Today is Friday, August 18, 2017

'Partridge' mama won Oscar years earlier

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Dear Ken: Was Shirley Jones of “The Partridge Family” TV series the mother of David and Shaun Cassidy. I am thinking she won an Oscar, but I can’t remember what film it would have been. Can you help me?

Jones, 75, was named after Shirley Temple. She is a stepmother to David Cassidy and mom to Shaun and his brothers Patrick and Ryan.

A singer from her youth, Jones was fabulous in the film musicals “Oklahoma!”, “Carousel” and “The Music Man.” She won her best supporting actress Oscar in “Elmer Gantry,” opposite Burt Lancaster. So she had quite an eventful career long before she became mama hen over the Partridge brood.

Dear Ken: Share a bit of biographical information on the foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay of “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Hell’s Kitchen” fame? Why all the scars on his chin?

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Ramsay, 42, grew up in England. Before he became a celebrity chef, he had a shot at professional football (soccer) but knee injuries took him out of the game for good. He wears size 15 shoes and has four children. He has completed 10 London Marathons. You might enjoy his autobiography “Humble Pie.” No definitive word on his chin scars, but I would guess they could be from head-on collisions while playing soccer.

Dear Ken: How old is James Arness, who played Marshall Dillon on “Gunsmoke”? How many other cast members survive?

Arness is 86. Other living cast members include Burt Reynolds (Quint Asper), Buck Taylor (Newly O’Brien) and Roger Ewing (Thad Greenwood).

Also alive are Gregg Palmer, who played a bartender in about 20 episodes, and character actor Morgan Woodward, who guested in 19 episodes.

Dear Ken: Where was singer-songwriter Bob Dylan born? How old is he? Does he have a son who is a singer?

Robert Allen Zimmerman, 68, was born in Duluth, Minn. He has five children by two wives and an adopted daughter. His youngest son, Jakob Dylan, was lead singer of The Wallflowers and now performs accompanied by his band The Gold Mountain.

Dear Ken: Whatever happened to Emmanuel Lewis, the child star on “Webster”?

The 4-foot-3 child star, 38, graduated from Clark Atlanta University in 1997 with a theatre arts degree. He was on the TV series “The Surreal Life” in 2007 and has a role in the 2009 film “Doesn’t Texas Ever End.”  There also has been serious chatter about Lewis and Gary Coleman making a film together, a comedy about them saving the world. Seriously.

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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