CLOSE
Original image
Getty Images

15 Couples Who Collaborated

Original image
Getty Images

1. Wayne Allwine and Russi Taylor

They're not household names, but you probably recognize their voices. Disney sound effects editor Wayne Allwine, the voice of Mickey Mouse from 1977 to his death in 2009, met voice actress Russi Taylor when she became the voice of Minnie Mouse in 1986. The two fell in love and married in 1992. No wonder they had so much animated chemistry.

2. Charles and Ray Eames

Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use

It was the beginning of a beautiful aesthetic when architect/instructor Charles Eames met art student Bernice "Ray" Kaiser at Michigan's Cranbook Academy of Art in 1940. They married a year later after Charles proposed with a letter beginning, "I am 34 (almost) years old, singel (again) and broke. I love you very much and would like to marry you very very soon." The couple moved to Los Angeles, where they built the iconic Eames House and designed mid-century modern furniture still coveted today. As if by design, Ray Eames died on August 21, 1988, exactly 10 years after her husband.

3. Gerry Goffin and Carole King

Getty Images 

Songwriting brought Gerry Goffin and Carole King together when they met at Queens College in 1958. They married a year later after 17-year-old King got pregnant and soon joined the Brill Building song publishing firm Aldon Music. With Goffin penning the lyrics and King composing the melody, the couple wrote some of the biggest hits of the '60s, including "The Loco-Motion," "(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman," and "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" The two worked amicably after their divorce in 1968, but King eventually found her own voice with the 1971 album Tapestry. King recorded new songs, along with some of the hits she wrote with her ex, and was the first female solo artist to win Grammys for both Record and Song of the Year.

4. Marina Abramović and Ulay

Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović had just begun making a name for herself when she fell in love with German performance artist Ulay in 1976. The pair collaborated on such pieces as Breathing In/Breathing Out, in which they rested mouth-to-mouth and inhaled each other's breath until they passed out. When they decided to part ways in 1988, they turned their breakup into another work of art. Abramović and Ulay each walked the Great Wall of China from opposite ends, meeting in the middle to say their goodbyes. They didn't see each other until 22 years later, when Ulay surprised Abramović as she silently performed The Artist Is Present at her 2010 MoMA retrospective. Watch what happened when they finally reunited (video NSFW):

5. Pierre and Marie Curie

Getty Images

The couple that discovers spontaneous radioactivity together, stays together. Physicist Pierre Curie met his chemist wife Marie through a mutual, science-minded friend. When they married in 1895, Marie used a lab at her husband's workplace, Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie de Paris. The couple explored radioactivity with fellow physicist Henri Becquerel and shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903. (Marie alone received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911 for the discovery of the elements radium and polonium.) In 1935, their daughter Irène Curie followed in their footsteps and won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry with her own husband.

6. Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner

Getty Images

Comedian Lily Tomlin met comedy writer Jane Wagner when they developed monologues by Edith Ann, one of Tomlin's most popular Laugh-In characters, into the 1972 comedy album And That's The Truth. It began a lifetime collaboration. Wagner has been the funny woman behind the funny woman ever since, writing a number of movies and TV specials starring Tomlin. But the couple was totally serious when they married on December 31, 2013 after 42 years together.

7. Bob Kersee and Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Getty Images

It was work at first sight when three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner met Bob Kersee, her track and field coach at UCLA. Under his guidance, Joyner won the 1982 and 1983 NCAA heptathlons and the 1984 Olympic silver medal in the same event during college. (Kersee had quite the track record. He also coached Olympic gold medalist Florence "Flo Jo" Griffith-Joyner, who married Jackie Joyner's Olympic gold medalist brother.) When Joyner graduated, she and Kersee took their relationship to the next level. He continued coaching her and the two married in 1986. Kersee allegedly told Joyner not to hyphenate her name until she broke a world record. She made it happen at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, winning gold in the heptathlon. Her 7291 point score still hasn't been beaten.

8. Henry and Phoebe Ephron

Sometimes writing runs in the family. Henry and Phoebe Ephron married in 1934 and worked as a Hollywood screenwriting team for 20 years. Their most notable work was the film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel in 1956. But their biggest contribution to the arts is probably their four daughters—Nora, Delia, Hallie, and Amy—who all grew up to be writers.

