Tenzin Gyatso. Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, backed by the Tibetan flag, addresses a group at Australia’s parliament in Canberra Friday, May 24, 2002, thanking supporters for backing his struggle for more autonomy for his homeland. The Dalai Lama is on a 10-day visit to Australia. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism, founded by Tsongkhapa (1357–1419). The name is a combination of the Sino-Mongolian word dalai meaning “big sea” and the Tibetan word བླ་མ་ (bla-ma) meaning “guru, teacher”.
According to Tibetan Buddhist doctrine, the Dalai Lama is the rebirth in a line of tulkus who are metaphorically considered to be manifestations of the bodhisattva of compassion, Avalokiteśvara. The Dalai Lama is often thought to be the leader of the Gelug School, but this position belongs officially to the Ganden Tripa, which is a temporary position appointed by the Dalai Lama who, in practice, exerts much influence. The line of Dalai Lamas began as a lineage of spiritual teachers; the 5th Dalai Lama assumed political authority over Tibet.
For certain periods between the 17th century and 1959, the Dalai Lamas sometimes directed the Tibetan government, which administered portions of Tibet from Lhasa. The 14th Dalai Lama remained the head of state for the Central Tibetan Administration (“Tibetan government in exile”) until his retirement on March 14, 2011. He has indicated that the institution of the Dalai Lama may be abolished in the future, and also that the next Dalai Lama may be found outside Tibet and may be female. The Chinese government rejected this and asserted that only it has the authority to select the next Dalai Lama.
Gendun Drup, 1st Dalai Lama
taa la’i bla ma
In 1578 the Mongolruler Altan Khan bestowed the title Dalai Lama on Sonam Gyatso. The title was later applied retroactively to the two predecessors in his reincarnation line: Gendun Drup, founding abbot of Trashilhünpo and close disciple of Je Tsongkhapa; and Gendun Gyatso, abbot of Trashilhünpo, Drepung, and Sera. The current 14th Dalai Lama and others seeking to assert the historical independence of Tibet believe that Altan Khan did not bestow a title as such, only intending to translate the name “Sonam Gyatso” into Mongolian.</ref> Others have noted the title’s similarity to Čingis Qāghan, or “oceanic sovereign” (usually anglicized as “Ghengis Khan“), a name taken by the Mongol leader Temüjin in 1206 to commemorate his rule of a newly-united Mongolian Empire. Tibetans themselves address the Dalai Lama as Gyalwa Rinpoche (“Precious Victor”), Kundun (“Presence”), Yishin Norbu (“Wish fulfilling Gem“) and so on.
The current Dalai Lama is often called “His Holiness” (HH) by Westerners in imitation of the traditional address for the Pope. It should be noted that there is no correspondence to this form of address in Tibetan. Before the 20th century, European sources often referred to the Dalai Lama as the “Grand Lama”. For example, in 1785 Benjamin Franklin Bache mocked George Washington by terming him the “Grand Lama of this Country.”
During 1252, Kublai Khan granted an audience to Drogön Chögyal Phagpa and Karma Pakshi, the 2nd Karmapa. Karma Pakshi, however, sought the patronage of Möngke Khan. Before his death in 1283, Karma Pakshi wrote a will to protect the established interests of his sect by advising his disciples to locate a boy to inherit the black hat. His instruction was based on the premise that Buddhist ideology is eternal, and that Buddha would send emanations to complete the missions he had initiated. Karma Pakshi’s disciples acted in accordance with the will and located the reincarnated boy of their master. The event was the beginning of the teacher reincarnation system for the Black-Hat Line of Tibetan Buddhism. During the Ming Dynasty, the Yongle Emperor bestowed the title Great Treasure Prince of Dharma, the first of the three Princes of Dharma, upon the Black-Hat Karmapa. Various sects of Tibetan Buddhism responded to the teacher reincarnation system by creating similar lineages.
Unification of Tibet
In the 1630s, Tibet became entangled in power struggles between the rising Manchu and various Mongol and Oirat factions. Ligden Khan of the Chakhar, retreating from the Manchu, set out to Tibet to destroy the Yellow Hat sect. He died on the way to Qinghai (Koko Nur) in 1634. His vassal Tsogt Taij continued the fight, even having his own son Arslan killed after Arslan changed sides. Tsogt Taij was defeated and killed by Güshi Khan of the Khoshud in 1637, who would in turn become the overlord of Tibet, and act as a “Protector of the Yellow Church.” Güshi helped the Fifth Dalai Lama to establish himself as the highest spiritual and political authority in Tibet and destroyed any potential rivals. The time of the Fifth Dalai Lama was, however, also a period of rich cultural development.
The Fifth Dalai Lama’s death was kept secret for fifteen years by the regent (Tibetan: སྡེ་སྲིད།, Wylie: sde-srid), Sanggye Gyatso. This was apparently done so that the Potala Palace could be finished, and to prevent Tibet’s neighbors taking advantage of an interregnum in the succession of the Dalai Lamas.
Tsangyang Gyatso, the Sixth Dalai Lama, was not enthroned until 1697. Tsangyang Gyatso enjoyed a lifestyle that included drinking, the company of women, and writing love songs. In 1705, Lobzang Khan of the Khoshud used the sixth Dalai Lama’s escapades as excuse to take control of Tibet. The regent was murdered, and the Dalai Lama sent to Beijing. He died on the way, near Koko Nur, ostensibly from illness. Lobzang Khan appointed a new Dalai Lama who, however was not accepted by the Gelugpa school. Kelzang Gyatso was discovered near Koko Nur and became a rival candidate.
The Dzungars invaded Tibet in 1717, and deposed and killed Lobzang Khan’s pretender to the position of Dalai Lama. This was widely approved. However, they soon began to loot the holy places of Lhasa, which brought a swift response from the Kangxi Emperor in 1718; but his military expedition was annihilated by the Dzungars in the Battle of the Salween River, not far from Lhasa.
A second, larger, expedition sent by the Kangxi Emperor expelled the Dzungars from Tibet in 1720 and the troops were hailed as liberators. They brought Kelzang Gyatso with them from Kumbum to Lhasa and he was installed as the seventh Dalai Lama in 1721.
After him [Jamphel Gyatso the eighth Dalai Lama (1758–1804)], the 9th and 10th Dalai Lamas died before attaining their majority: one of them is credibly stated to have been murdered and strong suspicion attaches to the other. The 11th and 12th were each enthroned but died soon after being invested with power. For 113 years, therefore, supreme authority in Tibet was in the hands of a Lama Regent, except for about two years when a lay noble held office and for short periods of nominal rule by the 11th and 12th Dalai Lamas.
It has sometimes been suggested that this state of affairs was brought about by the Ambans—the Imperial Residents in Tibet—because it would be easier to control the Tibet through a Regent than when a Dalai Lama, with his absolute power, was at the head of the government. That is not true. The regular ebb and flow of events followed its set course. The Imperial Residents in Tibet, after the first flush of zeal in 1750, grew less and less interested and efficient. Tibet was, to them, exile from the urbanity and culture of Peking; and so far from dominating the Regents, the Ambans allowed themselves to be dominated. It was the ambition and greed for power of Tibetans that led to five successive Dalai Lamas being subjected to continuous tutelage.
Thubten Jigme Norbu, the elder brother of the present 14th Dalai Lama, describes these unfortunate events as follows:
It is perhaps more than a coincidence that between the seventh and the thirteenth holders of that office, only one reached his majority. The eighth, Gyampal Gyatso, died when he was in his thirties, Lungtog Gyatso when he was eleven, Tsultrim Gyatso at eighteen, Khadrup Gyatso when he was eighteen also, and Krinla Gyatso at about the same age. The circumstances are such that it is very likely that some, if not all, were poisoned, either by loyal Tibetans for being Chinese-appointed impostors, or by the Chinese for not being properly manageable.
Thubten Gyatso, the 13th Dalai Lama, assumed ruling power from the monasteries, which previously had great influence on the Regent, during 1895. Due to his two periods of exile in 1904–1909, to escape the British invasion of 1904, and from 1910–1912 to escape a Chinese invasion, he became well aware of the complexities of international politics and was the first Dalai Lama to become aware of the importance of foreign relations. After his return from exile in India and Sikkim during January 1913, he assumed control of foreign relations and dealt directly with the Maharaja and the British Political officer in Sikkim and the king of Nepal rather than letting the Kashag or parliament do it.
Thubten Gyatso issued a Declaration of Independence for his kingdom in Central Tibet from China during the summer of 1912 and standardised a Tibetan flag, though no other sovereign state recognized the independence. He expelled the Ambans and all Chinese civilians in the country, and instituted many measures to modernise Tibet. These included provisions to curb excessive demands on peasants for provisions by the monasteries and tax evasion by the nobles, setting up an independent police force, the abolishment of the death penalty, extension of secular education, and the provision of electricity throughout the city of Lhasa in the 1920s. Thubten Gyatso died in 1933.
The 14th Dalai Lama was not formally enthroned until 17 November 1950, during the People’s Republic of China invasion of the kingdom. In 1951, he and the Tibetan government formally accepted the Seventeen Point Agreement by which Tibet was formally incorporated into the People’s Republic of China. Fearing for his life in the wake of a revolt in Tibet in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India where he has led a government in exile since. With the aim of launching guerrilla operations against the Chinese, the CIA funded the Dalai Lama $1.7 million a year in the 1960s. In 2001, he ceded his absolute power over the government to an elected parliament of selected Tibetan exiles. His original goal was full independence for Tibet, but by the late 1980s, he was seeking high-level autonomy instead. He is still seeking greater autonomy from China, although Dolma Gyari, deputy speaker of the parliament-in-exile has stated “If the middle path fails in the short term, we will be forced to opt for complete independence or selfdetermination as per the UN charter”.
Starting with the 5th Dalai Lama and until the 14th Dalai Lama’s flight into exile during 1959, the Dalai Lamas spent winters at the Potala Palace and summers at the Norbulingka palace and park. Both are in Lhasa and approximately 3 km apart.
Following the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising, the 14th Dalai Lama sought refuge in India. The then Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, allowed in the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government officials. The Dalai Lama has since lived in exile in Dharamshala, in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India, where the Central Tibetan Administration is also established. Tibetan refugees have constructed and opened many schools and Buddhist temples in Dharamshala.
Searching for the reincarnation
By the Himalayan tradition, phowa is the discipline that transfers the mindstream to the intended body. Upon the death of the Dalai Lama and consultation with the Nechung Oracle, a search for the Lama’s yangsi, or reincarnation, is conducted. Traditionally, it has been the responsibility of the High Lamas of the Gelugpa tradition and the Tibetan government to find his reincarnation. The process can take around two or three years to identify the Dalai Lama, and for the 14th, Tenzin Gyatso, it was four years before he was found. Historically, the search for the Dalai Lama has usually been limited to Tibet, though the third tulku[who?] was born in Mongolia. Tenzin Gyatso, however, has stated that he will not be reborn in the People’s Republic of China, though he has also suggested he may not be reborn at all, suggesting the function of the Dalai Lama may be outdated.
The High Lamas used several ways in which they can increase the chances of finding the reincarnation. High Lamas often visit Lhamo La-tso, a lake in central Tibet, and watch for a sign from the lake itself. This may be either a vision or some indication of the direction in which to search, and this was how Tenzin Gyatso was found. It is said that Palden Lhamo, the female guardian spirit of the sacred lake Lhamo La-tso promised Gendun Drup, the 1st Dalai Lama, in one of his visions “that she would protect the reincarnation lineage of the Dalai Lamas.” Ever since the time of Gendun Gyatso, the 2nd Dalai Lama, who formalised the system, the Regents and other monks have gone to the lake to seek guidance on choosing the next reincarnation through visions while meditating there.
The particular form of Palden Lhamo at Lhamo La-tso is Gyelmo Maksorma, “The Victorious One who Turns Back Enemies”. The lake is sometimes referred to as “Pelden Lhamo Kalideva”, which indicates that Palden Lhamo is an emanation of the goddess Kali, the shakti of the Hindu God Shiva.
Lhamo Latso … [is] a brilliant azure jewel set in a ring of grey mountains. The elevation and the surrounding peaks combine to give it a highly changeable climate, and the continuous passage of cloud and wind creates a constantly moving pattern on the surface of the waters. On that surface visions appear to those who seek them in the right frame of mind.
It was here that in 1935, the Regent Reting Rinpoche received a clear vision of three Tibetan letters and of a monastery with a jade-green and gold roof, and a house with turquoise roof tiles, which led to the discovery of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.
High Lamas may also have a vision by a dream or if the Dalai Lama was cremated, they will often monitor the direction of the smoke as an indication of the direction of the rebirth.
Once the High Lamas have found the home and the boy they believe to be the reincarnation, the boy undergoes a series of tests to affirm the rebirth. They present a number of artifacts, only some of which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, and if the boy chooses the items which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, this is seen as a sign, in conjunction with all of the other indications, that the boy is the reincarnation.
If there is only one boy found, the High Lamas will invite Living Buddhas of the three great monasteries, together with secular clergy and monk officials, to confirm their findings and then report to the Central Government through the Minister of Tibet. Later, a group consisting of the three major servants of Dalai Lama, eminent officials, and troops will collect the boy and his family and travel to Lhasa, where the boy would be taken, usually to Drepung Monastery, to study the Buddhist sutra in preparation for assuming the role of spiritual leader of Tibet.
If there are several possible reincarnations, however, regents, eminent officials, monks at the Jokhang in Lhasa, and the Minister to Tibet have historically decided on the individual by putting the boys’ names inside an urn and drawing one lot in public if it was too difficult to judge the reincarnation initially.
List of Dalai Lamas
There have been 14 recognised reincarnations of the Dalai Lama:
དགེ་འདུན་འགྲུབ་ dge ‘dun ‘grub
Gêdün Chub 根敦朱巴
Gedun Drub Gedün Drup
དགེ་འདུན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ dge ‘dun rgya mtsho
Gêdün Gyaco 根敦嘉措
Gedün Gyatso Gendün Gyatso
བསོད་ནམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ bsod nams rgya mtsho
Soinam Gyaco 索南嘉措
ཡོན་ཏན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ yon tan rgya mtsho
Yoindain Gyaco 雲丹嘉措
Yontan Gyatso, Yönden Gyatso
Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso
བློ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ blo bzang rgya mtsho
Lobsang Gyaco 羅桑嘉措
Lobzang Gyatso Lopsang Gyatso
ཚངས་དབྱངས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ tshang dbyangs rgya mtsho
Cangyang Gyaco 倉央嘉措
བསྐལ་བཟང་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ bskal bzang rgya mtsho
Gaisang Gyaco 格桑嘉措
Kelsang Gyatso Kalsang Gyatso
བྱམས་སྤེལ་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ byams spel rgya mtsho
Qambê Gyaco 強白嘉措
Jampel Gyatso Jampal Gyatso
ལུང་རྟོགས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ lung rtogs rgya mtsho
Lungdog Gyaco 隆朵嘉措
ཚུལ་ཁྲིམས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ tshul khrim rgya mtsho
Cüchim Gyaco 楚臣嘉措
མཁས་གྲུབ་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ mkhas grub rgya mtsho
Kaichub Gyaco 凱珠嘉措
འཕྲིན་ལས་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ ‘phrin las rgya mtsho
Chinlai Gyaco 成烈嘉措
ཐུབ་བསྟན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ thub bstan rgya mtsho
Tubdain Gyaco 土登嘉措
Thubtan Gyatso Thupten Gyatso
1950 (currently in exile)
བསྟན་འཛིན་རྒྱ་མཚོ་ bstan ‘dzin rgya mtsho
Dainzin Gyaco 丹增嘉措
There has also been one nonrecognised Dalai Lama, Ngawang Yeshey Gyatso, declared 28 June 1707, when he was 25 years old, by Lha-bzang Khan as the “true” 6th Dalai Lama – however, he was never accepted as such by the majority of the population.
Future of the position
In the mid-1970s, Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, told a Polish newspaper that he thought he would be the last Dalai Lama. In a later interview published in the English language press he stated, “The Dalai Lama office was an institution created to benefit others. It is possible that it will soon have outlived its usefulness.” These statements caused a furor amongst Tibetans in India. Many could not believe that such an option could even be considered. It was further felt that it was not the Dalai Lama’s decision to reincarnate. Rather, they felt that since the Dalai Lama is a national institution it was up to the people of Tibet to decide whether the Dalai Lama should reincarnate.
The government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has claimed the power to approve the naming of “high” reincarnations in Tibet, based on a precedent set by the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing Dynasty. The Qianlong Emperor instituted a system of selecting the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama by a lottery that used a golden urn with names wrapped in clumps of barley. This method was used a few times for both positions during the 19th century, but eventually fell into disuse. In 1995, the Dalai Lama chose to proceed with the selection of the 11th reincarnation of the Panchen Lama without the use of the Golden Urn, while the Chinese government insisted that it must be used. This has led to two rival Panchen Lamas: Gyaincain Norbu as chosen by the Chinese government’s process, and Gedhun Choekyi Nyima as chosen by the Dalai Lama.
During September 2007 the Chinese government said all high monks must be approved by the government, which would include the selection of the 15th Dalai Lama after the death of Tenzin Gyatso. Since by tradition, the Panchen Lama must approve the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, that is another possible method of control.
In response to this scenario, Tashi Wangdi, the representative of the 14th Dalai Lama, replied that the Chinese government’s selection would be meaningless. “You can’t impose an Imam, an Archbishop, saints, any religion…you can’t politically impose these things on people,” said Wangdi. “It has to be a decision of the followers of that tradition. The Chinese can use their political power: force. Again, it’s meaningless. Like their Panchen Lama. And they can’t keep their Panchen Lama in Tibet. They tried to bring him to his monastery many times but people would not see him. How can you have a religious leader like that?”
The Dalai Lama said as early as 1969 that it was for the Tibetans to decide whether the institution of the Dalai Lama “should continue or not”. He has given reference to a possible vote occurring in the future for all Tibetan Buddhists to decide whether they wish to recognize his rebirth. In response to the possibility that the PRC may attempt to choose his successor, the Dalai Lama has said he will not be reborn in a country controlled by the People’s Republic of China or any other country which is not free. According to Robert D. Kaplan, this could mean that “the next Dalai Lama might come from the Tibetan cultural belt that stretches across northern India, Nepal, and Bhutan, presumably making him even more pro-Indian and anti-Chinese”. The Dalai Lama has enthusiastically supported the possibility that his next incarnation could be a woman. “Despite the complex historical, religious and political factors surrounding the selection of incarnate masters in the exiled Tibetan tradition, the Dalai Lama is open to change,” author Michaela Haas writes. “Why not? What’s the big deal?”
Tenzin Gyatso adalah Dalai Lama saat ini yang ke-14. Anak kelima dari sembilan bersaudara keluarga petani ini dinyatakan sebagai tulku Dalai Lama ke-13 pada usia tiga tahun.
Lahir: 6 Juli 1935 (78 tahun), Taktser
Penghargaan: Penghargaan Perdamaian Nobel, Penghargaan Templeton
Sun Tzu or Sunzi was a Chinesemilitary general, strategist, and philosopher during the Zhou dynasty‘s Spring and Autumn Period. The name he is best known by is an honorific meaning “Master Sun”: Sun Tzu was born as Sun Wu and known outside his family by the style nameChangqing. He is traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War, an extremely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as the author of The Art of War and as a legendary historical figure.
Sun Tzu’s historicity is uncertain. Sima Qian and other traditional historians placed him as a minister to KingHelü of Wu and dated his lifetime to 544–496 BC. Modern scholars accepting his historicity nonetheless place the existing text of The Art of War in the later Warring States Period based upon its style of composition and its descriptions of warfare. Traditional accounts state that the general’s descendant Sun Bin also wrote a treatise on military tactics, also titled The Art of War. Since both Sun Wu and Sun Bin were referred to as Sun Tzu in classical Chinese texts, some historians believed them identical prior to the rediscovery of Sun Bin’s treatise in 1972.
Sun Tzu’s work has been praised and employed throughout East Asia since its composition. During the Twentieth Century, The Art of War grew in popularity and saw practical use in Western society as well. It continues to influence many competitive endeavors in Asia, Europe, and America including culture, politics, business, and sports, as well as modern warfare.
Statue of Sun Tzu in Yurihama, Tottori, in Japan
544 BC (traditional)
496 BC (traditional)
Military General and Tactician
Spring and Autumn
The Art of War
The oldest available sources disagree as to where Sun Tzu was born. The Spring and Autumn Annals states that Sun Tzu was born in Qi, while Sima Qian’s later Records of the Grand Historian states that Sun Tzu was a native of Wu. Both sources agree that Sun Tzu was born in the late Spring and Autumn Period and that he was active as a general and strategist, serving the king of Wu Helü in the late sixth century BC, beginning around 512 BC. Sun Tzu’s victories then inspired him to write The Art of War. The Art of War was one of the most widely read military treatises in the subsequent Warring States period, a time of constant war among seven nations – Zhao, Qi, Qin, Chu, Han, Wei, and Yan – who fought to control the vast expanse of fertile territory in Eastern China.
One of the more well-known stories about Sun Tzu, taken from Sima Qian, illustrates Sun Tzu’s temperament as follows: Before hiring Sun Tzu, the King of Wu tested Sun Tzu’s skills by commanding him to train a harem of 180 concubines into soldiers. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders. When Sun Tzu first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled. In response, Sun Tzu said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he reiterated the command, and again the concubines giggled. Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king’s two favored concubines, to the king’s protests. He explained that if the general’s soldiers understood their commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers. Sun Tzu also said that, once a general was appointed, it was his duty to carry out his mission, even if the king protested. After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterwards, both companies, now well aware of the costs of further frivolity, performed their maneuvers flawlessly.
Sima Qian claimed that Sun Tzu later proved on the battlefield that his theories were effective (for example, at the Battle of Boju), that he had a successful military career, and that he wrote The Art of War based on his tested expertise. However, Zuo Zhuan, an earlier historical text which provides a much more detailed account of the Battle of Boju, does not mention Sun Tzu at all.
The Art of War
The Art of War (Chinese: trad. 孫子兵法, simp. 孙子兵法, pinyin Sūnzǐ Bīngfǎ, lit. “Master Sun’s Rules for Soldiers”) was traditionally ascribed to Sun Tzu. It presents a philosophy of war for managing conflicts and winning battles. It is accepted as a masterpiece on strategy and is frequently cited and referred to by generals and theorists since it was first published, translated, and distributed internationally.
There are numerous theories concerning when the text was completed and concerning the identity of the author or authors, but archeological recoveries have proven that The Art of War had achieved roughly its current form by at least the early Han. Because it is impossible to prove definitively when the Art of War was completed before this date, the differing theories concerning the work’s author or authors and date of completion are unlikely to ever be completely resolved. Some modern scholars believe that it contains not only the thoughts of its original author but also commentary and clarifications from later military theorists, such as Li Quan and Du Mu.
Of the military texts written before the unification of China and Shi Huangdi‘s subsequent book burning in the second century BC, six major works have survived. During the much later Song Dynasty, these six works were combined with a Tang text into a collection called the Seven Military Classics. As a central part of that compilation, The Art of War formed the foundations of orthodox military theory in early modern China. Illustrating this point, the book was required reading to pass the tests needed for imperial appointment to military positions.
According to the Simpkinses, Sun Tzu’s Art of War uses language that may be unusual in a Western text on warfare and strategy. For example, the eleventh chapter states that a leader must be “serene and inscrutable” and capable of comprehending “unfathomable plans”. They state that the text contains many similar remarks that have long confused Western readers lacking an awareness of the East Asian context. The meaning of such statements are clearer when interpreted in the context of Taoist thought and practice. Sun Tzu viewed the ideal general as an enlightened Taoist master, which has led to The Art of War being considered a prime example of Taoist strategy.
The book is not only popular among military theorists, but has also become increasingly popular among political leaders and those in business management. Despite its title, The Art of War addresses strategy in a broad fashion, touching upon public administration and planning. The text outlines theories of battle, but also advocates diplomacy and cultivating relationships with other nations as essential to the health of a state.
On April 10, 1972, the Yinqueshan Han Tombs were accidentally unearthed by construction workers in Shandong. Scholars uncovered a collection of ancient texts written on unusually well-preserved bamboo slips. Among them were The Art of War and Sun Bin’s Military Methods. Although Han Dynasty bibliographies noted the latter publication as extant and written by a descendant of Sun, it had previously been lost. The rediscovery of Sun Bin’s work is considered to be extremely important, both because of Sun Bin’s relationship to Sun Tzu and because of the work’s addition to the body of military thought in Chinese late antiquity. The discovery as a whole significantly expanded the body of surviving Warring States military theory. Sun Bin’s treatise is the only known military text surviving from the Warring States period discovered in the twentieth century and bears the closest similarity to The Art of War of all surviving texts.
Some scholars have expressed doubt in Sun Tzu’s historicity and the traditional dating of The Art of War. Skeptics cite possible historical inaccuracies and anachronisms in the text, as well as the likelihood of the execution of the king’s favorite concubines. This skepticism, which sometimes cause scholars to completely deny the existence of a historical figure named Sun Wu, has led to acrimonious debate between skeptics and traditionalists, especially in China. Attribution of the authorship of The Art of War varies among scholars and has included people and movements including Sun; Chu scholar Wu Zixu; an anonymous author; a school of theorists in Qi or Wu; Sun Bin; and others.
Traditionalists attribute the authorship of The Art of War to the historical figure Sun Wu who is chronicled in the Records of the Grand Historian and the Spring and Autumn Annals. Reputedly, he was active in the late sixth century BC, beginning c. 512 BC. The appearance of features from The Art of War in other historical texts is considered to be proof of his historicity and authorship. Certain strategic concepts, such as terrain classification, are attributed to Sun Tzu. Their use in other works such as The Methods of the Sima is considered proof of Sun Tzu’s historical priority. According to Ralph Sawyer, it is very likely Sun Tzu did exist and not only served as a general but also wrote the core of the book that bears his name.
Skeptics who identify issues with the traditionalist view point to possible anachronisms in The Art of War including terms, technology, philosophical ideas, events, and military techniques that should not have been available to Sun Wu. They argue that there is a disparity between the large-scale wars and sophisticated techniques detailed in the text and the more primitive small-scale battles that many believe predominated in 6th-century-BC China. Against this, Sawyer argues that the teachings of Sun Wu were probably taught to succeeding generations in his family or a small school of disciples, which eventually included Sun Bin. These descendants or students may have revised or expanded upon certain points in the original text.
Sun Tzu’s Art of War has influenced many notable figures. Sima Qian recounted that China’s first historical emperor, Qin‘s Shi Huangdi, considered the book invaluable in ending the time of the Warring States. In the 20th century, the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong partially credited his 1949 victory over Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang to The Art of War. The work strongly influenced Mao’s writings about guerrilla warfare, which further influenced communist insurgencies around the world.
The Art of War was introduced into Japan c. AD 760 and the book quickly became popular among Japanese generals. Through its later influence on Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, it significantly affected the unification of Japan in the early modern era. Prior to the Meiji Restoration, mastery of its teachings was honored among the samurai and its teachings were both exhorted and exemplified by influential daimyo and shoguns. Subsequently, it remained popular among the Imperial Japanese armed forces. The Admiral of the Fleet Tōgō Heihachirō, who led Japan’s forces to victory in the Russo-Japanese War, was an avid reader of Sun Tzu.
Ho Chi Minh translated the work for his Vietnamese officers to study. His general Vo Nguyen Giap, the strategist behind victories over French and American forces in Vietnam, was likewise an avid student and practitioner of Sun Tzu’s ideas.
America’s Asian conflicts against Japan, North Korea, and North Vietnam brought Sun Tzu to the attention of American military leaders. The Department of the Army in the United States, through its Command and General Staff College, has directed all units to maintain libraries within their respective headquarters for the continuing education of personnel in the art of war. The Art of War is mentioned as an example of works to be maintained at each facility, and staff duty officers are obliged to prepare short papers for presentation to other officers on their readings. Similarly, Sun Tzu’s Art of War is listed on the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program. During the Gulf War in the 1990s, both Generals Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. and Colin Powell employed principles from Sun Tzu related to deception, speed, and striking one’s enemy’s weak points.
Mark McNeilly writes in Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare that a modern interpretation of Sun and his importance throughout Chinese history is critical in understanding China’s push to becoming a superpower in the twenty-first century. Modern Chinese scholars explicitly rely on historical strategic lessons and The Art of War in developing their theories, seeing a direct relationship between their modern struggles and those of China in Sun Tzu’s time. There is a great perceived value in Sun Tzu’s teachings and other traditional Chinese writers, which are used regularly in developing the strategies of the Chinese state and its leaders.
In 2008, producer Zhang Jizhong adapted Sun Tzu’s life story into a 40-episode historical drama television series entitled Bing Sheng, starring Zhu Yawen as Sun Tzu.
Sun Tzu Quotes
Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?
If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious.
You have to believe in yourself.
All war is deception.
Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.
Opportunities multiply as they are seized.
Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.
Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.
To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack.
There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.
If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near.
He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are then able to strive for victory.
In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.
The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.
Sun Tzu 孫子; Sūn Zǐ; (c. 6th century BCE) was a Chinesegeneral, military strategist, and author of The Art of War, an immensely influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy; also known as Sun Wu (孫武; Sūn Wǔ), and Chang Qing (長卿; Cháng Qīng).
The Art of War
All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.
A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective.
If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance.
The art of war is of vital importance to the State. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected.
The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.
The general that hearkens to my counsel and acts upon it, will conquer: let such a one be retained in command! The general that hearkens not to my counsel nor acts upon it, will suffer defeat: — let such a one be dismissed!
If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him.
What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations.
Where the army is, prices are high; when prices rise the wealth of the people is exhausted.
There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare.
It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
Ch. 3, the last sentence.
If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
Know your enemy and know yourself, find naught in fear for 100 battles. Know yourself but not your enemy, find level of loss and victory. Know thy enemy but not yourself, wallow in defeat every time.
Literal translation: Know [the] other, know [the] self, hundred battles without danger; not knowing [the] other but know [the] self, one win one loss; not knowing [the] other, not knowing [the] self, every battle must [be] lost.
It is the rule in war, if ten times the enemy’s strength, surround them; if five times, attack them; if double, be able to divide them; if equal, engage them; if fewer, be able to evade them; if weaker, be able to avoid them.
For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.
Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.
The best victory is when the opponent surrenders of its own accord before there are any actual hostilities… It is best to win without fighting.
What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot will be victorious.
He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious.
In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. So, too, it is better to recapture an army entire than to destroy it, to capture a regiment, a detachment or a company entire than to destroy them.
It is best to keep one’s own state intact; to crush the enemy’s state is only second best.
Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy’s strategy.
Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.
The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy.
Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
To see victory only when it is within the ken of the common herd is not the acme of excellence.
One defends when his strength is inadequate, he attacks when it is abundant.
Being unconquerable lies with yourself; being conquerable lies with your enemy.
Management of many is the same as management of few. It is a matter of organization.
When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of its momentum. When the strike of a hawk breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing.
The quality of decision is like the well-timed swoop of a falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim.
A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates.
The expert in battle seeks his victory from strategic advantage and does not demand it from his men.
Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate.
All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.
O divine art of subtlety and secrecy! Through you we learn to be invisible, through you inaudible and hence we can hold the enemy’s fate in our hands.
The ultimate in disposing one’s troops is to be without ascertainable shape. Then the most penetrating spies cannot pry in nor can the wise lay plans against you.
And therefore those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him.
When the enemy is at ease, be able to weary him; when well fed, to starve him; when at rest, to make him move. Appear at places to which he must hasten; move swiftly where he does not expect you.
Subtle and insubstantial, the expert leaves no trace; divinely mysterious, he is inaudible. Thus he is master of his enemy’s fate.
To a surrounded enemy, you must leave a way of escape.
Too frequent rewards indicate that the general is at the end of his resources; too frequent punishments that he is in acute distress.
A leader leads by example not by force.
If words of command are not clear and distinct, if orders are not thoroughly understood, the general is to blame. But if his orders are clear, and the soldiers nevertheless disobey, then it is the fault of their officers.
If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler’s bidding. (Ch. 10, 23)
The general who advances without coveting fame and retreats without fearing disgrace, whose only thought is to protect his country and do good service for his sovereign, is the jewel of the kingdom.
