Wilson Post Blogs
Elephant boy Sabu was WWII tail gunner
Dear Ken: In the 1940s there was an Indian child actor named Sabu, who starred in “The Jungle Book” and “The Thief of Baghdad.” Is he still living?
Sabu was the son of an Indian mahout or elephant driver, so he proved a natural to star in a 1937 British film “Elephant Boy.” He made about 20 films, including “Black Narcissus,“ between 1937 and 1964. He became an American citizen in 1944 and joined the U.S. Army Air Force, where he served as a tail gunner during several dozen missions in the Pacific. He died young in 1963 of a heart attack at age 39.
Dear Ken: I just saw a wonderful movie called “Muriel’s Wedding,“ about an overweight girl who stays in her room most of the time where she daydreams and listens to ABBA songs. Who is the actress and what are some of her other movies? That is Australian actress Toni Collette, 39, who most recently starred in the Showtime TV series, “United States of Tara.” Among her other films are “Emma,” “The Sixth Sense,” “Shaft,” About a Boy,” “The Hours” and “Little Miss Sunshine.” She stars next, this month, in a remake of “Fright Night.” The mother of two young children is also lead singer of the group Toni Collette & the Finish. Her husband is the drummer in the band. She was offered the lead role in “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” but had to turn it down because she had committed to a play on Broadway.
Dear Ken: Whatever happened to singer-trumpeter Herb Alpert of the Tijuana Brass, who had hits in the late 1960s? Alpert, 76, has sold more than 70 million records. Among his biggest hits were “A Taste of Honey,” “Zorba the Greek,” “What Now My Love?” “This Guy’s in Love With You” and “Rise.” For much of his career he was a music executive as he was a co-founder of A&M Records. He later was a Broadway theater producer. In February Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, released a new album, “I Feel You.“ He still plays the trumpet but also paints and sculpts and puts on exhibitions of his work in the U.S. and Europe.
Dear Ken: How many TV series has Burt Reynolds starred in? I found seven: “Riverboat,” “Gunsmoke,” “Dan August,” “Hawk,” “Evening Shade,” “B.L. Stryker” and “Out of This World.” The actor has a son, Quinton, 22, who was named after the character he played on “Gunsmoke,” blacksmith Quint Asper.