Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Whatever happened to Mary Crosby after she shot J.R.?

"My only regret is that Daddy isn't here to share the tremendous joys of my life right now.  But other than that I am very clear on his death.  Daddy died while he was still very much a man, while he still had control of the lives of the people he loved."

Mary Crosby spoke those words in an interview with McCalls magazine in 1980.  She was only 20 years old at the time and riding high as a star on the wildly popular prime time soap opera, Dallas.  Bing Crosby never lived to see his daughter's television stardom.  He passed away 42 years ago, on October 14, 1977.  The 74-year-old collapsed and died instantly.after suffering a massive heart attack near the clubhouse of a golf course in Madrid, Spain

 After Bing's death, his eldest son, Gary, wrote a very critical book about his father, entitled Gong My Own Way.  In Gary's memoir, the legendary crooner was depicted as cold, distant and physically abusive.  Gary's younger brother, Philip Crosby, strongly defended their father.  He said that Bing had been a "great father" and that Gary's claims were exaggerated.

Bing was larger than life and he left an indelible mark on his family.  As Mary stated, he had control of the people he loved.  He was very patriarchal and held to strict standards of morality.  In a 1977 interview with Barbara Walters, Bing declared that he would disown his only daughter if she lived with a man outside of marriage.  At the time, 17-year-old Mary was "damn near living with," as she put it, singer-songwriter Eb Lottimer.  Soon after Bing's death, Mary and Eb moved into a mountaintop home in Malibu, California.

Mary Frances Crosby was born in Los Angeles, California on September 14, 1959.  She is the only daughter of famed entertainer Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby and his second wife, retired singer-actress Kathryn Grant.  Bing's first wife, singer, danger Dixie Lee, died of ovarian cancer in 1952 at the age of 42, leaving him a widower with four sons.  In 1957, he wed Kathryn.

Mary, the couple's second child together, was a precocious child.  At the age of two, she became one of the youngest children in the United States to pass the Red Cross beginner's swim test.  By three, she could read and write. She received her Actor's Equity Card at the age of four and made her stage debut with her mother in a Bay area production of Peter Pan at six.  She entered the University of Texas at Austen.when she was just 15.

Mary made her first professional appearances in in he father's popular Christmas TV specials, along with her siblings (Bing had four sons with is first wife, Dixie Lee (1909-1952) - Gary, Philip, Dennis, Lindsay - and two sons with Kathryn Grant (1933- ) - Harry Crosby III and Nathaniel.  Of her relationship with her dad, Mary told People magazine in 1980, "He just didn't know what to make of a girl in the family.  She reminisced about how "he used to take me to ball games and fishing and hunting."

Below is a photo of Bing and Kathryn and their three children.  Mary is seated to the right of Bing.

In 1967, Mary made her acting debut as "Joan" in a episode of The Danny Thomas Hour, entitled "The Demon Under the Bed" (Season 1, Episode 5, Air Date: October 9, 1967).  She was 8 years old at the time and appeared along with her father.  In a rare television dramatic role, Bing played a fading film star Charlie Castle, who was faced with losing his voice.  It is interesting to note that Dynasty star Joan Collins also appeared in that same episode.

By 1978, Mary had a guest spot in an episode of Starsky and Hutch.  She followed that with the role of Patricia North in the 1978 television miniseries Pearl, a war epic surrounding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and starring Robert Wagner, Angie Dickinson and Dennis Weaver.   Then came an appearance on an episode of the crime drama CHiPs entitled "Pressure Point" (Season 2, Episode 16, Air Date: January 20, 1979).

Mary regretted her next career choice, a role in the 1979 miniseries Brothers and Sisters.  In 1980, she told People magazine, "I did a horrendously awful series for NBC, which bombed.  People wouldn't even let me read for parts for six months afterward."  However, the experience helped to pave her way to success. When her career stalled, she contacted Dallas producer Leonard Katzman, whom she has credited for rescuing her career and helping her establish her own identity. 

Yet, despite being the daughter of Bing Crosby, Mary was not that well known before Dallas and was even confused with actress Cathy Lee Crosby, co-host of That's Incredible! (no relation).  Although she was originally hired for seven Dallas episodes, "they liked me so much that I was lucky to stick around for a year and a half.  It changed my life in a wonderful way."

