Who is William Perry? The professional football knows him as the “The Refrigerator” or, abbreviated, “The Fridge”, he is a former professional American football player. He is best known for his years as a defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears. In reference to his large size (relative to his time—later NFL players would be much larger), he was popularly known as
Life and athletic career
Perry was born December 16, 1962 in Aiken, South Carolina. After a successful career at Aiken High School (South Carolina), Perry played college football at Clemson University. In 1985, he was selected in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. Nicknamed “The Refrigerator” for his gargantuan, square-like frame, Perry was 6 ft 2 in and weighed 382 lb (173.3 kg) at his peak weight. He quickly became a favorite of the Chicago Bears fans.
Perry, who wore number 72 as a Chicago Bear, became famous for his prowess as a defensive lineman. In addition, Perry was used as a fullback when his team was near the opponents’ goal line or 4th and short situations, either as a ball carrier or a lead blocker for running back Walter Payton. During his rookie season, Perry rushed for 2 touchdowns and caught a pass for one. Perry was once used in a surprise play during a Pro Bowl game as an offensive lineman.
Perry even had the opportunity to run the ball during Super Bowl XX, as a nod to his popularity and contributions to the team’s success. The first time he got the ball, he was tackled for a one-yard loss while attempting to throw his first NFL pass on a halfback option play. The second time he got the ball, he scored a touchdown.
Perry went on to play for ten years in the NFL. His Super Bowl ring size is the largest of any professional football player in the history of the event. His ring size is 25, while the ring size for the average adult male is between 10 and 12.
Perry retired after the 1994 season. In his 10 years as a pro, he played in 138 games, recording 29.5 sacks and 5 fumble recoveries, which he returned for 71 yards. In his offensive career he ran 5 yards for 2 Tds. Perry later attempted a comeback, playing the 1996 season with the London Monarchs of the World League of American Football (later NFL Europa).
- In 2006, he came out with a barbecue sauce.
- In 2006, he participated in the Lingerie Bowl as the super sub.
- Perry participated in a World Wrestling Federation battle royal at WrestleMania 2 in Rosemont, Illinois. In 2006, he returned to the Chicago area to be inducted into the “Celebrity Wing” of the WWE Hall of Fame by John Cena.
- In 2002 he lost in the third round to 7 ft 7 in (2.3 m) former NBA basketball player Manute Bol in a charity boxing match on the Fox Network‘s Celebrity Boxing program. Perry entered the match visibly above his NFL playing weight.
- The Fridge is one of several real people to be immortalized as a 3.75 inch (9.53 cm) G.I. Joe action figure. Like Sgt. Slaughter before him, Perry’s figure was available through mail order. The figure was offered in 1986, the same year the Bears defeated the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
- During his popular tenure with the Bears, Perry participated in the recording of two rap records, both in 1985, in addition to the team’s very popular “Super Bowl Shuffle“.
- Walter Payton and Perry recorded an anti-drug, pro-peace rap tune entitled “Together” which was written by four Evanston, Illinois teens. It was re-released in 1999 with part of the profits going to the Walter Payton Foundation.
- Popular rap trio The Fat Boys recorded a twelve-inch single titled “Chillin’ with the Refrigerator” released on Sutra Records.
- A novelty hit, “Frig-O-Rator”, was released in December 1985 on the Motown label by Roq-In’ Zoo and featured sound bites of Bears game plays. The following year The Fridge was yet again remembered in a rap song, this time by the obscure Los Angeles-based hip-hop group Hard Machine who released the single “Refrigerator”.
- In 2000, he was defeated by Bob Sapp in a toughman boxing competition on FX.
- In 2003, he appeared in Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest as a “celebrity contestant”. He stopped eating 5 minutes into the competition. This was parodied in an episode of TV Funhouse from the November 11, 2006 episode of Saturday Night Live in which Takeru Kobayashi plays a hot dog eating superhero. After Kobayashi saves the day by eating a lot of hot dogs, a cartoon William Perry makes an appearance saying “Damn!” in Japanese.
- In 2003, he appeared in a TV movie by Comedy Central called Windy City Heat, where a man named Perry Caravello was made to believe he was acting in a major motion picture.
- He starred in a commercial in the 1980s with Jim McMahon, fellow Chicago Bears teammate for Coke Classic and Coke.
- Appears on the Chef Tony infomercial endorsing My Rotisserie in a number of acted scenes where he plays poker with his friends, while singing the praises of the kitchen appliance.
- He made a guest appearance in the ’80s TV show The A-Team. In the 21st episode of the 4th season (‘The Trouble with Harry’) “Fridge” signs in to the same hospital The A-Team is using to help their friend Harry recover. Throughout the episode, Perry only has a few lines (including the funny: “They’ll never catch him,” referring to his NFL playing days), but he gives out ‘Bears’ caps in the final scene. B. A. Baracus and Hulk Hogan (who guest starred in the episode as well) react angrily when they don’t get a cap, but the large sized Perry is able to calm them down with his huge smile.
- He also made a short appearance in the opening of According to Jim (Season 8, Episode 15).
After he retired as a player, Perry founded his own small commodity hedge fund in his native South Carolina and made numerous public appearances.
Recently, he was named Director of Football Operations for the Continental Indoor Football League‘s Chicago Slaughter.
In June 2008, he was diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome, a chronic inflammation disorder of the peripheral nerves. On April 22, 2009, Perry was hospitalized in South Carolina in serious condition from his Guillain-Barré syndrome. Perry spent approximately a month in the hospital before being released. At one point his weight fell to 190 pounds, before going back up to 275 pounds.
|Super Bowl Shuffle|
During Super Bowl XLIV, Perry joined other members of the 1985 Chicago Bears in resurrecting the Super Bowl Shuffle in a Boost Mobile commercial.
In June 2010, it was reported that Perry now suffered from hearing loss, but also that he was improving after his diagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome. He had lost more than one hundred pounds, but was, by this time, back up to 330 pounds.
In February 2011, ESPN ran a somber article about him, citing ongoing health and drinking problems, and a weight of 400 pounds.
In April 2011, Cliff Forrest, a 10 year-old child, accidentally bought a replica Perry Super Bowl ring for $8,500 thinking it was the actual, and gave the ring to Perry. 
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Who is Michael Brown? The professional basketball world knows him as Mike Brown. Btown is an American basketball head coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Los Angeles Lakers. He was previously the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers from June 2, 2005 until May 24, 2010. After learning the game under Gregg Popovich,
Brown is widely regarded as a defensive specialist. He turned the
Cavaliers into one of the top defensive teams in the NBA and guided them
into the 2007 NBA Finals. Brown was honored as NBA Coach of the Year
for leading the Cavaliers to a team record and league best 66 wins in
2009, and 61 wins, again a league best, in 2010. However, after losses
to both the Orlando Magic in the conference finals in 2009 and the Boston Celtics
in the 2010 conference semifinals, he was fired after failing to win an
NBA title with the Cavaliers. On May 25, 2011, Brown succeeded Phil Jackson as the head coach of the Lakers.
Brown was born March 5, 1970 in Columbus, Ohio, but he spent parts of his childhood overseas. He graduated from Würzburg American High School in Würzburg, Germany in 1988, where he excelled in basketball and football. After studying and playing basketball at Mesa Community College for two years, Brown went on to the University of San Diego, where he played two seasons for the Toreros and graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Business Administration
degree. He began his career in 1992 as an intern with the Denver
Nuggets, and eventually spent five seasons with the team as a scout and
In 2000, Brown was hired by Gregg Popovich as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs.
While with the Spurs, Brown’s teams won at least 58 games each season.
He also was the head coach for the Spurs’ summer league teams in Boston
and Salt Lake City. After winning a championship with San Antonio in
2003, Brown was hired as assistant coach to Rick Carlisle with the Indiana Pacers. He helped lead Indiana to consecutive playoff appearances including a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2004.
Brown’s record as an assistant coach is 341–201 (.629).
In June 2005, Brown got his first head coaching job with the Cleveland Cavaliers, replacing Brendan Malone, becoming the second youngest coach in the league, with only Lawrence Frank of the New Jersey Nets younger.
On June 2, 2007, Brown’s Cavaliers defeated the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals and advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in the history of the franchise. However, they were swept in four games to his former team, San Antonio Spurs.
On February 1, 2008, Brown was named the Eastern Conference Coach of the Month for January 2008.
In 2009, Brown was named coach of the Eastern Conference All-Star team, making him the second coach in Cavaliers history to coach the All-Star team, joining Lenny Wilkens who coached the East team in 1989.
On April 20, 2009, Brown was named NBA Coach of the Year after guiding the Cavaliers to a franchise best 66–16 record.
On May 13, 2010, Brown and the Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated by the Boston Celtics in the Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs.
With this loss, the Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to
accomplish back-to-back 60+ win seasons and not advance to the NBA
Brown was fired on May 24, 2010. In December 2010, he began working with ESPN as a studio analyst.
After leaving Cleveland Cavaliers,
Brown was the assistant coach on his son’s middle school team. He was
the coach for the Westlake Lee Burneson Middle School team in Ohio. He
turned down an offer to serve as an assistant at St. Mary’s College in
California. “I’m a glorified equipment guy who gets to chest bump and
high-five the players,” Brown said. “The kids still call me coach.” 
On May 25, 2011, Brown agreed to be Phil Jackson‘s successor and become the new head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. He reportedly agreed to a 4-year deal, with a team option to keep him under contract for the fourth year. On May 31, 2011, he was officially named the Lakers’ new head coach.
Head coaching record
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win-loss %|
|Post season||PG||Playoff Games||PW||Playoff Wins||PL||Playoff Losses||PW–L %||Playoff Win-loss %|
|CLE||2005–06||82||50||32||.610||2nd in Central||13||7||6||.538||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
|CLE||2006–07||82||50||32||.610||2nd in Central||20||12||8||.600||Lost in NBA Finals|
|CLE||2007–08||82||45||37||.549||2nd in Central||13||7||6||.538||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
|CLE||2008–09||82||66||16||.805||1st in Central||14||10||4||.714||Lost in Conf. Finals|
|CLE||2009–10||82||61||21||.744||1st in Central||11||6||5||.545||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
|LAL||2011–12||66||41||25||.621||1st in Pacific||12||5||7||.417||Lost in Conf. Semifinals|
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Who is Terry Wayne Fator? The entertainment and comic world knows him as Terry Fator, he is a ventriloquist, impressionist, comedian, and singer from Mesquite, Texas. Fator is capable of doing over 100 ventriloquial impersonations, and uses 16 different puppets in his act. He was the winner of Season 2 of America’s Got Talent, and received the million dollar prize. The following year, he was signed on as the headliner at The Mirage hotel and casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Terry Fator was born June 10, 1965 in Dallas, Texas. Terry’s second cousin is Chris Sligh, an American Idol season 6 finalist. Terry Fator says in his audio commentary of Terry Fator: Live from Las Vegas (2009) that he went to college at Liberty University in Lynchburg VA. The beginning of Fator’s ventriloquism career dates back to when he was in fifth grade. While searching for a book for an assignment on Valentine’s Day, he came across a book about ventriloquism titled, Ventriloquism for Fun and Profit, by Paul Winchell. Fator checked out the book and started learning about ventriloquism. A few weeks later, Fator purchased a Willie Talk dummy from Sears and soon won a $25 prize for a performance at a church picnic.
Fator got his first ventriloquism dummy when he was ten years old. Throughout his childhood, Fator entertained family and friends with his ventriloquism and did impersonations of singers and actors. When Fator was in sixth grade, he appeared on a popular children’s show in Dallas called Peppermint Place that starred “Mr. Peppermint” Jerry Haynes. Fator was able to save his money and got his first professional ventriloquism dummy when he was eighteen.
Fator says he found he had the ability to impersonate singers by practicing ventriloquism while driving his car. “One of the reasons I learned how to sing as a ventriloquist was because I like singing in the car,” Fator says. “I’d see other people singing in the car, and they looked goofy, so I’d do it without moving my lips.”
Fator got his start touring as the lead singer of a band called “Freedom Jam” in 1987-88, produced by Young American Showcase. They performed at over 200 high schools and middle schools across the United States, averaging three performances per school day.
In mid 1988, he was the lead singer of a show band called ‘Texas the Band’ when he was 20, and incorporated his puppet Walter T. Airedale into his shows. Fator’s band at one point was about to sign with a major record label and one of the label’s representatives came to hear the band. Fator sang the songs impersonating the original vocalists. “He told me ‘you gotta stop doing those impressions,’ and wanted me to sing in my own voice,” Fator says. “I tried it for a few weeks, and absolutely hated it. We told the record company ‘no thanks.'”
Combining singing and ventriloquism
Fator left the band and did a solo act combining comedy and ventriloquism but for many years had little success. “Fairs would stick me on a little stage in the back of fair and have me do three shows in the hottest part of the afternoon,” says Fator. “I had heat stroke a couple of times, almost passed out.”
In May 2007, before appearing on America’s Got Talent, Fator was performing at a fair near Houston, Texas and the only spectator was a 12 year old boy. Discouraged, Fator contemplated pursuing another career, but his family encouraged him to hang in there. Terry entered the America’s Got Talent competition with the hope that the exposure if he made it to the Top 20 might help his career and cause people to want to attend his shows. But Fator says the low point of his career was when he appeared at a 1,000 seat theater and had only one customer.
Fator’s success stems from combining singing and ventriloquism. Fator had been the lead singer in a band and often did impersonations of singers Garth Brooks, Etta James, James Taylor and Dean Martin while ventriloquism was just a comic side gig for Fator. In 2005 Fator decided to join his two talents, ventriloquism and impersonations. “I had one of my characters sing Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” and the audience went bananas,” Fator says. “Boy, that was where my life changed.” After his initial success Fator revamped his act. “It took me six months and I completely rewrote the show,” says Fator. “It was then that people really noticed and I started getting standing ovations at the end of every show.”
Prior to winning America’s Got Talent, Fator was an opening act for Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Neal McCoy, and Styx. Fator also made corporate appearances at General Motors and AT&T.
Success on America’s Got Talent
Before appearing on America’s Got Talent, Fator had almost given up on achieving success in show business as a ventriloquist. “It wasn’t easy trying to keep going all these years, and by the time I was in my late 30s, I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen,” says Fator.
On June 19, 2007, Fator made his first national appearance on America’s Got Talent. Fator never dreamed that he would win the show. “Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would win that show,” says Fator. “Essentially I auditioned because the guy that was the ventriloquist the first season got on (‘The Late Show with) David Letterman.’ … So I figured I’d do three episodes like he did and end up on ‘David Letterman.'” After winning the show Fator actually had to turn the Letterman gig down four times before he could appear. “My schedule got so packed, and it broke my heart every time I had to turn him down,” Fator says.
When Fator first came onstage judge David Hasselhoff said “Oh, no, a ventriloquist.” “I was thinking, there’s no way I would win,” Fator says. “I gave myself zero percent [chance].” The judges, Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff loved Fator and he won the competition. Judge Piers Morgan told Fator “You’re a great impersonator, a great singer and a great comedian.” “You put a twist on the whole being a ventriloquist thing,” added Judge Sharon Osborne. Even Simon Cowell approved. “Simon Cowell said I was one of the top two entertainers on the planet,” says Fator. “And getting a compliment from Simon Cowell, well, not many people get a compliment like that.”
|Week||Song choice||Original artist||Puppet||Result|
|“At Last“||Etta James||Emma Taylor||Advanced|
|“What a Wonderful World“
(Kermit the Frog
|Louis Armstrong||Winston the Turtle||Safe|
|Top 10||“Unforgettable“||Nat King Cole||Emma Taylor||Safe|
|Top 8||“That’s Amore“
“I Left My Heart in San Francisco“
|“Friends in Low Places“
|Walter T Airedale
Winston the Turtle
|Finale||“You’ve Got a Friend“||James Taylor||Johnny Vegas
Kermit the Frog
Life after America’s Got Talent
It was announced on the show that in conjunction with winning, he was to appear at the Jubilee Theatre at Bally’s. However, the spots were only going to be 15 minutes long, and in complete mutual cooperation with his management team and Bally’s, the plan was dropped. Fator performed at Christian rock legend Larry Norman‘s 60th birthday party in April 2007. Later Fator flew Larry to tapings of America’s Got Talent and also to his debut show at the Las Vegas Hilton as an honored guest. Norman told friends shortly before his death that it was one of the most fun years of his life
On October 14 and 15, 2007, after winning America’s Got Talent, Fator took the stage of the Las Vegas Hilton (formerly the International, the same stage that Elvis Presley performed on for many years.) Both shows were sold out to standing room only. Another show was added for December 3 to satisfy the demand for tickets.
In early December 2007, Fator signed a contract for $1.5 million with the Las Vegas Hilton to do 3 shows a month from January 2008 to May 2008. Fator also performed a 6 p.m. early family New Year’s Eve show on December 31, 2007.
In 2007, Fator became an official supporter of Ronald McDonald House Charities and is a member of their celebrity board, called the Friends of RMHC.
On March 17, 2008, Fator appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show along with American Idol Judge Simon Cowell. To the amazement of Oprah, Cowell referred to Fator as one of the “two most talented people on the planet.” Fator performed with three of his dummies; country singer Walter T. Airedale performed a Garth Brooks song and Winston the impersonating Turtle sang a Bee Gees song. Julius performed a Marvin Gaye song; Julius was a favorite when he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. “As soon as I brought out Julius, she had this look on her face, wondering what I was about to do,” Fator said. “Once I started into Marvin Gaye, she fell out of her chair.”
On May 13, 2008 it was announced that Fator had signed a five year deal to perform nightly at The Mirage in Las Vegas. He replaced headliner Danny Gans and the theater was renamed the Terry Fator Theatre. Reportedly the deal is worth an astounding $100 million with an option to extend another five years making the entire deal worth over $200 million. This would be one of the largest entertainment deals in Las Vegas history.
Fator announced in July 2008 that he was at work on a book. “I never thought in my whole life I would write a whole book. It’s called ‘Who’s the Dummy Now?'” Fator announced at the 2008 Bloomsburg Fair on the week of September 20–27, 2008 that he finished his book.
On September 10, 2008, Fator reappeared on America’s Got Talent’s Top Twenty Results Show as a guest. He brought back a larger Winston the Impersonating Turtle to sing Marvin Gaye’s song, “Let’s Get It On.” Maynard Thomkins was also brought on to sing Viva Las Vegas. Winston was not the only puppet that was reconfigured, on an August 1, 2008 ABCNews Now interview, he brought a reshaped Emma Taylor to sing “At Last.”
Getting ventriloquism taken seriously
Fator has fought to be taken seriously as a ventriloquist. “There have been so few good, successful ventriloquists – Edgar Bergen in the 1940s and Paul Winchell in the 1960s were respected and successful,” says Fator. “And in the 1970s, I used to watch Willie Tyler and his Lester as well as Jay Johnson and Bob. But over the years, there have been so many bad ventriloquists – and most of them doing corny shows for children – that people began to think of us as a bad joke.”
This is an incomplete list of the character names for the puppets that Terry Fator uses in his act.
- Walter T. Airedale – Airedale, a country singer, is the puppet that Fator has had the longest.
- Winston the Impersonating Turtle – Winston was inspired by Kermit the Frog. “Originally I had a Kermit the Frog puppet and I would have (him) sing Rainbow Connection,” says Fator. “When I called up the Muppets to see if they would let me do a Kermit the Frog impression (on national TV), they said I could do the impression but I could not use the Kermit puppet. Necessity is the mother of invention, so I said, OK, I’ll have a turtle do an impression of a frog singing with Louis Armstrong.”
- Emma Taylor – “Emma Taylor is a lady who sang with me on ‘America’s Got Talent,'” says Fator. Fator says that Emma is his “best puppet friend.” “I kind of like Emma. She’s really cute,” says Fator.
- Maynard Thomkins – “Maynard Tompkins is an Elvis impersonator –the only impersonator in the world who does not know any Elvis songs,” says Fator.
- Julius – Julius is the soul singer. People are sometimes initially shocked by Julius as an African-American puppet. “Obviously, it’s going to be shocking. People look at me a little nervously,” Fator said. “But when I start singing, all objections fade away and they love it.” Julius was a favorite when he appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. “As soon as I brought out Julius, she had this look on her face, wondering what I was about to do,” Fator said. “Once I started into Marvin Gaye, she fell out of her chair.”.
- Johnny Vegas – a lounge singer, often impersonating Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, etc.
- Duggie Scott Walker – Introduced as Fator’s annoying neighbor, he is a heavy metal music lover. Loves AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and others. He partied so much at concerts he always thinks there are strobe lights flashing.
- Vikki the Cougar – a 49-year old (she keeps turning 49, so her actual age is unknown) female singer, singing songs from the Pussycat Dolls as an example. As her name implies, she prefers dating younger men, between the ages of 21 and 24, as she revealed in an interview on Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS-TV. Vikki is apparently Duggie’s mother.
- The Fifth Beatle – Patterned after Paul McCartney, he was kicked out of the Beatles.
- Wrex – A crash test dummy that sings automobile-themed songs.
Fator is constantly creating new characters. “I’ve got several new ones I’m creating for the Mirage. We’re going to be constantly creating new characters for the show,” says Fator.
Fator has often impersonated singers himself alongside his puppets and/or volunteers from the audience. Michael Jackson has been a regular figure Fator impersonates alongside his Walter T. Airedale puppet. Fator also has incorporated audience members into his act via a remote-control mask. A volunteer wears the mask and the remote allows Fator to move the mask’s mouth with Fator providing all of the conversation and singing. Fator usually dresses the volunteer as Cher and performs the duet “I Got You, Babe” with Fator as Sonny Bono.
In July 2007 Fator appeared in Montana to help raise funds for the Kidsports Sports Complex in Kalispell and said he wanted to come back in 2008 to do another show. “We thought, we bet he wants to, but we bet he won’t have time,” said Nancy Manning of Rotary Club of Kalispell. “He made time because it’s so important to him.” All proceeds from Fator’s show went towards the field.
In 2007 Fator did a benefit performance for miners’ families in Huntington, Utah.
In 2008, Fator performed at the Palace Theatre in Corsicana, Texas. Proceeds benefited the Navarro Council of the Arts and the Mildred Drama Club. Fator is a native of Corsicana.
On September 3, 2007, Fator made a special appearance in the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, thanking the crowd for the support. His acts were a repeat of the acts he made on America’s Got Talent. He brought back Emma Taylor to sing “At Last” and Winston the Turtle to sing “What a Wonderful World” again. He returned to the Telethon on September 1, 2008 and brought Julius to sing “Only You” from The Platters, Marvin Gaye’s song, “Let’s Get It On,” and “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. Maynard Thomkins was also brought on to sing “Viva Las Vegas” to finish the show. Fator made his 3rd consecutive telethon appearance(this time via satellite from his showroom during a performance of his show) on September 6, 2009 with puppets The Fifth Beatle and Vikki The Cougar with special guests The Commodores, who joined Fator performing “Brick House“.
On September 24, 2008 Fator announced at the Bloomsburg Fair that all proceeds for his song “Horses In Heaven” will go to a Research Center For Childhood Diseases.
In 2010, Terry did a doodle for a charity celebrity doodle auction for Neurofibromatosis, more commonly known as NF. 100% of the profit from all the doodles went to help families with NF.
On September 1, 2009, Fator’s first DVD, Terry Fator: Live from Las Vegas (recorded during a performance at the Mirage), was released just less than a week after its debut airing on CMT (originally aired on August 28, 2009) and copies sold at Target stores include footage not shown on the CMT broadcast. On January 7, 2011, at Terry Fator’s show at the Las Vegas Mirage, he announced that all proceeds from his “Horses in Heaven” CD would be going to St. Jude’s (Children’s Hospital).
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Born Mandisa Lynn Hundley on October 2, 1976, she grew up in Citrus Heights, California, area. After graduating from El Camino Fundamental High School, she attended American River College in Sacramento where she studied Vocal Jazz. Then she studied at Fisk University in Tennessee and graduated with a bachelor’s of music degree with a concentration in vocal performance.
She auditioned for the United States reality/talent show American Idol in Chicago. She referred to herself as “just Mandisa”, and was billed simply as Mandisa, without a last name. She was a backup singer for famed Christian author and speaker Beth Moore. She has stated her musical influences run the gamut from Whitney Houston to Def Leppard.
Idol judge Simon Cowell made several comments about Mandisa’s weight after her successful audition. He first quipped are we “going to have a bigger stage this year. Then, when Paula Abdul commented that Mandisa had a “Frenchie” growl to her voice, Cowell responded that a more apt comparison would be to France itself. These were among comments that drew the ire of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, (NAAFA) and would be one of the reasons Mandisa would entitle her 2007 album True Beauty.
When Mandisa presented herself to the judges prior to the final cut-down to the season’s 24 semi-finalists, she told Cowell: “what I want to say to you is that, yes, you hurt me and I cried and it was painful, it really was. But I want you to know that I’ve forgiven you and that you don’t need someone to apologize in order to forgive somebody. I figure that if Jesus could die so that all of my wrongs could be forgiven, I can certainly extend that same grace to you. Cowell told Mandisa that he was “humbled” and apologized to her immediately.
On the March 7, 2006, Idol show, she stated in her pre-performance video that she sucked her thumb until she was 24 years old. She performed a rendition of Chaka Khan‘s “I’m Every Woman” which drew praise from all three judges. She was among the 12 contestants chosen on March 9, 2006, as a finalist in Idol’s fifth season.
Mandisa was eliminated from American Idol on April 5, 2006, in the Top 9, having never previously been in the Bottom 3 (she was there with Paris Bennett and Elliott Yamin, neither of whom had been in the bottom 3 either). Mandisa revealed that, when the first group of Taylor Hicks, Kellie Pickler and Chris Daughtry was sent back to safety, and Mandisa, Elliott and Paris were on the stage on one side and the other group of Ace Young, Katharine McPhee and Bucky Covington on the other side, she told Paris and Elliott that it was most likely their own group in the bottom three, as she remembered how the same thing had happened in American Idol (season 3), when the three divas landed in the bottom three, and was sure that it would probably be a “shocker” like that one as Ace, Katharine and Bucky had all been in the bottom three earlier. She, like most eliminated contestants, appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno one day later.
|Week #||Theme||Song Choice||Original Artist||Order #||Result|
|Audition||Free Choice||“Fallin’“||Alicia Keys||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood||Group Performance||“Band Of Gold“||Freda Payne||N/A||Advanced|
|Top 24 (12 Women)||Free Choice||“Never“||Heart||1||Safe|
|Top 20 (10 Women)||Free Choice||“Cry“||Faith Hill||10||Safe|
|Top 16 (8 Women)||Free Choice||“I’m Every Woman“||Chaka Khan||7||Safe|
|Top 12||Songs of Stevie Wonder||“Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing“||Stevie Wonder||4||Safe|
|Top 11||Hits of the 1950s||“I Don’t Hurt Anymore“||Dinah Washington||1||Safe|
|Top 10||21st Century Hits||“Shackles (Praise You)“||Mary Mary||5||Safe|
|Top 9||Country Music||“Any Man of Mine“||Shania Twain||2||Eliminated|
Mandisa performed the song “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” at the TV talk show, Live with Regis and Kelly. Mandisa sang with Gladys Knight at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and collaborated with tobyMac and Kirk Franklin on tobyMac’s recent album, Portable Sounds.
Her book IdolEyes (with Angela Elwell Hunt) was published by Tyndale House in May 2007. She performed on American Idol Extra with her song “True Beauty”.
Mandisa’s first full-length album True Beauty was released on July 31, 2007. She released her first single, “Only the World,” on May 22, 2007. The song had a successful debut on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart, which tracks commercial single sales, debuting at #2 and reached #1 the following week. It is also getting major airplay on Christian radio stations. The track is available for purchase on ITunes along with the album track “True Beauty”. Written by Matthew West, Sam Mizell and Clint Lagerberg, “Only The World” captures Mandisa’s joyful spirit well. “We all have difficult days we wish we didn’t have to go through, but it gives you so much peace and joy when you realize that it’s only the world we’re living in, and one day we’re going to go to a much better place,” she says of the song’s theme. West would go on to co-write three of the songs on True Beauty, as well as Mandisa’s highest-ranking single to date, “Christmas Makes Me Cry“.
True Beauty debuted at #1 on the Top Christian Albums charts, making it the first time a new female artist has debuted at #1 in the charts 27 year history. It also debuted at #43 on the Billboard 200, an unusually high debut on that chart for a Christian artist. She also garnered a Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album nomination for True Beauty in December of the same year. Showcasing Mandisa’s stylistic range was the task set before the five sets of producers who lined up to work with her on the album—top-notch names like Shaun Shankel (Beyoncé, Natalie Grant); Brown Bannister (Amy Grant); Christopher Stevens (TobyMac); Drew Ramsey and Shannon Sanders (India.Arie, Johnny Lang); and Double Dutch, the team of Robert Marvin and Josiah Bell (Matt Kearney, Matt Redman). Mandisa also spent personal time with the album’s writers before the songwriting process began, sharing her vision for the project and what she hoped to communicate through the songs. The end result is a seamless flow of tracks that create a diverse landscape for messages of hope, inspiration and faith.
Mandisa’s cover of “Shackles” features a horn section provided by LiveHorns.com with Tommy Vaughan on trumpet, Rodney Mills on trombone, and Shane Philen on sax. They also appear on Mandisa’s performance of “The Right Thing” on the VeggieTales soundtrack for The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.
Her second single “God Speaking” was released to Christian radio in October 2007. A third single, “Voice of a Savior,” written by West, was serviced to Inspo radio in mid-2008, where it peaked in the Top 5 of Radio and Records’ Soft AC/Inspo chart.
In November 2007, Mandisa released a holiday EP, Christmas Joy EP, which features the song “Christmas Makes Me Cry“, a duet with frequent collaborator Matthew West. Earlier that year, Mandisa also recorded “Christmas Day,” a duet with Christian recording legend Michael W. Smith. “Christmas Makes Me Cry” peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Hot Christian AC chart, stopped from reaching #1 by her duet with Smith,”Christmas Day.” It was the first time in the history of the Christian singles chart that a solo female artist was featured on the top two singles at the same time.
On October 14, 2008, Mandisa released a full-length Christmas album, It’s Christmas. All songs from the Christmas Joy EP were featured on It’s Christmas, as well as several new tracks.
Her second album, Freedom was released on March 24, 2009.
There have also been reports that Mandisa will be releasing “We Are Family” which is a Bonus Track on Napster on April 14, 2009. The song was available for a short time on Amazon.com added to Freedom labeled as “Freedom + Bonus Track.”
Her third album, What If We Were Real, is slated to be released on April 5, 2011. In March 2011 she will be on tour with comedian Anita Renfroe promoting her new album. The first single from her new album is entitled “Stronger”.
Mandisa currently resides in the suburban Nashville community of Antioch, Tennessee. Since her appearance on American Idol in 2006, Mandisa has made efforts toward health and weight loss. The title of her second album, Freedom, was inspired by her experience of overcoming an “addiction” to food. As of March 2009, she had reportedly lost 75 pounds and hoped to lose a total of 100 or more. As of February 2010, she has reached her goal and lost 100 pounds. 
In popular culture
When The Daily Show parodied President Bush’s decision-making abilities by featuring him in a superhero comic book by R. Sikoryak called “The Decider,” one of his decisions in the comic book was to vote for Mandisa because “she’s a sure thing.”
- 2008: Grammy Award for Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year (for True Beauty) – nominated
- 2008: GMA Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year – nominated
- 2008: GMA Dove Award for New Artist of the Year – nominated
- 2009: GMA Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year – nominated
- 2010: Grammy Award for Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album of the Year (for Freedom) – nominated
- 2010: Dove Award for Female Vocalist of the Year – nominated
- 2010: Dove Award for Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year, for My Deliverer – nominated
- 2010: Dove Award for Short Form Video of the Year for tobyMac’s Lose My Soul – nominated
- IdolEyes – published on May 9, 2007
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Who is Julia O’Hara Stiles? The entertainment and acting world knows her as Julia Stiles as an American actress.
