Kaye Ballard, boisterous singer and actress, dies at 93
By LYNN ELBER
AP Television Writer
Tuesday, January 22
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kaye Ballard, the boisterous comedian and singer who appeared in Broadway musicals and nightclubs from New York to Las Vegas and starred with Eve Arden in the 1960s TV sitcom “The Mothers-In-Law,” has died. She was 93.
Ballard died Monday night at her home in Rancho Mirage, California, after a fight with kidney cancer, her friend Marguerite Gordon said Tuesday.
“The Mothers-In-Law,” in which Ballard starred with Arden (of the 1950s sitcom “Our Miss Brooks”), aired from 1967 to 1969. It marked a high point in a career that began when Ballard was 12 and lasted into the 21st century.
She was on hand last week when a documentary on her life and career premiered at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
“She was so excited to be able to tell her story,” said Dan Wingate, the film’s director. “She was really anxious for young people, especially, who are going into the arts to understand the full breadth of a life in the arts, the ups and downs.”
The audience’s response was gratifying for her, “to hear that applause and feel that love,” Wingate said, and she was thrilled when the documentary was singled out for festival honors.
“The Mothers-In-Law” was set in a Los Angeles suburb and featured its stars as women who become thorns in their married children’s lives, with comedic results influenced by the screwball style of “I Love Lucy.”
Desi Arnaz, who starred with wife Lucille Ball in that classic sitcom, produced and directed 24 episodes of the Ballard-Arden show. The “I Love Lucy” team of Bob Carroll Jr. and Madelyn Pugh Davis were the show’s creators and lead writers.
Ballard made a mark in every form of show business except movies. She did appear as a secondary player in a few films, including 1958’s “The Girl Most Likely” starring Jane Powell and in 1964’s “A House Is Not a Home,” but her high-octane personality may have been too potent for the big screen of that era and its more restrictive portrayals of women.
Movie stardom was her first dream, as it was for others of her generation, filmmaker Wingate said, and he wanted the documentary to be seen on the big screen to help fulfill that goal.
But even falling short of a big film career, “she was able to reach and endear herself to so many people,” he said.
Ballard’s first real break came when she was singing in a Detroit nightclub, The Bowery. Comedy bandleader Spike Jones dropped in one night and quickly drafted the exuberant young singer into his musical contingent. For two years she toured with Jones’ troupe, singing, playing the flute and tuba and engaging in the band’s antics. She also sang with the bands of Vaughn Monroe and Stan Kenton.
In 1945 she moved to New York and sought work in theater, appearing on Broadway in a small part in the revue “Three to Make Ready.” She toured in summer stock and finally made a dent in New York as a madcap Helen of Troy in 1954’s “The Golden Apple,” drawing applause with her song “Lazy Afternoon.” One critic called her performance “a wonder of insinuation.”
She also won critical praise for her role as “The Incomparable Rosalie,” the magician’s assistant and mistress in 1961’s “Carnival!,” a musicalized version of the movie “Lili.” She sang “Always, Always You” while stretched out in a box the jealous magician was piercing with swords.
Ballard began working on TV in the early 1950s, becoming an in-demand performer on network variety programs including “The Mel Torme Show” and those of Ed Sullivan and Perry Como. She also became a favorite of talk show hosts, making repeat appearances with Jack Paar, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson.
She was a regular on “The Doris Day Show” in the 1970s and the 1990s TV series “Due South.”
Her nightclub act played in first-class venues including the Blue Angel in New York, Mr. Kelly’s in Chicago, the Flamingo in Las Vegas and the hungry i in San Francisco.
She was born Catherine Gloria Ballota to Italian immigrant parents in Cleveland, Ohio, on Nov. 20, 1925, according to her 2006 memoir “How I Lost 10 Pounds in 53 Years.” (She noted she had always said she was born in 1926.)
She changed her name to Kaye Ballard when she entered show business. On the advice of a numerologist she switched to Kay in midcareer.
“He said my luck would change if I dropped the ‘e’,” she told a reporter in 1983. “It did. It went steadily downward.”
She eventually returned to being Kaye.
Determined to become an actress, she would not be discouraged by a high school teacher who rejected her for a drama class, concluding she “wasn’t pretty enough,” nor her parents, who didn’t understand the business.
She sang at service clubs and appeared at a “Stage Door Canteen” in Cleveland. After graduating from high school she worked at a burlesque theater, not as a stripper but as straight woman in comedy sketches. She went on the road with her act of songs, comedy and impressions of famous stars and in Detroit made the fortuitous connection with Jones.
In the early 2000s, Ballard toured with other stars in a musical comedy “Nunsense” and joined the touring company of the Broadway hit “The Full Monty” as piano player for six men who stripped to make money with a musical show.
Ballard was engaged four times but never married.
“I didn’t want to,” she told The Associated Press in 1999. “I could have, many times. But I just wanted a career too much. I was smart enough to know, if you get married and have children, that’s it. Being Italian and raised as a Catholic, I took children seriously. Maybe I made a mistake. Who knows?”
She purchased her Southern California desert home from Arnaz in the early 1940s.
