Monday, July 20, 2015
This Week in Television History: July 2015 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.
July 22, 1965
Till Death Us Do Part debuted on England’s BBC-TV.
Till Death Us Do Part is a British television sitcom that aired on BBC1 from 1965 to 1975. First airing as a Comedy Playhouse pilot, the show aired in seven series until 1975. Six years later, ITV continued the sitcom, calling it Till Death.... From 1985 to 1992, the BBC produced a sequel In Sickness and in Health.
Created by Johnny Speight, Till Death Us Do Part centred on the East End Garnett family, led by patriarch Alf Garnett (Warren Mitchell), a reactionarywhite working-class man who holds racist and anti-socialist views. His long-suffering wife Else was played by Dandy Nichols, and his daughter Rita by Una Stubbs. Rita's husband Mike Rawlins (Anthony Booth) is a socialist layabout. The character Alf Garnett became a well known character in British culture, and Mitchell played him on stage and television up until 1998, when Speight died.
In addition to the spin-off In Sickness and in Health, Till Death Us Do Part was re-made in many countries including Brazil, Germany (Ein Herz und eine Seele), the Netherlands (In Voor- En Tegenspoed), and the United States (All in the Family).
Many episodes from the first three series are thought to no longer exist, having been wiped in the late 1960s and early '70s as was the policy at the time.
July 25, 1985
Rock Hudson announces he has AIDS.
Rock Hudson, a quintessential tall, dark and handsome Hollywood leading man of the 1950s and 1960s who made more than 60 films during his career, announces through a press release that he is suffering from acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). With that announcement, Hudson became the first major celebrity to go public with such a diagnosis. The first cases of AIDS, a condition of the human immune system, were reported in homosexual men in the United States in the early 1980s. At the time of Hudson’s death, AIDS was not fully understood by the medical community and the disease was stigmatized by the general public as a condition affecting only gay men, intravenous drug users and people who received contaminated blood transfusions.
Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr., on November 17, 1925, in Winnetka, Illinois. He rose to fame in the 1950s, starring in such films as Giant (1956), for which he received an Academy Award nomination, and A Farewell to Arms (1957). Hudson’s good looks and charm were on display in 1959’s Pillow Talk and several other romantic comedies he made with Doris Day in the early 1960s. In the 1970s, Hudson co-starred in the popular TV series McMillan and Wife. In the early 1980s, he began experiencing health problems and underwent heart bypass surgery. His final TV role was a recurring part on Dynasty from 1984 to 1985.
In July 1985 Hudson was hospitalized while in Paris. Some media reports indicated he was suffering from liver cancer. However, on July 25, Hudson issued a press release stating he had AIDS and was in France for treatment. Hudson, who had a three-year marriage during the 1950s to a woman who had been his agent’s secretary, was believed to be gay, although he never spoke publicly about his sexuality.
Hudson died on October 2, 1985, at age 59 in Beverly Hills, California. His death was credited with bringing attention to an epidemic that went on to kill millions of men, women and children of all backgrounds from around the world. Hudson’s friend and former Giant co-star Elizabeth Taylor became an AIDS activist and rallied the Hollywood community to raise millions for research. In 1993, Tom Hanks received a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in director Jonathan Demme’s Philadelphia, the first major Hollywood movie to focus on AIDS.