From 1979 until 1981, Mary Crosby portrayed Kristen Shepard, the conniving sister-in-law/mistress of ruthless Texas oil baron J.R.. Ewing (Larry Hagman).  Mary's character will be forever enshrined in television history as the one who shot J.R.  The "Who Shot J.R." cliffhanger was a marketing bonanza.  There were 'Who Shot J.R." T-shirts and buttons and there were bets on who committed the dirty deed.

On the evening of November 21, 1980, millions of Dallas viewers around the world sat glued to their television sets to find out the answer to TV's  greatest "whoduunit."  They wanted to know who had gunned down the villainous J.R. and left him for dead on the floor of his office.  The unknown assailant turned out to be Kristin, who had shot him in a fit of anger and later claimed to be pregnant by him.  In the October 1981 season opener of Dallas, Kristen's dead body was found floating in the Ewing family's swimming pool at their Southfork Ranch.

In 1991, Mary reprised her role as Kristen on the final episode of the original series.  The episode is entitled "Conundrum" (Season 14, Episode 22, Air Date: May 3, 1991).  In the episode, a drunk and dejected J.R. is shown what the world would be like if he was never born.  In this alternate universe, Kristen is a con artist who appears to J.R. in a vision.   Of her character, Kristen, Mary told People magazine that "Kristen was really a high-class whore, but my parents taught us that we should play whatever was offered and learn from every opportunity."

After the death of Kristen, Mary left Dallas with the hope of using her Dallas stardom to catapult her career to greater heights.  It never happened that way.  In an exclusive interview with Britain's Daily Mail online , Mary admitted that after Dallas, "I made that classic mistake - having my 15-minutes of fame and thinking I could afford to wait around for more arty roles.  So I put myself out of commission and waited for work that was less available to me."

When her run on Dallas ended, Mary guest-starred on such TV series as Hotel (three episodes, 1984-1985),  In the Heat of the Night (1989), Murder, She Wrote (two episodes (1991-1992), Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993), Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1994), Burke's Law (1995) and Dream On (1995).  From 1995 to 1996, Mary appeared as Claudia Van Eyck in three episodes of Beverley Hills, 90210.  She also appeared as Alya Ransom  in a 1997 episode of Orleans and as Sheryl Weathersby in a 1997 episode of Mike Hammer, Private Eye.

Mary starred as Karen Lancaster in the 1985 ABC miniseries Hollywood Wives and she portrayed Isabel Hazard in the 1986 American Civil War miniseries North and South, Book II.  She also appeared in television movies such as Men Who Hate Women & the Women Who Love Them (1994) and Sharing the Secret (2000).

Mary Crosby has been married twice.  Her first husband was singer-songwriter Edmund "Eb" Lottimer (born June 21 1951), whom she wed at the age of 19, on November 24, 1978.  They married in a non-sectarian ceremony of their own design and her mother did not attend because, according to Mary, she was performing in a play.  The marriage ended in divorce in 1998.

Mary with Eb Lottimer
In 1998, Marry tied the knot for a second time with Mark Andrew Brodka, a California attorney specializing in real estate and personal injury law  Mary and Mark wed at the Crosby family ranch with 60 people in attendance.  The couple have two sons, Brent and Christopher, and Larry Hagman, who walked Mary down the aisle at her wedding, was named their godfather.

Mary and Mark reside in Malibu, in a rustic area above Pacific Coast Highway.  In 2013, they tentatively settled a long-running law suit with their neighbour, Susan Demers.  In 2010, Brodka  began the litigation process by suing Demers, a horse trainer, and her friend, Martha Gwinn.  The law suit concerned Demers' right of to travel across their land to reach a federal park in order to ride horses there.


* In 1980, Marry Crosby appeared as Kristen Shepard in an episode of Knot's Landing, a spin-off of Dallas.  The episode is entitled "Kristen" (Season 2, Episode 5, December 18, 1980).  In the episode, Kristen arrives in Knot's Landing following her arrest for drug possession.

