Michael Jackson, supporting Bad, Dangerous and HIStory, and in MJ’s Super Bowl appearance in 1993. She’s a bit wild and unruly in appearance, though this can be toned down a notch:

Jennifer Batten at rest

Or, you know, not:

Jennifer Batten at work

One of Batten’s influences is Jeff Beck; she appeared on his Who Else! (1999) and You Had It Coming (2001) albums, and toured with him for three years. In this amateur video — the picture is good, the sound not so much — she takes on a Beck original from the Who Else! album, “Brush with the Blues”:

She can definitely wail.

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All this and Superman too

By general assent, the number-one pinup among GIs in World War II was Betty Grable; you could make a pretty good case, though, for Noel Neill as Number Two, especially if you had these pix lying around:

Noel Neill smiles for the camera, circa 1944

Noel Neill smiles for the camera, circa 1945

This latter shot came from Paramount’s publicity mill, inasmuch as the studio had just signed her to a contract:

Noel Neill in a Paramount publicity still, circa 1941

She had a brief nonspeaking appearance in An American in Paris in 1951, but she is best remembered these days as Lois Lane, the spunky Daily Planet reporter who never could quite figure out that Kent fellow. She did two Superman serials; Phyllis Coates played the first year of the Adventures of Superman TV series, but had already made other commitments before anyone knew there’d be a second year, so Neill returned to the role. There is, as there should be, a statue of her in Metropolis. Today is her 95th birthday.

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In and out of chambers

Jeanine Pirro (currently “Judge Jeanine” on Fox News) posted this picture to Instagram earlier this week:

Jeanine Pirro in some fancy duds

“Can you believe I just walked 14 blocks in these heels?!” she said. “Cold outside, but warming up the office with my #ootd.” Outfit Of The Day, if you’re not hip to the lingo.

Let’s get a closer look at those heels:

Jeanine Pirro from here down

Manolo Blahnik, of course. (The dress is by Hervé Leger, and it’s clearly not one of his Bandages.)

And because every point needs a counterpoint:

Jeanine Pirro cuts the grass

The grass never had a chance.

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Her Majesty takes a spin

The idea of Royalty Having Fun might run counter to our expectations, perhaps because we’ve never had a royal family of our own, despite decades of media attempts to simulate one. For some reason, this pair of shots of Queen Máxima of the Netherlands gave me a silly grin, and I pass them on to you. The event is the 2013 opening of a park in Utrecht named for Her Majesty, last seen here resplendent in orange but on this date doing that color-block thing to considerable advantage:

Queen Maxima prepares to meet her subjects

And then this happened:

Queen Maxima on a bicycle

Be warned: the usual click-to-embiggen works here, but we’re talking 2 to 4 megabytes. Each.

Still awaiting final resolution: the question of cycling while wearing heels.

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Still pretty after all these years

Last time we checked in with Tristan Prettyman, she’d been let out of her major-label contract, for which she blamed me. Still, she keeps working, and right now she’s touring with Eric Hutchinson on what is called the City and Sand Tour. For a surfer girl from Southern California, this makes perfect sense.

Tristan Prettyman at Waikiki

(Parenthetical — obviously — note: Waikiki, seen here, is a sister city to, um, Bixby, Oklahoma. I have no idea how this happened.)

This trip to Hawaii, I should point out, was not actually on the tour: that was, I think, last year. (All these pix are from her Facebook timeline.) This on-stage shot, however, is from the current tour:

Tristan Prettyman on stage

Of course, unless you’re an A-list star, the road can be a tedious and boring place, and there are tedious and boring things that have to be done, like this:

Tristan Prettyman kills time while doing the wash

Her new EP, Back to Home, released independently, is on my Get list. No videos yet, but here’s a take — literally, a take — on “Say Anything,” which you might have heard in the film Safe Haven:

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Dollars for scents

Various forces converged this week to tell me that famed fashion designer Tory Burch now has her very own fragrance:

Tory Burch announces a new fragrance

As usual, I’m behind; she actually pushed out this product last fall, though apparently Bloomingdale’s had an exclusive for the first year.

Burch, arguably the wealthiest art-history graduate around — Forbes says she’s worth about a billion — is inclined to share the wealth:

The New York-based designer is promoting a new partnership between her Tory Burch Foundation, a nonprofit launched in 2009 to support the economic empowerment of women, and Bank of America.

The joint effort, launched in January, is known as Elizabeth Street Capital and named for the New York street where Burch launched her first boutique. Through it, Bank of America is giving a total of $10 million in loans to female entrepreneurs — first in eight markets, including Charlotte and the Carolinas region, New York, San Francisco, Boston and Philadelphia, and then in other markets over the next two years.

An exceedingly comfortable place to be in. Then again, she always looks comfortable:

Tory Burch in her flagship store

Before you ask: she’s forty-eight.

