April 29, 2005

May 20 the U.S. Post Office issues a stamp bearing the face of Oscar and Tony winner Henry Fonda who starred in 90 films, like "The Grapes of Wrath," "Mister Roberts" and "On Golden Pond" during Hollywood's 18kt years. A cocktail party in Los Angeles to celebrate this issuance will be in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences headquarters and, because the post office is a government operation, the public must be admitted. The organizing person is his widow and fifth wife, Shirlee Fonda who is, at this moment, calling her old friends to track down Henry's old friends. All known Fondas, including Jane and Peter, will attend.

April 28, 2005

Marlon Brando Items to Be Auctioned

Marlon Brando fans, it's time to make an offer that can't be refused. More than 250 items, including Brando's annotated script from 1972's "The Godfather" and a letter from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. urging his participation in a civil rights march, will be auctioned June 30. The items are being put up for bid by Brando's estate.

Helen Bailey, the head of popular arts at Christie's New York, expects the auction to reap over $1 million. But given the intensity of many Brando fans, it could be significantly more, she said, especially for items that give insight into Brando's method acting and approach to characters.

"Some of the earlier scripts are really interesting," Bailey told The Associated Press Thursday. "Later on, he didn't make that many notes and said he didn't learn his lines, but in the `50s and `60s, there's a lot of notations on the scripts and pages and pages of notes."

The collection features items removed from Brando's Los Angeles home, where the famously private actor had lived since 1960. He died of lung failure in July 2004 at age 80.

Another highlight is a letter from Mario Puzo, who shortly after publishing "The Godfather," wrote Brando: "I think you're the actor who can play the Godfather."

Bailey says that many of the items relate to Brando's interest in American Indians, including a gift of artifacts from Val Kilmer, his co-star in 1996's "The Island of Dr. Moreau."

Also available will be Brando's Oscar nomination certificate for "On the Waterfront" and the black velvet tunic he wore in "Superman" in 1978.

Other items are more personal, including numerous musical instruments, boxing gloves and his foosball table.

The collection will be open to public viewing June 24-29 at Christie's in New York and June 7-10 at the auction house's Los Angeles gallery.
Q&A-Actress De Havilland Discusses Legal Battle

LOS ANGELES - Some 60 years after she took a brave stand for artists rights, legendary actress Olivia de Havilland recently shared her thoughts with The Hollywood Reporter's Robert Osborne about her famous legal battle with Warner Bros. over the terms of her contract, which went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1945, and how much the industry in which she grew up has changed since she moved to Paris in the 1950s.

The Hollywood Reporter: What specifically prompted you to fight your Warner Bros. contract? Was it primarily the films Warners gave you to play after the experience of playing meatier dramatic roles on loan-out to other studios?

Olivia de Havilland: It was not solely because of meatier roles on loan-out -- Melanie in "Gone With the Wind," Emmy Brown in "Hold Back the Dawn" -- that I fought my case. Rather it was because, from the age of 18 when I began my career as Hermia in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," I always wanted to play difficult roles in films with significant themes. With the exception of that first Shakespearean film, no equivalent opportunities were given me at Warner Bros.

THR: How tough was it for you personally to be out of work and off the screen for three years while the fight was going on?

De Havilland: The time during which I was enjoined by Warners from working at any other studio offered me a marvelous opportunity to do something I very much wanted to do: contribute to the welfare of our armed forces (during World War II). This I did through bedside visits to our enlisted men in military hospitals in the United States, Alaska and the Aleutian Islands and the South Pacific.

THR: Was it hard for you financially? How did radio come to your aid at that time?

De Havilland: While fighting the case I drew on my savings to see me through. After I had won in at least one court and the sponsors felt it was safe to employ me, I performed on the "Lux Radio Theatre" and other well-known programs. This was very helpful indeed.

THR: How were you treated by your fellow actors during this time? Was the town supportive?

De Havilland: Absolutely no one in the industry thought I would win the case. When I at last succeeded, lots of flowers and telegrams began to arrive, which, of course, made me very happy.

THR: Did you feel any kind of repercussions from within the industry when you did go back to work in the mid-'40s?

De Havilland: I felt no repercussions when I was at last free to work again.

THR: Did you have any concerns that the studio chiefs who felt stung by "the de Havilland Decision" might try to keep you from winning the Oscar for "To Each His Own" so soon after you won your court case?

De Havilland: No. I did not for a minute think that the studio chiefs would try to keep me from winning the Oscar for "To Each His Own."

THR: Why did you decide to leave Hollywood and move to Paris in the mid-'50s?

De Havilland: In the early 1950s, television, which had so long been kept at bay, became a serious threat to the film industry. Instead of making 100 films a year, the big studios undertook only 50, then 25, then less than that; the Golden Era was coming to an end. A whole civilization was dying, and I knew that whatever replaced it would not be its equal.

At the same time, my own personal life was undergoing dissolution. To my regret it had become necessary for me to divorce my first husband, Marcus Goodrich, in 1952. I now found myself alone with a little boy to bring up in an atmosphere of profound gloom. Invited by the Cannes Film Festival to its April 1953 celebrations, I accepted and attended with my small son (3 1/2 years old) and his nanny in tow. France, still suffering from the humiliation and depredations of war and occupation, was nonetheless experiencing a slow rebirth. An old civilization was coming to life again, and its upward movement was something to which I was keenly sensitive.

When Pierre Galante, whom I met on my arrival in Paris and again at Cannes, followed me to the United States and persuaded me to return to France, I did so with my little boy, and looking forward to the challenges and the growth which living in a foreign country means. It has been an invaluable experience and one which has led me to believe that all young Americans should be obliged to spend at least one school year abroad. It is very necessary not only for their own development and understanding of the world, but also for the good of their country, the United States of America.

THR: What is the most notable difference you see in Hollywood today compared with what it was like when you were living and working there regularly in the 1930s and 1940s?

De Havilland: The salaries! $20 million for one picture!

THR: Where does "the de Havilland Decision" rank in your mind with the many other landmark accomplishments of your career, including two Oscars, two New York Film Critics Awards, "Gone With the Wind," etc.?

De Havilland: I am both proud of and grateful for "the Decision" -- grateful to the judges who rendered it and grateful for the law which it concerned. An odd thing has just occurred to me: When I was 18, I never dreamed that I would one day play in real life a difficult role in a courtroom drama with a significant theme.

April 27, 2005

Pallbearers carry the coffin containing British actor Sir John Mills from St. Mary's Church in Denham, England, Wednesday, April 27, 2005. His children at the rear of the coffin are Juliet, left, Jonathan and Hayley.

Pallbearers carry the coffin containing British actor Sir John Mills from St. Mary's Church in Denham, England, Wednesday, April 27, 2005. His children at the rear of the coffin are from left, Juliet, Jonathan and Hayley.

The children of Oscar-winning British actor Sir John Mills, Hayley, left, Jonathan, and Juliet follow his coffin at St. Mary's Church in Denham, England, Wednesday, April 27, 2005. The funeral at St. Mary the Virgin Church in Denham, Buckinghamshire, featured readings by Stephen Fry and Lord Attenborough in tribute to Sir John, who died on Saturday aged 97 at his home in the town where he had lived for 30 years.
Great precipitations for Sir John

The weather is no respecter of titles or celebrity, as the stars who gathered for Sir John Mills' funeral discovered on Wednesday.

As the heavens opened and the hailstones fell, Sir Roger Moore, Dame Judi Dench and Lord Attenborough were among those who took cover inside St Mary the Virgin church in Denham, Buckinghamshire.

"Theatrical to the last," remarked director and family friend Marcus Dillistone as he surveyed the inclement scene.

Not everyone was so stoic, however. "Does anyone know the way in?" mumbled a bedraggled Stephen Fry as he picked his way through the massed ranks of photographers and well-wishers assembled outside.

Few of the celebrities dallied in the downpour, though actor Robert Powell and cinematographer Jack Cardiff genially posed for snaps under their respective umbrellas.

So did the prime minister's wife Cherie Blair, to some locals' audible displeasure.

Thankfully the rain had abated by the time Sir John's coffin arrived in a horse-drawn Victorian-style hearse decked with flowers.


With grandson Crispian as one of his pallbearers, the actor knight made his final journey into the church, followed by his children, Juliet, Hayley and Jonathan, and the rest of the family.

The mood was sombre, though thanks to the choice of opening music - You Make Me Feel So Young by Frank Sinatra - hardly funereal.

Loudspeakers broadcast the service to the onlookers outside, though a lucky few were permitted to watch the proceedings from the portico.

And some were seen to dab their eyes as Hayley fought to maintain her composure while reading What Shall We Do Tomorrow? - a poem written by her mother, Lady Mills.

Lord Attenborough was also visibly moved during a heartfelt oration in which he spoke warmly, if sometimes inaudibly, about his friend and colleague "Johnny".

"We shall miss him desperately," said the 81-year-old director. "But we shall have him with us always in the deep love and unmatched joy that he has bequeathed to all of us."

With Stephen Fry reading from Ecclesiastes and Juliet Mills reading from Shakespeare, the service ran like clockwork - though not everything went exactly according to plan.


Crispian Mills, former lead singer of Britpop band Kula Shaker, had chosen to sing Forever the Best of Friends, a song from the musical Great Expectations that Sir John used to sing to his grandchildren.

Unfortunately he was not on the best of terms with his ukulele, forcing him to start again after a fumbled first verse.

But he still received a round of applause in a service filled with happy memories for Mills' army of fans.

And nowhere more so than in the reading of John Pudney's Do Not Despair for Johnny-head-in-air - the poem he memorably recites in 1945 wartime drama, The Way to the Stars.

"It was a lovely ceremony," said actress Anita Harris as she stepped gingerly through the puddles afterwards.

A fitting summation of a day where the great British weather paid its own special tribute to one of Britain's acting greats.

Stars mourn veteran actor Mills

Some of Britain's leading performers have been attending the funeral of Oscar-winning actor Sir John Mills.

Dame Judi Dench, Lord Attenborough, Sir Roger Moore and 1960s model Twiggy attended the service in Denham, Buckinghamshire, on Wednesday.

