In Tune with June

On a journey towards happiness

Learning about the life of Kelsey Grammer was difficult.  You’ll understand why when I tell you more about him. He was born in 1955 (you do the math) in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the son of Sally Cranner, a singer and actress and Frank Allen Grammer, a musician and owner of a coffee shop and a bar and grill called Greer’s Place. He had one younger sister. The actor and his sister were raised by their mother and grandparents in New Jersey (hooray – let’s hear it for New Jersey). However, the family relocated to Florida (so hooray for Florida). His grandfather died when Kelsey was 12 but wait – here’s the hard part. Two years later in 1958 his father was murdered, and in 1978, his sister Karen was raped and murdered at the age of 18. In 1980, his two half-brothers died while scuba diving in the Virgin Islands. As an aside, it’s even hard to simply write about all this.

However, Kelsey Grammer attended a private preparatory school in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and it was there that he began to sing and perform on stage. And here’s more good news – Grammer actually won a scholarship to the prestigious Juillard.  In spite of all his early life with such tremendous losses, he picked himself up, dusted himself off and found kindnesses throughout his life. I clearly remember him on television as Frazier. Actually, that became one of the most successful spin-offs in television history.  His well-known voice and mid-Atlantic accent made him popular for voice-over work. That voice has been featured in many commercials.

Okay, breathe deeply because now, you’ll read about his personal life. Grammer has been married not one time, not two times, not three times – yes, four times. He has seven children. Grammer’s life has been filled with legal cases, drug abuse issues and health problems. The actor has been able to clean off his old concerns and come out fresh. “There are a million things I still want to know. Sixty-three is better than thirty-eight. I’m just full of life.” He’s on a journey to happiness. I’m reminded of Robert Frost – “I have miles to go before I sleep.”

Give us more humor

Who is Patricia Marx? Frankly, I didn’t know that I was enjoying her humor and writing. Here’s an example of her humor: “Why don’t you write my eulogy now so that I can correct it?” Obviously, it’s quite clear that Patricia Marx is an American humorist and writer. I read her work since she currently works as a staff writer for the New Yorker. The lady also teaches at Princeton University and at one of my favorite places to visit, the 92nd Street Y. Oh yes, this lady is a very fine humorist and writer.

She was born in Abington, PA, and she earned her B.A. from Harvard University. I’ve enjoyed her work since it’s been appearing in the NY Times, the New Yorker, Vogue and the Atlantic Monthly. To her credit, she has written several humor books and children’s books. If you enjoy humor, there’s also 1,003 great things to smile about and if you’re really interested, her novels include Him, Her, Him Again, the End of Him. Most of her work brings a smile or, at least, a grin. Listen to this one: How to Regain Your Virginity – and 99 Other Recent Discoveries about Sex. If you enjoy humor, here’s another Patricia Marx quotation:
“What Every Skinny Woman Knows about Dieting – and Won’t Tell You.” I’ll find myself watching for her work. Among other things, she teaches screenwriting and was the first woman to be elected to the Harvard Lampoon. These days we’re looking for happy news, so Patricia Marx, please give us more of your humor.

New priorities

Paul Franklin Dano, born June 19, 1984, is an American actor, director, screenwriter, producer and musician.  I clearly remember him before his career involved acting, directing and even playing music. How come? I saw his acting portrayal of musician Brian Wilson. That earned him a Golden Globe nomination in the category of best supporting actor a few years ago. He now enjoys a career in several areas: acting, directing, music, and singing. So where did all of this come from? Let’s start with his early life. Dano is the son of Gladys and Paul Dano and he spent the first few years of his childhood in Connecticut. At age 10 – yes, 10 – Dano became noted for classical plays. He acted in his first film role when he was only 16. Finally, when he appeared in three feature films, many awards came his way.

He has been in a relationship with actress and screenwriter Zoe Kazan since 2007. They have a daughter and he gushes about that baby just like my grandson Zachary gushes about his first-born.  He raves about everything that baby does. No matter what it is, he says, “Good job.”  Dano says, “One day that’s going to stop. Not everything is going to be good.”  Paul Dano admits, unconvincingly, “It’s so so exhausting.” Parenthood has permanently altered his priorities. He and Zoe Kazan are glad to admit that they just have to make time for the same things. Again, that reminds me of Zachary and Linds. Eventually, they will discover that it all takes a lifetime to figure it out.

Oh, there’s something else to say about Paul Dano. He is the vocalist and lead guitarist of the band Mook. I hope Zoe Kazan enjoys their sound.