domingo, 5 de junio de 2016

Muhammad Ali


Andy Warhol / Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

(1942 - 2016)

Born: 17 January 1942
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky
Best known as:
Heavyweight boxing champ called "The Greatest"
Name at birth: Cassius Marcellus Clay

Charismatic, outspoken and nicknamed "The Greatest," heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was the dominant heavyweight fighter of the 1960s and 1970s. A fighter of exceptional speed, cunning and flair, Ali won the world heavyweight title on three separate occasions over a span of 15 years. He was born Cassius Clay, and under that name he won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. After claiming his first title by defeating Sonny Liston in 1964, Clay joined the Nation of Islam and changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Citing his Islamic faith, Ali refused to serve in the U.S. military during the war in Vietnam; his title was revoked and he was sentenced to five years in prison for draft evasion. (The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the conviction in 1971.) He had a long-running rivalry with fellow heavyweight Joe Frazier, whom he fought three times: Ali lost the first match in 1971, but won rematches in 1974 and 1975. Ali also defeated George Foreman in the famous 1974 "Rumble in the Jungle" held in Kinshasa, Zaire. Ali retired from boxing in 1981, but in the decades since has remained one of the world's best-known athletes.

Extra credit:
In retirement Ali has suffered from Parkinson's Disease, a motor-skills illness which has slowed his movement and left him mostly unable to speak in public... In 1996 he was selected to light the ceremonial flame at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, bringing him again into the public eye... Ali was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990... He won his three titles by defeating Sonny Liston (1964), George Foreman (1974) and Leon Spinks (1978)... Ali's managers sometimes refer to him as GOAT -- the Greatest Of All Time... Sprinter Wilma Rudolph won three gold medals at the 1960 Summer Olympics, the same games at which Ali won his boxing gold.

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali Timeline
The ups and downs of the champ's career

by Mike Morrison

Born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr., on Jan. 17, in Louisville, Ky., to Odessa and Cassius, Sr. (a sign and mural painter).
After having his bike stolen, a 12-year-old Clay promises to "whup whoever stole it." In an attempt to channel his aggression, the policeman he reported the crime to takes him under his wing and eventually directs him to boxing trainer Fred Stoner. Over the next six years, Clay would win six Kentucky Golden Gloves championships, two national Golden Gloves titles, and two AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) crowns.
Clay wins the light-heavyweight gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Rome with a 5–0 decision over Poland's Zbigniew Pietrzykowski.

Upon returning to his native Louisville, Clay finds he's not immune to the racism that is so prevalent in the U.S. After being refused service by a waitress at a "whites-only" restaurant, and then fighting with a white gang, a disgusted Clay throws his gold medal into the Ohio River.

He turns professional and wins the first two fights of his career.
Despite an unblemished 19–0 record, Clay is a heavy underdog in his championship bout with Sonny Liston. But you wouldn't know it by listening to him. He brashly and colorfully predicts victory, and teases the champ by calling him, among other things, an "ugly, old bear."

True to his word, Clay has his way with Liston through six rounds. When Liston refuses to leave his corner for the start of the seventh, the fight ends and Clay becomes heavyweight champion of the world.

After the fight, Clay announces he has become a Black Muslim and has changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
In April, Ali refuses induction into the U.S. Army due to his religious convictions. He angers many Americans after claiming, "I ain't got no quarrel with those Vietcong." He is subsequently stripped of his WBA title and his license to fight.

In June, a court finds him guilty of draft evasion, fines him $10,000, and sentences him to five years in prison. He remains free, pending numerous appeals, but is still barred from fighting.
Due to a loophole (there was no state boxing commission in Georgia), Ali returns to the ring in Atlanta and knocks out Jerry Quarry in three rounds.
In March, he fights heavyweight champ Joe Frazier in Madison Square Garden. A left hook by Frazier knocks Ali down in the 15th round. Frazier wins by unanimous decision.

Three months later, the Supreme Court rules in his favor, reversing the 1967 draft-evasion conviction.
In January, he gains a measure of revenge from Frazier, besting the former champ in 12 rounds.

