Monday, September 10, 2012

McGUIRE SISTER DIES; CORGI, TOO - Philadelphia Daily News

PHOENIX - Dorothy McGuire Williamson, who teamed with sisters Christine and Phyllis for a string of hits in the '50s and '60s as the popular McGuire Sisters singing group, has died. She was 84.

Williamson died Friday at her son's home in the Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley, daughter-in-law Karen Williamson said. She had Parkinson's disease and age-related dementia.

The McGuire Sisters earned six gold records for hits including 1954's "Sincerely" and 1957's "Sugartime." The sisters were known for their sweet harmonies and identical outfits and hairdos.

They began singing together as children at their mother's Ohio church and then performed at weddings and church revivals. They got their big break in 1952 on "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts" show, where they continued to perform for seven years.

The group made numerous appearances on television and toured into the late 1960s, making a last performance together on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1968. Dorothy stepped back to raise her two sons, Williamson said. Christine also raised a family while Phyllis pursued a solo career, according to a 1986 profile in People magazine after the trio reunited and began doing nightclub and Las Vegas performances again. The sisters last performed together in the mid-2000s.

Christine, 86, and Phyllis, 81, live in Las Vegas.

LONDON - Buckingham Palace said that one of Queen Elizabeth II's corgis, who took a star turn in the James Bond sketch during the Olympics opening ceremony, has died.

Monty and two other of the queen's beloved corgis appeared in a James Bond sketch during the opening ceremony, greeting Daniel Craig's James Bond as he arrived at the palace to accept a mission from the monarch.

The palace on Sunday confirmed that Monty - who was previously owned by the Queen Mother - had died. It did not provide details on when or how Monty died, or the age of the dog, but added that another of the queen's pets, dachshund-corgi crossbreed Cider, also had died.

With the death of Monty, Queen Elizabeth II now has two corgis in the palace - Willow and Holly - both of whom also appeared in the Olympics sketch.

SEATTLE - Writer Richard Bach, author of the inspirational best-seller Jonathan Livingston Seagull, is able to speak a few words and respond to simple commands as he remains hospitalized in intensive care more than a week after his small plane went down in Washington state.

The 76-year-old Bach continued to recover from head and shoulder injuries Sunday at Harborview Medical Center, in Seattle, but the healing process has been slow, his son said.

James Bach described his father as in "sort of a daze" from the Aug. 31 accident in which his small plane flipped over after hitting power lines on San Juan Island.

"Although he can say a few words and respond to simple commands, he does not seem to know why he's in the hospital," James Bach said of his father's gradually improving condition. "It's possible that, at any moment, he may snap into lucidity."

Shortly after the crash, family members believed he already was lucid, but that turned out not to be the case. A nursing supervisor said that Bach was listed in serious condition, as he has been since the day after the crash.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a tale published in 1970, tells of a gull seeking to rise above the conventions of his flock. Simply written and immensely popular, the short book was a New York Times best-seller and landed Bach on the cover of Time magazine, along with a loyal following of readers. Other notable works include Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, about a Midwestern barnstorming pilot with an unusual gift.

NEW YORK - After an overwhelming response to its free-haircut-for-kids program last month, J.C. Penney will be making the offer permanent every Sunday, starting Nov. 4.

Penney said that 1.6 million children received free haircuts in August.

The decision underscores the extent of new CEO Ron Johnson's efforts to re-energize the chain and transform every aspect of its business, from pricing to a new shopping experience.

The move comes as the Plano, Texas-based company grapples with two straight quarters of losses and severe sales drops as shoppers, accustomed to sales signs, have been turned off by a new pricing plan. The strategy, implemented Feb. 1, involves eliminating hundreds of sales events in favor of everyday prices. Penney has also started to launch new branded shops within its stores.

TALLINN, ESTONIA - Jewish organizations have denounced an Estonian newspaper for publishing a mock ad for weight-loss pills depicting emaciated prisoners at a Nazi concentration camp.

Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, in Jerusalem on Sunday called the mock ad in the Eesti Ekspress weekly a "perverted attempt at humor at the expense of the Nazis' millions of victims."

Alla Jakobson, spokeswoman for Estonia's Jewish community, said that the incident shows that Estonian society is experiencing "major problems with moral and ethical values."

Sulev Vedler, deputy editor of Eesti Ekspress, said that the mock ad, which ran in the paper's humor section, was poking fun at an Estonian gas company that recently used an image of Auschwitz to promote its services.

Vedler said the ad "was not targeted against Jewish people."

- Daily News wire services

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