Academy Award Nominated ‘Awakenings’ Director, Marshall Dies At 75

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 05, 2011, actress Penny Marshall poses on arrival for the film premiere of “New Year’s Eve” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)

 

Penny Marshall, the star of ABC’s “Laverne and Shirley” who became one of the most successful female directors in history at the helm of “Big,” “A League of Their Own” and a string of other hit movies, has died. She was 75.

The filmmaker died peacefully in her Hollywood Hills on Monday due to complications from diabetes, her publicist told AFP.

Marshall’s “heartbroken” family described her as a “tomboy who loved sports, doing puzzles of any kind, drinking milk and Pepsi together and being with her family.”

“Big” star Tom Hanks, who has gone on to appear in a further 60-plus movies, winning two Oscars, led an outpouring of affection and sadness from Hollywood.

“Goodbye, Penny. Man, did we laugh a lot! Wish we still could. Love you. Hanx,” he tweeted.

There were message on social media from actors Mark Wahlberg, Bette Midler Billy Crystal, Viola Davis, George Takei, James Woods, Reese Witherspoon, William Shatner and Danny DeVito, as well as fellow directors Ron Howard and Kevin Smith.

Many of the tributes focused on Marshall’s unpretentiousness and easy humor, while others highlighted her iconic status among women aspiring to make their way in an industry geared toward men.

“Selma” director Ava DuVernay thanked Marshall for the “the trails you blazed,” while actor Josh Gad (“Frozen”) observed: “At a time when men dominated, #pennymarshall broke barriers as a director, giving us hit after hit.”

 ‘Born with a funnybone’ 

Born in New York’s Bronx borough, Marshall was the daughter of producer Tony Marshall and his tap dance teacher wife Marjorie, and a sister to legendary comedy director Garry Marshall (“Pretty Woman”), who died in 2016.

She made her name as Laverne DeFazio on the TV sitcom “Laverne and Shirley” (1976–1983), earning three Golden Globe nominations, before making her directorial debut with “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” (1986).

She is probably best known in the movie world for directing Hanks in his breakout role in “Big” (1988), which became the first film made by a woman to gross more than $100 million at the domestic box office.

She went on to direct Robert De Niro and Robin Williams in medical drama “Awakenings” (1990), which was nominated for a best picture Oscar, before helming “A League of Their Own” (1992), starring Hanks alongside Geena Davis and Madonna.

Fellow New Yorker and US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer remembered a woman who “made us all laugh… made us all cry.”

“She paved the way for so many women in television. And, she was in a league of her own,” he said, recalling one of Marshall’s best-loved movies.

Marshall had a short-lived marriage with a football player she met at university in Albuquerque, with whom she had a daughter. She was married to Hollywood actor and director Rob Reiner for a decade, from 1971.

“I loved Penny. I grew up with her. She was born with a great gift. She was born with a funnybone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her,” Reiner said.

Marshall’s family described her as “a comedic natural with a photographic memory and an instinct for slapstick.”

“We hope her life continues to inspire others to spend time with family, work hard and make all of their dreams come true,” a statement read.

AFP

Microsoft Co-Founder, Philanthropist Paul Allen Dies At 65

FILES) In this file photo taken on May 08, 2008 Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder, arrives at Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World dinner in New York. Billionaire Paul Allen, a co-founder in 1975 with Bill Gates of US IT giant Microsoft, died on Monday after his latest battle with cancer at age 65.Photo: STAN HONDA / AFP

 

Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in the 1970s and later went on to become an investor, philanthropist and sports team owner, died on Monday after his latest battle with cancer at age 65.

“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew PaulAllen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much-loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend,” Allen’s sister Jody said in a statement announcing his death.

In recent years, Allen was known as the owner of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks and the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, and part owner of the Major League Soccer team the Seattle Sounders, along with a variety of business and charitable ventures.

One of the world’s wealthiest billionaires, Allen also founded Stratolaunch Systems, which built the world’s largest plane designed as a colossal rocket-launching aircraft touted as the future of space travel.

The craft was on track for its first launch demonstration as early as 2019.

Allen died just two weeks after publicly revealing that non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma he fought into remission nine years ago had returned. Incurable cancer affects white blood cells.

He never married and had no children.

 Classmate of Gates

Allen was a high school classmate of Gates in Seattle, and later, while working as a computer programmer, persuaded his friend to drop out of Harvard to create Microsoft, which became the world’s most valuable company in the 1990s.

A “heartbroken” Gates remembered Allen as “one of my oldest and dearest friends.”

“Personal computing would not have existed without him,” Gates added.

“He was fond of saying, ‘If it has the potential to do good, then we should do it.’ That’s the kind of person he was.”

Allen had left Microsoft by 1983 for health reasons but held on to shares that made up the bulk of his fortune, estimated at some $20 billion.

“All of us who had the honor of working with Paul feel an inexpressible loss today,” said a statement by Vulcan, the investment firm that managed his operations.

“He possessed a remarkable intellect and a passion to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems, with the conviction that creative thinking and new approaches could make a profound and lasting impact.”

Microsoft said Allen’s “contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable.”

“As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences, and institutions. And in doing so, he changed the world,” added the company’s CEO, Satya Nadella.

While Gates attended Harvard, Allen studied at the University of Washington and invested heavily in research projects in his hometown of Seattle.

He invested $100 million to found the Allen Institute for Brain Science in 2003.

A decade later, he founded the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence to study the impacts on society of new technologies and the Allen Institute for Cell Science to fund research for the treatment of diseases.

 Big man in sports

In the world of sports, Allen in 1988 bought the Trail Blazers, taking the team to the NBA finals twice.

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trailblazer — in business, philanthropy and in sports,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

“As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small.”

He was also credited with putting Seattle on the map for the NFL.

“Paul Allen was the driving force behind keeping the NFL in the Pacific Northwest,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

“His vision led to the construction of CenturyLink Field and the building of a team that played in three Super Bowls, winning the championship in Super Bowl XLVII. ”

His personal charitable foundation gave to a diverse array of causes, including anti-poaching initiatives in Africa, climate and energy research, and projects on homelessness, as well as the arts and culture.

Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio hailed Allen as a “strong advocate for environmental protection.”

“His legacy lives on via his incredible work as a philanthropist and investor,” he added.

Amazon, Blue Origin and The Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos said Allen’s “passion for invention and pushing forward inspired so many. He was relentless to the end.”

In his 2011 memoir “Idea Man,” Allen described a somewhat stormy relationship with Gates in the early days of Microsoft.

Allen wrote that he had expected a 50-50 split in the new company, but Gates insisted on taking 60 percent, and later raised it to 64 percent, claiming that Gates schemed to “rip me off.”

He played guitar since he was a teenager and played for a blues-rock album with his group the Underthinkers in 2013 that was reviewed by Rolling Stone, which said Allen “curls some twang and grit into the blues-rock track.”

AFP