Now Streaming: Lucille Ball, Joan Collins and More
The Dean Martin celebrity roasts were legendary, and our Broadway Babe has unearthed the 1975 roast on NBC of Lucille Ball. There’s a beautiful 1999 tribute to Nancy Lamont, one of the greatest performers of her generation who tragically died at 43. You’ll love the 1972 TV production “Of Thee I Sing” with Carroll O’Connor, Cloris Leachman, Jack Gifford, Michele Lee, and Jim Backus. And then there’s a great Piers Morgan interview with 88-year-old Dame Joan Collins.
The Dean Martin Roast of Lucille Ball
A star studded event when stars were really stars…. The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts… honoring Lucille Ball which aired on NBC in 1975.. Dean Martin served as Roastmaster (these roasts were nowhere near as outrageous as the x-rated Friars Roasts)… the dais included Henry Fonda, Milton Berle, Jack Benny,Don Rickles, Rowan and Martin, Ginger Rogers, Totie Fields, Rich Little, Vivian Vance, Nipsey Russell and Phyllis Diller.
These Roasts that Dean Martin hosted evolved from his variety series… This series started in 1975 and continued until 1984. I doubt if the Friars Club got any royalties! However, most of the roasters were esteemed Friars, most notably Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Phyllis Diller and Nipsey Russell.
Sidebar: Comedian Nipsey Russell was one of the most delightful people and he would show up every year at the NY Friars Club annual meeting…Dean Freddie Roman would (in essence) roast Nipsey with some of the most inappropriate (by today’s standards) “schtick”… as Nipsey heckled him! Nipsey took this racist humor as good fun. This occurred in the uncensored ‘olden days’ … the 1990’s!
Sidebar, too: This was the last public appearance of Jack Benny, as this show aired six weeks after he died of stomach cancer.
The Nancy LaMott Story
The Nancy LaMott Story aired on PBS in 1999, and is a tribute to the great cabaret singer who tragically passed away in 1995 at 43…. Nancy was one of the greatest performers of her generation…an extraordinary singer who was beloved by all who experienced her one of a kind talent
Watching this show gave me gooseflesh and tears, and I suspect my sister Tomatoes will have the same reaction. Nancy was famous for David Friedman’s songs, “Listen to My Heart” and “Help Is On The Way”. Some of her colleagues doing commentary include: Michael Feinstein, Margaret Whiting, Kathy Lee Gifford, as well as other friends and colleagues in the cabaret world. A must view for cabaret aficionados.
“Of Thee I Sing”, CBS-TV 1972
A trip down memory lane! CBS-TV presented the Pulitzer Prize winning musical “Of Thee I Sing” by George and Ira Gershwin, and book by George S. Kaufman, which starred Carroll O’Connor, Cloris Leachman, Jack Gifford, Michele Lee, and Jim Backus. It aired in October, 1972.. It has a political theme concerning the presidential candidacy of John P. Wintergreen, and aired right before the presidential election. Richard Nixon won that year!
Sidebar: I’ve met Michele Lee over the years…when I was a young girl, she was one of my idols. I absolutely loved her voice and I wanted to be her. I sang all the songs she sang in “Bravo Giovanni”, a musical I loved, a Broadway flop and actually still sing those songs..Michele is a delightful and ageless Tomato.. Sidebar, too: one of her ex-fiances was a plastic surgeon…That’s all I have to say…(meow, meow)
Dame Joan Collins
Piers Morgan’s Life Stories —Dame Joan Collins..I couldn’t resist posting this, as I was totally mesmerized by Dame Joan Collins celebrating 70 years of stardom, being interviewed by her fan and friend, Piers Morgan. Still gorgeous at 88, with the best attitude, and a happy 19 year marriage to a man who’s 30 years younger and adores her. There is nothing like this amazing dame! A must-see for Tomatoes.