Carrying On

Wow, what a weekend. First, Paul Newman dies, which was sad, if not shocking (one of his close friends recently told the press that the actor only had a few more weeks to live). Then, the debate. I'm glad that Barack didn't slouch out on foreign policy, but I do think he was a bit of a punk. I understand he doesn't want to be perceived as an Angry Black Man, but come on! I wanted to jump into the TV screen myself and punch the smug of McCain's face. Patronizing bastard. Would it really have been so bad if Barack prefaced one of his answers with, "No, John, you don't understand." ?

The news that came as the biggest shock to me this weekend was the passing of Marpessa Dawn. (I know, you're saying, Who?) Just the other week I blogged about the death of Breno Mello, the male lead in the classic French-filmed tale of doomed lovers Black Orpheus. Marpessa was his leading lady. Remarkably, they passed away within 41 days of each other. If you've seen the movie, you'll know the significance of this.

Ms. Dawn, whose good looks remind me of a younger Phylicia Rashad, was of black and Filipino heritage and although she sprouted Portuguese like a native in the movie, she was born in, of all the unglamorous places, Pittsburgh. She spent most of her life in Europe and in fact died at her home in Paris from an apparent heart attack at age 74.

She did slightly more acting that her leading man, mostly in France, and appeared as herself in a production as recently as 2005. She and Breno Mello likely never even saw each other again after completing the French-produced film (he was a native of Brazil and lived there all his life, while she returned to France), but they are immortalized forever on the screen as Orpheus and Eurydice. Black Orpheus was the first movie featuring love between a black man and woman I'd ever seen, and it will always be special to me.