Former daytime TV actor finds solace, solitude in painting and social media

To millions, actor Thom Bierdz is known as the iconic Chancellor heir Phillip Chancellor on the daytime drama “The Young and the Restless.” Bierdz also has the distinction of being one of the first openly gay soap opera actors. But until recently, many had no idea of the real-life drama endured when it was revealed that Bierdz’s brother, Troy, had murdered their mother with a baseball bat in 1989. 20 years later, Bierdz has penned a new book, “Forgiving Troy,” which outlines his journey towards acceptance and forgiveness.

These days, Bierdz enjoys a solitary but fulfilling life in Lake Arrowhead, California exploring another of his passions; painting.  Bierdz was recently interviewed by Melissa Parker of Smashing Interviews Magazine where he discusses his past, his work, and his love for former co-star Emmy-winning actress Jeanne Cooper. You can also learn more about Bierdz, his artwork, his favorite poses (?) and why he’s “only gay for the gay press” by visiting his YouTube channel. He can also be seen as a guest star on the web series “Old Dogs & New Tricks.”

Remember Thom Bierdz from his daytime years? Share your thoughts and memories with us.

 

Film critic Roger Ebert loses battle with cancer

Film critic Roger Ebert dead at 70

Prolific film critic Roger Ebert has died. The Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic for the Chicago Sun-Times for more than 45 years and for more than three decades the co-host of one of the most powerful programs in television history (initially with the late Gene Siskel, the movie critic for the Chicago Tribune, and, following Siskel’s death in 1999, with his Sun-Times collogue Richard Roeper), Ebert died Thursday, according to a family friend.

Read more on the life and career of this most courageous journalist here

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Venezuelan Preside Hugo Chavez dead

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dead

The announcement came today from Venezuelan Vice-President Nicholas Maduro that the country’s President, Hugo Chavez, has died. The controversial leader lost his long battle with cancer at approximately 3:55p.m. EST.

According to Maduro funeral plans will be announced shortly, and plans will then get underway for the election of a new leader. Read more by following this link.

Sports world rocked by two scandals with Olympic ties

It’s been a crazy day in the world of sports. First, the shocking arrest of one of the breakout stars of the 2012 London Olympic Games, runner Oscar Pistorius. Next come claims by a Russian wrestling coach the real reason for cutting the sport from the 2020 Games is all part of the “gay agenda.”

2012 Virgin Active Sports Industry Awards

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius, the South African runner who made history as the first amputee to qualify for the Olympics, has been formally charged with the murder of his girlfriend, aspiring model Reeva Steenkamp. According to authorities, in the early morning hours on Thursday police were summoned to Pistorius’ residence after receiving a call about a disturbance. When they arrived, they found Steenkamp, 30, dead from four gunshot wounds. A spokesperson for the police in Johannesburg said that there were no other suspects being considered at the time, as Pistorius, 26, was the only other individual in the house at the time.

According to sources, Pistorius claims that the shooting was an accident, and that he thought Steenkamp an intruder. However, the police spokesperson also confirmed that it was not the first time they had been summoned to Pistorius’s home on a disturbance call.

A know gun enthusiast, Pistorius had achieved almost rock star status after competing in the summer Olympic Games last year held in London.  A medalist in the Paralympic Games, Pistorius made history as the first amputee to compete in a traditional Olympic games. In the 2012 Olympics, he reached the 400-meter semifinal and competed in the 4×400 meter relay.

Reeva AP

Reeva Steenkamp

Steenkamp was on the verge of stardom as well. The blonde beauty was already the face of cosmetics giant Avon in South Africa, and was set to guest star on a reality show for Jamaican television called Tropika Island of Treasure, this coming weekend. In addition to her entertainment accomplishments, Steenkamp graduated with a law degree from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, ad was an outspoken advocate on the campaign to prevent violence against women.

“WEAR BLACK THIS FRIDAY IN SUPPORT AGAINST #RAPE,” was re-tweeted from Steenkamp’s account just hours before her death.

