Toni Stone


Toni Stone

Toni Stone (July 17, 1921 – November 2, 1996), also known by her married name Marcenia Lyle Alberga, was the first of three women to play Negro league baseball.

Toni Stone graduated from Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She married Aurelious Alberga, a man forty years her elder and one of the many people who did not want her playing baseball. She had always been referred to as a “tomboy” growing up and consequently received the nickname “Toni” because it sounded like “tomboy”. She enjoyed the name and eventually adopted it as her own. ”I loved my trousers. I love cars. Most of all I loved to ride horses with no saddles. I wasn’t classified. People weren’t ready for me,” she said.

Career

Toni Stone’s playing career began when she was only ten years old when she participated in a Catholic Midget League, which is similar to today’s Little League. She moved on to play for the Girl’s Highlex Softball Club in Saint Paul, Minnesota. By the age of fifteen, Toni Stone played for the St. Paul Giants, a men’s semi-professional team. Stone soon began playing on Al Love’s American Legion championship team.

She began her professional career with the San Francisco Sea Lions (1949), where she batted in two runs in her first time up. Toni soon became discontented with the owner of the Sea Lions after she did not receive the pay she had been promised. She quit the team and joined the Black Pelicans of New Orleans. After a short stint with the Black Pelicans, Stone joined the New Orleans Creoles (1949–1952). She was signed by Syd Pollack, owner of the Indianapolis Clowns, in 1953 to play second base, the position Hank Aaron played for the team one year earlier. She did this as part of a publicity stunt. The Clowns were compared to the Harlem Globetrotters of the basketball world, so having a woman on the team attracted more fans. During the fifty games that Stone played for the Clowns, she maintained a .243 batting average, and one of her hits was off the legendary Satchel Paige. All of these accomplishments may make her “one of the best players you have never heard of”, according to the NLBPA website. Stone’s contract was sold to the Kansas City Monarchs prior to the 1954 season, and she retired following the season because of lack of playing time.

After the 1954 season, Stone moved to Oakland, California to work as a nurse and care for her sick husband, who later died in 1987 at age 103. Toni died on November 2, 1996 at a nursing home in Alameda, California. She was 75 years old.

Struggles

Stone was the first female player in the Negro Leagues, and she was not met with open arms. Most of the men shunned her and gave her a hard time because she was a woman. Stone was quite proud of the fact that the male players were out to get her. She would show off the scars on her left wrist and remember the time she had been spiked by a runner trying to take out the woman standing on second base. “He was out,” she recalled.

Even though she was part of the team, she was not allowed in the locker room. If she was lucky, she would be allowed to change in the umpire’s locker room. Once, Stone was asked to wear a skirt while playing for sex appeal, but she would not do it. Even though she felt like she was “one of the guys”, the people around her did not. While playing for the Kansas City Monarchs, she spent most the game on the bench, next to the men who hated her. “It was hell,” she said.

Awards

Toni Stone became one of the first women to play as a regular on a big-league professional team in 1953. In 1985 Stone was inducted into the Women’s Sports Foundation’s International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. In 1990 she was included in two exhibits at the Baseball Hall of Fame, one on “Women in Baseball” and another on “Negro League Baseball”. In 1993 Stone was inducted into the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the Sudafed International Women’s Sports Hall of Fame. In 1990, Stone’s hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota declared March 6 “Toni Stone Day”. Saint Paul also has a field named after Toni Stone located at the Dunning Baseball Complex.

 

Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan


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Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan (July 16, 1919 – April 19, 1999) was a female camp guard at Ravensbrück and Majdanek concentration camps, and the first Nazi war criminal to be extradited from the United States, to face trial in Germany. She was sentenced to life imprisonment by the District Court of Düsseldorf on April 30, 1981.

Life

Braunsteiner was born in Vienna, the youngest child in a strictly observant Roman Catholic working class family. Her father Friedrich Braunsteiner was a chauffeur for a brewery and/or a butcher. Hermine lacked the means to fulfill her aspiration to become a nurse, and worked as a maid. From 1937 to 1938 she worked in England for an American engineer’s household.

In 1938 Braunsteiner became a German citizen after the Anschluss. She returned to Vienna from England and the same year relocated to Germany proper for a job at the Heinkel aircraft works in Berlin.

Camp guard at Ravensbrück

At the urging of her landlord, a German policeman, Braunsteiner applied for a better paying job supervising prisoners, quadrupling her income in time. She began her training on August 15, 1939, as an Aufseherin under Maria Mandel at Ravensbrück concentration camp. She remained there after the start of World War II, and the influx of new prisoners from occupied countries. After three years, a disagreement with Mandel led Braunsteiner to request a transfer in October 1942.

Majdanek

On October 16, 1942, Braunsteiner took up her duties in the forced-labor apparel factory at the Majdanek concentration camp, established near Lublin, Poland a year earlier. It was both a labour camp (Arbeitslager) and an extermination camp (Vernichtungslager) with gas chambers and crematoria. She was promoted to assistant wardress in January 1943, under Oberaufseherin Elsa Ehrich along with five other camp guards.

Her abuses took many forms in the camp. She involved herself in “selections” of women and children to be sent to the gas chambers and whipped several women to death. Working alongside other female guards such as Elsa Ehrich, Hildegard Lächert, Marta Ulrich, Alice Orlowski, Charlotte Karla Mayer-Woellert, Erna Wallisch and Elisabeth Knoblich, Braunsteiner was infamous for her wild rages and tantrums. According to one witness at her later trial in Düsseldorf, she “seized children by their hair and threw them on trucks heading to the gas chambers”. Other survivors testified how she killed women by stomping on them with her steel-studded jackboots, earning her the nickname “The Stomping Mare”. (In Polish “Kobyła”, in German “Stute von Majdanek”.) She received the War Merit Cross, 2nd class, in 1943, for her work.

Ravensbrück again

In January 1944, Hermine was ordered back to Ravensbrück as Majdanek began evacuations due to the approaching front line. She was promoted to supervising wardress at the Genthin subcamp of Ravensbrück, located outside Berlin. Witnesses say that she abused many of the prisoners with a horsewhip she carried, killing at least two women with it.

Post war Austria

On May 7, 1945, Hermine Braunsteiner fled the camp ahead of the Soviet Red Army. She then returned to Vienna, but soon left, complaining that there was not enough food there.

The Austrian police arrested her and turned her over to the British military occupation authorities; she remained incarcerated from May 6, 1946, until April 18, 1947. A court in Graz, Austria convicted her of torture, maltreatment of prisoners and crimes against humanity and against human dignity at Ravensbrück (not Majdanek), then sentenced her to serve three years, beginning April 7, 1948; she was released early in April 1950. An Austrian civil court subsequently granted her amnesty from further prosecution there. She worked at low level jobs in hotels and restaurants until emigrating.

Emigration and marriage

Russell Ryan, an American, met her on his vacation in Austria. They married in October 1958, after they had emigrated to Nova Scotia, Canada. She entered the United States in April 1959, becoming a United States citizen on January 19, 1963. They lived in Maspeth, Queens, where she was known as a fastidious housewife with a friendly manner, married to a construction worker.

Discovery

Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had followed her trail from a tip in Tel Aviv to Vienna to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and then, via Toronto, to Queens. In 1964 Wiesenthal alerted the New York Times that Braunsteiner might have married a man named Ryan and might live in the Maspeth area of the Borough of Queens in New York. They assigned Joseph Lelyveld, then a young reporter, to find “Mrs. Ryan.” They first lived at 54-44 82nd St. in western Elmhurst and moved to 52-11 72nd St. in Maspeth. He found her at the second doorbell he rang, and later wrote that she greeted him at her front doorstep and said, “My God, I knew this would happen. You’ve come.”

Braunsteiner Ryan stated that she had been at Maidanek only a year, eight months of which in the camp infirmary. “My wife, sir, wouldn’t hurt a fly” said Ryan. “There’s no more decent person on this earth. She told me this was a duty she had to perform. It was a conscriptive service.” On August 22, 1968, United States authorities sought to revoke her citizenship, because she had failed to disclose her convictions for war crimes; she was denaturalized in 1971 after entering into a consent judgment to avoid deportation.

Extradition

A prosecutor in Duesseldorf began investigating her wartime behavior, and in 1973 the German government requested her extradition, accusing her of joint responsibility in the death of 200,000 people.

