Dear Ken: How many of the four stars of “The Golden Girls” TV show are still living?
Estelle Getty, who played Sophia, died July 22, 2008, of complications of advanced dementia, just three days shy of her 85th birthday. Although she played the mother to Bea Arthur’s character, she was about 15 months younger than Arthur.
Bea Arthur, who played Dorothy, died last April 25 of lung cancer, about three weeks shy of her 87th birthday.
Rue McClanahan, who played Blanche, recently turned 76. Three years ago she wrote her autobiography, “My First Five Husbands...And the Ones Who Got Away.”
Betty White, who played Rose, is 88.
Dear Ken: Tell us a bit about Jeff Bridges, son of “Sea Hunt” TV star Lloyd Bridges and brother to Beau Bridges. What would be some of his top films?
Bridges, 60, grew up in Hollywood, and both he and Beau made appearances on “Sea Hunt.” Jeff and his wife Susan have three daughters, and he has long been a photographer, off and on the movie set. His body of work includes “The Last Picture Show,” “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot,” “Hearts of the West,” “Starman,” “The Fabulous Baker Boys,” “The Fisher King,” “Fearless,” “The Big Lebowski,” “The Contender” and “Crazy Heart,” for which he earned a best actor Oscar nomination. It appears he will star in a remake of “True Grit” later this year as Marshal Rooster J. Cogburn, the same role that won John Wayne his Oscar. Josh Brolin and Matt Damon may also appear in the flick based on the Charles Portis novel.
Dear Ken: Whatever happened to actor Alan Autry, who starred as Bubba Skinner on the TV series “In the Heat of the Night”? Was he the son of Gene Autry?
Born Carlos Alan Autry in Shreveport, La., he grew up in Riverdale, Calif., and was a star football player who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers. No relation to cowboy star Autry, Alan served eight years as mayor of Fresno, Calif., leaving office in early January 2009. At last report, Autry, 57, was the host of his own talk radio show in Fresno.
Dear Ken: What can you tell me about the late standup comedian Moms Mabley?
The star of the black vaudeville stage died in 1975 at 81. During her final 10 years she found a new audience on TV as a guest on such shows as “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” “The Flip Wilson Show” and “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In.” Born Loretta Mary Aiken in Brevard, N.C., she later took the name of Jackie Mabley. Her act touched on family, welfare, poverty, infidelity and inebriation. Her costume featured a floppy hat, gaudy housedresses and big shoes. She made more than 20 comedy albums. If you have a trivia question about actors, singers, movies, TV shows or pop culture, e-mail your query to Ken Beck via www.sherlocksbooks.com 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.