Stiles’ first film was a non-speaking part in I Love You, I Love You Not (1996), with Claire Danes and Jude Law. She also had small roles as Harrison Ford‘s daughter in Alan J. Pakula‘s The Devil’s Own (1997) and in M. Night Shyamalan‘s Wide Awake (1998). Her first lead was in Wicked (1998), playing a teenage girl who might have murdered her mother so she could have her father all to herself. Critic Joe Balthai wrote she was “the darling of the 1998 Sundance Film Festival“ and Internet movie writer Harry Knowles said she was the “discovery of the fest”, but the film was not commercially released in the U.S. and went direct-to-video.
In 1999, she portrayed Kat Stratford, opposite Heath Ledger, in Gil Junger‘s 10 Things I Hate About You, an adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew set in a high school in Tacoma, Washington. She won an MTV Movie Award for “Breakthrough Female Performance” for the role, and the Chicago Film Critics voted her the most promising new actress of the year. Foreign critics applauded her work as well, including Adina Hoffman, who praised her as “a young, serious looking Diane Lane“ and Martin Hoyle, who commented that Stiles played Kat “with bloody-minded independent charm from the beginning with hints of wistfulness beneath the determination.”
Stiles’ next commercial success was in Save the Last Dance (2001), as an aspiring ballerina forced to leave her small town in downstate Illinois to live with her struggling musician father in Chicago after her mother dies in a car accident. At her new, nearly all-black school, she falls in love with the character played by Sean Patrick Thomas, who teaches her hip-hop dance steps that get her into The Juilliard School. The role won her two more MTV awards for “Best Kiss” and “Best Female Performance”, and a Teen Choice Award for best fight scene for her battle with Bianca Lawson. Rolling Stone pronounced her “the coolest co-ed,” putting her on the cover of its April 12, 2001 issue. She told Rolling Stone that she performed all her own dancing in the film, though the way the film was shot and edited might have made it appear otherwise.
She returned to the Bourne series with a much larger role in The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007, and to this day it is her highest grossing film. Producer Lynda Obst said that Stiles was “turning into the next Meryl Streep.” Stiles also appears in the 2008 film Gospel Hill. She portrayed a woman who falls in love with her stalker in the 2009 thriller The Cry of the Owl, based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith.
She reprised the role of Carol in a 2009 production, directed by Doug Hughes and co-starring Bill Pullman at the Mark Taper Forum. On June 30, 2009, it was announced that this production would be transferring to Broadway’s John Golden Theatre, with previews beginning Sept. 29 before an October 11 opening night.
In May 2010 Stiles was cast in a major role in the Showtime series Dexter and signed for 10 episodes. For this role Stiles received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film.
TV series, episode: “Who Is Max Mouse?: Part 1″
TV series, episode: “A Crime of Two Cities: Part 1″
I Love You, I Love You Not
Young Nana’s Friend
TV series, episode: “The Secret”
TV series, episode: “Mother, May I?“
The Devil’s Own
Before Women Had Wings
10 Things I Hate About You
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Most Promising Actress
MTV Movie Award for Female Breakthrough Performance
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Breakout Performance in a Film
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Sexiest Love Scene in a Film (shared with Heath Ledger)
Nominated—YoungStar Award for Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film
Down to You
Teen Choice Award for Choice Chemistry (shared with Freddie Prinze Jr.)
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Actress in a Film
State and Main
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards for Best Ensemble Cast
Online Film Critics Society Awards for Best Ensemble Cast Performance
National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble
Save the Last Dance
MTV Movie Award for Best Kiss (shared with Sean Patrick Thomas)
Teen Choice Award for Choice Actress in a Film
Teen Choice Award for Choice Fight Scene (shared with Bianca Lawson)
Nominated—MTV Movie Award for Best Female Performance
The Business of Strangers
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Drama
The Bourne Identity
A Guy Thing
Mona Lisa Smile
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress in a Drama/Action Adventure
The Prince and Me
The Bourne Supremacy
A Little Trip to Heaven
Nominated—Teen Choice Award for Choice Scream in a Movie
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Cry of the Owl
TV series, 10 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
The Bell Jar
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Who is Serena Jameka Williams? The professional tennis world knows her as Serena Williams, she is an American professional tennis player who is a former World No. 1 and currently ranked World No. 25 in singles and No. 20 in doubles with sister Venus Williams. The Women’s Tennis Association has ranked her World No. 1 in singles on five separate occasions. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002 and regained this ranking for the fifth time on November 2, 2009. She is considered to be one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time in a career hampered by numerous injuries.
Her 27 Grand Slam titles places her ninth on the all-time list: 13 in singles, 12 in women’s doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles. She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously and only the fifth woman in history to do so. Her 13 Grand Slam singles titles is sixth on the all-time list. Williams ranks fourth in Grand Slam women’s singles titles won during the open era, behind Steffi Graf (22 titles) and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova (18 titles each). She has won more Grand Slam titles in singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles than any other active female player.
Williams has won two Olympic gold medals in women’s doubles. She has won more career prize money than any other female athlete in history. Serena has played older sister Venus in 23 professional matches since 1998, with Serena winning 13 of these matches. They have met in eight Grand Slam finals, with Serena winning six times. Beginning with the 2002 French Open, they played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, which was the first time in the open era that the same two players had contested four consecutive Grand Slam finals. The pair have won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles together.
Serena Williams was born September 26, 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan, to Richard Williams and Oracene Price. She is of African American heritage and is the youngest of Price’s five daughters: half-sisters Yetunde (1972–2003), Lyndrea and Isha Price, and full sister Venus. When the children were young, the family moved to the city of Compton in Los Angeles county, where Serena started playing tennis at the age of five. Her father home-schooled Serena and her sister Venus and to this day, Serena Williams was and remains coached by both her parents.
Williams’ family moved from Compton to Haines City when she was nine so that she could attend the tennis academy of Rick Macci, who would provide additional coaching. Macci spotted the exceptional talents of the sisters. He did not always agree with Williams’ father but respected that “he treated his daughters like kids, allowed them to be little girls”. Richard stopped sending his daughters to national junior tennis tournaments when Williams was 10, since he wanted them to take it slow and focus on school work. Another motivation was racial, as he had allegedly heard parents of white players talk about the Williams sisters in a derogatory manner during tournaments. At that time, Williams had a 46–3 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among under 10 players in Florida. In 1995, when Serena was in the ninth grade, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci’s academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home. When asked in 2000 whether having followed the normal path of playing regularly on the junior circuit would have been beneficial, Williams responded: “Everyone does different things. I think for Venus and I, we just tried a different road, and it worked for us.”
Williams is primarily a baseline player. Her game is built around taking immediate control of rallies with a powerful and consistent serve (considered by some to be the best in the women’s game), return of serve, and forceful groundstrokes from both her forehand and backhand swings. Her serve has been hit as hard as 129mph (206.5km/h), the second-fastest (after her sister Venus) all-time among female players.
Although Williams’ forehand is among the most powerful shots in the women’s game as is her double-handed backhand. Williams strikes her backhand groundstroke using an open stance, and uses the same open stance for her forehand. Serena also possesses a very solid volley and powerful overhead which is very useful for her net game.
Williams’s aggressive play, a “high risk” style, is balanced in part by her serve, which combines great power and placement with very high consistency.
Although many think of Williams as only an offensive player, she also plays a strong defensive game.
1995–99: Professional debut
Williams’s first professional event was in September 1995, at the age of 13, at the Bell Challenge in Quebec City. She lost in the first round of qualifying to World No. 149 Annie Miller in less than an hour of play and earned US$240 in prize money.
|Serena Williams & Vanessa Williams|
Williams did not play a tournament in 1996. The following year, she lost in the qualifying rounds of three tournaments before winning her first main-draw match in November at the Ameritech Cup Chicago. Ranked World No. 304, she upset World No. 7 Mary Pierce and World No. 4 Monica Seles, recording her first career wins over Top 10 players and becoming the lowest-ranked player in the open era to defeat two Top 10 opponents in one tournament. She ultimately lost in the semifinals to World No. 5 Lindsay Davenport. She finished 1997 ranked World No. 99.
Williams began 1998 at the Medibank International Sydney. As a qualifier ranked World No. 96, she defeated World No. 3 Davenport in the quarterfinals before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals. Williams made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the Australian Open, where she defeated sixth seeded Irina Spîrlea in the first round before losing to sister Venus in the second round, in the sisters’ first professional match. Williams reached six other quarterfinals during the year but lost all of them, including her first match against World No. 1 Martina Hingis at the Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne and her second match against Venus at the Italian Open in Rome. She failed to reach the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam tournament the remainder of the year, losing in the fourth round of the French Open to Sánchez Vicario and the third round of both Wimbledon and the US Open, to Virginia Ruano Pascual and Spîrlea, respectively. She did, however, win the mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open with Max Mirnyi, completing the Williams family’s sweep of the 1998 mixed doubles Grand Slam tournaments. Williams won her first professional title in doubles in Oklahoma City with Venus, becoming the third pair of sisters to win a WTA title. The Williams sisters won two more doubles titles together during the year. Serena finished the year ranked World No. 20 in singles.
1999–2001: Becoming a top 10 player
Williams lost in the third round of the 1999 Australian Open to Sandrine Testud. The following month, she won her first professional singles title when she defeated Australian Open runner-up Amélie Mauresmo 6–2 3–6 7–6(4) in the final of the Open Gaz de France in Paris. With Venus also winning the IGA Superthrift Classic in Oklahoma City that day, the pair became the first sisters to win professional tournaments in the same week. A month later, Serena won her first Tier I singles title at the Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California, having defeated World No. 7 Steffi Graf 6–3 3–6 7–5 in the final. At the following tournament, the Tier I Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, Williams defeated World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the semifinals before Venus ended her 16-match winning streak in the first all-sister singles final in WTA history. On April 5, 1999, Serena made her top 10 debut at World No. 9.
Williams played three tournaments during the 1999 European spring clay court season. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Italian Open in Rome to World No. 1 Hingis and in the quarterfinals of the Tier I German Open in Berlin to World No. 7 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. Serena and Venus won the women’s doubles title at the French Open, but Serena was upset by Mary Joe Fernandez in the third round of the singles competition. She then missed Wimbledon because of injury.
When she returned to the tour, Williams won a Fed Cup singles match before playing two tournaments during the 1999 North American summer hard court season. She won the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and Julie Halard-Decugis in the final. Williams was seeded seventh at the US Open, where she defeated World No. 4 Monica Seles, World No. 2 Lindsay Davenport, and World No. 1 Hingis to become the second African-American woman (after Althea Gibson in 1958) to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at this tournament, their second Grand Slam title with each other.
To complete 1999, Williams won a doubles match in the Fed Cup final against Russia, her third tournament of the year at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, and lost in the second round of the tournament in Filderstadt. Williams ended the year ranked World No. 4 in just her second full year on the main tour.
Williams started 2000 by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to 16th seeded Elena Likhovtseva. She failed to defend her titles in Paris and Indian Wells, although she did win the Faber Grand Prix in Hanover. Williams missed the French Open because of injury. She returned at Wimbledon, where she lost to eventual champion Venus in the semifinals after Serena had lost just 13 games in advancing to the second Grand Slam semifinal of her career. The Williams sisters teamed to win the doubles title at the event. Williams successfully defended her title in Los Angeles in August, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 2 Davenport in the final. She reached the final of the Du Maurier Open in Montreal, Canada the following week where an injury forced her to retire from her match with Hingis. Her defense of the US Open title ended when she lost in the quarterfinals to second seeded Davenport. Williams teamed with Venus to win the gold medal in doubles at the Sydney Olympics in September. She then won her third singles title of the year the following week at the Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo. She finished the year ranked World No. 6.
Williams played two tournaments in Australia at the beginning of 2001, losing to World No. 1 Hingis in the quarterfinals of both the tournament in Sydney and the Australian Open. Serena and her sister Venus won the women’s doubles title at the latter tournament, becoming only the fifth doubles team in history to win all four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles during their career, a “Career Grand Slam”.
She did not play again until March, when she defeated Kim Clijsters in the final of the Tier I Tennis Masters Series in Indian Wells, California. She advanced to the final there when Venus withdrew just before the start of their semifinal match. Venus claimed that an injury prevented her from playing, but the withdrawal was controversial. Neither Williams sister has entered the tournament since. The following week at the Tier I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Williams lost to Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals.
Williams did not play a clay court tournament before the 2001 French Open, where she lost in the quarterfinals to Capriati 6–2, 5–7, 6–2. Williams also did not play a grass court tournament before Wimbledon, where she again lost in the quarterfinals to Capriati 6–7(4), 7–5, 6–3, marking the fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament at which Williams had exited in the quarterfinals.
Williams played three tournaments during the 2001 North American summer hard court season. After losing in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Los Angeles, Williams captured her second title of the year at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Toronto, defeating Seles in the semifinals and World No. 3 Capriati in the final. Williams was seeded tenth at the US Open, where she defeated World No. 6 and Wimbledon runner-up Justine Henin in the fourth round, World No. 3 Davenport in the quarterfinals, and World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals before losing to sister Venus in the final. That was the first Grand Slam final contested by two sisters during the open era.
At the 2001-ending Sanex Championships in Munich, Williams defeated Silvia Farina Elia, Henin, and Testud en route to the final. She then won the championship by walkover when Davenport withdrew before the start of the final because of a knee injury. Williams finished 2001 at World No. 6 for the second straight year.
2002–03: The “Serena Slam”
Injury forced Williams to retire from her semifinal match at the Medibank International Sydney and to withdraw from the 2002 Australian Open. She won her first title of the year at the State Farm Women’s Tennis Classic in Scottsdale, USA, defeating World No. 2 Jennifer Capriati in the final. She then won the Tier I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne for the first time, becoming one of three players in the open era to defeat the world’s top three at one tournament, after beating World No. 3 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, World No. 2 and sister Venus in the semifinals, and World No. 1 Capriati in the final. Her 6–2, 6–2 win over Venus was her second career win over her sister.
Williams played three clay court tournaments before the 2002 French Open. She reached her first clay court final in May, at the Eurocard German Open in Berlin, losing to Justine Henin in a third set tiebreak. The following week, Williams won her first clay court title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, defeating Capriati in the semifinals and Henin in the final. This increased her ranking to a new high of World No. 3. Williams, as the third seed at the French Open, dropped just two sets en route to the final (including a victory over top seed and defending champion Capriati in the semifinals), where she defeated sister Venus 7–5, 6–3. This gave Serena the second Grand Slam title of her career and increased her ranking to World No. 2, behind only Venus.
At the 2002 Wimbledon Championships, Williams defeated Amélie Mauresmo 6–2, 6–1 in the semifinals to reach the final for the first time. There, she again defeated defending champion Venus 7–6(4), 6–3 to win a Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set for the first time in her career. This victory earned Williams the World No. 1 ranking, dethroning her sister and becoming only the second African-American woman to hold that ranking on the Women’s Tennis Association computer. The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at the tournament, the fifth Grand Slam title for the pair in women’s doubles.
Williams played just one tournament between Wimbledon and the US Open, losing in the quarterfinals of the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles to Chanda Rubin, ending a 21-match winning streak. As the top seeded player at the US Open, she defeated former champion Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals to reach the final for the third time. Playing Venus in the third consecutive Grand Slam final, Williams won once again, 6–4, 6–3, to win her second US Open title and fourth Grand Slam singles title.
Williams won two consecutive singles titles in the fall, defeating Kim Clijsters to win the Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo and Anastasia Myskina to win the Sparkassen Cup in Leipzig, Germany. She reached the final at the year-ending Home Depot Championships, where she lost to fifth seeded Clijsters in straight sets, ending her 18-match winning streak.
Williams finished 2002 with a 56–5 record, eight singles titles, and the World No. 1 ranking. She was the first African-American (male or female) to end a year with that ranking since Althea Gibson in 1958. She was the first woman to win three Grand Slam titles in one year since Hingis in 1997.
At the 2003 Australian Open, Williams was just three points from losing to Émilie Loit in the first round before eventually winning. Williams went on to reach the semifinals for the first time, where she recovered from 5–2 down in the third set and saved two match points before defeating Clijsters. She faced her sister Venus for the fourth consecutive Grand Slam final and won 7–6(4), 3–6, 6–4 to become the sixth woman in the open era to complete a Career Grand Slam, joining Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Margaret Court. She also became the fifth woman to hold all Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously, joining Maureen Connolly Brinker, Court, Graf, and Navratilova. The Williams sisters won their sixth Grand Slam doubles title together at this event.
Williams then captured singles titles at the Open Gaz de France in Paris and the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, defeating Clijsters in the semifinals and Capriati in the final. The following week, Williams lost the final at the clay court Family Circle Cup in Charleston, USA to Henin, her first loss of the year after 21 wins. She also lost to Mauresmo in the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Despite these losses, Williams was the top seed at the French Open. After defeating fifth seeded Mauresmo in the quarterfinals, Williams lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Henin 6–2, 4–6, 7–5, marking Williams’s first loss in a Grand Slam tournament since 2001. The match was controversial as Williams questioned Henin’s sportsmanship and spectators applauded Williams’s errors.
Williams rebounded from the loss at the 2003 Wimbledon Championships, defeating Henin in the semifinals and Venus in the final 4–6, 6–4, 6–2. This was Williams’s second consecutive Wimbledon title and her sixth Grand Slam singles title overall. This was her last tournament of the year, as knee surgery prevented her from competing in the year’s remaining events, including the US Open. As a result, she lost the World No. 1 ranking to Clijsters in August, having held it for 57 consecutive weeks. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 3 and with four titles. On September 14, 2003, while Williams was still recovering from surgery, her sister Yetunde Price was murdered.
2004–06: Injuries and inconsistent results
Williams withdrew from the Australian Open to continue rehabilitating her left knee. She then withdrew from further tournaments, which generated speculation that she was losing interest in the sport. After eight months away from the tour, Williams began her comeback at the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she defeated 16 year old Russian Maria Sharapova in the fourth round and World No. 8 Elena Dementieva in the final. This was the third consecutive year that Williams had won this tournament.
She then played three clay court tournaments leading up to the French Open. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, and, the following week at the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, she withdrew before her third round match because of an injured knee. She was away from the tour for four weeks before playing the Tier I Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, where she lost to World No. 9 Jennifer Capriati in the semifinals 6–4, 6–4. Although ranked World No. 7, she was seeded second at the French Open. She won her first four matches over players ranked outside the top 50 before Capriati beat her in the quarterfinals 6–3, 2–6, 6–3. This was the first time she had lost before the semifinals at a Grand Slam singles tournament since Wimbledon in 2001.
She was seeded first at Wimbledon even though her ranking had dropped to World No. 10. She defeated seventh-seeded Capriati in the quarterfinals in straight sets and fourth seeded Amélie Mauresmo in the semifinals 6–7(4), 7–5, 6–4 after being down a break in the second set. In one of the most surprising upsets in the tournament’s history, 13th-seeded Sharapova defeated Williams in the final 6–1, 6–4. This loss caused her ranking to drop out of the top 10 for the first time since early 1999.
Williams reached her third final of the year at the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles on hard courts. She lost there to Lindsay Davenport 6–1, 6–3, which was her first loss to Davenport since the 2000 US Open. Williams then withdrew before her quarterfinal match at the Acura Classic in San Diego with another left knee injury. This injury caused her to miss both the Tier I Rogers AT&T Cup in Montreal and the Athens Olympics. She returned for the US Open, where she was seeded third even though she was ranked World No. 11. She lost there in the quarterfinals to World No. 8 Capriati 2–6, 6–4, 6–4. This match featured several missed line calls, including one that led to the suspension of the chair umpire for the remainder of the tournament. This match is commonly referred to as the impetus for the current challenge system.
Williams played only three tournaments the remainder of the year. She won her second title of the year at the China Open in Beijing, in which she defeated US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. Five weeks later, she lost in the second round of the tournament in Linz, Austria to World No. 73 Alina Jidkova but still qualified for the WTA Tour Championships. In the round robin phase of the tournament, she defeated World No. 5 Dementieva, lost to World No. 1 Davenport, and defeated World No. 3 Anastasia Myskina. She defeated World No. 2 Mauresmo in the semifinals 4–6, 7–6(2), 6–4 but again lost to World No. 6 Sharapova in the final 4–6, 6–2, 6–4. Williams trailed 5–2 in the second set when she asked for treatment of an abdominal injury that caused her to serve around 65 mph. She led 4–0 in the third set before Sharapova won the last six games of the match. Williams finished 2004 ranked World No. 7 but did not win a Grand Slam singles tournament for the first time since 2001.
At the 2005 Australian Open, Williams rejected suggestions that she and sister Venus were a declining force in tennis following Venus’s early exit at the tournament. In the quarterfinals, Williams defeated second seeded Mauresmo 6–2, 6–2. In the semifinals, she saved three match points in defeating fourth seeded Sharapova 2–6, 7–5, 8–6. In the final, Williams defeated World No. 1 Davenport 2–6, 6–3, 6–0 to win her second Australian Open singles title and seventh Grand Slam singles title. The win moved Williams back to World No. 2, and she stated she was now targeting the number one spot.
She did not, however, reach the final at any of her next five tournaments. She withdrew before her quarterfinal match at the Open Gaz de France in Paris, citing a stomach illness. Three weeks later, she retired from her semifinal match with Jelena Janković at the Dubai Duty Free Women’s Open, citing a strained tendon in her right shoulder. Four weeks later, she lost to sister Venus, for the first time since 2001, in the quarterfinals of the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne 6–1, 7–6(8). The following week, a left ankle injury forced her to retire from her quarterfinal match on clay at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island. Five weeks away from the tour did not improve her results as she lost in the second round of the Tier I Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome to Francesca Schiavone 7–6(2), 6–1. The ankle injury also caused her to miss the French Open.
She returned for Wimbledon as the fourth seeded player, but, after struggling through her first two matches in three sets, she was defeated in the third round by World No. 85 Jill Craybas 6–3, 7–6(4).
After winning her first match at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Toronto, a recurrence of her left knee injury caused her to withdraw from the tournament. At the US Open, Williams lost to her sister Venus in the fourth round 7–6(5), 6–2. This was the earliest the sisters had met in a Grand Slam tournament since their first meeting at the 1998 Australian Open. Williams played just one more match the remainder of the year, a loss to World No. 127 Sun Tiantian at the tournament in Beijing. She failed to qualify for the year-ending championship for the first time since 1998. She finished the year ranked World No. 11, her first time finishing outside of the world top 10 since 1998.
Williams did not participate in any of the official warm-up tournaments for the 2006 Australian Open. Williams was the defending champion at the Australian Open but fell to World No. 17 Daniela Hantuchová in the third round 6–1, 7–6(5). She then withdrew from tournaments in Tokyo (citing her lack of fitness) and Dubai and from the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne (citing a knee injury and lack of fitness). On April 10, her ranking fell out of the top 100 for the first time since November 16, 1997. Shortly after, she announced that she would miss both the French Open and Wimbledon because of a chronic knee injury. She said that she would not be able to compete before “the end of the summer”, on doctor’s orders.
Williams returned to the tour in July at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati. Ranked World No. 139 because of her inactivity, she defeated World No. 11 Myskina in the first round 6–2, 6–2 before losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Vera Zvonareva. She also reached the semifinals in Los Angeles, losing to World No. 28 Janković in straight sets.
At the US Open, Williams was unseeded in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 1998 and needed a wildcard to enter the tournament because her ranking was too low. She defeated World No. 17 Ana Ivanović in the third round before losing to top seeded Mauresmo in the fourth round 6–4, 0–6, 6–2. She did not play again in 2006, ending the year ranked World No. 95. This was her lowest year-end ranking since 1997. Williams played just four tournaments in 2006.
2007–08: Return to the top 10
Williams began 2007 with renewed confidence, stating her intention to return to the top of the rankings, a comment former player and commentator Pat Cash branded “0deluded”.
Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Hobart, Australia, a warm-up for the Australian Open. Williams was unseeded at the Australian Open because of her World No. 81 ranking and was widely regarded as “out of shape”. In the third round, however, Williams defeated fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova, which was her first win over a top 10 player since defeating Lindsay Davenport in the 2005 Australian Open final. In the quarterfinals, Williams was two points from losing to Shahar Pe’er before prevailing. In the final, Williams defeated top-seeded Maria Sharapova 6–1, 6–2 to win her third Australian Open singles title and her eighth Grand Slam singles title. Williams dedicated the title to her deceased sister Yetunde. Her performance in the final was described by TENNIS.com as “one of the best performances of her career” and by BBC Sport as “arguably the most powerful display ever seen in women’s tennis”.
Williams next played at the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida in late March. In the fourth round, Williams again defeated World No. 2 Sharapova 6–1, 6–1 and in the final, Williams defeated World No. 1 Justine Henin 0–6, 7–5, 6–3 after saving a match point in the second set.
At the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina on clay courts, Williams retired from her second round match because of a groin pull. The following week, Williams won her first singles match in the first round Fed Cup tie against Belgium on hard courts but withdrew from the second singles match to rest her knee. Williams played only one clay court tournament in Europe before the French Open. In Rome at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d’Italia, Williams lost to fourteenth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in the quarterfinals 6–3, 2–6, 7–6(5). After the tournament, however, she re-entered the top 10 at World No. 9. As the eighth seed at the French Open, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Henin 6–4, 6–3. Williams said her performance was “hideous and horrendous” and worse than ever. She also said that she felt “violated”.
Despite the loss, Williams was one of the favorites for the Wimbledon title. During her fourth round match against Daniela Hantuchová, Williams collapsed from an acute muscle spasm at 5–5 in the second set. After a medical timeout and holding serve to force a tiebreak, rain forced play to be suspended for nearly two hours. When the players returned, Williams won the match 6–2, 6–7(2), 6–2. Williams then lost her quarterfinal match with World No. 1 Henin 6–4, 3–6, 6–3. Williams started the match with a heavily taped calf and was forced to use a one-handed backhand slice because of a left thumb injury. Williams was criticized for claiming after the match that she would have beaten Henin had Williams been healthy. After Wimbledon, Williams moved up to World No. 7, her highest ranking since 2005.
Because of the thumb injury, Williams did not play a tournament between Wimbledon and the US Open. At the US Open, she beat 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli in the fourth round but lost her third consecutive Grand Slam singles quarterfinal to Henin, 7–6(3), 6–1.
In October, Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Stuttgart to World No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova. Williams then reached her third final of the year at the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow, defeating Kuznetsova in the semifinals before losing to Elena Dementieva. Nevertheless, Williams’s performances at these tournaments increased her ranking to World No. 5 and qualified her for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid. Her participation there was short. Because of injury, she retired from her first match with Anna Chakvetadze after losing the first set and then withdrew from the tournament. Williams finished 2007 as World No. 7 and the top-ranked American for the first time since 2003.
Williams started 2008 by participating on the U.S. team that won the Hopman Cup for the fifth time in Perth, Australia. Williams was the seventh seed at the Australian Open but lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 4 and third-seeded Jelena Janković 6–3, 6–4. This was her fourth straight loss in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament. In the women’s doubles event, Serena and her sister Venus lost in the quarterfinals to the seventh-seeded team, Zheng Jie and Yan Zi.
Williams then withdrew from three tournaments because of an urgent need for dental surgery. Upon her return to the tour, Williams won three consecutive singles titles. At the Tier II tournament in Bangalore, India, Serena defeated sister Venus in the semifinals 6–3, 3–6, 7–6(4) after Serena saved a match point at 6–5 in the third set. This was the first time they had played each other since the fourth round of the 2005 US Open. Serena then defeated Schnyder in the final. At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Williams won her fifth career singles title there, tying Steffi Graf for the most singles titles at this tournament. Williams defeated World No. 1 Henin in the quarterfinals, World No. 3 Kuznetsova in the semifinals, and World No. 4 Janković in the final. This was her 30th career singles title.
At the clay court Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, Williams defeated, for the fourth consecutive time, second-seeded Sharapova in the quarterfinals. In the final, Williams defeated Vera Zvonareva to capture her tenth career Tier I title and first clay court title since the 2002 French Open. Her 17-match winning streak was ended by Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin 2–6, 6–1, 7–6(5). Williams was the fifth-seeded player at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome and made it to the quarterfinals, where Alizé Cornet received a walkover over Williams because of a back injury.
Williams was the fifth-seeded player at the French Open. Although she was the only former winner of this tournament in this year’s draw, following the sudden retirement of four-time champion Henin, she lost in the third round to 27th-seeded Katarina Srebotnik 6–4, 6–4.
At Wimbledon, the sixth-seeded Williams reached the semifinals for the first time in four years. She defeated former World No. 1 and 2006 Wimbledon champion Amélie Mauresmo in the third round before losing the final to her older sister Venus in straight sets. This was the first Grand Slam final in which the Williams sisters had played each other since 2003. Serena and Venus then teamed to win the women’s doubles title without dropping a set the entire tournament, their first Grand Slam women’s doubles title since 2003.
Williams then played four World Team Tennis matches for the Washington Kastles, contributing 49 points for her team.
Williams was seeded first at the tournament in Stanford, California but retired from her semifinal match against qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak while trailing 6–2, 3–1 because of a left knee injury. That injury caused Williams to withdraw from the tournament in Los Angeles the following week.
Playing in the singles draw at the Olympics for the first time in Beijing, Williams was the fourth-seeded player in singles but lost to fifth-seeded and eventual gold-medalist Dementieva in the quarterfinals 3–6, 6–4, 6–3. Serena and her sister Venus won the gold medal in doubles to add to their victory at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, beating the Spanish team of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual in the final.
Williams was seeded fourth at the US Open and defeated her seventh-seeded sister Venus in the quarterfinals 7–6(6), 7–6(7). Serena trailed 5–3 in both sets and saved two set points in the first set and eight set points in the second set. Williams then defeated Safina in the semifinals and second-seeded Jelena Janković 6-4 7-5 in the final after saving 4 set points at 5-3 in the second set. This was her third US Open and ninth Grand Slam singles title. This victory returned her to the World No. 1 ranking for the first time since 2003.
At the Tier II Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Williams was the top seed but lost to World No. 30 Li Na in the second round 0–6, 6–1, 6–4. Serena also played doubles there with her sister Venus, but they withdrew after winning their first round match because of a left ankle injury to Serena. On October 3, Williams announced her withdrawal from the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow, citing a continuing left ankle injury and a desire to give her body time to recover from a packed playing schedule. Because of her withdrawal, she lost the World No. 1 ranking to Janković.
Williams defeated Safina in her first round robin match at the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha before losing to her sister Venus 5–7, 6–1, 6–0 in her second round robin match. She then withdrew from her match against Dementieva citing a stomach muscle injury. She ended the year ranked World No. 2 and with four singles titles, her strongest performance in both respects since 2003.
2009: Back at World No. 1
At the Medibank International in Sydney, top-seeded Williams defeated Australian Samantha Stosur in the first round 6–3, 6–7(4), 7–5 after saving four match points when Stosur served for the match at 5–4 in the third set. In the quarterfinals against Danish player Caroline Wozniacki, Williams won 6–7(5), 6–3, 7–6(3) after saving three match points when Wozniacki served for the match at 6–5 in the third set. In the semifinals, Williams lost to Russian Elena Dementieva for the third consecutive time 6–3, 6–1.
Williams was seeded second at the Australian Open. She twice was three points from defeat before beating eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals and then defeated fourth-seeded Dementieva in the semifinals. She claimed her tenth Grand Slam singles title by defeating Dinara Safina in the final 6–0, 6–3 in 59 minutes. This win returned her to the World No. 1 ranking and resulted in her becoming the all-time career prize money leader in women’s sports, overtaking golfer Annika Sörenstam. In women’s doubles, Serena and her sister Venus captured the title for the third time.
At the Open GDF SUEZ in Paris, Williams withdrew from the tournament before her scheduled semifinal with Dementieva because of a knee injury. Williams was the top seed at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, a Premier 5 event on the tour. She defeated former World No. 1 Ana Ivanović in the quarterfinals before losing to her sister Venus in the semifinals 6–1, 2–6, 7–6(3).
At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, a Premier Mandatory event, Williams beat the top three Chinese players (World No. 34 Shuai Peng, World No. 17 Jie Zheng, and World No. 40 Li Na) on the way to the semifinals. She then defeated her sister Venus 6–4, 3–6, 6–3. Williams, who played with a left thigh injury, was then upset in the final by 11th seeded Victoria Azarenka.
This was the first of four consecutive losses for Williams, the longest losing streak of her career. She was defeated in her opening match at her first three clay court events of the year, including the Premier 5 Internazionali d’Italia in Rome and the Premier Mandatory Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open. She lost the World No. 1 ranking to Safina on April 20. Despite not having won a match on clay in 2009 before the French Open, she reached the quarterfinals there before losing to the eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7–6 (4), 5–7, 7–5. This ended her 18-match Grand Slam tournament winning streak.
She rebounded at Wimbledon, saving a match point in defeating fourth seeded Dementieva in the semifinals 6–7(4), 7–5, 8–6. In the final, Serena defeated her sister Venus 7–6(3), 6–2 to win her third Wimbledon title and her 11th Grand Slam singles title. Although Williams was now holding three of the four Grand Slam singles titles, she continued to trail Safina in the WTA rankings, a fact Williams publicly mocked. Williams and her sister Venus teamed to win the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year, their ninth Grand Slam title in women’s doubles.
Following Wimbledon, Williams played two Premier 5 tournaments before the US Open. She lost in the third round of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women’s Open in Cincinnati and in the semifinals, to World No. 5 Dementieva, of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
She was seeded second at the US Open, where she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters in extremely controversial circumstances. While trailing 6–4, 6–5(15–30), Williams’s second serve was called a foot fault, resulting in two match points for Clijsters. Williams gestured with her racquet to the lineswoman who had made the call and yelled at her, yelling profanaties and threatening to kill her. During the subsequent on-court conference between the head judge, the lineswoman, US Open officials, and Williams, a microphone picked up Williams saying to the lineswoman (which could be heard on the TV broadcast), “I didn’t say I would kill you. Are you serious?” This resulted in Williams being penalized a point for unsportsmanlike conduct – necessitated by a warning she had received earlier in the match for racket abuse – meaning Clijsters won the match 6–4, 7–5. The following day, Williams was issued the maximum permissible on-site fine of $10,000 (plus $500 for racket abuse). After further investigation, the Grand Slam Committee in November 2009 fined her $175,000 in lieu of suspending her from the 2010 US Open or other Grand Slam events. They also placed her on a two year probation, so if Williams commits another offense in the next two years at a Grand Slam tournament, she will be suspended from participating in the following US Open. If she commits no offenses in the next two years, her fine will be reduced to $82,500. Williams initially refused to apologize for her outburst, both in her post-match press conference and in an official statement released the following day. She eventually apologized to the lineswoman in a statement two days following the incident. Williams was not suspended from the doubles competition at the tournament and teamed with Venus to win their third Grand Slam doubles title of the year and tenth of their career.
Williams played only two tournaments after the US Open. At the Premier Mandatory China Open in Beijing, she was upset in the third round by Nadia Petrova. Williams won all three of her round-robin matches at the year-ending WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar, defeating World No. 7 Venus Williams, World No. 5 Dementieva, and World No. 3 Kuznetsova. She saved a match point against Venus before winning in a third set tiebreak. She then advanced to the final when US Open runner-up Wozniacki retired from their semifinal match while trailing 6–4, 0–1. In the final, Williams played Venus for the second time in four days, winning once again 6–2, 7–6(4), against her tired and error stricken sister. This was Serena’s second singles title at this event.
Williams finished the year ranked World No. 1 for the second time in her career, having played in 16 tournaments, more than any other year. She also broke the record previously set by Justine Henin for the most prize money earned by a female tennis player in one year, with Williams earning $6,545,586. In doubles, the Williams sisters finished the year ranked World No. 2 despite playing only six tournaments as a pair. She won five Grand Slam titles, putting her total Grand Slam titles at 23.
Williams was named Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in a landslide vote (66 of 158 votes – no other candidate received more than 18 votes). She also was the International Tennis Federation World Champion in singles and doubles.
2010: Continued Dominance of the WTA Tour
Williams’s first scheduled tournament was the Medibank International Sydney. She defeated Frenchwoman Aravane Rezaï in the semifinals 3–6, 7–5, 6–4 after trailing 5–2 in the second set and being two points from defeat. She then lost the final to World No. 5 and defending champion Elena Dementieva 6–3, 6–2.
At the Australian Open, Williams was the defending champion in both singles and doubles (with sister Venus). She reached the singles quarterfinals without losing a service game or a set, where she eliminated Victoria Azarenka 4–6, 7–6(4), 6–2 after trailing 4–0 in the second set. In the semifinals, Williams defeated 16th seeded Li Na 7–6(4), 7–6(1) on her fifth match point to reach her fifth final in Melbourne and her fifteenth Grand Slam singles final. She then defeated 2004 champion Justine Henin 6–4, 3–6, 6–2 for her twelfth Grand Slam singles title. This was the first time that Henin and Williams had played each other in a Grand Slam tournament final. Williams is the first female player to win consecutive Australian Open singles titles since Jennifer Capriati in 2001–02. In doubles, Serena and Venus successfully defended their title by defeating the top ranked team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final 6–4, 6–3.
A leg injury then caused Williams to withdraw from five consecutive tournaments, including the Premier 5 Dubai Tennis Championships and the Premier Mandatory Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne.
She returned to the WTA tour at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome where she lost to Jelena Janković in the semifinals 4–6, 6–3, 7–6(5) after failing to convert a match point while serving at 5–4 in the third set, and then surrendering a 5–2 lead in the deciding tiebreaker.
At the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, she received a first round bye. In her first match, she made 73 unforced errors in defeating Vera Dushevina in the longest match of her career, 3 hours, 26 minutes, 6–7(2), 7–6(5), 7–6(5). Williams saved a match point at 6–5 in the second set, then injured her upper leg early in the third set. She then fell to 16th seeded Nadia Petrova 4–6, 6–2, 6–3. Williams won only two of her eighteen opportunities to break Petrova’s serve. She teamed with Venus to win the doubles title.
At the French Open, she defeated Shahar Pe’er in the fourth round before losing to Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals 6–3, 6–7(2), 8–6. Williams made 46 unforced errors and squandered a match point at 5–4 in the final set. It was the first Grand Slam tournament that Williams had not won or been defeated by the eventual champion since the 2008 French Open. Williams has not advanced past the quarterfinals at this event since 2003. She also played doubles with Venus as the top seeds. Their defeat of Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the semifinals improved their doubles ranking to World No. 1. They then defeated 12th seeds Květa Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final 6–2, 6–3 to win their fourth consecutive Grand Slam women’s doubles title.
Her next tournament was Wimbledon, where she defeated Maria Sharapova in the fourth round 7–6(9), 6–4. She then defeated Li Na in the quarterfinals and Petra Kvitová in the semifinals, both in straight sets. In the final, Williams defeated Russian Vera Zvonareva 6–3, 6–2 without facing a break point and breaking the serve of Zvonareva three-times. She did not lose a set in the tournament. After the match, Martina Navratilova said that Williams is in the “top five” of all the women’s tennis players in all of history, which she said that “it’s not just about how many Slams you win or how many tournaments you win—it’s just your game overall. And she’s definitely got all the goods.” Serena was the defending champion in doubles with her sister Venus, winning the last two years. They lost in the quarterfinals to Elena Vesnina and Zvonareva 3–6, 6–3, 6–4.
In Munich on July 7, Williams stepped on broken glass while in a restaurant. She received 18 stitches, but the following day she lost an exhibition match to Kim Clijsters 6–3, 6–2 in Brussels before a world-record crowd for a tennis match, 35,681 at the King Baudouin Stadium. The cut foot turned out to be a serious injury, requiring surgery and preventing her from playing for the remainder of 2010. As a result, she lost the World No. 1 ranking to Dane Caroline Wozniacki on October 11, 2010, and ended the year ranked fourth in singles despite having played only six tournaments, and eleventh in doubles after four tournaments.
2011: Medical complications
Because of her continuing rehabilitation for her foot injury, Serena withdrew from the 2011 Hopman Cup and the 2011 Australian Open. As a result, she dropped to world no. 12 in the WTA rankings, her lowest ranking since March 2007. However, she stayed in the top 20, despite not having played for 11 months. On March 2, 2011, she confirmed that she had suffered a hematoma and a pulmonary embolism, that she had started training again. She made her first appearance on the WTA tour in almost a year at the 2011 AEGON International, in Eastbourne, winning her first match since Wimbledon, against Tsvetana Pironkova, 1–6, 6–3, 6–4, but lost to top-seeded world no. 3 Vera Zvonareva in the second round 6–3, 6–7, 5–7 in a match that lasted over three hours.
Her next tournament will be Wimbledon where she is the defending champion. Despite being ranked 26th, she will be seeded seventh.
Rivalry with Venus Williams
Williams has played her sister Venus 12 times in Grand Slam singles tournaments and 11 times in other tournaments (including 11 finals). She has a three match lead in the head-to-head series, 13–10 (including the last 4 in a row). They are the only women during the open era to have played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals. Currently Venus has 43 career tennis titles, while Serena has 37.
In her 2004 U.S. Open quarterfinal match against Jennifer Capriati, several calls were made in Capriati’s favor, even though later video review showed the calls to be clearly in error. Williams attempted at times to argue some calls, but was not successful. Capriati would win the match, but tournament officials would dismiss the match’s umpire from the tournament. The controversy contributed to the adoption of MacCam and Hawk-Eye systems.
In 2009 Williams again was involved in a controversial U.S. Open match, this time against Kim Clijsters in the semifinal round. The drama began at the end of the first set, when Williams slammed her racket on the court in frustration over losing the set. She was given a warning, with a potential second violation carrying a one-point penalty. As the match progressed, Williams found herself serving to stay in the match, with the score 5–6 in Clijsters favor. With the game score 15–30, Williams faulted on her first serve, and then was called for a foot fault on her second serve. The subsequent double fault gave Clijsters two match points and Williams reacted with an outburst of anger directed at the line judge. Williams waved her racket and pointed her finger at the judge while yelling and cursing at the woman, and allegedly threatened to kill her. The outburst constituted a second violation and, as per the first warning, incurred a point being rewarded to her opponent. Since Clijsters had match point, Williams lost the match. Williams was later fined an initial $10,500, which was later increased to $82,500, and was given a probationary period by the U.S. Open. Terms of her probation demand that she avoid any “major offense” in her next eight major events, with the potential penalty of being barred from the following U.S. Open, and the fine being increased to $175,000.
Williams was once known for her unusual and colorful outfits on court. In 2002, there was much talk when she wore a black lycra catsuit at the US Open. At the 2004 US Open, Williams wore denim skirts and knee-high boots—tournament officials, however, did not allow her to wear the boots during matches. At Wimbledon in 2008, the white trench coat she wore during warm-up for her opening match was the subject of much discussion since it was worn despite the sunny weather. Off-court, Williams has also presented new designs. In November 2004, at the London premiere of After the Sunset she wore a red gown that had a near-topless effect.
Williams formerly had a special line with Puma and currently has a line with Nike. The deal with Nike is worth US$40 million and was signed in April 2004. Since 2004, she has also been running her own line of designer apparel called “Aneres”—her first name spelled backward. In 2009 she launched a signature collection of handbags and jewelry. The collection, called Signature Statement, is sold mainly on the Home Shopping Network (HSN).
In early 2010, Williams became a certified nail technician in preparation for her upcoming nail collection with a company called HairTech.
Williams has appeared on television and also provided voice work on animated shows: in a 2001 episode of The Simpsons Serena joined the animation along with sister Venus, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. She has also provided guest voice work in a 2005 episode of Playhouse Disney’s animated kids show Higglytown Heroes and a 2007 episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender, which she has described as her “favorite show”.
Williams has posed for the 2003 and 2004 editions of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In April 2005, MTV announced plans to broadcast a reality show around the lives of Serena and Venus, which was eventually aired on ABC Family. Williams has appeared twice on MTV’s Punk’d and in 2007, appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race. In 2002, she played Miss Wiggins in the season 3 episode “Crouching Mother, Hidden Father” of My Wife and Kids; she has also guest-starred during episodes of ER and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2007 Williams appeared in the music video of “I Want You” by the American rapper Common, alongside performers Alicia Keys and Kanye West.
In late 2009, Williams became the first active female professional athlete to appear in a feminine hygiene product advertising campaign. A series of online videos and print advertisements for Tampax Pearl tampons showed her hitting balls at Mother Nature, played by Catherine Lloyd Burns, to prevent Mother Nature giving her a red-wrapped gift, representing her menstrual period. In the online videos, the two have dueling press conferences over the “bad blood” between them. “A lot of celebrities are not open to working with our brand, and we’re thrilled that Serena is”, said a brand manager for Tampax at Procter & Gamble.
Serena and sister Venus were mentioned in a couple of songs namely in Super Furry Animals studio album Phantom Power in a track entitle “Venus and Serena”, in a single by Snoop Dogg Signs and Ludacris‘ single My Chick Bad.
Miami Dolphins venture
In August 2009, Serena and Venus Williams became part-owners of the Miami Dolphins. The formal announcement was made during a press conference overlooking the practice field. The Williams are the first African-American females to obtain ownership in an NFL franchise. Other prominent owners include: Jimmy Buffett, Gloria and Emilio Estefan (the first Cuban-American owners), and Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez . Stephan Ross, the majority owner of the Dolphins, said “We are thrilled to have Venus and Serena join the Dolphins as limited partners. They are among the most admired athletes in the world and have become global ambassadors for the game of tennis. Their addition to our ownership group further reflects our commitment to connect with aggressively and embrace the great diversity that makes South Florida a multicultural gem.”
In 2008 Williams helped to fund the construction of the Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya. She received a Celebrity Role Model Award from Avon Foundation in 2003 for work in breast cancer. Williams has also been involved in a number of clinics at schools and community centers, particularly those which have programs focusing on at-risk youth. She has also won the “Young Heroes Award” from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater L.A. and Inland (2003) and the “Family Circle and Prudential Financial Player Who Makes a Difference Award” (2004). In response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Williams, along with other ATP and WTA stars decided to forgo their final day of preparation for the 2010 Australian Open to form a charity event in which all proceeds will go to the Haiti earthquake victims.
Serena has published along with her sister Venus Williams and renowned author Hilary Beard a book titled Venus & Serena: Serving From The Hip: 10 Rules For Living, Loving and Winning by Boston: Houghton Mifflin in 2005.  During the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, Williams said that she is in the process of writing a TV show storyline, which will be converted into script form by her agency. She stated that the show will represent subject matter from a mix of popular American television shows such as Desperate Housewives, Sex and the City, and Family Guy. Serena released her first solo published work, an autobiography entitled On the Line, following the 2009 US Open.
Williams has been the target of an alleged stalker, who was arrested at the gate to her Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., neighborhood on Monday, May 2, 2011. Police report that Patenema Ouedraogo, identified as an African who attended college in Texas, is barred from being near Serena by a preliminary injunction. Police say Ouedraogo was able to track Serena’s whereabouts using the social networking site Twitter, and got her address from the letter her attorney sent telling him to stay away from her. Police say Ouedrago once made it all the way to Serena’s dressing room when she made an appearance on the Home Shopping Network at their studios in Tampa, Fla., on April 13, 2011.
Other records and achievements
|Tournament Name||Years||Record accomplished||Player tied|
|Hopman Cup||2003–2008||Two Hopman Cup Titles won||Dominik Hrbatý
Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
|Australian Open||2003–2010||5 singles titles during the open era||Stands alone|
|Australian Open||2007||Unseeded winner of singles title||Chris O’Neil (1978)|
|1999 French Open – 2010 French Open||1999–2010||Highest streak of consecutive initial Grand Slam finals won (doubles) (12)||Venus Williams|
|Grand Slam tournaments||2002||Won two Grand Slam singles tournaments in the same calendar year in straight sets||Billie Jean King
|Grand Slam tournaments||2000–present||Won 4 Grand Slam singles tournaments in straight sets||Evonne Goolagong|
|Sony Ericsson Open (Key Biscayne)||2002–2008||5 singles titles overall||Steffi Graf|
|2009 WTA Tour||2009||Highest single year earnings at $6,545,586 (2009)||Stands alone|
|1995–present||Highest prize money career earnings by a female athlete at US$31,151,042||Stands alone|
|2010 Wimbledon||2010||Most aces served by a female at a Grand Slam (89)||Stands alone|
- At the 1998 Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, she recorded her fifth singles victory over a player ranked in the top 10, which was the fastest (16 matches) that any woman in professional tennis history had done this.
- At the 2002 French Open, she became the first younger sister to defeat her older sister in a Grand Slam tournament.
- On June 10, 2002, she and her sister Venus became the first siblings ever to hold the top two women’s singles rankings simultaneously.
- By winning the 2003 Australian Open, she became the first African-American woman to win the singles title at this tournament.
- On September 8, 2008, she regained the World No. 1 ranking for the first time in 5 years, 1 month. That gap is the biggest in professional tennis history.
- She was named one of the Top 10 Most Superstitious Athletes by Men’s Fitness.
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Who is Abraham Charles Vigoda ? The acting and entertainment world knows him as Abe Vigoda, he is an American movie and television actor. Vigoda is well known for his portrayal of Sal Tessio in The Godfather, and for his portrayal of Detective Sgt. Phil Fish on the sitcom television series Barney Miller from 1975–1977 and on its spinoff show Fish that aired from February 1977 to June 1978 on ABC. Vigoda was still also appearing on Barney Miller at the same time as he was on Fish during the 1976–1977 TV season; at the start of the 1977–1978 season, his character retired from the police force and left Barney Miller to focus full time on the spinoff.
He made regular appearances as himself (usually in skits relating to his “advanced age”) on the television show Late Night with Conan O’Brien, including a cameo on that show’s final episode.
Early life and family
Vigoda was born February 24, 1921, in New York City, the son of Lena and Samuel Vigoda, Jewish immigrants from Russia. His father was a tailor and his brother, Bill Vigoda, was a comic-book artist who drew for the Archie comics franchise and others in the 1940s.
Vigoda was married once, to Beatrice Schy from February 25, 1968 until her death on April 30, 1992. They had one child, a daughter, Carol who gave him three grandsons Jamie, Paulie, and Steven. 
|Abe Vigoda in The Godfather|
|Abe Vigoda in Barney Miller|
Vigoda gained fame through his supporting character roles, notably as elder mobster Salvatore Tessio in The Godfather (1972). He gained further fame playing Detective Sgt. Phil Fish on Barney Miller, and then led its brief spinoff Fish until it was canceled in 1978. Before Barney Miller, he made a few appearances on the ABC TV soap Dark Shadows as Ezra Braithwaite and Otis Greene. He has also appeared in several Broadway productions, including Marat/Sade (1967), The Man in the Glass Booth (1968), Inquest (1970), Tough to Get Help (1972), and Arsenic and Old Lace (1987). His trademark hunched posture and slow delivery of lines made him appear older than he really was.
On January 23, 2009, Vigoda appeared live on The Today Show. He said he was doing well, joked about previous reports of his death and in fact announced he had just completed a voice-over for an H&R Block commercial to air during the Super Bowl. On December 30, 2009 Vigoda was invited back to The Today Show to appear live on the set for Matt Lauer‘s birthday party. Vigoda was warmly greeted by Lauer who called him “our favorite guest of all times” on the show. Vigoda discussed his long career with Lauer. He returned to “The Today Show” on June 8, 2011 to celebrate Meredith Vieira‘s last day on the show.
|On the set of “The Today Show” for Meredith Viera’s last show|
Vigoda appeared alongside Betty White in a Snickers commercial that debuted during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010. The actor has also been honored with pop culture references, many in connection with false reports of his death. Jazz bassist Eric Revis‘s song “Abe Vigoda” appears on saxophonist Branford Marsalis‘s 2009 album Metamorphosen.
False reports of his death
In 1982, People magazine referred to Vigoda as dead. Vigoda took the error with good humor, posing for a photograph in which he was sitting up in a coffin, holding the magazine in question.
Erroneous reports of Vigoda’s death as well as questions of whether he is alive or dead have become a running joke:
|Abe Vigoda in Good Burger|
- A Late Night with David Letterman skit showed Letterman trying to summon Vigoda’s ghost. Vigoda then walked in and declared, “I’m not dead yet, you pinhead!”
- In a Comedy Central Roast of Drew Carey, with Abe Vigoda present in the audience, comedian Jeffrey Ross stated “and my one regret is that Abe Vigoda isn’t alive to see this.” He followed that with “Drew, you go to Vegas, what’s the over-under on Abe Vigoda?”
- Vigoda appeared in the 1997 film Good Burger as the character Otis (he was the restaurant’s French fry man). Several jokes were made about his age, including Otis himself saying “I should’ve died years ago” while wearing an oxygen tank.
- A November 2006 Conan O’Brien sketch showed an audience member summoning the dead. The “deceased person” turned out to be Vigoda.
- Episode 7 of 2010 sitcom Running Wilde included a scene with various well known actors and their availability listed on a blackboard, Abe Vigoda appearing as “Dead(?)”.
- Season 4, episode 21 of Yes, Dear features a song entitled “Things I Think About At Work” with a line stating “I wonder if Abe Vigoda’s still alive”.
- Three Rooms in Manhattan (1965)
- The Godfather (1972)
- The Don Is Dead (1973)
- Newman’s Law (1974)
- The Godfather Part II (1974)
- The Cheap Detective (1978)
- Cannonball Run II (1984)
- The Stuff (1985) (cameo)
- Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter (1986)
- Keaton’s Cop (1988)
- Plain Clothes (1988)
- Look Who’s Talking (1989)
- Prancer (1989)
- Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)
- Fist of Honor (1993)
- Me and the Kid (1993)
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993) (voice)
- Home of Angels (1994)
- Sugar Hill (1994)
- North (1994)
- The Misery Brothers (1995)
- Jury Duty (1995)
- Love Is All There Is (1996)
- Underworld (1996)
- Me and the Gods (1997)
- A Brooklyn State of Mind (1997)
- Good Burger (1997)
- Just the Ticket (1999)
- Tea Cake or Cannoli (2000)
- Crime Spree (2003)
- Chump Change (2004)
- Farce of the Penguins (2007) (voice)
- Frankie the Squirrel (2007)
- The Unknown Trilogy (2008)
- Studio One (1949)
- Dark Shadows (cast member in 1969)
- The Devil’s Daughter (1973)
- Toma (1973)
- The Story of Pretty Boy Floyd (1974)
- The Rockford Files (1974)
- Hawaii Five-O (1974)
- Barney Miller (cast member from 1975–1977)
- The Bionic Woman (1976)
- Having Babies (1976)
- Fish (1977–1978)
- Soap (1978)
- The Comedy Company (1978)
- How to Pick Up Girls! (1978)
- Death Car on the Freeway (1979)
- BJ and the Bear (1980)
- Gridlock (1980)
- The Big Stuffed Dog (1981)
- As the World Turns (cast member in 1985)
- Tales from the Darkside – A Choice of Dreams in 1986
- Santa Barbara (cast member in 1989)
- MacGyver (ep. 7 season 6)
- Lucky Luke (1993) (canceled after 8 episodes)
- Law & Order (1995) (1 ep. as Briscoe’s retired partner)
- Witness to the Mob (1998)
- The Norm Show (1999) (1 ep. as Sal)
- Late Night with Conan O’Brien (recurring character)
- Family Guy (2001) (Cameo)
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Who is Isiah Lord Thomas III? The Professional Basketball world knows him by his nicknamed “Zeke”, Isiah Thomas is the men’s basketball coach for the FIU Golden Panthers, and a retired American professional basketball player who played point guard for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1981 until 1994. He led the “Bad Boys” to the NBA Championship in the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons. After his playing career, he was an executive with the Toronto Raptors, a television commentator, an executive with the Continental Basketball Association, head coach of the Indiana Pacers, and an executive and head coach for the New York Knicks. During the NBA’s 50th anniversary, he was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
Early life and college career
Thomas was born on April 30, 1961, in Chicago, Illinois. The youngest of nine brothers and sisters, he commuted from the North Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side of Chicago to play high school basketball at St. Joseph High School in Westchester, Illinois for Gene Pingatore. He would wake up at 5 am and commute 90 minutes to attend the private school. During his junior year, he led St. Joseph to the State Finals. He played for Bob Knight‘s Hoosiers at Indiana University. In 1981, Thomas led the Hoosiers to the NCAA Tournament National Championship and earned the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award. After accomplishing this in his sophomore season, Thomas made himself eligible for the NBA Draft.
NBA playing career
In the 1981 NBA Draft, the Detroit Pistons chose Thomas with the #2 pick and signed him to a four-year $1.6 million contract. Thomas made the All-Rookie team and started for the Eastern Conference in the 1982 All-Star Game.
In the opening round of the 1984 NBA Playoffs, Thomas and the Pistons faced off against Bernard King and the New York Knicks. In the pivotal fifth game, Thomas was having a subpar performance, while Bernard King was having an excellent game. However, Thomas scored 16 points in the last 94 seconds to force the game into overtime. King and the Knicks, however, held on to win in overtime.
In the 1985 NBA Playoffs, Thomas and his team went to the conference semi-finals against the 15-time NBA champion Boston Celtics led by Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish, and Dennis Johnson. Detroit couldn’t shake the Celtics in their six-game series, eventually losing.
In the 1987 NBA Playoffs, Thomas and the Pistons went to the Eastern Conference Finals and faced the Boston Celtics. It was the furthest the team had advanced since moving from Fort Wayne when they were the Zollner-Pistons. The Pistons were able to tie the Celtics at two games apiece. Detroit’s hope of winning Game 5 was dashed at the Boston Garden with seconds remaining in a play by Larry Bird: Thomas attempted to quickly inbound the ball, Bird stole the inbound pass and passed it to Dennis Johnson for the game-winning layup.
In 1988, the Pistons’ first trip to the Finals saw them face the Los Angeles Lakers, who were led by Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Prior to the series, Thomas and Johnson would exchange a courtside kiss on the cheek prior to tip-off as a sign of their deep friendship. After taking a 3-2 series lead back to Los Angeles, Detroit appeared poised to win their first NBA title in Game 6.
One of Thomas’ most inspiring and self-defining moments came in Game 6. Although he had severely sprained his ankle late in the game, Thomas continued to play. While hobbling and in obvious pain, Thomas scored 25 points in a single quarter of the game, an NBA Finals record. However, the Lakers won the game 103-102 on a pair of last-minute free throws by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar following a controversial foul called on Bill Laimbeer. With Thomas unable to compete at full strength the Lakers were able to take advantage and clinched their second consecutive title in Game 7, 108-105.
In the 1988-89 season, Thomas, along with fellow teammates Joe Dumars, Rick Mahorn, Vinnie Johnson, Dennis Rodman, James Edwards, John Salley, Bill Laimbeer, and Mark Aguirre, guided his team to a then-franchise record 63-19 record. Detroit played a brash and dominating brand of basketball through the playoffs that led to their nickname “Bad Boys”. First they defeated Boston who had been suffering persistent injuries. The Pistons then defeated Michael Jordan and the up and coming Chicago Bulls in the Conference Finals to set up an NBA Finals rematch with the Lakers. Thomas and the Pistons then won their first of back-to-back championships when they defeated the Lakers in a 4-game sweep. The following year, Thomas was voted NBA Finals Most Valuable Player of the 1990 NBA Finals after averaging 27.6 points per game, 7.0 assists per game, and 5.2 rebounds per game in the series with Clyde Drexler‘s Portland Trail Blazers. The Pistons continued to play well between 1991 and 1993 but were not able to return to the NBA Finals as they were eclipsed by the growing Chicago Bulls dynasty. An aging and ailing Thomas decided to end his career at the end of the 1994 season, but he tore his Achilles’ tendon in April 1994, forcing him to end his career as a player a month earlier.
Thomas was named to the All-NBA First team three times and is the Pistons’ all-time leader in points, steals, games played and assists. He ranks fifth in NBA history in assists (9,061, 9.3 apg) and ranks ninth in NBA history in steals (1,861). Thomas was known for his dribbling ability as well as his ability to drive to the basket and score. His #11 was retired by the Detroit Pistons.
Thomas was selected to the 1980 Olympic team, but like all American athletes he was not able to play in Moscow due to the Olympics boycott. The boycotting countries instead participated in the gold medal series, a series of games against NBA teams, a French team and the 1976 Olympic gold medal team in various U.S. cities, recording a 5-1 record (losing to the Seattle SuperSonics). Thomas shot 22-55 from the field and 14-17 from the line. He led the U.S. in assists with 37 (the next highest total on the team was 17) and averaged 9.7 points per game.
Despite his talent, Thomas was left off the original Olympic Dream Team, possibly as a result of an alleged feud with Michael Jordan. In the book When the Game Was Ours, Magic Johnson relates that he, Jordan and other players conspired to keep Thomas off the Dream Team.
After Tim Hardaway left the team due to injury he was named to Dream Team II for the 1994 World Championship of Basketball, but did not play due to his Achilles tendon injury that caused his retirement. He was replaced by Kevin Johnson.
After retiring, Thomas became part owner and Executive Vice President for the expansion Toronto Raptors in 1994. In 1998, he left the organization after a dispute with new management over the franchise’s direction and his future responsibilities. During his four-year tenure with the team, the Raptors drafted Damon Stoudamire, Marcus Camby, and high schooler Tracy McGrady.
After leaving the Raptors, Thomas became a television commentator (first as the lead game analyst with play-by-play man Bob Costas and then as part of the studio team) for the NBA on NBC. Thomas also worked a three-man booth with Costas and Doug Collins.
Thomas became the owner of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) from 1998 to 2000. Thomas purchased the CBA for $10 million, and in 2001 the league was forced into bankruptcy and folded, shortly after NBA Commissioner David Stern decided to create his own development league, the NBDL, to replace the CBA. Many CBA managers blamed Thomas for the league’s failure, citing mismanagement and out-of-control spending on his part. At the time of the league’s collapse the managing of the CBA was in a blind-trust, due to Thomas’ position as head coach of the Indiana Pacers.
From 2000 to 2003, Thomas coached the Indiana Pacers, succeeding Larry Bird, who previously coached the Pacers to the Eastern Conference title. Thomas attempted to bring up young talents such as Jermaine O’Neal, Jamaal Tinsley, Al Harrington, and Jeff Foster. However, under Thomas the Pacers were not able to stay at the elite level as they went through the transition from a veteran-dominated, playoff-experienced team to a younger, more inexperienced team. In Thomas’s first two seasons with the Pacers, the team was eliminated in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets, both of whom eventually made the NBA Finals.
In his last year with the Pacers, Thomas guided the Pacers to a 48-34 record in the regular season and coached the Eastern Conference team at the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. As the third seed, the Pacers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the sixth-seeded Boston Celtics. With blossoming talents such as Brad Miller, Ron Artest, Al Harrington and Jamaal Tinsley, along with the veteran leadership of Reggie Miller, the perception existed that the Pacers’ unfulfilled potential stemmed from Thomas’ inexperience as a coach. In the offseason, Larry Bird returned to the Pacers as President of Basketball Operations, and his first act was to replace Thomas with Rick Carlisle.
Hall of Fame
In 2000, Thomas was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
New York Knicks
On December 22, 2003, the New York Knicks hired Thomas as President of Basketball Operations. Thomas was ultimately unsuccessful with the Knicks roster and fanbase. At the end of the 2005-06 season, the Knicks had the highest payroll in the league and the second-worst record. He traded away several future draft picks to Chicago in a deal for Eddy Curry including what turned out to be two lottery picks in talent-rich drafts.
On June 22, 2006, the Knicks fired coach Larry Brown, and owner James Dolan replaced him with Thomas under the condition that he show “evident progress” or be fired.
During the following season the Knicks became embroiled in a brawl with the Denver Nuggets, which Thomas allegedly instigated by ordering his players to commit a hard foul in the paint. However, he was not fined or suspended. NBA Commissioner David Stern said that he only relied on “definitive information” when handing out punishments. Later in the season, nine months after James Dolan demanded “evident progress”, the Knicks re-signed Thomas to an undisclosed “multi-year” contract. After Thomas was granted the extension, the Knicks abruptly fell from playoff contention with a dismal finish to the season.
During the 2007 Draft, Thomas made another trade by acquiring Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau from the Portland Trail Blazers for Steve Francis and Channing Frye.