9. Stan and Jan Berenstain

Wikimedia Commons // Fair Use

The couple behind the beloved Berenstain Bears children's book series met in 1941 on their first day of classes at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. They used their art skills during World War II—with Stan working as a medical illustrator and Jan drafting designs for the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1946, the future Mr. and Mrs. Berenstain made their weddings rings out of aluminum scraps salvaged from an aircraft factory. The couple's two sons inspired their magazine cartoon "It's All in the Family," as well as illustrated books about pregnancy, child-rearing, and the birds and the bees. In 1962, they switched over to bears with The Big Honey Hunt. The 300+ stories about Pa, Ma, Brother, and Sister Bear became elementary school classics.

10. Robert and Michelle King

Getty Images

TV writing/life partners Robert and Michelle King co-wrote their first TV show, the legal drama In Justice, in 2006. It was cancelled after just one season. Three years later, they tried it again with a new legal drama inspired in part by the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. The Good Wife remains one of most critically-acclaimed shows on TV.

11. Donald and Nancy Featherstone

Getty Images 

Massachusetts artist Donald Featherstone was a single guy when he invented the iconic plastic flamingo back in 1958. When he married wife Nancy in 1978, they embarked on an ongoing project—wearing matching outfits for the last 35 years. Nancy started by sewing matching shirts and soon graduated to pants, sweaters, and even coats. The couple coordinates their outfits every day, no matter the weather, even when they're not together. Their favorite print: flamingos.

12. Jack and Meg White

Getty Images

Jack and Meg White of the White Stripes were known for doing things a little differently. Their album covers and clothing were strictly limited to the colors red, black, and white, and they recorded music on antiquated equipment. They insisted that they were brother and sister, even after their marriage certificate surfaced on the Internet. (It turns out, they'd been married since 1996 and Jack took Meg's last name.) The creative couple divorced in 2000 and won their first Grammy Award four years later. The White Stripes called it quits in 2011.

13. Ross Bagdasarian, Jr. and Janice Karman

Getty Images

When singer Janice Karman married film producer Ross Bagdasarian Jr. in 1979, she was marrying into a family business—a very high-pitched family business. Bagdasarian's father created and voiced each member of Alvin and the Chipmunks back in 1958 and won multiple Grammy Awards. "The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)" was even nominated for Record of the Year in 1959, competing with hits from Perry Como, Peggy Lee, and Frank Sinatra. (Yes, seriously.) Bagdasarian Sr. died in 1972, leaving the legacy of the Chipmunks to his children. Together, his eldest son and the daughter-in-law he never knew revived the act, producing new Alvin and the Chipmunks albums and a TV series from 1983 to 1990. Bagdasarian, Jr. was the voice of Alvin, Simon, and Dave, while Kamran played Theodore and all three of the Chipettes. 

14. Anonymous Canadian Yacht Owners

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

What's a wealthy couple to do when they get bored entertaining friends on their yacht? In 1954, one unknown Canadian husband and wife invented a dice rolling game they cleverly called "The Yacht Game." When they asked toy entrepreneur Edwin Lowe to make game sets for their friends, he made them a deal: 1000 Yacht Game sets for the full rights. Lowe renamed the game Yahtzee and sold it to the Milton Bradley Company in 1973. The original inventors never made a dime. Then again, they already had a yacht.

15. Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley

Getty Images

Who says old married couples start tuning each other out? Singer/guitarist Ira Kaplan and drummer Georgia Hubley married in 1987, three years after forming the New Jersey-based indie rock group Yo La Tengo. Nearly 30 years and 13 studio albums later, they're still rocking.

Original image
Getty Images
arrow
Pop Culture
Suspicious Minds: The Bizarre, 40-Year History of Elvis Presley Sightings
Original image
Getty Images

On August 16, 1977, something momentous happened in Memphis, Tennessee. It was either the death of Elvis Presley at the age of 42, as more than 80 percent of Americans believe, or the start of the most spectacular disappearing act in the history of mankind.

This week, as fans mark the 40th anniversary of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s (alleged) passing, those who believe that Presley is still alive will have a golden opportunity to make their case. Or, rather, cases. “Elvis is alive” theories are as varied as they are plentiful, and they’ve been circulating since just after his death. He’s left the realm of popular entertainers and joined the ranks of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and to some, Jesus. What follows is a brief history of why some people refuse to let this American icon rest in peace.

THE FIRST SIGHTING

On the afternoon of August 16, 1977, a man bearing a striking resemblance to Elvis is said to have purchased a one-way ticket from Memphis International Airport to Buenos Aires. He supposedly gave the name Jon Burrows, a pseudonym Elvis used when checking into hotels. Patrick Lacy, author of the book Elvis Decoded, claims to have debunked this popular and wholly unsubstantiated story by interviewing airport officials and determining that international flights weren’t available from Memphis in 1977. There’s also the question of why the most famous man on the planet would risk going into a public place in his hometown in order to book airfare for the purpose of faking his own death. Maybe Elvis figured his acting skills would help him avoid suspicion.

