Billy West, voice of Ren and Stimpy, Futurama, on the rough start that shaped his life

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ren and Stimpy. Bugs Bunny. Philip J. Fry and Professor Hubert Farnsworth on Futurama. Sparx. Bi-Polar Bear. Popeye the Sailor Man. Woody Woodpecker. You may not think you have ever heard Billy West, but chances are on a television program, a movie, a commercial, or as Howard Stern’s voice guru in the 1990’s, you have heard him. West’s talent for creating personalities by twisting his voice has made him one of a handful of voice actors—Hank Azaria and the late Mel Blanc come to mind—who have achieved celebrity for their talent. Indeed, West is one of the few voice actors who can impersonate Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons.

What is the fulcrum in Mr. West’s life that led him to realize a talent to shape personalities with his voice, and how did the discovery of that gift shape him? Wikinews reporter David Shankbone found that like many great comedians, West faced more sour early in life than he did sweet. The sour came from a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic father (“I could tell you the kind of night I was going to have from the sound of the key in the door or the way the car pulled up.”), to his own problems with drug and alcohol use (“There is a point that you can reach in your life where you don’t want to live, but you haven’t made the decision to die.”).

I’m telling you stuff that I never said to anybody…

If sin, suffering and redemption feel like the stages of an endless cycle of American existence, West’s own redemption from his brutalized childhood is what helped shape his gift. He performed little bits to cheer up his cowed mother, ravaged by the fact she could not stop her husband’s abuse of young West. “I was the whipping boy and she would just be reduced to tears a lot of times, and I would come in and say stuff, and I would put out little bits just to pull her out of it.”

But West has also enjoyed the sweet. His career blossomed as his talent for creating entire histories behind fictional characters and creatures simply by exploring nuance in his voice landed him at the top of his craft. You may never again be able to forget that behind the voice of your favorite character, there is often an extraordinary life.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with renowned voice actor Billy West, who for the first time publicly talks about the horrors he faced in his childhood; his misguided search for answers in anger, drugs and alcohol; and the peace he has achieved as one of America’s most recognizable voice actors.


  • 1 The use of celebrities for voiceovers
  • 2 Iconic characters and choosing projects
  • 3 Discovering his talent
  • 4 “It was a horror chamber where I grew up”
  • 5 West moves to Boston after his parents divorce
  • 6 How West dealt with his father’s abuse
  • 7 Rehabilitation and sobriety
  • 8 Is West glad he experienced addiction?
  • 9 West on his career
  • 10 West on politics
  • 11 Billy West on modern American society
  • 12 Billy West on telling it like it is
  • 13 Source

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Mets; Citigroup agree to 20 year sponsorship deal

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The New York Mets baseball team has agreed to a 20-year sponsorship deal with financial house Citigroup for the team’s new ballpark, now called CitiField. The deal, which includes stadium naming rights, is worth more than $20 million annually, according to a baseball official.

This tops the approximately ten million annually the NFL’s Houston Texans receive from Reliant Energy to call their home Reliant Stadium.

The agreement between the Mets and the financial services company includes options for both the team and Citigroup that could extend the deal to up to 35-years. Other commercial arrangements are part of the contract, the official said.

Construction on the ballpark, next to the current stadium in Queens, New York, began last summer and is scheduled to be ready for the 2009 season. The Mets have played at Shea Stadium since 1964, the team’s third year in the league. The ballpark is named for William A. Shea, a lawyer who helped bring National League baseball back to New York.

The announcement will be made Monday at a special ceremony that will be attended by New York Govener, George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Citigroup is one of the world’s largest full-service banks, with two hundred million customers in more than 100 countries.

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Wikinews attends ComiCon in Tyler, Texas

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Wikinews attended the Rose City ComiCon comic-book convention in Tyler, Texas on Saturday. The event was held at the Lonestar Event Center and ran through Sunday evening.

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Actor Kevin McNally, most notably recognizable for his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, spoke at the event. Spectators offered up various questions, including: ‘If you attended Hogwarts Academy, to which house would you belong?’ and ‘Which is your favorite Doctor Who era?’ Australian actor Vernon Wells, who appeared in such notable films as Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, Weird Science, and Commando was also present to chat with visitors and sign autographs.

Many attendees were present in various costumes, a practice often referred to as ‘cosplay’. Noted cosplayer Knightmage was present, offering signed prints depicting him in various character costumes. He offered attendees the opportunity to voluntarily donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Comic collector Kevin Dutton was on hand, offering for sale his collection of 28,000 comic books. A broad array of ‘geek-related’ items were also available including: custom Lego mini figures, specialty knives, Pokémon merchandise, fantasy game merchandise and more. A caricature artist was also present, selling custom drawn caricatures of attendees.

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5 Features Of Good Web Development

5 Features of Good Web Development


Clive Onley

In this day and time, who doesn t have a website? Almost all companies have one, and those that don t are depriving themselves of the international visibility of their brand and the millions of people out there that are potential customers.