* Mary's first husband, Eb Lottimer, became a fairly successful actor, director and writer.  He has made appearances on many TV series and is known for writing and directing the 1998 indie film Divorce: A Contemporary Western, which is a somewhat autobiographical work about his breakup with Mary.  More recently, he played a bank manager in the 2015 film Sicario and an Air Force colonol in the 2017 film The Space Between Us.  Eb hasn't remarried.

* All of Bing Crosby's sons with Dixie Lee have passed away. Singer/actor Gary Crosby died of lung cancer on August 24, 1995.  He was 62 at the time of his passing. Philip Crosby, also an actor and a singer, died of a heart attack on January 13, 2004 at the age of 69.  Philip battled alcoholism throughout his life.  Sadly, Lindsay and Dennis Crosby both committed suicide.  Lindsay died on December 11, 1989 at the age of 51.  Dennis died on May 4, 1991.  He was 56.

* On October 17, 2000, Mary's mother, Kathryn, married Maurice William Sullivan.  On November 4, 2010, Kathryn was seriously injured in a car accident in the Sierra Nevada.  Her 85-year-old second husband was killed in the the single-vehicle wreck on U.S. 50 east of Placerville, California.

* Mary remained friends with Larry Hagman, who also lived in Malibu, until his death of cancer in 2013.  She told the Daily Mail that "Dallas was a different life, and such an incredible experience, but the greatest gift from the experience was Larry and his wife, Maj."

Below is a 1980 press photo of Mary with Larry Hagman.

Mary Crosby in 2014

SOURCES: McCalls, "My Father, Bing Crosby," by Sheila Weller, July 1980.  Patch, Mary Crosby, Malibu Neighbor Settle Long Running Lawsuit, by City News Service, Neighbour, March 15, 2013; People magazine, "Mary Crosby, Bing's Little Girl, Creates a Family Flap Over Her Plans to Marry Her Live-in Boyfriend," by Alan Markfield, November 13, 1978; People magazine, "She Shot J.R.!," by Sue Reilly, December 8, 1980; Daily Mail, "Exclusive: The 'Dallas' actress 'Who shot J.R. - Mary Crosby (daughter of Bing) - reveals how producers tricked the cast by having everyone shoot the show's most famous episode," by James Desborough and Emma Paterson, November 20, 2015; International Movie Data Base (IMDb.com); Wikipedia

- Joanne

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Y&R Report (October 12, 2019): The Latest on The Young and the Restless


Hey Y&R fans, every second Saturday TV Banter discusses the latest happenings and provides commentary on your favourite daytime drama. Note to U.S. readers - SPOILER ALERT: Here in Canada, I watch the show on Global TV which is one episode ahead of CBS.  I will inevitably refer to incidents you haven't seen yet. Read at your own risk.  If you are the curious type, though, you may prefer to discover some things in advance. 

"The Great Victor Newman" has resigned as CEO of Newman Enterprises.  He has decided to hand over the reigns of the company to his daughter, Princess Victoria Newman.  He has told Victoria that she "is a Newman and she is tough."  Everything is coming up roses for Victoria.  Her life is a bowl of cherries right now.  She's got everything she ever wanted.  She's now CEO of Newman Enterprises and she has a happy family life with Billy Boy Abbott.  Billy is behaving in a more stable manner and he is getting therapy.  These are heady days for the princess, but it can't last, though.  Nobody can be blissfully happy for too long on a soap.  There are bound to be clouds on the horizon.  Already, Victor has demanded to know why Billy tried to run over Adam.

Victoria finally stood up to Daddy and she actually threw a letter opener at that infernal portrait of her father.  There may be a reason why Victor gave in so easily to his daughter's ultimatum that she would cut him out of her life if he did not allow her to remain CEO of Newman Enterprises.  Yet that portrait remains on the wall as a reminder of Victor's power and control.  Victoria may be sitting in the CEO chair for now, but the battle is far from over.  Her position is not as secure as she thinks it is.

Adam is still poses a big threat to Victoria's happiness. He may be back in Las Vegas, but he won't stay there.  I wouldn't be surprised if he attempts to bring Victoria down and unseat her as head honcho at Newman.  Of course, Phyllis will encourage him to do so because she is just thirsting for revenge against Victor and his family.  There's also the mystery surrounding Chance.  We don't know what is going on with him and why he was hanging out in Vegas with Adam.  We don't know why he challenged Mrs. Chancellor's will either.  We don't even know where Chance is right now.  Has he been kidnapped?  Has he been forced to do things against his will?  Also, who knocked out Cane after he attempted to locate Chance?  Did Adam have anything to do with it?  There are so many questions, but we should have some answers soon.

