Famous People with Lupus

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Playboy's Miss July '74

She was blond. She was beautiful. And in the 1970s, Carol Ann Marie Vitale was frequently naked in Playboy magazine.

The August 1972 cover girl and Miss July 1974 -- later a Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie designer and host of a long-running, eponymous cable talk show -- died at her Aventura condo on July 23.

Vitale was 61 and had been suffering from lupus and scleroderma for almost a decade, said Marlie Rosen, her personal assistant.

Still, Vitale was taking it all off for Hugh Hefner as late as 1997. That year, she appeared in a spread called Playmate Revisited: Carol Vitale, shot by Miami Shores photographer Bunny Yeager.

''Young men these days are so hot for older women, and I like men of all ages,'' the then-50-year-old Vitale declared. ``Just treat me like gold, and you'll never be sorry.''

At her last shoot in 1998, for Yeager's Glamour Girls Then and Now magazine, ''She was very much a perfectionist about how she posed and what she wore,'' Yeager said. She brought her own stylist and ''looked just as good'' as her younger self.

Born into a blue-collar, Elizabeth, N.J., Catholic family with seven kids, Vitale studied ballet and worked as a Sears credit investigator.

Married briefly after high school, she was soon the single mother of a daughter, dancing on a local TV show ``in miniskirts and boots, in cages.''

Vitale was still a teen when she came to South Florida with her boyfriend, a hairstylist. She danced, modeled, tended bar, won Miss Gulfstream and made the 1969 Miss Florida-World finals before joining the Miami Playboy Club ''hutch'' at 21.

She sported the ears and fluffy tail for five years and, as she once wrote, ``cherished every moment of it. I worked diligently and considered myself to be a star student. I performed every task that was delegated to me, including running the coat check, counting inventory and working in the Playmate bar, showroom and lounge area.

``Every job was executed with pride. . . . I would also later appear in several of the Best Bunnies of the Year features in Playboy.''

She won Miami Bunny of the Year in 1972, which earned her the magazine cover. She's in a white bikini, encircled by a red, rabbit-shaped swim tube, in a hotel pool.

Though she'd have to wait another two years for the coveted Playmate title, Vitale appeared often in ''What kind of man reads Playboy?'' ads.

Finally a centerfold in '74, she posed in a hammock, wearing only sunglasses. Her vitals at the time: five-foot-six, 115 pounds, 37-22-35.


''She had such a gorgeous body, and she thought it was God's gift,'' said close friend and executor Anna Abers, aka actress Anna Marlowe.

Her layouts ``were always in good taste. In those years, it was art; today it's pornography.''

The exposure, as it were, led Vitale into a life of fast-paced glamour with a mob-connected admirer who bestowed jewelry, furs and a Corvette.

When that ended, she toured with the Ray Coussins Revue, which opened for big-name comics like Henny Youngman, Red Buttons and David Brenner.

In 1978 and '79, Vitale hosted Disco Magic, a Miami-based television series, and dated Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Manny Fernandez.

Then she moved to California, where she got bit parts in minor Hollywood films. But she never sought screen stardom, Abers said.

In 1989, she launched the Carol Vitale Show on public-access cable.

''She loved it,'' Abers said. ''Without preparation or cue cards, she'd be asking the most intelligent questions.'' While mostly featuring celebrities like Tony Curtis, Walter Matthau, Mary Hart and Hefner -- as well as Playmates and Bunnies -- the show also booked businessmen, artists and doctors.

Dedicated to finding a cure for lupus, Vitale raised money for City of Hope, the Los Angeles-area research hospital, and was named the Miami chapter's Woman of the Year in 1995.

In 2000, too sick to continue, she finally pulled the plug on her show. It still airs in syndication nationally.

Her friend also had osteoporosis, Abers said, ``and it devastated her body and her spirit. She was bedridden most of the time and in great pain.''


Emotionally, she couldn't adust, Abers said.

``She couldn't live without having fun.''

Carol Vitale is survived by a daughter, Colleen, of California; father John Vitale and stepmother Connie Vitale of New Jersey; and several step-brothers and step-sisters.