Regains the heavyweight title in the "Rumble in the Jungle" on Oct. 30 in Kinshasa, Zaire after knocking out champion George Foreman in the eighth round. He successfully uses his "rope-a-dope" strategy—Ali allowed Foreman to get him against the ropes and swing away until he tired himself out. Then Ali attacked.
Ali fights Frazier for the third time at the "Thrilla in Manila" in the Philippines. The two heavyweights batter and bloody each other in a ferocious battle, but Ali retains his belt when Frazier can't come out for the 15th round.
With a career record of 55–2, an overconfident Ali loses his belt to 1976 Olympic champ Leon Spinks in a 15-round split decision. Spinks' reign as champ is brief, however, as Ali wins back the title in a unanimous decision seven months later.
Announces his retirement on June 27.
Comes out of retirement to fight new heavyweight champ Larry Holmes. Holmes punishes Ali, landing an estimated 125 punches in the ninth and tenth rounds alone, and then knocks him out in the 11th.
Loses a unanimous decision to Trevor Berbick, and finally hangs up the gloves for good, retiring with an overall professional record of 56—5.
Ali is diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a neurological disorder whose symptoms include muscle tremors and slowness of speech.
Ali carries the Olympic torch and ignites the cauldron to signal the beginning of the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He is also given a second gold medal, to replace the one he tossed in the river 36 years earlier.

Read more: Muhammad Ali Timeline

Memorable Quotes from Muhammad Ali
From the mouth of the Champ

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth."
—Time magazine (1978)

"It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up." 
—New York Times (1977)

"I'm not the greatest; I'm the double greatest. Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round."
—New York Times (1962)

"I know where I'm going and I know the truth and I don't have to be what you want me to be. I'm free to be what I want."
—after announcing he's joined the Nation of Islam (1964)

"I'm the best. I just haven't played yet."
—when asked about his golf game

Muhammad Ali
Cassius Clay
by Andy Warhol

The Greatest Turns 70


By David E. Phillips

Just one day after we celebrated the birthday of the greatest Civil Rights leader in American history, we have occasion to honor another hero of that movement, Muhammad Ali. Ali turns 70 today, and while his health has diminished, his impact is everlasting. My most recent memory of the great man is from almost two full years ago, when a people from a far off country found themselves visited by terrible tragedy, the horror of the earthquake in Haiti.

There were many moments worth remembering during the multi-network broadcast of the Haiti Earthquake Relief Telethon hastily put together by George Clooney on Friday, January 22nd, 2010. The soul-stirring performances by Mary J. Blige, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen and many others were very moving, and the stories of the Haitian people’s tragedy, despair, and hope delivered by a bevy of celebrities were even more so. But the moment that affected me most was the sight of Chris Rock and a drawn, disabled man who the comedian spoke for while holding his hand. That man was Muhammad Ali.