As for Pistorius, he is being held at this writing awaiting an arraignment and setting of bail hearing on Friday morning. Authorities plan to oppose bail for Pistorius.

Meanwhile, according to Russian sports website R-Sports, Russian wrestling coach Vladimir Uruimagov said that the International Olympic Committee’s decision to remove wrestling from the Olympic line up as a “gay conspiracy.”

“If they expel wrestling now, that means that gays will soon run the whole world,” Uruimagov said, adding that cutting wrestling from the Olympic program was “a blow to masculine origins.”

Russian wrestling coach Vladimir Uruimagov

Russian wrestling coach Vladimir Uruimagov

On February, 12th, IOC officials announced that they would be cutting the sport from the games starting with the 2020 games. The move has sent shock waves through the Olympic community. The IOC board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic program. Originally speculation was that the Pentathlon would be eliminated. Eliminating one sport allows the International Olympic Committee to add a new sport to the program later this year. The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion, with the final vote to be made at the 125th IOC general assembly which convenes September 7, 2013 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The news further unsettled Coach Uruimagov, who had a few more words for the IOC.

“It turns out this committee is headed by representative of these minorities,” said Uruimagov clarifying that he meant sexual minorities. “It is necessary for millions around the world who understand that this is a man’s sport and who understand the need to continue the human race to go out and explain their position to the Olympic Committee. We should prove and explain that in any other case there is no future.”

Wrestling combines freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines. It had 11 medal events in freestyle and seven in Greco-Roman at last year’s London Olympics. Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu; a full-contact sport derived from Chinese martial arts. They will be vying for a single opening in 2020.

As for the location of the 2020 games, the list has been cut down to three. The finalists are Madrid, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey; and Tokyo Japan. A final decision will be made during the September meeting of the IOC.

Share your thoughts on these stories, or any of our blog posts, in our comments section.

 

 

 

Jeanne Manford, Founder of PFLAG, dead at 92

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Jeanne Manford and her son, Morty, in the Christopher Street Liberation Day parade.

For many, a world without PFLAG, the acronym for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, would be a very different world indeed. But if you ask many about the origins of the organization, you would be met with a blank stare. Sadly, the woman behind PFLAG’s existence has passed away at the age of 92.

Jeanne Manford’s passion for the civil rights of the GLBT community stemmed from the 1972 attack on her son, Morty. Morty survived the beating, but the event itself lit a fire in his mother that was not easily extinguished. From that moment on, Mrs. Manford, and elementary school teacher, felt it was her mission to build “a bridge between the gay community and the heterosexual community”.

Learn more about Jeanne Manford, and the legacy that is PFLAG here.

 

Former football great turned actor Alex Karras dead at 77

Football All-Pro turned actor
Alex Karras
1935-2012

Former Detroit Lions All-Pro lineman turned successful actor, Alex Karras, has died. Karras, 77, suffered from a number of maladies such as stomach cancer, kidney and heart disease, and dementia; the latter being the reason why the controversial football great was part of a lawsuit involving 3,500 former footballers against the NFL in relation to the long term damage caused by repeated blows to the head in the course of their careers.

To current generations, Karras’ football career is overshadowed by his acting career which began in 1968. In the 70’s, Karras guest starred on a number of popular shows of the day including “M*A*S*H,” “McMillan and Wife,” and the campy “Love American Style.” But it was his star turn as patriarch George Papadopolis in the Emmanuel Lewis driven sitcom “Webster” from 1983 to 1989. Other star turns as an actor include “Mongo” in the cult classic, “Blazing Saddles,” and the gay lover to Robert Preston in the mega-hit film “Victor Victoria.”

Karras is survived by his wife of 32 years, Susan Clark, a daughter Katherine, and numerous close family members. Learn more about the life and career of this legendary footballer and actor by following this link.

A twist on a twist: woman dies at her own funeral

“Death” isn’t really the end (at first) for one Russian woman.

Okay, this time of year we are used to hearing these bizarre tales of coming back from the dead…it’s a Halloween staple. But this, apparently in a true to life story of the undead actually being undead. Read the story, and then share your thoughts on this amazing story.