THE FUNERAL

Ollie Atkins, Chief White House Photographer. The National Archives, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

A great deal of “Elvis is alive” intrigue centers on August 18, 1977, the day of Presley's funeral. Footage of the service shows pallbearers struggling to lift a 900-pound copper coffin. The King had packed on a few pounds in his later years, but there’s no way he was pushing a half-ton. One explanation: The casket was outfitted with a cooling system—the kind you’d use to keep a wax dummy of a beloved celebrity from melting on a hot summer day. Sound crazy? Presley’s cousin Gene Smith thought the body looked a little strange. “His nose looked kinda puggy-looking, and his right sideburn was sticking straight out—it looked about an inch,” Smith said in the 1991 special The Elvis Files. “And his hairline looked like a hairpiece or something was glued on.” Smith was also troubled by the smoothness of Presley’s typically calloused hands and the sweat on his brow.

Attentive fans were further spooked when they saw the King’s headstone. The inscription reads “Elvis Aaron Presley,” even though he’d been given the middle name “Aron,” possibly in memory of his stillborn twin brother, Jesse Garon. The theory here is that Elvis used the incorrect spelling to signal fans that he was still alive. Another one of Elvis’s cousins, Billy Smith, claimed the singer simply preferred the more common double-A spelling, as legal documents bearing Presley’s signature attest.

THE DEATH ITSELF

Traditionally, you can’t have a funeral without a death, and what killed the King is another major source of controversy. The medical examiner’s official cause of death was “hypertensive heart disease associated with atherosclerotic heart disease.” Elvis weighed at least 250 pounds in his final days, and one Baptist Memorial Hospital staffer told Rolling Stone, he had “the arteries of an 80-year-old man.” So a massive heart attack isn’t exactly far-fetched. But toxicologists found more than 10 drugs in Presley’s system, fueling speculation that “polypharmacy” played a role in his death.

The general confusion surrounding these and other jargony cause-of-death explanations has undoubtedly helped to foster conspiracy theories. So have issues concerning official paperwork. Elvis’s death certificate will remain under wraps until 2027, 50 years after his passing. While this may seem like further proof of a cover-up, it’s actually a matter of Tennessee law. As for Presley’s autopsy report: It’s a private family document unlikely to ever see the light of day.

THE POOL HOUSE PHOTO

The second major Elvis sighting came in the form of a photo snapped on December 31, 1977. While visiting Graceland with his family, a man named Mike Joseph took some random pictures of Presley’s pool house. A few years later, while studying them with a magnifying glass, Joseph spotted a shadowy Elvis-like figure sitting in the doorway. Experts at Kodak verified that nothing had been doctored, so it seems someone was peering out the window. In an interview with Larry King, Elvis’s good buddy Joe Esposito suggested it was another Presley associate, Al Strada, in the photo. That explanation was good enough for Joseph, but not everyone is satisfied.

A similar case of mistaken identity led to some excitement a few years later, when sports agent Larry Kolb was captured looking uncannily Elvis-like alongside his client (and Elvis’s pal) Muhammad Ali and Jesse Jackson in a 1984 newspaper photo. Kolb came forward with an original color version of the image proving that it was him—not Elvis—in the shot, but that’s hardly laid the matter to rest. Asked in an interview to identify the man in the background, Ali reportedly said, “That’s my friend Elvis.”

THE KING OF KALAMAZOO

In the late ‘80s, the epicenter of the “Elvis lives” universe shifted to Kalamazoo, Michigan, a city Elvis played four months before his death. In 1988, a woman named Louise Welling from nearby Vicksburg claimed she had seen Presley standing in line at the local Felpausch supermarket. He was rocking a white jumpsuit, naturally, and purchasing an electrical fuse. Welling’s daughter later spied him scarfing Whoppers at Burger King. "What gives this account eerie credibility,” expert David Adler told the Los Angeles Times in an interview promoting his Presley-themed cookbook, “is that Burger King was by far Elvis's favorite fast food chain.”

BACK ON THE BIG SCREEN?

The Kalamazoo hullabaloo spawned a rash of late-’80s Elvis sightings, many of which involved the King doing un-regal things, like pumping gas or buying junk food. These were consistent with the notion that he’d faked his own death to escape the public eye (or the mafia, as one theory holds) and return to his humble roots. But Elvis loved movies—he starred in 31—and Christmas, so it almost makes sense that he would risk blowing his cover by appearing in the 1990 holiday comedy Home Alone.