Treat your men as you would your own beloved sons. And they will follow you into the deepest valley.
If our soldiers are not overburdened with money, it is not because they have a distaste for riches; if their lives are not unduly long, it is not because they are disinclined to longevity.
Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy’s unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.
Bestow rewards without respect to customary practice; publish orders without respect to precedent. Thus you may employ the entire army as you would one man.
It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to conduct espionage against you and to bribe them to serve you. Give them instructions and care for them. Thus doubled agents are recruited and used.
Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge.
Of all those in the army close to the commander none is more intimate than the secret agent; of all rewards none more liberal than those given to secret agents; of all matters none is more confidential than those relating to secret operations.
Secret operations are essential in war; upon them the army relies to make its every move.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (pronounced [ˈmoːɦənd̪aːs ˈkərəmtʃənd̪ ˈɡaːnd̪ʱi] ; 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948), commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi or Bapu (Father of Nation), was the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in the Raj (British-ruled India). Employing non-violentcivil disobedience, Gandhi led India to independence and inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights, and freedom across the world.
Gandhi was born in a Bania family in coastal Gujarat, and trained in law in London. He fought for the civil rights of Indians in South Africa, using non-violent civil disobedience. Returning to India in 1915, he set about organising peasants to protest excessive land-taxes. A lifelong opponent of “communalism” (basing politics on religion) he reached out widely to all religious groups.He became a leader of Muslims protesting against the declining status of the Caliphate.Assuming leadership of the Indian National Congress in 1921, Gandhi led nationwide campaigns for easing poverty, expanding women’s rights, building religious and ethnic amity, ending untouchability, increasing economic self-reliance, and above all for achieving Swaraj—the independence of India from British domination.
Gandhi led Indian protests against the national salt tax, with the 400 km (250 mi) Dandi Salt March in 1930, and later in demanding the British to immediately Quit India in 1942, during the Second World War. He was imprisoned for that and for numerous other political offences over the years. Gandhi sought to practice non-violence and truth in all situations and advocated that others do the same. He saw the villages as the core of the true India and promoted self-sufficiency; he did not support the industrialisation programs of his disciple Jawaharlal Nehru.He lived modestly in a self-sufficient residential community and wore the traditional Indian dhoti and shawl, woven with yarn he had hand spun on a charkha. He was a vegetarian and undertook long fasts as a means of both self-purification and political mobilisation.
In his last year, unhappy at the partition of India, Gandhi worked to stop the carnage between Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs that raged in the border areas between India and Pakistan. He was assassinated on 30 January 1948 by Nathuram Godse, who thought Gandhi was too sympathetic to India’s Muslims. 30 January is observed as Martyrs’ Day in India. The honorific Mahatma (“Great Soul”) was applied to him by 1914. In India he was also called Bapu (“Father”). He is known in India as the Father of the Nation; his birthday, 2 October, is commemorated there as Gandhi Jayanti, a national holiday, and world-wide as the International Day of Non-Violence.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
2 October 1869
Porbandar, Kathiawar Agency, Bombay Presidency, British India
30 January 1948 (aged 78) New Delhi, Dominion of India
Cause of death
Assassination by shooting
Cremated at Rajghat, Delhi. 28.6415°N 77.2483°E
Mahatma Gandhi, Bapu, Gandhiji
Alfred High School, Rajkot, Samaldas College, Bhavnagar, University College, London (UCL)
Prominent figure of Indian independence movement, propounding the philosophy of Satyagraha and Ahimsa advocating non-violence, pacifism
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was born on 2 October 1869 in Porbandar, a coastal town on the Kathiawar Peninsula and then part of the small princely state of Porbandar in the Kathiawar Agency of the British Indian Empire. His father, Karamchand Gandhi (1822–1885), served as the diwan (chief minister) of Porbander state. His mother, Putlibai, who was from a PranamiVaishnava family, was Karamchand’s fourth wife, the first three wives having apparently died in childbirth.
The Indian classics, especially the stories of Shravana and king Harishchandra, had a great impact on Gandhi in his childhood. In his autobiography, he admits that they left an indelible impression on his mind. He writes: “It haunted me and I must have acted Harishchandra to myself times without number.” Gandhi’s early self-identification with truth and love as supreme values is traceable to these epic characters.
In May 1883, the 13-year-old Mohandas was married to 14-year-old Kasturbai Makhanji (her first name was usually shortened to “Kasturba”, and affectionately to “Ba”) in an arranged child marriage, according to the custom of the region. In the process, he lost a year at school. Recalling the day of their marriage, he once said, “As we didn’t know much about marriage, for us it meant only wearing new clothes, eating sweets and playing with relatives.” However, as was prevailing tradition, the adolescent bride was to spend much time at her parents’ house, and away from her husband. In 1885, when Gandhi was 15, the couple’s first child was born, but survived only a few days. Gandhi’s father, Karamchand Gandhi, had also died earlier that year. The religious background was eclectic. Gandhi’s father was Hindu Modh Baniya and his mother was from Pranami Vaishnava family. Religious figures were frequent visitors to the home.
Mohandas and Kasturba had four more children, all sons: Harilal, born in 1888; Manilal, born in 1892; Ramdas, born in 1897; and Devdas, born in 1900. At his middle school in Porbandar and high school in Rajkot, Gandhi remained a mediocre student. He shone neither in the classroom nor on the playing field. One of the terminal reports rated him as “good at English, fair in Arithmetic and weak in Geography; conduct very good, bad handwriting.” He passed the matriculation exam at Samaldas College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, with some difficulty. Gandhi’s family wanted him to be a barrister, as it would increase the prospects of succeeding to his father’s post.
In 1888, Gandhi travelled to London, England, to study law at University College London, where he studied Indian law and jurisprudence and trained as a barrister at the Inner Temple. His time in London was influenced by a vow he had made to his mother upon leaving India, in the presence of a Jain monk, to observe the precepts of abstinence from meat and alcohol as well as of promiscuity. Gandhi tried to adopt “English” customs, including taking dancing lessons. However, he could not appreciate the bland vegetarian food offered by his landlady and was frequently hungry until he found one of London’s few vegetarian restaurants. Influenced by Henry Salt’s writing, he joined the Vegetarian Society, was elected to its executive committee, and started a local Bayswater chapter. Some of the vegetarians he met were members of the Theosophical Society, which had been founded in 1875 to further universal brotherhood, and which was devoted to the study of Buddhist and Hindu literature. They encouraged Gandhi to join them in reading the Bhagavad Gita both in translation as well as in the original. Not having shown interest in religion before, he became interested in religious thought.
Gandhi was called to the bar in June 1891 and then left London for India, where he learned that his mother had died while he was in London and that his family had kept the news from him. His attempts at establishing a law practice in Bombay failed because he was too shy to speak up in court. He returned to Rajkot to make a modest living drafting petitions for litigants, but he was forced to close it when he ran afoul of a British officer. In 1893, he accepted a year-long contract from Dada Abdulla & Co., an Indian firm, to a post in the Colony of Natal, South Africa, then part of the British Empire.
Civil Rights Movement in South Africa (1893–1914)
Gandhi was 24 when he arrived in South Africa to work as a legal representative for the Muslim Indian Traders based in the city of Pretoria. He spent 21 years in South Africa, where he developed his political views, ethics and political leadership skills.
Indians in South Africa were led by wealthy Muslims, who employed Gandhi as a lawyer, and by impoverished Hindu indentured labourers with very limited rights. Gandhi considered them all to be Indians, taking a lifetime view that “Indianness” transcended religion and caste. He believed he could bridge historic differences, especially regarding religion, and he took that belief back to India where he tried to implement it. The South African experience exposed handicaps to Gandhi that he had not known about. He realised he was out of contact with the enormous complexities of religious and cultural life in India, and believed he understood India by getting to know and leading Indians in South Africa.
In South Africa, Gandhi faced the discrimination directed at all coloured people. He was thrown off a train at Pietermaritzburg after refusing to move from the first-class. He protested and was allowed on first class the next day. Travelling farther on by stagecoach, he was beaten by a driver for refusing to move to make room for a European passenger. He suffered other hardships on the journey as well, including being barred from several hotels. In another incident, the magistrate of a Durban court ordered Gandhi to remove his turban, which he refused to do.
These events were a turning point in Gandhi’s life and shaped his social activism and awakened him to social injustice. After witnessing racism, prejudice and injustice against Indians in South Africa, Gandhi began to question his place in society and his people’s standing in the British Empire.
Gandhi extended his original period of stay in South Africa to assist Indians in opposing a bill to deny them the right to vote. In regards to this bill Gandhi sent out a memorial to Joseph Chamberlain, British Colonial Secretary, asking him to reconsider his position on this bill. Though unable to halt the bill’s passage, his campaign was successful in drawing attention to the grievances of Indians in South Africa. He helped found the Natal Indian Congress in 1894, and through this organisation, he moulded the Indian community of South Africa into a unified political force. In January 1897, when Gandhi landed in Durban, a mob of white settlers attacked him and he escaped only through the efforts of the wife of the police superintendent. He, however, refused to press charges against any member of the mob, stating it was one of his principles not to seek redress for a personal wrong in a court of law.
In 1906, the Transvaal government promulgated a new Act compelling registration of the colony’s Indian population. At a mass protest meeting held in Johannesburg on 11 September that year, Gandhi adopted his still evolving methodology of Satyagraha (devotion to the truth), or non-violent protest, for the first time. He urged Indians to defy the new law and to suffer the punishments for doing so. The community adopted this plan, and during the ensuing seven-year struggle, thousands of Indians were jailed, flogged, or shot for striking, refusing to register, for burning their registration cards or engaging in other forms of non-violent resistance. The government successfully repressed the Indian protesters, but the public outcry over the harsh treatment of peaceful Indian protesters by the South African government forced South African leader Jan Christiaan Smuts, himself a philosopher, to negotiate a compromise with Gandhi. Gandhi’s ideas took shape, and the concept of Satyagraha matured during this struggle.
Gandhi and the Africans
Gandhi focused his attention on Indians while in South Africa and opposed the idea that Indians should be treated at the same level as native Africans while in South Africa. He also stated that he believed “that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race.” After several treatments he received from Whites in South Africa, Gandhi began to change his thinking and apparently increased his interest in politics. White rule enforced strict segregation among all races and generated conflict between these communities. Bhana and Vahed argue that Gandhi, at first, shared racial notions prevalent of the times and that his experiences in jail sensitized him to the plight of South Africa’s indigenous peoples.
During the Boer war Gandhi volunteered in 1900 to form a group of ambulance drivers. He wanted to disprove the British idea that Hindus were not fit for “manly” activities involving danger and exertion. Gandhi raised eleven hundred Indian volunteers. They were trained and medically certified to serve on the front lines. At Spion Kop Gandhi and his bearers had to carry wounded soldiers for miles to a field hospital because the terrain was too rough for the ambulances. Gandhi was pleased when someone said that European ambulance corpsmen could not make the trip under the heat without food or water. General Redvers Buller mentioned the courage of the Indians in his dispatch. Gandhi and thirty-seven other Indians received the War Medal.
In 1906, the British declared war against the Zulu Kingdom in Natal, Gandhi encouraged the British to recruit Indians. He argued that Indians should support the war efforts to legitimise their claims to full citizenship. The British accepted Gandhi’s offer to let a detachment of 20 Indians volunteer as a stretcher-bearer corps to treat wounded British soldiers. This corps was commanded by Gandhi and operated for less than two months. The experience taught him it was hopeless to directly challenge the overwhelming military power of the British army—he decided it could only be resisted in non-violent fashion by the pure of heart.
After the black majority came to power in South Africa, Gandhi was proclaimed a national hero with numerous monuments.
Struggle for Indian Independence (1915–47)
In 1915, Gandhi returned to India permanently. He brought an international reputation as a leading Indian nationalist, theorist and organiser. He joined the Indian National Congress and was introduced to Indian issues, politics and the Indian people primarily by Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Gokhale was a key leader of the Congress Party best known for his restraint and moderation, and his insistence on working inside the system. Gandhi took Gokhale’s liberal approach based on British Whiggish traditions and transformed it to make it look wholly Indian.
Gandhi took leadership of Congress in 1920 and began a steady escalation of demands (with intermittent compromises or pauses) until on 26 January 1930 the Indian National Congress declared the independence of India. The British did not recognise that and more negotiations ensued, with Congress taking a role in provincial government in the late 1930s. Gandhi and Congress withdrew their support of the Raj when the Viceroy declared war on Germany in September 1939 without consulting anyone. Tensions escalated until Gandhi demanded immediate independence in 1942 and the British responded by imprisoning him and tens of thousands of Congress leaders for the duration. Meanwhile the Muslim League did co-operate with Britain and moved, against Gandhi’s strong opposition, to demands for a totally separate Muslim state of Pakistan. In August 1947 the British partitioned the land, with India and Pakistan each achieving independence on terms Gandhi disapproved.
Role in World War I
In April 1918, during the latter part of World War I, the Viceroy invited Gandhi to a War Conference in Delhi. Perhaps to show his support for the Empire and help his case for India’s independence, Gandhi agreed to actively recruit Indians for the war effort. In contrast to the Zulu War of 1906 and the outbreak of World War I in 1914, when he recruited volunteers for the Ambulance Corps, this time Gandhi attempted to recruit combatants. In a June 1918 leaflet entitled “Appeal for Enlistment”, Gandhi wrote “To bring about such a state of things we should have the ability to defend ourselves, that is, the ability to bear arms and to use them…If we want to learn the use of arms with the greatest possible despatch, it is our duty to enlist ourselves in the army.” He did, however, stipulate in a letter to the Viceroy’s private secretary that he “personally will not kill or injure anybody, friend or foe.”
Gandhi’s war recruitment campaign brought into question his consistency on nonviolence. Gandhi’s private secretary noted that “The question of the consistency between his creed of ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence) and his recruiting campaign was raised not only then but has been discussed ever since.”
Champaran and Kheda
Gandhi’s first major achievements came in 1918 with the Champaran and Kheda agitations of Bihar and Gujarat. The Champaran agitation pitted the local peasantry against their largely British landlords who were backed by the local administration. The peasantry was forced to grow Indigo, a cash crop whose demand had been declining over two decades, and were forced to sell their crops to the planters at a fixed price. Unhappy with this, the peasantry appealed to Gandhi at his ashram in Ahmedabad. Pursuing a strategy of non-violent protest, Gandhi took the administration by surprise and won concessions from the authorities.
In 1918, Kheda was hit by floods and famine and the peasantry was demanding relief from taxes. Gandhi moved his headquarters to Nadiad, organising scores of supporters and fresh volunteers from the region, the most notable being Vallabhbhai Patel. Using non-co-operation as a technique, Gandhi initiated a signature campaign where peasants pledged non-payment of revenue even under the threat of confiscation of land. A social boycott of mamlatdars and talatdars (revenue officials within the district) accompanied the agitation. Gandhi worked hard to win public support for the agitation across the country. For five months, the administration refused but finally in end-May 1918, the Government gave way on important provisions and relaxed the conditions of payment of revenue tax until the famine ended. In Kheda, Vallabhbhai Patel represented the farmers in negotiations with the British, who suspended revenue collection and released all the prisoners.
In 1919 Gandhi, with his weak position in Congress, decided to broaden his base by increasing his appeal to Muslims. The opportunity came from the Khilafat movement, a worldwide protest by Muslims against the collapsing status of the Caliph, the leader of their religion. The Ottoman Empire had lost the World War and was dismembered, as Muslims feared for the safety of the holy places and the prestige of their religion. Although Gandhi did not originate the All-India Muslim Conference, which directed the movement in India, he soon became its most prominent spokesman and attracted a strong base of Muslim support with local chapters in all Muslim centres in India. His success made him India’s first national leader with a multicultural base and facilitated his rise to power within Congress, which had previously been unable to reach many Muslims. In 1920 Gandhi became a major leader in Congress. By the end of 1922 the Khilafat movement had collapsed.
Gandhi always fought against “communalism”, which pitted Muslims against Hindus in politics, but he could not reverse the rapid growth of communalism after 1922. Deadly religious riots broke out in numerous cities, including 91 in U.P. (Uttar Pradesh) alone. At the leadership level, the proportion of Muslims among delegates to Congress fell sharply, from 11% in 1921 to under 4% in 1923.
With Congress now behind him in 1920, Gandhi had the base to employ non-co-operation, non-violence and peaceful resistance as his “weapons” in the struggle against the British Raj. His wide popularity among both Hindus and Muslims made his leadership possible; he even convinced the extreme faction of Muslims to support peaceful non-co-operation. The spark that ignited a national protest was overwhelming anger at the Jallianwala Bagh massacre (or Amritsar massacre) of hundreds of peaceful civilians by British troops in Punjab. Many Britons celebrated the action as needed to prevent another violent uprising similar to the Rebellion of 1857, an attitude that caused many Indian leaders to decide the Raj was controlled by their enemies. Gandhi criticised both the actions of the British Raj and the retaliatory violence of Indians. He authored the resolution offering condolences to British civilian victims and condemning the riots which, after initial opposition in the party, was accepted following Gandhi’s emotional speech advocating his principle that all violence was evil and could not be justified.
After the massacre and subsequent violence, Gandhi began to focus on winning complete self-government and control of all Indian government institutions, maturing soon into Swaraj or complete individual, spiritual, political independence. During this period, Gandhi claimed to be a “highly orthodox Hindu” and in January 1921 during a speech at a temple in Vadtal, he spoke of the relevance of non-co-operation to Hindu Dharma, “At this holy place, I declare, if you want to protect your ‘Hindu Dharma’, non-cooperation is first as well as the last lesson you must learn up.”.
In December 1921, Gandhi was invested with executive authority on behalf of the Indian National Congress. Under his leadership, the Congress was reorganised with a new constitution, with the goal of Swaraj. Membership in the party was opened to anyone prepared to pay a token fee. A hierarchy of committees was set up to improve discipline, transforming the party from an elite organisation to one of mass national appeal. Gandhi expanded his non-violence platform to include the swadeshi policy—the boycott of foreign-made goods, especially British goods. Linked to this was his advocacy that khadi (homespun cloth) be worn by all Indians instead of British-made textiles. Gandhi exhorted Indian men and women, rich or poor, to spend time each day spinning khadi in support of the independence movement.
Gandhi even invented a small, portable spinning wheel that could be folded into the size of a small typewriter. This was a strategy to inculcate discipline and dedication to weeding out the unwilling and ambitious and to include women in the movement at a time when many thought that such activities were not respectable activities for women. In addition to boycotting British products, Gandhi urged the people to boycott British educational institutions and law courts, to resign from government employment, and to forsake British titles and honours.
“Non-cooperation” enjoyed widespread appeal and success, increasing excitement and participation from all strata of Indian society. Yet, just as the movement reached its apex, it ended abruptly as a result of a violent clash in the town of Chauri Chaura, Uttar Pradesh, in February 1922. Fearing that the movement was about to take a turn towards violence, and convinced that this would be the undoing of all his work, Gandhi called off the campaign of mass civil disobedience. This was the third time that Gandhi had called off a major campaign. Gandhi was arrested on 10 March 1922, tried for sedition, and sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. He began his sentence on 18 March 1922. He was released in February 1924 for an appendicitis operation, having served only two years.
Without Gandhi’s unifying personality, the Indian National Congress began to splinter during his years in prison, splitting into two factions, one led by Chitta Ranjan Das and Motilal Nehru favouring party participation in the legislatures, and the other led by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, opposing this move. Furthermore, co-operation among Hindus and Muslims, which had been strong at the height of the non-violence campaign, was breaking down. Gandhi attempted to bridge these differences through many means, including a three-week fast in the autumn of 1924, but with limited success. In this year, Gandhi was persuaded to preside over the Congress session to be held in Belgaum. Gandhi agreed to become president of the session on one condition: that Congressmen should take to wearing homespun khadi. In his long political career, this was the only time when he presided over a Congress session.
Salt Satyagraha (Salt March)
Gandhi stayed out of active politics and, as such, the limelight for most of the 1920s. He focused instead on resolving the wedge between the Swaraj Party and the Indian National Congress, and expanding initiatives against untouchability, alcoholism, ignorance and poverty. He returned to the fore in 1928. In the preceding year, the British government had appointed a new constitutional reform commission under Sir John Simon, which did not include any Indian as its member. The result was a boycott of the commission by Indian political parties. Gandhi pushed through a resolution at the Calcutta Congress in December 1928 calling on the British government to grant India dominion status or face a new campaign of non-co-operation with complete independence for the country as its goal. Gandhi had not only moderated the views of younger men like Subhas Chandra Bose and Jawaharlal Nehru, who sought a demand for immediate independence, but also reduced his own call to a one year wait, instead of two.
The British did not respond. On 31 December 1929, the flag of India was unfurled in Lahore. 26 January 1930 was celebrated as India’s Independence Day by the Indian National Congress meeting in Lahore. This day was commemorated by almost every other Indian organisation. Gandhi then launched a new Satyagraha against the tax on salt in March 1930. This was highlighted by the famous Salt March to Dandi from 12 March to 6 April, where he marched 388 kilometres (241 mi) from Ahmedabad to Dandi, Gujarat to make salt himself. Thousands of Indians joined him on this march to the sea. This campaign was one of his most successful at upsetting British hold on India; Britain responded by imprisoning over 60,000 people.
Gandhi strongly favoured the emancipation of women, and he went so far as to say that “the women have come to look upon me as one of themselves.” He opposed purdah, child marriage, untouchability, and the extreme oppression of Hindu widows, up to and including sati. He especially recruited women to participate in the salt tax campaigns and the boycott of foreign products. Sarma concludes that Gandhi’s success in enlisting women in his campaigns, including the salt tax campaign, anti-untouchability campaign and the peasant movement, gave many women a new self-confidence and dignity in the mainstream of Indian public life.
Gandhi as Folk Hero
Congress in the 1920s appealed to peasants by portraying Gandhi as a sort of messiah, a strategy that succeeded in incorporating radical forces within the peasantry into the nonviolent resistance movement. In thousands of villages plays were performed that presented Gandhi as the reincarnation of earlier Indian nationalist leaders, or even as a demigod. The plays built support among illiterate peasants steeped in traditional Hindu culture. Similar messianic imagery appeared in popular songs and poems, and in Congress-sponsored religious pageants and celebrations. The result was that Gandhi became not only a folk hero but the Congress was widely seen in the villages as his sacred instrument.
The government, represented by Lord Edward Irwin, decided to negotiate with Gandhi. The Gandhi–Irwin Pact was signed in March 1931. The British Government agreed to free all political prisoners, in return for the suspension of the civil disobedience movement. Also as a result of the pact, Gandhi was invited to attend the Round Table Conference in London as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress. The conference was a disappointment to Gandhi and the nationalists, because it focused on the Indian princes and Indian minorities rather than on a transfer of power. Lord Irwin’s successor, Lord Willingdon, taking a hard line against nationalism, began a new campaign of controlling and subduing the nationalist movement. Gandhi was again arrested, and the government tried and failed to negate his influence by completely isolating him from his followers.
In 1932, through the campaigning of the Dalit leader B. R. Ambedkar, the government granted untouchables separate electorates under the new constitution, known as the Communal Award. In protest, Gandhi embarked on a six-day fast on 20 September 1932, while he was imprisoned at the Yerwada Jail, Pune. The resulting public outcry successfully forced the government to adopt an equitable arrangement (Poona Pact) through negotiations mediated by Palwankar Baloo. This was the start of a new campaign by Gandhi to improve the lives of the untouchables, whom he named Harijans, the children of God. On 8 September 1931, Mahatma Gandhi who was sailing on SS Rajputana, to the second Round Table Conference in London, Mahatma Gandhi met Meher Baba in his cabin on board the ship, and discussed issues of untouchables, politics, state Independence and spirituality
On 8 May 1933, Gandhi began a 21-day fast of self-purification and launched a one-year campaign to help the Harijan movement. This new campaign was not universally embraced within the Dalit community, as Ambedkar condemned Gandhi’s use of the term Harijans as saying that Dalits were socially immature, and that privileged caste Indians played a paternalistic role. Ambedkar and his allies also felt Gandhi was undermining Dalit political rights. Gandhi had also refused to support the untouchables in 1924–25 when they were campaigning for the right to pray in temples. Because of Gandhi’s actions, Ambedkar described him as “devious and untrustworthy”. Gandhi, although born into the Vaishya caste, insisted that he was able to speak on behalf of Dalits, despite the presence of Dalit activists such as Ambedkar. Gandhi and Ambedkar often clashed because Ambedkar sought to remove the Dalits out of the Hindu community, while Gandhi tried to save Hinduism by exorcising untouchability. Ambedkar complained that Gandhi moved too slowly, while Hindu traditionalists said Gandhi was a dangerous radical who rejected scripture. Guha noted in 2012 that, “Ideologues have carried these old rivalries into the present, with the demonization of Gandhi now common among politicians who presume to speak in Ambedkar’s name.” Guha adds that their work complemented each other, and Gandhi often praised Ambedkar.
In the summer of 1934, three attempts were made on Gandhi’s life.
In 1934 Gandhi resigned from Congress party membership. He did not disagree with the party’s position but felt that if he resigned, his popularity with Indians would cease to stifle the party’s membership, which actually varied, including communists, socialists, trade unionists, students, religious conservatives, and those with pro-business convictions, and that these various voices would get a chance to make themselves heard. Gandhi also wanted to avoid being a target for Raj propaganda by leading a party that had temporarily accepted political accommodation with the Raj.
Gandhi returned to active politics again in 1936, with the Nehru presidency and the Lucknow session of the Congress. Although Gandhi wanted a total focus on the task of winning independence and not speculation about India’s future, he did not restrain the Congress from adopting socialism as its goal. Gandhi had a clash with Subhas Chandra Bose, who had been elected president in 1938, and who had previously expressed a lack of faith in non-violence as a means of protest. Despite Gandhi’s opposition, Bose won a second term as Congress President, against Gandhi’s nominee, Dr. Pattabhi Sitaramayya; but left the Congress when the All-India leaders resigned en masse in protest of his abandonment of the principles introduced by Gandhi. Gandhi declared that Sitaramayya’s defeat was his defeat.
World War II and Quit India
Gandhi initially favoured offering “non-violent moral support” to the British effort when World War II broke out in 1939, but the Congressional leaders were offended by the unilateral inclusion of India in the war without consultation of the people’s representatives. All Congressmen resigned from office. After long deliberations, Gandhi declared that India could not be party to a war ostensibly being fought for democratic freedom while that freedom was denied to India itself. As the war progressed, Gandhi intensified his demand for independence, calling for the British to Quit India in a speech at Gowalia Tank Maidan. This was Gandhi’s and the Congress Party’s most definitive revolt aimed at securing the British exit from India.
Gandhi was criticised by some Congress party members and other Indian political groups, both pro-British and anti-British. Some felt that not supporting Britain more in its struggle against Nazi Germany was unethical. Others felt that Gandhi’s refusal for India to participate in the war was insufficient and more direct opposition should be taken, while Britain fought against Nazism, it continued to refuse to grant India Independence. Quit India became the most forceful movement in the history of the struggle, with mass arrests and violence on an unprecedented scale.
In 1942, although still committed in his efforts to “launch a non-violent movement”, Gandhi clarified that the movement would not be stopped by individual acts of violence, saying that the “ordered anarchy” of “the present system of administration” was “worse than real anarchy.” He called on all Congressmen and Indians to maintain discipline via ahimsa, and Karo ya maro (“Do or die”) in the cause of ultimate freedom.
Gandhi and the entire Congress Working Committee were arrested in Bombay by the British on 9 August 1942. Gandhi was held for two years in the Aga Khan Palace in Pune. It was here that Gandhi suffered two terrible blows in his personal life. His 50-year old secretary Mahadev Desai died of a heart attack 6 days later and his wife Kasturba died after 18 months imprisonment on 22 February 1944; six weeks later Gandhi suffered a severe malaria attack. He was released before the end of the war on 6 May 1944 because of his failing health and necessary surgery; the Raj did not want him to die in prison and enrage the nation. He came out of detention to an altered political scene—the Muslim League for example, which a few years earlier had appeared marginal, “now occupied the centre of the political stage” and the topic of Jinnah’s campaign for Pakistan was a major talking point. Gandhi met Jinnah in September 1944 in Bombay but Jinnah rejected, on the grounds that it fell short of a fully independent Pakistan, his proposal of the right of Muslim provinces to opt out of substantial parts of the forthcoming political union.
While the leaders of Congress languished in jail, the other parties supported the war and gained organizational strength. Underground publications flailed at the ruthless suppression of Congress, but it had little control over events. At the end of the war, the British gave clear indications that power would be transferred to Indian hands. At this point Gandhi called off the struggle, and around 100,000 political prisoners were released, including the Congress’s leadership.
Partition and Independence, 1947
As a rule, Gandhi was opposed to the concept of partition as it contradicted his vision of religious unity. Concerning the partition of India to create Pakistan, while the Indian National Congress and Gandhi called for the British to quit India, the Muslim League passed a resolution for them to divide and quit, in 1943. Gandhi suggested an agreement which required the Congress and Muslim League to co-operate and attain independence under a provisional government, thereafter, the question of partition could be resolved by a plebiscite in the districts with a Muslim majority. When Jinnah called for Direct Action, on 16 August 1946, Gandhi was infuriated and personally visited the most riot-prone areas to stop the massacres. He made strong efforts to unite the Indian Hindus, Muslims, and Christians and struggled for the emancipation of the “untouchables” in Hindu society.
On 14 and 15 August 1947 the Indian Independence Act was invoked. In border areas some 10–12 million people moved from one side to another and upwards of a half million were killed in communal riots pitting Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs against each other. But for his teachings, the efforts of his followers, and his own presence, there perhaps could have been much more bloodshed during the partition, according to prominent Norwegian historian, Jens Arup Seip.
Stanley Wolpert has argued, The “plan to carve up British India was never approved of or accepted by Gandhi…who realised too late that his closest comrades and disciples were more interested in power than principle, and that his own vision had long been clouded by the illusion that the struggle he led for India’s freedom was a nonviolent one.”
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated in garden of the former Birla House (now Gandhi Smriti) at 5:17 PM on 30 January 1948. Accompanied by his grandnieces, Gandhi was on his way to address a prayer meeting, when his assassin, Nathuram Godse, fired three bullets from a Beretta 9 mm pistol into his chest at point-blank range. Godse was a Hindu nationalist with links to the extremist Hindu Mahasabha, who held Gandhi guilty of favouring Pakistan and strongly opposed the doctrine of nonviolence. Godse and his co-conspirator were tried and executed in 1949. Gandhi’s memorial (or Samādhi) at Rāj Ghāt, New Delhi, bears the epigraph “Hē Ram”, (Devanagari: हे ! राम or, He Rām), which may be translated as “Oh God”. These are widely believed to be Gandhi’s last words after he was shot, though the veracity of this statement has been disputed. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru addressed the nation through radio:
“Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives, and there is darkness everywhere, and I do not quite know what to tell you or how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the father of the nation, is no more. Perhaps I am wrong to say that; nevertheless, we will not see him again, as we have seen him for these many years, we will not run to him for advice or seek solace from him, and that is a terrible blow, not only for me, but for millions and millions in this country.”—Jawaharlal Nehru’s address to Gandhi
Gandhi’s death was mourned nationwide. Over two million people joined the five-mile long funeral procession that took over five hours to reach Raj Ghat from Birla house, where he was assassinated. Gandhi’s body was transported on a weapons carrier, whose chassis was dismantled overnight to allow a high-floor to be installed so that people could catch a glimpse of his body. The engine of the vehicle was not used, instead four drag-ropes manned by 50 people each pulled the vehicle. All Indian-owned establishments in London remained closed in mourning as thousands of people from all faiths and denominations and Indians from all over Britain converged at India House in London.