She will be buried Saturday at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Hollywood Hills, near Los Angeles, where she also had a home.

source MiamiHerald.com

Quote from: Adminஐﻬ on July 06, 2008, 03:24:14 pm

Wonderful audio about the Flannerys

Flannery O'Connor
Original name: Mary O'Connor

Birth:   Mar. 25, 1925
Death:   Aug. 3, 1964
Author, Essayist. Savannah, Georgia born, Mary Flannery O’Connor was the daughter of real estate executive, Edward O’Connor and his socialite wife, Regina Cline. She was raised a Catholic in a Protestant world and would later use this experience for her work, “The Catholic Novelist in the Protestant South.” O’Connor’s father died when she was sixteen, and her mother took her back with her to the Cline’s family’s hometown of Milledgeville, Georgia. She lived with her mother and aunts while attending the Georgia State College for Women.

O’Connor remained in Milledgeville until 1945, when she left for the State University of Iowa enrolling in a writer’s program headed by Paul Engle from which she received a Master’s degree. After that she lived for a time in a writer’s colony in upstate New York, New York City, and eventually Ridgefield, Conn after meeting Robert and Sally Fitzgerald who worked in the publishing industry and became life long friends.

 In 1950, she began exhibiting signs of the illness that had killed her father, Lupus. She moved back to Georgia to be with her mother, and they went to live on her family farm, Andulusia. From there, she would complete her first novel, “Wise Blood,” which would be published in 1952. Despite her illness, O’Connor would have a lucrative career in writing. She would write several works between 1950 and her death in 1964, some of which would be published posthumously.

These works would receive several literary prizes and would became part of the canon of classic American Fiction studied today. Despite being stricken with Lupus she remained active up until the end. She traveled the country lecturing and giving readings of her work as well as participating in life in her hometown

Book review: Lupus ended life of creator of so many bizarre characters

Mary Flannery O’Connor gained her first snippet of fame – not even 15 minutes’ worth – at the age of 5, when the Pathe newsreel company sent a camera crew to Savannah to film her pet chicken, which had been taught to walk backward.

As Brad Gooch notes in his biography, “Flannery,” birds would form a motif through the rest of the author’s life. Most famous, of course, were the peacocks, which she raised on her family’s farm, Andalusia, outside Milledgeville, Ga. A stylized peacock would appear on the cover of her posthumous “Complete Stories” when it came out in 1971.

Yet there were other fowl, too. O’Connor also raised chickens and ducks and Andalusia, some of them exotic, as well as swans. As a budding cartoonist at the Georgia State College for Women – like Robert Ruark she started out in art instead of writing – she designed her monogram in the shape of a bird.

Then, of course, there was the whole thing with a backward-walking chicken. O’Connor was, in her time, the authority on the grotesque in literature, her fiction people with peculiar, if not downright bizarre, characters. Of course, as she famously said, Southerners write so much about freaks “because we are still able to recognize one.”

O’Connor died in 1964, short of her 40th birthday, of lupus, the autoimmune disorder that had earlier killed her father. The disease (and the cortisone and related steroids she took to combat it) had weakened her legs and left her on crutches for much of her adult life.

In a short time, though, she accomplished much. Most critics would rank her comfortably alongside Faulkner and Eudora Welty in the Southern pantheon. (According to the Modern Language Association, her two novels and sheaf of stories have been the subject of 195 doctoral dissertations and more than 70 book-length studies, including Robert Coles’ “Flannery O’Connor’s South.”

Writers from Alice Walker to Clyde Edgerton have acknowledged her influence. (Edgerton told interviewers that his novel “The Bible Salesman” was directly inspired by two of O’Connor’s most famous characters, the Misfit from “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” and Manley Pointer, the Bible salesman from “Good Country People.”) Conan O’Brien, of all people, wrote his senior thesis at Harvard on O’Connor. (Another Harvard student, the future actor Tommy Lee Jones, wrote a senior paper on O’Connor, too.)

