Today is Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Oscar-winner Cagney was a fine Dandy

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Dear Ken: I loved Jimmy Cagney in the musical “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” Please tell us a little bit about the actor-dancer.

Cagney, who was born in New York City in 1889, died in 1986 at the age of 86 after a heart attack. He was nominated three times for an Oscar and won for his role as George M. Cohan in “Yankee Doodle Dandy” in 1942.

Famed for his tough guy roles, the actor stood a bit over 5-and-a-half-feet tall and made a little more than 60 films between 1930 and 1981. Among his best were “The Public Enemy,” “Angels With Dirty Faces,” “Each Dawn I Die,” “White Heat,” “Love Me or Leave Me,” “Mister Roberts” and “The Seven Little Foys.”

Dear Ken: Whatever happened to singer Vikki Carr?

Born Florencia Bisenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona in El Paso, Texas, Carr is 67. Her hit tunes include “He’s a Rebel,” “It Must Be Him” and “With Pen in Hand,” but she has won three Grammy awards for her Latin music recordings.

Carr has made more than 40 albums and she continues to perform today. Her song “It Must Be Him” is featured in the soundtrack of the Cher film “Moonstruck.” 

Dear Ken: What are the ages and birthplaces of late-night TV hosts Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien? None come close to the late, great Johnny Carson.

 Leno is 59 and was born in New Rochelle, N.Y.

Letterman, 62, was born in Indianapolis.

O’Brien, 46, was born in Boston.

And speaking of funny fools, all three were born in April.  

Dear Ken: Who is that guy in the ShamWow! commercials?

His name is Vince Shlomi, but he is also known as Vince Offer. Born in Israel, the writer, actor and comedian is 45. The fellow who once sold kitchen utensils at flea markets began pitching a new product, the Slap Chop, on TV in late 2008.

The pitchman was in the news in March after an altercation with a Miami hooker.

If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck via where you can also find classic films and TV shows on DVD or visit Sherlock’s Book Emporium in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Ask Ken Beck

Journalist Ken Beck, a longtime resident of Wilson  County, has recently become a contributing writer for Main Street Media and its local newspaper, "The Wilson Post."

Earlier this year Beck concluded a 31-year career with "The Tennessean" where he edited the Nashville paper’s “Sunday Showcase” entertainment magazine for 25 years. Besides interviewing stars of film and television, Beck wrote Tennessee travel and feature stories and a popular Q&A entertainment column.

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