“It’s a stone’s throw from Gerald Ford,” she said of her presidential neighbor in a 1981 interview. “When he moved in, he upped my property value. It made me think of becoming a Republican.”
A non-starter was ever leaving show business, even as the years passed.
“I’m not going to retire. I don’t believe in retiring,” she told the AP in 2001. “I do take more time off now to enjoy life and my three dogs and house. But if something wonderful comes up, I’m ready.”
AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton and the late AP Entertainment Writer Bob Thomas contributed to this report.
‘CONGRESS, THE WHITE HOUSE, AND BUSINESS’
Airline Leader, Former White House Congressional Liaison, Ohio Wesleyan Alumnus Nicholas E. Calio to Speak Feb. 6 on Campus
DELAWARE, Ohio –Nicholas E. Calio, president and chief executive officer of Airlines for America, will discuss “A Perspective: Congress, the White House, and Business. Bipartisanship in Partisan Politics” at 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Ohio Wesleyan University.
Calio, a 1975 Ohio Wesleyan graduate, will speak in Room 301 of Merrick Hall, 65 S. Sandusky St., Delaware. His free presentation represents Ohio Wesleyan’s 2019 Benjamin F. Marsh Lecture Series on Public Affairs.
Calio has led Washington, D.C.-based Airlines for America (A4A), the trade association for the country’s leading passenger and cargo airlines, since 2011. A4A advocates for America’s airlines as models of safety, customer service, and environmental responsibility, and the indispensable network that drives nearly $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 11 million jobs. Known for his ability to build consensus, Calio has focused the association on working with airlines, manufacturers, labor unions, and the government to promote a healthy industry.
Prior to joining A4A, Calio served as Citigroup’s executive vice president for global government affairs and a member of its senior leadership committee, responsible for relationships with governments globally.
Before Citigroup, Calio served President George W. Bush as assistant to the president for legislative affairs. As the president’s principal liaison to Congress, Calio worked closely with the leadership and members of Congress, and had primary responsibility for formulating and implementing White House strategy on all legislative issues. He held the same position during the administration of President George H.W. Bush. In these positions, Calio established a reputation for working with both Republicans and Democrats.
In between the Bush administrations, he co-founded O’Brien-Calio, a law and lobbying firm rated by a Fortune Magazine survey as “one of the 10 most powerful” in Washington.
At Ohio Wesleyan, Calio majored in English and served as president of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. After earning his OWU bachelor’s degree, he went on to earn his law degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland. He is married to Lydia Keller Calio, OWU Class of 1977.
Calio has remained connected to Ohio Wesleyan since his graduation and today serves as vice chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees.
Ohio Wesleyan’s Marsh Lecture series, begun in 2001, is coordinated by Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Politics and Government and the Arneson Institute for Practical Politics and Public Affairs. During his lifetime, Marsh, a 1950 OWU graduate and attorney, held numerous political posts at local, state, and national levels, and served as registration supervisor and adjudicator for the U.S. Department of State to the Organization and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and as an election supervisor in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Learn more at www.owu.edu/politics.
Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.
The CSO’s Concerts for Kids Brings “Fairytales & Dragons” to the Ohio Theatre February 24
As part of the CSO’s Concerts for Kids series, Assistant Conductor Andrés Lopera will lead the Columbus Symphony in “Fairytales & Dragons,” a special one-hour concert for kids aged 2-10. The concert will include themes from popular fairytales such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Frozen, and more. Families are invited to come dressed as their fairytale characters.
Pre-concert activities will begin at 2pm in the Ohio Theatre lobby, and will include:
Instruments to see and play from the Loft Violin Shop and Music & Arts
Crafting with the Columbus Museum of Art
Conducting lessons with the CSO’s principal cellist Luis Biava
Musical fun with WeJoySing
Temporary musical tattoos
Meet the CSO’s mascot Bee-thoven and Mr. Sunny from Sunny 95!
The Columbus Symphony’s Concerts for Kids presents “Fairytales & Dragons” at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.) on Sunday, February 24, at 3pm. Recommended for ages 2-10, the concert will last approximately one hour. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $8.50 for children, and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.columbussymphony.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000.
The Columbus Symphony’s Concerts for Kids presents FAIRYTALES & DRAGONS
Sunday, February 24, 3pm
Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.)
As part of the CSO’s Concerts for Kids series, Assistant Conductor Andrés Lopera will lead the Columbus Symphony in “Fairytales & Dragons,” a special one-hour concert for kids aged 2-10. The concert will include themes from popular fairytales such as Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Frozen, and more. Families are invited to come dressed as their fairytale characters. Tickets are $12.50 for adults and $8.50 for children, and can be purchased in-person at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), online at www.columbussymphony.com, or by phone at (614) 469-0939 or (800) 745-3000. www.columbussymphony.com
The 2018-19 season is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. The CSO also appreciates the support of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, supporting the city’s artists and arts organizations since 1973, and the Kenneth L. Coe and Jack Barrow, and Mr. and Mrs. Derrol R. Johnson funds of The Columbus Foundation, assisting donors and others in strengthening our community for the benefit of all its citizens.