The United States court denied procedural claims that her denaturalization had been invalid (U.S citizens could not be extradited to Germany), and that the charges alleged political offenses committed by a non-German outside West Germany. Later it rejected claims of lack of probable cause and double jeopardy. During the next year she sat with her husband in United States district court in Queens, hearing survivors’ testimony against the former SS guard. They described whippings and fatal beatings. Rachel Berger, alone among the witnesses, testified she would celebrate retribution against the former vice-commandant of the women’s camp at Majdanek.

The judge certified her extradition to the Secretary of State on May 1, 1973, and on August 7, 1973, Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan became the first Nazi war criminal extradited from the United States to Germany.

Trial in Germany

She was remanded in Düsseldorf in 1973, until her husband posted bail. The German court rejected Mrs. Ryan’s arguments that it lacked jurisdiction, because she was not a German national but Austrian, and that the offenses alleged had occurred outside Germany. It ruled she had been a German citizen at the time, and more importantly had been a German government official acting in the name of the German Reich.

She stood trial in West Germany with 15 other former SS men and women from Majdanek. One of the witnesses against Hermine testified that she “seized children by their hair and threw them on trucks heading to the gas chambers.” Others spoke of vicious beatings. One witness told of Hermine and the steel-studded jackboots with which she dealt blows to inmates.

The third Majdanek trial (Majdanek-Prozess in German) was held in Düsseldorf. It began on November 26, 1975, and lasted 474 sessions, Germany’s longest and most expensive trial. All the defendants, including Ryan and Hermann Hackmann, had been SS guards at Majdanek. The court found insufficient evidence on six counts of the indictment and convicted her on three: murder of 80 people; abetting the murder of 102 children; and collaborating in the murder of 1000. On June 30, 1981, the court imposed a life sentence, a more severe punishment than those meted out to her co-defendants.

Complications of diabetes, including a leg amputation, led to her release from Mülheimer women’s prison in 1996. Hermine Braunsteiner Ryan died on April 19, 1999, aged 79, in Bochum, Germany.

After the publicity surrounding Ryan’s extradition, the United States government established (1979) a U.S. DOJ Office of Special Investigations to seek out war criminals to denaturalize or deport. It took jurisdiction previously held by the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

 

Yao Defen


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Yao Defen (July 15, 1972 – November 13, 2012) was the tallest living woman, as recognized by Guinness World Records. She stood at 7 ft 8 in tall (2.33 m), weighed 179 kilograms (395 lb), and had size 26 (UK) / 78 (EU) feet. Her gigantism was due to a tumor in her pituitary gland.

Early life

Yao Defen was born to poor farmers in the town of Liuan in the Anhui province of Shucheng County. At birth she weighed 2.8 kilograms (6.2 lb). At the age of three years she was eating more than three times the amount of food that other three-year-old children were eating. When she was eleven years old she was about six feet, two inches tall. She was six feet nine inches tall by the age of fifteen years.

The story of this “woman giant” began to spread rapidly after she went to see a doctor at the age of fifteen years for an illness. Medical doctors (who also saw her after years) properly diagnosed the illness but decided not to cure her, because her family did not have the 4000 yuan for the surgery. After that, many companies attempted to train her to be a sports star. The plans were abandoned, however, because Yao was too weak. Because she was illiterate, since 1992 Defen earned a living by traveling with her father and performing.

Yao’s giant stature was caused by a condition called acromegaly, wherein a large tumor in the pituitary gland of the brain releases too much growth hormone and causes excessive growth. Around 2002 a hospital in Guangzhou Province removed the tumor and she stopped growing.

The tumor returned and she was treated in Shanghai in 2007, but was sent home for six months with the hope that medication would reduce her tumor enough to allow surgery. The second surgery was never performed due to lack of funds.

In 2009, the TLC cable TV network devoted a whole night’s show to her. She suffered from a fall in her home and had internal bleeding of the brain. She recovered and felt some happiness after a visit from China’s tallest man, Zhang Juncai.

Medical help

A British television program filmed a documentary on her and helped raise money so she could get proper medical care. They measured her and according to the documentary she was seven feet, eight inches tall. Two leading doctors in acromegaly agreed to help Yao. She was taken to a nearby city hospital, where imaging procedures revealed that a small portion of her tumor, thought to have been removed many years before, still remained, causing continuing problems including weakening vision as it pressed against her optic nerve. She returned home, then was admitted for a month under observation in the larger Shanghai Ruijin Hospital, and given dietary supplements. In that hospital, her growth hormone was greatly slowed down, although it remained a problem. Upon her return home to her mother and brother, she was able to walk with crutches, unassisted by others, and was given a six-month supply of medicines and supplements in hopes of improving her condition enough to undergo surgery.

Acromegaly

Yao suffered from hypertension, heart disease, poor nutrition, and osteoporosis. Acromegaly often results from a tumor within the pituitary gland that causes excess growth hormone secretion. As a result, the body’s features become enlarged. It can also delay the onset of puberty as was the case with Yao—she had no secondary sexual characteristics. Potential complication lacking surgery includes blindness and eventually premature death.

She lived near her mother (who is only four feet, eight inches tall) in a small village in rural China.

Death

Yao died on November 13, 2012 at the age of 40 from an unspecified ailment.

 

Charlotte Corday


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Marie-Anne Charlotte de Corday d’Armont (27 July 1768 – 17 July 1793), known to history as Charlotte Corday, was a figure of the French Revolution. In 1793, she was executed under the guillotine for the assassination of Jacobin leader Jean-Paul Marat, who was in part responsible, through his role as a politician and journalist, for the more radical course the Revolution had taken. More specifically, he played a substantial role in the political purge of the Girondins, with whom Corday sympathized. His murder was memorialized in a celebrated painting by Jacques-Louis David which shows Marat after Corday had stabbed him to death in his bathtub. In 1847, writer Alphonse de Lamartine gave Corday the posthumous nickname l’ange de l’assassinat (the Angel of Assassination).

Biography

Born in Saint-Saturnin-des-Ligneries, a hamlet in the commune of Écorches (Orne), in Normandy, Charlotte Corday was a member of a minor aristocratic family. She was a fifth-generation matrilineal descendant of the dramatist Pierre Corneille. Her parents were cousins.

While Corday was a young girl, her older sister and their mother, Charlotte Marie Jacqueline Gaultier de Mesnival, died. Her father, Jacques François de Corday, seigneur d’Armont (1737–1798), unable to cope with his grief over their death, sent Corday and her younger sister to the Abbaye-aux-Dames convent in Caen, where she had access to the abbey’s library and first encountered the writings of Plutarch, Rousseau and Voltaire. After 1791, she lived in Caen with her cousin, Madame Le Coustellier de Bretteville-Gouville. The two developed a close relationship, and Corday was the sole heir to her cousin’s estate.

Political influence

After the revolution began to radicalize and head towards terror, Charlotte Corday began sympathizing largely with the Girondins and subsequently came under their influence. She admired their speeches and grew fond of many of the Girondist groups whom she met while living in Caen. She respected and revered them and thought it necessary to align herself with their party. She had an urge to get to know the members and regarded them as a party that would ultimately save France. The Gironde represented a more moderate approach to the revolution and they, like Corday, were skeptical about the direction the revolution was taking. They became opposed to the Montagnards, who advocated a more radical approach to the revolution, which included the extreme idea that the only way the revolution would survive invasion and civil war was through terrorizing and executing those opposed to it. The opposition to this radical thinking, coupled with the influence of the Gironde, ultimately led Corday to carry out her plan to murder one of the most radical of them all, Jean-Paul Marat.

The influence of Girondin ideas on Corday is evident in her words at her trial: “I knew that he was perverting France. I have killed one man to save a hundred thousand.” As the revolution progressed, the Girondins had become progressively more opposed to the radical, violent propositions of the Montagnards such as Marat and Robespierre. Corday’s notion that she was saving a hundred thousand echoes this Girondin sentiment as they attempted to slow the revolution and reverse the violence that had escalated since the September Massacres of 1792.

Marat’s assassination

Jean-Paul Marat was a member of the radical Jacobin faction which had a leading role during the Reign of Terror. As a journalist, he exerted power and influence through his newspaper, L’Ami du peuple (“The Friend of the People”).

Corday’s decision to kill Marat was stimulated not only by her revulsion at the September Massacres, for which she held Marat responsible, but by her fear of an all-out civil war. She believed that Marat was threatening the Republic, and that his death would end violence throughout the nation. She also believed that King Louis XVI should not have been executed.

