Monday, September 16, 2013

This Week in Television History: September 2013 PART III


Listen to me on TV CONFIDENTIAL:


As always, the further we go back in Hollywood history, the more that fact and legend become intertwined. It's hard to say where the truth really lies.


September, 16, 1993
Frasier makes its debut on NBC.  
Frasier starred Kelsey Grammer as the erudite, snobbish Dr. Frasier Crane, a radio psychiatrist who relocates from Boston to his hometown of Seattle following the breakup of his marriage. The main characters in Frasier’s life are his father Martin (John Mahoney), a down-to-earth retired cop; his younger brother, Niles (David Hyde Pierce), a psychiatrist who shares Frasier’s taste for the finer things in life; his father’s kooky caretaker, Daphne Moon (Jane Leeves); his radio show producer, Roz Doyle (Peri Gilpin) and his father’s dog, Eddie.
Kelsey Grammer, who was born on February 21, 1955, studied drama at New York City’s Juilliard School and began his professional acting career in theater. In 1984, he made his first appearance on Cheers as the fiance of one of the main characters, Diane (Shelley Long). Although Frasier Crane was originally only supposed to appear on Cheers for a few episodes, the popular character became a permanent member of the show. Set in a Boston-based bar called Cheers, the show debuted on September 30, 1982. Dr. Frasier Crane was one of the regulars who, along with Norm Peterson (George Wendt) and Cliff Clavin (John Ratzenberger) drank at Cheers, which was run by Sam Malone (Ted Danson). When the final episode of Cheers aired on May 20, 1993, more than 80 million viewers tuned in, making it one of the most-watched last episodes in TV history.

Grammer went on to star in Frasier from September 1993 to May 13, 2004. After making an Emmy Award-nominated guest appearance as Crane on the 1990s sitcom Wings, Grammer became the only actor in TV history to earn Emmy nominations for playing the same character on three separate shows.
Grammer’s other acting credits include a recurring role as the voice of Sideshow Bob on Fox’s hit animated series The Simpsons. More recently, he and Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) co-starred as a pair of news anchors at a Pittsburgh TV station on the short-lived sitcom Back to You, which aired from 2007 to 2008 and was directed by Cheers co-creator James Burrows.



September 17, 1948
Jonathan Southworth “John” Ritter is born. Best known for playing Jack Tripper in the ABC sitcom Three's Company. Ritter was born and raised in Burbank, California, the son of Dorothy Fay (née Southworth), an actress, and singing-cowboy/matinee-star Tex Ritter.

He attended Hollywood High School, where he was Student Body President. He went on to the University of Southern California, where he was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity, majored in psychology and minored in architecture.
On September 11, 2003, Ritter felt ill while rehearsing scenes for a season 2 episode of 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter. He was taken across the street to Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, where he died later that day. The cause of his death was an aortic dissection caused by a previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect. His father had died of a heart attack almost thirty years earlier. Years later Ritter's wife testified in court that he had concerns for his own health because of the cause of his father's death.

He was buried at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.



September 17, 1983
20-year-old Vanessa Williams becomes the first African American to win the Miss America crown. 

Less than a year later, on July 23, 1984, Williams gave up her crown after nude photos of her surfaced. Despite the scandal, Williams later launched a successful singing and acting career, including a featured role on the hit television sitcom Ugly Betty.
Vanessa Lynn Williams was born on March 18, 1963, and raised by music-teacher parents in suburban New York City. She attended Syracuse University, where she majored in musical theater. After winning the Miss New York title, Williams went to Atlantic City, New Jersey, to participate in the Miss America pageant. On September 17, 1983, Williams made history by becoming the first African-American woman in the pageant’s 63-year history to capture the Miss America title. (For the competition’s first 30 years, blacks weren’t even allowed to become contestants.) Scandal later erupted, however, when nude photos surfaced of Williams that had reportedly been shot when she worked for a photographer before her pageant days. She was forced to resign her Miss America title in July 1984. The photos later appeared (without Williams’ consent) in Penthouse magazine.

After some time away from the public eye, Williams re-emerged and embarked on a successful music career. In 1988, she released her debut album, The Right Stuff, a dance/pop/R&B collection that went gold and garnered her three Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist. Her second album, 1991’s The Comfort Zone, sold over two million copies and contained the chart-topping single “Save the Best for Last.” Williams’ third album, 1994’s The Sweetest Days, also went platinum. In 1995, she recorded “Colors of the Wind,” the theme song on the soundtrack for the animated feature Pocahontas; the song later earned an Academy Award.

As Williams continued to record and perform music into the coming decade, her acting career heated up. She made her big-screen debut with a small role in 1987’s The Pick-Up Artist, featuring Molly Ringwald and Robert Downey Jr., and also appeared in the 1991 Richard Pryor-Gene Wilder vehicle Another You. She then moved on to co-starring roles in 1996’s Eraser, with Arnold Schwarzenegger; 1997’s Soul Food, whose ensemble cast included Nia Long, Vivica A. Fox and Mekhi Pfifer; the 2000 remake of Shaft, directed by John Singleton and featuring Samuel L. Jackson; and 2004’s Johnson Family Vacation, with Cedric the Entertainer. Williams also racked up credits on the small-screen, including roles on the short-lived series Boomtown and South Beach. Since 2006, she has co-starred on the hit ABC sitcom Ugly Betty. Williams has received two Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as the scheming former supermodel Wilhelmina Slater.
Williams has also appeared on Broadway, where she made her debut in 1994 with a starring role in The Kiss of the Spider Woman. She earned a Tony Award nomination for her appearance in the 2002 revival of Into the Woods.



September 19, 1928
William West Anderson, better known by his stage name Adam West is born. 
Best known for his lead role in the Batman TV series on the ABC TV network and the 1966 Batman feature film. He is currently known for portraying eccentric or psychotically delusional characters, as well as his voice work on animated series such as The Fairly OddParents and Family Guy, in both of which he voices fictional versions of himself.
 


To quote the Bicentennial Minute, "And that's the way it was".



Stay Tuned


Tony Figueroa
Post a Comment