Here are some beautiful portraits of people whose lives changed forever when one simple thing changed for the better.
Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.
The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.
Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.
When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.
The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.
A gold medal is priceless.
Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.
Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.
It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.
"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."
The Olympian got some good news on June 7 when the Anaheim Police Department formally charged Jordan Fernandez, 31, for the crime. According to the New York Post, Fernandez has a “lengthy criminal history” and was charged with residential burglary, vehicle burglary, identity theft and possession of narcotics.
Sadly, the police did not retrieve the missing medal.
On Monday, June 27, Maria Carrillo and Noe Hernandez, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, reported finding the medal in a heavy bag outside their shop to the Anaheim Police Department. They must have been astonished to open the bag and to find, of all things, an Olympic gold medal. People dedicate their entire lives to winning Olympic gold, so they must have been flummoxed to find one dumped on their property.
Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo.
Local residents praised the couple on Facebook for being honest and turning in the medal to the police.
“Noe is an Amazing man! He owns his barber shop on Lincoln. My kids go there. They love Noe! He’s been cutting my boys hair for years! This is a great story to tell my boys to congratulate him next week when they go in for their haircuts!" Sylvia Sanchez wrote.
“How refreshing to see honest people are still around,” Madelyn Valdés-Vásquez added.
\u201cThe stolen \ud83e\udd47 has been recovered!! So happy for @Jordyn_Poulter!!\n\nhttps://t.co/i4dvgZeQUP\u201d— USA Volleyball (@USA Volleyball) 1656591161
The barbershop owners’ decision to do the right thing is a beautiful gesture, especially because an Olympic gold medal is priceless. According to NBC News, Olympic gold medals contain at least 92.5% silver, plated with at least 6 grams of gold, which is about $750 worth of precious metals. However, the sentimental value to Poulter cannot be accurately translated to dollars and cents. She earned that medal after countless hours of training and years of hard work. To lose it after leaving it in a car had to be absolutely heartbreaking.
The Anaheim Police Department says that it is in the process of returning the medal back to Poulter.
He shared them in an intimate 1973 interview with Dick Cavett.
Marlon Brando made one of the biggest Hollywood comebacks in 1972 after playing the iconic role of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” The venerable actor's career had been on a decline for years after a series of flops and increasingly unruly behavior on set.
Brando was a shoo-in for Best Actor at the 1973 Academy Awards, so the actor decided to use the opportunity to make an important point about Native American representation in Hollywood.
Instead of attending the ceremony, he sent Sacheen Littlefeather, a Yaqui and Apache actress and activist, dressed in traditional clothing, to talk about the injustices faced by Native Americans.
She explained that Brando "very regretfully cannot accept this generous award, the reasons for this being … the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee."
The unexpected surprise was greeted with a mixture of applause and boos from the audience and would be the butt of jokes told by presenters, including Clint Eastwood. Littlefeather later said that John Wayne attempted to assault her backstage.
"A lot of people were making money off of that racism of the Hollywood Indian," Littlefeather told KQED. "Of course, they’re going to boo. They don't want their evening interrupted."
Three months later, Brando explained his reasoning in an interview with late-night host Dick Cavett where he also discussed how all people of color are misrepresented in Hollywood. The interview was historic because Brando was known for avoiding the media.
"I felt there was an opportunity," Brando told Cavett about the awards ceremony. "Since the American Indian hasn't been able to have his voice heard anywhere in the history of the United States, I thought it was a marvelous opportunity to voice his opinion to 85 million people. I felt that he had a right to, in view of what Hollywood has done to him."
Brando’s eyes were opened after reading John Collier’s novel “Indians of the Americas.”
“After reading the book I realized, I knew nothing about the American Indian, and everything that we are taught about the American Indian is wrong,” Brando said. “It’s inaccurate. Our school books are hopelessly lacking, criminally lacking, in revealing what our relationship was with the Indian.”
“When we hear, as we’ve heard throughout all our lives, no matter how old we are, that we are a country that stands for freedom, for rightness, for justice for everyone, it simply doesn’t apply to those who are not white,” Brando said. “It just simply doesn’t apply, and we were simply the most rapacious, aggressive, destructive, torturing, monstrous people who swept from one coast to the other murdering and causing mayhem among the Indians.”
Brando understood that the boos from his contemporaries were the sounds of powerful people who couldn’t stand having their industry and reality challenged. It was the sound of pure denial.
But Brando was unapologetic about bursting the audience’s collective bubble.
“They were booing because they thought, 'This moment is sacrosanct, and you're ruining our fantasy with this intrusion of reality. I suppose it was unkind of me to do that, but there was a larger issue, and it's an issue that no one in the motion picture industry has ever addressed themselves to, unless forced to,” Brando said.
“The Godfather” star then expanded his thoughts on representation to include all people of color.
“I don't think people realize what the motion picture industry has done to the American Indian, and a matter of fact, all ethnic groups. All minorities. All non-whites,” he said. “So when someone makes a protest of some kind and says, 'No, please don't present the Chinese this way.' ... On this network, you can see silly renditions of human behavior. The leering Filipino houseboy, the wily Japanese or the kook or the gook. The idiot Black man, the stupid Indian. It goes on and on and on, and people don't realize how deeply these people are injured by seeing themselves represented—not the adults, who are already inured to that kind of pain and pressure, but the children. Indian children, seeing Indians represented as savage, ugly, vicious, treacherous, drunken—they grow up only with a negative image of themselves, and it lasts a lifetime.”
Hollywood is still far from ideal when it comes to being truly representative of America at large. But it is miles ahead of where it was in 1973 when the film industry, including some of its biggest stars, was outwardly hostile toward the idea of representation.
In 1973, Marlon Brando was at the height of his power, which most would have relished, after a series of setbacks. But instead of taking the opportunity to bask in the spotlight, he spent a large portion of his star power capital to give voice to the people Hollywood had dehumanized for seven decades.