Thomas also compounded the Knicks’ salary cap problems by signing fringe players such as Jerome James and Jared Jeffries to full mid-level exception contracts. Neither player saw any significant playing time and both were often injured and highly ineffective when able to play.
Despite the constant criticism that he received from Knicks fans, Thomas maintained that he had no intention of leaving until he turned the team around and he predicted that he would lead the Knicks to a championship, stating that his goal was to leave behind a “championship legacy” with the Knicks, just as he had done for the Detroit Pistons. This prediction was met with widespread skepticism.
On April 2, 2008, Donnie Walsh was introduced to replace Thomas as President of Basketball Operations for the Knicks. Walsh would not comment definitively on whether or not Thomas would be retained in any capacity at the time of his hiring.
One night after the Knicks tied a franchise record of 59 losses and ended their season, news broke that in talks with Walsh the week before, Thomas had been told he would not return as Knicks head coach the following season. He was officially ‘reassigned’ on April 18 “after a season of listless and dreadful basketball, a tawdry lawsuit and unending chants from fans demanding his dismissal.” Thomas posted an overall winning percentage of .341 as head coach of the Knicks, fifth lowest in team history. As part of the reassignment agreement Thomas was banned from having contact with any Knicks’ players under the rationale that he could willingly or unwillingly undermine Donnie Walsh and the new head coach.
On April 14, 2009, Thomas accepted an offer to become the head basketball coach of FIU, replacing Sergio Rouco after 5 losing seasons. Thomas announced that he would donate his first year’s salary back to the school. Thomas was quoted as saying, “I did not come here for the money.”
After posting a 7-25 record in his first season at FIU, on August 6, 2010, Thomas announced that he was taking a job as consultant to the New York Knicks, while keeping his position as head coach at FIU. According to the New York Daily News, “nearly every major media outlet panned the announcement of Thomas’ hire,” and it led to a “public outcry” among fans. In a reversal on August 11, Thomas announced that he would not be working with the Knicks because holding both jobs violated NBA by-laws.
Thomas finished his second season at FIU with an 11-19 record (5-11 in conference games).
Michael Jordan rivalry
In the 1985 NBA All-Star Game, Thomas was joined on the Eastern Conference squad by star rookie Michael Jordan. Jordan wound up attempting nine shots, a relatively low number for a starting player. Afterward, Thomas and his fellow veteran East players were accused of having planned to “freeze out” Jordan from their offense by not passing him the ball, supposedly out of spite over the attention Jordan was receiving. No player involved has ever confirmed that the “freeze-out” occurred, but the story has been long reported, and has never been refuted by Jordan. Thomas has ridiculed the idea of him being the mastermind behind a supposed “freeze-out” as being “ludicrous” citing that he was a relatively young player on a team including Larry Bird, Julius Erving and Moses Malone.
During Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame Induction, a ceremony in which Thomas introduced John Stockton, who was also being inducted, Jordan dismissed the concerns about a freeze-out having taken place, saying “I was just happy to be there, being the young guy surrounded by all these greats, I just wanted to prove myself and I hope that I did prove myself to you guys.”
In the Eastern Conference Finals of the 1991 NBA Playoffs, the two-time defending champion Detroit Pistons faced the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls for the fourth consecutive season in the playoffs. The Pistons had defeated the Bulls in each of the first three meetings, but this time they suffered a four-game sweep at the hands of Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls. The series was marked by a number of verbal, physical, and match-up problems. With 7.9 seconds remaining in the fourth game, Thomas and eight of his teammates walked off the court, refusing to shake hands with the members of the Bulls.
In 1992, Thomas was passed over for the Dream Team apparently due to his relationship with Jordan.
 Sexual harassment lawsuit
In October 2006, Thomas and Madison Square Garden were sued for sexual harassment by Anucha Browne Sanders. The matter came to trial in September 2007 and Thomas was determined to have made demeaning statements to Sanders, as well as making sexual advances and repeatedly telling her that he was in love with her. Madison Square Garden was ordered to pay Browne Sanders $11.6 million, one of the largest sexual harassment judgments in history.
“I’m innocent, I’m very innocent, and I did not do the things she has accused me in this courtroom of doing,” Thomas said after the decision. “I’m extremely disappointed that the jury did not see the facts in this case.” Thomas admitted under oath that he did in fact call Sanders a “bitch”. During his testimony, Thomas also claimed it was appropriate to exchange hugs and kisses with co-workers.
On October 24, 2008, Thomas was taken to White Plains Hospital Center near his New York City area home after taking an overdose of Lunesta, a form of sleep medication. According to Harrison, New York police, they were called to Thomas’s house, where, finding him unconscious but breathing, they had him transported to the hospital. Police Chief David Hall stated that they “are calling this an accidental overdose of a prescription sleeping pill.” He was released from the hospital later that day.
In the opinion of Harrison Police Chief David Hall, Thomas tried to “cover up” the incident by claiming his 17-year old daughter required medical treatment when in actuality he was the patient. Referring to Thomas’ 17-year-old daughter, Hall said, “And why they’re throwing her under the bus is beyond my ability to understand.”
According to Thomas, in an interview with ESPN, his daughter had been taken to the hospital earlier in the day, and he was also admitted to the hospital after he accidentally overdosed on sleeping pills. Thomas also denied that it was a suicide attempt, and explained that he was so quiet about his hospitalization because he was focused on his daughter and family at the time.
Beginning in 2007, while Thomas was President of Basketball Operations for the Knicks, the team instituted a series of secret pre-NBA draft workouts for potential draftees, in direct violation of NBA league rules. The league fined the Knicks $200,000 in February 2011, after an investigation into the incidents. Thomas was not personally cited in the penalties.
Career NBA statistics
- Games played: 979
- Games started: 971
- Minutes per game: 36.3
- Points scored: 18,822
- Assists: 9,061
- Rebounds: 3,478
- Steals: 1,861
- Points per game: 19.2
- Assists per game: 9.3
- Rebounds per game: 3.6
- Steals per game: 1.9
- Field goal percentage: .452
- Free throw percentage: .759
- Three-point percentage: .290
|IND||2000-01||82||41||41||.500||4th in Central||Lost in First Round|
|IND||2001-02||82||42||40||.512||4th in Central||Lost in First Round|
|IND||2002-03||82||48||34||.585||2nd in Central||Lost in First Round|
|NYK||2006-07||82||33||49||.402||4th in Atlantic||Missed Playoffs|
|NYK||2007-08||82||23||59||.280||5th in Atlantic||Missed Playoffs|
|Florida International Golden Panthers (Sun Belt) (2009–present)|
National Champion Conference Regular Season Champion Conference Tournament Champion|
Conference Regular Season & Conference Tournament Champion Conference Division Champion
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Who is Leonard Norman Cohen? The entertainment and music world know him as Leonard Cohen, he is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships. Famously reclusive, having once spent several years in a Zen Buddhist monastery, and possessing a persona frequently associated with mystique, he is extremely well regarded by critics for his literary accomplishments, for the richness of his lyrics, and for producing an output of work of high artistic quality over a five-decade career.
Musically, Cohen’s earliest songs (many of which appeared on the 1967 album, Songs of Leonard Cohen) were rooted in European folk music. In the 1970s, his material encompassed pop, cabaret and world music. Since the 1980s, his high baritone voice has evolved into lower registers (bass baritone and bass), with accompaniment from a wide variety of instruments and female backup singers.
Over 2,000 renditions of Cohen’s songs have been recorded. Cohen has been inducted into both the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame and is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, the nation’s highest civilian honour. While giving the speech at Cohen’s induction into the American Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 10 March 2008, Lou Reed described Cohen as belonging to the “highest and most influential echelon of songwriters.”
From May 2008 to December 2010, Cohen was on the major comeback world tour, the biggest in his musical career, giving 246 shows in Europe, Australia, Canada, Israel and United States. The highly successful tour was followed with two live albums, Live in London and Songs from the Road in both audio and DVD versions, and with many reissues, unauthorised releases of album compilations, DVDs, biographies and books reprints, and as well many international translations of his books and international awards and nominations (such as Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Meteor Music Awards in Ireland, Porin Award in Croatia, Songwriters Hall of Fame, Polaris Music Prize, and Mojo Honours Lists). In 2011 he received two highest award: Glenn Gould Prize and Spain’s high award for literature, Prince de Asturias. Currently he is working on a new album which will possibly be released in late 2011.
Cohen was born on September 21, 1934 in Westmount, Montreal, Quebec, into a middle-class Jewish family. His mother, of Lithuanian Jewish ancestry, emigrated from Lithuania while his great-grandfather emigrated from Poland. Cohen’s father was Polish. He grew up in Westmount on the Island of Montreal. His father, Nathan Cohen, who owned a substantial Montreal clothing store, died when Cohen was nine years old. On the topic of being a Kohen, Cohen has said that, “I had a very Messianic childhood.” He told Richard Goldstein in 1967. “I was told I was a descendant of Aaron, the high priest.” Cohen attended Herzliah High School, where he studied with poet Irving Layton. As a teenager, he learned to play the guitar, and formed a country-folk group called the Buckskin Boys. His father’s will provided him with a modest trust income, sufficient to allow him to pursue his literary ambitions, without having to worry about where his rent would come from.
Poetry and novels
In 1951, Cohen enrolled at McGill University, where he became president of the McGill Debating Union. His literary influences during this time included Yeats, Irving Layton, Whitman, Federico Garcia Lorca and Henry Miller. His first published book of poetry, Let Us Compare Mythologies (1956), was published under Louis Dudek as the first book in the McGill Poetry Series while Cohen was still an undergraduate student. Cohen’s book, The Spice-Box of Earth (1961) made him well known in poetry circles, especially in his native Canada. After completing an undergraduate degree, Cohen spent a term in McGill’s law school and then a year (1956-7) at Columbia University.
Cohen wrote poetry and fiction throughout much of the 1960s. He preferred to live in quasi-reclusive circumstances, at the time. After moving to Hydra, a Greek island, Cohen published the poetry collection Flowers for Hitler (1964), and the novels The Favourite Game (1963) and Beautiful Losers (1966). His novel The Favourite Game is an autobiographical bildungsroman about a young man who discovers his identity through writing.
Subsequently, Cohen published less, with major gaps, concentrating more on recording the songs. In 1978 he published his major book of poetry and prose Death of a Lady’s Man, and in 1984 Book of Mercy, which won him Canadian Author’s Association Literary Award for Poetry. The book contains 50 pieces of poetic prose, influenced by the Bible, Torah, and Zen-Buddhist writings. Although cited as “contemporary psalms”, Cohen himself referred to the pieces as “prayers”.
In 1993, Cohen published Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs, and in 2006, after 10 years of delays, additions and rewritings, Book of Longing. During late 1990s and 2000s, many of his poems were first published on his fan website The Leonard Cohen Files  
Cohen’s writing process, as he told an interviewer in 1998, is “…like a bear stumbling into a beehive or a honey cache: I’m stumbling right into it and getting stuck, and it’s delicious and it’s horrible and I’m in it and it’s not very graceful and it’s very awkward and it’s very painful and yet there’s something inevitable about it.”
In 2011 Cohen was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for literature.
1960s and 1970s
In 1967, Cohen moved to the United States to pursue a career as a folk music singer-songwriter. During the 1960s, he was a fringe figure in Andy Warhol‘s “Factory” crowd. Warhol speculated that Cohen had spent time listening to Nico in clubs and that this had influenced his musical style. His song “Suzanne” became a hit for Judy Collins and was for many years his most covered song.
After performing at a few folk festivals, he came to the attention of Columbia Records representative John H. Hammond. At this time, Cohen recorded at least one demo acetate (for Asylum Records or some subsidiary of Polygram), supported by his close companion at the time, Joni Mitchell.
Cohen’s first album was Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967). He became a cult name in the U.S., as well as in the UK, where the album spent over a year on the album charts. Several of the songs on that first album were covered by other popular folk artists, including James Taylor, and Judy Collins. Cohen followed up that first album with Songs from a Room (1969) (featuring the often-recorded “Bird on the Wire“), Songs of Love and Hate (1971), Live Songs (1973) and New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974), but already with the first album started his misunderstanding with the producers and label. John Hammond’s sessions were released only on 2007 reissue of Songs of Leonard Cohen, in sound which differs from Cohen’s now recognisable early style. John Simon, producer of Songs of Leonard Cohen, withdrew from the album’s final sessions, leaving Cohen to mix the album so Cohen himself could hide the strings and piano arrangements he has objected. After that experience, Cohen worked with David Crosby; the first attempts at songs from the second album were released on the 2007 reissue of Songs from a Room. The second and third album were in the end produced in Nashville by famed producer Bob Johnston, who played major role in achieving Cohen’s ideal early sound and also joined Cohen on two subsequent live tours (playing organ and piano). Johnston, then famed in the music business for his work for Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash, arguably lost his momentum in the music industry as he left Nashville for two years (soon he left Columbia as well), and according to his 2007 interview, Dylan did not receive well his leaving for Cohen.
In 1970, Cohen toured for the first time, with dates in the United States, Canada and Europe, and appearing at the Isle of Wight Festival. He toured with basically same band (including Charlie Daniels, and his producer Bob Johnston on the organ and piano) in 1972, but in Europe in Israel. Both tour were presented on Live Songs LP, while Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970 was released only in 2009. The 1972 tour was filmed by Tony Palmer; the film Bird on a Wire (with which Cohen was unhappy) was shown re-cut under Cohen’s guidance in 1974, but released only in 2010, reconstructed according to Palmer’s original version.
In 1971, Cohen’s music was used in the soundtrack to Robert Altman’s film McCabe & Mrs. Miller. When Cohen was on a stay in Nashville, Altman phoned to ask permission to use some tracks off Songs of Leonard Cohen. Coincidentally, earlier that same day, Cohen had seen Altman’s then-current film Brewster McCloud in a local theater. He hadn’t paid attention to the credits so when Altman asked permission to use Cohen’s songs in his new film, Cohen had to ask him who he was. Altman mentioned his hit film MASH, but Cohen had never heard of it. When Altman mentioned his lesser-known Brewster McCloud, Cohen replied, “Listen, I just came out of the theater. I saw it twice. You can have anything of mine you want!”
Beginning around 1974, Cohen’s collaboration with pianist and arranger John Lissauer created a live sound praised by the critics. They toured together in 1974 in Europe, and in US and Canada in late 1974 and early 1975, in support of their record New Skin for the Old Ceremony. In late 1975 Cohen performed short series of show in the US and Canada with new band, in support of his Best Of release, and also trying out the new songs from his and Lissauer’s follow-up to New Skin for the Old Ceremony, an abandoned album entitled “Songs for Rebecca”. Songs from that project were later reworked for Death of a Ladies’ Man and Recent Songs albums. None of the recordings from the three live tours with John Lissauer were released officially.
In 1976 Cohen, now without Lissauer, embarked on the new major European tour, with brand new band and major change in sound and arrangements, in support of his The Best of Leonard Cohen release, in Europe retitled as Greatest Hits. One of the band member was Laura Branigan, and the setlist included unreleased songs “Everybody’s Child” (a.k.a. “Blessed Is the Memory”) and “Storeroom” (both released as bonus tracks to 2007 reissue of Songs of Leonard Cohen), and new song “Do I Have to Dance All Night?”, which remains unreleased. From April to July, Cohen gave 55 shows, including his first appearance at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival. Nothing from the shows was officially released to this day.
After the European tour of 1976, Cohen again attempted the new change in his style and arrangements – his new 1977 record, Death of a Ladies’ Man (one year later, in 1978, Cohen released a volume of poetry with the coyly revised title, Death of a Lady’s Man), was co-written and produced by Phil Spector, known as the inventor of the “wall of sound” technique, which backs up pop music with many layers of instrumentation, an approach very different from Cohen’s usually minimalist instrumentation. The recording of the album was fraught with difficulty—Spector reportedly mixed the album in secret studio sessions, and Cohen said Spector once threatened him with a crossbow. Cohen thought the end result “grotesque,” but also “semi-virtuous.” The record was released by Spector’s label, Warner, and was returned to Columbia’s Cohen catalogue in late 1980s. Cohen did not take part in the album’s promotion, but in his tours of 1979, 1980 and 1985 performed two songs from the album, “Memories” and “Iodine”, while he did not include any of the album’s songs on his later compilations More Best of Leonard Cohen and The Essential Leonard Cohen.
In 1979, Cohen returned with the more traditional Recent Songs, which blended his acoustic style with jazz and Oriental and Mediterranean influences. The record, praised in 2001 by Cohen as his favourite, embarked the appearance of ensured Cohen – from this album on, he will co-produce every of his song and have the final word over album’s sound. Produced by Cohen himself and Henry Lewy (Joni Mitchell‘s sound engineer) Recent Songs included performances by Austin-based jazz-fusion band Passenger introduced to Cohen by Mitchell and oriental instruments (oud, Gypsy violin and mandolin). The album was supported by Cohen’s major tour with the new band, and Jennifer Warnes and Sharon Robinson on the backing vocals, in Europe in late 1979, and again in Australia, Israel and Europe in 1980. The tour was filmed by Harry Rasky as The Song of Leonard Cohen; film was broadcast on television in 1980, while Cohen gave couple of major TV appearances in 1979, including German’s ZDF television. In 2000 Columbia released an album of live recordings of songs from the 1979 tour, entitled Field Commander Cohen: Tour of 1979; the album (with different track list) was originally rejected by the label in 1980. Some of the band members will stay with Cohen in subsequent tours up to 2010.
During 1970s, Cohen toured twice with Jennifer Warnes as a back-up singer (in 1972 and 1979). Warnes would become a fixture on Cohen’s future albums, receiving full co-vocals credit on Cohen’s 1985 album Various Positions (record was released under Cohen’s name, but inside credits say “Vocals by Leonard Cohen and Jennifer Warnes”). In 1987, she recorded an album of Cohen songs, Famous Blue Raincoat.
In early 1980s, Cohen co-wrote the rock musical film Night Magic with Lewis Furey, starring Carole Laure and Nick Mancuso (voice-over by Furey); the LP was released in 1985. At that time, Cohen also worked on an unfinished album of his poetry recitations with producer Henry Lewy, before turning back to John Lissauer. Lissauer produced Cohen’s next record Various Positions, which was released in late 1984. The LP included “Dance Me to the End of Love“, which was promoted by Cohen’s first video clip, directed by French photographer Dominique Issermann, and the frequently covered “Hallelujah“.
Columbia declined to release the album in the United States. Cohen supported the release of the album with his biggest tour to date, in Europe and Australia, and with his first tour in Canada and United States since 1975. Anjani Thomas, who would become Cohen’s partner, and a regular member of Cohen’s recording team, joined his tourning band. The band performanced at the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Roskilde Festival. They also gave a series of highly emotional and politically controversial concerts in Poland, which was under the martial law and Cohen’s song “The Partisan” regarded as the hymn of Solidarity movement and Lech Wałęsa‘s favourite Cohen song. During the 80s, almost all Cohen’s songs were performed in Polish language by Maciej Zembaty.
In 1986, Cohen appeared in the episode “French Twist” of the TV series Miami Vice. In 1987, Jennifer Warnes‘s tribute album Famous Blue Raincoat helped restore Cohen’s career in the U.S. The following year he released I’m Your Man, which marked a drastic change in his music. Synthesizers ruled the album and Cohen’s lyrics included more social commentary and dark humour. The album, self-produced by Cohen, remains one of Cohen’s most acclaimed albums, and was promoted by iconic black and white video shot by Dominique Issermann at the beach of Normandy. Cohen supported the record with series of television interviews, and an extensive tour of Europe, Canada and US. Many shows were broadcast on European and US television and radio stations, while Cohen performed for the first time in his career on PBS’s Austin City Limits show; he also performed at the Roskilde Festival again, among other dates. The tour gave the basic structure to typical Cohen’s concert which he used in his tours in 1993, 2008–09 and 2010. The selection of performances from the late 1980s was released in 1994 on Cohen Live. No performances were released in their entirity, although some were bootlegged. Parts of one of three Royal Albert Hall concerts were used in BBC documentary The Songs from the Life of Leonard Cohen, which was released on laser disc and video tape.
The use of the album track “Everybody Knows” (co-written by Sharon Robinson) in the 1990 film Pump Up the Volume helped expose Cohen’s music to a younger audience. The song also featured prominently in fellow Canadian Atom Egoyan‘s 1994 film, Exotica.
In 1992, Cohen released The Future, which urges (often in terms of biblical prophecy) perseverance, reformation, and hope in the face of grim prospects. Three tracks from the album – “Waiting for the Miracle“, “The Future” and “Anthem” – were featured in the movie Natural Born Killers, which helped Cohen to reach new US audience.
As with I’m Your Man, the lyrics on the The Future were dark, and made references to political and social unrest. The title track is reportedly a response to the L.A. unrest of 1992. Cohen promoted the album with two music videos, for “Closing Time” and “The Future”, and supported the release with the major tour through Europe, United States and Canada, with the same band as in his 1988 tour, including a second appearance at the PBS’s Austin City Limits. Some of the Scandinavian shows were broadcast live on the radio. The selection of performances, mostly recorded on the Canadian leg of the tour, was released on 1994 Cohen Live album, but none of new songs from the album itself was included in the live album.
In 1993, Cohen also published his book of selected poems and songs, Stranger Music, on which he had worked since 1989; it includes a number of new poems from the late 1980s and early 90s.
In 1997, Cohen oversaw the selection and release of More Best of Leonard Cohen album, which included a previously unreleased track, “Never Any Good”, and an experimental piece “The Great Event”. The first was left-over from Cohen’s unfinished mid-90s album, which was announced to include songs like “In My Secret Life” (already recited as song-in-progress in 1988) and “A Thousand Kisses Deep”, both later re-worked with Sharon Robinson for 2001 album Ten New Songs.
In 1994, Cohen retreated to the Mt. Baldy Zen Center near Los Angeles, beginning what became five years of seclusion at the center. In 1996, Cohen was ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk and took the Dharma name Jikan, meaning “silence”. He served as personal assistant to Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi. Japanese songwriter and poet Masato Tomobe stated he admires Cohen and this made him better recognized in Japan around this time.
Although around 2000 there was a public impression that Cohen would not resume recording or publishing, he returned to Los Angeles in May 1999. He began to contribute regularly to The Leonard Cohen Files fan website, emailing new poems and drawings from Book of Longing and early versions of new songs, like “A Thousand Kisses Deep” in September 1998 and Anjani Thomas‘s story sent on May 6, 1999, the day they were recording “Villanelle for our Time” (released on 2004 Dear Heather album). The section of The Leonard Cohen Files with Cohen’s online writings has been titled “The Blackening Pages”.
Post-monastery records: Ten New Songs, Dear Heather and Anjani’s Blue Alert
In 2001, Cohen returned to music with Ten New Songs, featuring a heavy influence from producer and co-composer Sharon Robinson. The album includes the song “Alexandra Leaving”, a transformation of the poem “The God Abandons Antony“, by the Greek poet Constantine P. Cavafy. The album was major hit for Cohen in Canada and Europe, and he supported it with hit single “In My Secret Life” and accompanying video shot by Floria Sigismondi.
In October 2004, Cohen released Dear Heather, largely a musical collaboration with jazz chanteuse (and current romantic partner) Anjani Thomas, although Sharon Robinson returned to collaborate on three tracks (including a duet). As light as the previous album was dark, Dear Heather reflects Cohen’s own change of mood – he has said in a number of interviews that his depression has lifted in recent years, which he attributed to Zen Buddhism. In an interview following his induction into the Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, Cohen explained that the album was intended to be a kind of notebook or scrapbook of themes, and that a more formal record had been planned for release shortly afterwards, but that this was put on ice by his legal battles with his ex-manager. He decided not to promote the album at all, but in 2005 he released a home video accompanying the song “Because Of”, shot by his daughter Lorca Cohen, while there was no official album singles.
Blue Alert, an album of songs co-written by Anjani and Cohen, was released on 23 May 2006 to positive reviews. Sung by Anjani, who according to one reviewer “…sounds like Cohen reincarnated as woman…though Cohen doesn’t sing a note on the album, his voice permeates it like smoke.” The album include a recent musical setting of Cohen’s “As the mist leaves no scar”, a poem originally published in The Spice-Box of Earth in 1961 and adapted by Phil Spector as “True Love Leaves No Traces” on Death of a Ladies’ Man album. Blue Alert also included Anjani’s own version of “Nightingale”, performed by her and Cohen on his Dear Heather, as well the country song “Never Got to Love You”, apparently made after early demo version of Cohen’s own 1992 song “Closing Time”. In his 2010 shows, Cohen closed the performances with performances of “Closing Time” which included the recitation of verses from “Never Got to Love You”. The title song, “Blue Alert”, and “Half the Perfect World” were covered by Madeleine Peyroux on her 2006 album Half the Perfect World, while the third covered song, “Crazy To Love You”, was included in album’s Japanese edition.
Before embarking on his 2008-2010 world tour, and without finishing the new album which has been in work since 2006 (new song, “The Street”, was recited by Cohen in 2006 on KCRW radio, and he also played two new songs from demo tape, “Book of Longing” and “Puppets”), Cohen contributed few tracks to other artists’ albums – new version of his own “Tower of Song” was performed by him, Anjani Thomas and U2 in 2006 tribute film Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man (the video and track were included on the film’s soundtrack and released as B-side of U2’s single “Window in the Skies“, reaching No 1 in Canadian Singles Chart), in 2007 he recited “The Sound of Silence” on album Tribute to Paul Simon: Take Me to the Mardi Gras and “The Jungle Line” by Joni Mitchell, accompanied by Herbie Hancock on piano, on Hancock’s Grammy-winning album River: The Joni Letters, while in 2008 he recited the poem “Since You’ve Asked” on album Born to the Breed: A Tribute to Judy Collins.
|Kelly Lynch and Leonard Cohen|
On 8 October 2005, Cohen alleged that his longtime former manager, Kelley Lynch, misappropriated over US $5 million from Cohen’s retirement fund leaving only $150,000. Cohen was sued in turn by other former business associates. These events placed him in the public spotlight, including a cover feature on him with the headline “Devastated!” in Canada’s Maclean’s magazine. In March 2006, Cohen won the civil suit and was awarded US $9 million by a Los Angeles County superior court. Lynch, however, ignored the suit and did not respond to a subpoena issued for her financial records. As a result it has been widely reported that Cohen may never be able to collect the awarded amount. In 2007, U.S. District Judge Lewis T. Babcock dismissed a claim by Cohen for more than US $4.5 million against Colorado investment firm Agile Group, and in 2008 he dismissed a defamation suit that Agile Group filed against Cohen. Cohen has been under new management since April 2005.
Book of Longing
Cohen’s book of poetry and drawings, Book of Longing, was published in May 2006; in March a Toronto-based retailer offered signed copies to the first 1500 orders placed online. All 1500 sold within hours. The book quickly topped bestseller lists in Canada. On 13 May 2006, Cohen made his first public appearance in thirteen years, at an in-store event at a bookstore in Toronto. Approximately 3000 people turned up for the event, causing the streets surrounding the bookstore to be closed. He sang two of his earliest and best-known songs: “So Long, Marianne” and “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye”, accompanied by the Barenaked Ladies and Ron Sexsmith. Also appearing with him was Anjani, the two promoting her new CD, along with his book.
In 2006, Philip Glass composed music to Cohen’s 2006 book of poetry Book of Longing. Following the series of live performances which included Glass on keyboards, Cohen’s recorded spoken text, four voices (soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, and bass-baritone), and other instruments, and as well the screenings of Cohen’s artworks and drawings, Glass’ label Orange Mountain Music released double CD with the recording of the work, entitled Book of Longing. A Song Cycle based on the Poetry and Artwork of Leonard Cohen.
2008-2010 World Tour
13 January 2008, Cohen quietly announced a long-anticipated concert tour. The tour, Cohen’s first in 15 years, began 11 May in Fredericton, NB to wide critical acclaim, and was prolonged until Winter of 2010. The schedule of first leg in Summer of 2008 encompassed Canada and Europe, including performances at The Big Chill, the Montreal Jazz Festival, and on the Pyramid Stage at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival on 29 June 2008. His performance at Glastonbury was hailed by many as the highlight of the festival, and his performance of “Hallelujah” as the sun went down received a rapturous reception and a lengthy ovation from a packed Pyramid Stage field. He also played two shows in London’s O2 Arena, and in Dublin he gave a “milestone concert”, while in Dublin he was the first performer to play an open air concert at IMMA (Royal Hospital Kilmainham) ground, performing there on June 13, 14, and 15 2008. In 2009, the performances were awarded with Ireland’s Meteor Music Award as the best international performance of the year.
In September, October and November 2008, Cohen gave a marathon tour through Europe, including stops in Austria, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Italy, Germany, and Scandinavia. In London, he played two more shows in O2 Arena and two additional shows at the Royal Albert Hall.
Live in London
On 21 March 2009, Cohen released Live in London, recorded on 17 July 2008 at London’s O2 Arena and released on DVD and as a two-CD set. The album contains 25 songs and is over two-and-a-half hours long. It was the first official DVD in Cohen’s recording career. The quotation on the album referred to one hundred five-star reviews the tour gained in the international press in 2008.
The third leg of Cohen’s World Tour 2008-2009 encompassed New Zealand and Australia from 20 January to 10 February 2009. In January 2009, The Pacific Tour first came to New Zealand. Simon Sweetman in The Dominion Post (Wellington) of 21 January wrote “It is hard work having to put this concert in to words so I’ll just say something I have never said in a review before and will never say again: this was the best show I have ever seen.” The Sydney Entertainment Centre show on 28 January sold out rapidly, which motivated promoters to announce a second show at the venue. The first performance was well-received, and the audience of 12,000 responded with five standing ovations. In response to hearing about the devastation to the Yarra Valley region of Victoria in Australia, Cohen donated $200,000 to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal in support of those affected by the extensive Black Saturday bushfires that razed the area just weeks after his performance at the Rochford Winery in the A Day on the Green concert. Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper reported: “Tour promoter Frontier Touring said $200,000 would be donated on behalf of Cohen, fellow performer Paul Kelly and Frontier to aid victims of the bushfires.”
On 19 February 2009, Cohen played his first American concert in fifteen years at the Beacon Theatre in New York City. The show, showcased as the special performance for fans, Leonard Cohen Forum members and press, was the only show in the whole three-year tour which was broadcast on the radio (NPR) and available as the free podcast.
The North American Tour of 2009 opened on 1 April and included the performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on Friday, 17 April 2009, in front of one of the largest outdoor theatre crowds in the history of the festival. His performance of Hallelujah was widely regarded as one of the highlights of the festival, thus repeating the major success of the 2008 Glastonbury appearance. The performance has been included on 2010 Songs from the Road live release. During this leg, Cohen regularly performed new song, “Lullaby”.
On 1 July 2009, Cohen started his marathon European tour, his third in two years. The itinerary mostly included sport arenas and open air Summer festivals in Germany, UK, France, Spain, Ireland (the show at O2 in Dublin won him the second Meteor Music Award in a row), but also performances in Serbia in the Belgrade Arena, in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey, and again in Romania. On 3 August, Cohen gave an open air show at the Piazza San Marco in Venice.
On 18 September 2009, on the stage at a concert in Valencia, Spain, Cohen suddenly fainted halfway through performing his song “Bird on the Wire”, the fourth in the two-act set list; Cohen was brought down backstage by his band members and then admitted to local hospital, while the concert was suspended. It was reported that Cohen had stomach problems, and possibly food poisoning. Three days later, on September 21, on his 75th birthday, he performed in Barcelona. The show, last in Europe in 2009 and rumoured to be the last European concert ever, attracted many international fans, who lighted the green candles honouring Cohen’s birthday, leading Cohen to give a special speech of thanks for the fans and Leonard Cohen Forum.