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A vision of Lumleyness

You probably remember Joanna Lumley for one of two roles: Purdey in The New Avengers (1976-77), or Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous (1992-1995, plus several revivals). Forgetting her, of course, would be out of the question.

Joanna Lumley on a billiard table

Joanna Lumley on the telephone

Joanna Lumley not on the wagon

Roles in which you might not remember her:

  • She had two lines in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the seriously underrated James Bond film with the competent George Lazenby.
  • She had one line on several million personal computers: she was the “You have email” voice of the British branch of AOL.

And she’s still busy at sixty-eight:

Joanna Lumley on the High Street

Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way, which debuted at this year’s Venice Film Festival, features Lumley as the ethanol-poisoned mother of a therapist played by Jennifer Aniston. The booze, we know, she learned from Patsy Stone.

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It’s a Mansfield

In 1953, Jayne Mansfield, only twenty and hardly a household word yet, was doing live theatre in Dallas, and at some point posed for a Fourth of July-themed photoshoot. A couple of shots therefrom:

Jayne Mansfield 1953

Jayne Mansfield 1953

Mansfield once claimed that she had an IQ of 163, though it wasn’t really a factor in her career: “They’re more interested in 40–21–35,” she said. That said, she studied at least three languages besides English, plus piano and violin. Singing, maybe not so much, though she cut this single in 1965:

One of the sidemen on this track (and on its B-side, “Suey”) was a chap named James Marshall Hendrix.

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Well, damn

MTV apparently found this video a bit too saucy, even for 1992:

There is, of course, a VEVOfied version suitable for family consumption — maybe. I haven’t decided if the scary part is in the sheer eroticism of some of the imagery, or that “Damn” coming out at the very beginning of the chorus.

Or maybe it’s just sheer kineticism:

Sophie B. Hawkins in 2010

Identification for this shot:

Sophie B. Hawkins poses in the press room during “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” presented by the USO at the MCAS Miramar on December 3, 2010 in Miramar, California. “VH1 Divas Salute the Troops” concert event will be televised on Sunday, December 5 at 9:00 PM ET/PT on VH1.

The B., in case you’re asking, stands for “Ballantine.”

Hawkins campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2008; she hasn’t said if she’d do so in 2016, but she did say this:

[A]t the Love Heals benefit, Hillary Clinton wrote a letter for Bronson Van Wyck in lieu of presenting him an honor, and I have to say this; if Hillary runs again, her whole campaign should be the way that letter was written. From the mother. The mother of the planet. She is a great mother, and anyone who has children can agree that being a great mother is the toughest job. So there. This planet needs a great mother.

Hawkins is for some reason thought of as a one-hit wonder, though “As I Lay Me Down” (1995) made #6 in Billboard, only one notch lower than “Damn.”

And today is her 47th birthday.

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Toast of many towns

The microphone loved Melba Moore even more than the camera did, and the camera definitely had a crush on her. Here’s the 45 sleeve from her 1986 single “Falling”:

Falling by Melba Moore on Capitol B-5651

A #1 R&B hit, “Falling” missed the pop charts by a hair. By ’86 she’d been recording for seventeen years; Mercury, her first label, tried lots of things, including the obligatory live album and a pop/rock setting of Bizet’s Carmen, but she didn’t really hit big until she switched to Buddah, in 1975. “Falling” was cut for Capitol in 1986. There’s no actual video here, but the song sounds great:

Also in 1986 came the debut of the situation comedy Melba. Unfortunately, CBS scheduled the first episode for the 28th of January, which turned out to be the day of the Challenger disaster, and hurriedly shelved the series. (The other five episodes appeared as summer filler.)

On the evidence of this picture, from last year’s opening night of Motown: The Musical, the camera hasn’t ever gotten over her:

Melba Moore at Motown: The Musical, April 2013

Happy 69th, Melba. (It’s tomorrow, actually.)

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The amazing Snyderman

NBC medical editor Nancy Snyderman (MD, University of Nebraska Medical Center, 1977) is probably better known these days for blowing off an Ebola quarantine than for her frequent TV appearances or her actual work as a physician. Those of us who believe that one learns more from television news by turning the sound down, however, focus elsewhere:

Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show

Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show

Dr Nancy Snyderman on the Today Show

The shoes, of course, are just for show:

At this writing, she’s been banished off-camera for the next month, presumably so NBC can hack up something resembling damage control.

(Note: Sometimes you have the title long before you have the post, and by “you” I mean me.)

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Swift entanglements

This Australian radio interview of Taylor Swift is — oh, who cares? It’s Taylor Swift, fercryingoutloud:

I snagged this still from Twitter:

Taylor Swift on 2DayFM Sydney

The 1989 album, as I may have mentioned before, drops next week.