On 9 July 1793, Corday left her cousin, carrying a copy of Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, and went to Paris, where she took a room at the Hôtel de Providence. She bought a kitchen knife with a six-inch blade. She then wrote her Addresse aux Français amis des lois et de la paix (“Address to the French people, friends of Law and Peace”) to explain her motives for assassinating Marat.

Initially, she planned to assassinate Marat in front of the entire National Convention, intending to make an example out of him, but upon arriving in Paris she discovered that Marat no longer attended meetings because his health was deteriorating due to a skin disorder. She was then forced to change her plan. She went to Marat’s home before noon on 13 July, claiming to have knowledge of a planned Girondist uprising in Caen; she was turned away. On her return that evening, Marat admitted her. At the time, he conducted most of his affairs from a bathtub because of a debilitating skin condition. Marat wrote down the names of the Girondists that she gave to him, then she pulled out the knife and plunged it into his chest, piercing his lung, aorta and left ventricle. He called out, Aidez-moi, ma chère amie! (“Help me, my dear friend!”) and died.

This is the moment memorialised by Jacques-Louis David’s painting (illustration, right). The iconic pose of Marat dead in his bath has been reviewed from a different angle in Baudry’s posthumous painting of 1860, both literally and interpretatively: Corday, rather than Marat, has been made the hero of the action.

Trial and execution

At her trial, when Corday testified that she had carried out the assassination alone, saying “I killed one man to save 100,000,” she was likely alluding to Maximilien Robespierre’s words before the execution of King Louis XVI. On 17 July 1793, four days after Marat was killed, Corday was executed under the guillotine and her corpse was disposed of in the Madeleine Cemetery.

After her decapitation, a man named Legros lifted her head from the basket and slapped it on the cheek. Charles-Henri Sanson, the executioner, indignantly rejected published reports that Legros was one of his assistants. However, Sanson stated in his diary that Legros was in fact a carpenter who had been hired to make repairs to the guillotine. Witnesses report an expression of “unequivocal indignation” on her face when her cheek was slapped. This slap was considered unacceptable and Legros was imprisoned for three months because of his outburst.

Jacobin leaders had her body autopsied immediately after her death to see if she was a virgin. They believed there was a man sharing her bed and the assassination plans. To their dismay, she was found to be virgo intacta (a virgin), a condition that focused more attention on women throughout France – laundresses, housewives, domestic servants – who were also rising up against authority after having been controlled by men for so long.

The assassination did not stop the Jacobins or the Terror: Marat became a martyr, and busts of him replaced crucifixes and religious statues that had been banished under the new regime.

Hair and controversy

Soon after her death, controversy arose surrounding the color of Corday’s hair. Although her passport, filled out and signed by a Caen official, described her hair as chestnut brown, the painting “The Murder of Marat” by Jean-Jacques Hauer portrays Corday with powdered blonde hair. Following Corday’s execution and the popularity of Hauer’s painting, stories quickly spread about how Corday had hired a local coiffeur to straighten and lighten her hair. Although this story rapidly became popular in Paris at the time, there is no historical evidence to support it. Part of the reason for the discrepancy in descriptions of Corday can be attributed to the stigma attached to powdered hair. At the time, only nobility and royalty ever powdered their hair, and in that time of violent anti-royalist revolt, such an association could be powerful in influencing popular opinion.

 

Sunanda Pushkar


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Sunanda Pushkar (27 June 1964 – 17 January 2014) was an Indo-Canadian businessperson and the wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor. She was a sales manager in the Dubai-based TECOM Investments, and a co-owner of the India-based Rendezvous Sports World.

Early life

Sunanda Pushkar was born on 27 June 1964 in a Kashmiri Pandit family of landlords and army officers native to Bomai. She was the only daughter of Lt Col Pushkar Nath Dass and Jaya Dass. Her father retired from the army in 1983. She had two brothers, one of whom works for a bank; the other is in the Army. The family moved from Bomai to Jammu in 1990, after their house was set on fire by militants. She graduated from the Government College for Women in Srinagar, where she studied during 1986-88.

Personal life

While studying at the Government College, she married a fellow Kashmiri Pandit and a hotel management graduate Sanjay Raina. The couple divorced in 1988. Subsequently, Sunanda went to Dubai in 1989 and married Sujith Menon in 1991. Their son was born in November 1992. In October 2009, she met Shashi Tharoor at a party organised by the billionaire Sunny Varkey. Tharoor had arrived in Dubai in 2007, with his Canadian wife Christa Giles. Sunanda married Shashi Tharoor in 2010, after he was elected to the Indian Parliament. The couple had a Malayali wedding ceremony in Tharoor’s ancestral home at Elavanchery in Kerala, India. This was the third marriage for both of them.

Business career

In India, Pushkar had briefly worked as a receptionist at the Centaur Lake View hotel in Srinagar, after doing a course in hotel management. After coming to Dubai, she started an event management business called Expressions, and became well known for her networking with sponsors and artists for fashion shows. Her company organised several model shows for product launches, featuring several Indian fashion designers and models, including Hemant Trivedi, Rhea Pillai, Vikram Phadnis and Aishwarya Rai. Later, she joined Bozell Prime Advertising as an accounts executive. She and her second husband Sujith Menon organised a Mammootty show together, which made a financial loss. According to one report, the couple had collaborated on the show in an attempt to save their failing marriage. According to Sunanda, Sujith had run into financial trouble as a financial consultant. Sujith returned to India, and died in an accident in Delhi in March 1997.

After Sujith’s death, Sunanda started getting threatening calls from his creditors. For a few months, she left her four-year old son with her sister-in-law, and later with her parents. By the time she brought him back to Dubai, he had developed a communication disorder. She left Bozell Prime to spend time with her son, and later joined Ravissant. Struggling as a small-time event manager in Dubai, she moved in as a paying guest at her friend’s apartment in Al Satwa. She spelt her name as “Sue P. Menon” on her business cards, and later, started using “Pushkar” (an alternative spelling of her father’s name) as her last name. According to her, she faced financial troubles, as she had to repay Sujith’s debts, support her parents and her brother through engineering college.

Impressed by the Canadian healthcare system, she emigrated to Canada in the 1990s, as her son needed speech therapy. According to one account, she lived with a banker companion in Toronto. According to Sunanda, she became a partner in an IT firm called “Valley Resources” through sweat equity, after a San Francisco-based friend introduced her to the founders. Subsequently, she became wealthy during the dot-com bubble, managing to buy her own house and a BMW car. The business was impacted by the post-9/11 slowdown and closed in 2001. After four months of unemployment and financial difficulties, Sunanda did a course in emotional intelligence, and joined a company called Noble House International. She organised “Human Potential Reengineering” programmes for several banks in Miami, Amsterdam and Geneva.

Sunanda felt that she was not earning enough at Noble House. In August 2004, she moved to Dubai with a Canadian passport, working as a general manager for Best Homes. Later, she joined TECOM investments to work on the International Media Production Zone. She was financially successful, buying two 3-bedroom apartments at Palm Jumeirah, an apartment in Jumeirah Beach Residence and two more apartments in the Executive Towers.

Return to India

IPL controversy

When she was dating Shashi, Sunanda started getting media attention in India, as it became known that she had been given sweat equity worth 700 million in Rendezvous Sports World. In 2010, the company bid for the IPL cricket team Kochi Tuskers Kerala, which represented Tharoor’s native state Kerala. The company was founded in 2009, while Sunanda Pushkar was made a Director of the company on 25 February 2010, just 18 days before the IPL bid. There were allegations that Shashi Tharoor had misused his ministerial position to ask for a free stake in the company, and that Sunanda was acting as a proxy for him. The controversy ultimately resulted in Shashi Tharoor’s resignation as a minister. In her defence, Sunanda argued that she had been invited to join Rendezvous because of her “extensive international experience as a business executive, marketing manager and entrepreneur”. She also stated that she had been given a similar offer by Karim Morani of Kolkata Knight Riders in the past. In April 2010, Sunanda announced that she had relinquished her stake in the company following the controversy. However, she continued to hold the stake, after was told that there is no provision under the BCCI’s IPL rules for surrender of shares at that stage. Later in 2014, after the Twitter controversy (see below) and shortly before her death, Sunanda stated that she had taken upon herself “the crimes of this man [Shashi Tharoor] during IPL”.

