Wednesday Open Thread: Old Souls Week- Harry Connick, Jr.

Today’s Old Soul is Harry Connick Jr.


Joseph Harry Fowler Connick, Jr.[1] (born September 11, 1967)[1] is an American singer, musician and actor. He has sold over 28 million albums worldwide.[2] Connick is ranked among the top 60 best-selling male artists in the United States by the Recording Industry Association of America, with 16 million in certified sales.[3] He has had seven top 20 US albums, and ten number-one US jazz albums, earning more number-one albums than any other artist in US jazz chart history.[4]

Connick’s best-selling album in the United States is his 1993 Christmas album When My Heart Finds Christmas, which is also one of the best selling Christmas albums in the United States. His highest-charting album is his 2004 release Only You, which reached No. 5 in the U.S. and No. 6 in Britain. He has won three Grammy Awards and two Emmy Awards. He played Grace’s husband, Dr. Leo Markus, on the TV sitcom Will & Grace from 2002 to 2006.

Connick began his acting career as a tail gunner in the World War II film Memphis Belle in 1990. He played a serial killer in Copycat in 1995, before being cast as jet fighter pilot in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. Connick’s first role as a leading man was in 1998’s Hope Floats with Sandra Bullock. His first thriller film since Copycat came in 2003 in the film Basic with John Travolta. Additionally, he played the violent ex-husband in Bug, before two romantic comedies, 2007’s P.S. I Love You, and the leading man in New in Town with Renée Zellweger in 2009. In 2011, he appeared in the family film Dolphin Tale as Dr. Clay Haskett and in the 2014 sequel, Dolphin Tale 2.

Early life[edit]
Harry Connick, Jr. was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.[5] His mother, Anita Frances (née Levy; later Livingston;[6] May 22, 1926 – July 1981), was a lawyer and judge in New Orleans and, later, a Louisiana Supreme Court justice. His father, Joseph Harry Fowler Connick, Sr., was the district attorney of Orleans Parish from 1973–2003.[7][8] His parents also owned a record store. Connick’s father is a Catholic of Irish, English, and German ancestry.[9][10] Connick’s mother, who died from ovarian cancer, was Jewish (her parents had immigrated from Minsk and Vienna, respectively).[11][12][13] Connick has a sister, Suzanna; the siblings were raised in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans.[14] Connick is a first cousin of both Jefferson Parish District Attorney, Paul Connick, and State Representative Patrick Connick (of Harvey, Jefferson Parish).[15]

Connick’s musical talents soon came to the fore when he started learning the keyboards at age three, playing publicly at age five, and recording with a local jazz band at ten.[14] When Connick was nine years old, he performed the Piano Concerto No. 3 Opus 37 of Beethoven with the New Orleans Symphony Orchestra (now the Louisiana Philharmonic), and later played a duet with Eubie Blake at the Royal Orleans Esplanade Lounge in New Orleans. The song was “I’m Just Wild About Harry”. This was recorded for a Japanese documentary called Jazz Around the World.[14][16] The clip was also shown in a Bravo special, called Worlds of Harry Connick, Junior. in 1999. His musical talents were developed at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and under the tutelage of Ellis Marsalis, Jr. and James Booker.

Connick attended Jesuit High School, Isidore Newman School, Lakeview School, and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, all in New Orleans. Following an unsuccessful attempt to study jazz academically, and having given recitals in the classical and jazz piano programs at Loyola University, Connick moved to the 92nd Street YMHA in New York City to study at Hunter College and the Manhattan School of Music, where a Columbia Records executive Sr. V.P. of A&R, Dr. George Butler, persuaded him to sign with that label. His first record for the label, Harry Connick Junior., was a mainly instrumental album of standards. He soon acquired a reputation in jazz because of extended stays at high-profile New York venues. His next album, 20, featured his vocals and added to this reputation.

When Harry Met Sally…, chart and movie success[edit]
With Connick’s reputation growing, director Rob Reiner asked him to provide a soundtrack for his 1989 romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally…, starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. The soundtrack consisted of several standards, including “It Had to Be You”, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” and “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore”, and achieved double-platinum status in the United States. He won his first Grammy Award for Best Jazz Male Vocal Performance for his work on the soundtrack.

Connick made his screen debut in Memphis Belle (1990), about a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber crew in World War II. In that year he began a two-year world tour. In addition he released two albums in July 1990: the instrumental jazz trio album Lofty’s Roach Souffle and a big-band album of mostly original songs titled We Are in Love, which also went double platinum. We Are in Love earned him his second consecutive Grammy for Best Jazz Male Vocal.

“Promise Me You’ll Remember”, his contribution to the Godfather III soundtrack, was nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe in 1991. In a year of recognition, he was also nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Performance in a Variety Special for his PBS special Swingin’ Out Live, which was also released as a video. In October 1991 he released his third consecutive multi-platinum album, Blue Light, Red Light, on which he wrote and arranged the songs. Also in October 1991 he starred in Little Man Tate, directed by Jodie Foster, playing the friend of a child prodigy who goes to college.

