Irish character actor, Milo O'Shea, has died

Milo O'Shea, an Irish character actor known for his bushy eyebrows and lovely brogue, has died.

Best known in this country for his roles in the campy science fiction film, Barbarella (1968), starring Jane Fonda and the 1982 courtroom thriller, The Verdict, starring Paul Newman, he also enjoyed considerable success in TV. His large body of work included appearances in The Golden Girl, Cheers, Frasier, and in the fifth season of The West Wing, as Chief Justice Roy Ashland.

He also did some stage work, notably performing in Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys.

Mr. O'Shea, who was 86, died yesterday in Manhattan.

William Ginsburg, high profile attorney, has died

William Ginsburg, a successful medical malpractice lawyer who had some high profile cases before he shot to the top of the celeb attorney list when he was tapped by Monica Lewinsky's physician father, to represent her in THE political scandal of 1998, died in California on Monday.

Ginsburg won cases for Liberace's doctor who was accused of hiding the performer's cause of death (AIDS) and for the heart doctor who gave the go-ahead for basketball player Hank Gathers,23, to play just days before the Loyola Marymount University star athlete died on the court of a known heart condition. Those wins paled in comparison to the notoriety surrounding his representation of Monica Lewinsky, the White House intern who was caught having a consensual affair with then-President Bill Clinton.

No detail was too salacious for gossip-hungry Americans, fed juicy tidbits by a cooperative fourth estate who covered Solicitor General Ken Starr's determination to try Ms. Lewinsky who escaped prosecution but did appear before a grand jury. President Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives for perjury and obstruction of justice and later was acquitted by the Senate in February 1999.

Mr. Ginsburg, who was 70, lost his battle with cancer.

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, award-winning screenwriter and novelist, has died

Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Oscar-winning screenwriter and much-honored novelist, died today in Manhattan.

Ms. Jhabvala was born in Germany to Jewish parents who fled to England in 1939. In 1951, Ms. Jhabvala married an Indian architect. They lived in New Delhi for a quarter of century, an experience which informed much of her examination of the privileged lifestyle of the British upperclass in India.

In the early 1960s, she was discovered by filmdom's producer/director power team, Ismail Merchant and James Ivory. They had read her 1963 novel, Householder (on order) and asked her to write the screenplay for the film (on order) by the same name which was released later that year.

Thus began a long successful partnership. The Merchant/Ivory/Jhabvala 22-film collaboration resulted in two Oscars for Ms. Jhabvala -- A Room with a View (1986) and Howards End (1993).

Ms. Jhabvala was also feted with many literary awards, as well. In 1975, she won the then-called Booker McConnell Prize for Fiction (now known as the Man Booker Prize) for Heat and Dust. In 1984, she was tapped for one of the much-coveted MacArthur Foundation fellowships.

Ms. Jhabvala's last novel, My Nine Lives was published in 2004. Her final book, a collection of short stories, A Lovesong for India came out two years ago. Her very last piece of published writing appeared in the March 25, 2013 edition of The New Yorker. It is a short story called The Judge's Will.

Ms. Jhabvala, who was85, died of an unspecified pulmonary ailment.

Ann Arbor ranks in the top 10 of Well-Being Cities study

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index conducted a survey between January 2 and December 29 of last year. In the list of Top 10 Metro Areas with Best Overall Well-Being, Ann Arbor was number 8.

And it gets even better. When residents were asked questions about six categories -- Life evaluation, Emotional Health, Work Environment, Physical Health, Healthy Behaviors, and Access to Basic Necessities -- Ann Arbor was #1 (just as it was in 2011) in Life Evaluation (a category that asked participants if they felt they were thriving, struggling, or suffering. Ann Arbor showed improvement over 2011 in their ranking in Basic Access (in 2011, AA was #7; last year, AA was #5).

Ann Arbor lost ground in Emotional Health (in 2011, the score was 13; last year, that number plummeted to 77). There was a dip in perceived Physical Health (2011=12; 2012=21) and Healthy Behavior (2011=36; 2012=54). Area employers may want to pay attention to the change in Ann Arbor's Work Environment score (2011=64; 2012=100).

Two other Michigan cities got good news in this survey.Holland and Grand Haven scored the highest in the Basic Access category.

The complete report can be found here.

A Movie in the Making - Divergent

Veronica Roth says, "Okay, so you may have seen/heard rumors of this already, so it's not exactly new news, but it is Officially Official, which means that I can tell you my thoughts. KATE WINSLET has been cast as Jeanine Matthews! What can I say? When I found out, I was floored. I grew up watching Kate Winslet in movies, whether it was Titanic or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind or The Reader, and she is an incredible actress, and I am sure that she will be extraordinary as Jeanine. I'm excited to see the complexity and depth she'll bring to the role."

The film is now in pre-production, and will be coming to theaters sometime in 2014. But you can read the book and it's sequel, Insurgent, now. Roth is in the process of writing the as-yet-untitled third book in the series, which will be published October 22, 2013.

Ann Arbor Observer: Meet Jacqui Robbins

The March issue of the Ann Arbor Observer has a particularly good article about Jacqui Robbins, who is a writer, director and teacher in Ann Arbor. This article profiles Robbins, author of the children's books The New Girl. . . .And Me, and Two of a Kind. She also has a piece in the new book Dare to Dream - Change the World, a poetry collection inspired by coverage of the 2011 uprising in Egypt. Around Ann Arbor, Robbins is active in many community organizations including 826 Michigan, where she is president of the board.