Twitter incident

On 15 January 2014, a series of intimate messages, supposedly sent by the Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar to Tharoor, were posted on Tharoor’s Twitter account. The messages proclaimed Tarar’s love for Tharoor. Tharoor tried to downplay the incident by stating that his account had been hacked. However, Sunanda later stated that the account had not been hacked and that she had posted the messages to expose what she believed to be Mehr’s stalking of her husband. She accused Mehr of being an ISI agent. Later, she stated that she did not want to go public about the matter, especially in an election year. The next day, a note titled as “Joint statement by Sunanda and Shashi Tharoor” was published on Shashi Tharoor’s Facebook page. The note stated that the couple was happily married, and that some personal comments not intended for publication had been misrepresented after being posted to Twitter. The note also stated that Sunanda had been hospitalised after being ill, and was seeking rest.

Death

On 17 January 2014, a day after the Twitter controversy, Sunanda was found dead in room number 345 of the Leela Palace hotel in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Shashi Tharoor discovered her body, when she did not wake up from her sleep in the evening. He informed the Delhi Police, who recovered the body from the hotel and sent it for postmortem. According to initial reports, Sunanda was suspected to have committed suicide. Later reports stated that the cause of death was unnatural; the doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences gave a preliminary autopsy report that revealed injury marks on her body. They said that these injuries may or may not be the cause of death. The autopsy indicated that she died of drug overdose, most likely a combination of sedatives, other strong medicines and probably alcohol. An investigation has been ordered by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate to examine the cause of poisoning and to ascertain if it was murder or suicide. Her body was cremated at Lodhi Crematorium in South Delhi.

Doctors at KIMS Hospital Trivandrum, who had examined her a few days earlier said that Sunanda did not have serious health problems. However, Sunanda had hinted about her death, hours before her body was recovered from the hotel.

 

Buffy Sainte-Marie


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Buffy Sainte-Marie, (born February 20, 1941) is a Canadian-American Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Her singing and writing repertoire also includes subjects of love, war, religion, and mysticism.
She founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project, an educational curriculum devoted to better understanding Native Americans. She has won recognition and many awards and honours for both her music and her work in education and social activism.
Personal life
She was born Beverly Sainte-Marie in 1941 on the Piapot Cree First Nations Reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada. She was orphaned and later adopted, growing up in Wakefield, Massachusetts with parents Albert and Winifred Sainte-Marie, who were related to her biological parents. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, earning degrees (BA 1963 and PhD 1983) in teaching and Oriental philosophy. and graduating in the top ten of her class.
In 1964 on a return trip to the Piapot Cree reserve in Canada for a Powwow she was welcomed and (in a Cree Nation context) adopted by the youngest son of Chief Piapot, Imu Piapot and his wife, who added to Sainte-Marie’s cultural value of, and place in, native culture.
In 1968 she married surfing teacher Dewain Bugbee of Hawaii; they divorced in 1971. She married Sheldon Wolfchild from Minnesota in 1975; they have a son, Dakota “Cody” Starblanket Wolfchild. That union also ended and she married, thirdly, to Jack Nitzsche in the early 1980s, but her current partner is Chuck Wilson (since 1993). She currently lives on Kauai.
She became an active friend of the Bahá’í Faith by the mid-1970s when she is said to have appeared in the 1973 Third National Baha’i Youth Conference at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and has continued to appear at concerts, conferences and conventions of that religion since then. In 1992, she appeared in the musical event prelude to the Bahá’í World Congress, a double concert “Live Unity: The Sound of the World” in 1992 with video broadcast and documentary. In the video documentary of the event Sainte-Marie is seen on the Dini Petty Show explaining the Bahá’í teaching of Progressive revelation. She also appears in the 1985 video “Mona With The Children” by Douglas John Cameron.
Career
Sainte-Marie played piano and guitar, self-taught, in her childhood and teen years. In college some of her songs, “Ananias”, the Indian lament, “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone” and “Mayoo Sto Hoon” (in Hindi) were already in her repertoire.
1960s
By 1962, in her early twenties, Sainte-Marie was touring alone, developing her craft and performing in various concert halls, folk music festivals and Native Americans reservations across the United States, Canada and abroad. She spent a considerable amount of time in the coffeehouses of downtown Toronto’s old Yorkville district, and New York City’s Greenwich Village as part of the early to mid-1960s folk scene, often alongside other emerging Canadian contemporaries, such as Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, and Joni Mitchell (she also introduced Joni to Eliot Roberts, who became Joni’s manager).
She quickly earned a reputation as a gifted songwriter, and many of her earliest songs were covered, and often turned into chart-topping hits, by other artists including Chet Atkins, Janis Joplin and Taj Mahal. One of her most popular songs, “Until It’s Time for You to Go”, has been recorded by artists as diverse as Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, Michael Nesmith, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Orchestra, Roberta Flack, Françoise Hardy, Cher, Maureen McGovern, and Bobby Darin, while “Piney Wood Hills” was made into a country music hit by Bobby Bare. Her vocal style features a frequently recurring, insistent, unusually sustained vibrato, one more prominent than can be found in the music of any other well-known popular music performer.
In 1963, recovering from a throat infection Sainte-Marie became addicted to codeine and recovering from the experience became the basis of her song “Cod’ine”, later covered by Donovan, Janis Joplin, The Charlatans, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Man, the Litter, The Leaves, Jimmy Gilmer, Gram Parsons, Charles Brutus McClay, The Barracudas (spelt “Codeine”), The Golden Horde, and more recently by Courtney Love. Also in 1963 Sainte-Marie witnessed wounded soldiers returning from Vietnam at a time when the U.S. government was denying involvement – this inspired her protest song “Universal Soldier” which was released on her debut album, It’s My Way on Vanguard Records in 1964, and later became a hit for Donovan. She was subsequently named Billboard Magazine’s Best New Artist. Some of her songs such as “My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying” (1964, included on her 1966 album) addressing the mistreatment of Native Americans created a lot of controversy at the time.
In 1967, Sainte-Marie released the album Fire and Fleet and Candlelight, which contained her interpretation of the traditional Yorkshire dialect song “Lyke Wake Dirge”. Sainte-Marie’s other well-known songs include “Mister Can’t You See”, (a Top 40 U.S. hit in 1972); “He’s an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo”; and the theme song of the popular movie Soldier Blue. Perhaps her first appearance on TV was as herself on To Tell the Truth in January 1966. She also appeared on Pete Seeger’s Rainbow Quest with Pete Seeger in 1965 and several Canadian Television productions from the 1960s through to the 1990s, and other TV shows such as American Bandstand, Soul Train, The Johnny Cash Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson; and sang the opening song “The Circle Game” (written by Joni Mitchell) in Stuart Hagmann’s film The Strawberry Statement (1970).
In the late sixties, Sainte-Marie used a Buchla synthesizer to record the album Illuminations, which did not receive much notice. “People were more in love with the Pocahontas-with-a-guitar image,” she commented in a 1998 interview.
1970s
In late 1975, Sainte Marie received a phone call from Dulcy Singer, then Associate Producer of Sesame Street, to appear on the show. According to Sainte-Marie, Singer wanted her to count and recite the alphabet like everyone else, but instead, she wanted to teach the show’s young viewers that “Indians still exist”. Sainte-Marie had been invited earlier that year to appear on another children’s TV show which she would not name, but turned the invitation down since the program ran commercials for G.I. Joe war toys.
Sainte-Marie regularly appeared on Sesame Street over a five-year period from 1976 to 1981, along with her first son, Dakota Starblanket Wolfchild, whom she breast-fed in one episode. Sesame Street even aired a week of shows from her home in Hawaii in December 1977; where Sainte-Marie and her family were joined by Bob (Bob McGrath), Maria (Sonia Manzano), Mr. Hooper (Will Lee), Olivia (Alaina Reed Hall, who was Sainte-Marie’s closest friend from the Sesame Street cast), Big Bird and Oscar (both portrayed by Caroll Spinney).
In 1979 the film Spirit of the Wind, featuring Sainte-Marie’s original musical score including the song “Spirit of the Wind”, was one of three entries that year at Cannes, along with The China Syndrome and Norma Rae. The film is a docudrama of George Attla, the ‘winningest dog musher of all time,’ as the film presents him, with all parts played by Native Americans except one by Slim Pickens. The film was shown on cable TV in the early 1980s and was released in France in 2003. Sainte-Marie’s musical score has been described as ‘inspiring’, ‘haunting’, and ‘perfection’.
1980s
Sainte-Marie began using Apple Inc. Apple II and Macintosh computers as early as 1981 to record her music and later some of her visual art. The song “Up Where We Belong” (which Sainte-Marie co-wrote with Will Jennings and musician Jack Nitzsche) was performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes for the film An Officer and a Gentleman. It received the Academy Award for Best Song in 1982. The song was later covered by Cliff Richard and Anne Murray on Cliff’s album of duets, Two’s Company.
In the early 1980s one of her native songs was used as the theme song for the CBC’s native series Spirit Bay. She was cast for the TNT 1993 telefilm The Broken Chain. It was shot entirely in Virginia. In 1989 she wrote and performed the music for Where the Spirit Lives, a film about native children being abducted and forced into residential schools.
1990s
Sainte-Marie voiced the Cheyenne character, Kate Bighead, in the 1991 made-for-TV movie Son of the Morning Star, telling the Indian side of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Lt. Col. George Custer was killed.
In 1992, after a sixteen-year recording hiatus, Sainte-Marie released the album Coincidence and Likely Stories. Recorded in 1990 at home in Hawaii on her computer and transmitted via modem through the early Internet to producer Chris Birkett in London, England, the album included the politically charged songs “The Big Ones Get Away” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” (which mentions Leonard Peltier), both commenting on the ongoing plight of Native Americans (see also the book Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.) Also in 1992, Sainte-Marie appeared in the television film The Broken Chain with Pierce Brosnan along with fellow First Nations Bahá’í Phil Lucas. Her next album followed up in 1996 with Up Where We Belong, an album on which she re-recorded a number of her greatest hits in more unplugged and acoustic versions, including a re-release of “Universal Soldier”. Sainte-Marie has exhibited her art at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Emily Carr Gallery in Vancouver and the American Indian Arts Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
In 1969 she started a philanthropic non-profit fund Nihewan Foundation for American Indian Education devoted to improving Native American students participation in learning. She founded the Cradleboard Teaching Project in October 1996 using funds from her Nihewan Foundation and with a two-year grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan. With projects across Mohawk, Cree, Ojibwe, Menominee, Coeur D’Alene, Navajo, Quinault, Hawaiian, and Apache communities in eleven states, partnered with a non-native class of the same grade level for Elementary, Middle, and High School grades in the disciplines of Geography, History, Social Studies, Music and Science and produced a multimedia curriculum CD, Science: Through Native American Eyes.
2000s
In 2000, Sainte-Marie gave the commencement address at Haskell Indian Nations University. In 2002 she sang at the Kennedy Space Center for Commander John Herrington, USN, a Chickasaw and the first Native American astronaut. In 2003 she became a spokesperson for the UNESCO Associated Schools Project Network in Canada.
In 2002, a track written and performed by Sainte-Marie, entitled “Lazarus”, was sampled by Hip Hop producer Kanye West and performed by Cam’Ron and Jim Jones of The Diplomats. The track is called “Dead or Alive”. In June 2007, she made a rare U.S. appearance at the Clearwater Festival in Croton-on-Hudson, New York.
In 2008, a two-CD set titled Buffy/Changing Woman/Sweet America: The Mid-1970s Recordings was released, compiling the three studio albums that she recorded for ABC Records and MCA Records between 1974 and 1976 (after departing her long-time label Vanguard Records). This was the first re-release of this material. In September 2008, Sainte-Marie made a comeback onto the music scene in Canada with the release of her latest studio album Running For The Drum. It was produced by Chris Birkett (producer of her 1992 and 1996 best of albums). Sessions for this latest project commenced in 2006 in Sainte-Marie’s home studio in Hawaii and in part in France. They continued until spring 2007.
Censorship
Sainte-Marie claimed in a 2008 interview at the National Museum of the American Indian that she had been blacklisted and that she, along with Native Americans and other native people in the Red Power movements, were put out of business in the 1970s.
“I found out 10 years later, in the 1980s, that President Lyndon B. Johnson had been writing letters on White House stationery praising radio stations for suppressing my music”, Sainte-Marie said in a 1999 interview at Diné College given to Brenda Norrel, a staff writer with Indian Country Today … “In the 1970s, not only was the protest movement put out of business, but the Native American movement was attacked.” According to Norrel, this article was initially censored by Indian Country Today, and finally published only in part in 2006.
Awards and honors
In 1997, Sainte-Marie won a Gemini Award for her 1996 variety special, Up Where We Belong.
In 1983–4, the song “Up Where We Belong” (music by Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte-Marie; lyrics by Will Jennings) from An Officer and a Gentleman won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Original Song.
In 2010, she received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award.
Honorary degrees
In 1996 she received an honorary Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa degree from the University of Regina in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. She then gave the convocation address to the administration, education, and engineering graduates. As part of the address, Sainte-Marie sang a song about the Canadian Indian residential school system.
In 2007 she received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. On 13 June 2008, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada, an honorary Doctor of Music from The University of Western Ontario on June 10, 2009, in London, Ontario, and an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the Ontario College of Art & Design on June 4, 2010, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On May 23, 2012 she received an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia.