In November 1992, Connick released 25, a solo piano collection of standards that again went platinum. He also re-released the album Eleven. Connick contributed “A Wink and a Smile” to the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack, released in 1993. His multi-platinum album of holiday songs, When My Heart Finds Christmas, was the best-selling Christmas album in 1993.

Mid–1990s: funk[edit]
In 1994, Connick decided to branch out. He released She, an album of New Orleans funk that also went platinum. In addition, he released a song called “(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name” for the soundtrack of The Mask, starring Jim Carrey, which is his most successful single in the United States to date.[citation needed]

Connick took his funk music on a tour of the United Kingdom in 1994, an effort that did not please some of his fans, who were expecting a jazz crooner. Connick also took his funk music to the People’s Republic of China in 1995, playing at the Shanghai Center Theatre. The performance was televised live in China for what became known as the Shanghai Gumbo special. In his third film Copycat, Connick played a serial killer. Released in 1995, Copycat also starred Holly Hunter and Sigourney Weaver. The following year, he released his second funk album, Star Turtle, which did not sell as well as previous albums, although it did reach No. 38 on the charts. However, he appeared in the most successful movie of 1996,[17] Independence Day, with Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum.

Late 1990s: jazz and Hope Floats[edit]
For his 1997 release To See You, Connick recorded original love songs, touring the United States and Europe with a full symphony orchestra backing him and his piano in each city. As part of his tour, he played at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, with his final concert of that tour in Paris being recorded for a Valentine’s Day special on PBS in 1998. He also continued his film career, starring in Excess Baggage opposite Alicia Silverstone and Benicio del Toro in 1997.

In May 1998, he had his first leading role in director Forest Whitaker’s Hope Floats, with Sandra Bullock as his female lead. He released Come By Me, his first album of big band music in eight years in 1999, and embarked on a world tour visiting the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia. In addition, he provided the voice of Dean McCoppin in the animated film The Iron Giant.

2000–02: Broadway debut, musicals, Will & Grace[edit]
Connick wrote the score for Susan Stroman’s Broadway musical Thou Shalt Not, based on Émile Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin, in 2000; it premiered in 2001. His music and lyrics earned a Tony Award nomination. He was also the narrator of the film My Dog Skip, released in that year.

In March 2001, Connick starred in a television production of South Pacific with Glenn Close, televised on the ABC network. He also starred in his twelfth movie, Mickey, featuring a screenplay by John Grisham that same year. In October 2001, he again released two albums: Songs I Heard, featuring big band re-workings of children’s show themes, and 30, featuring Connick on piano with guest appearances by several other musical artists. Songs I Heard won Connick another Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Album and he toured performing songs from the album, holding matinees at which each parent had to be accompanied by a child.

In 2002, he received a U.S. Patent 6,348,648 for a “system and method for coordinating music display among players in an orchestra.”[18] Connick appeared as Grace Adler’s boyfriend (and later husband) Leo Markus on the NBC sitcom Will & Grace from 2002 to 2006.

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13 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread: Old Souls Week- Harry Connick, Jr.

  1. rikyrah says:

    Charles Barkley and the Plague of ‘Unintelligent’ Blacks

    A history of respectability politics, from the postbellum period to today

    Ta-Nehisi CoatesOct 28 2014, 3:08 PM ET

    Charles Barkley recently explained why “we as black people are never going to be successful.” His reasoning is painful:

    “We as black people are never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you are black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people,” Barkley said.

    Barkley, a native of Leeds, [Alabama,] said African Americans are too concerned with street cred than true success and that’s holding the community back.

    “For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. It’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community.

    “There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have success. It’s best to knock a successful black person down because they’re intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they’re successful. It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re black, man.”

    It’s worth noting that there isn’t much difference between Barkley’s claim that “there are a lot black people who are unintelligent” and the claims of a garden-variety racist. I assume that Barkley meant to say something more nuanced. That more charitable analysis, though, is far from a “dirty dark secret.” The notion that black irresponsibility is at least part of the “race problem” is widely shared among black America’s most prominent figures, beginning—but not ending—with the president of the United States.

    I’ve written on this several times and there’s really no need to do it again. I simply maintain, as I always have, that if aliens were to compare the socioeconomic realities of the black community with the history of their treatment in this country, they would not be mystified. Respectability politics is, at its root, the inability to look into the cold dark void of history. For if black people are—as I maintain—no part of the problem, if the problem truly is 100 percent explained by white supremacy, then we are presented with a set of unfortunate facts about our home.

    And the looking away is quite old. In his book Lynching: American Mob Murder in Global Perspective, historian Robert Thurston traces the roots of respectability politics to the postbellum era. Asked to assess the problem of lynching, black public figures condemned barbarism—but not just the barbarism of white mobs.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Walker runs on pay equity after scrapping pay-equity law
    10/29/14 09:17 AM—UPDATED 10/29/14 09:24 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) seems to understand he can’t run from his record on women’s issues, so he might as well try to carefully run on his record. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

    Earlier this month, for example, the Republican incumbent ran an ad touting his support for legislation to “increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options.” Walker carefully avoided the details: the Wisconsin governor supports imposing regulations that close women’s health clinics while forcing women to undergo medically unnecessary ultrasounds.

