Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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A summer of loss for Hollywood

It seems a new talent is launched out of Southern California’s streets of mortal obscurity and into Hollywood’s galaxy of sparkling stars every week. The longer a star sparkles, the harder it becomes to recollect its human origins, but this summer five of Hollywood’s brightest rays of light — Katherine Hepburn, Gregory Hines, Milton Berle, Gregory Peck and Bob Hope — shot back to Earth and left the sort of dark voids in the sky which may be covered but surely will never be filled.

Arguably the greatest actress to ever grace the silver screen, Katherine Hepburn turned in poignant, brilliant and sometimes sexy performances for over 50 years. The only person to win the Academy Award for Best Actress four times, Hepburn crafted some of cinema’s most memorable moments in films like “The African Queen,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “On Golden Pond.” Katherine Hepburn passed away June 29 at her home in Connecticut; she was 95 years old.

Gregory Peck was no stranger to cinematic greatness, either. In 1962, Peck brought Harper Lee’s complex Atticus Finch to life in “To Kill a Mockingbird,” one of the first Hollywood works to seriously address racism. “Mockingbird” was not Peck’s only daring entry into the waters of politically sensitive cinema. In 1947, he tackled the lead role in “Gentleman’s Agreement,” which addressed issues of anti-Semitism. Gregory Peck passed away June 12 in Los Angeles; he was 87 years old.

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One of television’s first — and finest — funny men, Milton Berle was trained in vaudeville before he became a regular guest in America’s living rooms. “The Milton Berle Show” was a staple of television for years, as the host would famously parade out in a different outfit every week. Berle also made his mark on the silver screen as part of the famously uproarious ensemble cast of “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.” Milton Berle died March 27 of colon cancer; he was 93 years old.

Probably the finest tap dancer of his time, Gregory Hines helped give the art exposure on the silver screen, as his charismatic face fought for screen time with his lively feet. 1985’s “White Nights” pitted Hines opposite legendary ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and helped to shine a spotlight on tap dancing. Hines’ acting also landed him a role on television’s “Will & Grace,” which made the actor a household name before his tragically premature death from cancer August 9; he was only 57 years old.

After four decades of performances on NBC, countless shows for America’s military overseas and private acts for 11 U.S. presidents, there is no question that Bob Hope was the greatest entertainer of the 20th century. His knack for witty humor mixed with appropriate charisma and sentiment made his face, more than anyone else’s, that of Hollywood. He conquered radio, television, film and the stage. He made people laugh when they needed humor the most, and he touched almost every American at one point or another. After 100 years of laughter, Bob Hope died July 27.

With the passing of these stars comes a reminder that even the most glamorous of Hollywood’s entertainers are mere mortals. But their work is immortal and will never cease to shoot across the evening sky so that generations to come may watch in awe.

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