 

Anne Murray


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Morna Anne Murray (born June 20, 1945), known professionally as Anne Murray, is a Canadian singer in pop, country, and adult contemporary music whose albums have sold over 54 million copies worldwide as of 2012.

Murray was the first Canadian female solo singer to reach No. 1 on the U.S. charts, and also the first to earn a Gold record for one of her signature songs, “Snowbird” (1970). She is often cited as the one who paved the way for other international Canadian success stories such as Alanis Morissette, Nelly Furtado, Céline Dion, Sarah McLachlan, and Shania Twain. She is also the first woman and the first Canadian to win “Album of the Year” at the 1984 Country Music Association Awards for her 1983 album A Little Good News.

Murray has received four Grammys, a record 24 Junos, three American Music Awards, three Country Music Association Awards, and three Canadian Country Music Association Awards. She has been inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Juno Hall of Fame, and The Songwriters Hall of Fame. She is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame Walkway of Stars in Nashville, and has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles and on Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto.

In 2011, Billboard ranked her 10th on their list of the 50 Biggest AC Artists Ever.

Early life

Morna Anne Murray was born in the coal-mining town of Springhill, Nova Scotia. Her father, James Carson Murray, was the town doctor. Her mother, Marion Margaret (née Burke) Murray, was a registered nurse who focused her life on raising her family and community charity work. Murray has five brothers. Murray’s father died in 1980 at the age of 72 from complications from leukemia. Her mother died April 10, 2006, at the age of 92 after suffering a series of strokes during heart surgery.

After expressing an early interest in music, she studied piano for six years. By 15 she was taking voice lessons. Every Saturday morning, she took a bus ride from Springhill to Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, for singing lessons. One of her earliest performances was of the song “Ave Maria” at her high school graduation in 1962. Following high school, Murray attended Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax for one year. She later studied Physical Education at University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. After receiving her degree in 1966 she taught physical education at a high school in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, for one year.

Career

Early years

In 1965, Murray appeared on the University of New Brunswick student project record “The Groove” (500 pressed). She sang two songs on the record – “Unchained Melody” and “Little Bit of Soap”. On the label her name was misspelled “Anne Murry”. While there, she was encouraged to audition for the 1960s CBC musical variety television show Singalong Jubilee, but was not offered a singing position. Two years later she received a call from Singalong Jubilee co-host and associate producer, Bill Langstroth, and was asked to return for a second audition. Following that second audition, Murray was cast for the show.

After a summer of singing in local venues across the Maritimes, Murray began teaching physical education at a high school in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. After one year of teaching, she was offered a spot on the television show Let’s Go, and returned to Singalong Jubilee. As a regular member of the “Singalong Jubilee” cast, Murray appeared on the Singalong Jubilee Vol. III soundtrack and Our Family Album – The Singalong Jubilee Cast records released by Arc Records. The show’s musical director, Brian Ahern, advised Murray that she should move to Toronto and record a solo album. Her first album, What About Me, was produced by Ahern in Toronto and released in 1968 on the Arc label.

Success

Anne Murray’s debut album was on the Canadian Arc label, titled What About Me (Arc AS 782). The lead single, the title cut, was written by Scott McKenzie and was a sizable Canadian radio hit. The project was produced by Brian Ahern, and covered songs by Joni Mitchell, Ken Tobias, and John Denver. After a year-long stint on Arc, Murray switched to Capitol Records in 1969 to record her second album, This Way Is My Way, which was released in the fall of 1969. It featured the single that launched her career, “Snowbird”, which became a No. 1 hit in Canada. “Snowbird” became a surprise hit on the U.S. charts as well, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1970. It was also the first of her eight No. 1 Adult Contemporary hits. “Snowbird” was the first Gold record ever given to a Canadian artist in the United States (RIAA certified Gold on November 16, 1970). As one of the most successful female artists at that time, she became in demand for several television appearances in Canada and the United States, eventually becoming a regular on the hit U.S. TV series The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.