About the Columbus Symphony Orchestra
Founded in 1951, the Columbus Symphony is the only full-time, professional symphony in central Ohio. Through an array of innovative artistic, educational, and community outreach programming, the Columbus Symphony is reaching an expanding, more diverse audience each year. This season, the Columbus Symphony will share classical music with more than 200,000 people in central Ohio through concerts, radio broadcasts, and special programming. For more information, visit www.columbussymphony.com.
US 36 Lane Closure Postponed until Next Week
Due to weather, the scheduled culvert repair on US 36, east of Brush Run Road, will be postponed until next week.
Signalized lane closure
New start date: Monday, January 28, weather permitting
Estimated completion: Friday, February 8, weather permitting
Russell Baker, author and NY Times columnist is dead at 93
Wednesday, January 23
LEESBURG, Va. (AP) — Russell Baker, the genial, but sharp-witted writer who won Pulitzer Prizes for his humorous columns in The New York Times and a moving autobiography of his impoverished Baltimore childhood and later hosted television’s “Masterpiece Theatre,” has died. He was 93.
Allen Baker told The Associated Press that his father died on Monday from complications after a fall.
In his later years, Baker lived in Leesburg, Virginia, not far from the rural Loudoun County community where he was born. His family later moved to New Jersey and Baltimore.
Amiable and approachable, but also clear-eyed and street smart, Baker enjoyed a decades-long career as reporter, columnist, critic and on-air personality. He won Pulitzers in 1979 for the “Observer,” the Times column he wrote for 35 years, and in 1983 for his autobiography “Growing Up.”
The Great Depression and World War II shaped Baker’s early life. He began his career as a reporter in 1947 and rose to become a national New York Times reporter in Washington, D.C., in 1954.
He covered Congress, the military and State Department during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations before tiring, he would recall, of waiting for politicians to come out of meeting rooms and lie to him. He drew upon those experiences for his column, writing as a curious and wide-eyed outsider who could leave an adversary buried under the weight of common sense.
“On television we see President Reagan in a cave. It is the Mammoth Cave, one of America’s great caves. The TV news reader says the President has come there to create ‘a photo opportunity.’ Here is President Reagan on television again. He is looking at a bald eagle. The President and the eagle are in the same room enjoying ‘a photo opportunity,’ according to the TV news voice,” Baker wrote in 1984.
“His environmental policy has been characterized by a reluctance to do anything that would create difficulty for the business community. It is entirely possible to defend this position with persuasive argument. The President of the cave and the eagle, however, is not defending a sensibly thought-out policy; he is being used to deceive us into thinking that he is what he, in fact, is not.”
Baker didn’t ask to be called a humorist. During a 1994 speech in Hartford, Connecticut, he said his goal for the “Observer” was to render the federal government, politics and diplomacy accessible through plain, easy-to-read language. It was to be more widely appealing than the “High-Church, polysyllabic” writing common in The New York Times.
“Well, as I soon discovered, in those days if you wrote short sentences and plain English in the Times, everybody naturally assumed you were being funny,” he said in the speech.
Baker’s targets included his own profession. “Those who expected me to have something to say had obviously never heard the classic definition of a newspaper man: ‘A man with nothing on his mind and the power to express it,’” he said during the Hartford speech.
He wrote a second autobiography, “The Good Times,” to follow “Growing Up.” The first focused on his childhood, the second on his early journalistic career. Baker would eventually write, edit or contribute to more than 15 other books, collections and assorted works — including a musical play and children’s book.
Baker was born in 1925 to stonemason Benjamin Baker and schoolteacher Lucy Elizabeth Baker. He married Miriam Emily Nash in 1950 and had three children: Kathleen, Allen and Michael.
Benjamin Baker died of untreated diabetes when his son was 5. Lucy Baker struggled through the Great Depression as a single mother living in Baltimore.
Russell Baker remembered his mother as a key influence driving him to succeed.
“She would make me make something of myself whether I wanted to or not,” he wrote in “Growing Up.”
Baker served in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1945 and was trained as a pilot during World War II. He graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 1947 and began his journalism career that year as a police reporter with The Baltimore Sun. He became the newspaper’s London bureau chief in 1953.
Baker took over as “Masterpiece Theatre’s” host in 1993, succeeding Alistair Cooke, and remained until 2004. Baker’s on-air commentary for public television focused on providing critical perspectives on featured works along with historical context. He also provided insights into the original authors’ approaches and detailed liberties taken to adapt the literature for television.
He wrote long-form reviews and other articles for The New York Review of Books during his years following the Times. He told a reporter for the Times Union, located in Albany, New York, in 2002 that the assignments were more rewarding during his retirement than the “hyped-up” work of column writing, when “you’re sweating it out worrying if they’ll read past the second paragraph.”
His final column ran on Christmas Day, 1998. An Associated Press story at the time described it as a quiet adieu.
“He apologized for talking about himself,” the story read, “remembered warmly a pope, a couple of presidents and his Uncle Allen, and concluded he had said enough for the time being.”