Actresses Helen Mirren, Nanette Newman and Anita Harris also attended despite heavy rain and thunder, as did Tony Blair's wife Cherie Blair.

Sir John, who grew up in Felixstowe, Suffolk, died on Saturday aged 97.

His coffin was carried to St Mary the Virgin church in a horse-drawn Victorian-style hearse decked with flowers. It was followed by his family in a cortege of dark Rolls-Royces.

The coffin was taken into the church by some of his relatives, including his grandson Crispian Mills - a former member of Britpop band Kula Shaker - to the tune of Frank Sinatra's You Make Me Feel So Young.

A number of floral tributes, which had been laid by members of the public, lined the church path.

One tribute read: "To a wonderful actor and a perfect gentleman", while another said "You are a true legend and my hero".

Some of the public were allowed into the service while others stood outside to hear it conveyed by loudspeaker.

The service featured actor Stephen Fry reading a lesson from Ecclesiastes III, a tribute address by Lord Attenborough and a song performed on the ukulele by Crispian Mills.

Sir John's daughter Juliet read Fear No More the Heat O' the Sun by William Shakespeare and his other daughter Hayley read from What Shall We Do Tomorrow? by her mother, Lady Mills.

Parish rector Rev Adrian Hirst paid tribute to Sir John's work "which touched the lives of all of us here and the lives of millions of others who saw him over the years in theatre and in films".

Lady Mills was unable to attend the service due to poor health, but Lord Attenborough spoke of their "extraordinary love affair" during his address.

He also said Sir John was held "in the deepest respect and love" by everyone with whom he had worked.

"He was such a courageous man - forthright, kindly and with a unique, loving sense of humour that was, in my judgment, unsurpassed. Thank you, Johnny."

Afterwards Sir Roger Moore said he thought the funeral service was beautiful.

"How can you do justice to a life of 97 years? He was a great man," he said.

Anita Harris added: "It was a lovely ceremony. John was a darling man who spread joy throughout the world with his films.

Sir John studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and made his name in overtly patriotic films including The October Man, Scott of the Antarctic, Dunkirk and Ice Cold in Alex.

He won an Oscar in 1971 for his portrayal of a mute village idiot in Ryan's Daughter.

He was made a CBE in 1960, knighted in 1976 and was given a special honour by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) in 2002.

A memorial service will be held on 30 June at the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London.

Sir John Mills

For most people, the news that Hayley Mills would be at the Pittsburgh Public Theater in Frank McGuinness' "The Bird Sanctuary" was exciting because it brought back memories of those cute twins in "The Parent Trap." For me, the stronger image was from farther back, when she made her 1959 screen debut at age 12 in "Tiger Bay" with Horst Buchholz.

But I was most excited to have her in Pittsburgh for the chance it might afford to reminisce about the other star of "Tiger Bay," her father, John Mills (later, as of 1976, Sir John). He was one of the idols of my youth, mainly for playing Pip in the great 1946 David Lean movie of "Great Expectations" in the company of Valerie Hobson, the young Jean Simmons, Finlay Currie ... and another young adult actor, Alec Guinness.

The remarkabale Mills had just turned 97 and had made a movie (his 125th?) last year. Suddenly word came that he had died Saturday -- April 23. Actor/writer Stephen Fry told The Guardian, "It's marvelously typical of him to leave the party on St. George's Day and Shakespeare's birthday and death day. He became almost the only [English] actor in the 20th century who was a genuine leading man." That's a pretty good obituary.

Hayley Mills has gone to England for today's funeral, leaving her understudy, Amy Landis, to play Marianne opposite Elizabeth Franz. The Public Theater expects her back Friday.

Attenborough leads Mills tributes

Lord Richard Attenborough has led tributes to his close friend, Sir John Mills, who has died aged 97.

"He was a very remarkable man. He was adored by the people he worked with and he will be hugely missed," he said.

"There was nobody comparable really who gave such a variety of absolutely impeccable performances.

"He never stopped work - work was everything. He was immensely proud of his profession and he brought great honour to it," he added.


A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the Queen had been "sorry" to hear of the actor's death.

Tony Blair described him as "a great actor, a true gentleman and a loyal friend; someone who made us proud to be British".

Actor Corin Redgrave said that he "disguised his contribution, which was enormous I think, behind a veneer of modesty".

He said of him: "He had something about him - a look in the eye, the manner of walking, the manner of delivering his speech - which - if you think of great film performers like Henry Fonda, their image stays in your mind even longer than the parts they played ".

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Lord Attenborough recalled the moment they first met.

"It was 65 years ago. He was the star of a movie called In Which We Serve - in which I had my very first job."

The 81-year-old added that the pair became close friends, with Sir John almost acting as a father figure to him and his wife.

"He is my oldest friend and he's been a sort of hero to me in a way.

"He and his wife Mary almost adopted my wife and me a number of years ago. He really kept a fatherly eye on almost everything I did.

"I not only acted with him in a number of movies, but also he played in most of the movies that I directed - Winston, Oh What A Lovely War, Gandhi and so on.

"He went into hospital about four or five weeks ago with a chest infection that was never overcome. I saw him every other day virtually, I think, during that period and I shall miss him very much."

Perfect performance

When asked what he thought Sir John's greatest role had been, Lord Attenborough said it was the part of Willie Mossop in the 1954 film Hobson's Choice, directed by David Lean.

"It was probably as perfectly adjudged a film performance as I have ever seen - given by anybody. He was quite miraculous in it.

"He was a wonderful comedian too - he told stories, he was always making you laugh.

"In terms of his comedy character acting, he could play this absolute elemental figure of Willie Mossop, this local laddie from Lancashire.

"He managed to give the man great dignity while at the same time finding the ability to inject a huge humour in the characterisation. It was quite marvellous."
Austrian Actress Maria Schell Dead at 79

Austrian-born actress Maria Schell, a film idol who captivated German-speaking audiences in the 1950s and starred opposite some of Hollywood's legendary leading men, has died, according to a statement released on Wednesday. Schell was 79.

Schell's brother, the internationally known actor Maximilian Schell, issued a statement from Los Angeles saying that the death of his older sister had left him facing "the hardest and most difficult hours of my life."

"She was a great actress and an extraordinary human being," Schell, 74, said. "But most of all she was a friend. I could trust her completely, and she trusted me completely. ...After the war, when it was hard to be happy, she made a lot of people happy or at least made happiness seem possible."

Born in Austria in 1926, Schell's father was a Swiss author and her mother an Austrian actress.

Along with her brothers and sisters, she spent the war years in Switzerland, where she was cast in her first film role at age 16 in "Steibruch" by director Sigfrit Steiner.

Schell, popular for bringing a youthful radiance to her screen roles, rose to international stardom in the 1950s in films such as "The Last Bridge" (Die Letzte Brucke), and "The Brothers Karamazov" where she played opposite Yul Brynner.

She starred with Gary Cooper in the 1959 Western drama "The Hanging Tree" and appeared with actors such as Glenn Ford, Marcello Mastroianni and Marlon Brando in a career that spanned five decades.

Schell's later years were marked by declining health, financial difficulties and seclusion.

She made her last public appearance at the 2002 premiere of "My Sister Maria," a documentary by Maximilian Schell about his sister's life, career and their own relationship.

Maximilian Schell, in Los Angeles to direct an opera, said he had visited his sister a few days before her death.

"Towards the end of her life, she suffered silently and I never heard her complain. I admire her for that," Schell said in his statement. "Her death might have been for her a salvation. But not for me. She is irreplaceable."

Austrian media reports said Maria Schell died on Tuesday at her home in southern Austria, which was also her parents' prewar home.
Ford Rides to the Rescue of Wild Mustangs

DEARBORN, Mich. — The federal government has turned to Ford Motor Company, the maker of the Mustang, for help in preventing the slaughter of wild mustangs.

In a statement on its Web site, Ford said: "It saddened us to learn that many wild horses are in jeopardy, and it was an easy decision to help when asked by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. We are working with this federal government agency to investigate a way to sustain these horses that are such an integral part of American lore and tradition."

Ford gave $19,000 to save 52 mustangs from slaughter on Monday, Ford spokesman Jon Harmon told the Inside Line.

"We are close to ironing out details on a broader program," Harmon said. "We are looking to save greater numbers of horses. We expect to talk to Mustang [car] club owners, too. There would be an opportunity to pledge support to a cause to keep the mustangs alive."

Congress in December replaced a 34-year-old ban on slaughtering Mustangs with a law permitting older and unwanted horses to be sold. Animal advocates said that allows the horses to be killed and sold as dog food or sold to people overseas for food.

What this means to you: For $19,000, Ford got some great publicity and saved some animals who were lucky enough to have the same name as one of the company's hottest vehicles. Good all around.
Judy Garland's 'Wizard of Oz' Dress Sells

LONDON - The blue and white gingham dress Judy Garland wore somewhere over the rainbow in "The Wizard of Oz" was sold for $252,000 Wednesday at auction.

The dress, one of the most recognizable in movie history, went to a buyer bidding by telephone who did not wish to be identified, said Bonhams, the auctioneer.

"This dress represents the quintessential magic of childhood in the most beloved film of the 20th century," said Jon Baddeley, head of the Bonhams collector's department.

"It has become a cherished memory for millions of fans worldwide and was worn by one of the most talented and respected stars in Hollywood," he said. "Film costume rarely gets better than this."

The dress, which was one of six identical garments created for Garland for the 1939 movie, is a pinafore style popular at the time and contains a label with Garland's name sewn on the hem. It had been expected to fetch $63,000.

Although there were six dresses, the costume sold Wednesday was one of only two that had secret pockets, Bonhams said.

Garland, who was 17 when she portrayed Dorothy in the movie, died in 1969, less than two weeks after her 47th birthday.

April 26, 2005

Leading UK Actors to Attend John Mills' Funeral

LONDON - Some of Britain's leading actors are due to attend Sir John Mills' funeral Wednesday.