After the success of “Snowbird”, she had a number of subsequent singles that charted both pop and country simultaneously. During the 1970s and 80s, her hits included Kenny Loggins’s “Danny’s Song” (1972) (peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100) and “A Love Song” (1973); “He Thinks I Still Care” and her Top 10 cover of The Beatles’ “You Won’t See Me” (1974); her all-time biggest Hot 100 hit “You Needed Me” (1978) — though, the biggest hit of her career (and her personal favorite) peaked at No. 4 country and No. 3 AC; “I Just Fall in Love Again”, “Shadows in the Moonlight”, and “Broken Hearted Me” (1979); her revival of The Monkees’ 1967 No. 1 hit “Daydream Believer” and “Could I Have This Dance” from the Urban Cowboy motion picture soundtrack (1980); “Blessed Are the Believers” (1981); “Another Sleepless Night” (1982); “A Little Good News” (1983); 1984′s “Just Another Woman in Love” and “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” (a duet with Dave Loggins of 1974′s “Please Come to Boston” fame and cousin of Kenny Loggins); and “Time, Don’t Run Out On Me” (1985).

She performed “O Canada” at the first American League baseball game played in Canada on April 7, 1977, when the Toronto Blue Jays played the Chicago White Sox at Exhibition Stadium. She reprised the Canadian national anthem prior to Game 3 of the 1992 World Series at the SkyDome. Following the last game at Maple Leaf Gardens, she concluded the arena’s closing ceremony by singing “The Maple Leaf Forever” at center ice wearing a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey.

Murray was a celebrity corporate spokeswoman for The Bay, and she also did commercials and sang the company jingle (“You Can Count on the Commerce”) for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).

Murray’s last Hot 100 hit was “Now and Forever (You and Me)” from 1986; it also was her last No. 1 on both the American and Canadian country chart. Her last charting single in the U.S. was 1991′s “Everyday”, which appeared in Billboard’s Country Singles chart, and her last charting single in Canada was 2000′s “What a Wonderful World”.

1990s to present

In 1996, Murray signed on with a new manager, Bruce Allen, who also has managed careers for Bryan Adams, Michael Bublé, Martina McBride, and Jann Arden. She recorded her first live album in 1997 and in 1999, she released What a Wonderful World, a platinum inspirational album, which went to No. 1 Contemporary Christian, No. 4 Country and No. 38 pop. She released Country Croonin’ in 2002, the follow-up to her successful 1993 album, Croonin’. In 2004, she released I’ll Be Seeing You in Canada only, which features a collection of songs from the early 20th century through to the mid-1940s. The American version, titled All of Me, features a bonus disc containing many of her hit singles, followed in 2005. The album is dedicated to her friend Cynthia McReynolds who died of cancer.

On December 26, 2004, Murray joined other Canadian music stars in the Canada for Asia Telethon, a three-hour, tsunami relief concert broadcast on CBC Television (January 13, 2005) to support CARE Canada’s efforts. Bryan Adams and Murray closed the show with a duet, “What Would It Take”.

Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends was released in November 2007 in Canada and January 2008 in the U.S. The album comprised seventeen tracks that included many of Murray’s biggest hits over her four-decade career, re-recorded as duets with other established, rising, and – in one case – deceased female singers. These artists included Céline Dion, Shania Twain, k.d. lang, Nelly Furtado, Jann Arden, Québec’s Isabelle Boulay, Murray’s daughter Dawn Langstroth, Olivia Newton-John, Emmylou Harris, Martina McBride, Shelby Lynne, Amy Grant, Carole King, the Indigo Girls, Irish sextet Celtic Woman, Dusty Springfield, and Sarah Brightman. The duet with soprano Brightman was of her 1970 hit song, “Snowbird”.

Anne Murray Duets: Friends and Legends was recorded in four cities – Toronto, Nashville, New York and Los Angeles. According to Billboard magazine, the album reached No. 2 on the Canadian pop album charts and was certified Double Platinum in Canada after merely two months, representing sales of over 200,000 units. The album was the second-highest debuting CD on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart for the week ending February 2, 2008. It entered the chart at No. 42, making it her highest-charting U.S. CD release since 1999′s What a Wonderful World, which peaked at No. 38 on the Top 200 and was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Also for the week ending February 2, 2008, the CD debuted at No. 8 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and at No. 3 on its Top Internet Albums chart. Murray was nominated for the 2008 Juno Award for Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year.

Murray’s album What a Wonderful World was re-released in July 2008 in North America as a 14-song package. A new Christmas album, titled Anne Murray’s Christmas Album with bonus DVD was released in October 2008. Sony BMG Music also released an Elvis Presley Christmas album, titled Elvis Presley Christmas Duets, on October 14, 2008 featuring a virtual duet of “Silver Bells” with Murray.

On October 10, 2007, Murray announced that she would embark on her final major tour. She toured in February and March 2008 in the U.S., followed by the “Coast-to-Coast – One Last Time” tour in April and May in Canada. Murray’s final public concert was held at the Sony Centre in Toronto on May 23, 2008.

On August 25, 2008 Murray appeared on the popular TV program Canadian Idol as a mentor. On February 12, 2010, Murray was one of the eight Canadians who carried the Olympic flag during the opening ceremonies of the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Television

Murray has had five highly rated US specials on CBS (over 40 million viewers each) and several Canadian specials on CBC including Anne Murray in Nova Scotia, Intimate Evening with Anne Murray, Anne Murray RSVP, A Special Anne Murray Christmas, Legends & Friends, Greatest Hits II, What A Wonderful World, Ladies Night Show, Anne Murray in Walt Disney World and Anne Murray’s Classic Christmas. Her 2008 television special, Family Christmas, garnered a 43 per cent share on CBC with 4.2 million viewers.

She has appeared on Solid Gold, Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Dean Martin Summer Show, Singalong Jubilee, Dinah!, The Today Show, Dolly!, The Mike Douglas Show, Christmas in Washington, Boston Pops, The Helen Reddy Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, 20/20, CNN, Perry Como’s Christmas in New Mexico, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Night of a 100 Stars, Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, The Pat Sajak Show, Royal Canadian Air Farce and Good Morning America. Her 2005 CBC special Anne Murray: The Music of My Life broke ratings records for a Thursday night, with more than 7 million Canadian viewers tuned in.

Personal life

In 2009, Murray released her autobiography, All of Me, and embarked on a 15-city book signing tour, starting in Nashville on October 27, 2009 and ending in Ottawa on November 24, 2009. The tour also included a special In Conversation interview with Michael Posner at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto on October 30, 2009.

Marriage and children

Murray married music producer Bill Langstroth in 1975. They have two children – William (born 1976) and Dawn (born 1979), a singer/songwriter and artist who has recorded with her mother a number of times, including the duet “Let There Be Love” in 1999 for Murray’s What a Wonderful World album. Murray and Dawn were featured in a mother-daughter duet of “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do” on Murray’s hit 2008 U.S. CD (released in late 2007 in Canada), Anne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends. Murray and Langstroth separated in 1997 and divorced the following year. Langstroth died in May 2013.

In January 1998, Murray and her daughter Dawn performed at a benefit concert for Sheena’s Place, an eating disorder treatment center in Toronto. Murray and her daughter have spoken publicly about Dawn’s struggle with anorexia nervosa, which developed when Dawn was 10 years old. Dawn has since sought treatment and continues to pursue a career in music.

Philanthropy

Murray has always kept ties with her hometown, Springhill, Nova Scotia, located about an hour south of Moncton, New Brunswick, and two hours north of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Anne Murray Centre, located in Springhill, houses a collection of memorabilia from both her personal life and professional career in a series of displays. The Anne Murray Centre, which opened on July 28, 1989, is a registered Canadian charity. As a non-profit association, all the revenue generated from its operation is used to provide employment for local people and for its ongoing maintenance. The Anne Murray Centre aims to foster tourism in the area and promote awareness of the music of Nova Scotia and Canada.