While India mourned and communal (inter-religious) violence escalated, there were calls for retaliation, and even an invasion of Pakistan by the Indian army. Nehru and Patel, the two strongest figures in the government and in Congress, had been pulling in opposite directions; the assassination pushed them together. They agreed the first objective must be to calm the hysteria. They called on Indians to honour Gandhi’s memory and even more his ideals. They used the assassination to consolidate the authority of the new Indian state. The government made sure everyone knew the guilty party was not a Muslim. Congress tightly controlled the epic public displays of grief over a two-week period—the funeral, mortuary rituals and distribution of the martyr’s ashes—as millions participated and hundreds of millions watched. The goal was to assert the power of the government and legitimise the Congress Party’s control. This move built upon the massive outpouring of Hindu expressions of grief. The government suppressed the RSS, the Muslim National Guards, and the Khaksars, with some 200,000 arrests. Gandhi’s death and funeral linked the distant state with the Indian people and made more understood the need to suppress religious parties during the transition to independence for the Indian people.
By Hindu tradition the ashes were to be spread on a river. Gandhi’s ashes were poured into urns which were sent across India for memorial services. Most were immersed at the Sangam at Allahabad on 12 February 1948, but some were secretly taken away. In 1997, Tushar Gandhi immersed the contents of one urn, found in a bank vault and reclaimed through the courts, at the Sangam at Allahabad. Some of Gandhi’s ashes were scattered at the source of the Nile River near Jinja, Uganda, and a memorial plaque marks the event. On 30 January 2008, the contents of another urn were immersed at Girgaum Chowpatty. Another urn is at the palace of the Aga Khan in Pune (where Gandhi had been imprisoned from 1942 to 1944) and another in the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine in Los Angeles.
Principles, practices and beliefs
Gandhism designates the ideas and principles Gandhi promoted. Of central importance is nonviolent resistance. A Gandhian can mean either an individual who follows, or a specific philosophy which is attributed to, Gandhism. M.M. Sankhdher argues that Gandhism is not a systematic position in metaphysics or in political philosophy. Rather, it is a political creed, an economic doctrine, a religious outlook, a moral precept, and especially, a humanitarian world view. It is an effort not to systematize wisdom but to transform society and is based on an undying faith in the goodness of human nature. However Gandhi himself did not approve of the notion of “Gandhism”, as he explained in 1936:
There is no such thing as “Gandhism”, and I do not want to leave any sect after me. I do not claim to have originated any new principle or doctrine. I have simply tried in my own way to apply the eternal truths to our daily life and problems…The opinions I have formed and the conclusions I have arrived at are not final. I may change them tomorrow. I have nothing new to teach the world. Truth and non-violence are as old as the hills.
Historian R.B. Cribb argues that Gandhi’s thought evolved over time, with his early ideas becoming the core or scaffolding for his mature philosophy. In London he committed himself to truthfulness, temperance, chastity, and vegetarianism. His return to India to work as a lawyer was a failure, so he went to South Africa for a quarter century, where he absorbed ideas from many sources, most of them non-Indian. Gandhi grew up in an eclectic religious atmosphere and throughout his life searched for insights from many religious traditions. He was exposed to Jain ideas through his mother who was in contact with Jain monks. Themes from Jainism that Gandhi absorbed included asceticism; compassion for all forms of life; the importance of vows for self-discipline; vegetarianism; fasting for self-purification; mutual tolerance among people of different creeds; and “syadvad”, the idea that all views of truth are partial, a doctrine that lies at the root of Satyagraha. He received much of his influence from Jainism particularly during his younger years.
Gandhi’s London experience provided a solid philosophical base focused on truthfulness, temperance, chastity, and vegetarianism. When he returned to India in 1891, his outlook was parochial and he could not make a living as a lawyer. This challenged his belief that practicality and morality necessarily coincided. By moving in 1893 to South Africa he found a solution to this problem and developed the central concepts of his mature philosophy. N. A. Toothi felt that Gandhi was influenced by the reforms and teachings of Swaminarayan, stating “Close parallels do exist in programs of social reform based on to non-violence, truth-telling, cleanliness, temperance and upliftment of the masses.” Vallabhbhai Patel, who grew up in a Swaminarayan household was attracted to Gandhi due to this aspect of Gandhi’s doctrine.
Gandhi’s ethical thinking was heavily influenced by a handful of books, which he repeatedly meditated upon. They included especially Plato’s Apology, (which he translated into his native Gujarati); William Salter’s Ethical Religion (1889); Henry David Thoreau’s On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1847); Leo Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1893); and John Ruskin’s Unto this Last (1862), which he also translated into Gujarati. Ruskin inspired his decision to live an austere life on a commune, at first on the Phoenix Farm in Natal and then on the Tolstoy Farm just outside Johannesburg, South Africa.
Balkrishna Gokhale argues that Gandhi took his philosophy of history from Hinduism and Jainism, supplemented by selected Christian traditions and ideas of Tolstoy and Ruskin. Hinduism provided central concepts of God’s role in history, of man as the battleground of forces of virtue and sin, and of the potential of love as an historical force. From Jainism, Gandhi took the idea of applying nonviolence to human situations and the theory that Absolute Reality can be comprehended only relatively in human affairs.
Historian Howard Spodek argues for the importance of the culture of Gujarat in shaping Gandhi’s methods. Spodek finds that some of Gandhi’s most effective methods such as fasting, nonco-operation and appeals to the justice and compassion of the rulers were learned as a youth in Gujarat. Later on, the financial, cultural, organizational and geographical support needed to bring his campaigns to a national audience were drawn from Ahmedabad and Gujarat, his Indian residence 1915–1930.
In 1908 Leo Tolstoy wrote A Letter to a Hindu, which said that only by using love as a weapon through passive resistance could the Indian people overthrow colonial rule. In 1909, Gandhi wrote to Tolstoy seeking advice and permission to republish A Letter to a Hindu in Gujarati. Tolstoy responded and the two continued a correspondence until Tolstoy’s death in 1910. The letters concern practical and theological applications of non-violence. Gandhi saw himself a disciple of Tolstoy, for they agreed regarding opposition to state authority and colonialism; both hated violence and preached non-resistance. However, they differed sharply on political strategy. Gandhi called for political involvement; he was a nationalist and was prepared to use nonviolent force. He was also willing to compromise. It was at Tolstoy Farm where Gandhi and Hermann Kallenbach systematically trained their disciples in the philosophy of nonviolence.
Truth and Satyagraha
Gandhi dedicated his life to the wider purpose of discovering truth, or Satya. He tried to achieve this by learning from his own mistakes and conducting experiments on himself. He called his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth.
Bruce Watson argues that Gandhi based Satyagraha on the Vedantic ideal of self-realization, and notes it also contains Jain and Buddhist notions of nonviolence, vegetarianism, the avoidance of killing, and ‘agape’ (universal love). Gandhi also borrowed Christian-Islamic ideas of equality, the brotherhood of man, and the concept of turning the other cheek.
Gandhi stated that the most important battle to fight was overcoming his own demons, fears, and insecurities. Gandhi summarised his beliefs first when he said “God is Truth”. He would later change this statement to “Truth is God”. Thus, satya (truth) in Gandhi’s philosophy is “God”.
The essence of Satyagraha (a name Gandhi invented meaning “adherence to truth”) is that it seeks to eliminate antagonisms without harming the antagonists themselves and seeks to transform or “purify” it to a higher level. A euphemism sometimes used for Satyagraha is that it is a “silent force” or a “soul force” (a term also used by Martin Luther King Jr. during his famous “I Have a Dream” speech). It arms the individual with moral power rather than physical power. Satyagraha is also termed a “universal force”, as it essentially “makes no distinction between kinsmen and strangers, young and old, man and woman, friend and foe.”
Gandhi wrote: “There must be no impatience, no barbarity, no insolence, no undue pressure. If we want to cultivate a true spirit of democracy, we cannot afford to be intolerant. Intolerance betrays want of faith in one’s cause.” Civil disobedience and non-co-operation as practised under Satyagraha are based on the “law of suffering”, a doctrine that the endurance of suffering is a means to an end. This end usually implies a moral upliftment or progress of an individual or society. Therefore, non-co-operation in Satyagraha is in fact a means to secure the co-operation of the opponent consistently with truth and justice.
Although Gandhi was not the originator of the principle of non-violence, he was the first to apply it in the political field on a large scale. The concept of nonviolence (ahimsa) and nonresistance has a long history in Indian religious thought and has had many revivals in Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Jewish and Christian contexts. Gandhi explains his philosophy and way of life in his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Some of his other remarks were widely quoted, such as “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no causes that I am prepared to kill for.” Gandhi realised later that this level of nonviolence required incredible faith and courage, which he believed everyone did not possess. He therefore advised that everyone need not keep to nonviolence, especially if it were used as a cover for cowardice, saying, “where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.”
Gandhi thus came under some political fire for his criticism of those who attempted to achieve independence through more violent means. His refusal to protest against the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, Udham Singh and Rajguru were sources of condemnation among some parties.
Of this criticism, Gandhi stated, “There was a time when people listened to me because I showed them how to give fight to the British without arms when they had no arms […] but today I am told that my non-violence can be of no avail against the [Hindu–Moslem riots] and, therefore, people should arm themselves for self-defense.”
Gandhi’s views came under heavy criticism in Britain when it was under attack from Nazi Germany, and later when the Holocaust was revealed. He told the British people in 1940, “I would like you to lay down the arms you have as being useless for saving you or humanity. You will invite Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini to take what they want of the countries you call your possessions… If these gentlemen choose to occupy your homes, you will vacate them. If they do not give you free passage out, you will allow yourselves, man, woman, and child, to be slaughtered, but you will refuse to owe allegiance to them.”
In a post-war interview in 1946, he said, “Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs… It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany… As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.” Gandhi believed this act of “collective suicide”, in response to the Holocaust, “would have been heroism”.
One of the Gandhi’s major strategies, first in South Africa and then in India, was uniting Muslims and Hindus to work together in opposition to British imperialism. In 1919–22 he won strong Muslim support for his leadership in the Khilafat Movement to support the historic Ottoman Caliphate. By 1924 that Muslim support had largely evaporated.
In 1931, he suggested that while he could understand the desire of European Jews to emigrate to Palestine, he opposed any movement that supported British colonialism or violence. Muslims throughout India and the Middle East strongly opposed the Zionist plan for a Jewish state in Palestine, and Gandhi (and Congress) supported the Muslims in this regard. By the 1930s all major political groups in India opposed a Jewish state in Palestine.
This led to discussions concerning the persecution of the Jews in Germany and the emigration of Jews from Europe to Palestine, which Gandhi framed through the lens of Satyagraha. In 1937, Gandhi discussed Zionism with his close Jewish friend Hermann Kallenbach. He said Zionism was not the right answer to the Jewish problem and instead recommended Satyagraha. Gandhi thought the Zionists in Palestine represented European imperialism and used violence to achieve their goals; he argued that “the Jews should disclaim any intention of realizing their aspiration under the protection of arms and should rely wholly on the goodwill of Arabs. No exception can possibly be taken to the natural desire of the Jews to found a home in Palestine. But they must wait for its fulfillment till Arab opinion is ripe for it.” In 1938, Gandhi stated that his “sympathies are all with the Jews. I have known them intimately in South Africa. Some of them became life-long companions.” Philosopher Martin Buber was highly critical of Gandhi’s approach and in 1939 wrote an open letter to him on the subject. Gandhi reiterated his stance on the use of Satyagraha in Palestine in 1947.
Vegetarianism and Food
Stephen Hay argues that Gandhi in London looked into numerous religious and intellectual currents. He especially appreciated how the theosophical movement encouraged a religious eclecticism and an antipathy to atheism. Hay says the vegetarian movement had the greatest impact for it was Gandhi’s point of entry into other reformist agendas of the time. The idea of vegetarianism is deeply ingrained in Hindu and Jain traditions in India, especially in his native Gujarat. Gandhi was close to the chairman of the London Vegetarian Society, Dr. Josiah Oldfield, and corresponded with Henry Stephens Salt, a vegetarian campaigner. Gandhi became a strict vegetarian. He wrote the book The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism and wrote for the London Vegetarian Society’s publication. Gandhi was somewhat of a food faddist taking his own goat to travels so he could always have fresh milk.
Gandhi noted in his autobiography that vegetarianism was the beginning of his deep commitment to Brahmacharya; without total control of the palate, his success in Brahmacharya would likely falter. “You wish to know what the marks of a man are who wants to realize Truth which is God”, he wrote. “He must reduce himself to zero and have perfect control over all his senses-beginning with the palate or tongue.”
Gandhi used fasting as a political device, often threatening suicide unless demands were met. Congress publicised the fasts as a political action that generated widespread sympathy. In response the government tried to manipulate news coverage to minimise his challenge to the Raj. He fasted in 1932 to protest the voting scheme for separate political representation for Dalits; Gandhi did not want them segregated. The government stopped the London press from showing photographs of his emaciated body, because it would elicit sympathy. Gandhi’s 1943 hunger strike took place during a two-year prison term for the anticolonial Quit India movement. The government called on nutritional experts to demystify his action, and again no photos were allowed. However his final fast in 1948, after India was independent, was lauded by the British press and this time did include full-length photos.
Alter argues that Gandhi’s fixation on diet and celibacy were much deeper than exercises in self-discipline. Rather, his beliefs regarding health offered a critique of both the traditional Hindu system of ayurvedic medicine and Western concepts. This challenge was integral to his deeper challenge to tradition and modernity, as health and nonviolence became part of the same ethics.
Celibacy and experiments with celibacy (Bramhacharya)
In 1906 Gandhi, although married and a father, vowed to abstain from sexual relations. In the 1940s, in his mid-seventies, he brought his grandniece Manubehn to sleep naked in his bed as part of a spiritual experiment in which Gandhi could test himself as a “brahmachari.” Several other young women and girls also sometimes shared his bed as part of his experiments. Gandhi’s behaviour was widely discussed and criticised by family members and leading politicians, including Nehru. Some members of his staff resigned, including two editors of his newspaper who left after refusing to print parts of Gandhi’s sermons dealing with his sleeping arrangements. But Gandhi said that if he wouldn’t let Manu sleep with her, it would be a sign of weakness.
Gandhi discussed his experiment with friends and relations; most disagreed and the experiment ceased in 1947. Religious studies scholar Veena Howard argues that Gandhi made “creative use”of his celibacy and his authority as a mahatma “to reinterpret religious norms and confront unjust social and religious conventions relegating women to lower status.”:130 According to Howard, Gandhi “developed his discourse as a religious renouncer within India’s traditions to confront repressive social and religious customs regarding women and to bring them into the public sphere, during a time when the discourse on celibacy was typically imbued with masculine rhetoric and misogynist inferences…. his writings show a consistent evolution of his thought toward creating an equal playing field for members of both sexes and even elevating women to a higher plane—all through his discourse and unorthodox practice of brahmacharya.”
Nai Talim, Basic Education
Gandhi’s educational policies reflected Nai Talim (‘Basic Education for all’), a spiritual principle which states that knowledge and work are not separate. It was a reaction against the British educational system and colonialism in general, which had the negative effect of making Indian children alienated and career-based; it promoted disdain for manual work, the development of a new elite class, and the increasing problems of industrialisation and urbanisation. The three pillars of Gandhi’s pedagogy were its focus on the lifelong character of education, its social character and its form as a holistic process. For Gandhi, education is ‘the moral development of the person’, a process that is by definition ‘lifelong’.
Nai Talim evolved out of the spiritually oriented education program at Tolstoy Farm in South Africa, and Gandhi’s work at the ashram at Sevagram after 1937. After 1947 the Nehru government’s vision of an industrialised, centrally planned economy had scant place for Gandhi’s village-oriented approach.
Rudolph argues that after a false start in trying to emulate the English in an attempt to overcome his timidity, Gandhi discovered the inner courage he was seeking by helping his countrymen in South Africa. The new courage consisted of observing the traditional Bengali way of “self-suffering” and, in finding his own courage, he was enabled also to point out the way of ‘Satyagraha’ and ‘ahimsa’ to the whole of India. Gandhi’s writings expressed four meanings of freedom: as India’s national independence; as individual political freedom; as group freedom from poverty; and as the capacity for personal self-rule.
Gandhi was a self-described philosophical anarchist, and his vision of India meant an India without an underlying government. He once said that “the ideally nonviolent state would be an ordered anarchy.” While political systems are largely hierarchical, with each layer of authority from the individual to the central government have increasing levels of authority over the layer below, Gandhi believed that society should be the exact opposite, where nothing is done without the consent of anyone, down to the individual. His idea was that true self-rule in a country means that every person rules his or herself and that there is no state which enforces laws upon the people.
This would be achieved over time with nonviolent conflict mediation, as power is divested from layers of hierarchical authorities, ultimately to the individual, which would come to embody the ethic of nonviolence. Rather than a system where rights are enforced by a higher authority, people are self-governed by mutual responsibilities. On returning from South Africa, when Gandhi received a letter asking for his participation in writing a world charter for human rights, he responded saying, “in my experience, it is far more important to have a charter for human duties.”
A free India did not mean merely transferring the established British administrative structure into Indian hands. He warned, “you would make India English. And when it becomes English, it will be called not Hindustan but Englishtan. This is not the Swaraj I want.” Tewari argues that Gandhi saw democracy as more than a system of government; it meant promoting both individuality and the self-discipline of the community. Democracy was a moral system that distributed power and assisted the development of every social class, especially the lowest. It meant settling disputes in a nonviolent manner; it required freedom of thought and expression. For Gandhi, democracy was a way of life.
A free India for Gandhi meant the flourishing of thousands of self-sufficient small communities who rule themselves without hindering others. Gandhian economics focused on the need for economic self-sufficiency at the village level. His policy of “sarvodaya” called for ending poverty through improved agriculture and small-scale cottage industries in every village. Gandhi challenged Nehru and the modernizers in the late 1930s who called for rapid industrialisation on the Soviet model; Gandhi denounced that as dehumanising and contrary to the needs of the villages where the great majority of the people lived. After Gandhi’s death Nehru led India to large-scale planning that emphasised modernisation and heavy industry, while modernising agriculture through irrigation. Historian Kuruvilla Pandikattu says “it was Nehru’s vision, not Gandhi’s, that was eventually preferred by the Indian State.” After Gandhi’s death activists inspired by his vision promoted their opposition to industrialisation through the teachings of Gandhian economics.
Gandhi was a prolific writer. One of Gandhi’s earliest publications, Hind Swaraj, published in Gujarati in 1909, is recognised as the intellectual blueprint of India’s freedom movement. The book was translated into English the next year, with a copyright legend that read “No Rights Reserved”. For decades he edited several newspapers including Harijan in Gujarati, in Hindi and in the English language; Indian Opinion while in South Africa and, Young India, in English, and Navajivan, a Gujarati monthly, on his return to India. Later, Navajivan was also published in Hindi. In addition, he wrote letters almost every day to individuals and newspapers.
Gandhi also wrote several books including his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth (Gujarātī “સત્યના પ્રયોગો અથવા આત્મકથા”), of which he bought the entire first edition to make sure it was reprinted. His other autobiographies included: Satyagraha in South Africa about his struggle there, Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule, a political pamphlet, and a paraphrase in Gujarati of John Ruskin’s Unto This Last. This last essay can be considered his programme on economics. He also wrote extensively on vegetarianism, diet and health, religion, social reforms, etc. Gandhi usually wrote in Gujarati, though he also revised the Hindi and English translations of his books.
Gandhi’s complete works were published by the Indian government under the name The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi in the 1960s. The writings comprise about 50,000 pages published in about a hundred volumes. In 2000, a revised edition of the complete works sparked a controversy, as it constituted large number of errors and omissions. The Indian government later withdrew the revised edition.
Legacy and depictions in popular culture
The word Mahatma, while often mistaken for Gandhi’s given name in the West, is taken from the Sanskrit words maha (meaning Great) and atma (meaning Soul). Rabindranath Tagore is said to have accorded the title to Gandhi. In his autobiography, Gandhi nevertheless explains that he never valued the title, and was often pained by it.
Followers and International Influence
Gandhi influenced important leaders and political movements. Leaders of the civil rights movement in the United States, including Martin Luther King, James Lawson, and James Bevel, drew from the writings of Gandhi in the development of their own theories about non-violence. King said “Christ gave us the goals and Mahatma Gandhi the tactics.” King sometimes referred to Gandhi as “the little brown saint.” Anti-apartheid activist and former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was inspired by Gandhi. Others include Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Steve Biko, and Aung San Suu Kyi.
In his early years, the former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was a follower of the non-violent resistance philosophy of Gandhi. Bhana and Vahed commented on these events as “Gandhi inspired succeeding generations of South African activists seeking to end White rule. This legacy connects him to Nelson Mandela…in a sense Mandela completed what Gandhi started.”
Gandhi’s life and teachings inspired many who specifically referred to Gandhi as their mentor or who dedicated their lives to spreading Gandhi’s ideas. In Europe, Romain Rolland was the first to discuss Gandhi in his 1924 book Mahatma Gandhi, and Brazilian anarchist and feminist Maria Lacerda de Moura wrote about Gandhi in her work on pacifism. In 1931, notable European physicist Albert Einstein exchanged written letters with Gandhi, and called him “a role model for the generations to come” in a later writing about him. Einstein said of Gandhi:
Mahatma Gandhi’s life achievement stands unique in political history. He has invented a completely new and humane means for the liberation war of an oppressed country, and practised it with greatest energy and devotion. The moral influence he had on the consciously thinking human being of the entire civilized world will probably be much more lasting than it seems in our time with its overestimation of brutal violent forces. Because lasting will only be the work of such statesmen who wake up and strengthen the moral power of their people through their example and educational works. We may all be happy and grateful that destiny gifted us with such an enlightened contemporary, a role model for the generations to come.
Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this walked the earth in flesh and blood.
Lanza del Vasto went to India in 1936 intending to live with Gandhi; he later returned to Europe to spread Gandhi’s philosophy and founded the Community of the Ark in 1948 (modelled after Gandhi’s ashrams). Madeleine Slade (known as “Mirabehn”) was the daughter of a British admiral who spent much of her adult life in India as a devotee of Gandhi.
In addition, the British musician John Lennon referred to Gandhi when discussing his views on non-violence. At the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in 2007, former US Vice-President and environmentalist Al Gore spoke of Gandhi’s influence on him.
President of the United States Barack Obama in an address to a Joint Session of the Parliament of India said that:
“I am mindful that I might not be standing before you today, as President of the United States, had it not been for Gandhi and the message he shared with America and the world.”—Barack Obama in an address to a Joint Session of the Parliament of India, 2010
Obama in September 2009 said that his biggest inspiration came from Mahatma Gandhi. His reply was in response to the question ‘Who was the one person, dead or live, that you would choose to dine with?’. He continued that “He’s somebody I find a lot of inspiration in. He inspired Dr. King with his message of nonviolence. He ended up doing so much and changed the world just by the power of his ethics.”
Time Magazine named The 14th Dalai Lama, Lech Wałęsa, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Aung San Suu Kyi, Benigno Aquino, Jr., Desmond Tutu, and Nelson Mandela as Children of Gandhi and his spiritual heirs to non-violence. The Mahatma Gandhi District in Houston, Texas, United States, an ethnic Indian enclave, is officially named after Gandhi.
In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared Gandhi’s birthday 2 October as “the International Day of Non-Violence.” First proposed by UNESCO in 1948, as the School Day of Non-violence and Peace (DENIP in Spanish), 30 January is observed the School Day of Non-violence and Peace in schools of many countries In countries with a Southern Hemisphere school calendar, it is observed on 30 March.
Time magazine named Gandhi the Man of the Year in 1930. Gandhi was also the runner-up to Albert Einstein as “Person of the Century” at the end of 1999. The Government of India awards the annual Gandhi Peace Prize to distinguished social workers, world leaders and citizens. Nelson Mandela, the leader of South Africa’s struggle to eradicate racial discrimination and segregation, is a prominent non-Indian recipient. In 2011, Time magazine named Gandhi as one of the top 25 political icons of all time.
Gandhi did not receive the Nobel Peace Prize, although he was nominated five times between 1937 and 1948, including the first-ever nomination by the American Friends Service Committee, though he made the short list only twice, in 1937 and 1947. Decades later, the Nobel Committee publicly declared its regret for the omission, and admitted to deeply divided nationalistic opinion denying the award. Gandhi was nominated in 1948 but was assassinated before nominations closed. That year, the committee chose not to award the peace prize stating that “there was no suitable living candidate” and later research shows that the possibility of awarding the prize posthumously to Gandhi was discussed and that the reference to no suitable living candidate was to Gandhi. When the 14th Dalai Lama was awarded the Prize in 1989, the chairman of the committee said that this was “in part a tribute to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.”
World Farm Animals’ Day
Gandhi’s birthday is chosen as a commemoration for the billions of non-human animals that are slaughtered by the human farming industry each year. The practice started in 1983
Film and Literature
Mahatma Gandhi has been portrayed in film, literature, and in the theatre. Ben Kingsley portrayed him in the 1982 film Gandhi, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Gandhi was a central figure in the 2006 Bollywood comedy film Lage Raho Munna Bhai. The 1996 film The Making of the Mahatma documented Gandhi’s time in South Africa and his transformation from an inexperienced barrister to recognised political leader.
Anti-Gandhi themes have also been showcased through films and plays. The 1995 Marathi play Gandhi Virudh Gandhi explored the relationship between Gandhi and his son Harilal. The 2007 film, Gandhi, My Father was inspired on the same theme. The 1989 Marathi play Me Nathuram Godse Boltoy and the 1997 Hindi play Gandhi Ambedkar criticised Gandhi and his principles.
Several biographers have undertaken the task of describing Gandhi’s life. Among them are D. G. Tendulkar with his Mahatma. Life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in eight volumes, and Pyarelal and Sushila Nayyar with their Mahatma Gandhi in 10 volumes. There is another documentary, Mahatma: Life of Gandhi, 1869–1948, which is 14 chapters and six hours long. The 2010 biography, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India by Joseph Lelyveld contained controversial material speculating about Gandhi’s sexual life. Lelyveld, however, stated that the press coverage “grossly distort[s]” the overall message of the book.
Current Impact Within India
India, with its rapid economic modernisation and urbanisation, has rejected Gandhi’s economics but accepted much of his politics and continues to revere his memory. Reporter Jim Yardley notes that, “modern India is hardly a Gandhian nation, if it ever was one. His vision of a village-dominated economy was shunted aside during his lifetime as rural romanticism, and his call for a national ethos of personal austerity and nonviolence has proved antithetical to the goals of an aspiring economic and military power.” By contrast Gandhi is “given full credit for India’s political identity as a tolerant, secular democracy.”
Gandhi’s birthday, 2 October, is a national holiday in India, Gandhi Jayanti. Gandhi’s image also appears on paper currency of all denominations issued by Reserve Bank of India, except for the one rupee note. Gandhi’s date of death, 30 January, is commemorated as a Martyrs’ Day in India.
There are two temples in India dedicated to Gandhi. One is located at Sambalpur in Orissa and the other at Nidaghatta village near Kadur in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka. The Gandhi Memorial in Kanyakumari resembles central Indian Hindu temples and the Tamukkam or Summer Palace in Madurai now houses the Mahatma Gandhi Museum.
Mahatma Gandhi Quotes
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
Where there is love there is life.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
You must be the change you wish to see in the world.
Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.
A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.
Before the throne of the Almighty, man will be judged not by his acts but by his intentions. For God alone reads our hearts.
It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.
A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.
A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.
Spiritual relationship is far more precious than physical. Physical relationship divorced from spiritual is body without soul.
Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
Nobody can hurt me without my permission.
Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.
A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.
If patience is worth anything, it must endure to the end of time. And a living faith will last in the midst of the blackest storm.
An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.
There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.
A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.
I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people.
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.
When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.
An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.
In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide.
Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.
It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honoured by the humiliation of their fellow beings.
Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston (August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012) was an American recording artist, singer, actress, producer, model. In 2009, the Guinness World Records cited her as the most awarded female act of all time. Houston was one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 200 million records worldwide. She released six studio albums, one holiday album and three movie soundtrack albums, all of which have diamond, multi-platinum, platinum or gold certification. Houston’s crossover appeal on the popular music charts, as well as her prominence on MTV, starting with her video for “How Will I Know”, influenced several African American female artists to follow in her footsteps.
Houston is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits. She is the second artist behind Elton John and the only female artist to have two number-one Billboard 200 Album awards (formerly “Top Pop Album”) on the Billboard magazine year-end charts. Houston’s 1985 debut album Whitney Houston became the best-selling debut album by a female act at the time of its release. The album was named Rolling Stone‘s best album of 1986, and was ranked at number 254 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Her second studio album Whitney (1987) became the first album by a female artist to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Houston’s first acting role was as the star of the feature film The Bodyguard (1992). The film’s original soundtrack won the 1994 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Its lead single “I Will Always Love You”, became the best-selling single by a female artist in music history. With the album, Houston became the first act (solo or group, male or female) to sell more than a million copies of an album within a single week period under Nielsen SoundScan system. The album makes her the top female act in the top 10 list of the best-selling albums of all time, at number four. Houston continued to star in movies and contribute to their soundtracks, including the films Waiting to Exhale (1995) and The Preacher’s Wife (1996). The Preacher’s Wife soundtrack became the best-selling gospel album in history.
On February 11, 2012, Houston was found dead in her guest room at The Beverly Hilton, in Beverly Hills, California. The official coroner’s report showed that she had accidentally drowned in the bathtub, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors. News of her death coincided with the 2012 Grammy Awards and featured prominently in American and international media.
Houston performing at Welcome Home Heroes with Whitney Houston in 1991.
Whitney Elizabeth Houston
August 9, 1963 Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
February 11, 2012 (aged 48) Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
R&B, pop, soul, dance, gospel
Singer, actress, model, film producer, record producer
Cissy Houston, Dionne Warwick, Dee Dee Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Jermaine Jackson, Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, Bobby Brown
Life and Career
1963–84: Early Life and Career Beginnings
Whitney Houston was born in what was then a middle-income neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey, the second child of Army serviceman and entertainment executive John Russell Houston, Jr. (September 13, 1920 – February 2, 2003), and gospel singer Cissy Houston (née Emily Drinkard). She had two older brothers, Gary Garland, who was also a singer, and Michael Houston. She was of African American, Native American, and Dutch descent. Her mother, along with cousins Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick, godmother Darlene Love and honorary aunt Aretha Franklin were all notable figures in the gospel, rhythm and blues, pop, and soul genres. She met her honorary aunt at age 8, or 9, when her mother took her to a recording studio. Houston was raised a Baptist, but was also exposed to the Pentecostal church. After the 1967 Newark riots, the family moved to a middle-class area in East Orange, New Jersey, when she was four.
At the age of 11, Houston started performing as a soloist in the junior gospel choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, where she also learned to play the piano. Her first solo performance in the church was “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah“. When Houston was a teenager, she attended Mount Saint Dominic Academy, a Catholic girls’ high school in Caldwell, New Jersey, where she met her best friend Robyn Crawford, whom she described as the “sister she never had”. While Houston was still in school, her mother continued to teach her how to sing. Houston was also exposed to the music of Chaka Khan, Gladys Knight, and Roberta Flack, most of whom would have an influence on her as a singer and performer.
Houston spent some of her teenage years touring nightclubs where her mother Cissy was performing, and she would occasionally get on stage and perform with her. In 1977, at age 14, she became a backup singer on the Michael Zager Band‘s single “Life’s a Party”. In 1978, at age 15, Houston sang background vocals on Chaka Khan’s hit single “I’m Every Woman”, a song she would later turn into a larger hit for herself on her monster-selling The Bodyguard soundtrack album. She also sang back-up on albums by Lou Rawls and Jermaine Jackson.
In the early 1980s, Houston started working as a fashion model after a photographer saw her at Carnegie Hall singing with her mother. She appeared in Seventeen and became one of the first women of color to grace the cover of the magazine. She was also featured in layouts in the pages of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Young Miss, and appeared in a Canada Dry soft drink TV commercial. Her striking looks and girl-next-door charm made her one of the most sought after teen models of that time. While modeling, she continued her burgeoning recording career by working with producers Michael Beinhorn, Bill Laswell and Martin Bisi on an album they were spearheading called One Down, which was credited to the group Material. For that project, Houston contributed the ballad “Memories”, a cover of a song by Hugh Hopper of Soft Machine. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called her contribution “one of the most gorgeous ballads you’ve ever heard”. She also appeared as a lead vocalist on one track on a Paul Jabara album, entitled Paul Jabara and Friends, released by Columbia Records in 1983.