However, the success of a website s ability to express, inform and translate visitors into customers relies on 5 features. These are the golden rules of good

web development


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1.Readability. Written content is one of the most important ways in which your message is expressed to your visitor (pictures and the overall feel are the others). Your content should be concise, understandable and effective to your target market. While it would be nice if this could be tailored for anybody to read, that would be a difficult task. What you really want is just to be able to get your point across quickly to your visitor.

2.Simplicity. Simple websites are easier to navigate and don t frustrate the visitor. Complexity is only appreciated by few people, and chances are, they won t be the ones wanting to inquire about your services.

3.Focus. Each page should have one main focus. This main focus is what should stand out and be incredibly easy to pinpoint by your visitor. That means the page should be devoid of unnecessary fluff, filler and so forth.

4.Tailored to Your Target Market. This is similar to readability, but refers to the overall look and feel of your website. For example, you ll notice that fashion designer sites tend to have lots of images and little text. Because they are in a visual-based industry, this makes sense.

5.Website should load quickly. While technology has advanced our daily lives in many ways, what it has made worse is our patience level. Internet users are incredibly impatient. Just a few seconds of waiting for a page to load or a function to start working could be too long for a visitor, who will leave your site and perhaps check out a competitor s. You need to retain their attention as long as possible, and one of the best ways to do this is to make your website respond quickly to your visitor s request. Do this by limiting picture sizes, minimizing or eliminating flash (which is often a prime suspect in slow-moving sites), and making the site work flawlessly across all browsers. You ll also want a good server that will be able to accommodate your expected, and unexpected, visitors.

For more information on web development and

web design

, please visit

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Actor Jerry Orbach dead at age 69

Friday, December 31, 2004

New York City — Actor Jerry Orbach died in his home in Manhattan at age 69. Orbach was a staple of American cinema, stage and television, with his most recent role being in the NBC police drama “Law and Order.”

Orbach is survived by his wife of 25 years, Elaine Cancilla, and his two sons Anthony and Christopher.

Orbach was born in the tough Bronx borough of New York City in 1935 to a family of entertainers. His father Leon Orbach was an vaudeville actor and his mother Emily Orbach was a radio singer and greeting card writer.

The family moved often to keep up with travelling Vaudeville acts, but eventually settled in Waukegan Illinois where Orbach played football at the local high school. After graduation, Orbach got a summer job at the Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling doing odd jobs ranging from stagecraft to small acting parts in plays.

He then studied drama at the University of Illinois before transferring to Northwestern where he studied the Stanislavsky Method of drama acting. In 1955, Orbach dropped out of college and moved to New York City where he got a job as an understudy in The Threepenny Opera.

Orbach continued to work in theater, eventually earning roles in broadway musicals, but by 1961 had grown dissatisfied with being typecast as a musical actor. He tried briefly to break into film without success, and eventually returned to broadway where he earned numerous accolades for his roles in such musicals as “Guys and Dolls” and “Chicago“.

Orbach finally broke into television in the 1980s as a recurring character in shows such as the mystery-drama “Murder She Wrote” and the hit sitcom “Golden Girls“.

He earned the lead role as the title character in his own short-lived series “The Law and Harry McGraw”, a spinoff of “Murder She Wrote”. Orbach also scored key roles in a few Hollywood films, including the action thriller “F/X”, and the dance-musical hit “Dirty Dancing”, but continued to find his mainstay in television crime dramas.

In 1990, he picked up a role in the new NBC crime drama “Law and Order” as the acerbic-witted Lennie Briscoe, a role which soon become a regular job. Orbach continued in this role in addition to movie roles and occasional musical appearances until his death this last week.

Orbach was diagnosed with Prostate cancer in Spring of 2004, a fact he kept private until November when he checked into New York’s Memorial Sloan-Ketting Cancer Center for treatment. In spite of the aggressive nature of the treatment, he died on the evening of December 28.

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Senior UK politicians talk at Confederation of British Industry conference

Monday, November 21, 2016

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn both spoke at the annual Confederation of British Industry conference today, talking about Britain after its planned ‘Brexit’ from the European Union, and future plans for business.

May formally announced plans to cut corporation tax from 20%, without giving details, in order to discourage businesses from leaving the UK post-Brexit. Corbyn said in his speech he believes investment by the government on things such as infrastructure improvements is shared ground between Labour and businesses but “businesses will need to contribute” meaning “some increase in corporation tax” under his administration.

Theresa May also toned down plans to put ordinary workers on corporate boards, a campaign promise from running to become leader of the ruling Conservative Party. She said she is working to create a “model that works for everyone” after consulting firms and the general public, with possible plans including panels or advisory committees. The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress responded by saying “Theresa May made a clear promise to have workers represented on company boards […] This is not the way to show that you want to govern for ordinary working people.” Jeremy Corbyn also criticised this announcement saying “we need to see genuine employee representation at board level, which the prime minister promised, but I see is already backing away from.”

