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December 12, 2008


Danny, I love your posts on dead ancient celebrities. They peopled my childhood cinema going. Please continue to be OCD. It is so intellectually stimulating and so interesting.

See, I'm sitting here in sunny Mexico City--there' so sun now, it's night time and we spent the day with all the pilgrims to the shrine de la Virgen de Guadalupe, among other activities and we had a fantastic day.

But, I had to read your dueling personalities post on Van Heflin's demise. You know, after Odetta, I forgot to mention that Miriam Makeba had died on November 10th. I loved her!

The one I have NEVER gotten over was Robert Mitchum's death in the shadow of Jimmy Stewart's. It is quite clear that there is no gawd in heaven or elsewhere when the loss of Jimmy Stewart can eclipse the death of an actor like Robert Mitchum.

Just keep on letting those fingers creep toward the keyboard. It's always enriching!


I LOVED Van Johnson, and I'm still on the near side of 50, so there. And once again, a nice tribute by you. He deserved it!

Oh how I miss this darling man already. Just last month I was reveling in those freckles in The Romance of Rosy Ridge, secure in the knowledge that he was still wearing red socks somewhere. This news is truly saddening.

And, Mr. Miller, God bless your OCD. I hope you know that, upon hearing a horrible rumor of a passing of one of Hollywood's best and brightest erstwhile celebrities, I come to this blog before checking Yahoo!, CNN, or IMDb, to verify and to mourn. I do hope you find the compliment amongst the overall macabre reality of that statement (and rest assured that I venture here for many other non-morbid reasons, as well.)

It's true, though. You have such a deft touch when it comes to these remembrances - they're sweet, informative, and evoke the singular essence of some of these already-missed stars more than any press statement or TCM marathon could. They're so much more than obituaries, far closer to 'honoring them with words'. And I am so very glad you do.

P.S. I will be renting The Human Comedy this evening, a film I am completely unfamiliar with, in tribute to darling Van - solely because of this post. Thank you.

I love your posts on dead celebrities, too. Although, I must admit that each time I see a new post I cringe a little to find out who went to the big stage in the sky. And I am glad you throw in a birthday once in a while, too. When I saw this post a mournful, "Awww," escaped me. I, too, am on the near side of 50 and I think he was just swell.

Don't be ashamed of your OCD. All these folks are passing and your tributes to them are always so sweet and yet completely honest and informative. I understand that the younger generation (I turn 53 today) isn't interested in the great talents of the Golden Era. I couldn't even get my 8-year-old daughter to sit through 'Singin' in the Rain' with me this morning ON MY BIRTHDAY!(but I digress)

My point is, keep up your good work and don't let the pishers get you down.

Dear Dr Pavlov, every time I hear about a celebrity dying, I feel an inexplicable urge to come here to see what you've written about it.

And who doesn't love Martha Plimpton?

Oh Danny!!!

I knew you would write something wonderful about Van...I just knew it! I knew I couldn't do him any sort of justice other than a little mention but you came through and then some.

I loooved him and I'm just a couple months shy of 40! I've got the OCD too about these people. I look at it that its up to people like us to educate our generation on how wonderful these people are/were and that the Matinee Idol didn't begin with Tom Cruise. (Shiver)

Who is left of that generation???? Not many. I was watching Robert Wagner on Sunday Morning today and he has finally started to look his age....even so, he and James Garner will always be hot.

You are a great eugoogly...izer. Keep it up. I'm trying to think of other stars still alive, besides Liz Taylor and Mickey Rooney. I loved it when they brought out the previous winners/oldtimers a couple of years back at the oscars. I love reading about the adventures of Sue and Jeff with or wihtout Obama. They don't know the present Gov,do they? Good news, my daughter is taking me with her to see Wilco and Neil Young tonight at Madison Sq Garden. (I have only seen Jeff do solo with his guitarist once.)I am also obssessed with the Holocaust. The latest program on tv with the daughter of the Commandant Goethe (from Schindler's list movie) meeting the survivor who worked at her parents' house was quite compelling. I can't get it out of my head. Did you see it? Nor can I get yesterday's NY Times Obit of Richard Topus, 84, a Pigeon Trainer in WW11. Maybe all of the above are reasons why I love reading your blog!!!

This post is hilarious. Nobody appreciates peoples' obsessions more than I do. Please continue to eulogize.

It's truly heartwarming to hear from you "youngsters" who care about people like Van Johnson, thank you for responding! Happy Birthday, Debbie, I'd advise you to ground your daughter until she watches and writes a 10-page paper on the glories of "Singin' in the Rain." And Judy, my sister and the boys are flying to New York right now for the show tonight. If you can track them down at Madison Square Garden, send my regards! I'd be there but my daughter is appearing as Snoopy in a local production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" tomorrow.

I always come here to read your lovely eulogies. Your insight and your affection for the people who have entertained us so thoroughly for decades, usually at the expense of their personal happiness, is something I would miss terribly if you ever stopped.

Hey, I didn't know Van Johnson was still alive all those years!

I'm one toke over the line of 50 and I love the golden oldies. I even like "Yours, Mine and Ours" as a guilty pleasure. It's my latent Catholic gene.

Danny, I've come to count on you to fill me in on the lives of these Golden stars! I too immediately think of you and your blog when I hear that one of them has died. So don't let us down! You have to continue writing about them. You're the most knowledgeable person I know when it comes to this generation of movie stars!

I'm 41 and I have had The Last Time I Saw Paris and Brigadoon saved(recorded) on tape for over 15 years. I take the same tape on travels to Europe. I would sit in my husbands families house in Norway and watch the movies with so much joy, late at night. Van Johnson caught my eye when I was a wee child, staying up way past bedtime with my mother in the Philadelphia area watching those old Million Dollar Movies or the olde Midnight Movies on television, they loved to show Brigadoon or Last Time I Saw Paris. I always thought Van Johnson was so handsome and he could say a line and give me giggles, he was so talented. I can hardly describe the delight I had when ,once I was waiting in a Paris Hotel for my lost luggage to arrive and I turned on the TV (late at night) and there was The Last Time I Saw Paris on the television, I was in sheer heaven, who needed luggage! I had all I needed , a warm comfortable bed and a Van Johnson movie.
He will be missed.

What!? Nina Foch died? I had no idea. Loved her.

If you stop writing about your family, Jewish history and movie stars I will stop reading your blog. I will, I swear. Really.

Oh hell. Who am I kidding? You could write about kitchen appliances and I would still be engrossed.

I'm in my 20s, and I love love love Van Johnson... Thank you so much for writing about him.

I will never forget the synchronicity's of Van's life to mine. Those many different moments of suprise and miraculous meetings.

would like to know the name of one his first pictures where he meets a man going of to war in the south.The other man dies in the war and he survives so van goes of to find the parents of his dead friend to let them know the sad story,when he finds them he gets involved in their life and falls in love with the sister of his dead friend and it becomes difficult to tell them that he had been a coward in the war and that their son would still be alive if not for him being so.daina

FYI I'm glad his obit was in the news. I'm almost 32 and madly in love with Van Johnson. I "found" him when I was 21, and I'll never look back. If it weren't for my swooning over him, I would never have discovered my idol, Irene Dunne. So, please!, keep us informed of the Golden Age movie stars. I love them!

I was 13 when first saw a Van Johnson movie in 1987. Swoon!! I was a bobby soxer 40 years too late. From the comments, it's clear he was still winning over new fans long after his heyday.

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