Houston had previously been offered several recording agencies (Michael Zager in 1980, and Elektra Records in 1981), however her mother declined the offers stating her daughter must first complete high school. In 1983, Gerry Griffith, an A&R representative from Arista Records, saw her performing with her mother in a New York City nightclub and was impressed. He convinced Arista’s head Clive Davis to make time to see Houston perform. Davis too was impressed and offered a worldwide recording contract which Houston signed. Later that year, she made her national televised debut alongside Davis on The Merv Griffin Show.
Houston signed with Arista in 1983, but did not begin work on her album immediately. The label wanted to make sure no other label signed the singer away. Davis wanted to ensure he had the right material and producers for Houston’s debut album. Some producers had to pass on the project due to prior commitments. Houston first recorded a duet with Teddy Pendergrass entitled “Hold Me” which appeared on his album, Love Language. The single was released in 1984 and gave Houston her first taste of success, becoming a Top 5 R&B hit. It would also appear on her debut album in 1985.
1985–86: Rise to International Prominence
With production from Michael Masser, Kashif, Jermaine Jackson, and Narada Michael Walden, Houston’s debut album Whitney Houston was released in February 1985. Rolling Stone magazine praised Houston, calling her “one of the most exciting new voices in years” while The New York Times called the album “an impressive, musically conservative showcase for an exceptional vocal talent”. Arista Records promoted Houston’s album with three different singles from the album in the US, UK and other European countries. In the UK, the dance-funk “Someone for Me”, which failed to chart in the country, was the first single while “All at Once” was in such European countries as the Netherlands and Belgium, where the song reached the top 5 on the singles charts, respectively.
In the US, the soulful ballad “You Give Good Love” was chosen as the lead single from Houston’s debut to establish her in the black marketplace first. Outside the US, the song failed to get enough attention to become a hit, but in the US, it gave the album its first major hit as it peaked at No. 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, and No. 1 on the Hot R&B chart. As a result, the album began to sell strongly, and Houston continued promotion by touring nightclubs in the US. She also began performing on late-night television talk shows, which were not usually accessible to unestablished black acts. The jazzy ballad “Saving All My Love for You” was released next and it would become Houston’s first No. 1 single in both the US and the UK. She was then an opening act for singer Jeffrey Osborne on his nationwide tour. “Thinking About You” was released as the promo single only to R&B-oriented radio stations, which peaked at number ten on the US R&B Chart. At the time, MTV had received harsh criticism for not playing enough videos by black, Latino, and other racial minorities while favoring white acts. The third US single, “How Will I Know”, peaked at No. 1 and introduced Houston to the MTV audience thanks to its video. Houston’s subsequent singles from this, and future albums, would make her the first African-American female artist to receive consistent heavy rotation on MTV.
By 1986, a year after its initial release, Whitney Houston topped the Billboard 200 albums chart and stayed there for 14 non-consecutive weeks. The final single, “Greatest Love of All“, became Houston’s biggest hit at the time after peaking No. 1 and remaining there for three weeks on the Hot 100 chart, which made her debut the first album by a female artist to yield three No. 1 hits. Houston was No. 1 artist of the year and Whitney Houston was the No. 1 album of the year on the 1986 Billboard year-end charts, making her the first female artist to earn that distinction. At the time, Houston released the best-selling debut album by a solo artist. Houston then embarked on her world tour, Greatest Love Tour. The album had become an international success, and was certified 13× platinum (diamond) in the United States alone, and has sold a total of 25 million copies worldwide.
At the 1986 Grammy Awards, Houston was nominated for three awards including Album of the Year. She was not eligible for the Best New Artist category due to her previous hit R&B duet recording with Teddy Pendergrass in 1984. She won her first Grammy award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for “Saving All My Love for You”. Houston’s performance of the song during the Grammy telecast later earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.
Houston won seven American Music Awards in total in 1986 and 1987, and an MTV Video Music Award. The album’s popularity would also carry over to the 1987 Grammy Awards when “Greatest Love of All” would receive a Record of the Year nomination. Houston’s debut album is listed as one of Rolling Stone‘s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and on The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Definitive 200 list. Houston’s grand entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to USA Today. Following Houston’s breakthrough, doors were opened for other African-American female artists such as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker to find notable success in popular music and on MTV.
1987–91: Whitney, I’m Your Baby Tonight and “The Star Spangled Banner”
With many expectations, Houston’s second album, Whitney, was released in June 1987. The album again featured production from Masser, Kashif and Walden as well as Jellybean Benitez. Many critics complained that the material was too similar to her previous album. Rolling Stone said, “the narrow channel through which this talent has been directed is frustrating”. Still, the album enjoyed commercial success. Houston became the first female artist in music history to debut at number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart, and the first artist to enter the albums chart at number one in both the US and UK, while also hitting number one or top ten in dozens of other countries around the world. The album’s first single, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)“, was also a massive hit worldwide, peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and topping the singles chart in many countries such as Australia, Germany and the UK. The next three singles, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All“, “So Emotional“, and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” all peaked at number one on the US Hot 100 chart, which gave her a total of seven consecutive number one hits, breaking the record of six previously shared by The Beatles and The Bee Gees. Houston became the first female artist to generate four number-one singles from one album. Whitney has been certified 9× Platinum in the US for shipments of over 9 million copies, and has sold a total of 20 million copies worldwide.
At the 30th Grammy Awards in 1988, Houston was nominated for three awards, including Album of the Year, winning her second Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”. Houston also won two American Music Awards in 1988 and 1989, respectively, and a Soul Train Music Award. Following the release of the album, Houston embarked on the Moment of Truth World Tour, which was one of the ten highest grossing concert tours of 1987. The success of the tours during 1986–87 and her two studio albums ranked Houston No. 8 for the highest earning entertainers list according to Forbes magazine. She was the highest earning African-American woman overall and the third highest entertainer after Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy.
Houston was a supporter of Nelson Mandela and the anti-apartheid movement. During her modeling days, the singer refused to work with any agencies who did business with the then-apartheid South Africa. On June 11, 1988, during the European leg of her tour, Houston joined other musicians to perform a set at Wembley Stadium in London to celebrate a then-imprisoned Nelson Mandela’s 70th birthday. Over 72,000 people attended Wembley Stadium, and over a billion people tuned in worldwide as the rock concert raised over $1 million for charities while bringing awareness to apartheid. Houston then flew back to the US for a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City in August. The show was a benefit concert that raised a quarter of a million dollars for the United Negro College Fund. In the same year, she recorded a song for NBC‘s coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics, “One Moment in Time“, which became a Top 5 hit in the US, while reaching number one in the UK and Germany. With her world tour continuing overseas, Houston was still one of the top 20 highest earning entertainers for 1987–88 according to Forbes magazine.
In 1989, Houston formed The Whitney Houston Foundation For Children, a non-profit organization that has raised funds for the needs of children around the world. The organization cares for homelessness, children with cancer or AIDS, and other issues of self-empowerment. With the success of her first two albums, Houston was undoubtedly an international crossover superstar, the most prominent since Michael Jackson, appealing to all demographics. However, some black critics believed she was “selling out”. They felt her singing on record lacked the soul that was present during her live concerts.
At the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards, when Houston’s name was called out for a nomination, a few in the audience jeered. Houston defended herself against the criticism, stating, “If you’re gonna have a long career, there’s a certain way to do it, and I did it that way. I’m not ashamed of it”. Houston took a more urban direction with her third studio album, I’m Your Baby Tonight, released in November 1990. She produced and chose producers for this album and as a result, it featured production and collaborations with L.A. Reid and Babyface, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder. The album showed Houston’s versatility on a new batch of tough rhythmic grooves, soulful ballads and up-tempo dance tracks. Reviews were mixed. Rolling Stone felt it was her “best and most integrated album”. while Entertainment Weekly, at the time thought Houston’s shift towards an urban direction was “superficial”.
The album contained several hits: the first two singles, “I’m Your Baby Tonight” and “All the Man That I Need” peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart; “Miracle” peaked at number nine; “My Name Is Not Susan” peaked in the top twenty; “I Belong to You” reached the top ten of the US R&B chart and garnered Houston a Grammy nomination; and the sixth single, the Stevie Wonder duet “We Didn’t Know“, reached the R&B top twenty. The album peaked at number three on the Billboard 200 and went on to be certified 4× platinum in the US while selling twelve million total worldwide.
In 1990, Houston was the spokesperson for a youth leadership conference hosted in Washington, D.C. She had a private audience with President George H. W. Bush in the Oval Office to discuss the associated challenges.
During the Persian Gulf War, Houston performed “The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium on January 27, 1991. This performance was later reported by those involved in the performance to have been lip synced or to have been sung into a dead microphone while a studio recording previously made by Houston was played. Dan Klores, a spokesman for Houston, explained: “This is not a Milli Vanilli thing. She sang live, but the microphone was turned off. It was a technical decision, partially based on the noise factor. This is standard procedure at these events.” (See also Star Spangled Banner lip sync controversy.) A commercial single and video of her performance were released, and reached the Top 20 on the US Hot 100, making her the only act to turn the US national anthem into a pop hit of that magnitude (José Feliciano’s version reached No. 50 in November 1968). Houston donated all her share of the proceeds to the American Red Cross Gulf Crisis Fund. As a result, the singer was named to the Red Cross Board of Governors.
Her rendition was critically acclaimed and is considered the benchmark for singers. Rolling Stone commented that “her singing stirs such strong patriotism. Unforgettable”, and the performance ranked No. 1 on the 25 most memorable music moments in NFL history list. VH1 listed the performance as one of the greatest moments that rocked TV. Following the attacks on 9/11, it was released again by Arista Records, all profits going towards the firefighters and victims of the attacks. This time it peaked at No. 6 in the Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Later in 1991, Houston put together her Welcome Home Heroes concert with HBO for the soldiers fighting in the Persian Gulf War and their families. The free concert took place at Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, Virginia in front of 3,500 servicemen and women. HBO descrambled the concert so that it was free for everyone to watch. Houston’s concert gave HBO its highest ratings ever. She then embarked on the I’m Your Baby Tonight World Tour.
1992–94: Marriage to Bobby Brown and The Bodyguard
Throughout the 1980s, Houston was romantically linked to American football star Randall Cunningham and actor Eddie Murphy, whom she dated. She then met R&B singer Bobby Brown at the 1989 Soul Train Music Awards. After a three-year courtship, the two were married on July 18, 1992. On March 4, 1993, Houston gave birth to their daughter Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, her only child, and his fourth. Brown would go on to have several run-ins with the law, including some jail time.
With the commercial success of her albums, movie offers poured in, including offers to work with Robert De Niro, Quincy Jones, and Spike Lee; but Houston felt the time wasn’t right. Houston’s first film role was in The Bodyguard, released in 1992 and co-starring Kevin Costner. Houston played Rachel Marron, a star who is stalked by a crazed fan and hires a bodyguard to protect her. USA Today listed it as one of the 25 most memorable movie moments of the last 25 years in 2007. Houston’s mainstream appeal allowed people to look at the movie color-blind.
Still, controversy arose as some felt the film’s advertising intentionally hid Houston’s face to hide the film’s interracial relationship. In an interview with Rolling Stone in 1993, the singer commented that “people know who Whitney Houston is – I’m black. You can’t hide that fact.” Houston received a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Actress. The Washington Post said Houston is “doing nothing more than playing Houston, comes out largely unscathed if that is possible in so cockamamie an undertaking”, and The New York Times commented that she lacked passion with her co-star. Despite the film’s mixed reviews, it was hugely successful at the box office, grossing more than $121 million in the U.S. and $410 million worldwide, making it one of the top 100 grossing films in film history at its time of release, though it is no longer in the top 100 due to rising ticket prices since the time the film was released.
The film’s soundtrack also enjoyed big success. Houston executive produced and contributed six songs for the motion picture’s adjoining soundtrack album. Rolling Stone said it is “nothing more than pleasant, tasteful and urbane”. The soundtrack’s lead single was “I Will Always Love You“, written and originally recorded by Dolly Parton in 1974. Houston’s version of the song was acclaimed by many critics, regarding it as her “signature song” or “iconic performance”. Rolling Stone and USA Today called her rendition “the tour-de-force”. The single peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for a then-record-breaking 14 weeks, number one on the R&B chart for a then-record-breaking 11 weeks, and number one on the Adult Contemporary charts for five weeks.
The single was certified 4× platinum by the RIAA, making Houston the first female artist with a single to reach that level in the RIAA history and becoming the best-selling single by a female artist in the US. The song also became a global success, hitting number-one in almost all countries, and one of the best-selling singles of all time with 12 million copies sold. The soundtrack topped the Billboard 200 chart and remained there for 20 non-consecutive weeks, the longest tenure by any album on the chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era, and became one of the fastest selling albums ever. During Christmas week of 1992, the soundtrack sold over a million copies within a week, becoming the first album to achieve that feat under Nielsen SoundScan system. With the follow-up singles “I’m Every Woman”, a Chaka Khan cover, and “I Have Nothing” both reaching the top five, Houston became the first female artist to ever have three singles in the Top 11 simultaneously. The album was certified 17× platinum in the US alone, with worldwide sales of 44 million, making The Bodyguard the biggest-selling album by a female act on the list of the world’s Top 10 best-selling albums, topping Shania Twain’s 40 million sold for Come On Over.
Houston won three Grammys for the album in 1994, including two of the Academy’s highest honors, Album of the Year and Record of the Year. In addition, she won a record 8 American Music Awards at that year’s ceremony including the Award of Merit, 11 Billboard Music Awards, 3 Soul Train Music Awards in 1993–94 including Sammy Davis, Jr. Award as Entertainer of the Year, 5 NAACP Image Awards including Entertainer of the Year, a record 5 World Music Awards, and a BRIT award. Following the success of the project, Houston embarked on another expansive global tour, The Bodyguard World Tour, in 1993–94. Her concerts, movie, and recording grosses made her the third highest earning female entertainer of 1993–94, just behind Oprah Winfrey and Barbra Streisand according to Forbes magazine. Houston placed in the top five of Entertainment Weekly‘s annual “Entertainer of the Year” ranking and was labeled by Premiere magazine as one of the 100 most powerful people in Hollywood.
In October 1994, Houston attended and performed at a state dinner in the White House honoring newly elected South African president Nelson Mandela. At the end of her world tour, Houston performed three concerts in South Africa to honor President Mandela, playing to over 200,000 people. This would make the singer the first major musician to visit the newly unified and apartheid free nation following Mandela’s winning election. The concert was broadcast live on HBO with funds of the concerts being donated to various charities in South Africa. The event was considered the nation’s “biggest media event since the inauguration of Nelson Mandela”.
1995–97: Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher’s Wife, and Cinderella
In 1995, Houston starred alongside Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine, and Lela Rochon in her second film Waiting to Exhale, a motion picture about four African-American women struggling with relationships. Houston played the lead character Savannah Jackson, a TV producer in love with a married man. She chose the role because she saw the film as “a breakthrough for the image of black women because it presents them both as professionals and as caring mothers”. After opening at number one and grossing $67 million in the US at the box office and $81 million worldwide, it proved that a movie primarily targeting a black audience can cross over to success, while paving the way for other all-black movies such as How Stella Got Her Groove Back and the Tyler Perry movies that have become popular in the 2000s. The film is also notable for its portrayal of black women as strong middle class citizens as opposed to stereotypes. The reviews were mainly positive for the ensemble cast. The New York Times said “Ms. Houston has shed the defensive hauteur that made her portrayal of a pop star in ‘The Bodyguard’ seem so distant.” Houston was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Actress In A Motion Picture”, but lost to her co-star Bassett.
The film’s accompanying soundtrack, Waiting to Exhale: Original Soundtrack Album, was produced by Houston and Babyface. Though Babyface originally wanted Houston to record the entire album, she declined. Instead, she “wanted it to be an album of women with vocal distinction”, and thus gathered several African-American female artists for the soundtrack, to go along with the film’s strong women message. As a result, the album featured a range of contemporary R&B female recording artists along with Houston, such as Mary J. Blige, Aretha Franklin, Toni Braxton, Patti LaBelle, and Brandy. Houston’s “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)” peaked at No. 1, and then spent a record eleven weeks at the No. 2 spot and eight weeks on top of the R&B Charts. “Count On Me”, a duet with CeCe Winans, hit the US Top 10; and Houston’s third contribution, “Why Does It Hurt So Bad”, made the Top 30. The album debuted at No. 1, and was certified 7× Platinum in the United States, denoting shipments of seven million copies. The soundtrack received strong reviews as Entertainment Weekly said “the album goes down easy, just as you’d expect from a package framed by Whitney Houston tracks…. the soundtrack waits to exhale, hovering in sensuous suspense” and has since ranked it as one of the 100 Best Movie Soundtracks. Later that year, Houston’s children’s charity organization was awarded a VH1 Honor for all the charitable work.
In 1996, Houston starred in the holiday comedy The Preacher’s Wife, with Denzel Washington. She plays a gospel-singing wife of a pastor (Courtney B. Vance). It was largely an updated remake of the 1948 film “The Bishop’s Wife” which starred Loretta Young, David Niven and Cary Grant. Houston earned $10 million for the role, making her one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood at the time and the highest earning African American actress in Hollywood. The movie, with its all African-American cast, was a moderate success, earning approximately $50 million at the U.S. box offices. The movie gave Houston her strongest reviews so far. The San Francisco Chronicle said Houston “is rather angelic herself, displaying a divine talent for being virtuous and flirtatious at the same time” and that she “exudes gentle yet spirited warmth, especially when praising the Lord in her gorgeous singing voice”. Houston was again nominated for an NAACP Image Award and won for Outstanding Actress In A Motion Picture.
Houston recorded and co-produced, with Mervyn Warren, the film’s accompanying gospel soundtrack. The Preacher’s Wife: Original Soundtrack Album included six gospel songs with Georgia Mass Choir that were recorded at the Great Star Rising Baptist Church in Atlanta. Houston also duetted with gospel legend Shirley Caesar. The album sold six million copies worldwide and scored hit singles with “I Believe in You and Me” and “Step by Step”, becoming the largest selling gospel album of all time. The album received mainly positive reviews. Some critics, such as that of USA Today, noted the presence of her emotional depth, while The Times said “To hear Houston going at full throttle with the 35 piece Georgia Mass Choir struggling to keep up is to realise what her phenomenal voice was made for”.
In 1997, Houston’s production company changed its name to BrownHouse Productions and was joined by Debra Martin Chase. Their goal was “to show aspects of the lives of African-Americans that have not been brought to the screen before” while improving how African-Americans are portrayed in film and television. Their first project was a made-for-television remake of Rodgers & Hammerstein‘s Cinderella. In addition to co-producing, Houston starred in the movie as the Fairy Godmother along with Brandy, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bernadette Peters. Houston was initially offered the role of Cinderella in 1993, but other projects intervened. The film is notable for its multi-racial cast and nonstereotypical message. An estimated 60 million viewers tuned into the special giving ABC its highest TV ratings in 16 years. The movie received seven Emmy nominations including Outstanding Variety, Musical or Comedy, while winning Outstanding Art Direction in a Variety, Musical or Comedy Special.
Houston and Chase then obtained the rights to the story of Dorothy Dandridge. Houston was to play Dandridge, who was the first African American actress to be nominated for an Oscar. She wanted the story told with dignity and honor. However, Halle Berry also had rights to the project and she got her version going first. Later that year, Houston paid tribute to her idols such as Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, and Dionne Warwick by performing their hits during the three-night HBO Concert Classic Whitney, live from Washington, D.C. The special raised over $300,000 for the Children’s Defense Fund. Houston received The Quincy Jones Award for outstanding career achievements in the field of entertainment at the 12th Soul Train Music Awards.
1998–2000: My Love Is Your Love and Whitney: The Greatest Hits
After spending much of the early and mid-1990s working on motion pictures and their soundtrack albums, Houston’s first studio album in eight years, the critically acclaimed My Love Is Your Love, was released in November 1998. Though originally slated to be a greatest hits album with a handful of new songs, recording sessions were so fruitful that a new full-length studio album was released. Recorded and mixed in only six weeks, it featured production from Rodney Jerkins, Wyclef Jean and Missy Elliott. The album debuted at number thirteen, its peak position, on the Billboard 200 chart. It had a funkier and edgier sound than past releases and saw Houston handling urban dance, hip hop, mid-tempo R&B, reggae, torch songs, and ballads all with great dexterity.
From late 1998 to early 2000, the album spawned several hit singles: “When You Believe” (US No. 15, UK No. 4), a duet with Mariah Carey for 1998’s The Prince of Egypt soundtrack, which also became an international hit as it peaked in the Top 10 in several countries and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song; “Heartbreak Hotel” (US No. 2, UK No. 25) featured Faith Evans and Kelly Price, received a 1999 MTV VMA nomination for Best R&B Video, and number one on the US R&B chart for seven weeks; “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay” (US No. 4, UK No. 3) won Houston her sixth Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance; “My Love Is Your Love” (US No. 4, UK No. 2) with 3 million copies sold worldwide; and “I Learned from the Best” (US No. 27, UK No. 19). These singles became international hits as well, and all the singles, except “When You Believe”, became number one hits on the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play chart. The album sold four million copies in America, making it certified 4× platinum, and a total of eleven million copies worldwide.
The album gave Houston some of her strongest reviews ever. Rolling Stone said Houston was singing “with a bite in her voice” and The Village Voice called it “Whitney’s sharpest and most satisfying so far”. In 1999, Houston participated in VH-1’s Divas Live ’99, alongside Brandy, Mary J. Blige, Tina Turner, and Cher. The same year, Houston hit the road with her 70 date My Love Is Your Love World Tour. The European leg of the tour was Europe’s highest grossing arena tour of the year. In November 1999, Houston was named Top-selling R&B Female Artist of the Century with certified US sales of 51 million copies at the time and The Bodyguard Soundtrack was named the Top-selling Soundtrack Album of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). She also won The Artist of the Decade, Female award for extraordinary artistic contributions during the 1990s at the 14th Soul Train Music Awards, and an MTV Europe Music Award for Best R&B.
In May 2000, Whitney: The Greatest Hits was released worldwide. The double disc set peaked at number five in the United States, reaching number one in the United Kingdom. In addition, the album reached the Top 10 in many other countries. While ballad songs were left unchanged, the album features house/club remixes of many of Houston’s up-tempo hits. Included on the album were four new songs: “Could I Have This Kiss Forever” (a duet with Enrique Iglesias), “Same Script, Different Cast” (a duet with Deborah Cox), “If I Told You That” (a duet with George Michael), and “Fine“, and three hits that had never appeared on a Houston album: “One Moment in Time”, “The Star Spangled Banner”, and “If You Say My Eyes Are Beautiful”, a duet with Jermaine Jackson from his 1986 Precious Moments album. Along with the album, an accompanying VHS and DVD was released featuring the music videos to Houston’s greatest hits, as well as several hard-to-find live performances including her 1983 debut on The Merv Griffin Show, and interviews. The greatest hits album was certified 3× platinum in the US, with worldwide sales of 10 million.
2000–05: Just Whitney and Personal Struggles
Though Houston was seen as a “good girl” with a perfect image in the 1980s and early 1990s, by the late 1990s, her behavior changed. She was often hours late for interviews, photo shoots and rehearsals, and canceling concerts and talk-show appearances. With the missed performances and weight loss, rumors about Houston using drugs with her husband circulated. On January 11, 2000, airport security guards discovered marijuana in both Houston’s and husband Bobby Brown’s luggage at a Hawaii airport, but the two boarded the plane and departed before authorities could arrive. Charges were later dropped against them, but rumors of drug usage between the couple would continue to surface. Two months later, Clive Davis was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Houston had been scheduled to perform at the event, but failed to show up.
Shortly thereafter, Houston was scheduled to perform at the Academy Awards but was fired from the event by musical director and longtime friend Burt Bacharach. Her publicist cited throat problems as the reason for the cancellation. In his book The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards, author Steve Pond revealed that “Houston’s voice was shaky, she seemed distracted and jittery, and her attitude was casual, almost defiant”, and that while Houston was to sing “Over the Rainbow”, she would start singing a different song. Houston later admitted to having been fired. Later that year, Houston’s long-time executive assistant and friend, Robyn Crawford, resigned from Houston’s management company.
In August 2001, Houston signed the biggest record deal in music history with Arista/BMG. She renewed her contract for $100 million to deliver six new albums, on which she would also earn royalties. She later made an appearance on Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special. Her extremely thin frame further spurred rumors of drug use. Houston’s publicist said, “Whitney has been under stress due to family matters, and when she is under stress she doesn’t eat.” The singer was scheduled for a second performance the following night but canceled. Within weeks, Houston’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” would be re-released after the September 11 attacks, with the proceeds donated to the New York Firefighters 9/11 Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Fraternal Order of Police. The song peaked at No. 6 this time on the US Hot 100, topping its previous position.
In 2002, Houston became involved in a legal dispute with John Houston Enterprise. Although the company was started by her father to manage her career, it was actually run by company president Kevin Skinner. Skinner filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit and sued for $100 million (but lost), stating that Houston owed the company previously unpaid compensation for helping to negotiate her $100 million contract with Arista Records and for sorting out legal matters. Houston stated that her 81-year-old father had nothing to do with the lawsuit. Although Skinner tried to claim otherwise, John Houston never appeared in court. Houston’s father later died in February 2003. The lawsuit was dismissed on April 5, 2004, and Skinner was awarded nothing.
Also in 2002, Houston did an interview with Diane Sawyer to promote her then-upcoming album. During the prime-time special, Houston spoke on topics including rumored drug use and marriage. She was asked about the ongoing drug rumors and replied, “First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let’s get that straight. Okay? We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is wack.” The line was from Keith Haring’s mural which was painted in 1986 on the handball court at 128th Street and 2nd Avenue. Houston did, however, admit to using other substances at times, including cocaine.
In December 2002, Houston released her fifth studio album, Just Whitney…. The album included productions from then-husband Bobby Brown, as well as Missy Elliott and Babyface, and marked the first time that Houston did not produce with Clive Davis as Davis had been released by top management at BMG. Upon its release, Just Whitney… received mixed reviews. The album debuted at number 9 on the Billboard 200 chart and it had the highest first week sales of any album Houston had ever released. The four singles released from the album, didn’t fare well on the Billboard Hot 100, but became Hot Dance Club Play hits. Just Whitney… was certified platinum in the United States, and sold approximately three million worldwide.
On a June 2003 trip to Israel, Houston said of her visit, “I’ve never felt like this in any other country. I feel at home, I feel wonderful.”
In late 2003, Houston released her first Christmas album One Wish: The Holiday Album, with a collection of traditional holiday songs. Houston produced the album with Mervyn Warren and Gordon Chambers. A single titled “One Wish (for Christmas)” reached the Top 20 on the Adult Contemporary chart, and the album was certified gold in the US. Having always been a touring artist, Houston spent most of 2004 touring and performing in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Russia. In September 2004, she gave a surprise performance at the World Music Awards in a tribute to long-time friend Clive Davis. After the show, Davis and Houston announced plans to go into studio to work on her new album.
In early 2004, husband Bobby Brown starred in his own reality TV program, Being Bobby Brown (on the Bravo network), which provided a view into the domestic goings-on in the Brown household. Though it was Brown’s vehicle, Houston was a prominent figure throughout the show, receiving as much screen time as Brown. The series aired in 2005 and featured Houston in, what some would say, not her most flattering moments. The Hollywood Reporter said it was “undoubtedly the most disgusting and execrable series ever to ooze its way onto television.” Despite the perceived train-wreck nature of the show, the series gave Bravo its highest ratings in its time slot and continued Houston’s successful forays into film and television. The show was not renewed for a second season after Houston stated that she would no longer appear in it, and Brown and Bravo could not come to an agreement for another season.
2006–12: Return to Music, I Look to You, Tour and Film Comeback
After years of controversy and turmoil, Houston separated from Bobby Brown in September 2006, filing for divorce the following month. On February 1, 2007, Houston asked the court to fast track their divorce. The divorce was finalized on April 24, 2007, with Houston granted custody of the couple’s daughter. On May 4, Houston sold the suburban Atlanta home featured in Being Bobby Brown for $1.19 million. A few days later, Brown sued Houston in Orange County, California court in an attempt to change the terms of their custody agreement. Brown also sought child and spousal support from Houston. In the lawsuit, Brown claimed that financial and emotional problems prevented him from properly responding to Houston’s divorce petition. Brown lost at his court hearing as the judge dismissed his appeal to overrule the custody terms, leaving Houston with full custody and Brown with no spousal support. In March 2007, Clive Davis of Arista Records announced that Houston would begin recording a new album. In October 2007, Arista released another compilation The Ultimate Collection outside the United States.
Houston gave her first interview in seven years in September 2009, appearing on Oprah Winfrey’s season premiere. The interview was billed as “the most anticipated music interview of the decade”. Whitney admitted on the show to using drugs with former husband Bobby Brown, who “laced marijuana with rock cocaine”. By 1996, she told Oprah, “[doing drugs] was an everyday thing… I wasn’t happy by that point in time. I was losing myself.”
Houston released her new album, I Look to You, in August 2009. The album’s first two singles are “I Look to You” and “Million Dollar Bill”. The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1, with Houston’s best opening-week sales of 305,000 copies, marking Houston’s first number one album since The Bodyguard, and Houston’s first studio album to reach number one since 1987’s Whitney. Houston also appeared on European television programs to promote the album. She performed the song “I Look to You” on the German television show Wetten, dass..?. Three days later, she performed the worldwide first single from I Look To You, Million Dollar Bill, on the French television show Le Grand Journal. Houston appeared as guest mentor on The X Factor in the United Kingdom. She performed “Million Dollar Bill” on the following day’s results show, completing the song even as a strap in the back of her dress popped open two minutes into the performance. She later commented that she “sang [herself] out of [her] clothes”.
The performance was poorly received by the British media, and was variously described as “weird” and “ungracious”, “shambolic” and a “flop”. Despite this reception, “Million Dollar Bill” jumped to its peak from 14 to number 5 (her first UK top 5 for over a decade), and three weeks after release “I Look to You” went gold. Houston appeared on the Italian version of The X Factor, performing the same song “Million Dollar Bill” to excellent reviews. She was awarded the Gold Certificate for achieving over 50,000 CD sales of “I Look To You” in Italy. In November, Houston performed “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California. Two days later, Houston performed both songs on the Dancing With The Stars season 9 finale. As of December 2009, “I Look to You” has been certified platinum by the RIAA for sales of more than one million copies in the United States. On January 26, 2010, her debut album was re-released in a special edition entitled Whitney Houston – The Deluxe Anniversary Edition.
Houston later embarked on a world tour, entitled the Nothing but Love World Tour. It was her first world tour in over ten years and was announced as a triumphant comeback. However, some poor reviews and rescheduled concerts brought some negative media attention. Houston canceled some concerts due to illness and received widespread negative reviews from fans who were disappointed in the quality of her voice and performance. Some fans reportedly walked out of her concerts.
In January 2010, Houston was nominated for two NAACP Image Awards, one for Best Female Artist and one for Best Music Video. She won the award for Best Music Video for her single “I Look to You”. On January 16, she received The BET Honors Award for Entertainer citing her lifetime achievements spanning over 25 years in the industry. The 2010 BET Honors award was held at the Warner Theatre in Washington, D.C. and aired on February 1, 2010. Jennifer Hudson and Kim Burrell performed in honor of her, garnering positive reviews. Houston also received a nomination from the Echo Awards, Germany’s version of the Grammys, for Best International Artist. In April 2010, the UK newspaper The Mirror reported that Houston was thinking about recording her eighth studio album and wanted to collaborate with will.i.am (of The Black Eyed Peas), her first choice for a collaboration.
Houston also performed the song “I Look to You” on the 2011 BET Celebration of Gospel, with gospel–jazz singer Kim Burrell, held at the Staples Center, Los Angeles. The performance aired on January 30, 2011. Early in 2011, she gave an uneven performance in tribute to cousin Dionne Warwick at music mogul Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy gala. In May 2011, Houston enrolled in a rehabilitation center again, as an out-patient, citing drug and alcohol problems. A representative for Houston said that it was a part of Houston’s “longstanding recovery process”.