Lord Attenborough, former James Bond actor Sir Roger Moore as well as Robert Lindsay and Simon MacCorkindale and 1960s model Twiggy will be among mourners at the service in Denham in the eastern county of Suffolk.

"Lord Attenborough was John's closest friend," said a spokeswoman for Mills. "We're expecting just family and close friends as well as the people who worked for him to come."

The service is scheduled for 1330 GMT.

Mills, who won an Oscar in 1971 for his portrayal of a mute village idiot in "Ryan's Daughter," died Saturday aged 97.

He made his name in a number of overtly patriotic films during and after World War II including "The October Man," "Scott of the Antarctic," "Dunkirk" and "Ice Cold in Alex."

Handsome and dapper, he embodied to many the archetypal British wartime hero, either as the cool-headed gentleman officer or the resigned working class soldier. He always maintained his favorite movie was the 1960 production "Tunes of Glory," in which he co-starred with Alec Guinness as a highly-strung English officer given the job of leading a hostile Scottish army battalion.

He also fathered one of Britain's leading theatrical families. Both daughters, Juliet and Hayley, are successful actresses who gained early experience in some of their father's productions.

A memorial service will held for Mills either in June or July.

April 24, 2005

Obituary: Sir John Mills

Sir John Mills, who died on Saturday aged 97, was one of Britain's leading screen actors, especially in the years following the Second World War; versatile and accomplished, he specialised in playing "decent blokes", the epitome of the most admirable kind of Englishman - restrained, determined, honourable, good-humoured and capable of suffering on a heroic scale under fire.

Yet Mills had begun as a song and dance man, with no ambition to enter the cinema. A talented rather than a mesmerising performer, with pleasant rather than overwhelming looks, he succeeded through a combination of hard work, brass nerve and good fortune. And once established, he proved so genuinely modest, likeable, patriotic and self-deprecating that he never lost his place in the nation's heart.

His talent for demonstrating the qualities of English decency was first displayed when he was cast in the film version of CS Forester's Brown on Resolution (1935, retitled Forever England). As able seaman Brown, Mills held a German warship at bay with a rifle during the First World War. "The acting of John Mills lifts him at a stride into the ranks of the stars," wrote Campbell Dixon in The Telegraph.

The Second World War threw up more opportunities to confirm his potential in this kind of role. In Noël Coward's In Which We Serve (1942), based on the fate of Mountbatten's destroyer Kelly, he played the honest trier, Shorty Blake. The film was a milestone in the lives of many involved with it, notably David Lean, who co-directed with Coward, and the young Richard Attenborough. At one stage during shooting, Mountbatten himself had to arrange for a hundred sailors to be brought in to replace extras made "seasick" by the hydraulic pumps used to simulate the pitch and roll of the ocean. "There's dysentry in every ripple," observed Coward.

After We Dive at Dawn (1943), about a British submarine disabled in the Baltic, Waterloo Road (1944), in which Mills represented every Tommy whose wife has been unfaithful, and The Way to the Stars (1945), Anthony Asquith's film about the RAF in the war, written by Terence Rattigan, the cinema-goers of the time came to view Mills's appearance in civilian roles as a kind of absence without leave from the Forces.

Though he was exceptional as the would-be gentleman Pip in David Lean's version of Great Expectations (1945), his post-war films in general afforded scant opportunity to exploit his range as an actor; well into the 1950s the Mills upper lip remained unconscionably stiff.

By the time of Scott of the Antarctic (1947), Mills was beginning to be frustrated by the limitations imposed upon him. Though he studied the explorer's character at length, he was not allowed to complicate matters by hinting at Scott's notoriously short temper. He was therefore particularly glad to play the lead in The History of Mr Polly (1949). The film was well received by the critics, but the public were not happy to see their hero playing a hen-pecked, irritable little man - the antithesis of the modest stalwarts of the war films.

He was back in uniform with a vengeance in Morning Departure (1950) as the skipper of a submarine resigned to staying down with his ship after it has been hit by a mine. The film was given a grim topicality by the fact that, just before its release, the submarine Truculent suffered an identical fate in the Thames estuary, with the loss of 64 lives.

After some routine thrillers, Mills at last had a chance to show his potential as a comedian when he replaced Robert Donat (who had succumbed to asthma) as the guileless Lancashire bootmaker Willy Mossop in David Lean's screen version of Hobson's Choice (1953), with Charles Laughton.

The Colditz Story the next year returned him once more to wartime heroics. He was back in submarines in Above Us the Waves (1955); played a Cockney private detective in the film version of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair (1956); and philosophised unconvincingly as the cheerful Russian peasant Platon in War and Peace (1956).

Mills's next big success was in Ice Cold in Alex (1957), as the alcoholic Captain Anson, given the task of shepherding a Nazi with a heart of gold (Anthony Quayle) across the North African desert. The censor considered his roll in the Libyan sand with Sylvia Sims rather too risqué; Mills, though, had more difficulty with the scene at the end in which Anson is required to down a pint of lager at a draught. After six morning takes, filming had to be postponed.

He continued his military roles as a lance-corporal in Dunkirk (1958) and a major in I Was Monty's Double (1958). At this stage, though, he became part of a family act. His elder daughter Juliet had appeared on the screen at the age of 11 weeks as Shorty Blake's baby in In Which We Serve. Now the younger daughter, Hayley, aged 12, made a striking debut with her father in Tiger Bay (1958), playing a child kidnapped by a Polish seaman who has murdered his wife; her father played the detective investigating the case.

Walt Disney then signed Hayley Mills for Pollyanna (1960), and John Mills for The Swiss Family Robinson (1960). In 1965 Mills directed his younger daughter in Sky West and Crooked, a story by his wife about a mentally retarded girl who falls in love with a gypsy. Father and daughter also acted together in The Chalk Garden (1964) and The Family Way (1967).

In 1960 Mills gave a brilliant performance in Tunes of Glory as the strait-laced English officer Colonel Barrow, struggling to maintain control of a Scottish regiment in the face of Jock Sinclair, the hard-drinking Scots major (Alec Guinness). Both actors were playing against type, and their military rivalry was in stark contrast to the charm of their scenes 15 years before in Great Expectations, when Guinness had played Herbert Pocket.

By the time of Oh! What a Lovely War (1968), Mills was 60 and a long way from the bright-eyed private of the Forties films. Even so, the memory of his performances in such roles gave added poignancy to his blimpish representation of Field Marshal Haig.

Doubts about Mills's versatility still persisted, and MGM objected strenuously when David Lean cast him as Michael, the village idiot in Ryan's Daughter (1969). But Lean stuck to his guns, and Mills prepared for the role by studying hours of film of brain-damaged patients. He was triumphantly vindicated when he carried off an Oscar for best supporting performance.

John Lewis Ernest Watts Mills was born on February 22 1908 at North Eltham, Suffolk and spent his early years at Belton, near Great Yarmouth, where his father was headmaster of the village school.

His sister Mabel, 18 years older, encouraged a love of show business. (After the Second World War, as Annette Mills, she would have success on children's television, with Muffin the Mule). Young Jack, as John Mills was then known, first trod the boards when he played Puck in a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream at Sir John Leman School, Beccles.

He went on to Norwich High School for boys, where he survived initial bullying and developed into a useful games player. But the straitened family circumstances compelled him to leave early to join a corn merchants in Ipswich. All that was left of his theatrical dreams were occasional appearances with the Felixstowe Players and the vicar's amateur dramatic society.

When his father left his mother and disappeared to London, Jack Mills wrote threatening to horsewhip him. Six months later he fired off another letter asking if he could come too. On his arrival in the capital he found a job as a salesman with the Sanitas Company, based in Limehouse.

In his spare time he took dancing lessons, and teamed up with a fellow pupil called Frances Day, who arranged their debut in a show at the New Cross Empire. This led to a place in the chorus of The Five O'Clock Girl at the London Hippodrome. Mills then formed a singing duo with a pianist named George Posford - "Posford and Mills - Rhythmic Duettists" - which was hissed off stage at their second performance.

His first great breakthrough, and first piece of good fortune, came when he auditioned for a part in RC Sherriff's Journey's End, for RB Salisbury's Far Eastern tour. He wanted to play Lt Raleigh, the keen young public schoolboy (having by this time lost his Suffolk accent), but was required instead to read the part of Hibbert, the coward. He did not impress.

By chance, though, Sherriff himself happened to have been passing the theatre, and decided on a whim to go in and listen to the auditions. He suggested that Mills might make a good Raleigh, so in 1929 Mills joined the Quaints, as they were known, for tour; among the company was an actress called Aileen Raymond, who would become his first wife. In 1930, at Tentsin in China, he met Mary Hayley Bell, destined to be his second wife.

But it was in Singapore that Mills had the second lucky break which would determine his career. Noël Coward - laid up there in March 1930 while his companion Geoffrey Amherst recovered from dysentery - happened to see that the Quaints were playing at the Victoria theatre that day, and bought a ticket. Hamlet was the play advertised outside the theatre; but after Horatio was found to be drunk following a party at the High Commissioner's earlier that day, Mr Cinders was the entertainment which the Quaints presented.

The company, and Mills in particular, made a favourable impression on the Master (a nickname which Mills claimed to have given Coward). Their friendship was cemented when Coward took over the part of Stanhope in Journey's End for three nights. Back in London, Mills was Lord Fancourt Babberley in Charley's Aunt at the New Theatre, appeared in Cochran's The 1931 Show, a disastrous flop, and then played Birkenshaw, a young, grubby, dirty-minded cockney office boy, in London Wall.

His connection with Coward then landed Mills the part of Joey Marryot in Cavalcade (Drury Lane, 1932). Though offered the chance to play the role again in the Hollywood film version at £500 a week, he refused and instead appeared in Coward's Words and Music. It was in this revue that he introduced Mad Dogs and Englishmen to the world, only to have the number taken away from him after a few performances on Coward's orders. The song, the composer explained, required more authority, age and sophistication than Mills could bring to it.

Soon afterwards John Mills made his screen debut, still as a song and dance man, in The Midshipmaid (1932). But neither that film, nor the next six titles in which he appeared - Britannia of Billingsgate, Bill MP, The Ghost at Camera, The Magistrate, The Lash, and Those Were the Days - made much impresson.