Believers of this bizarre theory contend that a 55-year-old Presley turned up in the background of the scene where Catherine O’Hara’s character is stuck at the Scranton airport while trying to get home to her son. There’s a bearded guy behind her who looks a little like Elvis in Charro! (1969) and cocks his head in a manner that conspiracy theorists swear is identical to Presley’s onstage mannerisms. Curiously, director Chris Columbus went into Home Alone having just made Heartbreak Hotel, a 1988 flop about some kids who try to kidnap Elvis. Columbus and Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin laugh about the theory in the DVD commentary, but the identity of the extra remains unknown. Even if the real bearded man were to come forward, it probably wouldn’t kill the story.

GROUNDSKEEPER PRESLEY

In the summer of 2016, video of a Graceland groundskeeper purported to be Elvis got the internet all shook up. In the clip, a gray-haired dude in a baseball cap and Elvis Week T-shirt fusses with some wire and holds up two fingers—apparently some type of numerological clue—as he walks past the camera.

The video has been viewed more than 2 million times on YouTube—far more than the one where a clever Elvis fan debunks the whole thing by chatting with the actual Graceland employee, an affable gentleman named Bill Barmer. “I’m not really 81,” says Barmer, who then compares himself to a Pokémon Go character.

THE FUTURE

“Elvis is alive” theories can’t go on forever. The man would now be 82, and the oldest person on record only lived to 122. That means we've got maybe another 40 years of stories about the King chilling in Argentina or sipping coffee at Tim Hortons or doing whatever you do as an elderly man who’s been in hiding since the Carter Administration. Unless it turns out Elvis is immortal.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In an interview accompanying The Beatles Anthology DVD, George Harrison likens a brief 1972 encounter with Elvis at Madison Square Garden to “meeting Vishnu or Krishna or something.” His hair was black, his skin was tan, and his aura left the Beatle feeling like “a snooty little nobody.” Harrison may have been hinting at something Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper said rather deftly with their 1987 single “Elvis Is Everywhere.” Alive or dead, Presley is one pop culture deity we’ll never stop worshipping.

arrow
entertainment
15 of Robert Mitchum's Wittiest Quotes

Though his legacy is as one of Hollywood’s most iconic tough guys, Robert Mitchum was much more than that. In addition to his acting work, the Oscar nominee also dabbled in directing, writing, singing, composing, and poetry—and maintained a wicked sense of humor through it all. On what would be the legendary star’s 100th birthday, here are 15 of his most memorable quotes.

ON EARLY GOALS

"I started out to be a sex fiend, but I couldn't pass the physical." 

ON THE JOB OF AN ACTOR

"This is not a tough job. You read a script. If you like the part and the money is OK, you do it. Then you remember your lines. You show up on time. You do what the director tells you to do. When you finish, you rest and then go on to the next part. That's it."

ON LOVE

"Maybe love is like luck. You have to go all the way to find it."

ON REMAINING TRUE TO ONESELF

"I've still got the same attitude I had when I started. I haven't changed anything but my underwear."

ON BEING A PEOPLE-PLEASER

"There just isn't any pleasing some people. The trick is to stop trying."

ON BEING TYPECAST

"I kept the same suit for six years and the same dialogue. They just changed the title of the picture and the leading lady."

ON WATCHING HIS OWN MOVIES

"Movies bore me; especially my own." 

ON HIS ICONIC WALK

"People think I have an interesting walk. Hell, I'm just trying to hold my gut in."

ON TAKING A BREAK FROM HOLLYWOOD

"Every two or three years, I knock off for a while. That way I’m always the new girl in the whorehouse."

ON HIS ACTING METHOD

"I have two acting styles: with and without a horse."

ON HIS TOUGH GUY PERSONA

"The only difference between me and my fellow actors is that I've spent more time in jail."

ON PHYSICAL FITNESS

"How do I keep fit? I lay down a lot." 

ON THE MYTH OF GREAT ACTING

"I never will believe there is such a thing as a great actor."

ON THE CREATIVITY OF CRITICS

"I never take any notice of reviews-unless a critic has thought up some new way of describing me. That old one about my lizard eyes and anteater nose and the way I sleep my way through pictures is so hackneyed now." 

ON HIS ONSCREEN PRESENCE

"Listen. I got three expressions: looking left, looking right and looking straight ahead."

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios