Monday, December 12, 2011

Burl Ives

“Helped Will Holmes clean up wheat all day.  Very cold today.”

Burl Ives in 1955, photo by Carl Van Vechten
Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives (June 14, 1909 – April 14, 1995) was an American actor, writer and folk music singer. As an actor, Ives's work included comedies, dramas, and voice work in theater, television, and motion pictures. Music critic John Rockwell said, "Ives's voice ... had the sheen and finesse of opera without its latter-day Puccinian vulgarities and without the pretensions of operatic ritual. It was genteel in expressive impact without being genteel in social conformity. And it moved people."
Ives was a renowned pipe smoker; the cover of his first album depicted a pipe and a fishing hat with the words "Burl Ives" in between. He also smoked cigars. In the summer of 1994 he was diagnosed with oral cancer after being hospitalized for back surgery. After several operations he decided against having further surgery. In April 1995 he fell into a coma. Ives died of complications of mouth cancer on April 14, 1995 at his home in Anacortes, Washington; he is interred in Mound Cemetery in Hunt City Township, Jasper County, Illinois.

Ives played Sam the Snowman in 1964's Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer

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