The most controversial concert during the whole tour was the last concert of this leg, held in Tel Aviv, Israel, on September 24, three days after Cohen’s 75th birthday, at Ramat Gan Stadium. The event was surrounded by public discussion due to a cultural boycott of Israel proposed by a small number of musicians. Nevertheless, tickets for the Tel Aviv concert, Cohen’s first performance in Israel since 1980, sold out in less than 24 hours. It was announced that the proceeds from the sale of the 47,000 tickets would go into a charitable fund in partnership with Amnesty International and would be used by Israeli and Palestinian peace groups for projects providing health services to children and bringing together Israeli veterans and former Palestinian fighters and the families of those killed in the conflict. However, on 17 August 2009, Amnesty International released a statement saying they were withdrawing from any involvement with the concert and its proceeds. Amnesty International later stated that its withdrawal was not due to the boycott but “the lack of support from Israeli and Palestinian NGOs.” The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a fringe political group, led the call for the boycott, claiming that Cohen was “intent on whitewashing Israel’s colonial apartheid regime by performing in Israel.” On 24 September at the Ramat Gan concert, Cohen was highly emotional about the Israeli-Palestinian NGO Bereaved Families for Peace. He mentioned the organization twice, saying “It was a while ago that I first heard of the work of the ‘Bereaved Parents for Peace’. That there was this coalition of Palestinian and Israeli families who had lost so much in the conflict and whose depth of suffering had compelled them to reach across the border into the houses of the enemy. Into the houses of those, to locate them who had suffered as much as they had, and then to stand with them in aching confraternity, a witness to an understanding that is beyond peace and that is beyond confrontation. So, this is not about forgiving and forgetting, this is not about laying down one’s arms in a time of war, this is not even about peace, although, God willing, it could be a beginning. This is about a response to human grief. A radical, unique and holy, holy, holy response to human suffering. Baruch Hashem, thank God, I bow my head in respect to the nobility of this enterprise.” At the end of the show he blessed the crowd by the Priestly Blessing, a Jewish blessing offered by Kohanim. Cohen’s surname derives from this Hebrew word for priest, thus identifying him as a Levite — a descendant of the ancient priestly tribe of Levi.
The sixth leg of the 2008-2009 world tour went again to US, with fifteen shows in October and November, with the “final” show in San Jose. The final leg included two new songs, “Feels So Good” and “The Darkness”. But at that point, Cohen’s “World Tour 2010″ was already announced with the European dates in March.
The 2009 world tour earned a reported $9.5 million, putting Cohen at number 39 on Billboard magazine’s list of the year’s top musical “money makers.”
On 14 September 2010, Sony Music released a live CD/DVD album, Songs from the Road, showcasing Cohen’s 2008 and 2009 live performances. The previous year, Cohen’s performance at the 1970 Isle of Wight Music Festival was released as a CD/DVD combo. The DVD version included interviews with Kris Kristofferson and others.
Cohen’s 2008-2009 world tour was prolonged into 2010. Originally scheduled to start in March, the first dozen of the original European dates were postponed to September and October due to Cohen’s lower-back injury. Officially billed as the “World Tour 2010″, the tour started on 25 July 2010 in Arena Zagreb, Croatia, where in the week of the show 16 of Cohen’s albums simultaneously entered the Croatian Top 40, while Cohen’s work was presented by the translation of Book of Mercy, two of Cohen’s biographies, and with selection of poems in major literary magazine Quorum, while there was also the translation of Linda Hutcheon‘s work on Cohen’s literary output. In December 2010, the national daily newspaper Vjesnik ranked Cohen’s show among the five most important cultural event in Croatia in 2010, in the poll among dozen of intellectuals and writers; it was the only event ranked which was not actually Croatian. The tour continued through August, with stops in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Scandinavia, and Ireland, where on 31 July 2010 Cohen performed at Lissadell House in County Sligo. It was Cohen’s eighth Irish concert in just two years after a hiatus of more than 20 years. On 12 August, Cohen played the 200th show of the tour in Scandinavium, Gothenburg, Sweden, where he had already played in October 2008; the show was four hours long.
The Fall leg of the European tour started in early September with an open-air show in Florence, Italy, and continued through Germany, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and Austria, where Cohen performed at the famous open-air opera stage of Römersteinbruch bei St. Margarethen im Burgenland, and then continued with dates in France, Poland, Russia (Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace), Slovenia and Slovakia. In Slovenia’s brand new Arena Stožice, Cohen accepted Croatia’s Porin music award for best foreign live video programme, which he won for his Live in London DVD. Cohen’s last European show was held in Sibamac Arena, in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The third leg of the 2010 tour started on 28 October in New Zealand and continued in Australia, including an open-air concert at Hanging Rock near Melbourne. It was the first show ever organised at the site. The tour finished with seven special dates added in Vancouver, Portland, Victoria and Oakland, with two final shows in Las Vegas’ The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on 10 and 11 December. The very last concert on 11 December was the 246th show on the world tour which started on 11 May 2008.
The world tour 2010 was covered daily on the Flickr photo blog which was edited by Cohen’s road manager, entitled Notes from the Road].
Currently Cohen is recording a new studio album with his touring band and his producer Ed Sanders. The album is expected in 2011 and is supposed to feature four songs performed during the 2009 and 2010 shows, “The Darkness”, “Lullaby”, “Born in Chains” , and “Feels So Good”, and also “Amen” and “The Street”, some of them co-written (and co-produced) with Sharon Robinson and also with Anjani Thomas. At least one more song has been tried out at the daily soundchecks (“My Oh My”). The first new songs were presented back in 2006, on KCRW radio, where Cohen played two demo tracks, “Book of Longing” and “Puppets”.
In 1991, John Cale‘s cover of this song first appeared on the Leonard Cohen tribute album I’m Your Fan. In 1996, that version also appeared in the independent film Basquiat. John Cale also performed this song in the 2001 Dreamworks movie Shrek. The cover when watching the actual movie was by John Cale, but the original soundtrack for the movie had a Rufus Wainwright version. John Cale’s version was also featured on the television series Scrubs.
In 2004, fellow Canadian k.d. lang released the album Hymns of the 49th Parallel which featured Leonard’s song Hallelujah. The critically acclaimed album rose to the number 2 position on the Canadian Albums Chart. She subsequently performed the song live, on 12 February 2010, at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada.
Jeff Buckley recorded one of the best-known versions of “Hallelujah” for his debut album Grace in 1994, to critical acclaim. It was used during the final minutes of The West Wing episode “Posse Comitatus,” the last episode of season 3. On 7 March 2008, Jeff Buckley‘s version of Cohen’s “Hallelujah“, went to number 1 on the iTunes chart after Jason Castro performed the song on the seventh season of the television series American Idol. Another major boost for Cohen’s song exposure came when singer-songwriter Kate Voegele released her version of “Hallelujah” from her 2007 album Don’t Look Away and appeared as a regular character named Mia on season five of the teenage television show One Tree Hill.
In December 2008, two versions of “Hallelujah” placed No. 1 and 2 in the UK Christmas singles chart, with X Factor winner Alexandra Burke at No. 1 and Jeff Buckley at No. 2, following a campaign by Buckley fans to get his version to no. 1 rather than the X Factor version. As a result, online downloads of Cohen’s original version placed it at No. 36, 24 years after its initial release.
Recurring themes in Cohen’s work include love, sex, religion, depression, and music itself. He has also engaged with certain political themes, though sometimes ambiguously so. “Suzanne” mixes a wistful type of love song with a religious meditation, themes that are also mixed in “Joan of Arc“. “Famous Blue Raincoat” is from the point of view of a man whose marriage has been broken by his wife’s infidelity with his close friend, and is written in the form of a letter to that friend. “Everybody Knows” starts off with social inequality (“the poor stay poor/ And the rich get rich”), but this is just the laying of the foundation that leads up to the real issue: Infidelity and betrayal.
“Sisters of Mercy”  depicts his encounter with two women in a hotel room in Edmonton, Canada. Claims that “Chelsea Hotel #2″ treats his affair with Janis Joplin without sentimentality are countered by claims that the song reveals a more complicated set of feelings than straightforward love. Cohen  confirmed, with some embarrassment, that the subject is Janis. “She wouldn’t mind,” he declares, “but my mother would be appalled.” “Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-On” also deals with sexual themes.
Cohen is Jewish, and he has drawn from Jewish religious and cultural imagry throughout his career. Examples include “Story of Isaac“, and “Who by Fire”, the words and melody of which echo the Unetaneh Tokef, an 11th-century liturgical poem recited on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. Broader Jewish themes sound throughout the album Various Positions. “Hallelujah,” which has music as a secondary theme, begins by evoking the biblical King David composing a song that “pleased the Lord” and continues with references to Bathsheba and Samson. The lyrics of “Whither Thou Goest“, performed by him and released in his album Live in London, are adapted from the Bible (Ruth 1:16-17, King James Version). “If It Be Your Will” also has a strong air of religious resignation. In his concert in Ramat Gan, Israel, on 24 September 2009, Cohen spoke Jewish prayers and blessings to the audience in Hebrew. He opened the show with the first sentence of Ma Tovu. At the middle he used Baruch Hashem, and he ended the concert reciting the blessing of Birkat Cohanim.
In his early career as a novelist, Beautiful Losers grappled with the mysticism of the Mohawk Catholic saint Kateri Tekakwitha. Cohen has also been involved with Buddhism since the 1970s and was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1996; however he is still religiously Jewish: “I’m not looking for a new religion. I’m quite happy with the old one, with Judaism.”
He is described as an observant Jew in an article in The New York Times:
Mr. Cohen is an observant Jew who keeps the Sabbath even while on tour and performed for Israeli troops during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. So how does he square that faith with his continued practice of Zen?
“Allen Ginsberg asked me the same question many years ago,” he said. “Well, for one thing, in the tradition of Zen that I’ve practiced, there is no prayerful worship and there is no affirmation of a deity. So theologically there is no challenge to any Jewish belief.”
Having suffered from depression during much of his life (although less so recently), Cohen has written much (especially in his early work) about depression and suicide. “Beautiful Losers” and “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy” are about suicide; darkly comic “One of Us Cannot Be Wrong” mentions suicide; “Dress Rehearsal Rag” is about a last-minute decision not to commit suicide. An atmosphere of depression pervades “Please Don’t Pass Me By” and “Tonight Will Be Fine.” As in the aforementioned “Hallelujah,” music itself is the subject of “Tower of Song,” “A Singer Must Die,” and “Jazz Police.”
Themes of political and social justice also recur in Cohen’s work, especially in later albums. In “Democracy,” he laments “the wars against disorder/ the sirens night and day/ the fires of the homeless/ the ashes of the gay.” He concludes that the United States is actually not a democracy. He has made the observation in “Tower of Song” that “the rich have got their channels in the bedrooms of the poor/ And there’s a mighty judgment coming.” In the title track of The Future he recasts this prophecy on a pacifist note: “I’ve seen the nations rise and fall/ …/ But love’s the only engine of survival.” In “Anthem”, he promises that “the killers in high places [who] say their prayers out loud/ [are] gonna hear from me.”
War is an enduring theme of Cohen’s work that—in his earlier songs and early life—he approached ambivalently. Challenged in 1974 over his serious demeanor in concerts and the military salutes he ended them with, Cohen remarked, “I sing serious songs, and I’m serious onstage because I couldn’t do it any other way…I don’t consider myself a civilian. I consider myself a soldier, and that’s the way soldiers salute.” In “Field Commander Cohen” he imagines himself as a soldier of sorts, socializing with Fidel Castro in Cuba—where he had actually lived at the height of US-Cuba tensions in 1961, allegedly sporting a Che Guevara-style beard and military fatigues. This song was written immediately following Cohen’s front-line stint with the Israeli air force, the “fighting in Egypt” documented in a passage of “Night Comes On.” In 1973, Cohen, who had traveled to Jerusalem to sign up on the Israeli side in the Yom Kippur War, had instead been assigned to a USO-style entertainer tour of front-line tank emplacements in the Sinai Desert, coming under fire. A poetic mention of then-General Ariel Sharon, delivered in the same mode as his Fidel Castro allusions, has given birth to the story that Cohen and Sharon shared cognac together during Cohen’s term in the Sinai.
Deeply moved by encounters with Israeli and Arab soldiers, he left the country to write “Lover Lover Lover.” This song has been interpreted as a personal renunciation of armed conflict, and ends with the hope his song will serve a listener as “a shield against the enemy.” He would later remark, “‘Lover, Lover, Lover’ was born over there; the whole world has its eyes riveted on this tragic and complex conflict. Then again, I am faithful to certain ideas, inevitably. I hope that those of which I am in favour will gain.” Asked which side he supported in the Arab-Israeli conflict, Cohen responded, “I don’t want to speak of wars or sides … Personal process is one thing, it’s blood, it’s the identification one feels with their roots and their origins. The militarism I practice as a person and a writer is another thing…. I don’t wish to speak about war.”
His recent politics continue a lifelong predilection for the underdog, the “beautiful loser.” Whether recording “The Partisan“, a French Resistance song by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d’Astier, or singing his own “The Old Revolution,” written from the point of view of a defeated royalist, he has throughout his career expressed in his music sympathy and support for the oppressed. Although Cohen’s fascination with war is often as a metaphor for more general cultural and personal issues, as in “New Skin for the Old Ceremony,” by this measure his most militant album.
Cohen blends pessimism about political/cultural issues with humour and, especially in his later work, with gentle acceptance. His wit contends with his stark analysis as his songs are often verbally playful and cheerful. In “Tower of Song” the famously raw-voiced Cohen sings ironically that he was “born with the gift of a golden voice.” The generally dark “Is This What You Wanted?” contains playful lines “You were the whore and the beast of Babylon/ I was Rin Tin Tin.” In concert he often plays around with his lyrics (“If you want a doctor/ I’ll examine every inch of you” from “I’m Your Man” sometimes becomes “If you want a Jewish doctor…”). He may introduce one song by using a phrase from another song or poem—for example, introducing “Leaving Green Sleeves” by paraphrasing his own “Queen Victoria,” “This is a song for those who are not nourished by modern love.”
Cohen has also recorded such love songs as Irving Berlin‘s “Always” or the more obscure soul number “Be for Real” (originally sung by Marlena Shaw).
|Suzanne Elrod with kids Adam and Lorca|
Cohen had a relationship with the Los Angeles artist Suzanne Elrod beginning in the 1970s, with whom he has two children: a son, Adam, born in 1972, and a daughter, Lorca, named after poet Federico García Lorca, born in 1974. Adam Cohen began a career as a singer-songwriter in the mid-1990s and fronts a band called Low Millions, while Lorca took the part Cohen’s video for the song “Because Of” in 2004, while her “Backstage Sketch” was included on Cohen’s 2010 DVD Songs from the Road. She has directed and shot video clips for The Webb Sisters and Kamila Thin her father’s tour team during the 2008-2010 world tour as photographer and videographer. She also shot Compson. On February 2, 2011, Lorca gave birth to a daughter, Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen. The father of the child is Rufus Wainwright.
Cohen has downplayed marriage as an important relationship, and has said that “cowardice” and “fear” have prevented him from ever actually marrying Elrod. Elrod took the cover photograph on Cohen’s Live Songs album and is pictured on the cover of the Death of a Ladies’ Man album. She is also the “Dark Lady” of Cohen’s 1978 book of poems, prose and diary entries Death of a Lady’s Man, the book which deals with the failed marriage (hence the cover, which shows medieval coniunctio spiritual) and which was started as the novel about the spiritual and emotional failure of marriage, invariantly titled The Woman Being Born, and My Life in Art. Cohen and Elrod had split by 1979.
“Suzanne“, one of his best-known songs, refers to Suzanne Verdal, the former wife of his friend, the Québécois sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, rather than Elrod. The 1979 song “The Gypsy Wife” is supposedly about Suzanne Elrod.
|Dominique Issermann and Leonard Cohen|
In the 1980s, Cohen was in a relationship with the French photographer Dominique Issermann, who shot his first two video clips, “Dance Me To The End Of Love” and “First We Take Manhattan.” Issermann is today famous for her photo sessions with Carla Bruni and for her fashion photography for magazines like Elle; in 2010 she was the official photographer of Cohen’s world tour. Her photographs of Cohen are the canonical in Cohen’s merchandise, and some of them were used for the covers of his 1993 book Stranger Music and his album More Best of Leonard Cohen, and inside the booklet of Cohen’s 1988 record I’m Your Man, which is dedicated to Issermann with words: “All these songs are for you, D. I.”.
|Rebecca De Mornay|
In the 1990s, Cohen was romantically linked to actress Rebecca De Mornay. De Mornay co-produced Cohen’s 1992 album The Future, which is also supposedly dedicated to her with an inscription which quotes Rebecca‘s coming to the well from Book of Genesis, 24 and giving drink to Eliezer‘s camels, after he prayed for the help; Eliezer (“God is my help” in Hebrew) is Cohen’s Hebrew name, and Cohen sometimes referred to himself as “Eliezer Cohen” or even “Jikan Eliezer.”
In 2000s, Cohen has been romantically involved with Anjani Thomas. Together they wrote the album Blue Alert in 2006, produced by Cohen. Thomas co-produced and co-wrote some songs on Cohen’s 2004 album Dear Heather and is currently involved in recording of Cohen’s forthcoming record.
Since late 1970s, Cohen has been associated with Kyozan Joshu Sasaki, regularly visiting him at Mount Baldy Zen Center and serving him as personal assistant during Cohen’s own reclusion into Mt. Baldy monastery in the 1990s. Roshi appears as regular motif or addressee in Cohen’s poetry, especially in the Book of Longing, and also took part in 1997 documentary about Cohen’s monastery years, Leonard Cohen: Spring 1996. Cohen’s 2001 album Ten New Songs is dedicated to Joshu Sasaki.
Awards, titles and honours
- 1964 the Québec Literary Competition Prize (awarded 1923-70 by the Province of Québec) The Favourite Game (Cohen’s first novel)
- 1968 Governor General’s Award (English language poetry or drama) for Selected Poems 1956–1968. (Refused)
- 1970 Honorary degree from Dalhousie University
- 1984 The Golden Rose, the main award at the international television festival Rose d’Or in Montreux, for I am a Hotel, made-for-TV short musical film written by Cohen and based on his songs.
- 1985 Canadian Author’s Association Literary Award for Poetry for Book of Mercy
- 1986 Genie Award for Best Original Song for “Angel Eyes” from Night Magic (with Lewis Furey)
- 1988 Columbia Records Crystal Globe Award from CBS for I’m Your Man. The award is for artists who sell more than five million copies of an album in foreign territories
- 1989 Nominated for Juno Awards for Canadian Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year
- 1991 Officer of the Order of Canada
- 1991 Induction into the Juno/Canadian Music Hall of Fame
- 1991 Nominated for a Juno Award for Songwriter of the Year.
- 1992 Honorary degree from McGill University, Montreal.
- 1993 Juno Award for Male Vocalist of the Year. The video for Closing Time, directed by Curtis Wehrfritz, won for Best Video. He was also nominated as Producer of the Year (with co-producer Leanne Ungar, for “Closing Time”).
- 1993 Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement.
- 1994 Juno Award for Songwriter of the Year and was nominated for the Juno Award for Album of the Year (for The Future). The video for The Future, directed by Curtis Wehrfritz, was nominated for Juno Award for Best Video.
- 1996 Ordained a Rinzai Buddhist monk.
- 2001 Nagroda Muzyczna Fryderyk, the annual Polish music award, for best foreign album (Ten New Songs).
- 2002 Nominated for Juno Award as Best Songwriter Cohen (with Sharon Robinson) for “Boogie Street”, “In My Secret Life”, and “You Have Loved Enough”).
- 2002 Nominated for the Juno Award for Best Video for “In My Secret Life”, directed by Floria Sigismondi. Ten New Songs nominated for Best Pop Album, and he was nominated for Best Artist.
- 2002 SNEP Award Cohen for more than 100,000 copies sold of Ten New Songs in France.
- 2003 Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honour.
- 2004 Inclusion in Canada Reads 2005 with Beautiful Losers
- 2005 Induction into the Canadian Folk Music Walk of Fame.
- 2006 Induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.
- 2007 Grammy for Album of the Year as a featured artist on Herbie Hancock‘s River: The Joni Letters.
- 2008 Induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
- 2008 Grand Officer of the National Order of Quebec.
- 2009 Long Listed for the Polaris Music Prize for Live in London 
- 2009 Nominated for Mojo Honours Lists for Best Live Act category.
- 2009 Meteor Music Award for Best International Live Performance for his 2008 show in Dublin’s IMMA‘s Royal Hospital Kilmainham.
- 2010 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
- 2010 A second Meteor Music Award for Best International Live Performance for his 2009 show in Dublin’s O2.
- 2010 Porin Award in Croatia in category of foreign video programme, for his Live in London DVD.
- 2010 Induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
- 2011 Glenn Gould Prize
- 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards, Literature, Spain
|Songs of Leonard Cohen||27 December 1967|
|Songs from a Room||April 1969|
|Songs of Love and Hate||March 1971|
|New Skin for the Old Ceremony||August 1974|
|Death of a Ladies’ Man||November 1977|
|Recent Songs||September 1979|
|Various Positions||December 1984|
|I’m Your Man||February 1988|
|The Future||24 November 1992|
|Ten New Songs||9 October 2001|
|Dear Heather||26 October 2004|
- Six Montreal Poets. New York: Folkways Records, 1957. 
 Tribute albums
|I’m Your Fan||1991|
|Tower of Song||1995|
|Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man||2006|
|Monsieur Camembert presentz Famous Blue Cheese||2008|
|Cohen – The Scandinavian Report||2009|
Many other cover albums have been recorded by many artists.
Collections: poems and songs
- Let Us Compare Mythologies. Montreal: Contact Press [McGill Poetry Series], 1956. reissued 2007
- The Spice-Box of Earth. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1961.
- Flowers for Hitler. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1964.
- Parasites of Heaven. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1966.
- Selected Poems 1956–1968. New York, Toronto: Viking, McClelland & Stewart, 1968.
- The Energy of Slaves. London,Toronto: Cape, McClelland and Stewart, 1972. ISBN 0771022042 ISBN 0771022034 New York: Viking, 1973.
- Selected Poetry of Leonard Cohen. Penguin Classics, 1978.
- Death of a Lady’s Man. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1978. ISBN 0771021771 London, New York: Viking, Penguin, 1979. – reissued 2010
- Book of Mercy.London: Cape, 1984. – reissued 2010
- The Lyrics of Leonard Cohen. London, Omnibus, 1998. ISBN 0711971412 2nd edition, 2009.
- God is Alive. Magic is Afoot. Sarah Perkins and Ian Jackson illus. Toronto: Stoddart, 2000. ISBN 0773761802
- Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs. London, New York, Toronto: Cape, Pantheon, McClelland & Stewart, 2003. ISBN 0771022301
- Book of Longing. London, New York, Toronto: Penguin, Ecco, McClelland & Stewart, 2006. (poetry, prose, drawings) ISBN 9780771022340
- Poems and Songs (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets) 2011
- The Favorite Game. London, New York, Toronto: Secker & Warburg, Viking P, McClelland & Stewart, 1963. Reissued as The Favourite Game. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart [New Canadian Library], 1994. ISBN 9780771099540
- Beautiful Losers. New York, Toronto: Viking Press, McClelland & Stewart, 1966. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart [New Canadian Library], 1991. ISBN 9780771098758 McClelland & Stewart [Emblem], 2003. ISBN 9780771022005
Film and television
- Cohen was the subject of the 1965 documentary Ladies and Gentlemen… Mr. Leonard Cohen, directed by Donald Brittain and Don Owen and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. This film, which pre-dates Cohen’s career as a songwriter, explores his career as a well-known Canadian poet. Cohen also appeared in Owen’s 1967 film The Ernie Game, which was entered into the 18th Berlin International Film Festival.
- Cohen’s music also appeared the following year in the 1966 NFB animated short Angel.
- In 1968 Cohen performed on the BBC, both on the Julie Felix Show and in his own special, split into two thirty minute shows. The first clip still exists, while the second is only available as a bootleg CD.
- Cohen makes a cameo appearance performing “The Stranger Song” in the Canadian film The Ernie Game (1968), which is based on the stories of Bernard Cole Spencer.
- Cohen’s 1970 performance at the Isle of Wight Festival was filmed by Murray Lerner, but remained unreleased until 2009 when it was released as Leonard Cohen Live at the Isle of Wight 1970, and included Lerner’s 2009 documentary material.
- Robert Altman‘s 1971 western McCabe and Mrs. Miller used three Cohen songs on its soundtrack, as well the instrumental parts of The Stranger Song performed by Cohen. Multiple record singles were released during the film’s distribution.
- In 1972, Cohen’s European tour was filmed by British director Tony Palmer; the re-edited material appeared in 1974 under the title Bird On a Wire and exists only as a bootleg VHS tape. Palmer’s authorised and restored film was released in 2010.
- In October 1979, Cohen recorded a show for German TV show RockPop Special, available only as a bootleg. The show is often rebroadcast by the German satellite TV channel 3Sat.
- The Song Of Leonard Cohen, a 1980 documentary by Harry Rasky, featuring Irving Layton, includes highlights from Cohen’s 1979 European tour and tracks from the LP Recent Songs.
- In 1983, Cohen wrote and starred in made-for-TV short musical film I am a Hotel, based on his songs. It won the Golden Rose award at the Rose d’Or television festival in Montreux in 1984.
- In 1985, Cohen co-wrote and co-composed Night Magic (starring Carole Laure) with fellow Quebecker, Lewis Furey.
- Cohen is subject of the BBC documentary Songs from the Life of Leonard Cohen, filmed during his 1988 tour.
- Cohen appeared as villain Francois Zolan in the “French Twist” episode of the American television series Miami Vice (season 2, episode 17), originally broadcast on 21 February 1986.
- In 1988, Spanish TV station RTE televised the full version of Cohen’s show in San Sebastian, 20 May, later aired in number of European countries and still rerun on the Spanish TV. It remains the only completely televised Cohen show.
- In 1989, Cohen gave his first major performance on US television on Austin City Limits (recorded in November 1988). He performed for the show again in July 1993. Both programs have been often rebroadcast by the PBS.
- “Everybody Knows” and “If It Be Your Will” play prominent parts in the 1990 film Pump Up the Volume
- Three of Cohen’s songs from his album The Future (“Waiting for the Miracle”, “Anthem”, and “The Future”) are used in Oliver Stone‘s 1994 film Natural Born Killers. Songs from this album have also appeared in the films Wonder Boys (2000), starring Michael Douglas and The Life of David Gale (2003), starring Kevin Spacey.
- In 1994, Cohen narrated NFB-produced documentary The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
- Cohen’s years at the Mt. Baldy Zen Centre were the subject of 1997 French documentary Leonard Cohen: Spring 96 by Armelle Brusq, released on DVD in 2009.
- In 2001, Cohen’s song Hallelujah was used on the soundtrack of Shrek, in a version by John Cale.
- The Favourite Game (Le Jeu de l’ange), based on his novel of the same title, was released in Canada in 2003.
- Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man was released in 2006. It features a 2005 tribute concert to Cohen, “Came So Far For Beauty”, held at the Sydney Opera House and produced by Hal Willner. The film, directed by Lian Lunson, has appearances by Nick Cave, Beth Orton, Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, and a performance of “Tower of Song” by Cohen and U2. The film also features Cohen recalling significant parts of his life and career.
- Cohen is the subject of a two-part documentary, Leonard Cohen: Under Review 1934-1977 (2007) and Leonard Cohen: Under Review 1978-2006 (2008), available separately on DVD.
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Who is Ricki Pamela Lake? The entertainment and acting world knows her as Ricki Lake, she is an American actress and television host, best known for her starring role as Tracy Turnblad in the original Hairspray and for her talk show.
Lake was born Sepetember 21, 1968, to a Jewish family in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, the daughter of Jill, a homemaker, and Barry Lake, a pharmacist. She attended Ithaca College and the Professional Children’s School.
Notable acting roles
Lake made her film debut as Tracy Turnblad, the lead character in John Waters‘ 1988 film Hairspray. She appeared in several other Waters films including Cecil B. Demented, Cry-Baby, and Serial Mom. She also appeared in such films as Mrs. Winterbourne, Cabin Boy, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Cookie, Inside Monkey Zetterland, and the television movie Baby Cakes.
In 1989, Lake joined the cast of the Vietnam War drama series China Beach as Red Cross volunteer Holly. She later went on to have recurring role as Doug’s sister Stephanie on the TV series King of Queens. She has also guest-starred on television series including Drop Dead Diva and a voice role on King of the Hill.
Lake made a cameo appearance in the 2007 movie musical Hairspray as a William Morris talent agent, and teamed up with star Nikki Blonsky, who had reprised the role of Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 movie musical remake, and Marissa Jaret Winokur, who had reprised the role of Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway musical based on the original 1988 film, to record “Mama I’m a Big Girl Now” for the soundtrack, which is played at the film’s end credits. She later reunited with original Hairspray co-star Deborah Harry for the film Grammercy Park Hotel which was released in 2008. In October 2007, Lake appeared in the Lifetime TV movie Matters with Life and Dating. She performed in a CBS television special, Loving Leah, that aired in January 2009.
Ricki Lake was originally cast in the TV show The Middle, but she was replaced by Patricia Heaton after ABC announced it had greenlighted the series as a midseason 2009 replacement.
The show debuted in syndication on September 13, 1993 and ended first-run episodes on May 25, 2004.
In 2000, Lake told Rosie O’Donnell in an interview she had signed on for four additional years. Although Sony Pictures Television had many stations contracted through the 2004–2005 season, Lake decided to end the show in August 2004, citing (among other things) a desire to spend time with her family. She moved from Los Angeles to New York to tape the 11th season of the show, then returned to California when taping was complete.
After her talk show was canceled, Lake went on to host the 2006 CBS limited series Gameshow Marathon, which re-created classic game shows with celebrity contestants. She also signed a development deal with Gameshow Marathon production company FremantleMedia for other ventures, including creating and producing future programs and projects.
The Business of Being Born, Lake’s documentary about home birth and midwifery, was released in limited markets on January 18, 2008. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival and Red Envelope released the film in New York, L.A. and San Francisco in October and it also screened in Australia. The Business of Being Born included footage and details of Lake’s own “life-changing” home-birthing experience and followed a midwife going about her work. Tribeca called it “The Inconvenient Truth of Childbirth.” Lake described it as her life’s work for the last three years and expressed hopes that the film educated and empowered people to really know their choices in childbirth.
In 2009, Lake returned to television. On May 11, 2009 she replaced Sharon Osbourne as host for the third season of VH1’s Charm School.
Lake also jointly wrote a book on the world of natural childbirth and birthing options, along with Abby Epstein and Jacques Moritz, called Your Best Birth, published by Wellness Central on May 1, 2009. Lake and Epstein also launched MyBestBirth.com, an online social network, powered by Ning, intended to allow parents and medical professionals to dialogue about varying birthing options and resources.
On November 10, 2010, Lake joined fellow talkers Phil Donahue, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, and Montel Williams as guests of Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Winfrey Show. This marked the first time that these talk show hosts ever appeared together on one show since their programs left the air.
In March 2011 it was reported that three television studios, Twentieth Television, Universal Media Studios and CBS Television Distribution, were interested in bringing Lake back to Talk TV in 2012. This after Lake began appearing on various programs in which she expressed a desire to return to the genre. On April 20, 2011, Lake signed with Twentieth, which will develop her new talk show, for a September 2012 launch. It will have more of an “Oprah”-like format than her previous series.
|Ricki Lake and ex husband Rob Sussman|
Lake met artist/illustrator Rob Sussman at a Halloween party in 1993. The couple married shortly after in Las Vegas. Their two sons are Milo Sebastian Sussman (March 22, 1997) and Owen Tyler Sussman (June 18, 2001). The couple divorced in 2003 after 10 years of marriage.
In early 2007, Lake pursued a “new routine” resulting in over 125 pounds of weight loss, taking her down to 120 pounds (55 kg) from a high of 260 (118 kg). In November 2007, Lake cited sexual abuse as a child as a reason for her problems with obesity.
On September 18, 2010, Lake’s rented Malibu home was destroyed by fire. She and her sons escaped without injury.