It's difficult to imagine Victor on the sidelines. Don't expect him to give up all his power and influence.  He lives to be in control.  He won't be able to simply retire and travel around the world with Nikki.  Remember when he asked if he would have to play golf now.  That was hilarious.

Lola and Kyle have been doomed from the start.  It's obvious that they will not survive as a couple. I can already see trouble in paradise.  Theo has been hanging around Lola and he seems to want to win her trust and make her like him.  I don't think Lola would betray Kyle, but Theo the Troublemaker is out for revenge.  He may set Lola up and trick Kyle into believing that Lola is having an affair with him or else Lola's s sympathy for Theo will drive a wedge between her and Kyle.  Either way, Summer will be waiting in the wings.  Snowflake is definitely not over Kyle and the two have been quite close lately as they work together at Jabot. Meanwhile, the previews have shown us that Lola may be pregnant.  If so, will she lose the baby and blame Kyle for it?

Jack has appointed Billy Abbott and Kyle to be joint CEOs of Jabot.  He will probably come to regret asking those two to share running the company.  It probably won't work out because Billy and Kyle each have their own ideas and neither one wants to be upstaged by the other.  Kyle may try to get along with Billy, but both men are competitive and both want to call the shots.  Neither wants to answer to the other.  So, it appears that Jack made an error in judgement.  He should have just appointed one of them to be in charge or he should have remained CEO himself.

Dina hinted that she once had a romantic connection with Genoa City newspaper publisher Stuart Brooks. Longtime Y&R viewers will remember Stuart, who was  portrayed by Robert Colbert.  He was the patriarch of the Brooks family, one of the original families on the show. Stuart died and Colbert left Y&R in 1983.  I wonder why the writers have made a connection between Dina and Stuart.  Could it be that they had a secret child together, an unknown sibling to Jack, Ashley and Traci?  By the way, Robert Cobert is now 88 years old and retired.

Robert Colbert as Stuart 

Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe) expecting first child

Elizabeth Hendrickson (Chloe Mitchell is pregnant with her first child.  The baby is due in March of 2020.  Elizabeth married husband Rob Meder in a beachside wedding this past summer.  They became engaged last Christmas Day.

Elizabeth announced the good news by posting a picture of an Instagram photo of her baby bump with the caption, "No, that's not a belly full of bagels, it's a belly full of bagels and a baby!"


Sharon and Rey are on the verge of getting back together again.  Rey obviously wants her back.  However, Sharon is taking her time.  She doesn't want to rush back into the relationship. Should the couple reconcile?  Are they right for each other.  Respond to the poll below and let me know.

Should Sharon and Rey get back together?

Yes, they make a good couple and they make each other happy.
No, it would be a mistake because Adam will always come between them.
No, Sharon should take some time for herself and not be involved in a relationship for a while.
Sharon should get back together with Nick. They make a better couple and they have a history.
Sharon should find someone new.
I don't know.
Please Specify:
Created with SurveyMaker


The eighth annual annual Toronto OpportunitiTea high tea in support of the March of Dimes Canada will take place at the Royal York Hotel on December 8th, 2019.  The event features Kate Linder (Esther Valentine) and her actor friends from The Young and the Restless.  For more information on this event, click on the link below.  I will be attending.

Readers, I would appreciate your feedback

If you have any comments on Y&R, please email them to me with "Viewer Forum" in the subject line. I will be happy to publish your comments and reply to them  You do not have to use your real name. 

My email address:  jmadden16@yahoo.ca

That's all for now.  Please remember that the next edition of Y&R Report will appear in this space on Saturday, October 26, 2019.  A Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers (Monday, October 14th).

- Joanne

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Internet TV Digest #13


This is the 13th of an occasional feature on TV Banter called Internet TV Digest.  Internet TV Digest contains recent news, information and discussion about online television.

