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Texas Writer Terry Southern Makes Music News...Again...

Posted: Dec 29, 2006


Texas writer Terry Southern's legend lives on. On January 9, 2007, a new set of Beatles stamps become available in England. Southern is the only person on the cover of the Beatles' Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (positioned between Dylan Thomas and Dion) wearing sunglasses.

Born in Alvarado, Texas, in 1924, Terry Southern earned two Academy award nominations on screenplays for Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider. Other Southern screenplays include The Loved One, The Cincinnati Kid, Barbarella, and un-credited re-write jobs on Casino Royale and The Collector.

As a novelist Southern published Flash & Filigree (1958), Red Dirt Marijuana & Other Tastes (1967), Blue Movie (1970), and Texas Summer (1992). Southern also penned a book in 1995 about the history of Virgin Records titled Virgin. Southern wrote an indelible piece in the Black Crowes' 1992 promotional hymnbook for their Southern Harmony & Musical Companion CD recorded in Atlanta. Southern kept time with prodigious artists such as William Burroughs, George Plimpton, Mason Hoffenberg, Stanley Kubrick, Peter Sellers, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles. Terry Southern died of heart failure in 1995.

Southern pushed conventional boundaries of literature, film, music, and comedy. Amid his counter-cultural cognizance, Southern remained a serious literary force. During recent years, a collection (Give Me Your Hump) of Southern reading some of his work finally surfaced. In an introduction to one of Southern's books even the sinister William Burroughs admitted, "Terry Southern knows how to write."

Southern's script for The Loved One, now available on DVD, proves why this late Texas writer's work crosses all sorts of artistic landscapes.   James Calemine

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