Given her rising fame, a new, detailed biography is a welcome delight. And while Gooch might not seem the ideal candidate to write it – his previous biographical subject was the gay “New York School” poet Frank O’Hara – he’s done a meticulous, honorable job.

As it happens, O’Hara and O’Connor shared an Irish background and an almost identical lifespan. (O’Hara died in 1966, aged 40.) O’Connor’s status as a minority within a minority – a devout Catholic in the buckle of the Bible belt – left her a double outsider, and outsiders are especially fine at noticing details that everyone else misses.

She was an outsider in other ways as well: shy, bookish, a little over-protected as a girl, and not a classic beauty. Her waspish wit set her apart early. (They probably would have quarreled, but she and Dorothy Parker would have found plenty to talk about.) The first signs of lupus probably manifested themselves while she was a student in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; by her mid-20s, she was already dying.

Disease perhaps cost her the chance at marriage and a family (or for a career as a cloisetered nun, for which she might have had an aptitude), yet it allowed her to focus her mind powerfully. As Gooch, puts it, she spent most of her short life staring down the barrel of the Misfit’s gun.

“Flannery” is no revisionist text. Gooch does little to alter the vision of O’Connor’s life. She almost certainly died a virgin, and may not have been kissed until she was nearly 30. Although one of her closest correspondents was expelled from the WACs in World War II for lesbian behavior, there are no signs O’Connor tended in that direction. As Gooch notes, she was often more open, more willing to reveal secrets, to people she knew only through the mail than to her closest friends.

Gooch is better on tracking down the inspirations for some of O’Connor’s tales; the gorilla suit from “Wise Blood,” for example, may have come from a screening of the movie “Mighty Joe Young.” He makes clear, however, that her imagination filtered and turned bare facts into something rich and strange; the tale of Hulga and the bible salesman, for example, seems based in part on O’Connor’s own chaste romance with a young Danish textbook salesman who occasionally came to call.

In the end, O’Connor said it best: She lived through her stories. Those, at least, seem guaranteed a long and healthy life.

Miami rapper Trick Daddy reveals he has Lupus disease
March 23, 2009

Miami rapper Trick Daddy said today that he has been living for more than a decade with Lupus, a disease in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissues and organs.

Trick, born Maurice Young in Miami, went public with his condition on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show radio program.

Trick, 35, first gained notoriety as a guest voice on a track by another Miamian, Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell. He has carved out a durable solo career telling "thug" tales about urban life in a deep, gruff voice. He records for his newly formed Dunk Ryders label.

He told Smiley that he's got an autobiography coming out and also will be starring in a movie.

Donnie Klang says May is National Lupus Awareness month

Love Doctor Donnie Klang is the only artist from Making the Band to be offered a solo contract with Bad Boy records. He’s about to go on tour with his cohorts Danity Kane and Day26, so it was fitting that he came to Zootopia to introduce the lovely DK ladies.

We caught up with him backstage to find out what Donnie is fighting for.

So what kind of causes have you been involved in?
I mean basically just from when I was younger, in high school was I always involved in health programs like cancer walks, raising money, and lupus walks, my mom has lupus so I’m adamant about that kind of stuff and we had cancer in the family. So just anything that’s for a good cause, especially the one like lupus, because that hits right at home.

This whole fame thing kind of took off in the past year so it’s been crazy like being in the studio and we’re going on tour soon, rehearsing, so like I just used to do the walks and now I’m just starting to get involved, getting out of the studio, we’re able to do stuff.

Would you like to raise awareness about lupus?
Absolutely, I feel like it’s one disease that is under the track. You hear a lot about cancer, you know there’s cancer walks and AIDS benefits, but Lupus is a little more rare.

How would you raise awareness among young people?
To get a cause out there, we have the TV show Making the Band and we’re filming another season, and just to hear about that now like I can mention it on the show, mention if I do a stage stuff, hosting, mention it, if I do hosting if we do a performance, we’re about to go on tour, so there’s a bunch of ways to get it out.