    This week, with the campaign nearly over, Team Walker is shifting its attention to pay equity. Laura Bassett reported yesterday:
    Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) released an ad on Tuesday in which his female lieutenant governor applauds his support for equal pay for women – just two years after the governor signed a bill repealing the state’s equal pay law.

    “Under Scott Walker, workplace discrimination will always be illegal for any reason,” Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch says in the ad. “Mary Burke wants to create more opportunities to sue. We want to create more opportunities for women to succeed.”

    This is one of those cases in which the message and the messenger are both badly flawed.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Chris Matthews: After Michael Steele, RNC Turned To Suppressing Black Vote

  4. Good morning all have a great day. I will be going to Bellevue Hospital where my son is hospitalized. Should be interesting with the Ebola lurking around every paranoid corner.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Meet the Georgia Five: Black Women Running for Statewide Office

    These women are part of a history-making ballot in the Peach State.

    By Joyce Jones

    Posted: 10/27/2014 10:00 AM EDT

    On Election Day, political observers around the nation will have Georgia on their minds. Jason Carter, grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, hopes to unseat incumbent Gov. Nathan Deal. The outcome of the race between Michelle Nunn, daughter of former congressman and senator Sam Nunn, and Republican opponent David Perdue is a key factor in whether Democrats will be able to maintain their fragile control of the U.S. Senate.

    But there are five other reasons to keep an eye on Georgia: the ballot will for the first time feature five African-American women running for statewide office. Their fates are far from certain, but their mere presence will help decide if it’s Deal or no Deal and whether Democrats can turn the red state blue.

    “We are hopeful that the African-American community, which is key to the November election, is energized and excited by the historic nature of this ticket,” said Robbin Shipp, who is running for labor commissioner. Even though women make up more than half of the population and minorities comprise roughly 48 percent of the state’s population, “all of the constitutional offices in Georgia, from the top to the bottom, are held by white males,” she adds, a wrong that she hopes the Georgia Five, as the women have been called, can help right.

    Shipp’s political appetite was first whetted when she was a student at Shaw University and volunteered on Rev. Jesse Jackson’s first presidential campaign. She managed Rep. Sanford Bishop’s first congressional bid and when Barack Obama was running for office, Shipp and her friends like to joke, they made monthly donations “like he was a bill.”

    The longtime defense attorney also served two terms in the state’s general assembly, but left public office soon after her father’s sudden death to help her mother adjust to being on her own after 51 years of marriage. She now feels compelled to get back in the game after witnessing the number of Georgians living in poverty go up instead of down.

  6. rikyrah says:

    McConnell trips on Social Security approaching finish line
    10/29/14 08:38 AM
    By Steve Benen
    A variety of adjectives come to mind when describing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but “undisciplined” isn’t one of them. It’s why it came as something of a surprise last week when the longtime incumbent, unprompted, reminded voters of his support for George W. Bush’s plan to privatize Social Security out of existence.

    Ironically, the Kentucky Republican was looking for an example of his bipartisan outreach, and the first thing that came to mind was his effort to find Democrats willing to replace the Social Security system with private accounts.

    Alison Lundergan Grimes and her allies were only too pleased to take advantage – if McConnell wants to spend the final week of the campaign talking about his work trying to kill Social Security, Democrats don’t mind at all. Indeed, the Senate Majority PAC launched this hard-hitting ad in Kentucky late last week.

    Greg Sargent reported yesterday that McConnell’s campaign team has pushed local stations not to run the commercial. The Republican push isn’t going well.

    The McConnell campaign is trying to get TV stations to stop running the ad. I’ve checked in with Kentucky stations, and most declined to reveal their plans for the spot, though an official at one – Fox affiliate WDRB – told me: “We reinstated the spot, finding the assertions factual.” A spokesman for Senate Majority PAC told me the ad is still airing “on every station we bought on.”

    The dust-up shows that Democrats are pushing hard to make Social Security privatization a sleeper issue in the last days of the Kentucky Senate race.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Georgia court sides with state in voter-registration case
    10/29/14 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen
    We’ve kept a close eye on developments in Georgia, home to very competitive U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races, where civil-rights groups believe state officials are slow-walking tens of thousands of voter-registration forms. A lawsuit was filed on Friday, Oct. 10, with voting-rights advocates looking for a court order on processing pending forms.

    As the Associated Press reported, with time running out, state officials appear to have prevailed.
    Days before the midterm elections, a state judge declined Tuesday to act in a dispute over 56,000 voter registration applications in one of the nation’s most politically charged states. […]

    Fulton County Judge Christopher Brasher ruled Tuesday that the plaintiffs failed to prove that election authorities haven’t followed the law, even if the would-be voters have yet to show up on the state’s official list of eligible electors.

    Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp and authorities in several majority Democratic counties say they are still processing the applications. And they’ve argued that any citizen can cast a provisional ballot, a contention the plaintiffs mock as insufficient.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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