On January 15, 2011, Lake finished in sixth place in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Luxury Ladies Poker Event, collecting $5,587 of the prizepool.
|1988||The In Crowd||Dancer||Uncredited|
|1989||Last Exit to Brooklyn||Donna|
|1992||Where the Day Takes You||Brenda|
|1992||Buffy the Vampire Slayer||Charlotte||Uncredited|
|1992||Inside Monkey Zetterland||Bella the Stalker|
|1994||Serial Mom||Misty Sutphin|
|1996||Mrs. Winterbourne||Connie Doyle/Patricia Winterbourne|
|2000||Cecil B. Demented||Libby|
|2008||The Business of Being Born||
|1987||Kate & Allie||Teri||1 episode|
|1988||ABC Afterschool Special||Carmen||1 episode|
|1989||Baby Cakes||Grace||Television movie|
|1989||Starting Now||Ricki Ross||Television series pilot|
|1989–1990||China Beach||Holly Pelegrino||13 episodes|
|1990||Gravedale High||Cleofatra (Voice)||Unknown episodes|
|1991||The Chase||Tammie||Television movie|
|1991||Riders in the Sky||Broadway Baby||1 episode|
|1992||Based on an Untrue Story||Velour||Television movie|
|1998||Murder She Purred: A Mrs. Murphy Mystery||Mary Minor “Harry” Haristeen||Television movie|
|2000–2001||The King of Queens||Stephanie Heffernan||6 episodes|
|2004||Higglytown Heroes||Carpenter Hero||1 episode|
|2006||King of the Hill||Lila (Voice)||1 episode|
|2007||The Middle||Frankie Heck||1 episode|
|2007||Matters of Life and Dating||Linda||Television movie
|2009||Loving Leah||Rabbi Gerry||Television movie
|2009||Charm School with Ricki Lake||Head-mistress||10 episodes|
|2010||Drop Dead Diva||1 episode|
|2010||The Oprah Winfrey Show||Herself||Guest, “Talk Show Reunion”|
Awards and nominations
|Year||Award||Result||Category||Film or series|
|1994||Daytime Emmy Awards||Nominated||Outstanding Talk Show Host||Ricki Lake|
|1989||Independent Spirit Award||Best Female Lead||Hairspray|
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Who is Stephen Douglas Kerr? The entertainment and sports world knows him as Steve Kerr, he is a retired American professional basketball player and sports commentator. He shot .454 from three point range over his career and is currently (April 28, 2011) the most accurate three-point shooter in NBA history. Kerr is a five-time NBA champion, and the only NBA player to win four consecutive championships in the last 30 years. He is also the only player to win four consecutive rings without being a member of the Boston Celtics dynasty.
On June 2, 2007, the Phoenix Suns named Kerr the team’s President of Basketball Operations and General Manager. Kerr helped Managing Partner Robert Sarver buy the Suns in 2004 and became one of Sarver’s trusted basketball advisors. Kerr announced his retirement from the Suns in June 2010.
Kerr was born September 27, 1965 in Beirut, Lebanon, the son of Malcolm Kerr, an American academic who specialized in the Middle East, Kerr spent much of his childhood in Lebanon and other Arab states. He attended Cairo American College in Egypt and Palisades High School (now Palisades Charter High School) in Pacific Palisades, California. On January 18, 1984, Kerr’s father, who was then serving as president of the American University of Beirut, was assassinated by suspected militant nationalists in Beirut.
Kerr was minimally recruited out of high school because he could not jump and was two steps slower than other point guards. Kerr played basketball for the University of Arizona from 1983 to 1988. In summer 1986, Kerr was named to the USA Basketball team that competed in the FIBA World Championship in Spain. The team became the last American Men’s Senior Team composed strictly of amateur players to capture a gold medal. Kerr injured his knee during the tournament, forcing him to miss an entire season (1986–87) at Arizona. After returning to the team, Kerr became a fan favorite due to his leadership and long-range shooting. He helped the Wildcats reach the Final Four of the NCAA Division I basketball tournament in 1988, along with future NBA teammate Sean Elliott, future NBA journeyman Tom Tolbert, and future Major League Baseball All-Star Kenny Lofton. He also set a NCAA record for three point percentage in a single season (114-199, 57.3%).
NCAA Career Statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|Kerr with the Cleveland Cavaliers|
Kerr was selected by the Phoenix Suns in the second round of the 1988 NBA Draft, but was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989. He spent over three seasons (1989 to 1992) there, and then part of the 1992–93 season with the Orlando Magic. In 1993, he signed with the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls made the playoffs in the 1993–94 and 1994–95 seasons, but without Michael Jordan‘s presence for all of 1994 and much of 1995, though, they could not advance to the Finals. However, with Jordan back fulltime for the 1995–96 season, the Bulls went an NBA-record 72–10 and defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA championship.
Kerr played a major part of the Bulls’ victory in the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. In the final seconds of Game 6, with the score tied at 86, he took a pass from Michael Jordan and hit the game-clinching shot. The Bulls won the game, earning back-to-back championships for the first time in four seasons. Kerr also won the 3-Point Shootout at the 1997 All-Star Game.
In the last minute of Game 2 of the 1998 Finals series against Utah, he missed a three-pointer, grabbed his own rebound and laid it to Michael Jordan who scored an easy lay-up. The play helped Chicago win this game and even the series at 1–1. The Bulls won the series in six games.
During the 1998 off-season, Kerr was traded to the San Antonio Spurs, where he spent the rest of his career, save for the 2001–02 season with the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Spurs made it to the Finals for the first time in their history, and Kerr won his fourth ring in a row when the Spurs beat the New York Knicks for the 1999 NBA championship. He is the only non-Boston Celtic to win four straight NBA titles.
In the 2003 playoffs, Kerr made key contributions in Game Six of the Spurs’ Western Conference Finals series against the Dallas Mavericks. Among those were four clutch three-pointers that helped to eliminate the Mavericks. The Spurs eventually won the NBA championship that year by beating the New Jersey Nets in a six-game Finals series, led by Kerr, David Robinson, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginóbili, among others.
Kerr ended his career as a dependable bench player who could make jump shots and three-pointers in critical moments. Even when he was with the Chicago Bulls, and both he and Michael Jordan were on the floor at the same time, when a free throw had to be taken due to a technical foul, Kerr was usually the one to take the shot.
Kerr announced his retirement after the 2003 NBA Finals. He played 910 regular season games but started only 30, 20 of them in the 1991–92 season. His career totals are: 5,437 points (6 ppg), 1,060 rebounds (1.2 rpg), and 1,658 assists (1.8 apg). He also retired as the league’s all-time leader in three-point shooting percentage for a season (.524 in 1994–95) and career (.454).
NBA Career Statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
 Regular season
|1992-93||Cleveland / Orlando||52||0||9.3||.434||.231||.917||0.9||1.3||0.2||0.0||2.6|
Post-playing career NBA analyst
From 2003 to 2007, Kerr was a broadcast analyst for Turner Network Television (TNT), offering commentary alongside renowned analyst Marv Albert. During his tenure he performed a segment sponsored by Coors Light called Steve’s Refreshing Thoughts in which he brought up interesting facts in NBA history. In the same time period, Kerr also contributed to Yahoo! as an NBA commentator.
He has provided his voice for the in-game commentary of EA Sports video games NBA Live 06, NBA Live 07, NBA Live 08, NBA Live 09 and NBA Live 10 with Albert.
It was confirmed on June 28, 2010 that he would return as an NBA analyst for TNT starting with the 2010-11 NBA season. Starting in 2011, Kerr will call the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship on Turner Sports and CBS, teaming up with lead broadcasters Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg for the First Four and Final Four games, and with Albert in other rounds.
General manager position with the Suns
On April 15, 2004, Kerr was announced as a member of a potential group of buyers that would acquire his old team, the Suns, from Jerry Colangelo for US$300 million. He became part of Suns management, acting as a consultant.
On June 2, 2007, Kerr announced his departure from his broadcasting position at TNT and his commentating position at Yahoo! to assume duties as the general manager of the Phoenix Suns beginning with the 2007–2008 season. He replaced Mike D’Antoni.
On Feb 6, 2008, reports surfaced that Kerr was planning to trade Phoenix Suns forward Shawn Marion and guard Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat in exchange for Shaquille O’Neal, which he did. The Suns were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in five games in the first round of the playoffs.
On December 10, 2008, Kerr continued to remake the Suns roster by trading away Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, and Sean Singletary to the Charlotte Bobcats in exchange for Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley, and the Charlotte Bobcats 2010 Second Round draft pick.
On June 25, 2009, Kerr decided to trade the 5th all time leading scorer, Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Ben Wallace, Sasha Pavlovic, a future second-round draft pick and cash.
On May 5, 2010, the Suns wore Los Suns jerseys in Game 2 against the Spurs as to be united against the controversial Arizona immigration law. Kerr himself compared the law to Nazi Germany.
On June 15, 2010 Kerr stepped down as President and GM of the Suns.
Kerr and Robert Horry, another famous reserve player and clutch shooter, alternated NBA Championships for a decade, and combined to win 12 championships over a 14-year period. Either Kerr or Horry was on the roster of an NBA Finals team from the 1993-94 season through the 2002-03 season, with every one resulting in a victory. Horry‘s teams were victorious in the NBA Finals in 1994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2007, while Kerr’s teams were winners in the NBA Finals in 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2003. Each won three titles playing for Phil Jackson-coached teams and two with the San Antonio Spurs.
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Consuelos was born March 30, 1971, in Zaragoza, Spain to a Mexican father and an Italian mother. He is the youngest of three children, he has a brother, who is a doctor, and a sister, who is a lawyer. Consuelos has lived in Italy and the United States since childhood. He explained on Live with Regis and Kelly that while he does not speak Spanish, he does speak Italian. He grew up in Lebanon, Illinois, and later in Tampa, Florida. He attended Bloomingdale High School in Valrico, Florida, and then went to University of Notre Dame before transferring to and graduating from the University of South Florida with a degree in marketing, in 1994.
In 1995, Consuelos met Kelly Ripa, his co-star on All My Children. The two eloped on May 1, 1996. The couple have three children: Michael Joseph Consuelos (born June 2, 1997), Lola Grace Consuelos (born June 16, 2001), and Joaquin Antonio Consuelos (born February 24, 2003).
|Mark in All My Children|
In February 1995, Consuelos had his breakthrough when he landed the role of Mateo Santos on the soap opera All My Children. There, he fell in love with his on-screen love interest Kelly Ripa, and secretly married her in Las Vegas, in May 1996. At the time, he lived on co-star Winsor Harmon‘s sofa; Harmon was one of the few to know that co-stars Ripa and Consuelos were not only dating, but married.
Ripa and Consuelos continued to tape episodes of All My Children until 2002, when Ripa wished to focus more on her other job: taking over for Kathie Lee Gifford as host of what now has become Live with Regis and Kelly. Consuelos has filled in for Philbin.
|Mark in My Super Ex-Girlfriend|
Since leaving All My Children, Consuelos has starred in the feature film The Great Raid, which debuted in theatres in 2005. In 2006, he co-starred in the movie My Super Ex-Girlfriend as “Steve”, and in 2007 he appeared in Wedding Daze. He has been seen on the Lifetime series Missing, with Vivica A. Fox. He also had a part in Ugly Betty.
Consuelos can also be seen hosting two reality dating shows, Age of Love and Science of Love, both airing on NBC. He guest-starred on Third Watch, Friends, American Family, Fortune Hunter, SeaQuest and Hope & Faith.
On 3 October 2008 he performed the marriage ceremony for Howard Stern and model/actress Beth Ostrosky at the Le Cirque restaurant in New York City. The two couples had grown close, which was why Stern asked Consuelos to perform the wedding ceremony. Consuelos agreed, and took it upon himself to seek ordination to make it an official ceremony for Stern and Ostrosky. The guest list for the wedding included Joan Rivers, Barbara Walters, Billy Joel and wife Katie Lee, Jimmy Kimmel, Sarah Silverman, and Stern’s radio co-host Robin Quivers.
Awards and honors
In 1998 and 1999, Consuelos won the American Latino Media Arts Award for “Outstanding Actor in a Daytime Soap Opera”. Consuelos won “Hottest Romance” along with Ripa in 1997 at the Soap Opera Awards.
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Who is Jordin Brianna Sparks? The entertainment and music world knows her as Jordin Sparks. Sparks is an American pop/R&B singer-songwriter, model and actress from Glendale, Arizona who rose to fame as the winner of the sixth season of American Idol. Sparks won when she was 17 years old, making her the youngest winner in Idol history. She followed her American Idol victory with the release of her self-titled debut album in 2007, which has gone platinum in the U.S. and has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. Sparks’ single, “No Air” is the highest selling single by any American Idol contestant, selling about 4 million digital copies worldwide. Due to the success of her debut album and its four top 20 singles, she has received numerous awards and nominations including an American Music Award in 2008 and her first Grammy nomination in 2009.
Sparks’ second album Battlefield was released in July 2009 worldwide and debuted at #7 in the U.S., three spots higher than her first album. The album’s lead single, also titled “Battlefield“, peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it her third top 10 single and fifth consecutive top 20 single. Sparks is the only Idol contestant to have their first five singles reach the top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Battlefield” has sold almost 2 million copies worldwide. Sparks has sold over 9 million singles worldwide to date, making her one of the most successful idol winners. Battlefield’s second single, “S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)“, was her first song to top the U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play making it her first U.S. number one single. Sparks followed her success in 2010 by making her debut on Broadway. Sparks starred as Nina Rosario in the Tony Award winning broadway musical, In The Heights.
Sparks was born December 22, 1989 in Phoenix, Arizona to Jodi Weidmann Sparks and former professional football player Phillippi Sparks. Sparks has a younger brother, Phillippi “PJ” Sparks, Jr., who plays football at Mountain Ridge High School. She grew up in the suburbs of Ridgewood, New Jersey, while her father played as a defensive back for the New York Giants. After living in New Jersey, Sparks attended Northwest Community Christian School in Phoenix through the eighth grade. Sparks attended Sandra Day O’Connor High School until 2006, when she was homeschooled to better concentrate on her singing. Sparks is an evangelical Christian and attends Calvary Community Church in Phoenix. On her American Idol biography, she thanks her parents and God for her win. She wears a purity ring that symbolizes her desire to remain a virgin until marriage. She won an award for best young artist of the year in Arizona for three years.
Before appearing on American Idol, Sparks participated in and won such talent competitions as Coca-Cola’s Rising Star, the Gospel Music Association Academy’s Overall Spotlight Award, America’s Most Talented Kids, Colgate Country Showdown, and the 2006 Drug Free AZ Superstar Search. Prior to Idol, Sparks frequently performed the national anthem at various local sporting events, notably for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, and Arizona Diamondbacks. Sparks also appeared with Alice Cooper in his 2004 Christmas show and toured with Christian contemporary singer Michael W. Smith in 2006. In 2006, Sparks was one of six winners of the Phoenix Torrid search for the “Next Plus Size Model”. She was flown to California, where she was used in a number of Torrid ads and promotional pieces. A full-page ad for Torrid featuring Sparks ran in the December 2006 issue of Seventeen magazine.
On June 15th, 2011 Jordin had her first-ever bikini shoot for the cover of People Magazine Most Amazing Bodies issue. Jordin was interviewed by a couple media publications and when speaking about her weight loss and diet to Access Hollywood she says “My diet has pretty much remained the same, like if I want a piece of bread, I’m gonna have a piece of bread, but I’m making healthier decisions like instead of a bag of chips for a snack, I’ll see if I can find an apple, I’ve also upped my intake of vegetables and I’m drinking a lot more water.” 
In the summer of 2006, Sparks auditioned twice for the sixth season of American Idol: once in Los Angeles (only auditioned for producers) and again in Seattle after winning Arizona Idol, a talent competition conducted by Phoenix Fox station KSAZ-TV. The Seattle audition is the one seen in the January 17, 2007 broadcast of American Idol, in which she earned a “gold ticket” and the right to appear in the Hollywood Round. American Idol judge Randy Jackson made the offhand prediction that, “Curly hair will win this year.” While on the show, Sparks gained a loyal fan base known as “Sparkplugs”. On May 23, 2007, Sparks was crowned the winner of the sixth season of American Idol. She remains the youngest winner in American Idol history. Cowell said, “Jordin was the most improved over the whole season – didn’t start the best, but midway through this was the girl who suddenly got momentum.” He included that “Young girl, likeable, and the singer won over the entertainer [Lewis].” Four selected songs Sparks had performed on American Idol, including the season’s coronation song, “This Is My Now“, were made available on her self-titled EP, released on May 22, 2007, the day before the grand finale. The coronation song, “This Is My Now” peaked at number fifteen on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Sparks’ first top fifteen hit on the chart. The following summer, Sparks took part in the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2007 from July 6 to September 23, 2007 along with other contestants in the top ten.
Since her win in 2007, Sparks has returned to Idol five times. She performed twice on the seventh season of American Idol, once on the Idol Gives Back results show singing “No Air” with Chris Brown and again with “One Step at a Time” on May 21, 2008 for the finale. She performed “Battlefield” on the May 13, 2009 episode of American Idol. The following year, Sparks took part in a tribute to Simon Cowell with other former contestants at the Season 9 finale on May 26, 2010. Most recently, during Season 10, Sparks performed her new song “I Am Woman” on the Top 4 results show.
|Episode||Theme||Song choice||Original artist||Order #||Result|
|Audition||N/A||“Because You Loved Me“||Celine Dion||N/A||Advanced|
|Hollywood||N/A||“Some Kind of Wonderful“||Soul Brothers Six||N/A||Advanced|
|Top 24 (12 Women)||N/A||“Give Me One Reason“||Tracy Chapman||6||Safe|
|Top 20 (10 Women)||Dedication Week||“Reflection“||Christina Aguilera||6||Safe|
|Top 16 (8 Women)||N/A||“Heartbreaker“||Pat Benatar||1||Safe|
|Top 12||Diana Ross||“If We Hold On Together“||Diana Ross||12||Safe|
|Top 11||British Invasion||“I (Who Have Nothing)“||Ben E. King||7||Safe|
|Top 10||No Doubt/artists who inspire Gwen Stefani||“Hey Baby“||No Doubt||9||Safe|
|Top 9||American Classics||“On a Clear Day”||Tony Bennett||5||Safe
|Top 8||Latin||“Rhythm Is Gonna Get You“||Gloria Estefan||6||Safe|
|Top 7||Country||“A Broken Wing“||Martina McBride||2||Safe|
|Top 6||Inspirational||“You’ll Never Walk Alone“||Rodgers and Hammerstein||6||Safe
|Top 6||Bon Jovi||“Livin’ on a Prayer“||Bon Jovi||2||Safe|
|Top 4||Barry Gibb||“To Love Somebody“
“Woman in Love“
|Top 3||Judge’s Choice (Simon Cowell)
|“Wishing on a Star“
“She Works Hard for the Money“
“I (Who Have Nothing)”
Ben E. King
“A Broken Wing”
“This Is My Now“
2007–2008: Jordin Sparks
After winning American Idol, Sparks signed to 19 Recordings/Jive Records, becoming the first Idol winner to join the label. On August 27, 2007, she released her debut single, “Tattoo“, which peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Sparks’ first top ten hit on the chart. The song certified platinum in the United States and Australia. To date, “Tattoo” has sold over two million copies in the U.S.
Sparks released her self-titled debut studio album on November 20, 2007, which debuted at number ten on the Billboard 200. To date, it has sold over a million copies in the U.S and was certified platinum by the RIAA. “No Air“, a duet with Chris Brown, was released as the second single from the album in February 2008. In the United States, the song peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 becoming Sparks’ best-charting single to date. It was also her first song to appear on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, where it reached number four. To date, the song has sold over three million copies in the U.S, making Sparks the first American Idol contestant to reach the three million mark. It also became Brown’s first song to hit three million. “No Air” also charted in Australia and New Zealand, where it reached number one, receiving platinum certifications in both countries.
On February 3, 2008, Sparks sang the National Anthem at Super Bowl XLII. She performed in a tribute to Aretha at the NAACP Awards in February, as well. She had previously performed in a tribute to Diana Ross in December 2007.
In support of the album, Sparks opened for Alicia Keys on the North America leg of her As I Am Tour, starting on April 19, 2008. Before the tour, a career-threatening throat injury forced Sparks to cancel a few weeks of the shows. Officials revealed she was suffering an acute vocal cord hemorrhage and was ordered strict vocal rest until the condition improved. Sparks was back on the road by April 30, 2008 and remained on the tour until June 18, 2008. Sparks later joined Keys for the tour leg in Australia and New Zealand in December 2008.
The album’s third single, “One Step at a Time“, was released in June 2008. It peaked at number seventeen on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Sparks her fourth top twenty hit on the chart. This makes Sparks the only American Idol contestant to have her first four singles reach the top twenty of the Hot 100. It also charted in the top twenty in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. In New Zealand, the song reached number two and was certified gold by the RIANZ. In August 2008, Sparks co-headlined the Jesse & Jordin LIVE Tour with Jesse McCartney in the United States.
Sparks received two MTV Video Music Award nominations for Best Female Video for “No Air” and Best New Artist at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards. While at the awards show, Sparks caused controversy by responding to a joke made by host Russell Brand during his opening monologue, in which he held up a silver ring, claiming to have relieved one of the Jonas Brothers of their virginity, saying he would “take them more seriously if they wore it (the ring) around their genitals”. Sparks who also wears a promise ring, began her introduction of T.I. and Rihanna by saying “It’s not bad to wear a promise ring because not everybody, guy or girl, wants to be a slut.” In response to the controversy over her “slut” remark, Sparks told Entertainment Weekly that she doesn’t regret the remark, commenting that “I wish I would’ve worded it differently – that somebody who doesn’t wear a promise ring isn’t necessarily a slut – but I can’t take it back now.” At the 2008 American Music Awards, Sparks won the award for Favorite Artist in the Adult Contemporary Category.
On January 20, 2009, Sparks performed “Faith” at the Commander-in-Chief’s Inaugural Ball, hosted by President Barack Obama. Her second studio album, Battlefield was released in the United States on July 21, 2009. The album’s title track was released as the lead single on May 25, 2009 and reached number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. The song peaked in the top five in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In the United States, Battlefield debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200, peaking higher than her debut album’s position of number ten. However, the album was notably unsuccessful compared to her debut, only selling 177,000 copies in the U.S and having failed to earn any chart certificates.
In support of the album, Sparks opened for The Jonas Brothers on the North America leg of the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009, starting on June 20, 2009. She also opened for Britney Spears on the second leg of her Circus Tour in North America, beginning on August 24, 2009. Sparks served as a replacement for Ciara.
“S.O.S. (Let the Music Play)“, was released as the second single from Battlefield on September 15, 2009. The song topped the U.S Hot Dance Club Songs chart, becoming Sparks’ first number one on the chart and peaked in the top fifteen in the United Kingdom. During this time, she recorded the duet, “Art of Love“, with Australian artist Guy Sebastian for his fifth studio album, Like It Like That. The song reached the top ten in Australia and New Zealand and was certified platinum by the Australian Recording Industry Association. The third single from Battlefield, “Don’t Let It Go to Your Head“, was released in the United Kingdom on January 8, 2010. The song reached a peak of #16 on the UK Singles Chart despite no physical release.
In May 2010, Sparks embarked on her first headlining tour in the United States, the Battlefield Tour. It began on May 1, 2010 and ended on July 18, 2010, stopping in over 35 major cities in the United States. In support of the DVD/Blu-Ray re-release of the Disney animated film, Beauty and the Beast, Sparks recorded a cover of the film’s title track for the soundtrack. A music video for the song was released on October 18, 2010.
2010–present: Third studio album
In a October 2010 interview, Sparks revealed she had begun working on her third studio album. During an interview with Good Day New York in November 2010, Sparks confirmed she would be recording the album in New York and Arizona. In January 2011, it was reported that Sparks and John Legend were working on songs together in the studio. In March 2011, Sparks recorded a music video for a song called “The World I Knew” for the film, African Cats, which was released on April 22, 2011. To support her third album, Sparks will serve as an opening act for the NKOTBSB summer tour. On May 5, 2011, it was revealed that Sparks’ lead single for her forthcoming album is titled “I Am Woman“. On May 12, 2011, Sparks performed “I Am Woman” on the American Idol Top 4 results show. “I Am Woman” debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number eighty-two with 33,000 downloads sold. It also debuted on the US Billboard Digital Songs at number fifty-seven. Sparks performed “I Am Woman” on Regis and Kelly on June 14th..
In April 2008, it was announced that Sparks would team up with cosmetics company, Avon, to become a spokesperson for the teen-focused line Mark. In November 2008, Sparks teamed up with Wet Seal to create her own clothing line. The collection, appropriately named ‘Sparks’, began with an assortment of holiday dresses delivering to stores just in time for the busy Thanksgiving weekend. The line launched on November 19, 2008 and comes in sizes XS to XL. Sparks said, “I am so excited that Wet Seal and I have been able to create a line of clothing that will appeal to more girls than ever before.”
In 2009, she made her acting debut on Disney’s The Suite Life on Deck, guest starring as herself in the “Crossing Jordin” episode. The episode guest starring Sparks aired on October 23, 2009. Sparks also guest starred on the hit Nickelodeon show, Big Time Rush. The episode aired on June 18, 2010.
On May 3, 2010, it was announced that Sparks would join the cast of the Tony Award-winning Broadway show “In the Heights” as Nina Rosario. Sparks took part in the production from August 19 through November 14 for a consecutive 12 weeks.
In October 2010, Sparks released her debut fragrance “Because of You….” This fragrance is currently being exclusively distributed at Dots, but by November will spread to other retail stores. The perfume is described as a “fruity floriental perfume” consisting of notes of “clementine, white imperial currant and orange blossom; a heart of nectarine, sharry baby orchid and coral charm peony; and a drydown of sheer musks, vanilla bean, Baltic amber and blond woods.” Sparks wanted this product to be affordable for her fans, yet still high end. “When I was starting this project, I really wanted it to be affordable. I looked at some other celebrity fragrances, and they were like $80. Even now, I look at a fragrance that’s $80, and I can’t bring myself to spend that much.”
In 2007, Sparks was asked by a relative who works for SOS Children’s Villages USA in Florida to design a denim jacket festooned with Swarovski Crystal to support orphans. In February 2008, Sparks traveled to Ghana. She was part of the delegation of former U.S. President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush to help with Malaria No More, an organization with a goal to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015. Sparks joined Mrs. Bush at the Maamobi Polyclinic, where the First Lady donated a number of treated bed nets to some local female traders in order to help combat the scourge of malaria in Ghana. While there, Sparks sang “Amazing Grace” to the durbar of chiefs who had gathered at the venue to give audience to Laura Bush. Sparks said, “Traveling to Ghana with Malaria No More gives me the incredible opportunity to see for myself what a difference a simple mosquito net can make in the life of a child.”
On May 20, 2009, Sparks became an endorser for the Got Milk? campaign, an American advertising campaign encouraging the consumption of cow’s milk On September 17, 2009, Sparks took part in the VH1 Divas special, a concert created to support the channel’s Save The Music Foundation The concert was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York where Sparks performed the second single from her Battlefield album, S.O.S. (Let the Music Play), as well as “A Broken Wing” with Martina McBride. In February 2010, Sparks was one of the many artists who contributed to “We Are the World 25 for Haiti“, a charity single for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Sparks teamed up with Pennyroyal Silver creator and designer, Tim Foster to create her very own necklace design for the company’s signature collection. Proceeds of the necklace funded medical units in Haiti.
On February 3, 2010, Sparks and David Archuleta performed at the “X the TXT” event, held at the Eden Roc Renaissance Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. All proceeds raised by the event went to a number of charities, including the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation. The following day both Sparks and Archuleta delivered teddy bears to children at the hospital. In June 2010, the “Thumbs Up to X the TXT” pledge campaign, established by “The Allstate Corporation”, made its way to Sparks’ Battlefield Tour, presented by Mike & Ike to encourage teens and their families not to text while driving. Fans at Sparks’ concerts made a pledge not to text and drive by adding their thumbprint to a traveling banner at each of her shows. The campaign began at Sparks’ Battlefield Tour on June 3, 2010 and ended on July 18, 2010. Sparks is the main spokesperson for the “I’m M.A.D., Are You?” campaign. She also supports Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, which helps to raise money for children with cancer. Sparks traveled to Louisiana in June 2010 to visit the Gulf Coast oil spill with the Audubon Society to view the effects of the oil spill on the wildlife and marshes. Sparks is also is a member of the National Youth Leadership Committee for the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration, along with Nick Jonas, Genvieve Ryan, and Brodi Conover.
Awards and nominations
|2007||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Female Reality/Variety Star||Won|
|2008||NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding New Artist||Won|
|BET Pre-Awards||Best Heartbreak Video (“No Air”)||Won|
|BET Awards||Viewers Choice (“No Air“)||Nominated|
|Beautiful Face Award||Won|
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Hook-Up (“No Air”)||Won|
|Choice Love Song (“No Air”)||Nominated|
|Choice Breakout Artist||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Female Video (“No Air”)||Nominated|
|Best New Artist||Nominated|
|American Music Awards||Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist||Won|
|2009||Grammy Awards||Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals (“No Air”)||Nominated|
|People’s Choice Awards||Favorite Pop Song (“No Air”)||Nominated|
|Favorite Combined Forces (“No Air”)||Won|
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Duo, Group or Collaboration (“No Air”)||Nominated|
|MTV Australia Awards||Best Collaboration (“No Air”)||Nominated|
|2010||ARIA Music Awards||Most Popular Australian Single (“Art of Love” with Guy Sebastian)||Nominated|
|2009||The Suite Life On Deck||Herself||Episode: “Crossing Jordin“|
|2010||Big Time Rush||Herself||Episode: “Big Time Sparks“|
|When I Was 17||Herself||Episode: 16|
|Team Umizoomi||Voice Over|
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Early life and career
Vaughn was born August 8, 1978 in Idabel, Oklahoma. She began her performing career at the age of three in 1981 singing at church. At age nine in 1988, she sang “I’ll Be There” to win the Star Search junior vocalist champion and overall junior champion. She was married to Joseph James, with whom she has a son Jaylin. During an appearance on the Mo’Nique Show, she shared that she also has a daughter.
Outside of television, she performed in the off-Broadway musical Mama, I Want to Sing! Part 2. In 1998, Vaughn was honored with anNAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance in Moesha. In 1992, Vaughn released her first album, Countess, featuring a variety of songs, including dance music and urban ballads. The album’s lone single, a cover of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World”, charted in the top-100 of the Bilo’Nique. She starred in the UPN sitcom, The Parkers, until the show’s ending in 2004. In 2011, Vaughn made her return to situational comedy on the BET sitcom Let’s Stay Together. Vaughn portrayed the friend of the character Kita portrayed by Erica Hubbard.
Celebrity Fit Club
Vaughn appeared in the third season of Celebrity Fit Club which premiered in January 2006 on VH1. On episode four,she announced that her and husband, James, were ending their marriage. During the course of the show, she became the first cast member to ever gain weight, with a weight gain of 4 pounds. It was said on the season finale that she was simply trying to lose weight at the wrong time.
Celebrity Rap Superstar
|2001||Max Keeble’s Big Move||Office Admin. Assistant|
|1992||Fievel’s American Tails||Monique (Voice)||1 episode|
|Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper||Keisha||2 episodes|
|1996||Minor Adjustments||Monique||1 episode|
|1996–1999||Moesha||Kimberly Ann Parker||83 episodes|
|1997||Goode Behavior||1 episode|
|1999–2004||The Parkers||Kimberly Ann Parker||111 episodes|
|Thugaboo: Sneaker Madness||Dee Dee||Voice|
|Thugaboo: A Miracle on D-Roc’s Street||Dee Dee||Voice|
|2011||Let’s Stay Together||Chanteuse||1 episode|
Awards and nominations
|1989||Young Artist Award||Nominated||Best Young Actress Featured, Co-starring, Supporting, Recurring Role in a Comedy or Drama Series or Special||227|
|1998||NAACP Image Awards||Won||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Moesha|
|1999||Nominated||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series||Moesha’c’|
|2000||Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series|
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Who is Michele Marie Bachmann? The Political world knows her as Michele Bachmann, she is a member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, and a candidate for the Republican nomination in the 2012 U.S. presidential election. She previously served in the Minnesota State Senate and is the first Republican woman to represent the state in Congress.
Bachmann is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, a supporter of the Tea Party movement and a founder of the House Tea Party Caucus.