Murray was involved in the construction of the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia. She served as the honorary chair of the fundraising campaign to replace the town arena that collapsed after a peewee hockey game in 2002. Named for her parents, the Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre sports an NHL-size ice sheet with seating for 800 people, a walking track, multi-purpose room, community room with seating for up to 300, and a gym. The Dr. Carson and Marion Murray Community Centre has become an integral part of the Springhill community since opening on September 15, 2004.

Murray has also been involved in a variety of charitable organizations. In addition to being the Honorary National Chairperson of the Canadian Save The Children Fund, she has served as a spokeswoman for many charities throughout her career – most recently Colon Cancer Canada. On May 20, 2009, Colon Cancer Canada launched the inaugural Anne Murray Charity Golf Classic. Over $150,000 was raised through the event.

Murray has been a public supporter of Canadian environmentalist and geneticist David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge.

Hobbies

A longtime golf enthusiast, Murray made history in October 2003 at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York, by becoming the first woman to score a hole-in-one on the 108-yard, par 3, 17th hole at the Kaluhyat Golf Club. On May 11, 2007, Golf For Women magazine named Murray the world’s best female celebrity golfer, noting her 11 handicap.

Discography

Since 1968, Murray has had 32 studio albums (15 of which have gone multi-platinum, platinum, or gold in the U.S.) and 15 compilation albums.

Awards and honours

Anne Murray is the winner of four Grammys (including one in the pop category), three American Music Awards, three CMA Awards, and a record 24 Juno Awards.

Murray was ranked No. 24 in Country Music Television’s 40 Greatest Women of Country Music in 2002.

Murray is a Companion of the Order of Canada, the second highest honor that can be awarded to a Canadian civilian. She was a recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia in its inaugural year.

In 2006, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame chose her and Leonard Cohen as recipients of the Legacy Award for their contributions to and support of the Canadian songwriting industry. Murray was recognized for her support of Canada’s songwriters, through her performances and her recordings.

On June 29, 2007, Canada Post issued the limited edition Anne Murray stamp. She was recognized along with three other Canadian recording artists: Paul Anka, Gordon Lightfoot, and Joni Mitchell.

In popular culture

On February 17, 2013, Family Guy devoted the “Chris Cross” episode to Murray. In the episode, Stewie and Brian become obsessed with Murray’s music. Murray also appears in animated form contributing her voice. She is also named prominently in the song Blame Canada from the movie South Park.

 

Madeleine Talmage Force


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Madeleine Talmage Force (June 19, 1893 – March 27, 1940) was an American socialite and a survivor of the RMS Titanic. She was also the widow and second wife of millionaire John Jacob Astor IV.

Early life

Madeleine Talmage Force was born on June 19, 1893, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the younger daughter of William Hurlbut Force (1852–1917) and Katherine Arvilla Talmage (1863 – c. 1930). Madeleine’s elder sister Katherine (1891–1948) was a real estate businesswoman and socialite. Through father William, she and Katherine had French ancestry and were grandnieces of builder Ephraim S. Force (c. 1822 – March 12, 1914). Mother Katherine had Dutch ancestry.

William Hurlbut Force was a member of a well established business family. He owned the successful shipping firm William H. Force and Co and his father had been prosperous in the manufacturing industry. In 1889 William had married Katherine Talmage who was the granddaughter of Thomas Talmage, a former Mayor of Brooklyn. William and his wife Katherine were part of the Brooklyn society and he was a member of numerous prestigious clubs in this city. He also owned a notable art collection. The family were members of the Episcopal Church which was also the church of the Astor family.

Madeleine was educated at Miss Ely’s School and then for four years at Miss Spence’s School, which was located at West 48th Street in Manhattan. According to one report she was “counted an especially brilliant pupil” at this school. She was also taken abroad with her sister Katherine by her mother and toured Europe several times. When she was introduced to New York social life she was immediately adopted by the “Junior League” which was a clique of debutantes. She appeared in several New York society plays and attracted quite a following. She was known to be a very competent horsewoman and enjoyed yachting. One report said that she was bright and good with drawing room conversation.

Courtship and marriage

She met Colonel John Jacob “Jack” Astor IV, the only son of businessman William Backhouse Astor, Jr. (1829–1892) and socialite Caroline Webster “Lina” Schermerhorn (1830–1908). Although it is not certain where Jack and Madeleine were first introduced, there is a newspaper article which shows that he entertained the whole Force family at his home at Bar Harbor in September 1910. During their courtship he took her on automobile drives and yacht trips and they were often followed by the press.

Madeleine and Jack were engaged in August 1911 and married on September 9, 1911. There was a considerable amount of opposition to his marriage not only because of their age difference but also since he had divorced his first wife only two years previously in November 1909. Many were opposed to divorce at this time and felt that if people were divorced they should not be allowed to remarry. Some Episcopalian Ministers refused to perform the ceremony. The couple were eventually married at Beechwood which was his mansion in Newport, by a Minister of the Congregational Church. His son William Vincent Astor (1891–1959) served as best man.

After they were wed Jack took Madeleine on his yacht and before he left he said. “Now that we are happily married I don’t care how difficult divorce and remarriage laws are made. I sympathize heartily with the most straight-laced people in most of their ideas but I believe remarriage should be possible once, as marriage is the happiest condition for the individual and the community.”

After their marriage they had an extended honeymoon. They visited several places locally first, then in January 1912 they sailed from New York on the Titanic’s sister ship the Olympic and enjoyed a long Egyptian tour. It was while returning from this part of their honeymoon that they booked their passage on the Titanic.

Aboard the Titanic

Madeleine Astor, then five months pregnant, boarded the Titanic as a first class passenger in Cherbourg, France, with her husband, her husband’s valet, Victor Robbins, her maid, Rosalie Bidois, and her nurse, Caroline Endres. They also took Kitty, Astor’s pet Airedale, and occupied one of the parlor suites.

On the night of April 14, 1912, Colonel Astor reported to his wife that the ship had hit an iceberg. He reassured her that the damage did not appear serious though he helped her strap on her lifebelt. While they were waiting on the boat-deck, Mrs. Astor lent Leah Aks, a third class passenger, her fur shawl to keep her son, Filly, warm. At one point, the Astors retired to the gymnasium and sat on the mechanical horses in their lifebelts. Colonel Astor found another lifebelt which he reportedly cut with a pen knife to show Madeleine what it was made of. When it was time to board a life boat, Madeleine Astor, her maid, and her nurse had to crawl through the first class promenade window into the tilting lifeboat 4 (which had been lowered down to A deck to take on more passengers). Astor had helped his wife to climb through the window and asked if he could accompany her as she was ‘in a delicate condition’. The request was denied by Second Officer Charles Lightoller. An account of Madeleine’s boarding of the lifeboat was given by Archibald Gracie IV to the US Senate Titanic inquiry. Gracie was a fellow passenger and recalled the events regarding Madeleine in the following terms.

“The only incident I remember in particular at this point is when Mrs Astor was put in the boat. She was lifted up through the window, and her husband helped her on the other side, and when she got in, her husband was on one side of this window and I was on the other side, at the next window. I heard Mr Astor ask the second officer whether he would not be allowed to go aboard this boat to protect his wife. He said, ‘No, sir, no man is allowed on this boat or any of the boats until the ladies are off.’ Mr Astor then said, ‘Well, tell me what is the number of this boat so I may find her afterwards,’ or words to that effect. The answer came back, ‘No. 4.’”.

Astor and his valet perished in the sinking; the former’s body was recovered on April 22. He was found to be carrying several thousand dollars in cash, brought with him from his cabin. His young widow and the other survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia.

Madeleine gave an account of what she recalled almost immediately after her arrival home through her spokesman Nicholas Biddle who was a trustee of the Astor Estate. The account given by her spokesman is as follows.

“On landing from the Carpathia the young bride widowed by the Titanic’s sinking told members of her family what she could recall of the circumstances of the disaster. Of how Colonel Astor had met his death she had no definite conception.

She recalled she thought that in the confusion as she was about to be put into one of the boats Colonel Astor was standing by her side. After that she had no very clear recollection of the happenings until the boats were well clear of the sinking steamer.

Mrs Astor, it appears left in one of the last boats which got away from the ship. It was her belief that all the women who wished to go had then been taken off. Her impression was that the boat she left in had room for at least 15 more persons. The men for some reason (that) she could not and does not now understand, did not seem to be at all anxious to leave the ship. Almost everyone seemed dazed.”.