In September 2011, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Houston would produce and star alongside Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps in the remake of the 1976 film Sparkle. In the film, Houston portrays Sparks’ “not-so encouraging mother.” Houston also is credited as an executive producer of the film. Debra Martin Chase, producer of Sparkle, stated that Houston deserved the title considering she had been there from the beginning in 2001, when Houston obtained Sparkle production rights. R&B singer Aaliyah – originally tapped to star as Sparkle – died in a 2001 plane crash. Her death derailed production, which would have begun in 2002. Houston’s remake of Sparkle was filmed in the fall of 2011 over a two-month period, and was released by TriStar Pictures. On May 21, 2012, “Celebrate”, the last song Houston recorded with Sparks, premiered at RyanSeacrest.com. It was made available for digital download on iTunes on June 5. The song was featured on the Sparkle: Music from the Motion Picture soundtrack as the first official single. The movie was released on August 17, 2012 in the United States. The accompanying music video for Celebrate was filmed on May 30, 2012. The video was shot over 2 days, and a sneak peek of the video premiered on Entertainment Tonight on June 4, 2012.
On February 9, 2012, Houston visited singers Brandy and Monica, together with Clive Davis, at their rehearsals for Davis’ pre-Grammy Awards party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. That same day, she made her last public performance, when she joined Kelly Price on stage in Hollywood, California, and sang “Jesus Loves Me”.
Two days later, on February 11, Houston was found unconscious in Suite 434 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, submerged in the bathtub; she was later pronounced dead. The cause of death was not immediately known. It was later ruled by the coroner to have been an “accidental drowning”. Beverly Hills paramedics arrived at approximately 3:30 p.m. and found the singer unresponsive and performed CPR. Houston was pronounced dead at 3:55 p.m. PST. Local police said there were “no obvious signs of criminal intent.” On March 22, 2012, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office reported the cause of Houston’s death was drowning and the “effects of atherosclerotic heart disease and cocaine use”. The office stated the amount of cocaine found in Houston’s body indicated that she used the substance shortly before her death. Toxicology results revealed additional drugs in her system: Benadryl, Xanax, marijuana and Flexeril. The manner of death was listed as an “accident”.
Houston had an invitation-only memorial on Saturday, February 18, 2012, at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey. The service was scheduled for two hours, but lasted four. Among those who performed at the funeral were Stevie Wonder (rewritten version of “Ribbon in the Sky”, and “Love’s in Need of Love Today”), CeCe Winans (“Don’t Cry”, and “Jesus Loves Me”), Alicia Keys (“Send Me an Angel”), Kim Burrell (rewritten version of “A Change Is Gonna Come”), and R. Kelly (“I Look to You”). The performances were interspersed with hymns by the church choir and remarks by Clive Davis, Houston’s record producer; Kevin Costner; Ricky Minor, her music director; her cousin, Dionne Warwick; and Ray Watson, her security guard for the past 11 years. Aretha Franklin was listed on the program and was expected to sing, but was unable to attend the service. Bobby Brown, Houston’s ex-husband, was also invited to the funeral but he left before the service began. Houston was buried on Sunday, February 19, 2012, in Fairview Cemetery, in Westfield, New Jersey next to her father, John Russell Houston, who died in 2003. In June 2012, the McDonald’s Gospelfest in Newark became a tribute to Houston.
The Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy party that Houston was expected to attend, which featured many of the biggest names in music and movies, went on as scheduled although it was quickly turned into a tribute to Houston. Davis spoke about Houston’s death at the evening’s start: “By now you have all learned of the unspeakably tragic news of our beloved Whitney’s passing. I don’t have to mask my emotion in front of a room full of so many dear friends. I am personally devastated by the loss of someone who has meant so much to me for so many years. Whitney was so full of life. She was so looking forward to tonight even though she wasn’t scheduled to perform. Whitney was a beautiful person and a talent beyond compare. She graced this stage with her regal presence and gave so many memorable performances here over the years. Simply put, Whitney would have wanted the music to go on and her family asked that we carry on.”
Tony Bennett spoke of Houston’s death before performing at Davis’ party. He said, “First, it was Michael Jackson, then Amy Winehouse, now, the magnificent Whitney Houston”. Bennett sang “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” and said of Houston, “When I first heard her, I called Clive Davis and said, ‘You finally found the greatest singer I’ve ever heard in my life.'”
Some celebrities opposed Davis’ decision to continue on the party while a police investigation was being conducted in Houston’s hotel room and her body was still in the building. Chaka Khan, in an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan on February 13, 2012, shared that she felt the party should have been canceled, saying “I thought that was complete insanity. And knowing Whitney I don’t believe that she would have said ‘the show must go on.’ She’s the kind of woman that would’ve said ‘Stop everything! Un-unh. I’m not going to be there.’ […] I don’t know what could motivate a person to have a party in a building where the person whose life he had influenced so enormously and whose life had been affected by hers. They were like… I don’t understand how that party went on.” Sharon Osbourne condemned the Davis party, declaring “I think it was disgraceful that the party went on. I don’t want to be in a hotel room when there’s someone you admire who’s tragically lost their life four floors up. I’m not interested in being in that environment and I think when you grieve someone, you do it privately, you do it with people who understand you. I thought it was so wrong.”
Several other celebrities released statements responding to Houston’s death. Darlene Love, Houston’s Godmother, hearing the news of her death, said, “It felt like I had been struck by a lightning bolt in my gut.” Dolly Parton, whose song “I Will Always Love You” was covered by Houston, said, “I will always be grateful and in awe of the wonderful performance she did on my song and I can truly say from the bottom of my heart, ‘Whitney, I will always love you. You will be missed’.” Aretha Franklin said, “It’s so stunning and unbelievable. I couldn’t believe what I was reading coming across the TV screen.” Mariah Carey said, “Heartbroken and in tears over the shocking death of my friend, the incomparable Ms. Whitney Houston. My heartfelt condolences to Whitney’s family and to all her millions of fans throughout the world. She will never be forgotten as one of the greatest voices to ever grace the earth.” Oprah Winfrey, who did an in-depth interview with Houston in 2009, wrote on Twitter “To me Whitney was THE VOICE. We got to hear a part of God every time she sang. Heart is heavy, spirit grateful for the GIFT of her.” Quincy Jones said, “I am absolutely heartbroken at the news of Whitney’s passing. Ashford & Simpson first made me aware of Whitney when she was just sixteen, and I always regretted not having had the opportunity to work with her. She was a true original and a talent beyond compare. I will miss her terribly.”
Moments after news of her death emerged, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News all broke from their regularly scheduled programming to dedicate time to non-stop coverage of Houston’s death. All three featured live interviews with people who had known Houston including those that had worked with her, interviewed her along with some of her peers in the music industry. Saturday Night Live displayed a photo of a smiling Houston, alongside Molly Shannon, from her 1996 appearance. MTV and VH-1 interrupted their regularly scheduled programming on Sunday February 12 to air many of Houston’s classic videos with MTV often airing news segments in between and featuring various reactions from fans and celebrities.
Houston’s former husband, Bobby Brown, was reported to be “in and out of crying fits” since receiving the news. He did not cancel a scheduled performance and within hours of his ex-wife’s sudden death, an audience in Mississippi observed as Brown blew kisses skyward, tearfully saying: “I love you, Whitney”.
Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of the 54th Grammy Awards, announced that Jennifer Hudson would perform a tribute to Houston at the February 12, 2012, awards. He said “event organizers believed Hudson – an Academy Award-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning artist – could perform a respectful musical tribute to Houston”. Ehrlich went on to say: “It’s too fresh in everyone’s memory to do more at this time, but we would be remiss if we didn’t recognize Whitney’s remarkable contribution to music fans in general, and in particular her close ties with the Grammy telecast and her Grammy wins and nominations over the years”. At the start of the awards ceremony, a footage of Houston performing “I Will Always Love You” from the 1994 Grammys was shown following a prayer read by host, LL Cool J. Later in the program following a montage of photos of musicians who died in 2011 with Houston singing “Saving All My Love for You” at the 1986 Grammys, Hudson paid tribute to Houston and the other artists by performing “I Will Always Love You”. The tribute was partially credited for the Grammys telecast getting its second highest ratings in history.
Houston was honored in the form of various tributes at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards, held on February 17. An image montage of Houston and important black figures who died in 2011 was followed by video footage from the 1994 ceremony, which depicted her accepting two Image Awards for outstanding female artist and entertainer of the year. Following the video tribute, Yolanda Adams delivered a rendition of “I Love the Lord” from The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack. In the finale of the ceremony, Kirk Franklin and The Family started their performance with “The Greatest Love of All.” The 2012 BRIT Awards, which took place at London’s O2 Arena on February 21, also paid tribute to Houston by playing a 30-second-video montage of her music videos with a snippet of “One Moment in Time” as the background music in the ceremony’s first segment. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that all New Jersey state flags would be flown at half-staff on Tuesday, February 21 to honor Houston. Accompanied by Esperanza Spalding belting out “What a Wonderful World” along with the Southern California Children’s Choir, Houston was featured in the In Memoriam montage alongside other cinema greats at the 84th Academy Awards, held at the Hollywood and Highland Center on February 26, 2012.
Artistry and Legacy
Houston was a mezzo-soprano, and was commonly referred to as “The Voice” in reference to her exceptional vocal talent. She was third in MTV’s list of 22 Greatest Voices, and sixth on Online Magazine COVE‘s list of the 100 Best Pop Vocalists with a score of 48.5/50. Jon Pareles of The New York Times stated she “always had a great big voice, a technical marvel from its velvety depths to its ballistic middle register to its ringing and airy heights”. In 2008, Rolling Stone listed Houston as the thirty-fourth of the 100 greatest singers of all time, stating, “Her voice is a mammoth, coruscating cry: Few vocalists could get away with opening a song with 45 unaccompanied seconds of singing, but Houston’s powerhouse version of Dolly Parton’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ is a tour de force.” Matthew Perpetua from Rolling Stone also eulogized Houston’s vocal, enumerating ten performances, including “How Will I Know” from the 1986 MTV VMAs and “The Star Spangled Banner” at the 1991 Super Bowl. “Whitney Houston was blessed with an astonishing vocal range and extraordinary technical skill, but what truly made her a great singer was her ability to connect with a song and drive home its drama and emotion with incredible precision,” he stated. “She was a brilliant performer, and her live shows often eclipsed her studio recordings.”
Jon Caramanica of The New York Times commented, “Her voice was clean and strong, with barely any grit, well suited to the songs of love and aspiration. […] Hers was a voice of triumph and achievement, and it made for any number of stunning, time-stopping vocal performances.” Mariah Carey stated, “She [Whitney] has a really rich, strong mid-belt that very few people have. She sounds really good, really strong.” While in her review of I Look to You, music critic Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times writes, “[Houston’s voice] stands like monuments upon the landscape of 20th century pop, defining the architecture of their times, sheltering the dreams of millions and inspiring the climbing careers of countless imitators”, adding “When she was at her best, nothing could match her huge, clean, cool mezzo-soprano”.
Lauren Everitt from BBC News Magazine commented on melisma used in Houston’s recording and its influence. “An early ‘I’ in Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ takes nearly six seconds to sing. In those seconds the former gospel singer-turned-pop star packs a series of different notes into the single syllable,” stated Everitt. “The technique is repeated throughout the song, most pronouncedly on every ‘I’ and ‘you’. The vocal technique is called melisma, and it has inspired a host of imitators. Other artists may have used it before Houston, but it was her rendition of Dolly Parton’s love song that pushed the technique into the mainstream in the 90s. […] But perhaps what Houston nailed best was moderation.” Everitt said that “[i]n a climate of reality shows ripe with ‘oversinging’, it’s easy to appreciate Houston’s ability to save melisma for just the right moment”.
Houston’s vocal stylings have had a significant impact on the music industry. According to Linda Lister in Divafication: The Deification of Modern Female Pop Stars, she has been called the “Queen of Pop” for her influence during the 1990s, commercially rivaling Mariah Carey and Celine Dion. Stephen Holden from The New York Times, in his review of Houston’s Radio City Music Hall concert on July 20, 1993, praised her attitude as a singer, writing, “Whitney Houston is one of the few contemporary pop stars of whom it might be said: the voice suffices. While almost every performer whose albums sell in the millions calls upon an entertainer’s bag of tricks, from telling jokes to dancing to circus pyrotechnics, Ms. Houston would rather just stand there and sing.” With regard to her singing style, he added: “Her [Houston’s] stylistic trademarks – shivery melismas that ripple up in the middle of a song, twirling embellishments at the ends of phrases that suggest an almost breathless exhilaration – infuse her interpretations with flashes of musical and emotional lightning.”
Elysa Gardner of the Los Angeles Times in her review for The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack praised Houston’s vocal ability highly, commenting, “She is first and foremost a pop diva – at that, the best one we have. No other female pop star – not Mariah Carey, not Celine Dion, not Barbra Streisand – quite rivals Houston in her exquisite vocal fluidity and purity of tone, and her ability to infuse a lyric with mesmerizing melodrama.”
During the 1980s, MTV was coming into its own and received criticism for not playing enough videos by black artists. With Michael Jackson breaking down the color barrier for black male artists, Houston did the same for black female artists. She became the first black female artist to receive heavy rotation on the network following the success of the “How Will I Know” video. Following Houston’s breakthrough, other African-American female artists, such as Janet Jackson and Anita Baker, were successful in popular music. Baker commented that “Because of what Whitney and Sade did, there was an opening for me… For radio stations, black women singers aren’t taboo anymore.”
Allmusic noted her contribution to the success of black artists on the pop scene, commenting, “Houston was able to handle big adult contemporary ballads, effervescent, stylish dance-pop, and slick urban contemporary soul with equal dexterity” and that “the result was an across-the-board appeal that was matched by scant few artists of her era, and helped her become one of the first black artists to find success on MTV in Michael Jackson’s wake”. The New York Times stated that “Houston was a major catalyst for a movement within black music that recognized the continuity of soul, pop, jazz and gospel vocal traditions”. Richard Corliss of Time magazine commented on her initial success breaking various barriers:
Of her first album’s ten cuts, six were ballads. This chanteuse [Houston] had to fight for air play with hard rockers. The young lady had to stand uncowed in the locker room of macho rock. The soul strutter had to seduce a music audience that anointed few black artists with superstardom. […] She was a phenomenon waiting to happen, a canny tapping of the listener’s yen for a return to the musical middle. And because every new star creates her own genre, her success has helped other blacks, other women, other smooth singers find an avid reception in the pop marketplace.
Stephen Holden of The New York Times said that Houston “revitalized the tradition of strong gospel-oriented pop-soul singing”. Ann Powers of the Los Angeles Times referred to the singer as a “national treasure”. Jon Caramanica, other music critic of The New York Times, called Houston “R&B’s great modernizer,” adding “slowly but surely reconciling the ambition and praise of the church with the movements and needs of the body and the glow of the mainstream”. He also drew comparisons between Houston’s influence and other big names’ on 1980s pop:
She was, alongside Michael Jackson and Madonna, one of the crucial figures to hybridize pop in the 1980s, though her strategy was far less radical than that of her peers. Jackson and Madonna were by turns lascivious and brutish and, crucially, willing to let their production speak more loudly than their voices, an option Ms. Houston never went for. Also, she was less prolific than either of them, achieving most of her renown on the strength of her first three solo albums and one soundtrack, released from 1985 to 1992. If she was less influential than they were in the years since, it was only because her gift was so rare, so impossible to mimic. Jackson and Madonna built worldviews around their voices; Ms. Houston’s voice was the worldview. She was someone more to be admired, like a museum piece, than to be emulated.
The Independent‘s music critic Andy Gill also wrote about Houston’s influence on modern R&B and singing competitions, comparing it to Michael Jackson’s. “Because Whitney, more than any other single artist ― Michael Jackson included ― effectively mapped out the course of modern R&B, setting the bar for standards of soul vocalese, and creating the original template for what we now routinely refer to as the ‘soul diva’,” stated Gill. “Jackson was a hugely talented icon, certainly, but he will be as well remembered (probably more so) for his presentational skills, his dazzling dance moves, as for his musical innovations. Whitney, on the other hand, just sang, and the ripples from her voice continue to dominate the pop landscape.” Gill said that there “are few, if any, Jackson imitators on today’s TV talent shows, but every other contestant is a Whitney wannabe, desperately attempting to emulate that wondrous combination of vocal effects – the flowing melisma, the soaring mezzo-soprano confidence, the tremulous fluttering that carried the ends of lines into realms of higher yearning”.
Houston was considered by many to be a “singer’s singer”, who had an influence on countless other vocalists, both female and male. Similarly, Steve Huey from Allmusic wrote that the shadow of Houston’s prodigious technique still looms large over nearly every pop diva and smooth urban soul singer – male or female – in her wake, and spawned a legion of imitators. Rolling Stone, on her biography, stated that Houston “redefined the image of a female soul icon and inspired singers ranging from Mariah Carey to Rihanna”. Essence ranked Houston the fifth on their list of 50 Most Influential R&B Stars of all time, calling her “the diva to end all divas”.
A number of artists have acknowledged Houston as an influence, including Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton, Christina Aguilera, LeAnn Rimes, Jessica Simpson, Nelly Furtado, Kelly Clarkson, Britney Spears, Ciara, P!nk, Ashanti, Robin Thicke, Jennifer Hudson, Stacie Orrico, Amerie, and Destiny’s Child. Mariah Carey, who was often compared to Houston, said, “She [Houston] has been a big influence on me.” She later told USA Today that “none of us would sound the same if Aretha Franklin hadn’t ever put out a record, or Whitney Houston hadn’t.” Celine Dion who was the third member of the troika that dominated female pop singing in the 1990s, did a telephone interview with Good Morning America on February 13, 2012, telling “Whitney’s been an amazing inspiration for me. I’ve been singing with her my whole career, actually. I wanted to have a career like hers, sing like her, look beautiful like her.” Beyoncé told the Globe and Mail that Houston “inspired [her] to get up there and do what [she] did”. She also wrote on her website on the day after Houston’s death, “I, like every singer, always wanted to be just like [Houston]. Her voice was perfect. Strong but soothing. Soulful and classic. Her vibrato, her cadence, her control. So many of my life’s memories are attached to a Whitney Houston song. She is our queen and she opened doors and provided a blueprint for all of us.”
Mary J. Blige said that Houston inviting her onstage during VH1’s Divas Live show in 1999 “opened doors for [her] all over the world”. Brandy stated, “The first Whitney Houston CD was genius. That CD introduced the world to her angelic yet powerful voice. Without Whitney, half of this generation of singers wouldn’t be singing.” Kelly Rowland, in an Ebony‘s feature article celebrating black music in June 2006, recalled that “[I] wanted to be a singer after I saw Whitney Houston on TV singing ‘Greatest Love of All’. I wanted to sing like Whitney Houston in that red dress.” She added that “And I have never, ever forgotten that song [Greatest Love of All]. I learned it backward, forward, sideways. The video still brings chills to me. When you wish and pray for something as a kid, you never know what blessings God will give you.”
Alicia Keys said “Whitney is an artist who inspired me from [the time I was] a little girl”. Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson cites Houston as her biggest musical influence. She told Newsday that she learned from Houston the “difference between being able to sing and knowing how to sing”. Leona Lewis, who has been called “the new Whitney Houston”, also cites her as an influence. Lewis stated that she idolized her as a little girl.
Awards and Achievements
Houston was the most awarded female artist of all time, according to Guinness World Records, with two Emmy Awards, six Grammy Awards, 30 Billboard Music Awards, 22 American Music Awards, among a total of 415 career awards as of 2010. She held the all-time record for the most American Music Awards of any female solo artist and shared the record with Michael Jackson for the most AMAs ever won in a single year with eight wins in 1994. Houston won a record 11 Billboard Music Awards at its fourth ceremony in 1993. She also had the record for the most WMAs won in a single year, winning five awards at the 6th World Music Awards in 1994.
In May 2003, Houston placed at number three on VH1’s list of “50 Greatest Women of the Video Era”, behind Madonna and Janet Jackson. She was also ranked at number 116 on their list of the “200 Greatest Pop Culture Icons of All Time”. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s 50th anniversary, ranking Houston at number nine. Similarly, she was ranked as one of the “Top 100 Greatest Artists of All Time” by VH1 in September 2010. In November 2010, Billboard released its “Top 50 R&B/Hip-Hop Artists of the Past 25 Years” list and ranked Houston at number three who not only went on to earn eight number-one singles on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but also landed five number ones on R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.
Houston’s debut album is listed as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time by Rolling Stone magazine and is on Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Definitive 200 list. In 2004, Billboard picked the success of her first release on the charts as one of 110 Musical Milestones in its history. Houston’s entrance into the music industry is considered one of the 25 musical milestones of the last 25 years, according to USA Today in 2007. It stated that she paved the way for Mariah Carey’s chart-topping vocal gymnastics. In 1997, the Franklin School in East Orange, New Jersey was renamed to The Whitney E. Houston Academy School of Creative and Performing Arts. In 2001, Houston was the first artist to be given a BET Lifetime Achievement Award. Additionally, she was one of the world’s best-selling music artists, having sold over 200 million albums and singles worldwide. She was ranked as the fourth best-selling female artist in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America, with 55 million certified albums sold in the US, and held an Honorary Doctorate in Humanities from Grambling State University, Louisiana.
1985: Whitney Houston
1990: I’m Your Baby Tonight
1998: My Love Is Your Love
2002: Just Whitney
2009: I Look to You
2003: One Wish: The Holiday Album
Notes and awards
Nominated – 1993 MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
Nominated – 1993 MTV Movie Award for Best Breakthrough Performance
Nominated – 1993 MTV Movie Award for Best On-Screen Duo with co-star Kevin Costner
Nominated – 1992 Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress
Waiting to Exhale
Nominated – 1996 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
The Preacher’s Wife
Won – 1997 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – 1997 Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Female Actress(Comedy/Romance)
Nominated – 1997 Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Movie Actress
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Made-for-television film, part of a revival of the Wonderful World of Disney.
Nominated – 1998 Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
Nominated – 1998 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie/Mini-Series
Nora’s Hair Salon
Gimme a Break!
“Katie’s College” (Season 3, Episode 20, air date: March 15, 1984)
As the World Turns
Houston appeared on the soap on August 1–2, 1984, with Jermaine Jackson singing two duets off a new album he was releasing at the time: “Take Good Care of My Heart” and “Nobody Loves Me Like You Do.” They taped their appearance on July 25 at CBS Studios in New York City.
“Head Over Heels” (Season 4, Episode 1, air date: September 15, 1985) She performed the edited version of “Saving All My Love for You”, changing some of the words.
“Chapter Sixty-Six” (Season 3, Episode 22, air date: May 12, 2003) She performed “Try It On My Own” from the 2002 studio album Just Whitney.
Dr Pepper/Seven Up
Canada Dry (soft drink beverage)
Houston appeared in this commercial before debut as a professional singer and sang the praises of sugar-free Canada Dry Ginger Ale.
Diet Coke (soft drink beverage)
Houston sang the Diet Coke theme song, “Just for the taste of it”.
Diet Coke (soft drink beverage)
Houston sang the other version of the Diet Coke advertising slogan at the time, “Just for the taste of it”.
Outside the United States, the second version of advertising was released, in which “Greatest Love of All” was used as background music.
1989 MTV Video of the Year winning “This Note’s for You” by Neil Young, parodied parts of this advertising to criticize pop/rock stars who make commercial endorsements, most notably Michael Jackson for Pepsi and Houston for Diet Coke, using look-alikes for them.
Electronics (the stereo, TV)
Houston was featured on print advertisements and sang the theme song for TV commercial, “Takin’ A Chance”, produced by Keith Thomas. It was released as a CD single in Japan and included in Japanese edition of I’m Your Baby Tonight.
Sanyo also sponsored Houston’s 1990 Japan only Feels So Right Tour.
Houston sang its theme song, “True Voice”.
Consumer credit business
Houston appeared on both print advertisement and TV commercial for Nissin, a nonbank finance company that lends to consumers and small businesses in Japan, with then the company’s slogan “Make it happen with Nissin”
Notes and awards
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Nominated – 1998 Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Special
Nominated – 1998 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Television Movie/Mini-Series
The Princess Diaries
Won – 2002 Young Artist Award for Best Family Feature Film – Comedy
Nominated – 2002 Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Family Film (Live Action)
Nominated – 2002 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Family Film
Nominated – 2002 Teen Choice Award for Film – Choice Movie, Comedy
Terence Steven “Steve” McQueen (March 24, 1930 – November 7, 1980) was an American actor. He was called “The King of Cool.” His “anti-hero” persona, developed at the height of the Vietnam counterculture, made him a top box-office draw of the 1960s and 1970s. McQueen received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Sand Pebbles. His other popular films include The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt, The Getaway, and Papillon, as well as the all-star ensemble films The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and The Towering Inferno. In 1974, he became the highest-paid movie star in the world, although he did not act in films again for four years. McQueen was combative with directors and producers, but his popularity placed him in high demand and enabled him to command large salaries.
Terence Steven McQueen March 24, 1930 Beech Grove, Indiana, U.S.
November 7, 1980 (aged 50) Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico
Cause of death
Neile Adams (1956–1972) Ali MacGraw (1973–1978) Barbara Minty (1980)
Steven R. McQueen (grandson)
McQueen was born Terence Steven McQueen in Beech Grove, Indiana, a suburb of Indianapolis, in Marion County. His father, William Terence McQueen, a stunt pilot for a barnstorming flying circus, abandoned McQueen’s mother six months after meeting her. His mother, Julia Ann (née Crawford), was allegedly a rebellious alcoholic prostitute.
Unable to cope with caring for a small child, she left him with her parents (Victor and Lillian) in Slater, Missouri, in 1933. Shortly thereafter, as the Great Depression set in, McQueen and his grandparents moved in with Lillian’s brother Claude, at his farm in Slater. McQueen was raised as a Roman Catholic.
He had good memories of the times on his great-uncle Claude’s farm. In recalling him, McQueen stated: “He was a very good man, very strong, very fair. I learned a lot from him.” On McQueen’s fourth birthday, Claude gave him a red tricycle, which McQueen later claimed started his interest in racing. At age 8, he was taken home by his mother and lived with her and her new husband in Indianapolis. McQueen retained a special memory of leaving the farm: “The day I left the farm Uncle Claude gave me a personal going-away present; a gold pocket watch, with an inscription inside the case.” The inscription read: “To Steve – who has been a son to me.”
McQueen, who was dyslexic and partially deaf as a result of a childhood ear infection, did not adjust well to his new life. His new step-father beat him so badly that at the age of nine McQueen left home to live on the streets. Within a few years he was running with a street gang and committing acts of petty crime. Unable to control McQueen’s behavior, his mother sent him back to Slater. When McQueen was 12, Julia wrote to Claude asking that McQueen be returned to her again, to live in her new home in Los Angeles, California. Julia, whose second marriage had ended in divorce, had married a third time.
This began an unsettled period in McQueen’s life. By McQueen’s own account, he and his new stepfather, “[l]ocked horns immediately.” McQueen recalls him being “A prime son of a bitch” who was not averse to using his fists on both McQueen and his mother. As McQueen began to rebel again, he was sent back to live with Claude a final time. At age 14, McQueen left Claude’s farm without saying goodbye and joined a circus for a short time, then drifted back to his mother and stepfather in Los Angeles, resuming his life as a gang member and petty criminal. McQueen was caught stealing hubcaps by police, who handed him over to his stepfather who beat him severely, ending the fight by throwing McQueen down a flight of stairs. McQueen looked up at his stepfather and said, “You lay your stinkin’ hands on me again and I swear, I’ll kill ya.”
After the incident, McQueen’s stepfather convinced his mother to sign a court order stating that McQueen was incorrigible, remanding him to the California Junior Boys Republic in Chino, California. Here, McQueen began to change and mature. He was not popular with the other boys at first: “Say the boys had a chance once a month to load into a bus and go into town to see a movie. And they lost out because one guy in the bungalow didn’t get his work done right. Well, you can pretty well guess they’re gonna have something to say about that. I paid his dues with the other fellows quite a few times. I got my lumps, no doubt about it. The other guys in the bungalow had ways of paying you back for interfering with their well-being.” Ultimately, McQueen gave Boys Republic a shot. He became a role model when he was elected to the Boys Council, a group who set the rules and regulations governing the boys’ lives. (He eventually left Boys Republic at 16; and when he later became famous, he regularly returned to talk to the boys. He personally responded to every letter he received from the boys there, and retained a lifelong association.)
At 16, McQueen left Chino and returned to his mother, now living in Greenwich Village, but almost left again. He then met two sailors from the Merchant Marine and volunteered to serve on a ship bound for the Dominican Republic. Once there, he abandoned his new post, eventually being employed as a “towel boy” in a brothel. Afterwards, McQueen made his way to Texas, and drifted from job to job. He worked as an oil rigger, a trinket salesman in a carnival, and a lumberjack.
In 1947, McQueen joined the United States Marine Corps and was promoted to private first class and assigned to an armored unit. Initially, he reverted to his prior rebelliousness, and was demoted to private seven times. He took an unauthorized absence by failing to return after a weekend pass expired, staying with a girlfriend for two weeks until the shore patrol caught him. He resisted arrest and spent 41 days in the brig. After this, McQueen resolved to focus his energies on self-improvement and embraced the Marines’ discipline. He saved the lives of five other Marines during an Arctic exercise, pulling them from a tank before it broke through ice into the sea. He was assigned to the honor guard, responsible for guarding then U.S. President Harry Truman‘s yacht. McQueen served until 1950 when he was honorably discharged. He later said he had enjoyed his time in the Marines.
In 1952, with financial assistance provided by the G.I. Bill, McQueen began studying acting at Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse. Purportedly, the future “king of cool” delivered his first dialogue on a theatre stage in a 1952 play produced by Yiddish theatre star Molly Picon. McQueen’s character spoke one brief line: “Allez iz forloren.” (“All is lost.“). He began to earn money by competing in weekend motorcycle races at Long Island City Raceway and purchased the first of many motorcycles, a Harley Davidson. He soon became an excellent racer, and went home each weekend with about $100 in winnings ($805 in 2009 dollars adjusted for inflation). He appeared as a musical judge in an episode of ABC’s Jukebox Jury, that aired in the 1953–1954 season.
McQueen had minor roles in productions including Peg o’ My Heart, The Member of the Wedding, and Two Fingers of Pride. He made his Broadway debut in 1955 in the play A Hatful of Rain, starring Ben Gazzara.
In late 1955, at the age of 25, McQueen left New York and headed for California, where he moved into a house on Vestal Avenue in the Echo Park area, seeking acting jobs in Hollywood. When McQueen appeared in a two-part television presentation entitled The Defenders, Hollywood manager Hilly Elkins (who managed McQueen’s first wife, Neile) took note of him and decided that B-movies would be a good place for the young actor to make his mark. He landed his first film role in a bit part in Somebody Up There Likes Me, directed by Robert Wise and starring Paul Newman. McQueen was subsequently hired for the films Never Love a Stranger, The Blob (his first leading role), and The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery.
McQueen’s first breakout role came on television. He appeared on Dale Robertson’s NBC western series, Tales of Wells Fargo. Elkins, then McQueen’s manager, successfully lobbied Vincent M. Fennelly, producer of the western series Trackdown, to have McQueen read for the part of bounty hunter Josh Randall in a Trackdown episode. McQueen appeared as Randall in the episode, cast opposite series lead and old New York motorcycle racing buddy Robert Culp. McQueen then filmed the pilot episode, which became the series titled Wanted: Dead or Alive, which aired on CBS in September 1958.
In the interviews in the DVD release of Wanted, Trackdown’s star Robert Culp claims credit for bringing McQueen to Hollywood and landing him the part of Randall. He claims to have taught McQueen the “art of the fast-draw”, adding that, on the second day of filming, McQueen beat him. McQueen became a household name as a result of this series. Randall’s special holster held a sawed-off .44-40 Winchester rifle nicknamed the “Mare’s Leg” instead of the six-gun carried by the typical Western character, although the cartridges in the gunbelt were dummy .45-70, chosen because they “looked tougher”. Coupled with the generally negative image of the bounty hunter (noted in the three-part DVD special on the background of the series) this added to the anti-hero image infused with mystery and detachment that made this show stand out from the typical TV Western. The 94 episodes from 1958 until early 1961, kept McQueen steadily employed.
