Mary Ellin Barrett, Daughter and Defender of Irving Berlin, Dies at 95 | Big Indy News
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Mary Ellin Barrett, Daughter and Defender of Irving Berlin, Dies at 95

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In the East River, near Mary Ellin’s penthouse home, her father had once, at 8 years old, nearly drowned; when rescued, he was found still clutching the pennies he had earned that day selling newspapers.

He often seemed a “shaky, uncertain man,” Ms. Barrett wrote — drumming his fingers, molding the inside of dinner rolls into compact balls, smoking too many cigarettes, chewing too much gum, jumping when the telephone rang, fiddling with his piano.

Yet out came hit after hit after hit; between his 20s and his 60s, he wrote about 1,500 songs.

Ms. Barrett came to see her father’s drive as the product of anxiety and toughness that lingered from a ghetto childhood. He was “the street fighter,” she wrote, “not noisy and brawling but quiet, dogged,” never shaking the sense that he acted “with his back against the wall, writing, composing, negotiating his way out of a corner.”

Mary Ellin Berlin, who was born on Nov. 25, 1926, in Manhattan, grew up in a different universe. Her girlhood memories included dinner parties with the Astaires, the Goldwyns, the Capras and Somerset Maugham, who once lay on the floor, balanced a glass of water on his forehead and stood up without spilling a drop.

Though she sometimes had to chase her father for attention and felt alienated by the fame of her parents — her mother, Ellin Mackay, was an heiress and a popular novelist — Mary Ellin felt less resentment than enchantment with her good fortune. When she relentlessly invited people to the family’s theater house seats for her father’s 1946 Broadway megahit, “Annie Get Your Gun,” one annoyed friend told her to knock it off.

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How the ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ Connects to ‘Vol. 3’

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Family Photo! JJ Watt Shares Snap With 1-Month-Old Son Koa and Wife Kealia

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Their first Thanksgiving as a family of three! Arizona Cardinals defensive end JJ Watt shared a photo of his 1-month-old baby with Chicago Red Stars player Kealia Ohai Watt as they celebrated.

“More to be thankful for than ever,” the NFL star, 33, wrote via Instagram on Thursday, November 24. “Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!”

The photo showed JJ holding baby Koa, who was wrapped in a blue blanket that matched his dad’s Nike sneakers. The football player was comfortable in a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans while his wife, 30, donned black cargo pants with a white tank top. Both were smiling at their little one for the snap. Kealia replied with two red hearts.

The duo welcomed Koa one month ago. “Love and happiness have reached heights we never even knew existed. Koa James Watt 10.23.22,” the spouses, who married in February 2020, wrote in a joint Instagram post on October 25, alongside a sweet shot of the couple cradling their newborn in the hospital.

On November 11, Watt was asked how little Koa felt about a decision by referee Clete Blakeman mistakenly blew dead a play in which Watt was about to walk into the endzone. Watt joked that his son was livid.

“He was watching so he saw it. He was pissed. He was pretty pissed. It took us a while to get him to bed. We had to calm him down because he wanted to call Clete himself. And I told him, ‘Son, your day will come,’” he joked with reporters ahead of Week 11.

He also spoke about appearing on HBO’s Hard Knocks with Kealia and Koa, joking that their dogs were the real stars. “Any time that I can share the screen with my wife and my son and our dogs, I have to — my wife and I are unbelievably proud of our dogs. They knew the pressure was on and they stepped up to the plate in a way that I’ve never seen,” he quipped. “Our dogs don’t act like that on any walk we’ve ever been on and they were phenomenal. We need Hard Knocks cameras 24/7 when we go on walks because our dogs really crushed it. Tex and Finn — they rise to the occasion.”

JJ and Kealia announced in June that a human would be joining their fur babies, sharing that they “could not be more excited” to be expecting in the fall. They didn’t have a sex reveal but casually dropped that they were having a son in passing. It was so nonchalant that fans wondered if JJ made a mistake. One asked if he accidentally let the news slip, to which he replied, “We didn’t do a gender reveal, we just found out and then told people when they asked.”

The new dad always puts family first, and he’s instilling that in the next generation of the family. JJ has already been putting Koa on FaceTime with cousins Logan, 2, and Brayden, 23 months — who Derek shares with wife Gabriella Watt — he revealed in a birthday tribute to the Pittsburgh Steelers player earlier this month.

“All the football games in the yard when we were kids, the mini hockey battles in the basement, etc. Now we’re FaceTiming each other so our kids can see each other. (Still playing football though!) Crazy! Happy Birthday bro!!” JJ wrote via Instagram on November 7.

The Watt family has had a lot to celebrate in 2022. The athletes’ youngest brother, TJ Watt, tied the knot with his wife, Dani Rhodes, in July.



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Freddie Roman, Borscht Belt comic known for roasts, dead at 85

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Beloved Borscht Belt comic and actor Freddie Roman, best known for his roasts as part of New York City’s Friars Club and later Comedy Central, died at the age of 85 on Saturday, his family said.

Roman suffered a heart attack in Boynton Beach, Florida, his daughter confirmed to Deadline.

The comic had spent most of his life in show business after he was given the opportunity to emcee at his uncle and grandfather’s Crystal Spring Hotel in the Catskills when he was just 15.

Roman, born Fred Kirschenbaum, and his old-timey jokes were a fixture at nightclub venues in cities like New York and Las Vegas.

He served as the dean, or president, of The Friar’s Club and took shots at celebrities like Jerry Stiller, Hugh Hefner, Drew Carey, Rob Reiner and Chevy Chase on Comedy Central’s Roasts.

Roman was best known for his roasts at the Friar’s Club.
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Freddie Roman and actress Debbie Reynolds at the Friar's Club in 2009.
Freddie Roman and actress Debbie Reynolds at the Friar’s Club in 2009.
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He appeared in numerous films, including the award-winning documentary “Welcome to Kutsher’s: The Last Catskills Resort” (2012), “Bittersweet Place” (2005), “Christ in the City” (2005), “Finding North” (1998) and “Sweet Lorraine” (1987), according to IMDB.

He more recently co-starred in Amazon’s hit comedy series “Red Oaks,” playing a curmudgeon member of a Jewish country club in New Jersey. He also made guest appearances on shows “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and “The Tonight Show.”

Roman is survived by his wife, Ethel, and daughter, Judi Levin, Deadline reported.

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