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Ed "Hizzoner" Koch, former mayor of New York City, has died

Ed Koch, whose highest-profile job as three-term mayor of New York City made him a national figure, died early this morning at New York-Presbyterian Columbia Hospital.

After serving in the Army during WW II, Koch began his political career in 1952 campaigning for Adlai Stevenson who lost the run for president to Dwight Eisenhower. Koch was elected five times to the U.S. House of Representatives, beginning in 1969. During his fifth term, he ran for Mayor of New York City, beating in the primary such Democratic heavyweights as Bella Abzug, Mario Cuomo, and Abe Beame, New York City's first Jewish Mayor (1974-1978). Koch won his first of three mayoral terms in the 1977 general election against three opponents.

Koch's first two terms as mayor were very successful. His feisty personality, blunt talk, and political savvy brought NYC out of bankruptcy and made great strides in cleaning up the City, adding 200,000 housing units and drastically reducing the number of abandoned buildings. The start of his third term was marred by a stunning number of scandals involving key City leaders and the tanking of the stock market in 1987.

After his career as Mayor, Koch immediately launched himself into a dozen new directions. He wrote 17 books, including his 2000 I'm Not Done Yet: Keeping at It, Remaining Relevant, and Having the Time of My Life. He was a popular talk radio show contributor, a TV and silver screen actor (The Muppets Take Manhattan (2011) and The First Wives Club (1998)), a columnist and critic (film and restaurant) for several print venues, and lecturer.

Due to his failing health, he missed the Tuesday night premiere of Neil Barsky's documentary, Koch.

Mr. Koch, who died of congestive heart failure, was 88.

Rose Martin, champion of Ann Arbor's low income citizens, has died

Rose Martin, co-founder and director of Ann Arbor's Peace Neighborhood Center, died yesterday.

PNC was established in 1971 to provide a safe environment for residents of the diverse West Side to get together to solve problems. Co-operation between Peace Lutheran, Trinity Lutheran, and Zion Lutheran Churches made possible the Center at 1111 North Maple Road. Five years later, Ms. Martin became its Executive Director, a position she held for 30 years. Over the years she expanded its services to include working to end violence and drug abuse through educational and economic initiatives.

In 2001, Ann Arbor's Nonprofit Enterprise at Work awarded PNC its Prize for Excellence in Nonprofit Management.

A year later, Ms. Martin published her autobiography, One Rose Blooming: Hard-Earned Lessons about Kids, Race, and Life in America. Former Ann Arbor Mayor Ingrid Sheldon wrote of this book: "It grabbed my heart and forced me to evaluate myself. A fantastic book from a visionary community leader."

When she retired, Ms. Martin went right back to work. She opened Rose's Good Company whose clientele, according to RGC's mission statement is to "...serve individuals and families who have lost hope." The organization's focus is on the unemployed, the homeless, dependent children, ex-convicts and recovering addicts.

Ms. Martin, who was 70, died at a local restaurant of cardiac arrest.

Stan "The Man" Musial, baseball's gentleman player, has died

Stan Musial, the low key, brilliant batter for the St. Louis Cardinals for 22 years, died January 19th.

Musial's career was not just about the numbers -- 475 homes runs, seven batting championships, 3630 hits (half on the road, half at home). It was also about his character as a calm, decent, fair, and polite professional. He loved the game, purely and simply, both the mechanics of his performance and the team player cooperation that made for success on the field.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969, his very first year of eligibility. In 2011, President Obama bestowed on Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S.'s highest civilian award,

Baseball historian/author George Vecsey's biography of Musial, Stan Musial: An American Life was published in 2011.

At his last game against the Cincinnati Reds on September 29, 1963 at the Cards' Busch Stadium, baseball's Commissioner Ford Frick, honored Musial with a tribute so apt, it is immortalized on one of the two Stan Musial statues at the stadium: "Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight."

Stan Musial was 92.

Pauline Phillips, a.k.a. beloved advice columnist Dear Abby, has died

Pauline Phillips who, for decades, enchanted readers with her snappy advice-column answers under the moniker Dear Abby, died yesterday in Minneapolis, MN.

Ms. Phillips began her advice-giving career by helping her identical twin sister, Esther (Eppie) who had launched her own popular newspaper advice column in 1955 for The Chicago Sun-Times. Eppie, whose professional name was Ann Landers, was swamped with instant popularity so Pauline started helping out. When the latter saw how well-received her signature witty answers were, she launched her own syndicated column in The San Francisco Chronicle the following year.

Reader demand for the sisters' advice columns eventually created a rift between the two writers which caused a five-year estrangement followed by reconciliation in the 1960s.

Abby liked to claim that she was more popular than Ann Landers because the latter never mastered the art of the short zinger. In response to this question to Abby -- "Are birth control pill deductible?" -- she answered, "Only if they don't work."

Ms. Phillips' daughter, Jeanne Phillips, began helping her mother with her column in the late 1980s. By 2000, with Abby's health failing, Jeanne officially took on the column.

Pauline Phillips, who suffered from Alzheimer's for many years, was 94.

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