At 29, McQueen got a significant break when Frank Sinatra removed Sammy Davis, Jr., from the film Never So Few after Davis supposedly made some mildly negative remarks about Sinatra in a radio interview, and Davis’s role went to McQueen. Sinatra saw something special in McQueen and ensured that the young actor got plenty of closeups in a role that earned McQueen favorable reviews. McQueen’s character, Bill Ringa, was never more comfortable than when driving at high speed—in this case in a jeep—or handling a switchblade or a tommy-gun.
After Never So Few, the film’s director John Sturges cast McQueen in his next movie, promising to “give him the camera.” The Magnificent Seven (1960), in which he played Vin Tanner and co-starred with Yul Brynner, Robert Vaughn, Charles Bronson and James Coburn, became McQueen’s first major hit and led to his withdrawal from Wanted: Dead or Alive. McQueen’s focused portrayal of the taciturn second lead catapulted his career. His added touches in each scene, such as shaking a shotgun round before loading it and wiping his hat rim, annoying costar Brynner, who protested that McQueen was trying to steal his spotlight. (In his autobiography, Eli Wallach, the movie’s villain, Calvera, reports struggling to conceal his amusement while watching the filming of the funeral-procession scene where Brynner’s and McQueen’s characters first meet: Brynner was furious at McQueen’s shotgun-round-shake, which effectively diverted the viewer’s attention to McQueen.) Brynner refused to draw his gun in the same scene with McQueen, not wanting his character outdrawn.
McQueen played the lead in the next big Sturges film, 1963’s The Great Escape, Hollywood’s depiction of the otherwise true story of an historical mass escape from a World War II POW camp, Stalag Luft III. Insurance concerns prevented McQueen from performing the film’s notable motorcycle leap, which was done by his friend and fellow cycle enthusiast Bud Ekins, who resembled McQueen from a distance. When Johnny Carson later tried to congratulate McQueen for the jump during a broadcast of The Tonight Show, McQueen said, “It wasn’t me. That was Bud Ekins.” This film established McQueen’s box-office clout and secured his status as a superstar.
In 1963, McQueen starred in Love with the Proper Stranger with Natalie Wood. He later appeared in a prequel as the titular Nevada Smith, a character from Harold Robbins’ The Carpetbaggers portrayed by Alan Ladd two years earlier in a movie version of that novel. The sequel, an enormously successful Western action adventure, features Karl Malden and Suzanne Pleshette. McQueen earned his only Academy Award nomination in 1966 for his role as an engine-room sailor in The Sand Pebbles, in which he stars opposite Candice Bergen and Richard Attenborough (with whom he’d previously worked in The Great Escape).
He followed his Oscar nomination with 1968’s Bullitt, one of his most famous films, co-starring Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Vaughn. It featured an unprecedented (and endlessly imitated) auto chase through San Francisco. Although McQueen did do the driving that appeared in closeup, this was about 10% of what is seen in the film’s car chase. The rest of the driving by the McQueen character was done by stunt drivers Bud Ekins and Loren James. Bullitt went so far over budget that Warner Brothers cancelled the contract on the rest of his films, seven in all.
When Bullitt became a huge box-office success Warner Brothers tried to woo him back, but he refused, and his next film was made with an independent studio and released by United Artists. For this film, McQueen went for a change of image, playing a debonair role as a wealthy executive in The Thomas Crown Affair with Faye Dunaway in 1968. The following year he made the Southern period piece The Reivers.
In 1971 McQueen starred in the poorly-received auto-racing drama Le Mans. Then came The Getaway where he met future wife Ali MacGraw. He worked for director Sam Peckinpah again with the leading role in Junior Bonner in 1972, a story of an aging rodeo rider. He followed this with a physically demanding role as a Devil’s Island prisoner in 1973’s Papillon, featuring Dustin Hoffman as his character’s tragic sidekick.
In 1973, The Rolling Stones referred to McQueen in the song “Star Star” from the album Goat’s Head Soup for which an amused McQueen reportedly gave personal permission. The lines were “Star fucker, star fucker, star fucker, star fucker star/ Yes you are, yes you are, yes you are/Yeah, Ali MacGraw got mad with you/For givin’ head to Steve McQueen”.
By the time of The Getaway, McQueen was the world’s highest paid actor. But after 1974’s The Towering Inferno, co-starring with his long-time professional rival Paul Newman and reuniting him with Dunaway, became a tremendous box-office success, McQueen all but disappeared from the public eye, to focus on motorcycle racing and traveling around the country in a motorhome and on his vintage Indian motorcycles. He did not return to acting until 1978 with An Enemy of the People, playing against type as a bearded, bespectacled 19th-century doctor in this adaptation of a Henrik Ibsen play. The film was seen only briefly in theaters and is available on DVD.
His last two films were loosely based on true stories: Tom Horn, a Western adventure about a former Army scout-turned professional gunman who worked for the big cattle ranchers hunting down rustlers, and later hanged for murder in the shooting death of a sheepherder, and The Hunter, an urban action movie about a modern-day bounty hunter, both released in 1980.
McQueen was offered the lead role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s but was unable to accept due to his Wanted: Dead or Alive contract (the role went to George Peppard). He turned down parts in Ocean’s Eleven, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (his attorneys and agents could not agree with Paul Newman’s attorneys and agents on top billing), The Driver, Apocalypse Now, California Split, Dirty Harry, A Bridge Too Far, and The French Connection (he did not want to do another cop film).
According to director John Frankenheimer and actor James Garner in bonus interviews for the DVD of the film Grand Prix, McQueen was Frankenheimer’s first choice for the lead role of American Formula One race car driver Pete Aron. Frankenheimer was unable to meet with McQueen to offer him the role and sent Edward Lewis, his business partner and the producer of Grand Prix. McQueen and Lewis instantly clashed, the meeting was a disaster, and the role went to Garner.
McQueen was the first choice for director Steven Spielberg, for Close Encounters of the Third Kind. According to Spielberg, in a documentary on the Close Encounters DVD, Spielberg met him at a bar, where McQueen drank beer after beer. Before leaving, McQueen told Spielberg that he could not accept the role because he was unable to cry on cue. Spielberg offered to take the crying scene out of the story, but McQueen demurred, saying that it was the best scene in the script. The role eventually went to Richard Dreyfuss.
William Friedkin wanted to cast McQueen as the lead in the action/thriller film Sorcerer (1977). Sorcerer was to be filmed primarily on location in the Dominican Republic, but McQueen did not want to be separated from Ali McGraw for the duration of the shoot. McQueen therefore asked Friedkin to let McGraw act as a producer, so she could be present during principal photography. Friedkin would not agree to this condition, and cast Roy Scheider instead of McQueen. Friedkin later remarked that not casting McQueen hurt the film’s performance at the box-office.
Spy novelist Jeremy Duns revealed that Steve McQueen was considered for the lead role in a film adaptation of The Diamond Smugglers, written by James Bond creator Ian Fleming; McQueen would play ‘John Blaize’, a secret agent gone undercover to infiltrate a diamond-smuggling ring in South Africa. There were complications with the project which was eventually shelved, although a 1964 screenplay does exist.
McQueen and Barbra Streisand were tentatively cast in The Gauntlet, but the two did not get along due to a clash of egos. Both withdrew from the project, and the lead roles were filled in by Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke.
McQueen expressed interest in the Rambo character in First Blood when David Morrell’s novel appeared in 1972, but the producers rejected him because of his age. He was offered the title role in The Bodyguard (with Diana Ross) when it was proposed in 1976, but the film did not reach production until years after McQueen’s death.Quigley Down Under was in development as early as 1974, with McQueen in consideration for the lead, but by the time production began in 1980, McQueen was ill and the project was scrapped until a decade later, when Tom Selleck starred. McQueen was offered the lead in Raise the Titanic but felt that the script was flat. He was under contract to Irwin Allen after appearing in The Towering Inferno and offered a part in a sequel in 1980, which he turned down. The film was scrapped and Newman was brought in by Allen to make When Time Ran Out, which was a box office bomb. McQueen died shortly after passing on The Towering Inferno 2.
McQueen was an avid motorcycle and racecar enthusiast. When he had the opportunity to drive in a movie, he performed many stunts. Perhaps, the most memorable were the car chases in Bullitt and motorcycle chases in The Great Escape. Although, the jump over the fence in The Great Escape was done by Bud Ekins for insurance purposes, McQueen did have considerable screen time riding his 650cc Triumph TR6 Trophy motorcycle. It was difficult to find riders as skilled as McQueen. At one point, using editing, McQueen is seen in a German uniform chasing himself on another bike.
McQueen and John Sturges planned to make Day of the Champion, a movie about Formula One racing, but McQueen was busy with the delayed The Sand Pebbles. They had a contract with the German Nürburgring, and after John Frankenheimer shot scenes there for Grand Prix, the reels were turned over to Sturges. Frankenheimer was ahead in schedule, and the McQueen/Sturges project was called off.
McQueen considered being a professional race car driver. In the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring race, Peter Revson and McQueen (driving with a cast on his left foot from a motorcycle accident two weeks earlier) won with a Porsche 908/02 in the 3 litre class and missed winning overall by 23 seconds to Mario Andretti/Ignazio Giunti/Nino Vaccarella in a 5 litre Ferrari 512S. This same Porsche 908 was entered by his production company Solar Productions as a camera car for Le Mans in the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans later that year. McQueen wanted to drive a Porsche 917 with Jackie Stewart in that race, but the film backers threatened to pull their support if he did. Faced with the choice of driving for 24 hours in the race or driving for the entire summer making the film, McQueen opted for the latter.
McQueen competed in off-road motorcycle racing. His first off-road motorcycle was a Triumph 500cc, purchased from friend and stunt man Ekins. McQueen raced in many top off-road races on the West Coast, including the Baja 1000, the Mint 400 and the Elsinore Grand Prix. In 1964, with Ekins on their Triumph TR6 Trophys, he represented the United States in the International Six Days Trial, a form of off-road motorcycling Olympics. He was inducted in the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1978. In 1971, Solar Productions funded the classic motorcycle documentary On Any Sunday, in which McQueen is featured, along with racing legends Mert Lawwill and Malcolm Smith. Also in 1971, McQueen was on the cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine riding a Husqvarna dirt bike. McQueen designed a motorsports bucket seat, for which a patent was issued in 1971.
McQueen collected classic motorcycles. At the time of his death, his collection included over 100 and was valued in the millions of dollars.
In a segment filmed for The Ed Sullivan Show, McQueen drove Sullivan around a desert area in a dune buggy at high speed. Afterward, Sullivan said, “That was a helluva ride!”
McQueen owned several exotic sports cars, including:
Porsche 917, Porsche 908 and Ferrari 512 race cars from the Le Mans film.
1963 Ferrari 250 Lusso Berlinetta
Jaguar D-Type XKSS (Right-Hand Drive)
Porsche 356 Speedster
To his dismay, McQueen was never able to own the legendary Ford Mustang GT 390 he drove in Bullitt, which featured a modified drivetrain that suited McQueen’s driving style. One of the two Mustangs was badly damaged and judged beyond repair and scrapped.
McQueen was married three times and had two children. On November 2, 1956, he married actress Neile Adams (born Ruby Salvador), by whom he had a daughter, Terry Leslie (June 5, 1959 – March 19, 1998), and a son, Chad (born December 28, 1960). McQueen and Adams divorced in 1972. McQueen then married his The Getaway co-star Ali MacGraw on August 31, 1973, but this marriage ended in divorce in 1978. MacGraw suffered a miscarriage during their marriage. On January 16, 1980, less than a year before his death, McQueen married model Barbara Minty. One of McQueen’s four grandchildren is actor Steven R. McQueen.
In the early 1970s, while separated from Adams and prior to meeting MacGraw, McQueen had a lengthy relationship with Junior Bonner co-star Barbara Leigh, which resulted in her pregnancy and an illegal abortion. Biographers Marshall Terrill and Marc Eliot wrote in their respective books that McQueen had an affair with his Bullitt co-star Jacqueline Bisset in 1968, though Bisset never confirmed this. Actress-model Lauren Hutton claimed that she had an affair with McQueen in the early 1960s.
McQueen had a daily two-hour exercise regimen, involving weightlifting and at one point, running five miles, seven days a week. McQueen learned the martial art Tang Soo Do from ninth degree black belt Pat E. Johnson.
McQueen was known for his prolific drug use. (William Claxton claimed he smoked marijuana almost every day; others said he used a tremendous amount of cocaine in the early 1970s) and he was a heavy cigarette smoker. McQueen sometimes drank to excess, and was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Anchorage, Alaska in 1972.
After Charles Manson incited the murder of five people, including McQueen’s friends Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring at Tate’s home on August 9, 1969, it was reported McQueen was a potential target of the killers. According to his first wife, McQueen began carrying a handgun at all times in public, including at Sebring’s funeral. Two months after the murders police found a hit list with McQueen’s name on it, a result of McQueen’s company having rejected a Manson screenplay. In 2011, it was revealed that Sebring had invited McQueen to the party at Tate’s house on the night of the murders. According to McQueen, he had invited a girlfriend to come along, she instead suggested an intimate night at home which saved his life.
McQueen had an unusual reputation for demanding free items in bulk from studios when agreeing to do a film – things like electric razors, jeans and other items. It was later discovered that McQueen requested these things, and donated them to the Boy’s Republic reformatory School, where he spent time in his teen years. McQueen made occasional visits to the school to spend time with the students, often to play pool and speak about his experiences.
After discovering a mutual interest in racing, McQueen and Great Escape co-star James Garner became good friends. Garner lived down hill from McQueen; and McQueen recalled, “I could see that Jim was neat around his place. Flowers trimmed, no papers in the yard … grass always cut. So to piss him off, I’d start lobbing empty beer cans down the hill into his driveway. He’d have his drive all spic ‘n’ span when he left the house, then get home to find all these empty cans. Took him a long time to figure out it was me”.
McQueen’s third wife Barbara Minty McQueen in her book, Steve McQueen: The Last Mile, writes of McQueen becoming an Evangelical Christian toward the end of his life. This was due in part to the influences of his flying instructor, Sammy Mason, Mason’s son Pete, and Barbara. McQueen attended his local church, Ventura Missionary Church, and was visited by evangelist Billy Graham shortly before his death.
McQueen was an avid dirt bike rider, running a BSA Hornet. He was to co-drive in a Triumph 2500 PI for the British Leyland team in the 1970 London-Mexico rally, but had to turn it down due to movie commitments. He also loved flying and owned, among other aircraft, a 1945 Stearman, tail number N3188, (his student number in reform school), a 1946 Piper J3 Cub, and an award-winning 1931 Pitcairn PA-8 biplane, flown in the U.S. Mail Service by famed World War I flying ace, Eddie Rickenbacker. They were hangared at Santa Paula Airport an hour northwest of Hollywood, where he lived his final days.
McQueen developed a persistent cough in 1978; he gave up cigarettes and underwent antibiotic treatments without improvement. Shortness of breath grew more pronounced and on December 22, 1979, after filming The Hunter, a biopsy revealed pleural mesothelioma, a cancer associated with asbestos exposure for which there is no known cure. The asbestos was thought to have been in the protective suits worn in his race car driving days. By February 1980, there was evidence of widespread metastasis. While he tried to keep the condition a secret, the National Enquirer disclosed his “terminal cancer” on March 11, 1980. In July, McQueen traveled to Rosarito Beach for unconventional treatment after U.S. doctors advised him they could do nothing to prolong his life.On November 7, 1980, McQueen died at the age of 50 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, following an operation to remove or reduce several metastatic tumors in his neck and abdomen.== Controversy arose over McQueen’s Mexican trip, because McQueen sought a non-traditional cancer treatment that used coffee enemas, frequent shampoos, injection of live cells from cows and sheep, massage and laetrile, a supposedly “natural” anti-cancer drug available in Mexico, but not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. McQueen paid for these unconventional medical treatments. McQueen was treated by William Donald Kelley, whose only medical license had been (until revoked in 1976) for orthodontics. Kelley’s methods created a sensation in the traditional and tabloid press when it was known that McQueen was a patient. Despite metastasis of the cancer through McQueen’s body, Kelley publicly announced that McQueen would be completely cured and return to normal life. McQueen’s condition worsened and “huge” tumors developed in his abdomen. In late October 1980, McQueen flew to Ciudad Juárez to have an abdominal tumor on his liver (weighing around five pounds) removed, despite warnings from his U.S. doctors that the tumor was inoperable and his heart could not withstand the surgery. McQueen checked into a Juarez clinic under the assumed name of “Sam Shepard” where the doctors and staff at the small, low-income clinic were unaware of his actual identity. McQueen died of cardiac arrest at 3:45 am in his hospital bed more than 24 hours after the surgery to remove the tumor. An article in the El Paso Times noted that before his death he awoke in his hospital bed and asked for ice and then died.
A few months before his death, McQueen had given a medical interview in which he blamed his condition on asbestos exposure. While McQueen felt asbestos used in movie soundstage insulation and race-drivers’ protective suits and helmets could have been involved, he believed his illness was a direct result of massive exposure while removing asbestos lagging from pipes aboard a troop ship while in the Marines.
Leonard DeWitt of the Ventura Missionary Church presided over McQueen’s memorial service. McQueen was cremated, and his ashes spread in the Pacific Ocean.
Posthumously, McQueen remains a popular star, and his estate limits the licensing of his image to avoid the commercial saturation experienced by other deceased celebrities. As of 2007, McQueen’s estate entered the top 10 of highest-earning deceased celebrities.
McQueen was inducted into the Hall of Great Western Performers in April 2007, in a ceremony at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.
In November 1999, McQueen was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. He was credited with contributions including financing the film On Any Sunday, supporting a team of off-road riders, and enhancing the public image of motorcycling overall.
A film based on unfinished storyboards and notes developed by McQueen before his death was slated for production by McG’s production company Wonderland Sound and Vision. Yucatan is described as an “epic adventure heist” film, scheduled for release in 2013. Team Downey, the production company of Robert Downey Jr. and his wife Susan Downey, expressed an interest in developing Yucatan for the screen.
The Beech Grove, Indiana, Public Library formally dedicated the Steve McQueen Birthplace Collection on March 16, 2010 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of McQueen’s birth on March 24, 1930.
In 2005, TV Guide ranked McQueen # 26 on its “50 Sexiest Stars of All Time” list.
In 2005, Ford used Steve McQueen’s likeness in a commercial for the 2005 Mustang. In the commercial, a farmer builds a winding racetrack, which he circles in the 2005 Mustang. Out of the cornfield comes Steve McQueen. The farmer tosses his keys to McQueen, who drives off in the new Mustang. McQueen’s likeness was created using a body double and digital editing. Ford secured the rights to McQueen’s likeness from the actor’s estate licensing agent, GreenLight for an undisclosed sum.
The blue-tinted sunglasses (Persol 714) worn by McQueen in the 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair sold at a Bonhams & Butterfields auction in Los Angeles for $70,200 in 2006. One of his motorcycles, a 1937 Crocker, sold for a world-record price of $276,500 at the same auction. McQueen’s 1963 metallic-brown Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso sold for $2.31 million USD at auction on August 16, 2007. Except for three motorcycles sold with other memorabilia in 2006, most of McQueen’s collection of 130 motorcycles was sold 4 years after his death. The 1970 Porsche 911S purchased while making the film Le Mans and appearing in the opening sequence was sold at auction in August 2011 for $1.375 million. The Rolex Explorer II, Reference 1655, known as Rolex Steve McQueen in the horology collectors’ world, the Rolex Submariner, Reference 5512, which McQueen was often photographed wearing in private moments, sold for $234,000 at auction on June 11, 2009, a world-record price for the reference. McQueen was left-handed and wore the watch on his right wrist.
McQueen was a sponsored ambassador for Heuer watches. In the 1970 film Le Mans, he famously wore a blue faced Monaco 1133B Caliber 11 Automatic, which led to its cult status among watch collectors. His sold for $87,600 at auction on June 11, 2009. Tag Heuer continues to promote its Monaco range with McQueen’s image.
From 2009, Triumph Motorcycles Ltd, licensed by his estate, marketed a line of clothing inspired by Steve McQueen’s association with their brand, particularly his 1964 ISDT participation.
British heritage clothing brand J. Barbour and Sons created a Steve McQueen collection, based on the fact that he owned a Barbour International motorbike jacket.
Girl on the Run
TV series (1 episode: “The Chivington Raid”)
The United States Steel Hour
TV series (1 episode: “Bring Me a Dream”)
Somebody Up There Likes Me
Studio One in Hollywood
TV series (2 episodes)
TV series (1 episode: “Ambush”)
The 20th Century-Fox Hour
TV series (1 episode: “Deep Water”)
The Big Story
TV series (1 episode: “Malcolm Glover of the San Francisco Examiner”)
Anthony Reeves / Henry Reeves
TV series (1 episode: “Four Hours in White”)
Tales of Wells Fargo
TV series (1 episode: “Bill Longley”)
Josh Randall/Mal Cody/Wes Cody
TV series (2 episodes)
Never Love a Stranger
Wanted: Dead or Alive
TV series (94 episodes)
The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery
Never So Few
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
TV series (1 episode: “Human Interest Story”)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
TV series (1 episode: “Man from the South”)
The Magnificent Seven
The Honeymoon Machine
Lt. Ferguson “Fergie” Howard
Hell Is for Heroes
The War Lover
Capt. Buzz Rickson
The Great Escape
Hilts “The Cooler King”
Soldier in the Rain
Sgt. Eustis Clay
Love with the Proper Stranger
Baby the Rain Must Fall
The Cincinnati Kid
The Cincinnati Kid
The Sand Pebbles
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
The Thomas Crown Affair
Lt. Frank Bullitt
On Any Sunday
Junior “JR” Bonner
Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend
The Magnificent Rebel
Henri ‘Papillon’ Charriere
The Towering Inferno
Chief Mike O’Hallorhan
An Enemy of the People
Dr. Thomas Stockmann
Also executive producer
Also executive producer
Awards and Honors
(1967) Nominated – Best Actor in a Leading Role in The Sand Pebbles
Golden Globe Awards
(1964) Nominated – Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama in Love with the Proper Stranger
(1967) Nominated – Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama in The Sand Pebbles
(1970) Nominated – Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy in The Reivers
(1974) Nominated – Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama in Papillon
Charles Robert Redford, Jr. (born August 18, 1936) is an American actor, film director, producer, businessman, environmentalist, philanthropist, and founder of the Sundance Film Festival. He has received two Oscars: one in 1981 for directing Ordinary People, and one for Lifetime Achievement in 2002. In 2010, he was awarded French Knighthood in the Legion d’Honneur.
Redford at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival
Charles Robert Redford, Jr. August 18, 1936 (age 77) Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Lola Van Wagenen (1958–1985; divorced) Sibylle Szaggars (2009–present)
Redford was born in Santa Monica, California. His mother, Martha W. (née Hart), was born in Texas, to Archibald Hart and Sallie Pate Green; and his father, Charles Robert Redford, Sr. (November 19, 1914 – April 2, 1991), was a milkman-turned-accountant from Pawcatuck, New London County, Connecticut, son of Charles Elijah Redford and Lena Taylor. He has a stepbrother, William, from his father’s re-marriage. Redford is of English, Irish, Scottish, and Scots-Irish ancestry (his surname originates in England).
Redford’s family moved to Van Nuys, California, while his father worked in El Segundo. He attended Van Nuys High School, where he was classmates with baseball player Don Drysdale. He has described himself as having been a “bad” student, finding inspiration outside the classroom, and being interested in art and sports. He hit tennis balls with Pancho Gonzales at the Los Angeles Tennis Club to warm him up. After high school, he attended the University of Colorado for a year and a half, where he was a member of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. While there, he worked at the restaurant/bar The Sink; a painting of his likeness is prominent in the bar’s murals. After being asked to leave the University of Colorado, he traveled in Europe, living in France, Spain, and Italy. He later studied painting at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and took classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
Redford’s career — like that of almost all major stars who emerged in the 1950s — began in New York, where an actor could find work both in television and on stage. Starting in 1959, he appeared as a guest star on numerous programs, including The Untouchables, The Americans, Whispering Smith, Perry Mason, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Route 66, Dr. Kildare, Playhouse 90, Tate, The Twilight Zone, and “Captain Brassbound’s Conversion” with a young Christopher Plummer, among others.
In 1960, Redford was cast as Danny Tilford, a mentally disturbed young man trapped in the wreckage of his family garage, in “Breakdown”, one of the last episodes of the syndicated adventure series, Rescue 8, starring Jim Davis and Lang Jeffries.
Redford earned an Emmy nomination as Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Voice of Charlie Pont (ABC, 1962). One of his last television appearances was on October 7, 1963, on Breaking Point, an ABC medical drama about psychiatry.
Redford’s Broadway debut was in a small role in Tall Story (1959), followed by parts in The Highest Tree (1959) and Sunday in New York (1961). His biggest Broadway success was as the stuffy newlywed husband of Elizabeth Ashley in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park (1963).
While still largely an unknown, Redford made his screen debut in War Hunt (1962), co-starring with John Saxon in a film set during the last days of the Korean War. This film also marked the debuts of director Sydney Pollack, with whom Redford would often collaborate in the near future, and actor Tom Skerritt. After his Broadway success, he was cast in larger feature roles in movies. He was cast alongside screen legend Alec Guinness in the war comedy Situation Hopeless … But Not Serious, in which he played a soldier who has to spend years of his life hiding behind enemy lines. In Inside Daisy Clover (1965), which won him a Golden Globe for best new star, he played a bisexual movie star who marries starlet Natalie Wood, and rejoined her along with Charles Bronson for Pollack’s This Property Is Condemned (1966) — again as her lover, though this time in a film which achieved even greater success. The same year saw his first teaming with Jane Fonda, in Arthur Penn’s The Chase. This film marked the only time Redford would star with Marlon Brando. Fonda and Redford were paired again in the popular big screen version of Barefoot in the Park (1967) and were again co-stars much later in Pollack’s The Electric Horseman (1979).
After this initial success, Redford became concerned about his blond male stereotype image and turned down roles in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate. Redford found the property he was looking for in George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), scripted by William Goldman, in which he was paired for the first time with Paul Newman. The film was a huge success and made him a major bankable star, cementing his screen image as an intelligent, reliable, sometimes sardonic good guy.
Redford suffered through a few films that did not achieve box office success during this time, including Downhill Racer (1969); Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969); Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970), and The Hot Rock (1972). But his overall career was flourishing with the critical and box office hit Jeremiah Johnson (1972); the political satire The Candidate (1972); the hugely popular period drama The Way We Were (1973); and the biggest hit of his career; the blockbuster crime caper The Sting (1973), which became one of the top 20 highest grossing movies of all time when adjusted for inflation and for which he was also nominated for an Oscar.
Between 1974 and 1976, exhibitors voted Redford Hollywood’s top box-office name. His hits included The Great Gatsby (1974), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), and Three Days of the Condor (1975). The popular and acclaimed All the President’s Men (1976), directed by Alan J. Pakula and scripted once again by Goldman, was a landmark film for Redford. Not only was he the executive producer and co-star, but the film’s serious subject matter — the Watergate scandal — and its attempt to create a realistic portrayal of journalism also reflected the actor’s offscreen concerns for political causes.
He also starred in a segment of the war film A Bridge Too Far (1977), the prison drama Brubaker (1980), playing a prison warden attempting to reform the system, and the fantasy baseball drama The Natural (1984). Redford continued his involvement in mainstream Hollywood movies, though with a newfound focus on directing. The first film he directed, Ordinary People, which followed the disintegration of an upper class American family after the death of a son, was one of the most critically and publicly acclaimed films of the decade, winning a number of Oscars, including the Academy Award for best director for Redford himself. His follow-up directorial project, The Milagro Beanfield War (1987), failed to generate the same level of attention. Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa (1985), with Redford in the male lead role opposite Meryl Streep, became an enormous critical and box office success and won seven Oscars including Best Picture, proving to be Redford’s biggest success of the decade and Redford and Pollack’s most successful of their six movies together. His next film, Legal Eagles (1986), was only a minor success at the box office.
Redford continued as a major star throughout the 1990s and 2000s. He released his third film as a director, A River Runs Through It, in 1992, which was a return to mainstream success for Redford as a director and brought a young Brad Pitt to greater prominence. 1993 brought Redford one of his most popular and recognized roles when he starred as a millionaire businessman who tests people’s morals through bribery in Indecent Proposal, which became one of the year’s biggest hits. He co-starred with Michelle Pfeiffer in the newsroom romance Up Close & Personal (1996), and with Kristin Scott Thomas in The Horse Whisperer (1998), which he also directed. Redford also continued work in films with political context, such as Havana (1990), playing Jack Weil, a professional gambler in 1959 Cuba during the Revolution, as well as Sneakers (1992), in which he co starred with River Phoenix among others.
He appeared as a disgraced Army general sent to prison in the prison drama The Last Castle (2001), directed by Rod Lurie. In the same year, Redford reteamed with Brad Pitt for Spy Game, another success for the pair but with Redford switching this time from director to actor. Redford, a leading environmental activist, narrated the IMAX documentary Sacred Planet (2004), a sweeping journey across the globe to some of its most exotic and endangered places. In The Clearing (2004), a thriller co-starring Helen Mirren, Redford was a successful businessman whose kidnapping unearths the secrets and inadequacies that led to his achieving the American Dream.
Redford stepped back into producing with The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), a coming-of-age road film about a young medical student, Ernesto “Che” Guevera, and his friend Alberto Granado. It also explored political and social issues of South America that influenced Guevara and shaped his future. With five years spent on the film’s making, Redford was credited by director Walter Salles for being instrumental in getting it made and released.
Back in front of the camera, Redford received good notices for his role in director Lasse Hallstrom’s An Unfinished Life (2005) as a cantankerous rancher who is forced to take in his estranged daughter-in-law (Jennifer Lopez) — whom he blames for his son’s death — and the granddaughter he never knew he had when they fled an abusive relationship. The film, which sat on the shelf for many months while its distributor Miramax was restructured, was generally dismissed as clichéd and overly sentimental. Meanwhile, Redford returned to familiar territory when he reteamed with Meryl Streep 22 years after they starred in Out of Africa, for his personal project Lions for Lambs (2007), which also starred fellow superstar Tom Cruise. After a great deal of hype, the film opened to mixed reviews and disappointing box office. Redford more recently signed on to direct and star in an update of The Candidate.
Redford appears in the 2011 documentary Buck, where he discusses his experiences with title subject Buck Brannaman during the production of The Horse Whisperer in 1998.
In 2012, Redford directed and starred in The Company You Keep, about a former Weather Underground activist who goes on the run from a journalist who has discovered his identity.
In 2013, Redford starred in All Is Lost, directed by J.C. Chandor, about a man lost at sea.
In April 2013, Redford announced he would be returning to the screen in an unconventional role for him – in the summer Marvel Studios super hero film Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Redford will play the head of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Redford had long harbored ambitions to work on both sides of the camera. As early as 1969, Redford had served as the executive producer for Downhill Racer. His first outing as director was in 1980’s Ordinary People, a drama about the slow disintegration of an upper-middle class family, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director. Redford was credited with obtaining a powerful dramatic performance from Mary Tyler Moore, as well as superb work from Donald Sutherland and Timothy Hutton, who also won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Redford did not direct again until The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), a well-crafted, though not commercially successful, screen version of John Nichols‘ acclaimed novel of the Southwest. The Milagro Beanfield War is the story of the people of Milagro, New Mexico (based on the real town of Truchas in northern New Mexico), overcoming big developers who set about to ruin their community and force them out because of tax increases. Other directorial projects have included the period drama A River Runs Through It (1992), based on Norman Maclean’s novella, and the exposé Quiz Show (1994), about the quiz show scandal of the late 1950s. In the latter film, Redford worked from a screenplay by Paul Attanasio with noted cinematographer Michael Ballhaus and a strong cast that featured Paul Scofield, John Turturro, Rob Morrow, and Ralph Fiennes. Redford handpicked Morrow for his part in the film (Morrow’s only high-profile feature film role to date), because he liked his work on Northern Exposure. Redford also directed Matt Damon and Will Smith in The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000). In 2010, Redford released The Conspirator, a period drama revolving around the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Despite a subject matter of personal interest to Redford, the film received mixed reviews and proved to be a flop at the box office.
Redford attended the University of Colorado in the 1950s and received an Honorary Degree in 1983.