Widowhood

After Madeleine returned home from her ordeal, she was kept in strict retirement. Her first social function was not until the end of May when she held a luncheon at her mansion on Fifth Avenue for Arthur Rostron, the Captain of the Carpathia, and Dr. Frank McGee, the ship’s surgeon. She held this event with Marian Thayer, who was also a survivor of the Titanic. Both women wished to thank these men for their assistance when they were on board the Carpathia.

In his will, John Jacob Astor IV left Madeleine an outright sum of $100,000. In addition, he bequeathed to her the income from a trust fund of $5 million and the use during her life of the house on Fifth Avenue. Both of these latter provisions, she would lose if she remarried. A fund of $3 million was set aside for his unborn child John Jacob “Jakey” Astor VI (1912–1992) which he would control when he became of age.

On August 14, 1912, Madeleine gave birth to Jakey at her Fifth Avenue mansion. For the next four years, she raised him as part of the Astor family. She did not seem to appear very often in society until the end of 1913, when according to the press they were able to publish her first photograph since the Titanic disaster.

After this, she appeared more often in public and her activities were frequently reported in the press. In 1915, she remodelled her house on Fifth Avenue and this was made a feature article in the New York Sun. There were also many articles about her eldest son.

Remarriages

Four years after Colonel Astor’s death, Madeleine married her childhood friend banker William Karl Dick (May 28, 1888 – September 5, 1953) on June 22, 1916, in Bar Harbor, Maine. He was a vice president of the Manufacturers Trust Company of New York and a part owner and director of the Brooklyn Times. As stated in Colonel Astor’s will, Madeleine lost her stipend from his trust fund. She bore Dick two sons:

  • William Force Dick (April 11, 1917 – December 4, 1961)
  • John Henry Dick II (May 12, 1919 – September 1995), ornithologist, photographer, naturalist, conservationist, author, painter, and bird illustrator

They divorced on July 21, 1933, in Reno, Nevada. Four months later, on November 27, 1933, Madeleine married Italian actor/boxer Enzo Fiermonte (1908–1993) in a civil ceremony in New York City. They had no children together and divorced on June 11, 1938, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Death

Madeleine died of a heart ailment in Palm Beach, Florida, on March 27, 1940, at the age of 46. She was buried in Trinity Church Cemetery in New York City, in a mausoleum with her mother.

 

Jeanne Mance


JeanneMance

Jeanne Mance (November 12, 1606 – June 18, 1673) was a French nurse and settler of New France. She arrived in New France two years after the Ursuline Nuns came to Quebec. Among the founders of Montreal, Canada in 1642, she established its first hospital, the Hôtel-Dieu de Montréal, in 1645. She returned twice to France to seek financial support for the hospital. After providing most of the care directly for years, in 1657 she recruited three sisters of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph, and continued to direct operations of the hospital.

Origins

Jeanne Mance was born into a bourgeois family in Langres, in Haute-Marne, France. She was the daughter of Catherine Émonot and Charles Mance, a prosecutor for the king in Langres, an important diocese in the northern Burgundy. After her mother died prematurely, Jeanne cared for eleven brothers and sisters. She went on to care for victims of the Thirty Years War and the plague.

Vocation

At age 34, while on a pilgrimage to Troyes in Champagne, Mance discovered her missionary calling. She decided to go to New France in North America, then in the first stages of colonization by the French. She was supported by Anne of Austria, the wife of King Louis XIII, and by the Jesuits.

Mance was a member of the Society of Our Lady of Montreal; its goal was to convert the natives and found a hospital in Montreal similar to the one in Quebec.

Founding of Montreal and Hôtel-Dieu hospital

Charles Lallemant recruited Jeanne Mance for the Société Notre-Dame de Montréal. Mance embarked from La Rochelle on May 9, 1641 on a crossing of the Atlantic that took three months. After wintering in Quebec, she and Paul Chomedey de Maisonneuve arrived at the Island of Montreal in the spring of 1642. They founded the new city on May 17, 1642 on land granted by the Governor. That same year Mance began operating a hospital in her home.

Three years later (1645), with a donation of 6000 francs by Angélique Bullion, she opened a hospital on Rue Saint-Paul. She directed its operations for 17 years. A new stone structure was built in 1688, and others have been built since then.

Later years

In 1650 Mance visited France and returned with 22,000 livres of money set aside by Mme de Bullion for the hospital. On her return to Montreal, she found that the attacks of the Iroquois threatened the colony. She loaned the hospital money to M. de Maisonneuve, who returned to France to organize a force of one hundred men for the colony’s defense.

Mance made a second trip to France in 1657 to seek financial assistance for the hospital. At the same time, she secured three Hospital Sisters of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph from the convent of La Fleche in Anjou: Judith Moreau de Bresoles, Catherine Mace, and Marie Maillet. They had a difficult passage on the return, made worse by an outbreak of the plague on board, but all four women survived. While Mgr. de Laval tried to retain the sisters at Quebec for that hospital, they eventually reached Montreal in October 1659.

With the help of the new sisters, Mance was able to ensure the continued operations of the hospital. For the rest of her years, she lived more quietly.

She died in 1673 after a long illness and was buried in the church of the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital. While the church and her house were destroyed in 1696 for redevelopment, her work was carried on by the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph. The three nuns she had recruited in 1659 served as hospital administrators. Two centuries later, in 1861 the hospital was moved to the foot of Mount Royal.

Legacy

  • A small statuette (2008) representing Jeanne Mance by André Gauthier was commissioned for the Canadian Nurses Association for a biannual award of nursing excellence.
  • Rue Jeanne-Mance, a north-south street in Montreal, is named after Mance.
  • Jeanne-Mance Park, situated on Park Avenue, opposite Mount Royal, and just south of Mount Royal Avenue, is named after Mance.
  • Jeanne-Mance Building, situated on Eglantine Driveway, Tunneys Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. A Federal Government of Canada Office Tower currently occupied by Health Canada.

 

Lena Baker


Lena_Baker

Lena Baker (June 8, 1900 – March 5, 1945) was an African American maid who was executed for murder by the state of Georgia in 1945 for killing her employer, Ernest Knight, in 1944. At her trial she said that he had imprisoned and threatened to shoot her should she try to leave. She took his gun and shot him. Baker was the only woman to be executed by electrocution in Georgia.
In 2005 Baker was granted a full and unconditional pardon by the state of Georgia, 60 years after her execution. The movie The Lena Baker Story (2008) is about her life.
Early life
Baker was born June 8, 1900, to a poor, black family of sharecroppers and raised near Cuthbert, Georgia. Her family moved to the county seat when she was a child. As a youth, she worked for a farmer named J.A. Cox, chopping cotton.
Later years
By the 1940s, Baker was the mother of three children and worked as a maid to support her family.
In 1944, Baker started working for Ernest Knight, who had broken his leg. He owned a gristmill and held her there for days at a time against her will. One night they had an argument in which he threatened her with an iron bar. She tried to escape and shot and killed him. She immediately reported the incident and said she had struggled in self-defense.
Trial and execution
Lena Baker was charged with capital murder and stood trial on August 14, 1944, presided over by Judge William “Two Gun” Worrill, who kept a pair of pistols on his judicial bench in plain view. The all-white male jury convicted her by the end of the afternoon. Because blacks had been disfranchised since the turn of the century in the South and could not vote, they were disqualified from jury service. After filing an appeal in the case, her court-appointed counsel, W.L. Ferguson, dropped Baker as a client.
Governor Ellis Arnall granted Lena a 60-day reprieve so that the Board of Pardons and Parole could review the case, but it denied clemency in January 1945. Baker was transferred to Reidsville State Prison on February 23, 1945.
On entering the execution chamber, Baker sat in the electric chair and said:
What I done, I did in self-defense, or I would have been killed myself. Where I was I could not overcome it. God has forgiven me. I have nothing against anyone. I picked cotton for Mr. Pritchett, and he has been good to me. I am ready to go. I am one in the number. I am ready to meet my God. I have a very strong conscience.
Initially she was buried in an unmarked grave behind Mount Vernon Baptist Church. Members of the congregation in 1998 arranged to have a simple head stone placed at her grave.
In 2001, members of Baker’s family began to mark the anniversary of her death at her gravesite. Baker’s grand-nephew, Roosevelt Curry, requested the pardon in 2003, aided by the Georgia-based prison advocacy group, Prison and Jail Project. This was granted in 2005, with the Parole Board granting Baker a full and unconditional pardon. Commentators suggested that the Board of Pardons and Parole should have revised the charge as manslaughter in 1945, which would have carried a maximum 15-year sentence.

 

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