Dilla’s Mom Talks “Jay Stay Paid”
June 1st, 2009

In anticipation of Tuesday’s (June 2nd) release of the 28-track assemblage of unreleased J Dilla tracks Jay Stay Paid [click for album contest], HipHopDX spoke with the mother of the legendary Detroit-based producer (who passed due to complications from Lupus and the rare blood disease TTP in 2006) to explain just how her son’s latest posthumous release came to be rightfully overseen by “Ma Dukes,” and why Raekwon, Busta Rhymes and other artists who loved her son and his work can now get those much sought after Dilla beats hassle-free.

Artists who wanted to use Jay Dee productions prior to now were held up from formally doing so, trapped in legal limbo created by the executors of Dilla’s estate: J’s accountant Arty Erk, and his attorney Micheline Levine. The sad saga of artists being sued for using Dilla beats and profits earned by the estate not trickling down to Dilla’s two daughters and mother was for the first time fully documented for the world to see in the February 2009 issue of VIBE magazine in an article penned by Kelley Louise Carter entitled “Dollars To Donuts” [click here].   

“Oh, it’s in a much better place thanks to the VIBE article,” a very relieved-sounding Maureen Yancey (b.k.a. James “J Dilla” Yancey’s mother, a.k.a. “Ma Dukes”) revealed to DX this weekend regarding the status of her battle with Erk and Levine. “That was a groundbreaking point for us. I think because of the viewer audience for that magazine, it made all the difference in the world.”

While there have been several other press pieces that too made the masses aware of struggles Mrs. Yancey had encountered in dealing with her son’s estate [click to read], Ma Dukes believes previous attempts in interviews and articles to shine a light on the mishandling of Dilla’s estate were unfortunately not widespread enough and thus taken lightly by its executors until the Vibe expose.

“It was [only] a matter of weeks after that [article was published] that things began to turn around,” explained Mrs. Yancey. “I think it just got under the [skin] of those that were in charge and they decided they didn’t want that kind of publicity… The estate, it has different executors now because [Erk and Levine] backed out of it when the fire got a little too hot.”

Jay Dee’s estate is now officially overseen by a California probate attorney working on behalf of Dilla’s family to put the producer’s financial matters (including reported debt to the IRS) and other legal entanglements in order. Ma Dukes believes by the end of ‘09 everything should finally be straightened out, which should lead to Dilla’s daughters (nine-year-old Paige, and seven-year-old Ja’Mya) receiving the long-overdue residuals from the estate their dad intended for them per his 2005 will.

“Oh yes indeed, as soon as things are straightened out,” Mrs. Yancey replied when asked if the new estate executors will see to it that Paige and Ja’Mya are financially taken care of. “I think that they have to untangle whatever web that the old estate had [created]. And they have not been cooperative, as far as sending stuff over like they should have – they could’ve turned stuff over right away. They’ve been dragging [their feet] and taking their time [in] the course of doing things. But eventually they have to answer to the courts… [We’ll] get it [all] straight eventually and the family will be good.”

Now legally possessing the right to use Dilla’s name and likeness (which will allow her to finally launch the long-planned J Dilla Foundation for kids stricken with Lupus), Ma Dukes can also see to it that artists who encountered interference from Erk and Levine when attempting to procure previously unreleased Dilla productions for use on their respective releases no longer run into ridiculous red tape. Mrs. Yancey confirmed to DX that Raekwon is now free and clear to use the track he was given by Dilla prior to his passing for “House of Flying Daggers” (“He called to get my blessing,” she noted), which is slated for inclusion on Rae’s forthcoming Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II.

Unfortunately, one artist as of now it looks like Ma Dukes can’t make wrong right by is Dilla friend and longtime collaborator Busta Rhymes, who was inexplicably sued by the former executors of Jay’s estate for releasing (in conjunction with Mick Boogie) the free 2007 mixtape Dillagence [click to listen], which featured Busta and others rhyming over previously unreleased Dilla tracks.