In 1995, he received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Bard College. He was a 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award/Honorary Oscar recipient at the 74th Academy Awards.
In 1996, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
In December 2005, he received the Kennedy Center Honors for his contributions to American culture. The Honors recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts: whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television.
In 2008, he was awarded The Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, one of the richest prizes in the arts, given annually to “a man or woman who has made an outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind’s enjoyment and understanding of life.”
The University of Southern California (USC) School of Dramatic Arts announced the first annual Robert Redford Award for Engaged Artists in 2009. According to the school’s web site, the award was created “to honor those who have distinguished themselves not only in the exemplary quality, skill and innovation of their work, but also in their public commitment to social responsibility, to increasing awareness of global issues and events, and to inspiring and empowering young people.”
Redford received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Brown University at the 240th Commencement exercises on May 25, 2008. He also spoke during the ceremonies.
On October 14, 2010, he was appointed Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.
He was a 2010 recipient of the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts
With the financial proceeds of his acting success, starting with his salaries from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Downhill Racer, Redford bought an entire ski area on the east side of Mount Timpanogos northeast of Provo, Utah, called “Timp Haven”, which was renamed “Sundance”. Redford’s wife Lola was from Utah and they had built a home in the area in 1963. Portions of the movie Jeremiah Johnson (1972), a film which is both one of Redford’s favorites and one that has heavily influenced him, were shot near the ski area. He founded the Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute, Sundance Cinemas, Sundance Catalog, and the Sundance Channel, all in and around Park City, Utah, 30 miles (48 km) north of the Sundance ski area. The Sundance Film Festival caters to independent filmmakers in the United States and has received recognition from the industry as a place to open films. In 2008, Sundance exhibited 125 feature-length films from 34 countries, with more than 50,000 attendees. The name Sundance comes from his Sundance Kid character. Redford also owns a restaurant called Zoom, located on Main Street in the former mining town of Park City.
Since founding the nonprofit Sundance Institute in Park City, in 1981, Redford has been deeply involved with independent film. Through its various workshop programs and popular film festival, Sundance has provided much-needed support for independent filmmakers. In 1995, Redford signed a deal with Showtime to start a 24-hour cable television channel devoted to airing independent films. The Sundance Channel premiered on February 29, 1996.
On September 12, 1958, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Redford married Lola Van Wagenen, who dropped out of college to marry him. They had four children: Scott Anthony, David James “Jamie,” Shauna, and Amy Redford.
His son, Jamie Redford, is a writer/producer.
Scott — their first child — was born September 1, 1959, and died of sudden infant death syndrome on November 17, 1959, at age 2½ months. His remains were buried at Provo City Cemetery in Provo, Utah. Lola and Redford divorced in 1985. He has five grandchildren: Dylan and Lena Redford (by son Jamie), Mica and Conor Schlosser (by daughter Shauna) and Eden August (by daughter Amy).
In July 2009, Redford married his longtime partner, Sibylle Szaggars, at the luxurious Louis C. Jacob Hotel in Hamburg, Germany, and in St. Severini church in Kirchwerder, in a rural part of Hamburg. She had moved in with Redford in the 1990s and shares his Sundance, Utah, home.
In May 2011, Alfred A Knopf published Robert Redford: The Biography by Michael Feeney Callan, written fifteen years with Redford’s input, and drawn from his personal papers and diaries.
Redford is both conservative and liberal. As far as his views on environmental issues, Redford is somewhat liberal, supporting environmentalism, Native American rights, and the arts, but is more conservative on social issues. Some of his federal political contributions have been to Republicans and some to Democrats. He has also supported advocacy groups, such as the Political Action Committee of the Directors Guild of America. Redford has on occasion also supported Republicans, including Brent Cornell Morris in his unsuccessful 1990 race for Utah’s 3rd congressional district seat. Redford also supported Gary R. Herbert, another Republican and a friend, in Herbert’s successful campaign to be elected Utah’s Lieutenant Governor (he is currently the Governor of Utah). Redford is an avid environmentalist and is a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Redford has been a vocal critic of Barack Obama for his lack of follow-through on environmental policies. He wrote, “One reason I supported President Obama is because he said we must protect clean air, water and lands. But what good is it to say the right thing unless you act on it?”
Episode 76: “Iron Hand”
Episode 67: “Breakdown”
Episode 31: “The Last Gunfight”
Episode 134: “In the Presence of Mine Enemies”
Episode 3: “The Bounty Hunter”
Moment of Fear
Episode 1: “The Golden Deed”
Episode 8: “Comanche Scalps”
Episode 96: “The Case of the Treacherous Toupee”
The Iceman Cometh
Episode 2: “The Grudge”
The Twilight Zone
Episode 81: “Nothing in the Dark”
Private Roy Loomis
Episode 103: “Snowball”
Episode 34 (2.4): “A Killer in Town”
Inside Daisy Clover
Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor
Situation Hopeless … But Not Serious
Captain Hank Wilson
This Property Is Condemned
Charlie ‘Bubber’ Reeves
Barefoot in the Park
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Sundance Kid
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here
Deputy Sheriff Christopher ‘Coop’ Cooper
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Little Fauss and Big Halsy
The Hot Rock
John Archibald Dortmunder
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
The Way We Were
The Great Gatsby
Three Days of the Condor
Joseph Turner/The Condor
The Great Waldo Pepper
All the President’s Men
A Bridge Too Far
Major Julian Cook
The Electric Horseman
Norman ‘Sonny’ Steele
Out of Africa
Denys Finch Hatton
Martin “Marty” Bishop
Incident at Oglala
La Classe américaine
Up Close & Personal
The Horse Whisperer
The Last Castle
Lt. Gen. Eugene Irwin
Nathan D. Muir
An Unfinished Life
Lions for Lambs
Dr. Stephen Malley
The Company You Keep
Jim Grant/Nick Sloan
All Is Lost
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Academy Award for Best Director Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film Golden Globe Award for Best Director
The Milagro Beanfield War
Nominated — Political Film Society
A River Runs Through It
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Picture Nominated — Academy Award for Best Director Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Film Nominated — Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing – Feature Film Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
The Horse Whisperer
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Director
The Legend of Bagger Vance
Lions for Lambs
The Company You Keep
The Making of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
The Language And The Music Of The Wolves
Project of The Natural History Magazine
Following the Tundra Wolf
Broken Treaty at Battle Mountain
The Sun Dagger
Audubon Video: Grizzly and Man – Uneasy Truce
Audubon Video: California Condor
To Protect Mother Earth
American Experience: Yosemite – The Fate of Heaven
Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008) was an American Actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver, auto racing team owner and auto racing enthusiast. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money and eight other nominations, six Golden Globe Awards (including three honorary ones), a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy award, and many honorary awards. He also won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open wheel IndyCar racing.
Newman was a co-founder of Newman’s Own, a food company from which Newman donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. As of June 2012, these donations exceeded $330 million.
Paul Leonard Newman January 26, 1925 Shaker Heights, Ohio
September 26, 2008 (aged 83) Westport, Connecticut
Cause of death
Shaker Heights High School
Kenyon College (B.A.), Ohio University
Actor, director, entrepreneur, professional racing driver
Founder of Newman’s Own, The Color of Money, Cool Hand Luke, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Board member of
Jackie Witte (1949–1958; divorced) Joanne Woodward (1958–2008; his death)
Allan Scott Newman (1950–1978) Stephanie Newman (b. 1951) Susan Kendall Newman (b. 1953) Elinor Teresa Newman (b. 1959) Melissa Steward Newman (b. 1961) Clair Olivia Newman (b. 1965)
Newman was born in Shaker Heights (a suburb of Cleveland). He was the son of Theresa (née Fetzer or Fetsko; Slovak: Terézia Fecková) and Arthur Sigmund Newman, who ran a profitable sporting goods store. His father was Jewish (Paul’s paternal grandparents, Simon Newman and Hannah Cohn, were immigrants from Hungary and Poland). His mother, who practiced Christian Science, was born to a SlovakRoman Catholic family at Homonna, Ptičie (formerly Pticsie) in the former Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Humenné in Slovakia). Newman had no religion as an adult, but described himself as a Jew, saying, “it’s more of a challenge”. Newman’s mother worked in his father’s store, while raising Paul and his brother, Arthur, who later became a producer and production manager.
Newman showed an early interest in the theater, which his mother encouraged. At the age of seven, he made his acting debut, playing the court jester in a school production of Robin Hood. Graduating from Shaker Heights High School in 1943, he briefly attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he was initiated into the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.
Newman served in the United States Navy in World War II in the Pacific theater. Newman enrolled in the Navy V-12 program at Yale University, hoping to be accepted for pilot training, but was dropped when it was discovered he was color blind. He was sent instead to boot camp and then received further training as a radioman and gunner. Qualifying as a rear-seat radioman and gunner in torpedo bombers, in 1944, Aviation Radioman Third Class Newman was sent to Barber’s Point, Hawaii. He was subsequently assigned to Pacific-based replacement torpedo squadrons (VT-98, VT-99, and VT-100). These torpedo squadrons were responsible primarily for training replacement pilots and combat air crewmen, placing particular importance on carrier landings.
He later flew from aircraft carriers as a turret gunner in an Avenger torpedo bomber. As a radioman-gunner, he served aboard USS Bunker Hill during the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. He was ordered to the ship with a draft of replacements shortly before the Okinawa campaign, but his life was spared because he was held back after his pilot developed an ear infection. The men who remained in his detail were killed in action.
After the war, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Speech at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 1949. He became a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity during his time there and lived in the house. Shortly after earning his degree, Newman joined several summer stock companies most notably the Woodstock Players in Illinois. He toured with them for three months and developed his talents with a part of Woodstock Players. Newman later attended the Yale School of Drama for one year before moving to New York City to study under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.
Oscar Levant wrote that Newman initially was hesitant to leave New York for Hollywood: “Too close to the cake,” he reported him saying, “Also, no place to study.”
Early Work and Mainstream Success
Newman arrived in New York City in 1951 with his first wife Jackie Witte, taking up residence in the St. George section of Staten Island. He made his Broadway theater debut in the original production of William Inge’s Picnic with Kim Stanley in 1953 and appeared in the original Broadway production of The Desperate Hours in 1955. In 1959, he was in the original Broadway production of Sweet Bird of Youth with Geraldine Page and three years later starred with Page in the film version.
During this time Newman started acting in television. He had his first credited TV or film appearance with a small but notable part in a 1952 episode of the science fiction TV series Tales of Tomorrow entitled “Ice from Space”. In the mid-1950s, he appeared twice on CBS’s Appointment with Adventure anthology series.
In February 1954, Newman appeared in a screen test with James Dean, directed by Gjon Mili, for East of Eden (1955). Newman was testing for the role of Aron Trask, Dean for the role of Aron’s fraternal twin brother Cal. Dean won his part, but Newman lost out to Richard Davalos. In the same year, Newman co-starred with Eva Marie Saint and Frank Sinatra in a live—and color—television broadcast of Our Town, a musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s stage play. Newman was a last-minute replacement for James Dean. In 2003, Newman acted in a remake of Our Town, this time in the role of the stage manager. The “James Dean” connection had resonance two other times, as Newman was cast in two leading roles originally earmarked for Dean, Billy the Kid in The Left Handed Gun and Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me, after Dean succumbed to his fateful automobile collision up the California coast. Newman’s first movie for Hollywood was The Silver Chalice (1954). The film was a box office failure and the actor would later acknowledge his disdain for it. In 1956, Newman garnered much attention and acclaim for the boxer Graziano lead in Somebody Up There Likes Me By 1958, he was one of the hottest new stars in Hollywood. Later that year, he starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), opposite Elizabeth Taylor. The film was a box office smash and Newman garnered his first Academy Award nomination. Also in 1958, Newman starred in The Long, Hot Summer with Joanne Woodward, whom he reconnected with on the set in 1957 (they had first met in 1953). He won best actor at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival for this film.
Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent generation. Newman starred in Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977), and The Verdict (1982). He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973).
He appeared with his wife, Joanne Woodward, in the feature films The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!, (1958), From the Terrace (1960), Paris Blues (1961), A New Kind of Love (1963), What a Way to Go! (1964), Winning (1969), WUSA (1970), The Drowning Pool (1975), Harry & Son (1984), and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990). They both also starred in the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but did not have any scenes together.
In addition to starring in and directing Harry & Son, Newman also directed four feature films (in which he did not act) starring Woodward. They were Rachel, Rachel (1968), based on Margaret Laurence’s A Jest of God, the screen version of the Pulitzer Prize–winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972), the television screen version of the Pulitzer Prize–winning play The Shadow Box (1980), and a screen version of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie (1987).
Twenty-five years after The Hustler, Newman reprised his role of “Fast” Eddie Felson in the Martin Scorsese–directed The Color of Money (1986), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. The Award has been looked upon as a “make-up” for his past body of work. He told a television interviewer that winning that Oscar at the age of 62 deprived him of his fantasy of formally being presented with it in extreme old age.
In 2003, he appeared in a Broadway revival of Wilder’s Our Town, receiving his first Tony Award nomination for his performance. PBS and the cable network Showtime aired a taping of the production, and Newman was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie.
His last screen appearance was as a conflicted mob boss in the 2002 film Road to Perdition opposite Tom Hanks, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, although he continued to provide voice work for films.
In 2003, Newman vowed he would no longer attend award shows, claiming he didn’t need to win any more honors.
In 2005 at age 80, Newman was profiled alongside Robert Redford as part of the Sundance Channel’s TV series Iconoclasts.
In 2006, in keeping with his strong interest in car racing, he provided the voice of Doc Hudson, a retired anthropomorphic race car in Disney/Pixar’s Cars—this was his final performance for a major feature film.
Similarly, he served as narrator for the 2007 film Dale, about the life of the legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, which turned out to be Newman’s final film performance in any form. Newman also provided the narration for the film documentary The Meerkats, which was released in 2008.
Retirement from Acting
Newman announced that he would entirely retire from acting on May 25, 2007. He stated that he did not feel he could continue acting at the level he wanted to. “You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that’s pretty much a closed book for me.”
With writer A. E. Hotchner, Newman founded Newman’s Own, a line of food products, in 1982. The brand started with salad dressing, and has expanded to include pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, salsa, and wine, among other things. Newman established a policy that all proceeds, after taxes, would be donated to charity. As of 2010, the franchise has donated in excess of $300 million. He co-wrote a memoir about the subject with Hotchner, Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good. Among other awards, Newman’s Own co-sponsors the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award, a $25,000 reward designed to recognize those who protect the First Amendment as it applies to the written word.
One beneficiary of his philanthropy is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp for seriously ill children, which is located in Ashford, Connecticut. Newman co-founded the camp in 1988; it was named after the gang in his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Newman’s college fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, adopted Hole in the Wall as their “national philanthropy” in 1995. One camp has expanded to become several Hole in the Wall Camps in the U.S., Ireland, France, and Israel. The camps serve 13,000 children every year, free of charge.
In June 1999, Newman donated $250,000 to Catholic Relief Services to aid refugees in Kosovo.
On June 1, 2007, Kenyon College announced that Newman had donated $10 million to the school to establish a scholarship fund as part of the college’s current $230 million fund-raising campaign. Newman and Woodward were honorary co-chairs of a previous campaign.
Newman was one of the founders of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), a membership organization of CEOs and corporate chairpersons committed to raising the level and quality of global corporate philanthropy. Founded in 1999 by Newman and a few leading CEOs, CECP has grown to include more than 175 members and, through annual executive convenings, extensive benchmarking research, and best practice publications, leads the business community in developing sustainable and strategic community partnerships through philanthropy. Newman was named the Most Generous Celebrity of 2008 by Givingback.org. He contributed $20,857,000 for the year of 2008 to the Newman’s Own Foundation, which distributes funds to a variety of charities.
Upon Newman’s death, the Italian newspaper (a “semi-official” paper of the Holy See) L’Osservatore Romano published a notice lauding Newman’s philanthropy. It also commented that “Newman was a generous heart, an actor of a dignity and style rare in Hollywood quarters.”
Newman is recognized as responsible for preserving lands around Westport. Newman lobbied the Connecticut governor for funds for the 2011 Aspetuck Land Trust in Easton. In 2011 Paul Newman’s estate gifted land to Westport to be managed by the Aspetuck Land Trust.
Marriages and Family
Newman was married to Jackie Witte from 1949 to 1958. They had two daughters (Stephanie Kendall born in 1951 and Susan born in 1953) and a son, Scott, born in 1950, who died in November 1978 from a drug overdose. Scott appeared in films including Breakheart Pass, The Towering Inferno and the 1977 film Fraternity Row. Paul Newman started the Scott Newman Center for drug abuse prevention in memory of his son. Susan is a documentary filmmaker and philanthropist and has Broadway and screen credits, including a starring role as one of four Beatles fans in I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), and also a small role opposite her father in Slap Shot. She also received an Emmy nomination as co-producer of his telefilm, The Shadow Box.
Newman met actress Joanne Woodward in 1953. Shortly after filming The Long, Hot Summer, in 1957 he divorced Witte. He married Woodward early in 1958. They remained married for fifty years until his death in 2008. They had three daughters: Elinor “Nell” Teresa (b. 1959), Melissa “Lissy” Stewart (b. 1961), and Claire “Clea” Olivia (b. 1965). Newman directed Nell (using the stage name Nell Potts) alongside her mother in the films Rachel, Rachel and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.
The Newmans lived away from the Hollywood environment, making their home in Westport, Connecticut. Newman was well known for his devotion to his wife and family. When asked once about infidelity, he famously quipped, “Why go out for a hamburger when you have steak at home?”
Paul Newman was also an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church Monastery, a one-day online certificate program to officiate weddings.
For his support of Eugene McCarthy in 1968 (and effective use of television commercials in California) and his opposition to the War in Vietnam, Newman was placed nineteenth on Richard Nixon’s enemies list, which Newman claimed was his greatest accomplishment. During the 1968 general election, Newman supported Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey and appeared in a pre-election night telethon for him.
Consistent with his work for liberal causes, Newman publicly supported Ned Lamont’s candidacy in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic Primary against Senator Joe Lieberman, and was even rumored as a candidate himself, until Lamont emerged as a credible alternative. He donated to Chris Dodd‘s presidential campaign.
He attended the first Earth Day event in Manhattan on April 22, 1970. Newman was also a vocal supporter of gay rights.
Newman was concerned over global warming and supported nuclear energy development as a solution.
Newman was an auto racing enthusiast, and first became interested in motorsports (“the first thing that I ever found I had any grace in”) while training at the Watkins Glen Racing School for the filming of Winning, a 1969 film. Because of his love and passion for racing, Newman agreed in 1971 to star in and to host his first television special, Once Upon a Wheel, on the history of auto racing. It was produced and directed by David Winters, who co-owned a number of racing cars with Newman. Newman’s first professional event as a racer was in 1972, in Thompson, Connecticut, and he was a frequent competitor in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events for the rest of the decade, eventually winning four national championships. He later drove in the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans in Dick Barbour’s Porsche 935 and finished in second place. Newman reunited with Barbour in 2000 to compete in the Petit Le Mans.
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Dick Barbour Racing
From the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, he drove for the Bob Sharp Racing team, racing mainly Datsuns (later rebranded as Nissans) in the Trans-Am Series. He became closely associated with the brand during the 1980s, even appearing in commercials for them. At the age of 70 years and eight days, he became the oldest driver to be part of a winning team in a major sanctioned race, winning in his class at the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona. Among his last races were the Baja 1000 in 2004 and the 24 Hours of Daytona once again in 2005.
During the 1976 auto racing season, Paul Newman became interested in forming a professional auto racing team and contacted Bill Freeman from Santa Barbara. Bill is credited as the man who introduced Paul Newman to professional auto racing management, and their company specialized in Can-Am, Indy Cars, and other high performance racing automobiles. The team was based in Santa Barbara, California and commuted to Willow Springs Raceway for much of its testing sessions.
Their “Newman Freeman Racing” team was very competitive in the North American Can-Am series in their Budweiser sponsored Chevrolet powered Spyder NFs. Paul and Bill began a long and successful partnership with the Newman Freeman Racing team in the Can-Am series which culminated in the Can-Am Team Championship trophy in 1979. Their drivers included Keke Rosberg (who later became World Champion on the Williams Saudia F1 Team), Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Randolph Townsend, Mike Brockman, Howdy Holmes, Teo Fabi, Patrick Depailler, Danny Sullivan, Bobby Rahal, Johnny Parson Jr., among others.
Paul was also associated with Bill Freeman’s established Porsche racing team which allowed both Paul and Bill to compete in S.C.C.A. and I.M.S.A. racing events together, including the Sebring 12-hour endurance sports car race. This car was sponsored by Beverly Porsche/Audi. Bill Freeman was also Sports Car Club of America’s Southern Pacific National Champion during the Newman Freeman Racing period.
Later Newman co-founded Newman/Haas Racing with Carl Haas, a Champ Car team, in 1983. The 1996 racing season was chronicled in the IMAX film Super Speedway, which Newman narrated. He was also a partner in the Atlantic Championship team Newman Wachs Racing.
Newman was posthumously inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame at the national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 21, 2009.
Illness and Death
Newman was scheduled to make his professional stage directing debut with the Westport Country Playhouse’s 2008 production of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, but he stepped down on May 23, 2008, citing health issues. In June 2008, it was widely reported that Newman had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was receiving treatment at Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York City. Writer A. E. Hotchner, who partnered with Newman to start the Newman’s Own company in the 1980s, told the Associated Press that Newman told him about the disease about eighteen months prior to the interview. Newman’s spokesman told the press that the star was “doing nicely,” but neither confirmed nor denied that he had cancer. In August, after reportedly finishing chemotherapy, Newman told his family he wished to die at home.
Newman died on September 26, 2008, aged 83, surrounded by his family and close friends. His remains were cremated after a private funeral service near his home in Westport.
Filmography, Awards, and Nominations
The Silver Chalice
Producers’ Showcase: Our Town
Somebody Up There Likes Me
Cinema Writers Circle Award for Best Foreign Actor
Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.
The Helen Morgan Story
Until They Sail
Capt. Jack Harding
The Long, Hot Summer
Best Actor Award (Cannes Film Festival)
The Left Handed Gun
Billy the Kid
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominated—Golden Laurel Award Top Male Dramatic Performance
Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!
The Young Philadelphians
Anthony Judson Lawrence
From the Terrace
David Alfred Eaton
Ari Ben Canaan
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Golden Laurel Award Top Male Dramatic Performance Mar del Plata Film Festival Best Actor Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Sweet Bird of Youth
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man
Ad Francis, “The Battler”
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
A New Kind of Love
What a Way to Go!
Prof. Michael Armstrong
directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Cool Hand Luke
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated—Golden Laurel Award Top Male Dramatic Performance
The Secret War of Harry Frigg
Pvt. Harry Frigg
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominated—Golden Laurel Award Top Male Dramatic Performance
Sometimes a Great Notion
Once Upon a Wheel (1971 TV program)
Winner: World Television Festival Award,Winner: Best International Sports Documentary
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
Judge Roy Bean
The Mackintosh Man
The Towering Inferno
The Drowning Pool
Buffalo Bill and the Indians
William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody
Reggie “Reg” Dunlop
When Time Ran Out…
Fort Apache, The Bronx
Absence of Malice
Michael Colin Gallagher
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Come Along with Me
David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Harry & Son
The Color of Money
Fast Eddie Felson
Academy Award for Best Actor National Board of Review Award for Best Actor Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Fat Man and Little Boy
Gen. Leslie R. Groves
Gov. Earl K. Long
Mr. and Mrs. Bridge
La Classe américaine
in redubbed archive footage only
The Hudsucker Proxy
Sidney J. Mussburger
Donald J. “Sully” Sullivan
Silver Berlin Bear Award for Best Actor (Berlin) National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Message in a Bottle
Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Drama/Romance
Where the Money Is
“The Blunder Years” (The Simpsons episode)
Road to Perdition
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D
Doc Hudson/Hudson Hornet
As Director or Producer
Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture New York Film Critics Circle Award (best director)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Co-executive producer (uncredited)
Co-executive producer (uncredited)
Sometimes a Great Notion
Director and co-executive producer
They Might Be Giants
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
Director and producer
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean
Co-executive producer (uncredited)
The Shadow Box
Nominated – Emmy Award for Best Director for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
Harry & Son
Director and producer
The Glass Menagerie
Producer, Nominated: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries
Additional Awards and Honors
In addition to the awards Newman won for specific roles, he received an honorary Academy Award in 1986 for his “many and memorable and compelling screen performances” and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his charity work in 1994.
He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1992 along with his wife, Joanne Woodward.
In 1994, he and his wife received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.
He received the Golden Globe New Star of the Year — Actor award for The Silver Chalice (1957), the Henrietta Award World Film Favorite — Male in 1964 and 1966 and the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1984.
Newman won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for The Long, Hot Summer and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for Nobody’s Fool.
In 1968, Newman was named “Man of the Year” by Harvard University’s performance group, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals.
Newman Day has been celebrated at Kenyon College, Bates College, Princeton University, and other American colleges since the 1970s. In 2004, Newman requested that Princeton University disassociate the event from his name, due to the fact that he did not endorse the behaviors, citing his creation of the Scott Newman Centre in 1980, which is “dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse through education”.
Posthumously, Newman was inducted into the Connecticut Hall of Fame, and was honored with a 37-acre (150,000 m2) nature preserve in Westport named in his honor. He was also honored by the United States House of Representatives following his death.
James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American Actor. He is a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were as loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955), and as the surly ranch hand, Jett Rink, in Giant (1956). Dean’s enduring fame and popularity rests on his performances in only these three films, all leading roles. His premature death in a car crash cemented his legendary status.
Dean was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Dean the 18th best male movie star on their AFI’s 100 Years…100 Stars list.
in Giant (1956)
James Byron Dean February 8, 1931 Marion, Indiana, U.S.
September 30, 1955 (aged 24) Cholame, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Jim or Jimmy
Fairmount High School
Santa Monica College UCLA
James Dean was born on February 8, 1931, at the Seven Gables apartment house located at the corner of 4th Street and McClure Street in Marion, Indiana, to Winton Dean and Mildred Wilson. Six years after his father had left farming to become a dental technician, James and his family moved to Santa Monica, California. The family spent several years there, and by all accounts young Dean was very close to his mother. According to Michael DeAngelis, she was “the only person capable of understanding him”. He was enrolled at Brentwood Public School in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles until his mother died of cancer when Dean was nine years old.
Unable to care for his son, his father sent James to live with his sister Ortense and her husband Marcus Winslow on a farm in Fairmount, Indiana, where he was raised in a Quaker background. Dean sought the counsel and friendship of Methodist pastor, the Rev. James DeWeerd. DeWeerd seemed to have had a formative influence upon Dean, especially upon his future interests in bullfighting, car racing, and the theater. According to Billy J. Harbin, “Dean had an intimate relationship with his pastor… which began in his senior year of high school and endured for many years.” Their sexual relationship was earlier suggested in the 1994 book, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times, and Legend of James Dean by Paul Alexander. In 2011, it was reported that he once told Elizabeth Taylor, his co-star in Giant, that he was sexually abused by a minister two years after his mother’s death.
In high school, Dean’s overall performance was mediocre. However, he was a popular student, having played on the baseball and basketball teams and studied drama and competed in forensics through the Indiana High School Forensic Association. After graduating from Fairmount High School on May 16, 1949, Dean moved back to California with his beagle, Max, to live with his father and stepmother. He enrolled in Santa Monica College (SMC) and majored in pre-law. Dean transferred to UCLA for one semester and changed his major to drama, which resulted in estrangement from his father. He pledged the Sigma Nu fraternity but was never initiated. While at UCLA, he was picked from a pool of 350 actors to land the role of Malcolm in Macbeth. At that time, he also began acting in James Whitmore’s workshop. In January 1951, he dropped out of UCLA to pursue a full-time career as an actor.
Dean’s first television appearance was in a Pepsi Colatelevision commercial. He quit college to act full time and was cast as John the Beloved Disciple in Hill Number One, an Easter television special, and three walk-on roles in movies, Fixed Bayonets!, Sailor Beware, and Has Anybody Seen My Gal? His only speaking part was as a boxing trainer in Sailor Beware, a Paramount comedy starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. While struggling to get jobs in Hollywood, Dean also worked as a parking lot attendant at CBS Studios, during which time he met Rogers Brackett, a radio director for an advertising agency, who offered him professional help and guidance in his chosen career, as well as a place to stay.
In October 1951, following actor James Whitmore’s and his mentor Rogers Brackett’s advice, Dean moved to New York City. There he worked as a stunt tester for the game show Beat the Clock. He also appeared in episodes of several CBS television series, The Web, Studio One, and Lux Video Theatre, before gaining admission to the legendary Actors Studio to study method acting under Lee Strasberg. Proud of this accomplishment, Dean referred to the Studio in a 1952 letter to his family as “The greatest school of the theater. It houses great people like Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Arthur Kennedy, Mildred Dunnock. … Very few get into it … It is the best thing that can happen to an actor. I am one of the youngest to belong.”
Dean’s career picked up and he performed in further episodes of such early 1950s television shows as Kraft Television Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents, Danger, and General Electric Theater. One early role, for the CBS series Omnibus in the episode “Glory in the Flower”, saw Dean portraying the type of disaffected youth he would later immortalize in Rebel Without a Cause. (This summer 1953 program was also notable for featuring the song “Crazy Man, Crazy”, one of the first dramatic TV programs to feature rock and roll.) Positive reviews for Dean’s 1954 theatrical role as “Bachir”, a pandering North African houseboy, in an adaptation of André Gide’s book The Immoralist, led to calls from Hollywood.
East of Eden
In East of Eden (1955)
In 1953, director Elia Kazan was looking for a substantive actor to play the emotionally complex role of ‘Cal Trask’, for screenwriter Paul Osborn’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s 1952 novel East of Eden. The lengthy novel deals with the story of the Trask and Hamilton families over the course of three generations, focusing especially on the lives of the latter two generations in Salinas Valley, California, from the mid-19th century through the 1910s. In contrast to the book, the film script dealt predominantly with the character of Cal Trask. Though he initially seems more aloof and emotionally troubled than his twin brother Aron, Cal is soon seen to be more worldly, business savvy, and even sagacious than their pious and constantly disapproving father (played by Raymond Massey) who seeks to invent a vegetable refrigeration process. Cal is bothered by the mystery of their supposedly dead mother, and discovers she is still alive and a brothel-keeping ‘madame’ (Jo Van Fleet).
With Julie Harris in East of Eden (1955)
Before casting Cal, Elia Kazan said that he wanted “a Brando” for the role and Osborn suggested the relatively unknown young actor, James Dean. Dean met with Steinbeck who did not like the moody, complex young man personally, but thought him perfect for the part. Dean was cast in the role and on April 8, 1954, left New York City and headed for Los Angeles to begin shooting.
Much of Dean’s performance in the film is unscripted, including his dance in the bean field and his fetal-like posturing while riding on top of a train boxcar (after searching out his mother in nearby Monterey). The most famous improvisation of the film occurs when Cal’s father rejects his gift of $5,000 (money Cal earned by speculating in beans prior to World War I). Instead of running away from his father as the script called for, Dean instinctively turned to Massey and in a gesture of extreme emotion, lunged forward and grabbed him in a full embrace, crying. Kazan kept this cut and Massey’s shocked reaction in the film. Dean’s performance in the film foreshadowed his role as Jim Stark in Rebel Without A Cause. Both characters are angst-ridden protagonists and misunderstood outcasts, desperately craving approval from a father figure.
For the 1955 Academy Awards, Dean received a posthumous nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in East of Eden, the first official posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history. (Jeanne Eagels was unofficially nominated for Best Actress in 1929, when the rules for selection of the winner were different.)
Rebel Without a Cause
Dean quickly followed up his role in Eden with a starring role in Rebel Without a Cause, a film that would prove to be hugely popular among teenagers. The film has been cited as an accurate representation of teenage angst. It co-starred teen actors Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, and Dennis Hopper and was directed by Nicholas Ray.
Giant, which was posthumously released in 1956, saw Dean play a supporting role to Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. This was due to his desire to avoid being typecast as Jim Stark and Cal Trask. In the film, he plays Jett, an oil-rich Texan. His role was notable in that, in order to portray an older version of his character in one scene, Dean dyed his hair gray and shaved some of it off to give himself a receding hairline.