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Not from the New World

Actress Ann Dvorak is not related to composer Antonín Dvořák, or to psychologist and keyboard guru August Dvorak, or to computer columnist (and August’s nephew) John C. Dvorak, though apparently she was related to John C. Calhoun. I’m not quite sure why she took on the surname “Dvorak,” which corresponds to none of her three husbands; she was credited as Baby Anna Lehr, after her mother, in her film work as a child. (Her birth certificate reads “Anna McKim.”) Maybe it was just to listen to people mispronounce it:

“My name is properly pronounced vor’shack. The D remains silent. I have had quite a time with the name, having been called practically everything from Balzac to Bickelsrock.”

Dvorak was pretty busy in pre-Code Hollywood, appearing opposite Paul Muni in Howard Hughes’ Scarface (1932) and, here, with Richard Cromwell in Michael Curtiz’ The Strange Love of Molly Louvain (also 1932):

Ann Dvorak as Molly Louvain in 1932

Dvorak subsequently absented herself from Hollywood, by which is meant that she ran off to London and married cast member Leslie Fenton, thereby breaking her contract and, inevitably, annoying studio heads, who paid her back by engineering the decline of her career. She and Fenton broke up in 1945; eventually she retired to Hawaii, where she died in 1979.

Ann Dvorak doing promo work

This Elmer Fryer photo apparently served as the source for a trading card from the British tobacco company Carreras.

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All my bass are belong to her

Meghan Trainor has owned the charts of late with that weird little tune called “All About That Bass,” popularly interpreted as a body-acceptance anthem. (I think that line about “skinny bitches” probably disqualifies it, but I still adore the record.) And if she looks appallingly young, well, she’s not yet 21: she’s entitled.

Entertainment Weekly spent one page of a three-page article on this:

Meghan Trainor on a bicycle

And while her Amy-Winehouse-meets-the-Shirelles sound has its own charms, this is what seriously makes me grin: “All About That Bass” comes from a 2014 EP with the title Title. That’s the name of it. And she’s not pulling anyone’s chain, either. Here’s the (audio only) title song, so to speak:

I’ll consider that a supplementary explanation for the bicycle.

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Fox-y lady

I could not let this pass by:

Well, she wants to believe.

Addendum: Here’s the quiz.

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Uncap my lens

For Toni Braxton’s birthday — she’s forty-seven today — we have a couple of shots, one carefully staged, one not so much. This is the cover art to her late-2009 single “Yesterday,” released before the Pulse album:

Toni Braxton on the Yesterday sleeve

And this is a less-than-entirely-graceful exit from the back seat, earlier this year:

Toni Braxton arrives for dinner

Oh, the heck with that. Let’s go back to “Yesterday”:

Does this really require an Underwear Warning?

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Seven the hard way

I am somewhat unathletic, in the sense that a garden snail is somewhat unspeedy, so I tend to be at least slightly awed by competitive athletics, and rather more than that when the competitions are multiple and consecutive.

The women’s heptathlon consists of, yes, seven events, four on one day, three on the next: 100-meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200-meter run; long jump, javelin throw, 800-meter run. There is a scoring system that almost, but not quite, defies description. Here we see Polish heptathlete Karolina Tymińska on her way to a personal-best 6,544 points at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea:

Karolina Tyminska in the high jump

She also cleans up nicely after a workout:

Karolina Tyminska seated

It’s her 30th birthday today.

(The all-time record for women’s heptathlon was set by American Jackie Joyner-Kersee in 1988, with 7,291 points; Tymińska just missed the bronze in the 2011 Championships, won by Tatyana Chernova of Russia.)

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A voice from days gone by

Timi Yuro died in the spring of 2004 — the cancer that took away her voice eventually took the rest of her — and I gave her a sendoff in these pages. I wasn’t doing pictures back then, or at least not many, and I didn’t give the matter much more thought until a new-release announcement came down the wire from one of those reissue labels: a two-CD set containing her first four albums plus bonus tracks. And they’d used a manually-colored version of this old Hollywood publicity photo:

Timi Yuro glamour shot

If you’re interested, here’s an Amazon link. “Hurt” was her biggest hit, but the one that’s stayed with me is “What’s A Matter Baby,” which I described this way:

Sung and recorded at the very edge of distortion, then remixed by Phil Spector, this may be Yuro’s best: the voice is just as big, and the finger she’s pointing is even bigger.

Especially since Spector apparently did this without the approval of either Clyde Otis, who produced the track and co-wrote the song, or Al Bennett, who was running Liberty Records, Timi’s label.

But the operative word is “big,” and, well, she wasn’t all that big in real life:

Timi Yuro seated

Five foot one, maybe. On the radio, you never noticed this sort of thing, and you wouldn’t have cared if you did.