miércoles, 1 de junio de 2016

Marilyn Monroe / A wonderful woman

Marilyn Monroe
(1 June,1926 - 5 August, 1962)
File:Marilyn Monroe Signature.svg

She was born on 1 June 1926 in the Los Angeles County Hospital, the third child of Gladys Baker. She lived with a number of foster parents, as her mother was mentally unstable, until her mum's best friend Grace Mckee became her guardian.
Mckee was inspired by Jean Harlow and allowed the nine-year-old Norma to wear makeup and curl her hair until McKee married and sent Norma to an orphanage.
She was then sent to live with her great aunt Olive Brunings and it is thought that Norma was sexually assaulted by Olive's son, which some biographers have claimed led to her later behaviour, including substance abuse.
At 16, she escaped her old life by marrying a 21-year-old aircraft plant worker, Jim Dougherty, who she divorced four years later. By this time she had begun modelling bathing suits and, after bleaching her hair blonde, posed for pin-ups and glamour photos.
Howard Hughes tried to get her a screen test but was beaten to the punch by 20th Century-Fox, who signed her to a contract - at $125 per week for six months - and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.
After appearing in small parts in films including 'Love Happy' and 'All About Eve', Monroe found fame in 1953 with 'Niagara', 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' and 'How To Marry a Millionaire'. That same year, she began dating baseball player Jo DiMaggio, and a nude spread of her appeared in the debut issue of Playboy magazine. Monroe had hit stardom.The nude spread caused a scandal with her studio so she agreed to admit she had posed for the photo as she was struggling to pay her rent. The resulting publicity created some sympathy for the struggling actress.
In 1954, she eloped with DiMaggio - a union which was only to last eight months - before filming 'There's No Business Like Show Business' and 'The Seven-Year Itch', with the classic scene in which she stood over a subway grating, skirt billowing. She applied for divorce from DiMaggio on the grounds of mental cruelty. Despite this, he secured her release from the Payne Whitney Psychiatric Mental Clinic in 1961.
Monroe's work began to slow down but, after undergoing psychoanalysis, critics praised her acting in 1956 film 'Bus Stop'. She married playwright Arthur Miller the same year, divorcing him four years on. In the meantime, she fell prey to alcohol and pills, and suffered two miscarriages.
After a year off in 1958, Marilyn returned to the silver screen for smash comedy, 'Some Like It Hot'. In 1960, she appeared in 'Let's Make Love', with Yves Montand, with whom she had an affair.
'The Misfits', written by husband Miller, was to be her final film. Work was interrupted by exhaustion, and she was then fired from 'Something's Got to Give' for not turning up for filming.
On 19 May 1962, the actress attended the early birthday celebration of John F Kennedy at Madison Square Gardens and sang 'Happy Birthday Mr President' in a now iconic manner.
She went into seclusion and on 5 August 1962, she was found dead at her home of an overdose of sleeping pills, aged 36. The verdict was suicide but has always been disputed, with countless conspiracy theories triggered by alleged affairs with brothers John F and Robert Kennedy.
Monroe has been portrayed by a number of actresses over the years, with the latest being Michelle Williams.
Williams will be playing Monroe in the BBC TV film 'My week with Marilyn' this year (2011), which portrays the seven days Monroe spent in England in 1957 filming 'The Prince and the Showgirl' with Laurence Olivier.

She has one of the most recognized faces in the world. Over thirty years after her death, Marilyn Monroe is still a household name. Her trademark platinum hair and beauty mark, her famous skirt-blowing scene from The Seven-Year Itch, all of these things are a part of our culture. Marilyn Monroe is an icon, a legend. Who was this luminous woman, this glamorous star? Behind the glitter and the smiles, who was the woman who made it all possible?

"I'm not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful" ~ Marilyn Monroe

On June 1, 1926, a little girl named Norma Jeane was born. The sad story of her childhood would be one much repeated and capitalized upon when this child became the most famous female star in Hollywood history. Norma Jeane did spend considerable time in foster homes, and very little of her childhood with her mother, Gladys. But the tales of childhood woe told later in her life were often exaggerated. Nonetheless, Norma Jeane had a difficult childhood, and suffered emotional problems throughout her life as a result of her lack of stability in childhood, and her feeling of being unwanted. She tried to replace the father and mother, the family she never really had, through her marriages and by attaching herself to the families of others. Norma Jeane married James Dougherty in June of 1942, when she was just sixteen. He was older, something common to all of her husbands. The marriage was not, from most reports, particularly unhappy, but it was doomed to failure. Norma Jeane had higher aspirations than just being Mrs. Dougherty. In 1944, while working at a parachute factory, a new model was discovered, and Norma Jeane Dougherty's face began to appear on numerous magazine covers. Her rise to stardom had begun.

In 1946, Norma Jeane got a divorce, a new name, and set herself on the path to a new career as an actress. The name was Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn dyed her hair blonde. It would take years to reach it's final platinum colour. She appeared in a number of movies, with small roles over the next few years. Her first film was Scudda-Hoo Scudda-Hay. She played a leading role in Ladies of the Chorus, an hour-long B-movie in which she showed a new talent, singing two numbers: "Every Baby Needs a Da-Da-Daddy" and "Anyone Can See I Love You". More bit parts followed, in mostly forgettable films. Some were less forgettable than others, most notably The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve, where Marilyn worked with Bette Davis. Her first leading role in a feature film came in Don't Bother to Knock. It was released in 1952. By this time Marilyn was already well-known and was being romantically linked to retired baseball legend Joe DiMaggio.