Elizabeth Taylor & James Dean in-Giant
Giant would be Dean’s last film. At the end of the film, Dean was supposed to make a drunken speech at a banquet; this is nicknamed the ‘Last Supper’ because it was the last scene before his sudden death. Dean mumbled so much due to his desire to make the scene more realistic by actually being inebriated for the take that the scene had to later be overdubbed by Nick Adams, who had a small role in the film, because Dean had died before the film was edited.
For the 1956 Academy Awards, Dean received his second posthumous Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Giant.
Racing Career and ‘Little Bastard’
In April 1954, after securing the co-starring role of Cal Trask in East of Eden, Dean purchased a 1955 Triumph Tiger T110, 650 cc motorcycle and later, a used red, 1953 MG TD sports car. In March 1955, Dean traded the MG for a new 1955 Porsche Super Speedster purchased from Competition Motors in Hollywood. He traded the Triumph T110 for a 1955 Triumph TR5 Trophy three days after filming wrapped on East of Eden. Just before filming began on Rebel Without a Cause, Dean entered the Palm Springs Road Races with the Speedster on March 26–27. He finished first overall in Saturday’s novice class and second overall in the Sunday main event. Dean also raced the Speedster at Bakersfield on May 1–2, finishing first in class and third overall. His final race with the Speedster was at Santa Barbara on Memorial Day, May 30, where he started in the eighteenth position, worked his way up to fourth, before over-revving his engine and blowing a piston. He did not finish the race.
During the filming of Giant from June through mid-September, Warner Bros. had barred Dean from all racing activities. In July, Dean put down a deposit on a new Lotus IX sports racer with Jay Chamberlain, a dealer in Burbank. Dean was told that the Lotus delivery would be delayed until autumn. As Dean was finishing up Giant’s filming, he suddenly traded in his Speedster at Competition Motors for a new, more powerful and faster 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder on September 21 and entered the upcoming Salinas Road Race event scheduled for October 1–2. He also purchased a new 1955 Ford Country Squire station wagon to use for towing the new Spyder to and from the races on an open wheel car trailer.
According to Lee Raskin, Porsche historian, and author of James Dean At Speed, Dean asked custom car painter and pin striper Dean Jeffries to paint Little Bastard on the car:
“Dean Jeffries, who had a paint shop next to Barris did the customizing work which consisted of: painting ‘130’ in black non-permanent paint on the front hood, doors and rear deck lid. He also painted “Little Bastard” in script across the rear cowling. The red leather bucket seats and red tail stripes were original. The tail stripes were painted by the Stuttgart factory, which was customary on the Spyders for racing ID.”
Purportedly, James Dean had been given the nickname “Little Bastard” by Bill Hickman, a Warner Bros stunt driver who became friendly with Dean. Hickman was part of Dean’s group driving to the Salinas Road Races on September 30, 1955. Hickman says he called Dean “little bastard”, and Dean called Hickman “big bastard.” Another version of the “Little Bastard” origin has been corroborated by two of Dean’s close friends, Lew Bracker, and photographer, Phil Stern. They believe Jack Warner of Warner Bros. had once referred to Dean as a little bastard after Dean refused to vacate his temporary East of Eden trailer on the studio’s lot. And Dean wanted to get ‘even’ with Warner by naming his race car, “Little Bastard” and to show Warner that despite his sports car racing ban during all filming, Dean was going to be racing the “Little Bastard” in between making movies for Warner Bros. When Dean introduced himself to British actor Alec Guinness outside the Villa Capri restaurant in Hollywood, he asked him to take a look at his brand new Porsche Spyder. Guinness thought the car appeared ‘sinister’ and told Dean: “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week.” This encounter took place on September 23, 1955, seven days before Dean’s death.
Screenwriter William Bast was one of Dean’s closest friends, a fact acknowledged by Dean’s family. According to Dean’s first biographer (1956), Bast was his roommate at UCLA and later in New York, and knew Dean throughout the last five years of his life. Fifty years after Dean’s death, he stated that their friendship had included some sexual intimacy. In a much earlier account, Bast recalled of their friendship: “Jimmy was a dabbler, he was learning through experiment . . . But to say he was gay? That’s ridiculous.”
While at UCLA, Dean dated Beverly Wills, an actress with CBS, and Jeanette Lewis, a classmate. Bast and Dean often double-dated with them. Wills began dating Dean alone, later telling Bast, “Bill, there’s something we have to tell you. It’s Jimmy and me. I mean, we’re in love.”
Early in Dean’s career, after Dean signed his contract with Warner Brothers, the studio’s public relations department began generating stories about Dean’s liaisons with a variety of young actresses who were mostly drawn from the clientele of Dean’s Hollywood agent, Dick Clayton. Studio press releases also grouped “Dean together with two other actors, Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter, identifying each of the men as an ‘eligible bachelor’ who has not yet found the time to commit to a single woman: ‘They say their film rehearsals are in conflict with their marriage rehearsals.
We used to go together to the California coast and stay there secretly in a cottage on a beach far away from prying eyes. We’d spend much of our time on the beach, sitting there or fooling around, just like college kids. We would talk about ourselves and our problems, about the movies and acting, about life and life after death. We had a complete understanding of each other. We were like Romeo and Juliet, together and inseparable. Sometimes on the beach we loved each other so much we just wanted to walk together into the sea holding hands because we knew then that we would always be together.
In his autobiography East of Eden, director Elia Kazan dismissed the notion that Dean could possibly have had any success with women, although he remembered hearing Dean and Angeli loudly making love in Dean’s dressing room. In 1997 the television movie Race with Destiny was produced, a true story account of the love affair between Dean and Pier Angeli. It was shot on location “where he lived and loved” until his death.
Dean posing Pier Angeli for a photo
Despite their strong love for each other, a number of forces led them apart. Angeli’s mother disapproved of Dean’s casual dress and what were for, her at least, radical behavior traits: his t-shirt attire, late dates, fast cars, and the fact that he was not a Catholic. Her mother said that such behavior was not acceptable in Italy. In addition, MGM, where he worked, tried to talk him out of marrying and he himself told Angeli that he didn’t want to get married.
After finishing his role for East of Eden, he took a brief trip to New York in October 1954. While he was away, Angeli unexpectedly announced her engagement to Italian-American singer Vic Damone. The press was shocked and Dean expressed his irritation. Angeli married Damone the following month. Gossip columnists reported that Dean watched the wedding from across the road on his motorcycle, even gunning the engine during the ceremony, although Dean denied doing anything so “dumb.”
Some, like Bast and Paul Alexander, believe the relationship was a mere publicity stunt. Pier Angeli only talked once about the relationship in her later life in an interview, giving vivid descriptions of romantic meetings at the beach. Dean biographer John Howlett said these read like wishful fantasies, as Bast claims them to be.
Actress Liz Sheridan asserts that she and Dean had a short affair in New York. However, again Bast is skeptical as to whether this was a true love affair, and says Dean and Sheridan did not spend much time together. Dean also dated Swiss actress Ursula Andress. “She was seen riding around Hollywood on the back of James’s motorcycle,” writes biographer Darwin Porter. She was also seen with Dean in his sports cars, and was with him on the day he bought the car that he died in. At the time, Andress was also dating Marlon Brando. Andress remembered her courtship with Dean:
“He came by my house late. He came in room like wild animal, and smell of everything I don’t like. We go hear jazz music and he leave table. Say he go play drums. He no come back. I don’t like to be alone. I go home. He come by my home later and say he sorry.”
Porter adds that Brando was “particularly interested in finding out from Ursula who the better lover was: James Dean or himself. It drove him crazy.”
Dean avoided the draft by registering as a homosexual, then classified by the US government as a mental disorder. When questioned about his orientation, he is reported to have said, “No, I am not a homosexual. But, I’m also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back.”
On September 30, 1955, Dean and his Porsche factory-trained mechanic, Rolf Wütherich, were at Competition Motors in Hollywood preparing Dean’s new Porsche 550 Spyder for the weekend sports car races at Salinas, California.
Dean originally intended to trailer the Porsche to Salinas, behind his 1955 Ford Country Squire station wagon, driven by friend and movie stunt man Bill Hickman and accompanied by professional photographer Sanford H. Roth who was planning a photo story of Dean at the races for Colliers Magazine.
Because the Porsche did not have enough “break-in” miles prior to the race, Wütherich recommended that Dean drive the Spyder to Salinas to get more “seat time” behind the wheel.
The group had coffee and donuts at the Hollywood Ranch Market on Vine Street across from Competition Motors (not the legendary Farmer’s Market at W 3rd St & S Fairfax Ave as previously reported) before leaving around 1:15 p.m. PST. They stopped at the Mobil station for gasoline on Ventura Blvd. at Beverly Glen Blvd. in Sherman Oaks around 2:00 p.m. The group then headed north on the Golden State FreewayUS 99 (today, Interstate 5) and then over the “Grapevine” toward Bakersfield.
At 3:30 p.m., Dean was stopped by California Highway Patrolman O.V. Hunter at Mettler Station on Wheeler Ridge, just south of Bakersfield, for driving 65 mph (105 km/h) in a 55 mph (89 km/h) zone. Hickman, following behind the Spyder in the Ford with the trailer, was also ticketed for driving 20 mph (32 km/h) over the limit, as the speed limit for all vehicles towing a trailer was 45 mph (72 km/h). After receiving the speeding citations, Dean and Hickman turned left onto Route 166/33 to avoid going through Bakersfield’s slow 25 mph downtown district.
Route 166/33 was a known short-cut for all the sports car drivers going to Salinas, called “the racer’s road”, which took them directly to Blackwells Corner at CA Route 466 (later SR 46). At Blackwells Corner, Dean stopped briefly only for refreshments and met up with fellow racers Lance Reventlow and Bruce Kessler, who were also on their way to the Salinas road races in Reventlow’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL coupe. As Reventlow and Kessler were leaving, they all agreed to meet for dinner in Paso Robles.
At approximately 5:15 p.m., Dean and Hickman left Blackwells Corner, driving west on Route 466 (now CA 46) toward Paso Robles, approximately 60 miles away. Dean accelerated in the Porsche and left the Ford station wagon far behind. Further along on Route 466, the Porsche crested Polonio Pass and headed down the long Antelope Grade, passing cars along the way toward the junction floor at Route 466 and 41. At approximately 5:45 p.m. PST, Dean spotted a black-and-white 1950 Ford Tudor coupe, driving at a high speed, heading east on Rt. 466 just west of the junction near Shandon.
Its driver, 23-year-old Cal Poly student Donald Turnupseed, made a left turn onto Route 41 headed north, toward Fresno. As Turnupseed’s Ford crossed over the center line, Dean, who was driving at a reported speed of 85 Miles per hour, saw an impending crash and apparently tried to steer the Spyder in a “side stepping” racing maneuver, but there was not enough time or space, and the two cars crashed almost head-on. The Spyder flipped up into the air and landed back on its wheels off in a gully, northwest of the junction. The sheer velocity of the impact sent the much-heavier Ford broad-sliding 39 feet down Route 466 in the westbound lane.
According to a story in the October 1, 2005, edition of the Los Angeles Times, California Highway Patrol Captain Ernest Tripke and his partner, Corporal Ronald Nelson, had been finishing a coffee break in Paso Robles when they were called to the scene of the accident at the Route 466/41 junction. Before Officers Tripke and Nelson arrived, James Dean had been extricated from the Spyder’s mangled cockpit, his left foot having been crushed between the clutch and brake pedal.
Dean was severely injured as he took the brunt of the crash, with a broken neck and several internal and external injuries. Nelson witnessed an unconscious and dying Dean being placed into an ambulance, and a barely conscious Wütherich, who had been thrown from the Spyder, lying on the shoulder of the road next to the wrecked Porsche. Dean and Wütherich were taken in the same ambulance to the Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, 28 miles away. Dean was pronounced dead on arrival at 6:20 p.m. PST by the attending emergency room physician, Robert Bossert.
Junction of state highways 46 (former 466) and 41 as it looked in 2007
Wütherich survived with a broken jaw and serious hip and femur injuries that required immediate surgery. Turnupseed was only slightly injured with facial bruises and a bloodied nose. After being interviewed by the CHP, Turnupseed hitch-hiked in the dark to his home in Tulare. Hickman and Roth arrived at the accident scene approximately ten minutes after the crash. Hickman assisted in extricating Dean from the wreckage. Roth took photographs of the accident scene, which are now owned by Seita Ohnishi, a retired Kobe, Japan businessman. Ohnishi, in 1977, designed and erected a stainless steel memorial in tribute to James Dean at Cholame, just a mile west of the accident site.
Some sources give Dean’s last known words—uttered right before the impact when Wütherich told Dean to slow down when they both saw the 1950 Ford Tudor coupe about to pull into their lane—as “That guy’s gotta stop… He’ll see us.” James Dean historian Lee Raskin believes that any report about Wütherich saying anything to Dean, or Dean saying anything to Wütherich prior to the crash is pure conjecture. According to the coroner’s deposition taken of Wütherich in the hospital, and later in a 1960 interview given to an official Porsche magazine, Christophorus, he couldn’t recall any of the exact moments leading up to and after the crash.
At the official coroner’s Inquest, held at the San Luis Obispo Court House on October 11, 1955, Turnupseed told the jury that he did not see the low-profile Porsche until after he was turning left onto Route 41. After other testimony by the CHP, and witnesses to the accident, the coroner’s jury retired to deliberate. It came back with a verdict of “accidental death with no criminal intent” finding Donald Turnupseed not guilty of any contributory wrongdoing in the death of James Dean. The deceased Dean was also found not guilty of any criminal intent or contributory wrongdoing for the accident.
Although not charged with (what could have been) vehicular manslaughter, Turnupseed had nevertheless been dealt a devastating blow that would haunt him for the rest of his life. “Not only was he involved in an accident that resulted in one man’s death, but it was a death that will never be forgotten, a death whose reverberations are still being felt all over the world.”
Turnupseed granted just one interview to the Tulare Advance-Register newspaper immediately following the crash, but after that he refused to speak publicly about the accident. Turnupseed went on to own and operate a very successful family electrical contracting business in Tulare. He died at the age of 63 from lung cancer in 1995. Wütherich, after having several complicated surgeries on his hip and femur, went back to West Germany in 1957 with psychological and legal problems. He worked with the Porsche factory’s testing department and international rally and racing teams during the 1960s. Wütherich was one of the first employees of Porsche and worked for the factory eighteen years before being terminated. He died in July 1981, in Kupferzell, West Germany, in another auto accident when he lost control of his car and crashed into a residence. Like James Dean in the previous crash, Rolf Wütherich had to be extricated from the wreck and died at the accident scene. He was 53 years old.
There is an ironic epilogue to James Dean’s fatal crash in 1955: while filming Giant, Dean also filmed a short Public Service Announcement (PSA) with actor Gig Young for the National Safety Council. It featured James Dean dressed as the young Jett Rink talking about how driving fast on the highway can be more dangerous than racing on the track. It ends with Dean, instead of saying the standard phrase “The life you save may be your own”, humorously ad-libbing, “The life you might save might be mine.” This legendary black and white PSA, released following Dean’s death, can now be viewed on YouTube.
James Dean Memorial in Cholame. Dean died approximately one mile east of this tree.
James Dean is buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana, less than a mile from where he grew up on his aunt and uncle’s farm. In 1977, a Dean memorial was erected in Cholame, California. The stylized sculpture is composed of stainless steel around a tree of heaven growing in front of the former Cholame post office building. The sculpture was designed in Japan and transported to Cholame, accompanied by the project’s benefactor, Seita Ohnishi of Kobe, Japan, a retired businessman and devoted Dean fan. Ohnishi chose the site after examining the location of the accident, less than a mile away. The original Highway 41 and 46 junction where the accident occurred is now a pasture, and the two roadways were realigned over the decades to make them safer. On September 30, 2005, the junction at Highways 46 and 41 was dedicated as the James Dean Memorial Junction as part of the State of California’s official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his death. (Maps of the intersection 35°44′5″N120°17′4″W)
The dates and hours of Dean’s birth and death are etched into the sculpture, along with a handwritten description by Dean’s friend William Bast of one of Dean’s favorite lines from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Dean’s grave in his hometown, Fairmount, Indiana
On February 15, 2009, all three CHP officers who dealt with James Dean on the day of his death—Officer Otie Hunter, who ticketed Dean for speeding, and Officers Ernie Tripke and Ronald Nelson, who investigated the fatal crash—participated and shared their memories of that fateful day in an SCVTV documentary titled The Stuff of Legend: James Dean’s Final Ride, co-produced by the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. On December 21, 2010, CHP Captain Ernest “Ernie” Tripke, died at the age of 88. On August 7, 2012, CHP Corporal Ronald Nelson died at the age of 94.
Legacy and Iconic Status
Impact on Culture and Media
American teenagers at the time of Dean’s major films identified with Dean and the roles he played, especially in Rebel Without A Cause: the typical teenager, caught where no one, not even his peers, can understand him. Joe Hyams says that Dean was “one of the rare stars, like Rock Hudson and Montgomery Clift, whom both men and women find sexy.” According to Marjorie Garber, this quality is “the undefinable extra something that makes a star.” Dean’s iconic appeal has been attributed to the public’s need for someone to stand up for the disenfranchised young of the era, and to the air of androgyny that he projected onscreen. Dean’s “loving tenderness towards the besotted Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause continues to touch and excite gay audiences by its honesty. The Gay Times Readers’ Awards cited him as the male gay icon of all time.”
Dean is mentioned or featured in various songs. James Dean is mentioned in Rob Zarro’s song ′Infamous Route 66′, “I’m seeing really cool things, pictures of Marilyn and James Dean.” The Eagles song named after Dean explores his fast and dangerous lifestyle. In addition, he is often noted within television shows, films, books and novels. In an episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation, the character Liberty likens the rebellious, anti-social Sean Cameron to James Dean. On the sitcom Happy Days, Fonzie has a picture of Dean in his closet next to his mirror. A picture of Dean also appears on Rizzo’s wall in the film Grease. On the American version of the TV series Queer as Folk, the main character Brian Kinney mentions James Dean together with Cobain and Hendrix, saying, “They’re all legends. They’ll always be young, and they will always be beautiful”. In the alternate history book Homeward Bound by Harry Turtledove, Dean is stated to have not died in a car crash and to have made several more films, including Rescuing Private Ranfall, based on Saving Private Ryan.
Dean’s estate still earns about $5,000,000 per year, according to Forbes Magazine.
On April 20, 2010, a long “lost” live episode of the General Electric Theater called “The Dark, Dark Hours” featuring James Dean in a performance with Ronald Reagan was uncovered by NBC writer Wayne Federman while working on a Ronald Reagan television retrospective. The episode, originally broadcast December 12, 1954, drew international attention and highlights were featured on numerous national media outlets including: CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and Good Morning America. It was later revealed that some footage from the episode was first featured in the 2005 documentary, James Dean: Forever Young.
Debated Sexual Orientation
Today, Dean is often considered an icon because of his “experimental” take on life, which included his ambivalent sexuality. There have been several claims and assertions that Dean has had sexual relationships with both men and women.
William Bast, one of Dean’s closest friends, was Dean’s first biographer (1956). He published a revealing update of his first book, in which, after years of successfully dodging the question as to whether he and Dean were sexually involved, he finally stated that they were. In this second book, Bast describes the difficult circumstances of their involvement and also deals frankly with some of Dean’s other reported gay relationships, notably the actor’s friendship with Rogers Brackett, the influential producer of radio dramas who encouraged Dean in his career and provided him with useful professional contacts.
Journalist Joe Hyams suggests that any gay activity Dean might have been involved in appears to have been strictly “for trade”, as a means of advancing his career. Val Holley notes that, according to Hollywood biographer Lawrence J. Quirk, gay Hollywood columnist Mike Connolly “would put the make on the most prominent young actors, including Robert Francis, Guy Madison, Anthony Perkins, Nick Adams and James Dean.” However, the “trade only” notion is debated by Bast and other Dean biographers. Aside from Bast’s account of his own relationship with Dean, Dean’s fellow biker and “Night Watch” member John Gilmore claims he and Dean “experimented” with gay acts on one occasion in New York, and it is difficult to see how Dean, then already in his twenties, would have viewed this as a “trade” means of advancing his career.
Screenwriter Gavin Lambert, himself gay and part of the Hollywood gay circles of the 1950s and 1960s, described Dean as being gay. Rebel director Nicholas Ray is on record as saying that Dean was gay. Additionally, William Bast and biographer Paul Alexander conclude that Dean was gay, while John Howlett concludes that Dean was “certainly bisexual”. George Perry’s biography reduces these aspects of Dean’s sexuality to “experimentation”. Still, Hyams and Paul Alexander also claim that Dean’s relationship with pastor De Weerd had a sexual aspect, too. Bast also shows that Dean had knowledge of gay bars and customs. Consequently, Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon’s book Who’s Who in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the Present Day (2001) includes an entry on James Dean.
The “Curse” of Little Bastard
The “curse” of James Dean’s car “Little Bastard” has become part of America’s cultural mythology. Warren Beath, a James Dean archivist and author, believes the source of the myth is Hollywood’s George Barris, the self-described “King of the Kustomizers”, who says he was the first to purchase the wrecked Little Bastard. Barris promoted the “curse” after he placed the wreck on public display in 1956. Over the years, Barris described a series of accidents that mysteriously occurred from 1956 to 1960 involving the Little Bastard, resulting in serious injuries to spectators and even a truck driver’s death. Porsche historian Lee Raskin states many claims regarding the “curse” of the Little Bastard appear to have been based on Barris’ 1974 book, Cars of the Stars.
Raskin’s 2005 book James Dean At Speed states that the wreckage of the Porsche Spyder, VIN 550-0055, was declared as a total loss by the insurance company, which paid Dean’s father, Winton, the fair market value as a settlement. The insurance company, in turn, through a salvage yard in Burbank, sold the entire wrecked Spyder to Dr. William F. Eschrich of Burbank, California. Eschrich, a CSCC racer, who had competed against Dean in his own sports car at three race events during 1955, dismantled the engine and mechanical parts and installed the Porsche 4-cam engine (mounted up front) in his Lotus IX race car chassis. Eschrich then raced the Porsche-powered Lotus, which he called a “Potus”, at seven CSCC events during 1956. At the Pomona Sports Car Races on October 21, 1956, Eschrich, driving this car, was involved in a minor “shunt” with another driver.
Barris’ Cars of the Stars clearly states that a Dr. McHenry, “driving a car powered by the engine from Dean’s car, was killed when his vehicle went out of control and struck a tree in the first race in which the motor had been used since Dean’s mishap. Another doctor, William F. Eschrid [sic] of Burbank, was injured in the same race when his car, which contained the drivetrain from Dean’s car, rolled over.” Dr. Eschrich, interviewed a day after Dr. McHenry’s fatal accident, said he had loaned the Dean transmission and several other parts to Dr. McHenry. “I don’t believe he was using the transmission when he crashed, but he was using the back swinging arms which holds the rear end.” McHenry appears to have the distinction of being the only bona fide victim of the “curse” of Dean’s “Little Bastard”.
Raskin states that although Barris may have customized several cars for the Rebel Without a Cause movie, he never customized any of Dean’s personal cars and neither of the Porsches. Lew Bracker, Dean’s best friend in L.A. and fellow Porsche racer, maintains that Barris was not involved with Dean’s sports car racing activities; he was never considered to be part of Dean’s “inner circle” invited to go to Salinas on September 30, 1955. It is not known exactly how Barris knew Dr. Echrich, but he was given the Spyder’s mangled body after Dr. Eschrich had stripped out the Porsche. In 1956, Barris announced that he was going to rebuild the Porsche Spyder, but that proved to be a Herculean task as the wrecked chassis had no remaining integral strength. Instead, Barris decided to weld aluminum sheet metal over the caved-in left front fender and cockpit area. He proceeded to beat on the aluminum panels with a 2×4 to try to simulate what would appear to be collision damage. Later in 1956, Barris loaned out the “Little Bastard” to the Los Angeles chapter of the National Safety Council for a local rod and custom car show. The gruesome display was promoted as: “James Dean’s Last Sports Car”. During 1957-1959, the “Little Bastard” exhibit began to appear at various rod and custom car shows, movie theatres, bowling alleys, and highway safety displays throughout California.
On the other hand, there are a few stories associated with the “curse” that can be corroborated. For example, a wire service story on March 12, 1959, reported that the “Little Bastard”, temporarily stored in a Fresno, California garage at 3158 Hamilton Avenue, caught fire “awaiting display as a safety exhibit in a coming sports and custom automobile show,” The May 12, 1959, Fresno Bee, went on to say that the fire occurred on the night of March 11, and only slight damage occurred to the Spyder without any damage to other cars or property in the garage. No one was injured. “The cause of the fire is unknown. It burned two tires and scorched the paint on the vehicle.” Later that year, the “Little Bastard” was moved around the country like a travelling circus to annual auto shows and traffic safety exhibitions. Legend also holds that the “Little Bastard” mysteriously disappeared in 1960. According to Barris, the Spyder was returning from a traffic safety exhibit in Florida in a sealed truck. When the trailer arrived back in Los Angeles, the trailer was unlocked and the car had completely disappeared into “thin air”, according to Barris. In Barris’ book and in many TV documentaries, he said the “Little Bastard” was being shipped back in a sealed boxcar. When the train arrived in LA, Barris said he signed the manifest and verified that the seal was intact—but the boxcar was empty.
Raskin believes that Barris’ “Little Bastard” side show had finally lost its fan appeal just as the 1960s pop culture began to focus on a need for more speed with “big block” Muscle Cars, and later, the high-revving car tunes from Jan and Dean, Ronny and the Daytonas, the Rip Chords, and the Beach Boys.
Raskin also believes that Barris opted to misplace the “Little Bastard”. The mysterious disappearance stories were Barris’ way of perpetuating the Dean myth, especially on the milestone anniversaries of James Dean’s death.
Although the legendary “Little Bastard” seemingly has disappeared from sight, Historic Auto Attractions in Roscoe, IL claims to have an original piece of Dean’s Spyder on display (a small chunk of aluminum, a few square inches in size) that was actually pried off and stolen from an area near the broken windscreen while the Spyder was being stored in the Cholame Garage following the accident. Also, in 2005, for the 50th Anniversary of James Dean’s death, the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, IL announced they were displaying what was purported to be the “Little Bastard’s” passenger door. Volo and George Barris offered $1 million to anyone who could prove that they owned the remains of the “Little Bastard”. No one came forth to claim the prize.
The 4-Cam Porsche engine (#90059) along with the original California Owner’s Registration (aka CA Pink Slip) listing the engine number is still in the possession of the family of the late Dr. Eschrich. The Porsche’s transaxle assembly (#10046), is currently owned by Porsche collector and restorer, Jack Styles in Massachusetts. Historian and author Lee Raskin originally documented and published all the serial numbers (VINs) for Dean’s Porsche Spyder (chassis, engine, transmission); as well as for his 356 Super Speedster. To date, neither of Dean’s Porsches have been located.
See the Jaguar (1952)
The Immoralist (1954) – based on the book by André Gide
The Metamorphosis (1952) – based on the short story by Franz Kafka
The Scarecrow (1954)
Women of Trachis (1954) – translation by Ezra Pound
Boxing opponent’s second
Has Anybody Seen My Gal?
Youth at soda fountain
Trouble Along the Way
East of Eden
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor Jussi Award for Best Foreign Actor
Rebel Without a Cause
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
Golden Globe Special Achievement Award for Best Dramatic Actor Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Episode: “Hill Number One: A Story of Faith and Inspiration”
The Bigelow Theatre
The Stu Erwin Show
Episode: “Jackie Knows All”
CBS Television Workshop
Segment: “Into the Valley”
Hallmark Hall of Fame
Episode: “Forgotten Children”
Episode: “Sleeping Dogs”
Kraft Television Theatre
Lux Video Theatre
The Kate Smith Hour
Episode: “The Hound of Heaven”
You Are There
Episode: “The Capture of Jesse James”
Treasury Men in Action
Tales of Tomorrow
Episode: “The Evil Within”
Westinghouse Studio One
The Big Story
Episode: “Rex Newman, Reporter for the Globe and News”
Episode: “Glory in the Flower”
Campbell Summer Soundstage
Armstrong Circle Theatre
Episode: “The Bells of Cockaigne”
Robert Montgomery Presents
The Philco Television Playhouse
Episode: “Run Like a Thief”
The United States Steel Hour
Episode: “The Thief”
Episode: “The Unlighted Road”
Episode: “Broadway Trust” Aired posthumously
James Dean: Portrait of a Friend aka James Dean (1976)
James Dean: The First American Teenager (1976), a television biography that includes interviews with Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood and Nicholas Ray.
Sense Memories (PBSAmerican Masters television biography) (2005)
Forever James Dean (1988), Warner Home Video (1995)
James Dean (fictionalized TV biographical film) (2001)
James Dean – Kleiner Prinz, Little Bastard aka James Dean – Little Prince, Little Bastard, German television biography, includes interviews with William Bast, Marcus Winslow Jr, Robert Heller (2005)
James Dean: The Final Day features interviews with William Bast, Liz Sheridan and Maila Nurmi. Dean’s bisexuality is openly discussed. Episode of Naked Hollywood television miniseries produced by The Oxford Film Company in association the BBC, aired in the US on the A&E Network, 1991.
Living Famously: James Dean, Australian television biography includes interviews with Martin Landau, Betsy Palmer, William Bast, and Bob Hinkle (2003, 2006).
James Dean – Mit Vollgas durchs Leben, Austrian television biography includes interviews with Rolf Weutherich and William Bast (2005).
James Dean – Outside the Lines (2002), episode of Biography, US television documentary includes interviews with Rod Steiger, William Bast, and Martin Landau (2002).
Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean (2012)
21 Agustus 2013Posisi hubungan seksual ‘Man on Top’ (missionary position) adalah posisi yang paling umum dilakukan oleh suami istri, di mana posisi pria di atas dan wanita di bawah.
Dinamakan Missionary Position terkait dengan sejarah penduduk kepulauan Polynesian yang mempunyai budaya seksualitas tentang hubungan seksual dengan berbagai posisi. Pada era penjajahan kolonialis Eropa, kaum Missionaris Nasrani hanya membolehkan posisi hubungan seksual yang beradab adalah pria di atas dan wanita di bawah. Maka sejak itu posisi ini dinamakan ‘Missionary Position’.
Hubungan seksual dapat disertai ciuman sehingga hubungan intim dapat lebih mesra.
Penis lebih mudah masuk ke dalam vagina
Penis dapat tetap di pertahankan di dalam vagina ketika terjadi orgasme dan ejakulasi
Lebih mudah menghasilkan pembuahan untuk terjadinya kehamilan.
Gerakan wanita kurang bebas, hingga partisipasi aktifnya kurang
Bagi wanita mungkin kurang terasa nyaman karena penis masuk terlalu dalam
Bagi pria sering terasa terlalu merangsang hingga cepat mencapai orgasme, sementara pasangannya belum apa-apa
Sebagian orang menganggap posisi ini tidak wajar karena berdasarkan anggapan masa lalu wanita seharusnya bersikap lebih pasif. Tentu saja anggapan itu sudah tidak berlaku lagi karena wanita masa kini merasa berhak juga untuk mengekspresikan perilaku seksualnya sesuai dengan keinginannya. Posisi ‘Woman-on-Top’ adalah posisi wanita di atas pria.
Wanita lebih bebas menggerakkan tubuhnya sehingga dapat menerima rangsangan yang efektif dari gesekan penis terhadap klitoris atau G spot. Di samping itu kedalaman penis dapat diatur
Pria dapat memperlambat terjadinya orgasme
Tangan pria bebas sehingga dapat memberikan rangsangan pada bagian tubuh wanita yang peka rangsangan seksual
Sangat baik bila pihak wanita ukuran tubuhnya jauh lebih kecil daripada pasangannya.
Karena pria kurang dapat mengontrol gerakan, penis mudah tergelincir keluar
Tidak baik untuk tujuan menghasilkan kehamilan
Juga tidak baik untuk wanita hamil
Gerakan pria yang terbatas mungkin dapat mengurangi gairah seksualnya.