Bachmann earned a Master of Laws degree, worked as a tax attorney, and was a foster mother for 23 teenagers.
Early life, education, and early career
|Bachmann in highschool|
Bachmann was born Michele Marie Amble in Waterloo, Iowa, April 6, 1956, “into a family of Norwegian Lutheran Democrats” who moved from Iowa to Minnesota when she was young. After her parents divorced, Bachmann’s father, David John Amble, moved to California, and Bachmann was raised by her mother, Jean (née Johnson), who worked at the First National Bank in Anoka, Minnesota. Bachmann grew up in Anoka, graduating from Anoka High School in 1974.
After graduating from high school, Bachmann spent time working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 1978 she graduated from Winona State University with a B.A.. In 1986 she received a J.D. degree from Oral Roberts University, followed by an LL.M. degree in tax law from the William & Mary Law School in 1988. She was a member of the final graduating class of the Oral Roberts University law school, and was part of a group of faculty, staff, and students who moved the ORU law school library to what is now Regent University.
From 1988 to 1993, Bachmann was an attorney representing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). She left her position with the IRS to become a full-time mother.
Bachmann and her husband own a Christian counseling practice in Stillwater, Minnesota.
Bachmann also has an ownership stake in a family farm located in Waumandee, Wisconsin. Since the death of her father-in-law in 2009, the farm and its buildings have been rented out to a neighboring farmer who maintains a dairy herd on the farm.
Early political activism and career
Bachmann grew up in a Democratic family, but she says she became a Republican during her senior year at Winona State. She told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that she was reading Gore Vidal‘s 1973 novel, Burr: “He was kind of mocking the Founding Fathers and I just thought, I just remember reading the book, putting it in my lap, looking out the window and thinking, ‘You know what? I don’t think I am a Democrat. I must be a Republican.‘“
While she was still a Democrat, Bachmann and her then-fiancé Marcus were inspired to join the pro-life movement by Francis Schaeffer‘s 1976 Christian documentary film, How Should We Then Live?. They frequently prayed outside of clinics and served as sidewalk counselors. Bachmann was a supporter of Jimmy Carter in 1976 and she and her husband worked on his campaign. During Carter’s presidency, Bachmann became disappointed with his liberal approach to public policy, support for legalized abortion and economic decisions she held responsible for increased gas prices. In the 1980 presidential election, she voted for Ronald Reagan and worked for his campaign.
Bachmann’s political activism gained media notice at a pro-life protest in 1991. She and approximately 30 other pro-life citizens went to a Ramsey County Board meeting where a $3 million appropriation was to go to build a morgue for the county at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center (now called Regions Hospital). The Medical Center performed abortions and employed abortion rights pioneer Jane Hodgson. Bachmann attended the meeting to protest public tax dollars going to the hospital; speaking to the Star Tribune, she said that “in effect, since 1973, I have been a landlord of an abortion clinic, and I don’t like that distinction”.
In 1993, Bachmann and other parents started a K-12 charter school in Stillwater, and she began speaking against a state-mandated set of educational standards, which propelled her into the world of politics.
Bachmann became a critic and opponent of Minnesota’s School-to-Work policies. In a 1999 column, she wrote: “School-to-Work alters the basic mission and purpose of K-12 academic education away from traditional broad-based academic studies geared toward maximizing intellectual achievement of the individual. Instead, School-to-Work utilizes the school day to promote children’s acquisition of workplace skills, viewing children as trainees for increased economic productivity.”
In 2000, Bachmann defeated 18-year incumbent Gary Laidig to secure the GOP endorsement as State Senator for Minnesota District 56. She then defeated Ted Thompson of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) and Lyno Sullivan of the Minnesota Independence Party in the General Election. In 2002, after redistricting, Bachmann defeated a fellow incumbent State Senator Jane Krentz of the DFL for the newly drawn District 52.
On November 20, 2003, Bachmann and Representative Mary Liz Holberg proposed a constitutional amendment that would bar the state from legally recognizing same-sex marriage. In 2004, Bachmann and a coalition of religious leaders announced plans for a “Minnesota for Marriage” rally. Bachmann’s effort to place a marriage amendment on a referendum ballot in 2004 ultimately failed. She resurrected her proposal in March 2005 but it stalled indefinitely in a senate committee that April.
In November 2004, Republican Senate Minority Leader Dick Day appointed Bachmann as Assistant Minority Leader in charge of Policy for the Senate Republican Caucus. In July 2005, the Republican Caucus removed her from her leadership position. Bachmann cited disagreements with Day over her anti tax stance as the reason for her ouster.
U.S. House of Representatives
Since 2007, Bachmann has served Minnesota’s 6th congressional district, which includes the northernmost and eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities and St. Cloud. She is the first Republican woman to be elected to the U.S. House from Minnesota.
Iraq War troop surge
In January 2007, a resolution was approved in the House of Representatives opposing President George W. Bush‘s plan to increase troop levels in Iraq. Bachmann voted “No”. However, before supporting the proposed surge, Bachmann called for a full hearing, saying, “The American people deserve to hear and understand the merits of increasing U.S. troop presence in Iraq. Increased troop presence is justifiable if that measure would bring a swift conclusion to a difficult conflict.” She hesitated to give a firm endorsement, calling the hearings “a good first step in explaining to the American people the course toward victory in Iraq”. When pressed, she said she had not come to any conclusion on the matter, saying, “I don’t believe we have all of the information in front of us. As a member of Congress that’s why I want to go to Iraq as quickly as I can. I want to get the best information in front of me.”
Member of Congressional delegation
In July 2007, Bachmann joined a Congressional delegation visiting Ireland, Germany, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Iraq. Due to security concerns Bachmann was only able to meet briefly with US personnel in the Green Zone and upon her return she said she “was encouraged by reports of progress from Crocker, Gen. David Petraeus and other personnel in Iraq linked to the surge.” She said the surge “hasn’t had a chance to be in place long enough to offer a critique of how it’s working. (Gen. Petraeus) said al-Qaida in Iraq is off its plan and we want to keep it that way. The surge has only been fully in place for a week or so.”
Bachmann also spoke of the delegation’s visit to Islamabad to meet Pakistani Prime Minister Aziz at the same time as the siege of Islamic fundamentalists at the Lal Masjid mosque elsewhere in the city. She reported that “The group [of U.S. Legislators] had to travel in armored vehicles and was constantly accompanied by Pakistani military….We were all able to see extremely up close and personal what it’s like to be in a region where fighting is occurring. We constantly felt like we were in need of security.” Bachmann told reporters upon her return that “the dangers posed by Islamic terrorism in Iraq, Britain and Pakistan justified the continued American military presence in Iraq.” She said “We don’t want to see al-Qaida get a presence in the United States. Al-Qaida doesn’t seem to show any signs of letting up. We have to keep that in mind.”
Opposition to higher education finance bill
On July 11, 2007, Bachmann voted against the College Cost Reduction and Access Act that would raise the maximum Pell grant from $4,310 to $5,200, lower interest rates on subsidized student loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent, raise loan limits to $30,500 from $7,500, disfavor married students who file joint tax returns, provide more favorable repayment terms to students who do not use their education to prosper financially and favor public sector over private sector workers with much more favorable loan forgiveness benefits. Supporters of the bill said “it would allow more students to attend college”. Bachmann said her opposition was because “it fails students and taxpayers with gimmicks, hidden costs and poorly targeted aid. It contains no serious reform of existing programs, and it favors the costly, government-run direct lending program over nonprofit and commercial lenders.” The bill passed the House  and was signed by President Bush.
Bachmann introduced the Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act, which would require a GAO report show that a change to fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) would have “clear economic, health and environmental benefits” prior to enforcement of lighting efficiency regulations that effectively ban conventional light bulbs. Bachman argued, “Each light bulb contains between 3-6 milligrams of mercury. There’s a question about how that mercury will fill up our landfills, and also if you break one in your home, you’ll have mercury that instantaneously vaporizes in your home. That poses a very real threat to children, disabled people, pets, senior citizens. And I just think it’s very important that Americans have the choice to decide, would they like an incandescent or a (CFL)?” Bob Collins of Minnesota Public Radio commented on the debate, noting a Popular Mechanics article which concluded that over the average life span of a CFL, an incandescent bulb could result in the emission of more mercury than an equivalent CFL, even if the CFL was broken, assuming power was generated by “a coal-fired power plant” (which produce about half the electricity the US consumes). However, Collins also noted there is evidence that “[for] some people, CFLs are a health risk.”, and that the environmental risks of CFLs deserve consideration. 
Class action lawsuits
On June 3, 2008, President George W. Bush signed the Credit and Debit Card Receipt Clarification Act (H.R. 4008) into law. The bipartisan bill, which Bachmann coauthored with Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), removes statutory damages to end “frivolous lawsuits” aimed at businesses.
Domestic oil and gas production
During the summer of 2008, as national gasoline prices rose to over $4 a gallon, Bachmann became a leading Congressional advocate for increased domestic oil and natural gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and the Outer Continental Shelf. She joined 10 other House Republicans and members of the media on a Congressional Energy Tour to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and to Alaska. The trip was set up by Arctic Power, an Alaskan lobbying group that advocates for ANWR development. The purpose of the trip was to receive a first hand account of emerging renewable energy technologies and the prospects of increased domestic oil and natural gas production in Alaska, including ANWR.
Bachmann has charged that global warming is a hoax and has been a vocal skeptic of global warming. She has asserted that since carbon dioxide is “a natural byproduct of nature”, it is a beneficial gas required by plant life. She stated that because life requires carbon dioxide and it is part of the planet’s life cycle, it cannot be harmful. In a statement she made on the House floor on Earth Day, April 22, 2009, Bachmann stated she was against the cap and trade climate legislation, stating: “Carbon dioxide is not a harmful gas, it is a harmless gas. Carbon dioxide is natural; it is not harmful…. We’re being told we have to reduce this natural substance to create an arbitrary reduction in something that is naturally occurring in the earth.”
Opposition to the bailout
Bachmann opposed both versions of the Wall Street bailout bill for America’s financial sector.
She voted against the first proposed $700 billion bailout of financial institutions, which failed to pass 205–228. She also advocated breaking up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and barring executives from excessive compensation or golden parachutes. However, she also advocated a plan that would suspend mark-to-market accounting rules and supported suspending the capital gains tax.
The “Big Three” automakers; Ford, Chrysler, and General Motors, approached Congress to ask for roughly $15 billion to keep them operational into 2009. Bachmann criticized that bill, fearing that the initial sum of money would be followed by subsequent ones without the companies making changes to revive their business. Bachmann supported an alternative bail-out for the Big Three and the rest of the auto industry rather than the plan that passed. According to Bachmann, her alternative would set benchmarks for reducing their debt and renegotiating labor deals and would set up the financial assistance as interim insurance instead of a taxpayer-financed bailout.
On October 17, 2008, Bachmann gave an interview on MSNBC‘s Hardball with Chris Matthews in support of the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain that brought the Minnesota 6th Congressional District race national attention. During the interview she criticized Barack Obama for his association with Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers, saying “…usually we associate with people who have similar ideas to us, and it seems that it calls into question what Barack Obama’s true beliefs, and values, and thoughts are…I am very concerned that he [Barack Obama] may have anti-American views.” She also documented the terrorist bombings of Bill Ayers and his associations with Barack Obama, saying that “Bill Ayers is not someone the average American wants to see their president have an association with.” Matthews responded with, “Why is it of concern? What is wrong with it? When asked by Matthews: “How many Congresspeople, members of Congress fit into that Anti-American crowd you describe”, Bachmann stated “You’d have to ask them Chris, I’m focusing on Barack Obama and the people he’s associated with”. Matthews followed up by asking “But he’s a Senator from the State of Illinois, he’s one of the members of Congress you suspect of being anti-American. How many people in the Congress of the United States do you think are anti-American? You’ve already suspected Barack Obama, is he alone or are there others?” Bachmann answered, “What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look…I wish they would…I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out are they pro-America, or anti-America. I think people would love to see an expose like that.”
The five Democratic members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation — Tim Walz, Betty McCollum, Keith Ellison, Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar — issued a joint statement in which they questioned her ability to “work in a bipartisan way to put the interests of our country first in this time of crisis”. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and former Minnesota Governor Republican Arne Carlson said that her comments had influenced their decisions to endorse Obama for president.
Bachmann brought up the interview before business leaders and Republicans during a campaign stop in St. Cloud, Minnesota on October 21, 2008. She stated that she never intended to question Obama’s patriotism. “I made a misstatement. I said a comment that I would take back. I did not, nor do I, question Barack Obama’s patriotism…. I did not say that Barack Obama is anti-American nor do I believe that Barack Obama is anti-American… [But] I’m very concerned about Barack Obama’s views. I don’t believe that socialism is a good thing for America.” However, in March 2010, Bachmann said, “I said I had very serious concerns that Barack Obama had anti-American views. And now I look like Nostradamus” while speaking at a fund-raiser for the Susan B. Anthony List. A year later, in March 2011, Bachmann was asked on Meet the Press if she still believed that Obama held un-American views. She responded “I believe that the actions of this government have, have been emblematic of ones that have not been based on true American values.” Pressed for clarification,she said “-I’ve already answered that question before. I said I had very serious concerns about the president’s views.”
On March 26, 2009, following comments by China proposing adoption of a global reserve currency, Bachmann introduced a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to bar the dollar from being replaced by a foreign currency. Current law prohibits foreign currency from being recognized in the U.S., but Bachmann expressed concerns relating to the President’s power to make and interpret treaties. Earlier that month, at a Financial Services Committee hearing, Bachmann asked both Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke if they would reject calls for the U.S. to move away from the U.S. dollar and they replied that they would reject such a call.
In a June 17, 2009, interview with The Washington Times, Bachmann expressed concern that the questions on the 2010 United States Census had become “very intricate, very personal” and that ACORN, a community organizing group that had come under fire the previous year, might be part of the Census Bureau’s door-to-door information collection efforts. She stated, “I know for my family the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home, we won’t be answering any information beyond that, because the Constitution doesn’t require any information beyond that.” However, her statement was incorrect, as the nonpartisan Politifact watchdog group confirmed that the Constitution does require citizens to complete the census. Fellow Republican Congressman Patrick McHenry (N.C.), Lynn Westmoreland (GA) and John Mica (FL), members of the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, Census and National Archives, which oversees the census, subsequently asked Bachmann not to boycott the population count.
Along with Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02), Bachmann introduced the American Community Survey Act to limit the amount of personal information solicited by the US Census Bureau. She reiterated her belief that the census asks too many personal questions.
“Armed and dangerous” quote
In March 2009, Bachmann was interviewed by the Northern Alliance Radio Network and promoted two forums she was hosting the next month in St. Cloud and Woodbury regarding Obama’s proposed cap and trade tax policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Bachmann said she wanted Minnesotans “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back.” Bachmann’s office quickly clarified that she was speaking metaphorically, meaning “armed with knowledge.” However, according to the Star Tribune, her quote went viral across the internet.
In 2009, Bachmann became a critic of what she characterized as proposals for mandatory public service. Speaking in reference to the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, an expansion to AmeriCorps (a federal community service organization), she said in April:
It’s under the guise of—quote—volunteerism. But it’s not volunteers at all. It’s paying people to do work on behalf of government. … I believe that there is a very strong chance that we will see that young people will be put into mandatory service. And the real concerns is that there are provisions for what I would call re-education camps for young people, where young people have to go and get trained in a philosophy that the government puts forward and then they have to go to work in some of these politically correct forums.
The original bill called for an exploration of whether a mandatory public service program could be established, but that entire section on creating a “Congressional Commission on Civic Service” was stripped from the bill.
In August 2009, political opponents of Bachmann publicized in the local media and the blogosphere what they described as the “ironic” fact that her son, Harrison, joined Teach for America, which is a member of the AmeriCorps program.
Bachmann contributed to the “death panel” controversy when she read from a July 24 article written by Betsy McCaughey from the floor of the House. Sarah Palin said that her “death panel” remark was inspired by what she called the “Orwellian” opinions of Ezekiel Emanuel as described by Bachmann, who accused him of advocating health care rationing by age and disability. According to PolitiFact and Time, Bachmann’s euthanasia remarks distorted Emanuel’s position on health care for the elderly and disabled. FactCheck.org stated, “We agree that Emanuel’s meaning is being twisted.” When many doctors wanted to legalize euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, Emanuel opposed it.
On August 31, 2009, Bachmann spoke at an event in Colorado, saying of Democratic health care overhaul proposals that:
This cannot pass. What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass.
She outlined ideas for changing the health care system, including: “Erase the boundaries around every single state when it comes to health care,” enabling consumers to purchase insurance across state lines; increase the use of health savings accounts and allow everyone to “take full deductibility of all medical expenses,” including insurance premiums; and tort reform.
Bachmann denounced the government-run health insurance public option, calling it a “government takeover of health care” that would “squeeze out private health insurance”.
Critique of President Obama’s Asian trip
In an interview with Anderson Cooper on November 3, 2010, when discussing cuts in government spending for Medicare and Social Security suggested by Congressman Paul Ryan, Bachmann was asked what cuts in government spending she would make to reduce the deficit. She cited President Obama’s then-upcoming trip to Asia as an example, saying it “is expected to cost the taxpayers $200 million a day. He’s taking two thousand people with him. He’ll be renting out over 870 rooms in India. And these are 5-star hotel rooms at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel. This is the kind of over-the-top spending, it’s a very small example, Anderson.” Bachmann was apparently referring to information in a story from the Press Trust of India, attributed to “a top official of the Maharashtra Government privy to the arrangements for the high-profile visit”, information that was also published in U.S.-based media such as The Drudge Report. In response to the news report’s claim that 34 warships were accompanying the President, a Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, dismissed the account as “comical”. The White House said that the press report figures were “wildly inflated” and had “no basis in reality”. While stating that they could not give the actual projected figures for security reasons, staffers maintained costs were in line with the official travel costs of previous Presidents Bush and Clinton.
|Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) (2nd-L) participates in a mock swearing in for Rep. Michele Bachmann|
After the 2010 elections and the announcement from Rep. Mike Pence that he was stepping away from his leadership position in the House, Bachmann announced on her Facebook page her intention to seek the position of House Republican Conference Chair. As Bachmann is the founder of the House’s Tea Party Caucus, her announcement caused some to see the leadership election as “an early test of how GOP leaders will treat the antiestablishment movement’s winners”. Many among the House’s Republican leadership, including Eric Cantor and the retiring Mike Pence, were quick to endorse Rep. Jeb Hensarling for the position; Speaker-to-be John Boehner remained neutral on the issue. Supporters of Bachmann’s run include Reps. Steve King, John Kline, Louie Gohmert, Chip Cravaack, Erik Paulsen, as well as media personality and political commentator Glenn Beck. Listing her qualifications for the position Bachmann noted “I’ve done an effective job speaking out at a national and local level, motivating people with our message, calling attention to deficits in Obama’s policy. I was instrumental in bringing tens of thousands of people to the US capitol to rally against Obama care and to attend our press conference.” She noted her work to keep the Tea Party within the GOP rather than having it become a third party thereby helping the party capture the House, stating “I have been able to bring a voice and motivate people to, in effect, put that gavel in John Boehner’s hands, so that Republicans can lead going forward. …It’s important that leadership represents the choice of the people coming into our caucus….I think I have motivated a high number of people to get involved in this cycle who may have sat it out and that have made a difference on a number of these races. I gave a large amount of money to NRCC and individual candidates and started Michelle PAC, which raised $650,000 for members since July, so I was able to financially help about 50 people out.”
Bachmann’s bid suffered a setback when she was passed over for the GOP’s transition team on which Hensarling was placed. Despite Bachmann’s leading all other Representatives in fund raising, a Republican aide stated some “members are getting resentful of Bachmann, who they say is making the argument that you’re not really a Tea Party supporter unless you support her. That’s gone through the formation of the Tea Party Caucus and the formation of this candidacy of hers. It’s just not so.” Sarah Palin, with whom Bachmann had campaigned earlier in the year, declined to endorse her leadership bid, while other Tea Party favorites Reps Adam Kinzinger and Tim Scott were placed on the transition team. According to some senior House staff members, the party leadership was concerned about some of Bachmann’s high profile faux pas, the high rate of turnover amongst her staff, and how willing she would be to advance the party’s messaging rather than her own.
On November 10, Bachmann released a statement ending her campaign for Conference Chair and giving her “enthusiastic” support to Hensarling.
Bachmann was selected by House Speaker John Boehner for a position “on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, giving her a new role as overseer of the CIA, the National Security Agency and the rest of the U.S. intelligence community.” Bachmann, who had “not served on any committee that deals with foreign policy issues” requested the position, “a move that has fueled speculation that she may be planning to carry the Tea Party banner into the GOP presidential primaries.”
Repeal of Dodd-Frank reform
Soon after being sworn in to her third term Bachmann introduced legislation to repeal the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. She stated “I’m pleased to offer a full repeal of the job-killing Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill. Dodd-Frank grossly expanded the federal government beyond its jurisdictional boundaries. It gave Washington bureaucrats the power to interpret and enforce the legislation with little oversight. Real financial regulatory reform must deal with these lenders who were a leading cause of our economic recession. True reform must also end the bailout mind-set that was perpetuated by the last Congress.” She also took issue with the law for not addressing the liabilities of the tax-payer funded Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bachmann’s bill has been endorsed by such conservative groups as the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, it has four other Republican co-sponsors including Rep Darrell Issa, who became the new chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at the start of the 112th Congress. Bachmann’s call for total repeal was seen as more drastic than the approach advocated by her fellow Republican Spencer Bachus who became the House Financial Services Committee Chairman with the change of majority in the House. Bachus “plans to provide ‘vigorous’ oversight of regulators efforts to reform banking and housing…reform Fannie and Freddie”, and “dismantle pieces of [the] Dodd-Frank Act that he believes ‘unnecessarily punish small businesses and community banks.'” In response to Bachmann’s legislation Rep Barney Frank stated, “Michele Bachmann, the Club for Growth, and others in the right-wing coalition have now made their agenda for the financial sector very clear: they yearn to return to the thrilling days of yesteryear, so the loan arrangers can ride again – untrammeled by any rules restraining irresponsibility, excess, deception, and most of all, infinite leverage.” The chances of Bachmann’s legislation passing were viewed as unlikely, the Financial Times wrote that “Like the Republican move to repeal healthcare reform, Ms Bachmann’s bill could be passed by the House of Representatives but be blocked by the Senate or White House.”
State of the Union response
Bachmann responded to President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union speech for the Tea Party Express website; this speech was broadcast live by CNN. She insisted that her response was not intended to counter the official Republican party response by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. When asked if the speech was an indication of competition with Ryan and Speaker Boehner’s leadership team, Bachmann dismissed such a view as “a fiction of the media”, she had alerted Ryan and the leadership team that her response might go national and no objections were raised.
Repeal of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
Bachmann has characterized the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as “ObamaCare”, and has continually called for its repeal. She recalled to reporters that she called for debate to repeal the act “the morning after Obamacare passed”. Joining with Rep. Steve King she introduced “the Bachmann-King repeal of health care bill” stating that it “is our intent in our heart to make sure that Obamacare is completely repealed.” In light of a Democratic held Senate and Presidency that oppose repeal, Bachmann called on the Republican held House of Representatives to not provide any funds for the implementation of the act “But until we can see that [repeal] happen, we want to fully defund this bill so that, like, it would be akin to a helium balloon that gets no helium inside so that it can’t take off the ground, and that’s what we’re planning to do. I’m very, very grateful for nothing else; having a majority in the House of Representatives so that we have the ability of the power of the purse to not fund Obamacare, and this is exactly the right way to go.”
On March 4, 2011 Bachmann (who was one of the six House Republicans to vote against the continuing resolution) expressed her unhappines with the move that gave a two-week reprieve to the fear of government shutdown, stating “I am vowing to vote ‘no’ on future Continuing Resolutions to fund the government unless there is specific language included to defund Obamacare and rescind the funding that has already been appropriated. Defunding Obamacare, along with defunding Planned Parenthood, must be non-negotiable planks in our budget negotiations.”
In an appearance on Meet the Press on March 6, 2011 and during a March 7, 2011 interview with Sean Hannity, Bachmann declared that the Obama administration and the Congressional Democrats had hidden $105 billion in spending in the overhaul of the American Health Care System. She portrayed the Democratic leadership as timing the release of the bill’s text to avoid detection of the spending “We didn’t get the bill until a literally couple of hours before we were supposed to vote on it.” She also stated the spending was split up within different portions of the bill to mask its total cost. Bachmann was alerted of the situation by the conservative Heritage Foundation which read the tallies of the Congressional Research Service and Congressional Budget Office.
Reports listed a partial breakdown of the costs which include “about $40 billion would go to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, $15 billion would go to Medicare and Medicaid innovation programs, and $9.5 billion would go to the Community Health Centers Fund.” As the funds are designated mandatory spending (they are not controlled by the annual appropriations acts), the funds would remain even if the move to defund the reform law succeeded.
Bachmann stated that $16 billion of the money gives Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a “slush fund…[to do] whatever she wants with this money.” She called on the bills supporters to return the money, “I think this deception that the president and [former House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid put forward with appropriating over $105 billion needs to be given back to the people.”
When asked during the Meet the Press interview if she would take back her previous comments that Obama held “anti-American views” and was running a “gangster government”, Bachmann backed her statements, saying “I do believe that actions that have been taken by this White House — I don’t take back my statements on gangster government. I think that there have been actions taken by the government that are corrupt…I said I have very serious concerns about the president’s views, and I think the president’s actions in the last two years speak for themselves.”
In response to Bachmann’s charges Chief Deputy Democrat Whip Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who serves on the House health subcommittee, pointed out that the report Bachmann refers to is an update of a report that came out in October 2010 and that the costs were spelled out in both the bill and the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of its cost, “Michele Bachmann obviously didn’t read the bill, because there was absolutely nothing hidden in that legislation.” Schakowsky held that the costs were not kept secret, citing the $40 billion for the Children’s Health Insurance Program as an example “There was a robust debate about whether or not that should be included,etc. So this idea of somehow, now at the last minute, there was a secret addition to some kind of funding…is absolute nonsense.”
Bachmann supports the teaching of intelligent design in public school science classes. During a 2003 interview on the KKMS Christian radio program Talk The Walk, Bachmann said that evolution is a theory that has never been proven one way or the other. She co-authored a bill [that received no additional endorsement among her fellow legislators] that would require public schools to include alternative explanations for the origin of life as part of the state’s public school science curricula. In October 2006, Bachmann told a debate audience in St. Cloud, Minnesota “there is a controversy among scientists about whether evolution is a fact or not…. There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design.”
Bachmann opposes minimum wage increases. Bachmann supports increased domestic drilling of oil and natural gas, as well as pursuing renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar, and is a strong proponent of nuclear power.
In a 2001 flyer, Bachmann and Michael J. Chapman wrote that federal policies manage a centralized, state-controlled economy in the United States. She wrote that education laws passed by Congress in 2001, including “School To Work” and “Goals 2000″, created a new national school curriculum that embraced “a socialist, globalist worldview; loyalty to all government and not America.” In 2003, Bachmann said that the “Tax Free Zones” economic initiatives of Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty were based on the Marxist principle of “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” She also said that the administration was attempting to govern and run centrally planned economies through an organization called the Minnesota Economic Leadership Team (MELT), an advisory board on economic and workforce policy chaired by Pawlenty. She said that health care reform advocates “forg[et] what the Constitution says.”
Prior to her election to the state senate, and again in 2005, Bachmann signed a “no new taxes” pledge sponsored by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. As a state senator, Bachmann introduced two bills that would have severely limited state taxation. In 2003, she proposed amending the Minnesota state constitution to adopt the “Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights” (TABOR).
In 2005, Bachmann opposed Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s proposal for a state surcharge of 75 cents per pack on the wholesale cost of cigarettes. Bachmann said that she opposed the state surcharge “100 percent—it’s a tax increase.” She later came under fire from the Taxpayers’ League for reversing her position and voting in favor of the cigarette surcharge.
Social Security and Medicare
Bachmann says in dealing with Iran, diplomacy “is our option”, but that other options, including a nuclear strike, shouldn’t be taken off the table.
She has also said that she is “a long time supporter of Israel”.
In a discussion about the G-20 summit in Toronto, during an interview with conservative radio host Scott Hennen, Bachmann stated that she does not want America to be part of the international global economy.
I don’t want the United States to be in a global economy where our economic future is bound to that of Zimbabwe, We can’t necessarily trust the decisions that are being made financially in other countries. I don’t like the decisions that are being made in our own country, but certainly I don’t want to trust the value of my currency and my future to that of like a Chavez down in Venezuela.
On economists who have influenced her views, Bachmann told the Wall Street Journal,
… the late Milton Friedman as well as Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. “I’m also an Art Laffer fiend—we’re very close,” she adds. “And [Ludwig] von Mises. I love von Mises,” getting excited and rattling off some of his classics like Human Action and Bureaucracy. “When I go on vacation and I lay on the beach, I bring von Mises.”
Bachmann supports both a federal and state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and any legal equivalents.In support of a constitutional amendment she proposed to ban same-sex marriage, In 2004, the Star Tribune reported that Bachmann said of people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered, “We need to have profound compassion for people who are dealing with the very real issue of sexual dysfunction in their life and sexual identity disorders“. Bachmann has praised the controversial Christian youth ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, appearing as a keynote speaker at their fundraisers.
In 2006, Bachmann stated that she would vote to permit abortion in cases of rape and incest. In the state senate, Bachmann introduced a bill proposing a constitutional amendment restricting state funds for abortion. The bill died in committee.
Bachmann won her Congressional seat in the 2006 election with 50 percent of the vote, as she defeated Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) candidate Patty Wetterling and the Independence Party‘s John Binkowski.
Mark Kennedy, the 6th District’s congressman since 2001, announced in late 2005 that he would be running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Mark Dayton of the DFL. Bachmann states she was called by God to run for the seat, and that she and her husband fasted for three days to be sure.
According to Bloomberg.com news, evangelical conservative leader James Dobson put the resources of his organization behind her 2006 campaign. Dobson’s Focus on the Family planned to distribute 250,000 voter guides in Minnesota churches to reach social conservatives, according to Tom Prichard, president of the Minnesota Family Council, a local affiliate of Dobson’s group. In addition to Minnesota, Dobson’s group also organized turnout drives in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey and Montana.
During a debate televised by WCCO on October 28, 2006, news reporter Pat Kessler quoted a story that appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune and asked Bachmann whether it was true that the church she belonged to taught that the Pope is the Anti-Christ. Bachmann stated that her church “does not believe that the Pope is the Anti-Christ, that’s absolutely false… I’m very grateful that my pastor has come out and been very clear on this matter, and I think it’s patently absurd and it’s a false statement.”
Bachmann received support from a fundraising visit in early July 2006 from Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. On July 21, 2006, Karl Rove visited Minnesota to raise funds for her election. In August, President George W. Bush was the keynote speaker at her congressional fundraiser, which raised about $500,000. Bachmann also received fundraising support from Vice President Dick Cheney. The National Republican Congressional Committee put nearly $3 million into the race, for electronic and direct-mail ads against DFLer Wetterling. The amount was significantly more than the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent on behalf of Wetterling. On November 7, 2006, Bachmann defeated opponents Patty Wetterling and John Binkowski, taking 50 percent of the vote to Wetterling’s 42 percent and Binkowski’s eight percent.
In 2008, Bachmann won re-election over her Democratic and Independence Party endorsed opponent Elwyn Tinklenberg. With all precincts reported, Bachmann won, 46.41% to 43.43%. Because Tinklenberg was running as a DFLer in the Democratic primary this allowed candidate Bob Anderson to run in the Independence Party primary unopposed despite not having the Independence endorsement. Anderson received 10% of the vote.
In the 2007-2008 election cycle, Bachmann’s campaign raised over $3.49 million for her re-election. Roughly 70% of her contributions came from individual contributions, and of those, 28% were from small individual contributions and 42% were from large individual contributions.