Internet TV Digest

What's coming to Netflix this October

Netflix has a history of adapting Stephen King's horror novels and is ready to launch another.  On October 4th, it will release In the Tall Grass, a film about two little children who go out into a field of grass and are unable to find their way out.  It stars Patrick Wilson, Laysla De Oliveria, Harrison Gilbertson, Avery Whitted and Rachel Wilson.

On October 4th, Netflix will also release Season 5 of Peaky Blinders, a British crime drama starring Cillian Murphy.  The series premiered on the BBC in September of 2013.  It is primarily set in Birmingham. England and it follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the aftermath of World War I.  In Season 5, Cillian Murphy's character, crime boss Thomas Shelby, is headed for Parliament.

Another October 4th Netflix release will be Season 1 of a science fiction series called Raising Dion.  It is about an eight-year-old boy who discovers he has superpowers.  It is up to his widowed mother, Nicole Reese (Alisha Wainwright), to raise her superhero son Dion (Ja'Siah Young) properly and help him deal with his special gifts.  The series is based on the 2015 comic and short film of the same name.  Raising Dion will run for nine one-hour episodes.

Ja'Siah Young as Dion in Raising Dion

Weekly episodes of Rythm + Flow will begin on October 9th.  This three-week event is the first of its kind for Netflix. It is the streaming service's first genuine competition and first hip hop competition.  The series features Cardi B, Chance the Rapper and Tip.

Coming for Halloween will be a Netflix film titled Eli.  It is the story of a boy receiving treatment for a life-threatening disease, an auto-immune disorder.  The boy discovers that the house where he's living isn't safe.  Eli's release date is October 18th.

The Laundromat, a film starring Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman, Jeffrey Wright and Sharon Stone, is a comedy about insurance fraud in Panama City.  It is also set to be released on October 18th.

On October 25th, Netflix will release Dolemite is My Name, a film starring Eddie Murphy.  Eddie has the role of an eccentric character in this biographical comedy.  He plays filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore (1927-2008), best known for portrayal of Dolemite in his stand-up comedy routine and in the 1975 film Dolemite.

Amazon frozen out of new Disney streaming service

The forthcoming Disney + streaming service recently released its list of supported platforms.  Fire TV Sticks and Cube and other devices were conspicuously absent from the list of the new service's supported devices.  Amazon fans will also be disappointed that the Fire tablets are excluded from the list, since Amazon Fire TV is a convenient way to watch streaming content on your television.

Disney has offered no explanation as to why it omitted Fire TV devices., although Amazon and Disney have an uncomfortable history.  Disney + is scheduled to launch on November 12, 2019, so there is time to rectify the situation.  If that doesn't happen, iPad may be the only tablet that Disney + works on.

SOURCE: Tom's Guide (www.tomsguide.com/news), "House of the Mouse Turns on Amazon")

Netflix stock prices dropping

"The only price dropping as fast as new streaming subscription deals from Disney and Apple is the stock price of streaming giant Netflix."

- George Manessis
CNBC, September 24, 2019

On September 20, 2019, Netflix (NFLX) shares dropped more than 5 per cent, to close at $270.75.  This occurred after Nexis CEO Reed Hastings conceded that his company will face stiffer competition with the November launch of Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus.  In a speech at the Royal Television Society Conference in  Cambridge, England, Hastings stated, "While we've been competing with many people in the last decade, it's a whole new world starting in November . . . between Apple launching and Disney launching, and of course Amazon's ramping up."  "It'll be tough competition," he declared."  "Direct-to-consumer (customers) will have a lot of choice."  Hastings also mentioned NBCUniversal's Peacock service, set to premiere in April 2020, as a potential rival

Reed Hastings

SOURCES: CNBC, September 24, 2019; Variety, September 20, 2019

What is Pluto TV?

Pluto TV is a live TV streaming service.  As of March 2019, it is owned by Viacom. Pluto offers more than 100 channels and thousands of free movies.  It doesn't cost anything.  So, what's the catch?  Well, the price is right as long as you can tolerate the 30-second ads which interrupt your viewing at inopportune times, such as during a crucial scene in a film.  Not only that, but there can be four of those commercials in a row.  Somewhere along the line, there is a price for every streaming service.

SOURCE: Digital Trends (digitaltrends.com), September 10, 2019

- Joanne