“That [lawsuit] was not from the family,” Mrs. Yancey quickly clarified. “The family had nothing to do with that. That was Micheline and Arty. And what can I say, the only word that I can think [of] in my own mind is greed that would cause [them to do] something like that. And of course, Busta never took a track from anybody. Busta always took care of his stuff up front. That’s how he rolled with Dilla. They had a very close and very personal relationship.”

Apparently soured over the whole experience, Busta broke a longstanding pledge to always include Dilla productions on his solo releases with his latest offering, Back On My B.S.

“I haven’t talked to [Busta] in some months,” revealed Mrs. Yancey. “It was heartbreaking for me that communication was lost. And it was specifically because of that, because I’m sure that [the old estate executors] made it seem like the family was after him for [money]. And the family had no knowledge of [the lawsuit] until after the fact. And [it] definitely was against the [family’s wishes]. We all love him personally. We all know him personally. And it just really did something to me because he’s looked out for me since Dilla’s passing, as if he was my son. And so it hurt me to no end. I’ve tried to reach him, but I haven’t had a response. And I could certainly understand why, but I don’t stop trying [to reach him]. I always send messages through everybody and anybody that would have contact [with him]. I just keep it out there and send the love regardless.”

While sadly the relationship with Busta has become strained, many artists who worked with and became friends of Dilla have kept their connection to him by keeping in routine contact with his Ma Dukes.

“I just [got] a text from Common this morning,” she noted. “We keep in touch… And [Q-Tip] checks in every once and awhile. Everybody [stays in touch]. My mother’s day is like off the hook [Laughs] - I’m getting texts and voicemails and calls all day…Everybody, they just wanna make sure I’m good and [that] my health is getting better.”
In a twist of tragic irony, the 60-year-old was herself diagnosed with the disease that claimed the life of her son shortly before Dilla passed.

“I’m doing great,” she revealed to DX of her current condition. “I’m doing better. I haven’t had any flare-ups from the Lupus… The only struggle I’ve had with [my treatment] is the steroids. I didn’t realize that you could get addicted to steroids… My doctor’s [weaned] me off. I said, ‘Well I wanna be off these steroids [anyway] because I don’t like this football neck that steroids give you.’ [Laughs]”   

Even with having to ingest up to 18 pills a day, Ma Dukes has maintained her good spirits, motivated to stand strong in the face of her illness so that she can continue working to keep her son’s memory alive.

“That’s what I’m living for now,” she said. “I just got a new lease on life, and I just feel like that’s my purpose now.”

The first step in executing that purpose as the new de facto executor of her son’s estate is seeing to it that her son’s music continues to reach the ears of adoring fans. And after having to endure countless difficulties in negotiating with the old estate executors, Nature Sounds is finally able to release Jay Stay Paid to the world. 

“This was something that was done when Dilla was still alive,” Mrs. Yancey explained of her son’s latest posthumous collection. “This is part of… This is like remnants of the Jay Love Japan stuff - all that was like part of the same project. Jay Love Japan never did do like it was supposed to because of the interference from the estate.”

Unsure as of the moment if more unearthed Dilla material will be released in the future via Nature Sounds, or via any other label, including MCA/Geffen, who are rumored to still be in possession of unreleased Dilla tracks for Jay’s onetime planned solo album for the label (“I don’t know the status of [that],” Mrs. Yancey clarified), Ma Dukes is currently completely focused on seeing to it that fans of her son’s work are as excited about Jay Stay Paid as she is, as she noted to DX, “I’m just geeked about it myself [Laughs]. I’m just happy, ‘cause to me it’s a tribute from the heart. It’s a gift back to Dilla by it being [mixed and musically supervised] by Pete [Rock], who meant so much to Dilla. That was Dilla’s idol. And [Pete] always felt that same way [about Dilla]. So to me, it’s like a gift back to Dilla by Pete working on this project and putting his heart into it. It’s just like a thank you back to Dilla, giving some of his stuff back to him. That’s what I’m feeling [it is]. It’s a heartfelt thing. I enjoy the music, but it’s so much more than that for me.”


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