Bachmann was challenged in 2010 by Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee Tarryl Clark and Independent Candidate Bob Anderson. With more than $8.5 million, Bachmann spent more than any other House of Representative candidate, although her opponent, Tarryl Clark, was able to raise $4 million, one of the largest fundraising efforts in the nation for a U.S. House challenger. On November 2, 2010, Bachmann defeated Tarryl Clark by 52% to 40% of the vote.
In the 2009-2010 election cycle, Bachmann’s campaign raised over $13.4 million for her re-election; the average House member raised about $1 million over the same election cycle. Roughly 96% of her contributions came from individual contributors, and of those, 56% were from small individual contributions and 40% were from large individual contributions. Additionally, 3% came from PAC contributions and less than 1% from other sources.
2012 presidential campaign
In early 2011, there was much speculation that Bachmann would run for president in 2012. Bachmann participated in the second Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire on June 13, 2011; during the debate she announced she had filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) earlier that day to become a candidate for the GOP nomination.
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Who is Venus Ebony Starr Williams? The sports and entertainment world knows her as Venus Williams, Williams is an American professional tennis player who is a former World No. 1 and currently ranked World No. 29 in singles and World No. 20 in doubles as of 2011. she has been ranked World No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association on three separate occasions. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on February 25, 2002, becoming the first black woman to achieve this feat during the open era.
Her 21 Grand Slam titles ties her for twelfth on the all time list and is more than any other active female player except for her younger sister Serena Williams. Venus Williams’ titles consist of: seven in singles, twelve in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles. Those seven Grand Slam singles titles ties her with four other women for twelfth place on the all-time list. Her five Wimbledon singles titles ties her with two other women for eighth place on the all-time list. Venus Williams is one of only three women in the open era to have won five or more Wimbledon singles titles. From the 2000 Wimbledon Championships through the 2001 US Open, Williams won four of the six Grand Slam singles tournaments held. She is one of only five women in the open era to win 200 or more main draw Grand Slam singles matches.
Williams has won three Olympic gold medals, one in singles and two in women’s doubles. She has won more Olympic gold medals than any other female tennis player. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Williams became only the second player to win Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles at the same Olympic Games, after Helen Wills Moody in 1924.
With 43 career singles titles, Williams leads active players on the WTA Tour. Her 35-match winning streak from the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2000 Generali Ladies Linz tournament final is the longest winning streak since January 1, 2000. She is also one of only two active WTA players to have made the finals of all four Grand Slams, the other player being her sister Serena Williams . Venus Williams holds the record for the fastest serve ever by a female professional tennis player at 130 mph.
Venus Williams has played against her sister Serena Williams in 23 professional matches since 1998, with Serena winning 13 of the 23 matches. They have played against each other in eight Grand Slam singles finals, with Serena winning six times. Beginning with the 2002 French Open, they opposed each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, the first time ever in the open era that the same two players played against each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, yet alone sisters. On the doubles side, the pair have won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles playing alongside each other.
Venus Williams was born in Lynwood, California, June 17, 1980, to Richard Williams and Oracene Price. She is the second youngest of Oracene’s five daughters: half-sisters Yetunde (died September 14, 2003), Lyndrea and Isha Price, and younger sister Serena.
Williams’s family moved from Compton, California, to West Palm Beach, when she was ten, so that Venus `could attend the tennis academy of Rick Macci, who would provide additional coaching. Macci spotted the exceptional talents of the sisters. He did not always agree with Williams’s father but respected that “he treated his daughters like kids, allowed them to be little girls”. Richard stopped sending his daughters to national junior tennis tournaments when Williams was eleven, since he wanted them to take it slow and focus on school work. Another motivation was racial, as he had allegedly heard parents of white players talk negatively about the black Williams sisters during tournaments. At that time, Venus Williams held a 63–0 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among the under-12 players in Southern California. In 1995, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci’s academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home.
Williams is a powerful baseliner, equipped with an attacking all-court game. Her game is very well adapted to grass where she feels most comfortable, which is reflected in her five Wimbledon singles titles. Across her career, she has developed into a skillful volleyer and effectively utilizes her long “wingspan” (1.85m) and agility around the net. Williams also has great court coverage using her long reach to play balls that most players would not be able to reach and is capable of hitting outright winners from a defensive position.
Venus Williams holds the record for the fastest serve struck by a woman in a main draw event. At the Zurich Open, she recorded 130 mph (210 km/h). She also holds the record for fastest serve in all four Grand Slam tournaments: 2003 Australian Open quarterfinal – 125 mph (201 km/h), 2007 French Open second round, 2008 Wimbledon final, 2007 US Open first round – 129 mph (208 km/h). At Wimbledon in 2008, her average first serve speed was 115 mph (185 km/h) in the quarterfinal, 116 mph (187 km/h) in the semifinal, and 111 mph (179 km/h) in the final.
Williams has always been a explosive hitter of the ball off the ground, but her backhand is the more consistently reliable of her groundstrokes. Her backhand is equally effective down-the-line or crosscourt (frequently for a set-up approach shot).Her forehand occasionally breaks down under pressure.However, it is still the more powerful of her groundstrokes and yields many winners, from a variety of court positions.Additionally, it is one of the most powerful forehands in the women’s game,frequently struck in the 85 – 90 mph (140 km/h) range.In the 2008 Wimbledon women’s final, Venus struck a forehand winner measured at 94 mph (IBM/Wimbledon). Only a few women (notably Ivanović, Serena Williams, and Justine Henin) hit to these speeds off the ground.
Williams’s best surface is grass. She has won Wimbledon five times and has reached the final there in eight of the last ten years. The low bounces that grass produces tend to make her first serve an even more powerful weapon. Her movement on grass is also among the best on the WTA tour. Clay is Williams’s weakest surface although she has suffered numerous injuries prior to the French Open. Her movement is suspect and her powerful serve and groundstrokes are less effective. Still, she has won numerous titles on clay.
1994–96: Professional debut
Venus Williams turned professional on October 31, 1994, at the age of fourteen. In the second round of her first professional tournament, the Bank of the West Classic in Oakland, Williams was up a set and a service break against World No. 2 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario before losing the match. That was the only tournament Williams played in 1994.
In 1995, Williams played three more events as a wild card, falling in the first round of the tournament in Los Angeles and the tournament in Toronto but reaching the quarterfinals of the tournament in Oakland, defeating World No. 18 Amy Frazier in the second round for her first win over a top 20 ranked player before losing to Magdalena Maleeva.
Williams played five events in 1996, falling in the first round four times but reaching the third round in Los Angeles, before losing to World No. 1 Steffi Graf.
1997–99: Early success
Williams played 15 tour events in 1997, including five Tier I tournaments. She reached the quarterfinals in three of the Tier I events – the State Farm Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California, the European Indoor Championships in Zürich, and the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. In Indian Wells in March, Williams defeated World No. 9 Iva Majoli in the third round for her first win over a player ranked in the top 10. She then lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 8 Lindsay Davenport in a third set tiebreak. Her ranking broke into the top 100 on April 14, 1997. She made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open, reaching the second round before losing to Nathalie Tauziat. She then lost in the first round of Wimbledon to Magdalena Grzybowska. During her debut at the US Open, she lost the final to Martina Hingis after defeating Irina Spîrlea in a semifinal famous for “the bump” in which Spîrlea and Williams collided during a changeover. Richard Williams, her father, later claimed that this incident was racially motivated. She was the first woman since Pam Shriver in 1978 to reach a US Open singles final on her first attempt and was the first unseeded US Open women’s singles finalist since 1958. On September 8, 1997, her ranking broke into the top 50 for the first time. She ended the year ranked World No. 22.
|Venus Williams and Lindsay Davenport|
Williams started 1998 at the Medibank International Sydney, where she defeated World No. 1 Hingis for the first time in the second round before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the final. These results caused her ranking to break into the top 20 for the first time, at World No. 16. During her debut at the Australian Open, Williams defeated younger sister Serena in the second round, which was the sisters’ first professional meeting. Venus eventually lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 3 Davenport.
Three weeks later, Williams defeated World No. 2 Davenport for the first time in the semifinals of the IGA Tennis Classic in Oklahoma City. Williams then defeated Joannette Kruger in the final to win the first singles title of her career. In her first Tier I event of the year, Williams lost in the semifinals of the State Farm Evert Cup in Indian Wells to World No. 1 Hingis. The following week, Williams won the Tier I Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, Florida, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals. On March 30, 1998, her ranking broke into the top 10 for the first time, at World No. 10.
Williams played only one tournament on clay before the 1998 French Open. At the Italian Open in Rome, she defeated sister Serena in the quarterfinals and World No. 5 Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals before losing to World No. 1 Hingis in the final. Williams lost again to Hingis in the quarterfinals of the French Open. Williams lost her first match at the Direct Line International Championships in Eastbourne on grass before losing to eventual champion and World No. 3 Jana Novotná in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. On July 27, 1998, her ranking rose to World No. 5.
Williams played three tournaments during the North American 1998 summer hard court season. She reached her fifth final of the year at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, defeating World No. 6 Monica Seles in the semifinals before losing to World No. 1 Davenport. Patella tendinitis in her left knee caused her to retire from her quarterfinal match at the tournament in San Diego while trailing Mary Pierce 4–0 in the third set. At the US Open, Williams defeated fourth seeded Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals before losing to second seeded and eventual champion Davenport in the semifinals.
Williams played four tournaments the remainder of 1998. She won her third title of the year at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich in September, defeating World No. 9 Patty Schnyder in the final. She lost in the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt before losing in the final of the Tier I Swisscom Challenge in Zürich to World No. 1 Davenport and the semifinals of the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow to Pierce. She had earned enough points during the year to participate in the year-ending Chase Championship but withdrew from the tournament because of tendinitis in her knee. She finished the year ranked World No. 5.
|Venus Williams and Justin Gimelstob|
In 1998, Williams teamed with Justin Gimelstob to win the mixed doubles titles at the Australian Open and the French Open. Her sister Serena won the other two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles that year, completing a “Williams Family Mixed Doubles Grand Slam”. Williams won the first two women’s doubles titles of her career, in Oklahoma City and Zürich. Both titles came with sister Serena, becoming only the third pair of sisters to win a WTA tour doubles title.
Williams started the 1999 tour in Australia, where she lost to World No. 10 Steffi Graf in the quarterfinals of the Medibank International in Sydney and World No. 1 Davenport in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. However, she rebounded at the Faber Grand Prix in Hanover, defeating Graf for the first time in the semifinals before losing the final to World No. 3 Novotná. Williams then successfully defended her titles in both Oklahoma City and Key Biscayne. She defeated Novotná and Graf to reach the final in Key Biscayne, where she defeated Serena in three sets in the first final on the WTA Tour to be contested by two sisters.
Williams played four clay court events during the spring. She lost her first match at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida. Three weeks later, however, she won her first title on clay at the Betty Barclay Cup in Hamburg, defeating Mary Pierce in the final. Williams then won the Tier I Italian Open in Rome, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 8 Pierce in the final. At the French Open, she extended her winning streak to 22 matches before losing in the fourth round to World No. 125 Barbara Schwartz. Williams teamed with Serena to win the women’s doubles title at this event, the first Grand Slam title the pair won together.
At the 1999 Wimbledon Championships, Williams defeated World No. 17 Anna Kournikova in the fourth round to reach the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, where she lost to eventual runner-up Graf.
Williams rebounded in the summer when she won two Fed Cup matches against Italy and lost in the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford to World No. 1 Davenport. One week later, Williams defeated Davenport in the semifinals of the TIG Tennis Classic in San Diego before losing to World No. 2 Hingis in the final. In her last tournament before the US Open, Williams won the Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven, Connecticut, defeating World No. 5 Seles in the semifinals and Davenport in the final. On August 30, 1999, her world ranking reached third for the first time. Seeded third at the US Open, Williams lost in the semifinals to World No. 1 Hingis in three sets. However, she teamed with singles champion Serena at this event to win their second Grand Slam women’s doubles title.
During the remainder of the year, Williams contributed to the USA’s victory over Russia in the Fed Cup final, winning one singles rubber before joining Serena to win the doubles rubber. At the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, Venus defeated Hingis in the semifinals before losing to Serena for the first time in the final. Venus won her sixth title of the year at the Tier I event in Zurich, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the final. Four weeks later, she lost to Davenport in the semifinals of the tournament in Philadelphia. Making her debut at the year-ending Chase Championships, Williams lost to Hingis in the semifinals. She finished the year ranked World No. 3.
2000–02: Williams sisters domination
In 2000, Williams missed the first four months of the year with tendinitis in both wrists. She returned to the tour during the European clay court season. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Betty Barclay Cup in Hamburg to Amanda Coetzer and in the third round of the Tier I Italian Open in Rome to Jelena Dokić. Although she had won only two of her four matches before the French Open, she was seeded fourth there. She won her first four matches in Paris without losing a set before losing in the quarterfinals to eighth-seeded and former champion Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in three sets.
Williams then won 35 consecutive singles matches and six tournaments. She won her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, defeating World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, sister Serena in the semifinals, and defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the final. She also teamed with Serena to win the women’s doubles title at this event.
She won three Tier II events during the North American summer hard court season, defeating Davenport in the final of the tournament in Stanford, California and Monica Seles in the finals of both the tournament in San Diego and the tournament in New Haven, Connecticut.
|Serena Williams and Venus Williams at the Australian Open|
At the US Open, Williams defeated still-World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 2 Davenport in the final. At the Olympic Games in Sydney, Williams defeated Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals, Seles in the semifinals, and Elena Dementieva in the final to win the gold medal. She also won the gold medal in women’s doubles with her sister Serena. Davenport eventually snapped her winning streak in October in the final of the tournament in Linz. Williams did not play a tournament the rest of the year because of anemia. She finished the year ranked World No. 3 and with six singles titles.
In 2001, Williams reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time, where she lost to World No. 1 Hingis. However, Venus teamed with Serena to win the doubles title at the event, completing a Career Grand Slam in women’s doubles for the pair.
Williams also reached the semifinals of the Tier I Tennis Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells, California, where she controversially defaulted her match with sister Serena just before the match started. Venus had been suffereing from knee tendinitis throughout the tournament and eventually this prevented her from playing. The following day, Venus and her father Richard were booed as they made their way to their seats to watch the final despite her clear injury. Serena was subsequently booed during the final with Kim Clijsters and during the trophy presentation. Due to the overt racism of the crowd, neither Williams sister has entered the tournament since. Venus rebounded from the Indian Wells controversy to win the next tournament on the tour calendar, the Tier I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. She defeated Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 4 Jennifer Capriati in the final, after saving eight championship points. Because of this victory, her ranking rose to a career high of World No. 2.
During the European clay court season, Williams won the Tier II tournament in Hamburg but lost in the third round of the Tier I EUROCARD Ladies German Open to World No. 18 Justine Henin and the first round of the French Open to Barbara Schett. This was only the second time that she had lost in the first round of a Grand Slam singles tournament. Williams then successfully defended her Wimbledon title, defeating third-seeded Davenport in the semifinals and eighth-seeded Henin in three sets in Henin’s first Wimbledon final.
During the North American summer hard court season, Williams won for the second consecutive year the tournaments in San Diego, defeating Seles in the final, and in New Haven, defeating Davenport in the final. Williams also won the US Open singles title for the second consecutive year, without dropping a set. In the quarterfinals, she beat fifth-seeded Clijsters, followed by a semifinal victory over World No. 2 Capriati. She played Serena in the final, which was the first Grand Slam singles final contested by two sisters during the open era. Venus won the match and her fourth Grand Slam singles title. Venus also became only the sixth woman in history to win the singles titles at both Wimbledon and the US Open in consecutive years, the others being Martina Navaratilova (twice), Steffi Graf (twice), Althea Gibson, Maureen Connolly Brinker, and Helen Wills Moody (twice).
Williams began 2002 by winning the Mondial Australian Women’s Hardcourts in Gold Coast, Australia, defeating Henin in the final. However, she then lost for the first time in her career to Seles in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Williams then went on to win the Open Gaz de France in Paris when Jelena Dokić withdrew from the final, and the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium, defeating Henin in the final. As a result of her strong start to the season, Williams assumed the World No. 1 position for the first time on February 25, dislodging Capriati. Williams was the first African-American woman ever to hold the ranking. She held it for just three weeks before surrendering it back to Capriati.
Williams failed to defend her title in Miami after losing in the semifinals to Serena. However, she made a strong start to the clay-court season, winning the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, defeating Henin in the final. A week after winning that tournament, she once again replaced Capriati as the World No. 1, before losing it again to Capriati after three weeks. During those three weeks, Williams had made the final in Hamburg, defeating Hingis in the semifinals before losing to Clijsters in the final. Seeded second at the French Open, Williams defeated former champion Seles to reach the semifinals for the first time. There, she defeated Clarisa Fernández. In the final, Williams met Serena for a second time in a Grand Slam final, with Serena winning. Venus once again replaced Capriati as the World No. 1 as a result of reaching the final.
|The Williams sisters against each other in Wimbledon 2002|
As the top seed at Wimbledon, Williams defeated Henin in the semifinals to make the final for the third consecutive year. However, there, she lost to Serena. This result meant Serena replaced Venus as the World No. 1. The Williams sisters teamed up to win the women’s doubles title at the event, their fifth Grand Slam women’s doubles title together.
Williams won the titles in San Diego and New Haven for the third consecutive year, defeating Davenport and Dokic to win the former and defeating Davenport in the final of the latter. At the US Open, Williams defeated Seles in the quarterfinals and Amélie Mauresmo in three sets to make the final. Playing Serena for their third consecutive Grand Slam final, Serena won once again. After that, Venus played just four more matches during the season. She reached the semifinals at the year-ending Sanex Championships after defeating Seles in the quarterfinals, but she then was forced to retire against Clijsters due to injury. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 2 having won seven titles, her best showing in both respects of her career.
2003–06: Injuries and losses
Williams started 2003 by defeating fifth seed Justine Henin to make the final of the Australian Open for the first time. In the final, however, she lost to sister Serena. This marked the first time in the open era that the same two players had met in four consecutive Grand Slam finals. Venus and Serena teamed to win the women’s doubles title at the event, their sixth Grand Slam title in women’s doubles.
In February, Williams won the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium for the second consecutive year, defeating Kim Clijsters in the final. However, shortly afterwards, she began to struggle with injury. She reached the final of the clay court J&S Cup in Warsaw before being forced to retire against Amélie Mauresmo. She then suffered her earliest exit at a Grand Slam tourmament in two years when she lost in the fourth round of the French Open to Vera Zvonareva.
At Wimbledon, Williams was seeded fourth. Williams defeated former champion Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinals and Kim Clijsters in the semifinals to advance to her fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, where she lost again to sister Serena.
Wimbledon was Williams’ last event of the year as an abdominal injury that occurred during the Clijsters match prevented her from playing again. While she was recovering from the injury, her sister Yetunde Price was murdered. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 11. It was the first time in nearly six years that she had dropped out of the top ten.
In 2004, Williams came back to the tour suffering inconsistent results. As the third seeded player because of a protected ranking, she reached the third round of the Australian Open, where she lost to Lisa Raymond. She then lost in the quarterfinals of her next three tournaments.
Williams began to find her form at the beginning of the clay court season. At the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Williams defeated Conchita Martínez in the final to win her first title in over a year and the second Tier I title on clay of her career. She then won in Warsaw, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final, before reaching the final of the Tier I German Open in Berlin, before withdrawing from that match against Mauresmo due to injury. Going into the French Open, Williams had the best clay court record among the women and was among the favorites to win the title; however, after making the quarterfinals to extend her winning streak on the surface to 19 matches, she lost to eventual champion
|Venus Williams and Karolina Sprem match|
Anastasia Myskina. Despite her defeat, she re-entered the top ten.
At Wimbledon, Williams lost a controversial second round match to Croatian Karolina Šprem. The umpire of the match, Ted Watts, awarded Šprem an unearned point in the second set tiebreak. Upon the conclusion of the match, he was relieved of his duties. This defeat marked the first time since 1997 that Williams had
exited Wimbledon prior to the quarterfinals. After Wimbledon, Williams reached her fourth final of the year at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, where she suffered her first defeat to Lindsay Davenport since 2000.
As the defending champion at the Athens Olympics, Williams lost in the third round to Mary Pierce. She then lost in the fourth round of the US Open to Davenport, the first time she had ever lost at the US Open prior to the semifinals. Williams completed the year by losing in the quarterfinals of three indoor tournaments in the fall, a period that included defeat in her first meeting with 17-year-old Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova at the Zurich Open. Williams finished the year as World No. 9 and did not qualify for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships.
In 2005, Williams started the year by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Alicia Molik. She then reached the final in Antwerp, defeating Clijsters and Myskina en route. In the final, Williams was a set and a service break up against Mauresmo before eventually losing.
In March, at the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, Williams defeated sister and Australian Open champion Serena in the quarterfinals, the first time she had defeated Serena since 2001. Venus went on to lose in the semifinals to World No. 3 Sharapova. In May, Williams won her first title in over a year at the clay-court Istanbul Cup, defeating Nicole Vaidišová in the final. However, at the French Open, she lost in the third round to 15-year old Sesil Karatantcheva, who subsequently tested positive for steroids and was suspended.
Williams was seeded 14th at Wimbledon. In the quarterfinals of the tournament, she defeated French Open runner-up Pierce in an epic second set tiebreak, winning it 12–10 to make the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in two years. There, she defeated defending champion and second-seeded Maria Sharapova to make the Wimbledon final for the fifth time in six years. Playing top-seeded Davenport in the final, Williams saved a match point with a backhand winner en route to winning. This was Williams’s third Wimbledon singles title, her fifth Grand Slam singles title overall and her first since 2001. It was the first time in 70 years that a player had won after being down match point during the women’s final at Wimbledon.In addition, Williams was the lowest-ranked (World No. 16) and lowest-seeded (14th) champion in tournament history.Williams returned to the top ten following the victory.
Following Wimbledon, Williams reached her fourth final of the year in Stanford, where she lost to Clijsters. At the US Open, Williams achieved her second consecutive win over Serena in the fourth round, but then lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters. Williams did not qualify for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships because of an injury sustained during the tournament in Beijing. She finished the year ranked World No. 10. It was the first year since 2001 that she had finished a year ranked higher than Serena.
In 2006, Williams was upset in the first round of the Australian Open by Tszvetana Pironkova which was her earliest loss ever at that tournament. After that loss, she did not play again for three months due to a wrist injury. She returned in late April on clay in Warsaw, where she defeated former World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the second round before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals. Wiliams completed the clay-court season by reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open, where she lost to Nicole Vaidišová.
Williams was the defending champion and one of the favorites to win the singles title at Wimbledon. However, she lost lost in the third round to 26th-seeded Jelena Janković. After the loss, Williams said that she was having pain in her left wrist, although she admitted that the injury was not the cause of her loss. Williams did not play in the US Open series or the US Open itself due to the wrist injury. During her first tournament in almost three months in October, she reinjured her wrist at the tournament in Luxembourg and lost in the second round to qualifier Agnieszka Radwańska. Williams finished the season as World No. 46, her lowest finish since she began to play on the WTA Tour full-time in 1997. It was the second consecutive year she finished higher than Serena, who finished the year at World No. 95
2007–09: Return to form
Williams withdrew from the 2007 Australian Open, the second consecutive Grand Slam that she had missed due to her recurring wrist injury. She returned in February at the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, USA, defeating top-seeded Shahar Pe’er in the final, her first singles title since her victory at Wimbledon in 2005.
At the beginning of the clay-court season, Williams reached the semifinals of the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, where she lost to Jelena Janković on a third set tiebreak. She also lost to fourth seed Janković in the third round of the French Open, her third consecutive loss to Janković. During her second round win over Ashley Harkleroad, Williams hit a 206 km/h (128.8 mph) serve, which is the second fastest woman’s serve ever recorded and the fastest ever recorded during a main draw match.
Williams was ranked World No. 31 going into Wimbledon and was seeded 23rd at the tournament due to her previous results at Wimbledon. Williams was a game away from defeat in her first round match against Alla Kudryavtseva and in her third round match against Akiko Morigami she was two points away from defeat, but she eventually won both 7–5 in the third set. She then advanced to reach her sixth Wimbledon final, after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivnovic en route to the final where she defeated 18th seed Marion Bartoli. Williams thus became only the fourth woman in the open era to win Wimbledon at least four times, along with Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf. She also became the lowest-seeded Wimbledon champion in history, breaking the record she herself set in 2005. Williams returned to the top 20 as a result of the win.
At the US Open, after setting a Grand-Slam record 129 mph (208 km/h) serve in the opening round, Williams advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal outside of Wimbledon since 2003. However she then lost to eventual champion Justine Henin. The tournament resulted in Williams’s ranking moving up to World No. 9. Williams then won her third title of the year at the Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul, South Korea, defeating Maria Kirilenko in the final, before then losing in the final of the Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo to Virginie Razzano. Williams had earned enough points during the year to qualify for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships in Madrid; however, she withdrew because of continuing problems with anemia. Williams finished the year as World No. 8 with three titles, her best performance in both respects since 2002, and a winning percentage of 83 percent.
In 2008, as the eighth seed at the Australian Open, Williams reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003. However, she then lost to eventual runner-up Ana Ivanović. Williams made her first semifinal of the year at the Bangalore Open in Bangalore, India, where she met sister Serena for the first time since 2005 with Serena winning despite Venus holding a match point in the third set tie break.
Williams missed two tournaments at the beginning of the clay-court season due to undisclosed medical problems. At the French Open, Williams was seeded eighth but was eliminated by 26th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta in the third round.
|Venus vs Serena Williams Grand Slam 2008|
Williams was the defending champion and seventh-seeded player at Wimbledon. Without dropping a set, she reached her seventh Wimbledon singles final. She then won her fifth Wimbledon singles title, and seventh Grand Slam singles title overall, by beating sister Serena in straight sets. This was the first time since 2003 that Venus and Serena had played each other in a Grand Slam final and was the first time since 2001 that Venus had defeated her in a Grand Slam final. Venus and Serena then teamed to win the women’s doubles title, their first Grand Slam doubles title together since 2003.
Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics to Li Na. She did, however, earn a gold medal along with Serena in women’s doubles, their second gold medal as a team, having won together at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. At the US Open, Williams was playing some of her best tennis since dominating the circuit in 2003, However, she was defeated by Serena in an epic quarter final match 6 – 7(6), 6 – 7(7) after Venus led 5 – 3 in both sets. Serena went on to win the title beating World No. 6 Dinara Safina in the semi-finals and World No. 2 Jelena Jankovic in the finals.
At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany in October, Williams defeated a player ranked in the top three for the first time that season by defeating World No. 3 Dinara Safina to reach her third semifinal of the year. There, she lost to Janković. A fortnight later, Williams won the Zurich Open, defeating Ivanović in the semifinals before defeating Pennetta in the final to claim her second title of the year and secure a position in the year-ending 2008 WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar. There, Williams defeated World No. 2 Safina, World No. 3 Serena and World No. 5 Dementieva in the preliminary round-robin stage. In the semifinals, Williams defeated World No. 1 Janković before winning the year-ending tournament for the first time by defeating Vera Zvonareva in the final. She ended the year ranked sixth in the world with three titles and a winning percentage of 78 percent.
|Venus Williams on Clay|
As the sixth seed at the 2009 Australian Open, Williams lost in the second round to Carla Suárez Navarro after holding a match point in the third set. However, she teamed up with Serena to win the women’s doubles title at the event, their eighth Grand Slam doubles title together. Venus rebounded in singles play in February at the Premier 5 (formerly Tier I) Dubai Tennis Championships, defeating defending champion and World No. 4 Dementieva in the quarterfinals and World No. 1 Serena in the semifinals on a third set tiebreak. The latter win meant that Venus led the head-to-head in career matches with her sister for the first time since 2002. Venus went on to defeat Virginie Razzano in the final. This win meant Williams was ranked in the top five for the first time since 2003, while it also marked her 40th professional singles title, only the twelfth player in the open era to achieve the feat. Williams won another title the following week at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico, defeating Pennetta in the final. This was her first title on clay since 2005.
On European clay, Williams reached the semifinals in Rome before losing to World No. 1 Safina. This run meant Williams was ranked in the top three for the first time since 2003. Seeded third at the French Open, Williams lost to Ágnes Szávay in the third round, the third consecutive year she had exited at that stage.
Williams was seeded third at Wimbledon. She advanced to her eighth Wimbledon final where she had won 36 straight sets (held since Wimbledon 2007). In the final however she lost the first set tie break and from then on lost 7–6 6–2 to sister Serena. The Williams sisters teamed up to win the doubles title at the tournament for the fourth time.
In Stanford, Williams defeated Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva to advance to the finals, where she would lose to Marion Bartoli. Teaming with her sister, she played doubles and won the title, defeating Monica Niculescu and Yung-Jan Chan.
At the 2009 US Open, as the third seed, Williams made it to the fourth round before losing to Kim Clijsters in three sets. Venus then teamed up with Serena to play doubles at the open, where they won the title over defending champions and world No. 1s in doubles, Cara Black and Liezel Huber, claiming their third grand slam doubles title in 2009.
Williams’ last tournament in 2009 was the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, where she was the defending champion in singles. She was in the maroon group which includes her sister Serena, along with Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova. She lost her first match against Dementieva, and her second match against Serena- both in straight sets, after taking the first set. In her third and final RR match, Williams defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova. Because of Dementieva’s loss to Kuznetsova in their round robin match, Venus advanced to the semifinal of the championships. In her semifinal match, she defeated Jelena Janković of Serbia to advance to her second consecutive final in the tournament. In the final, she lost to her sister Serena. In doubles, Venus teamed with Serena as the second seed. However, they lost to Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez in the semifinal. Their doubles record at the end of the year stood at 24–2.
Venus finished 2009 ranked world number 6 in singles (with a winning percentage of 70 percent) and world number 3 in doubles with Serena, in spite of playing only 6 events together in 2009.
2010: Return to top 2
Williams played at the Australian Open as the sixth seed. She defeated 17th-seeded Francesca Schiavone in the fourth round. She was two points from defeating 16th-seeded Li Na in the quarterfinals before losing in three sets. In doubles, she teamed with her sister Serena to successfully defend their title, defeating the top ranked team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final. The Williams sisters are undefeated in Grand Slam women’s doubles finals and are 4–0 in Australian Open doubles finals.
|Dubai Tennis Championship|
Williams then played the Dubai Tennis Championships, where she was the defending champion. Seeded third, she successfully defended her title by defeating fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the final.
Williams next played on clay at the Abierto Mexico Telcel in Acapulco where she was the defending champion. She reached the semifinals after recovering from a 1–5 third set deficit to Laura Pous Tió in the quarterfinals. In the final, she defeated first-time finalist Polona Hercog from Slovenia. This was her 43rd career title, the most among active female players.
Her next tournament was the Premier Mandatory Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, where she was seeded third. She defeated World No. 9 Agnieszka Radwańska in the quarterfinals and World No. 13 Marion Bartoli in the semifinals to reach her third straight WTA tour final and fourth Sony Ericsson Open final. She was defeated by Kim Clijsters in the final in just 58 minutes, ending her 15-match winning streak. By reaching the final, her ranking improved to World No. 4 and she crossed the $26 million mark in career prize money, the only player besides Serena to do so.
The knee injury that hampered her during the final of the Sony Ericsson Open forced her to skip the Fed Cup tie against Russia and the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Williams returned to the tour at the Premier 5 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. She suffered the worst defeat of her career in the quarterfinals, losing to World No. 4 Jelena Janković 6–0, 6–1. Despite this loss, Williams’ ranking improved to World No. 3 on May 10.
Her next tournament was the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, a Premier Mandatory tournament. She lost to Aravane Rezaï in the final. In doubles, she teamed with Serena to win the title.
On May 17, her ranking improved to World No. 2, behind only Serena. This was the fourth time that the William sisters’ have occupied the top two spots, and the first time since May 2003.
Her next tournament was the French Open, where she played both singles and doubles despite her knee injury. Seeded second in singles, she advanced past the third round at this tournament for the first time since 2006 before losing to Nadia Petrova in the round of 16. She also played doubles with Serena as the top seeds. Their defeat of Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the semifinals increased their doubles ranking to World No. 1. They then defeated 12th seeded Květa Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final to win their fourth consecutive Grand Slam women’s doubles title.<