- - Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Did Cheetah from 1930s Tarzan flicks die?

A Florida animal sanctuary says Cheetah, the chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the early 1930s, has died at age 80. But other accounts call that claim into question.

Debbie Cobb, outreach director at the Suncoast Primate Sanctuary along Florida’s Gulf Coast, said Wednesday that her grandparents acquired Cheetah around 1960 from “Tarzan” star Johnny Weissmuller and that the chimp appeared in Tarzan films between 1932 and 1934. During that period, Weissmuller made “Tarzan the Ape Man” and “Tarzan and His Mate.”

But Cobb offered no documentation, saying it was destroyed in a 1995 fire.

Also, some Hollywood accounts indicate a chimpanzee by the name of Jiggs or Mr. Jiggs played Cheetah alongside Weissmuller early on and died in 1938.

In addition, an 80-year-old chimpanzee would be extraordinarily old, perhaps the oldest ever known. According to many experts and Save the Chimps, another Florida sanctuary, chimpanzees in captivity live to between 40 and 60. Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, Fla., has a chimp it says is around 73.

A similar claim about another chimpanzee that supposedly played Weissmuller’s second banana was debunked in 2008 in a Washington Post story. Writer R.D. Rosen discovered that the primate, which lived in Palm Springs, Calif., was born around 1960, meaning it wasn’t oldest enough to have been in the Tarzan movies of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Helen Frankenthaler, abstract painter, dies at 83

Helen Frankenthaler, an abstract painter known for her bold, lyrical use of color who led a postwar art movement that would later be termed Color Field painting, died Tuesday at her home in Connecticut, her nephew said. She was 83.

One of Frankenthaler’s most famous works is “Mountains and Sea,” a 1952 painting at the National Gallery of Art in the District, which she created by pouring thinned paint directly onto raw, unprimed canvas laid on the studio floor.

Her abstract style helped American art make the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting and influenced such artists as Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland.

She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2002. From 1985 to 1992, she served on the National Council on the Arts of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Frankenthaler was born on Dec. 12, 1928, on New York’s Upper East Side and got her bachelor’s degree from Bennington College in Vermont, where she studied with Paul Feely. She studied at Columbia University in New York and took painting classes with Vaclav Vytlacil at the Art Students League and also with Hans Hofmann.

She was only 23 when she created “Mountains and Sea,” building on Jackson Pollock’s technique by pouring highly thinned oil paint from coffee cans directly onto the raw canvas. Louis later said “Mountains and Sea” was “the bridge between Pollock and what was possible.”

Woody Guthrie Center to open in 2012 in Tulsa

A Tulsa-based foundation has purchased the comprehensive archive of folk singer Woody Guthrie’s writings, recordings and artwork and plans to display the collection in a new center dedicated to the Oklahoma native, according to the Associated Press.

The Tulsa World reported that the George Kaiser Family Foundation will open the Woody Guthrie Center in downtown Tulsa by the end of 2012, to mark the centennial of Guthrie’s birth. The four-building arts hub will feature public displays from the Guthrie archives and research space for scholars.

The foundation didn’t disclose how much it paid for the collection, which includes a handwritten copy of Guthrie’s anthem, “This Land is Your Land.”

Guthrie died of Huntington’s disease in 1967.

The archive had been housed in the Mount Kisko, N.Y., home of Nora Guthrie, the songwriter’s daughter.

Sinead O’Connor’s marriage ends after 16 days

A statement on Sinead O’Connor’s website says her brief marriage to therapist Barry Herridge has ended amicably.

The statement on sineadoconnor.com says “the marriage was 16 days. We lived together for 7 days only. … Until Xmas eve.”

The statement says “from the moment myself and my husband got together … there was intense pressure placed upon him by certain people in his life, not to be involved with me.”

She adds: “As my good friend said ‘well, at least you got married in Vegas in a pink Cadillac! Can’t get more Rock n Roll than that.’ “

Roman Szendrey, who maintains the site, told the Associated Press by phone Wednesday the report is accurate and was personally posted by Ms. O’Connor.

c Compiled from Web and wire service reports.

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