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Symphony, seated

First, the context:

During a Thursday appearance on The View, Viola Davis fired back at the New York Times writer who recently said she was “less classically beautiful.” Last week, in an article that received plenty of backlash, Times writer Alessandra Stanley not only critiqued Davis’ looks but also referred to Shonda Rhimes as an angry black woman.

There was enough backlash, in fact, to provoke Times “public editor” Margaret Sullivan into an admission:

The readers and commentators are correct to protest this story. Intended to be in praise of Ms. Rhimes, it delivered that message in a condescending way that was — at best — astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.

For those of us for whom most of the Times is tone-deaf and out of touch, though seldom astonishingly so anymore, this wasn’t exactly news. And “less classically beautiful” inevitably implies a comparison: less than whom? Says the Times writer: Kerry Washington and Halle Berry. The question that remains: “But who isn’t?” Someone once asked me who, in my opinion, was the single most gorgeous woman on the planet. At the time, I said: “Either Halle Berry, or — who’s that woman who looks almost like Halle Berry?”

About the time I finished digesting the backlash articles, this appeared in the tweetstream:

Dayum.

Mr Dollar, sir, you speak truth.

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Rhymes with “yell”

Danielle Dax, according to Allmusic, just turned 56. I wouldn’t have guessed: the music she played seldom seemed to belong to any era, no matter when it came out. She did, however, look fetching behind a guitar-like object:

Danielle Dax tuning up

“Cat-House,” the single — it was eventually put out on a compilation album called Dark Adapted Eye — dates from around 1988.

In 1995, she released, on her own Biter of Thorpe (!) label, a compilation called Comatose Non-Reaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax, which goes on my One Of These Days list.

After the jump, a still from Neil Jordan’s 1984 fantasy film The Company of Wolves, in which Dax plays the Wolfgirl. She has no lines, but she will not be ignored:

Read the rest of this entry »

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The divine Sophia

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.” — Sophia Loren

She’s eighty today. I know my duty when I see it:

A Sophia Loren retrospective

As you may have come to expect, each of these may be enlarged with a click.

See also Roger Green’s Sophia retrospective.

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It’s just a print

Given Emily Deschanel’s longstanding commitment to animal welfare and vegetarianism and such, it’s not at all surprising that she’d make an appearance for Mercy For Animals, but I have to admit, I wouldn’t have expected this dress:

Emily Deschanel for Mercy For Animals 9-12-14

I mean, yeah, great dress, but it seems like it might suggest something contrary to the mission. (The organization’s annual gala was held Friday night at The London West Hollywood.)

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The adventures of Sophie

Once upon a time, there was a British band called “theaudience,” which was given to songs with fab titles like “A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed” and “If You Can’t Do It When You’re Young, When Can You Do It?”

Theaudience managed only the one album, back in 1998, before breaking up; lead singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor, then nineteen, went on to a solo career, and has now released five albums, the most recent being Wanderlust, from which we extract the current single, “The Deer and the Wolf.”

Definitely a departure from her dance-pop days. And this came out day before yesterday:

I sort of explained Pretty Polly last summer.

This is the cover art from Wanderlust:

Cover art from Wanderlust by Sophie Ellis-Bextor

Why the lapses into Cyrillic? Ellis-Bextor has said that the album is like “a soundtrack to an Eastern European film from the 1970s,” and indeed one track features a Bulgarian choir, recorded at the Bulgarian Embassy in London:

It’s not often I’ve stuffed a post into four different categories.

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Coolen on the side

Nancy Anna Francina Coolen wound up with a shortened name (“Nance”), a career in Eurodance music, and a second career as a TV host, all before turning 40. (She’s 41 tomorrow.) There is, of course, the usual array of slightly exciting pictures:

Nance Coolen

Nance Coolen

Nance was discovered by Ruud van Rijen, who created the dance act Twenty 4 Seven in 1989. She remained with van Rijen through 1996; he continues the group today.

This video, set to Nance’s 2003 solo single “If You Wanna Dance,” contains a brief history of her career:

Last I looked, she was doing Showniews for the Dutch channel SBS 6.

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Wayne’s whirled

Carol Wayne, born on this date in 1942, started out as a perfectly serious figure skater, and later became a perfectly serious actress. Here we see her on an episode of I Spy, making a perfectly serious phone call:

Carol Wayne in The Trouble with Temple episode of I Spy

However, she’s probably best remembered as the Matinee Lady opposite Tea Time Movie host Art Fern:

Carol Wayne with Johnny Carson

I have no idea what that day’s movie was, but I suspect the sponsor was located near the Slauson Cutoff.

She died under mysterious circumstances in Mexico in 1985. All the more reason, I think, to see that she’s not forgotten. (As if.)

Update: Substituted another picture for the second one. (See comments).

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