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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bette Davis


Illness, conflict and death
Davis's final completed role in The Whales of August (1987) brought her acclaim during a period in which she was beset with failing health and personal trauma.
Davis's final completed role in The Whales of August (1987) brought her acclaim during a period in which she was beset with failing health and personal trauma.

In 1983, after filming the pilot episode for the television series Hotel, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a mastectomy. Within two weeks of her surgery she suffered four strokes which caused paralysis in the right side of her face and in her left arm, and left her with slurred speech. She commenced a lengthy period of physical therapy and, aided by her personal assistant, Kathryn Sermak, gained partial recovery from the paralysis.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Grace Kelly


On September 13, 1982, while driving with her daughter St├ęphanie to Monaco from their country home, Princess Grace suffered a stroke, which caused her to drive her Rover P6[15] off the serpentine road down a mountainside. Princess Grace was pulled alive from the wreckage, but had suffered serious injuries and was unconscious. She died the following day at The Princess Grace Hospital Centre, having never regained consciousness. It was initially reported that Princess St├ęphanie suffered only minor bruising, although it later emerged that she had suffered a serious cervical fracture.[16] It was rumored that Princess Grace had been driving on the same stretch of highway that had been featured in her 1955 movie To Catch a Thief; but, her son has always denied it.[17]

Princess Grace was buried in the Grimaldi family vault on September 18, 1982, after a requiem mass in Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Monaco.[18] Prince Rainier, who did not remarry after Kelly's death, was buried alongside her following his death in 2005. The 400 guests at the service included representatives of foreign governments and of present and past European royal houses (Diana, Princess of Wales was the only member of the British royal family to attend), as well as several veteran US film stars. Nearly 100 million people worldwide watched her funeral.[19]

In his eulogy, James Stewart said: "You know, I just love Grace Kelly. Not because she was a princess, not because she was an actress, not because she was my friend, but because she was just about the nicest lady I ever met. Grace brought into my life as she brought into yours, a soft, warm light every time I saw her, and every time I saw her was a holiday of its own. No question, I'll miss her, we'll all miss her, God bless you, Princess Grace."

[edit] Legacy

Friday, September 19, 2008

Kim Jong-il


On 9 September 2008, various sources reported that after he did not show up that day for a military parade celebrating North Korea's 60th anniversary, US intelligence agencies believed Kim might be "gravely ill" after having suffered a stroke. He had last been seen in public a month earlier.[44][45] A former CIA official said earlier reports of a health crisis were likely to be accurate. North Korean media remained silent on the issue. An Associated Press report said analysts believed Kim had been supporting moderates in the foreign ministry, while North Korea's powerful military was against negotiations with China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States aimed towards ridding North Korea of nuclear weapons. Some US officials noted that soon after rumours about Kim's health were publicized a month before, North Korea had taken a "tougher line in nuclear negotiations." In late August North Korea's official news agency reported the government would "consider soon a step to restore the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon to their original state as strongly requested by its relevant institutions." Analysts said this meant "the military may have taken the upper hand and that Kim might no longer be wielding absolute authority."[46]

By 10 September there were conflicting reports. Unidentified South Korean government officials said Kim had undergone surgery after suffering a minor stroke and had apparently "intended to attend the 9 September event in the afternoon but decided not to because of the aftermath of the surgery." High ranking North Korean official Kim Yong-nam said, "While we wanted to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the country with General Secretary Kim Jong-Il, we celebrated on our own." Song Il-Ho, North Korea's ambassador said, "We see such reports as not only worthless, but rather as a conspiracy plot." Seoul's Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that "the South Korean embassy in Beijing had received an intelligence report that Kim collapsed on 22 August."[47] The New York Times reported Kim was "very ill and most likely suffered a stroke a few weeks ago, but U.S. intelligence authorities do not think his death is imminent."[48] The BBC noted that the North Korean government denied these reports, stating that Kim's health problems were "not serious enough to threaten his life,"[49][50] although they did confirm that he had suffered from a stroke on 15 August.[51]

Japan's Kyodo news agency reported on September 14 that "Kim collapsed on August 14 due to stroke or a cerebral hemorrhage, and that Beijing dispatched 5 military doctors at the request of Pyongyang. Kim will require a long period of rest and rehabilitation before he fully recovers and has complete command of his limbs again, as with typical stroke victims." Japan's Mainichi Shimbun daily said Kim occasionally lost consciousness since April.[52] Japan's Tokyo Shimbun on September 15 added that Kim has consciousness "but he needs some time to recuperate from the recent stroke, with some parts of his hands and feet paralyzed. The U.S. move is one cause for the stroke. Chairman Kim is now staying at the Bongwha State Guest House on the outskirts of Pyongyang."[53]