After Brown on Resolution Mills was offered a two-year contract by British Gaumont, for whom he appeared in a series of forgettable films. In the theatre, though, he had enjoyed a success in Jill Darling, a musical which opened in December 1934. He also did well as a cockney in Red Night, a play staged in 1936 by Robert Donat's company. But for the next few years his career seemed to be running into the sands.

He had a small part in Goodbye Mr Chips (1939), in which he played Colley, the old boy who comes back from the First World War to visit the old master, and that year appeared in Tyrone Guthrie's season at the Old Vic, as Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream and as Young Marlow in She Stoops to Conquer. He then enjoyed one of his greatest successes, as George in Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men.

At the outbreak of the Second World War Mills joined 346 Company of the Royal Engineers, a searchlight battery based at Royston in Hertfordshire. Commissioned in the autumn of 1940, he was posted to 1st Rifle Battalion, Monmouthshire Regiment, whose headquarters were at Trowbridge, in Wiltshire.

But at the end of 1940 a duodenal ulcer (subsequently cured by adherence to the diet recommended by William Howard Hay in Healthy via Food) resulted in his being classified as unfit for active service. Thus he was free to appear in In Which We Serve.

Notwithstanding his triumphs in the cinema, Mills never lost his love of the theatre. During the war and after he appeared in two plays written by his wife: Men in Shadow about the underground movement in France, at the Vaudeville theatre in 1942, and Duet for Two Hands, in which a surgeon grafts the hands of a murderer on to the victim of an accident, at the Lyric in 1945.

Two other plays by his wife were less successful; Angel, based on the trial of Constance Kent and directed by Mills, ran for only a few performances at the Strand Theatre in 1947. Five years later The Uninvited Guest, about a young man wrongly committed to a mental home, was pilloried when it appeared at the St James's Theatre. "John Mills wanders about the stage in a red wig looking like a bewildered carrot," said one critic.

In 1951 he appeared in Figure of Fun, adapted from the French comedy by André Roussin; the curtain came up to reveal John Mills standing on his head.

Three years later he repeated his earlier success as Lord Fancourt Babberley in Charley's Aunt, this time at the New Theatre; and in the winter of 1961-62, he was critically acclaimed for his performance as Lawrence of Arabia in the Broadway production of Terence Rattigan's Ross, a part which had been played in London by Sir Alec Guinness.

Yet Mills's reputation for gallantry was still such that his appearance with John Gielgud in Charles Wood's Veterans, about the goings-on off set during the shooting of a film on foreign location, caused a near-riot when the play opened at Brighton; there were shouts of "Disgusting!" and "How dare you?". By contrast, the audience at the Royal Court rocked with laughter.

In 1973 Mills appeared in The End of the Day, a comedy by William Douglas Home at the Savoy. The next year he returned to musicals as Jess Oakroyd in The Good Companions, bringing the house down with a complicated tap routine. He was then perfect as the bogus major in the second play of Terence Rattigan's Separate Tables (Apollo, 1977). In 1982 he played the lead in the musical version of Goodbye Mr Chips at Chichester, and then made an amusing ass of himself as a paragon of solid British worth in Little Lies (1983), adapted from Pinero's The Magistrate.

His last performance in London, in 1986, was in the National Theatre's production of Brian Clark's The Petition, about the stresses of a 50-year-old marriage. Four years later he made a radio version of the play with Dame Peggy Ashcroft.

Despite the gradual failure of his sight, Mills remained indefatigable. In 1993, when he was 85, he took a one-man show to Australia, while his career had been flourishing on cinema and television. In the late 1970s he played small parts in several films, including a Scotland Yard detective in the remake of The Big Sleep (1978), and a colonel who soon disappears from The Thirty-Nine Steps (1978). He was Lord Chelmsford, the Viceroy of India, in Gandhi (1982), and the English tutor of a young sheik in the lamentable Sahara (1983).

He recorded the voice of Jim Bloggs in the animated film When the Wind Blows (1987); Peggy Ashcroft was his wife Hilda. He also had a cameo role in Madonna's film Who's That Girl? (1987).

On television he played Professor Quatermass in 1979, and appeared with Megs Jenkins (who had been with him in The History of Mr Polly) as the gormless pensioner in the comedy series Young at Heart (1980).

In the mid-1980s Mills found profitable work on American television in a series with Deborah Kerr, and as Bette Davis's husband in an Agatha Christie mystery, Murder with Mirrors. He also played Dr Watson to Peter Cushing's Sherlock Holmes in The Masks of Death (1984). On English television he was in Ending Up (1990), from Kingsley Amis's novel, and played an old roué in Mary Welsey's Harnessing Peacocks (1993). Two years ago he made his last screen appearance as a cocaine-snorting socialite in Stephen Fry's film Bright Young Things.

Mills, who had been appointed CBE in 1960, was knighted in Harold Wilson's resignation list in 1976. His autobiography, Up in the Clouds Gentlemen Please, was published in 1980.

Well into his nineties he would swim regularly and continued to dress dapperly, usually sporting a waistcoat and cravat. But he took his greatest pleasure from his family, and was devoted to his wife, Mary, whom in recent years he had nursed through Alzheimer's disease. In 2001 they reaffirmed their marriage vows at the village church near their house at Denham, Bucks. "I am madly in love with her, you see," he explained.

His first marriage, in 1932, to Aileen Raymond, was dissolved in 1940. He married Mary Hayley Bell in 1941. She survives him with their son and two daughters.
Pix of John Mills and His Family

British stage and screen actor Sir John Mills, attending a function in London, England, in this April 1980 photo from files. Sir John Mills, who played the quintessential British officer in scores of films, died Saturday after an Oscar-winning career spanning more than 50 years. He was 97. Mills died at his home in Denham, west of London, after a short illness, a statement from his trustees said.

British actor John Mills, and his family after they arrived in Los Angeles, California, July 30, 1960. From left to right, son Jonathan, 10, daughter Hayley, 14, John, daughter Juliet, 18, and his wife Mary Hayley Bell. Actor Sir John Mills, who played the quintessential British officer in scores of films, died Saturday after an Oscar-winning career spanning more than 50 years. He was 97. Mills died at his home in Denham, west of London, after a short illness, a statement from his trustees said.

April 23, 2005

Oscar-Winning British Actor Sir John Mills Dies

British actor Sir John Mills, who won an Oscar in 1971 for his portrayal of a mute village idiot in "Ryan's Daughter," died on Saturday aged 97, a trustee for his estate said.

"Sir John died this morning at around 6:30 (1:30 a.m. EDT). He'd been ill for about a month with a chest infection," the trustee told Reuters. "He remained remarkably lucid until the end."

Mills made his name in patriotic films during and after World War II including "The October Man," "Scott of the Antarctic," "Dunkirk" and "Ice Cold in Alex."

Handsome and dapper, he embodied to many the archetypal British war hero, either as the cool-headed gentleman officer or the resigned working class soldier.

His first big break came in 1946, when he played Pip in a film version of Charles Dickens' novel "Great Expectations."

He always maintained his favorite movie was the 1960 production "Tunes of Glory," in which he co-starred with Alec Guinness as a highly-strung English officer given the job of leading a hostile Scottish army battalion.

He won the best actor award at the Venice Festival for the film and went on to take an Oscar as best supporting actor a decade later for "Ryan's Daughter," directed by David Lean.

A versatile actor, Mills had a minor role in pop star Madonna's 1987 film "Who's that Girl?" and made his final film appearance in 2003 in "Bright Young Things," directed by British comedian Stephen Fry.

In it, at the age of 95, he had a cameo role as a man snorting cocaine at a party.

Born on Feb. 22, 1908 in Felixstowe, eastern England, John Lewis Mills started in the theater at the age of 19, helped in part by his friendship with Noel Coward.

His output in the 1940s and 1950s was prolific. During his long career he appeared in more than 100 films.

He also fathered one of Britain's leading theatrical families. Both his daughters, Juliet and Hayley, are successful actresses who found their stage feet at an early age in some of their father's productions.

Mills, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1977, was divorced from his first wife, the actress Aileen Raymond, in 1940 after nine years of marriage. He is survived by his second wife, Mary Hayley Bell.

Oscar-Winning Actor John Mills Dies at 97

LONDON - Actor Sir John Mills, the quintessential British officer in scores of films, died Saturday after an Oscar-winning career spanning more than 50 years that included roles in "Gandhi" and "Ryan's Daughter." He was 97.

Mills died at home in Denham, west of London, after a short illness, a statement from his trustees said.

Actor and director Richard Attenborough said Mills was hospitalized last month with a chest infection, from which he did not recover.

Mills' roles ranged from Pip in David Lean's "Great Expectations" to the village idiot in Lean's "Ryan's Daughter," for which he won his Academy Award as best supporting actor in 1971.

But he took his place in film history as soldier, sailor, airman and commanding officer, embodying the decency, humility and coolness under pressure so cherished in the British hero.

On Mills' 80th birthday in 1988, historian Jeffrey Richards called him "truly an English Everyman. His heroes have been on the whole not extraordinary men but ordinary men whose heroism derives from their levelheadedness, generosity of spirit and innate sense of what is right."

Prime Minister Tony Blair said Mills "made us proud to be British."

"Over many decades and countless films, he inspired us with his ability, warmth and spirit," Blair said.

Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth II was sorry to hear of the actor's death.

Small, fair-haired, with a boyish face and very blue eyes, he was the son, the brother, the boy next door who went off to fight the Germans and only sometimes came back.

In "Forever England" he was the ordinary seaman who pins down a German battleship. In "Waterloo Road" he played an AWOL soldier. In Noel Coward's 1942 classic "In Which We Serve" he was a Cockney able seaman, and in Anthony Asquith's "The Way to the Stars," one of the most popular films of the war, he was a schoolmaster-turned-RAF pilot.

These performances were touching and restrained, within the wartime bounds of acceptable sentimentality, and they made his name.

"There was no one comparable really," Attenborough told British Broadcasting Corp. "He gave such a variety of impeccable performances. ... He will be hugely missed."