"If I'm a star, then the people made me a star" ~ Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn was now making a lot of films. Niagara, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (which included the song she is best known for - Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend), How to Marry a Millionare (alongside Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall), River of No Return, and There's No Business Like Show Business. These films were released in 1953 and 1954. Something else happened in 1954 - Marilyn married Joe DiMaggio, in January. But though the public loved it, the marriage was as doomed as Marilyn's first marriage. Joe was a conservative man who found it difficult to understand the need for Marilyn to flaunt her body. Marilyn would not give up her career. The marriage lasted only nine months. In that time, however, a few notable things happened. While the DiMaggios were honeymooning in Japan, Marilyn was invited to perform for the American troops stationed in Korea. She gladly accepted, and would later remember it fondly as one of the best times of her life. The second notable thing was the filming of the famous skirt-blowing scene for Marilyn's film, The Seven Year Itch. With numerous New Yorkers looking on. Marilyn stood over a subway grating while gusts of air blew her skirt over her head. It was dubbed "the shot seen round the world". To this day it is the most famous image of Marilyn. By all accounts, Joe was not impressed, and some say a great fight ensued. In early October of 1954, Marilyn filed for, and was granted, a divorce. Marilyn was now among the most famous women in the world. She was a huge box-office draw and a money-maker for Twentieth Century Fox, the studio to which she was under contract. She was also underpaid. Her battles with the studio during this time period paved the way for future stars.

"All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent" ~ Marilyn Monroe

In 1955 Marilyn persued her goal of becoming a serious actress. In New York, she studied at the world famous Actor's Studio, under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg. She had left behind the glamour of Hollywood for a while, and focused on improving her acting ability. In the summer of 1956, two things happened. Marilyn married playwright Arthur Miller, and her latest film, Bus Stop, was released. The Miller marriage would last longer than any other. Marilyn was also during this time period forming her own production company with longtime friend Milton Greene. Marilyn Monroe Productions would only make one film, 1957's The Prince and The Showgirl, filmed in London and co-starring the great British actor Sir Laurence Olivier. While in London, Marilyn met the Queen. Marilyn tried throughout the Miller marriage to have children, and was disappointed by her miscarriages. She didn't make another film until the 1959 hit Some Like It Hot. This comedy was Marilyn's biggest hit; she won a Golden Globe Award for it. The next year Marilyn made two more movies; Let's Make Love, with Yves Montand, and The Misfits, written by Arthur Miller with a part for Marilyn. The Miller marriage, however, was on its last legs. Marilyn's co-star on The Misfits, Clark Gable, died of a heart attack shortly after filming ended. When the gossip columns blamed Marilyn's lateness to the set of the film for his death, she was heart-broken. In early 1961, Marilyn and Arthur were divorced. Marilyn was on her own, and she would never complete another picture.

In May of 1962, Marilyn made another memorable performance, but it wasn't for a movie. She sang a breathless version of "Happy Birthday" to President Kennedy at Madison Square Garden. She was in the middle of work on her latest film, ironically titled Something's Got to Give. Something did. On the night of August fourth, 1962, Marilyn Monroe died of a sleeping pill overdose. Rumours have flown ever since. Affairs with the Kennedys, Mafia involvement in her death, murder, a cover-up, a conspiracy. Her death was listed as a probable suicide. Whatever the truth about that night, Marilyn Monroe was dead, at the age of thirty-six. Her light had shone brightly for many years, and it was extinguished suddenly. The world, in shock, began a search for answers that continues to this day. Answers that will never be found.

And so the world spins on without her. There is much more to her story than the bare bones I have outlined here. Her humour, as attested to by the people who knew her, her compassion for all living things, her desire to be loved, her wish to have children. All of these things are difficult to see in the glamorous woman we know as Marilyn Monroe. But she was human. Beneath it all, she was a little girl who hurt just like anyone else. Perhaps that is the most important lesson to be learned from her life and her death. Illusions are just that. We must always try to see the person beneath them.