Theresa May also announced she wishes to spend £2Bn annually in research and development, as well as plans to start a small business research initiative to look into helping innovators get ahead. Jeremy Corbyn however said he plans to spend 3% of the UK’s GDP on R&D, significantly more than specified by May.

Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for the UK’s economy focussed on investment. Speaking at the conference he said “First and foremost, a Labour government will prioritise investing in our economy.” As well as the investment in research, Corbyn also promised funds for areas including house building and infrastructure. This would be controlled by the proposed “National Investment Bank”. Corbyn said “Our National Investment Bank will deliver long term strategic investment in our under-powered infrastructure and provide the patient finance that our businesses need across the country.”

May told the conference she would not give “a running commentary on every twist and turn” of the Brexit negotiations. This comes after allegation in the press that she she has no plan to keep under wraps, a claim that has been backed up by an alleged leaked internal government memo that talks about a “lack of overall negotiation strategy” within government.

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Tips To Help You Purchase Kids Clothing

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Purchasing kids clothing can be a difficult task, especially if you are unaware of what to get for your kids. When you go to the mall or a clothing store, you will find that almost all stores are the same. The costs are high, the colors are vivid and the lights are bright. It is good to know that parents look forward to pay high price for kids clothing range like they do for their own. While kids clothing has very little fabric compared to usual garments, people tend to pay much as they do it for themselves.

The task of purchasing kids clothing can go from delight to a challenge. Whether you are shopping for a toddler or a grown up kid, proper planning before shopping is important to save your valuable money and time.

Things to Follow When Purchasing Kids Clothing

Shopping For Toddlers and Infants

As babies grow faster, you must purchase kids clothing of the next size. Many parents fail to realise that some babies just fit for some days or do not fit in clothes sized from zero to three months. Keep in mind that toddlers and kids need clothes that can be pulled on and off quite easily.

Shopping For Older Kids

When shopping for older kids, you must make a shopping list that consists of categories like basic outer wear, school clothes, extracurricular and athletic attire. You should also consider the age and preferences of your kids before purchasing kids clothing. Setting your budget is very important.

Things to Check When Purchasing Kids Clothing

When it comes to purchasing kids clothing, you should look for the size, fabric and the colour of clothes you purchase. If the clothes have zippers and buttons, make sure they work properly.

By considering the above things, you can purchase kids clothing easily.

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President Bush delivers 2006 State of the Union Address

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

United States President George W. Bush delivered his annual State of the Union Address on Tuesday.

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Dove ad viewed more than 3 million times on YouTube

Saturday, November 4, 2006

An advertisement for Dove beauty products has been viewed by well over three million people, without ever being on television. A copywriter from Ogilvy Toronto, the advertising agency that created a spot named “evolution”, uploaded the advertisement to video sharing website YouTube.

While the official upload of the ad itself has been viewed 1,119,262 times, there are dozens of copies of the ad on YouTube, adding to a minimum of 3,059,546 views. The official copy of the video is the website’s 12th most viewed this month, 53rd of all time.

Unofficial uploads have each received high levels of viewership, with 449595, 445322, 207906, 201670, 195265, 116501, and 102634 plays.

The agency did not originally intend to upload the video to YouTube, only display it on the company’s homepage. Staff member Tim Piper uploaded it to his account on October 6, about a week before it first got media coverage on Good Morning America.

The ad begins with a woman walking into a photo shoot. From there, she is primped and plucked by hair and makeup artists, then tweaked on a Photoshop-like program. The photo-manipulation is then posted on a billboard for the fictional “Easel Foundation Makeup” brand. Two young, teenage girls walk past, glancing at the board. “No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted” ends the ad in text, “Every girl deserves to feel beautiful just the way she is.”

The creative team for the ad included Tim Piper, Mike Kirkland, Janet Kestin, Nancy Vonk, directors T Piper (treatment and post production) and Yael Staav (live action) from Reginald Pike, Soho post production, Rogue editing, Vapor music, Gabor Jurina and Make-up: Diana Carreiro, and Reginald Pike.

The official French copy of the ad has only received 132 views, although it was only uploaded on November 2, 2006.

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American film director John Hughes dies at age 59

Thursday, August 6, 2009

American film director John Hughes, noted for such movies as Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, died Thursday due to a heart attack.

A statement, released by his representative, said that he experienced the heart attack while on a morning stroll in Manhattan, New York. Hughes was born on February 18, 1950 in Michigan. He started his career as an advertising copywriter in Chicago. By the end of the 1970s he was a frequent contributor to the National Lampoon magazine.

In the 1990s, he made the Home Alone series, which became a box office sensation and turned Macaulay Culkin into a star.

In recent years, Hughes stepped back from the movie industry to spend more time with his family. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Nancy, two sons and four grandchildren.

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