The two were friends and worked together on films including Attenborough's "Gandhi," in which Mills played the viceroy of India.

Age seemed hardly to touch him and he carried on in military roles for decades, eventually becoming the commander, as in "Above Us the Waves" in 1955. He was trapped in a submarine in 1950's "Morning Departure," toiled through the desert in "Ice Cold In Alex" (1958), and in "Tunes of Glory" (1960) he was the commander of a Scottish regiment, tormented by a fellow officer.

In a recent survey of British film legends by Sky television, voters puts Mills in 8th place all-time among British male actors.

But Mills started his career as a hoofer, a song and dance man in old Fred Astaire roles, far from the trenches.

Born Lewis Ernest Watts, the son of a Suffolk schoolmaster, he started work at 17 as a grain merchant's clerk but longed for the stage.

His older sister Annette, part of a dancing duo at Ciro's, the London nightclub, encouraged his ambitions and he moved to the capital and changed his name.

Mills recalled how he spent the mornings selling disinfectants and toilet paper to pay the rent, and his afternoons at tap dancing lessons.

"Then I got into a very tatty double act with a man called George Posford who played the balalaika while sang 'Sonny Boy' and that was how it all started," he added.

He was acting with at traveling troupe called The Quaints, in Singapore in 1929 when Noel Coward saw the show and suggested Mills look him up in London.

That led to parts in Coward's revues and eventually his war movies, where Mills swapped dancing shoes for uniform.

Mills' own military career in the Royal Engineers lasted little more than a year after the outbreak World War II, until he was declared unfit because of an ulcer.

Mills was married first to actress Aileen Raymond, then in 1941 to Mary Hayley Bell, an actress-turned-playwright.

Their son Jonathan is a screenwriter and daughters Juliet and Hayley are actresses.

Among Mills' many non-military films were "Great Expectations," "Hobson's Choice," "The Wrong Box," "Tiger Bay" with his daughter Hayley, and "Gandhi."

He was made a CBE, or Companion of the Order of British Empire, in 1960 and knighted in 1976.

Mills was wiry, fit and remarkably youthful in to old age, which his daughter Hayley attributed to "joie de vivre."

"Maybe what attracts people is that exuberant spiritual quality that they recognize is still present," she said in 1986.

At 80, Mills rejected any idea of giving up acting.

"I've never considered myself to be working for a living; I've enjoyed myself for a living instead," he said.

Mills is survived by his wife and their children. The funeral service will be held on April 27 in Denham.

Sir John Mills, Actor Who Played the Quintessential British Officer, Dies at 97

Sir John Mills, the celebrated British actor who portrayed war heroes, Dickensian upstarts and an extraordinary pantheon of English characters in a film, stage and television career that spanned much of the 20th century, died yesterday at his home in Denham, west of London. He was 97.

The cause of death was not announced, but The Associated Press quoted a trustee of Sir John's estate as saying he had been ill for about a month with a chest infection. He had been almost blind since 1992, when the retinas of his eyes failed, though he continued acting, appearing earlier this year as A Tramp in a short titled "Lights2."

In a career that spanned 70 years and included more than 100 films and scores of plays in London and New York, Sir John delivered touching, restrained performances that caught cherished notions of what it meant to be a Briton - self-effacing, decent, sentimental, even mawkish, but reliable, cool under fire, the ordinary seaman who pins down a German battleship, the schoolmaster-turned-R.A.F. pilot.

In films, he was the Cockney seaman in Noël Coward's classic "In Which We Serve" (1942), the sailor boy-next-door who goes to war in "This Happy Breed" (1944), the adult orphan Pip in David Lean's "Great Expectations" (1947), the compulsive disciplinarian commander of a Scottish regiment crushed by Alec Guinness's old-boy clique in "Tunes of Glory" (1960), and the Viceroy of India in "Gandhi" (1982).

On stage, Sir John, who began as a song-and-dance man in the 1920's, captivated London audiences with his first major hit as the American, George, in the 1939 production "Of Mice and Men." But he also performed Shakespeare and appeared in many West End plays, including three written by his wife, Mary Hayley Bell - "Men in Shadow" (1942), "Duet for Two Hands" (1945) and "The Uninvited Guest" (1953). He made his Broadway debut in 1961 as Lawrence of Arabia in Terence Rattigan's "Ross."

A small, wiry athletic man with intense gray eyes, wavy brown hair, a high forehead, an angular face and a resonant baritone voice, Sir John became one of Britain's most versatile, beloved and busy actors - and found time for tennis, skiing, swimming, polo and fast cars, which he called his lone vice.

He made forays to America for stage and television work, but resisted the lure of Hollywood, making his base and most of his films in England. "I love it here, and my wife and I wouldn't be happy anywhere else," he once explained. "So if I lived in Hollywood, I would simply be rich and unhappy. What's the point in that?"

He extolled honesty as a key to his craft, advising young actors to imagine the ways in which a character speaks and thinks, and then to act in accordance with those images. "He will be telling the truth and never overact or underact," Sir John said.

The recipient of many awards, including a prize at the 1960 International Film Festival in Venice, he won an Oscar as best supporting actor in 1971 for his portrayal of a village idiot in "Ryan's Daughter," for which he studied the behavior of brain-damaged patients for months. Queen Elizabeth II named him a Commander of the British Empire in 1960 and knighted him in 1976.

Sir John was the father of one of England's leading theatrical families, and appeared with both his daughters in films. He found several roles for Juliet Mills, the first when she was just a few weeks old, in "In Which We Serve," and he introduced Hayley Mills as the defiant girl in "Tiger Bay," taking the role of the police superintendent himself. A son, Jonathan, is a film scriptwriter.

Sir John was born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills on Feb. 22, 1908. His birthplace has been reported as Felixstowe, Suffolk, and as North Elmham, Norfolk. His father was a mathematics teacher and his grandfather a member of the London Corn Exchange, and while he was stagestruck he seemed destined for a career in business until he was 19, when he fled to the West End, determined to try his luck with a new first name, John.

He sold disinfectants and toilet paper to pay the rent, studied tap dancing and, in 1929, was cast in the chorus of a musical at the Hippodrome. A break soon developed. He joined a repertory company called The Quaints, and went on a yearlong tour in Asia, playing roles in dramas, comedies and musicals.

On tour, he met three people who were to be important to him - Aileen Raymond, a member of the troupe, whom he married in 1932 (they were divorced eight years later), Mary Hayley Bell, a 16-year-old girl in the audience in Tientsin who would become his second wife in 1941, and Noël Coward, who was impressed by his acting and became a lifelong friend.

Back in London, the young actor soon found parts in Coward's reviews and plays, including "Cavalcade" (1931), and in other productions. In 1938, he was invited to join the Old Vic Company and played Marlow in "She Stoops to Conquer," and Puck in "A Midsummer Night's Dream." After his 1939 West End success in John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men," he was offered the lead in Maxwell Anderson's "Key Largo" on Broadway. But World War II intervened.

He joined the Royal Engineers and later won a commission in the Royal Monmouthshire Rifles, but an ulcer ended his military career in 1942, and he returned to the London theater. As his stage career progressed, he turned increasingly to films, acting in four or five a year, so many that he sometimes lost count. His role in "Goodbye, Mr. Chips," brought him international stardom in 1939.

Many of his World War II movies were hailed by critics as gems of the genre, a mix of fine acting and patriotic themes. His heroes were not extraordinary men - citizen soldiers, seamen and airmen with boyish faces, the son or brother or boy next door who goes to war, is steady under fire and sometimes does not come home.

In Anthony Asquith's "Way to the Stars" (1945) he was a civilian schoolmaster who joins the R.A.F. In "Forever England" (1935) he was the able-bodied seaman confronting an enemy battleship, and in "Waterloo Road" (1945) he was a tormented soldier absent without leave. Sir John produced some films, including two comedies - "The Rocking Horse Winner" (1950), and "The History of Mr. Polly" (1949).

His later roles included the explorer Robert Falcon Scott in "Scott of the Antarctic" (1948), an inept sailor in "The Baby and the Battleship" (1956), Willie Mossop, a bootmaker clashing with his daughter, in "Hobson's Choice" (1954), Masterman Finsbury in "The Wrong Box" (1966), a submarine commander in "Above Us the Waves" (1955), Cpl. Tubby Bins in "Dunkirk" (1958) and General Kitchener in "Young Winston" (1972).

Sir John made his American television debut in 1956 in a production of Somerset Maugham's play "The Letter," and played a British officer in "The Interrogator," on NBC in 1962. His television work included a western series, "Dundee and the Culhane," in 1967, movie roles, many guest and comedic appearances and roles in "Tales of the Unexpected," in 1980.

In later years, there were other films and appearances, despite his failing eyesight. One of his last roles was a cameo - a man taking cocaine at a party in Stephen Fry's "Bright Young Things," in 2003.

Sir John, who is survived by Mary Hayley Bell and their three children, told David Frost in a 2002 interview that he would never retire. "It's something that I can hardly explain," he said. "It's such warmth that greets me, and I can even say the word love and I feel terrific. It's just wonderful."

Mills, the decent chap everyone loved

SIR JOHN MILLS, grandfather of the British cinema and one of the few Englishmen to deserve the description of screen legend, died yesterday, aged 97.
He leaves a canon of work stretching over 60 years and more than 100 films. It includes such memorable roles as Pip in Great Expectations; an army captain in Ice Cold in Alex and his 1970 Oscar-winning performance as the village idiot Michael in Ryan’s Daughter. He was knighted in 1976.

During the war he made so many films as the sanguine English hero that he once complained he played opposite more submarines than leading ladies.

He was still performing in his nineties, although the scripts had to be read to him because of his failing eyesight. A one-man show, An Evening with John Mills, kept his stage sensibilities sharp until the retinas in both his eyes failed.

“I think the secret of my success is that I’ve always tried to be an actor rather than a film star,” he said in 2001.

“I’ve stayed in Britain rather than gone after the big money in America. I’m very lucky to have been at it for so long, and it’s great to get a few perks now as a reward. People are still pleased to see me and I’m very flattered by that.”

One of his regrets would have been that he died before his second wife, Mary, a former playwright and novelist, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and is wheelchair bound.

“One day Mary and I will leave this world, but we’ll be reunited in the next,” he once said. “Mary and I will be together always. Always. Now I’ve found her I’m not going to let her go.”

The couple had three children: Hayley Mills, a film star in her own right; Juliet, also an actress and married to Maxwell Caulfield who acts in Casualty; and Jonathan, a film producer. Hayley’s son Crispian, Sir John’s grandson, fronted the rock band Kula Shaker in the 1990s.

Mills and his wife were denied a full church service for their wedding in 1941 because he was serving in the army.

But 60 years on, the couple renewed their vows at a special service in the village church in Denham, Buckinghamshire, where they lived for more than 30 years and where Mills died yesterday after a short illness.

He was born Lewis Ernest Watts Mills in Suffolk in 1908, the son of a village headmaster. From the age of seven he decided he wanted to go on the stage. His elder sister Annie was a professional dancer in a show that brought the charleston from New York to London.

Small for his age, he was bullied at boarding school until he spent a summer holiday learning martial arts and on his first day back at school broke his chief tormentor’s nose.

When he left school at 16, he moved to London and got a job as a door-to-door lavatory paper salesman but was sacked for taking too much time off to attend dancing classes.

His first stage job was as a chorus boy in The Five O’Clock Girl at the New Cross theatre for £4 a week. At the same time he set up a cabaret act with a man named George Posford. The act was called Posford and Mills, Rhythmic Duettists, and they finished their act with Mills down on one knee in a top hat singing Sonny Boy.

He met Noël Coward on a tour of the Far East and the two became great friends. Later Coward became godfather to his daughter Juliet.

It was on Coward’s recommendation that Mills got the lead in a stage production of Charley’s Aunt. He later said Coward was the greatest influence on his career.

Two years later, in 1932, he made his film debut in The Midshipmaid as one of a group of sailors who welcomed the actress Jessie Matthews aboard a ship. Later he played a former pupil of Robert Donat in Goodbye, Mr Chips.

But it was the war years that were the making of him. He started playing soldiers and seamen in what were little more than propaganda films full of nasty Germans and brave Britons. He was promoted to submarine skipper in We Dive at Dawn and joined the RAF for The Way to the Stars.

The director David Lean cast him as the grown-up Pip in Great Expectations in 1946, before he returned to the officers’ mess for Ice Cold in Alex — in which his co-star Sylvia Syms exposed too much cleavage for the censor’s liking and their kiss had to be reshot with three buttons of her shirt undone instead of the original four — and Tunes of Glory, his favourite film in which he co-starred with Alec Guinness.

Lord Attenborough, one his great friends, cast him as Field Marshal Haig in the anti-war Oh! What a Lovely War, but his career fell into the doldrums for almost two decades as he was reluctant to leave these shores.

It was Lean who came to the rescue, casting him as Michael in Ryan’s Daughter. His last film was Bright Young Things in 2003 directed by Stephen Fry, in which he played a cocaine-sniffing aristocrat.

Fry said last night: “I saw him last week a few times. He was slipping away. But how appropriate for John to die on April 23, St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday. I adored him. He had no ego at all.

“John was a remarkably talented man, a wonderful hoofer in his early days, a terrific sportsman, too, who could have become a top footballer. He was also a really good photographer.”

Attenborough said: “He was unequalled as a British movie star. There was nobody who gave such a variety of impeccable performances.

“He was my oldest friend and he’s been a sort of hero to me. I shall miss him very much but I shall not be alone.”

Rosie Millard, who interviewed Mills for The Sunday Times Home section at his house last year, said: “He’d obviously had a happy life and spoke warmly of his three children and Lady Mills. He and Lady Mills would watch television together, holding hands. He was beautifully turned out, with a beautiful tie on and a pair of slippers with a crest on.”

The actress Nanette Newman, wife of the director Bryan Forbes, worked with Mills and was one of his best friends. The couple saw him last at his 97th birthday party less than two months ago. “He was remarkable,” said Newman. “He was the great British film actor. He remained true to Britain, too. Johnny was British to the core.”

April 21, 2005

Actress Ruth Hussey Dies at 93

LOS ANGELES - Ruth Hussey, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as James Stewart's wise-cracking girlfriend in 1940's "The Philadelphia Story," has died. She was 93.

Hussey died Tuesday at a convalescent home in Newbury Park in Ventura County of complications from an appendectomy, according to her son, John Longnecker.

From the late 1930s through 1960 Hussey made dozens of films and appeared with such leading men as Stewart, Spencer Tracy, Melvyn Douglas and Robert Taylor.

She also was a stage actress, appearing on Broadway in 1945 in the hit "State of the Union" and in 1949 in the comedy "Goodbye, My Fancy."

Born Oct. 30, 1911, in Providence, R.I., Hussey graduated from Pembroke Women's College at Brown University and the drama school at the University of Michigan.

She began her show-business career as a local radio fashion commentator. Later, she moved to New York and became a model for the Powers agency. She toured with stage companies and won an MGM contract when she was spotted by a talent agent during a road production in Los Angeles.

Her first movie role, in the 1937 Tracy film "Big City," was uncredited. Three years later, she was Tracy's leading lady in "Northwest Passage."

She received an Oscar nomination for supporting actress for playing Elizabeth Imbrie, the sassy photographer who accompanies Stewart to cover a socialite's wedding in "The Philadelphia Story."

She lost to Jane Darwell, who was Ma Joad in "The Grapes of Wrath."

Her last feature film role was in 1960 in "The Facts of Life," playing Bob Hope's wife.

Hussey also had a long career in television, including guest appearances in "The Magnificent Ambersons" and "Time Out for Ginger."

She also played the love interest of Robert Young in the 1973 television movie "My Darling Daughters' Anniversary."

April 20, 2005

Man Spits in Jane Fonda's Face at Book Signing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A man who said he was a Vietnam veteran spat tobacco juice in Jane Fonda's face at a Kansas City book signing, calling her a traitor for a trip she made to Hanoi in 1972, police said on Wednesday.

The man, 54-year-old Michael Smith, waited in line for about 90 minutes before spitting a "large amount" of tobacco juice into Fonda's face, according to Kansas City police.

Smith was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.

The 67-year-old Oscar-winning actress was in town as part of a book-signing tour for her newly released autobiography titled "My Life So Far."

In the book, she addresses her position as a polarizing figure for many Vietnam veterans and others outraged by her 1972 trip to Hanoi to oppose the Vietnam war.

During that trip she was photographed laughing as she sat on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft tank.

In an interview with the Kansas City Star, Smith said Fonda was a "traitor" who had been spitting in the faces of war veterans for years.

"There are a lot of veterans who would love to do what I did," the Star quoted Smith as saying.

Mo. Man Spits Tobacco Juice at Jane Fonda

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A man spit tobacco juice into the face of Jane Fonda after waiting in line to have her sign her new memoir. Capt. Rich Lockhart of the Kansas City Police Department said Michael A. Smith, 54, was arrested Tuesday night on a municipal charge of disorderly conduct.

He was released on bond and is due to appear in court on May 27.

Fonda covers a wide range of topics in "My Life So Far," including her 1972 visit to Hanoi to protest the Vietnam War, during which she was photographed on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun. She has apologized for the photo, but not for opposing the war.

Smith, a Vietnam veteran, told The Kansas City Star Wednesday that Fonda was a "traitor" and that her protests against the Vietnam War were unforgivable. He said he doesn't chew tobacco but did so Tuesday solely to spit juice on the actress.

"I consider it a debt of honor," he told The Star for a story on its Web site. "She spit in our faces for 37 years. It was absolutely worth it. There are a lot of veterans who would love to do what I did."

Fonda, who flew to Minneapolis Wednesday for another appearance on her book tour, issued a statement through Jynne Martin of Random House.

"In spite of the incident, my experience in Kansas City was wonderful and I thank all the warm and supportive people, including so many veterans, who came to welcome me last night," she said.

Fonda drew a crowd of about 900 at Unity Temple, said Vivian Jennings, whose Rainy Day Books of suburban Fairway, Kan., sponsored the event.

Jennings said the 67-year-old actress never got up from her seat and continued autographing books after the tobacco juice was wiped off.

"The important thing is that she was so calm and so gracious about it," Jennings said. "She was wonderful."

April 19, 2005

Oklahoma City Bombing Remembered 10 Years Later

Mourners in Oklahoma City stood still for 168 seconds of silence -- one for each of the victims -- on Tuesday to mark the 10th anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal office building by right-wing extremist Timothy McVeigh.

Arch-Conservative German Elected Pope

Arch-conservative German cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope on Tuesday in a surprise choice that delighted traditionalist Roman Catholics but stunned moderates hoping for a more liberal papacy.

Ratzinger, 78, the Church's 265th pontiff, will take the name of Benedict XVI. He is expected to defend Pope John Paul's strict orthodox legacy and reject changes in Catholic doctrine. He is the oldest man to be elected pope for three centuries and the first German pontiff for a millennium.

The speed of the election, on only the second day of a secret cardinals conclave, and its result were both a surprise.

Many Vatican experts had said Ratzinger, John Paul's tough doctrinal watchdog for 23 years, was too divisive and too old to become pope.

They had predicted he would have to cede to a more conciliatory compromise figure during the conclave, although John Paul had appointed all but two of the cardinal electors and one of those two was Ratzinger himself.

The white-haired new Pope appeared on the balcony of St Peter's Basilica soon after his election, smiling broadly and greeting tens of thousands of cheering faithful.

"I entrust myself to your prayers," he said as the crowd chanted "Papa! Papa! Papa!" and waved umbrellas and flags. Some climbed lamp posts and fountains in the cobblestone square for a better view.

Benedict was showered with congratulations from foreign and religious leaders but the election was greeted with consternation by those hoping for a relaxation in John Paul's strict rule over the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.

"We consider the election of Ratzinger is a catastrophe ... We can expect no reform from him in coming years ... I think even more people will turn their back on the Church," said Bernd Goehring, of the German ecumenical group Kirche von Unten.

Even in St Peter's Square, some of the celebrations were tempered by fear of widening divisions in the Church.

"It's a historic moment, but a very sad one. He is even more conservative than John Paul II. All he knows to do is condemn, condemn, condemn," said Agusti Capdevila from Barcelona.

Benedict's election by a conclave meeting in the Vatican's frescoed Sistine Chapel was signaled by white smoke from the chapel chimney and the tolling of the bells of St. Peter's.


The election indicated both that the cardinals wanted to maintain John Paul's strict Church orthodoxy and also to have a short, transitional papacy after the Polish pope's 26-year reign -- the third longest in Church history.

"I was surprised for a couple of reasons. One is his age ... The second is that I thought he might have been too much of a polarising person. But that may not be the perception that was shared by the cardinals," said Lawrence Cunningham, theology professor at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

Ratzinger, dean of the cardinals, had dominated the Vatican since the death of Pope John Paul on April 2. He presided over the funeral Mass and daily meetings of cardinals since then.

He used a homily at a Mass before the conclave to issue a stern warning that godless modern trends must be rejected. The address was widely seen as promoting his candidacy.

He was expected to take a tough line against reformist trends in Europe and North America. In a Good Friday Mass this year he said: "How much filth there is in the Church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to Him."

Ratzinger's stern leadership of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the modern successor to the Inquisition, delighted conservative Catholics but upset moderates and other Christians whose churches he described as deficient.

Before St. Peter's bells confirmed Benedict's election, there were 10 minutes of confusion over the color of the smoke, which initially seemed grey.

But even before the bells pealed, thousands of faithful in the square cheered and applauded, yelling "A pope, a pope!"

It was only the third time in a century that a pope had been chosen on the second day of a conclave. The new Pope had to win a two-thirds majority of the 115 red-robed cardinals.


In Germany, church bells rang out and Catholics streamed into churches to celebrate Benedict's election.

The choice of Ratzinger dashed hopes of a pope from the developing world, where two thirds of Catholics now live. He is expected to pay particular attention to the decline of faith and spread of secularism in Europe.

As John Paul's doctrinal overseer, Ratzinger disciplined Latin American "liberation theology" theologians, denounced homosexuality and gay marriage and pressured Asian priests who saw non-Christian religions as part of God's plan for humanity.

Matt Foreman, of the U.S. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said: "Today the princes of the Roman Catholic Church elected as Pope a man whose record has been one of unrelenting, venomous hatred for gay people."

In a document in 2000, Ratzinger branded other Christian churches as deficient -- shocking Anglicans, Lutherans and other Protestants in ecumenical dialogue with Rome for years.

Ratzinger was the oldest cardinal to be named pope since Clement XII, who was also 78 when he became pope in 1730. He is the first German pope since Victor II (1055-1057).

Before the conclave door shut on Monday, Ratzinger made a final appeal to his fellow electors to protect traditional teachings and to shun modern trends.

He made no mention of the challenges that other cardinals and ordinary Catholics say should top the agenda such as poverty, Islam, science, sexual morality and Church reform.

Born in Bavaria on April 16, 1927, the son of a police chief, he served in the Hitler Youth during World War II when membership was compulsory, according to his autobiography.

But he was never a member of the Nazi party and his family opposed Adolf Hitler's regime, biographers have said.

Ratzinger later became a leading theology professor and then archbishop of Munich before taking over the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1981.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany is the new pope and takes the name Benedict XVI. Inauguration Mass for Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday at 10 a.m. (4 a.m. EDT).

11 homeless after Fredericktown hotel fire

EAST BETHLEHEM TWP. - The 11 residents of the Riverside Inn on Front Street in Fredericktown escaped a Monday morning fire with their lives and little else.

"Everything we had was in that one room," said Ron Terasaz, pointing to a smoke-blackened window on the second floor.

Terasaz, who moved to Fredericktown two years ago from Oklahoma, is an unemployed truck driver. His Oklahoma-issued commercial driver's license was lost in the fire. He shared the apartment with his girlfriend, Jo Ann Angelo, and their cat. The cat was the only possession they took from the burning building.

Angelo said she was sleeping when she became aware of the fire.

"I smelled it. I opened the door and it was all black," Angelo said.

Angelo and Terasaz ran from the building wearing only what they had been sleeping in, shorts and a T-shirt for Angelo and boxer shorts for Terasaz.

Kristen Lewis of Fredericktown is a friend of Angelo's and rushed to the scene when she saw the flames more than a block away.

"She can come eat and shower at my house. I'm going to help her as best I can. I'm so heartbroken over this. The only thing you can do is to have strength and keep your faith in God," Lewis said.

Lewis said she was going to contact her church, Calvary Chapel of Fredericktown, for prayer and other assistance that could be provided.

Cheapies Outlet Store, located directly across the street from the Riverside Inn, provided T-shirts, tennis shoes and socks for the couple and several other fire victims.

"There were a few of them that couldn't get their money or anything," said Mariann Mason of Low Hill, who owns the store along with her husband Dave.

Mason said her husband noticed the smoke coming from the building as soon as they arrived at the store around 8:40 a.m.

"I'm usually not here until 9:15, but I had to be dropped off today. My husband saw the smoke and asked if that was normal, and I said it wasn't," Mason said. "(Riverside Inn owner) Duane (Devecka) was upstairs trying to put the fire out."

Devecka said it is the second fire in the 102-year-old building since he bought it in 1980.

"It used to be a three-story building. We had a fire in 1981 and I took the third story off and made it a two-story hotel. The place was totally rewired from bottom to top in 1982-83," Devecka said.

Devecka said he doesn't know if he will rebuild this time.

"I did it once. I don't know if I want to do it again," Devecka said.

The 1981 fire was attributed to a faulty chimney on a wood burner in the basement that spread to the third floor through a laundry chute, Devecka said. The state police fire marshal was called in to determine the cause of Monday's fire.

"I was just getting ready to leave the kitchen when I hard glass breaking on the fire escape. I thought someone had thrown a bottle down the fire escape," Devecka said.

Devecka went upstairs to investigate the situation and noticed smoke in the hallway.

"I went into the apartment with a fire extinguisher. The smoke detector didn't go off until I went into the room, the flames were that hot," Devecka said.

The noise that had alerted him to the fire was the window in the rear apartment breaking outward from the heat, Devecka said.

Assistant East Bethlehem Fire Chief Jim Starkey said fire damage to the second floor of the building was extensive, while the first floor bar and restaurant had smoke and water damage.

"I was down the road less than a mile when our pagers went off and when I came up, the flames were already shooting out the window," Starkey said. "We don't know yet what started it until it's investigated."

The East Bethlehem Volunteer Fire Department was assisted at the scene by additional firefighters from Bentleyville, Richeyville, Denbo-Vesta Six, Clarksville and Jefferson, with Brownsville Ambulance Service Inc. on standby at the scene.

It's hard to say exactly when the fire began. According to Washington County 9-1-1 dispatch, the call was received at 8:54 a.m. One resident of the building, Nick Arnone, said he received a call from the building manager to evacuate the building around 8:15 a.m.

"I was sleeping and they woke me up. Thank God everyone got out with life and limb. Nobody got hurt," Arnone said.

Arnone, who is a corrections officer at SCI Fayette, said the door to his apartment was already getting warm from the fire. He grabbed clothing and put a wet T-shirt over his mouth and nose to get through the smoke.

"When I got to the door, the smoke was already down to your waist from the ceiling," Arnone said.

Arnone is originally from Johnstown, returning there each week on his day off. He said he's been through two floods, so he took losing his possessions in the fire in stride.

"You can't wallow in it. What's gone is gone. You've got to keep moving forward," Arnone said.

St. Michael's Church in Fredericktown, part of St. Oliver Plunket Parish, is coordinating relief efforts for the 11 displaced residents. The Red Cross said it was providing eight adults displaced by the fire with food, clothing and shelter.

April 18, 2005

Longtime Washington County Restaurant Burns

A Fredericktown building was damaged by fire Monday morning.

Washington County fire officials said the fire was reported at about 9 a.m. in the Riverside Inn. The building on Front Street housed the restaurant and several apartments.

No injuries were reported.

Former Pittsburgh Mayor Flaherty Dies

Former Pittsburgh Mayor and Allegheny County Commissioner Pete Flaherty died Monday at age 80.

Flaherty had colon cancer. He died at home with family members in Mount Lebanon, according to his nephew, county Controller Mark Flaherty.

Flaherty served as mayor from 1969 to 1977. After leaving office, he became a U.S. Deputy Attorney General in President Jimmy Carter's administration.

Upon returning to Pittsburgh, Flaherty was elected as a county commissioner in 1983. He served in that position until 1995.
NFL To Return To NBC

'Monday Night Football' Moves To ESPN

NEW YORK -- "Monday Night Football" will leave ABC and move to ESPN starting with the 2006 season, ending a historic 35-year run on ABC that helped reshape sports broadcasting by transforming professional football into a prime-time ratings draw.

The "Monday Night Football" move from network TV to basic cable, hinted at continually by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, was confirmed Monday by two sources familiar with the deals who spoke to The Associated Press under condition of anonymity. The sources said the league is expected to get $1.1 billion over eight years from the network.

Also, NBC will return to the NFL after a six-year hiatus by getting the Sunday night package for $600 million over six years, according to the sources. The network will also get the Super Bowl in 2009 and 2012 as part of the deal, one of the sources said.

Randy Falco, President, NBC Universal Television Networks Group, said in a news release: "This will be a profitable agreement for us. We have said consistently since 1998 that we would love to be in business with the NFL, but only at the right price. Now the price is right. Bringing the power of the NFL back to NBC is great news for our viewers, our stations and our advertisers."

According to the news release, for each of the six seasons, NBC will kickoff the NFL regular season with a Thursday night primetime game. The first regular season game of the new agreement, NBC’s "NFL Kickoff 2006," will launch the 2006 NFL regular season on Thursday Sept. 7, 2006 in primetime.

Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics, also said in the news release: "For decades, football fans and media have demanded the primetime package be made flexible so the best match-ups would be available to the largest audience in primetime. To their great credit, the NFL has responded with an innovative plan to meet that demand over the last seven weeks of each season of NBC’s 'Sunday Night Football.'

"The move from Monday to Sunday will not only mean schedule flexibility but also four hours of the NFL in primetime as opposed to just two. 'Sunday Night Football' will also have the added advantage of kicking off an hour earlier on television’s most watched night."

ESPN currently broadcasts Sunday night NFL games

The moves leave ABC -- which originated "Monday Night Football" in 1970 -- as the only major network without NFL football.

ABC and ESPN are both subsidiaries of the Walt Disney Co. The deal with ESPN was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Last month, Tagliabue said during the NFL meetings in Hawaii that the Monday night move was a strong possibility. ABC, which has been losing money on the package despite high ratings, had been balking at the NFL's asking price.

CBS and Fox already have agreed to pay a total of $8 billion over six years for the rights to Sunday afternoon games.

The NFL is still considering separate packages for Thursday and late-season Saturday nights.

April 15, 2005

Prince Rainier III Given Tearful Farewell

MONACO - Below a golden crown, Prince Rainier III was given a tearful farewell Friday at a funeral in Monaco's cathedral, closing a fairy tale that started nearly 50 years ago with his marriage in the same spot to Hollywood beauty Grace Kelly.

The pomp-filled, televised service for Rainier, who ruled Monaco for 56 of his 81 years, drew VIPs from around the world to the tiny, sun-kissed Mediterranean principality.

The fabled Monte Carlo casino was closed, as were other businesses, and security was tight as the funeral attracted more than half a dozen heads of state and other dignitaries from some 60 countries. They included French President Jacques Chirac, Irish President Mary McAleese, Belgium's King Albert II, Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia and royalty from Sweden, Luxembourg and elsewhere.

The cathedral later was closed to the public for Rainier's burial in the family crypt alongside his beloved Princess Grace at a private service Friday night. She died in a car crash in 1982, and Rainier never remarried.

Their children — son and heir Prince Albert II, and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie — blinked back tears during the Mass as Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" mournfully echoed through the 19th cathedral that overlooks the sea.

Rainier's coffin was draped in a white and red flag bearing the coat of arms of his Grimaldi family. It includes the royal motto "Deo Juvante" — "With God's Help" — and two monks brandishing raised swords, a reminder of how the Grimaldis seized this rock in 1297.

Rainier was Europe's longest-serving monarch. The royals, nobles and other VIPs who flew in for the funeral underscored how he helped overcome Monaco's reputation as a "sunny place for shady people" and a haven for tax evasion, money-laundering and gambling, and oversaw its modernization.

In his eulogy at the Mass, Archbishop Bernard Barsi said Rainier was affectionately known as the "builder prince" who oversaw a 20 percent expansion in Monaco's territory by land reclamation from the sea. It still remains, however, no bigger than New York City's Central Park.

"For all of us, the prince was, of course, the sovereign, but he was also a friend, a member of the family," Barsi said. "His family cries for him."

But it was Rainier's 1956 marriage to Kelly that became Monaco's true claim to fame.

The archbishop said they were "an exceptional couple, united by the heart and spirit" and that Rainier bore "with dignity the terrible ordeal of the brutal death of his wife."

"We are convinced that those who were united here below by the fidelity of their conjugal love are forever united in the fullness of God's love," he said.

The service began when members of the 170-member staff carried his coffin from the palace's 17th-century Palatine Chapel where he had lain in state since his death April 6 of heart, kidney and breathing problems.

In accordance with Rainier's wishes, soldiers from the Prince's Company of Carabineers, red and white plumes on their blue hats shuddering slightly in the breeze, then carried his coffin out of the palace via the Gate of Honor. They beat drums covered with black cloth.

Albert, flanked by his sisters who wore headscarves of black lace, as well as some of Rainier's grandchildren and other members of his close family, walked behind the coffin as it was carried to the nearby cathedral.

Rainier's 6 1/2-year-old dog Odin, a present for the 50th year of his reign, formed part of the funeral cortege, limping slightly. The Gate of Honor was closed symbolically after Rainier's body was carried out.

Some of the VIPs bowed as the coffin was carried up the aisle. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld's white hair made him easy to spot.

The coffin rested in the center of the cathedral, below a golden crown from which hung purple strips of cloth. A sword was placed on the coffin.

Barsi, opening the service, said Rainier had "entered into the sleep of death" and had been a father "both loving and loved."

For many in Monaco, the day marked the end of a golden era that began with the marriage to Princess Grace. Rainier often cut a lonely figure in his latter years.

"I like this family. ... It's thanks to Rainier that Monaco became what it did," said Arthur Alves, 60, who works in the thriving building sector. "It's a bit the soul of Monaco, its image around the world that we are saying goodbye to today."

Security was at a maximum in this enclave usually devoted to fun and making, spending and banking money. Some 1,300 police were on hand, and even funeral wreaths were scanned for bombs.

Parked cars were removed from the streets, where only black-garbed mourners and white-gloved policemen were seen. Matches at the Monte Carlo Masters tennis tournament were delayed until the afternoon out of respect.

The crypt in the cathedral also holds the remains of Rainier's three immediate successors: Prince Charles III, who ruled from 1856 to 1889; Prince Albert I, who ruled from 1889 to 1922; and, Rainier's grandfather, Prince Louis II, who ruled from 1922 to 1949.

April 14, 2005

West Virginia expels 11 students for rowdy behavior

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia expelled 11 students and disciplined several others for setting street fires, public drunkenness and other rowdy behavior after two Mountaineer games in the NCAA basketball tournament.

Disciplinary measures ranged from probation to suspension, the university said Thursday.

About 50 street fires were set and police were used Mace to control crowds after West Virginia defeated Texas Tech 65-60 on March 24 in a regional semifinal. The victory moved the Mountaineers to the regional finals for the first time since Jerry West led them to the championship game in 1959.

No one was seriously injured although several firefighters were hit by bottles or cans. Street fires also were set after the Mountaineers lost to Louisville 93-85 in the regional final March 26.

Sixteen students have been charged or cited for alleged participation the postgame chaos.

``Unfortunately, bad fan behavior has become a problem nationwide,'' said Ken Gray, vice president for student affairs. ``We in Morgantown will not tolerate it, and will do everything we can to keep the spotlight on the success of our teams and the safety and enjoyment of the thousands of loyal, responsible fans.''

April 13, 2005

Monaco prepares for funeral of Prince Rainier

MONACO - Monaco prepared to say farewell to long-time ruler Prince Rainier with a solemn funeral in the Mediterranean statelet's cathedral, attended by a smattering of European royals and political figures.

French President Jacques Chirac and Britain's Prince Andrew are among the dignitaries expected to attend the midday ceremony at Monaco's cathedral, perched atop a cliff not far from the Grimaldi family's palace.

A host of European royals will join Andrew, including King Albert II of Belgium, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, Queen Sonja of Norway, and Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands.

The 81-year-old Rainier -- who ruled the principality from 1949 and was the world's second longest-reigning monarch after the king of Thailand -- died on April 6 after a month in hospital battling heart, lung and kidney problems.

In his more than 55 years in power he is credited with turning Monaco from a Riviera Ruritania into a thriving center of tourism and banking, using his contacts and acumen to diversify the economy and pull in business investment.

But Rainier touched the world with his fairy-tale marriage to Oscar-winning US actress Grace Kelly, which ended in tragedy when Grace died in a car crash in 1982. He will be interred next to his beloved wife in the cathedral's crypt.

Authorities have stepped up security in Monaco ahead of Friday's funeral, with an increased police presence and traffic restricted in the old city, where the palace and cathedral are located.

Only native Monegasques will be allowed to fill the square in front of the palace on Friday to pay tribute to Rainier. Police said they were expecting some 3,000 people to turn out.

Airspace over the tiny principality nestled on the French Riviera will be totally closed, with helicopters and jets monitoring the area. The Monaco coast will be off-limits on Friday, and its two ports closed.

Some 1,200 French riot police have been deployed to ensure the safe passage of dignitaries from the airport in the French Riviera city of Nice to nearby Monaco for the funeral, officials said.

The body of Rainier has been lying in state in the palace chapel since Sunday, and mourners can pay their last respects through Wednesday.

"He was like a member of the family," said Italian resident Silvia Costetti, who came with her 15-year-old son to the chapel.

Monaco has declared a three-month mourning period through July 6 for members of the royal family and household -- half that accorded to Princess Grace -- with one month for civil servants.

Meanwhile, Prince Ernst August of Hanover, the husband of Princess Caroline of Monaco, is recovering from acute inflammation of the pancreas and could soon leave hospital, aides said Wednesday.

"The evolution of his condition is favorable. The prince should leave the hospital soon," a source in his entourage said.

Caroline is one of Rainier and Grace's three children. Their only son, Albert, 47, has succeeded his father as Monaco's ruler.
Garland's 'Wizard' Dress to Be Auctioned

SAN FRANCISCO - "Wizard of Oz" fanatics hoping to own the dress worn by Judy Garland in the iconic film might need to appeal to the "Great and Powerful Oz" for financial support.

The blue and white gingham dress worn by Garland when she played Dorothy Gale in 1939 is on display at Bonhams & Butterfields here, and is set to be auctioned April 26 in London. Bonhams said the dress could fetch from $50,000 to $70,000.

"This dress represents the quintessential magic of childhood in the most beloved film of the 20th century," said Jon Baddeley, group head of Bonhams collector's department. "It has become a cherished memory for millions of fans worldwide and was worn by one of the most talented and respected stars in Hollywood."

The dress was custom made for Garland, who was 17 in 1939. It has a 27-inch waist and Garland's name on an inside hem label.

The dress will also be displayed in Los Angeles in mid-April. The auction house didn't identify the previous owner.

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for "Revolution," and a Mick Jagger jacket are also on display at Bonhams in San Francisco in advance of the auction of rock, pop and film memorabilia.