Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Jill Ireland and Charles Bronson Photos

(Below) Jill at her son's wedding. She died a few weeks later

Jill Ireland and Cancer Death

Times Publishing Company
St. Petersburg Times

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July 30, 1988, Saturday, City Edition


LENGTH: 672 words

HEADLINE: Jill Ireland faces new bout with cancer

SOURCE: Compiled from Wire Reports


LOS ANGELES - Actress Jill Ireland, who wrote a best seller, Life Wish, on her battle with breast cancer four years ago, said on Friday she is again fighting the disease.

She said her husband, film star Charles Bronson, was shocked and fearful when he heard the news. "But my doctors have assured me my new bout of cancer, which is pressing on a group of nerves above my collarbone, is not spreading," Ireland, 52, told a press conference. "I feel kind of strange making an announcement like this to the media, but I hope I can boost the spirits of other women facing the same ordeal."

Ireland had a mastectomy four years ago. She said she will undergo five weeks of radiation treatment and then go on with her life.

Copyright 1989 The Times Mirror Company
Los Angeles Times

November 8, 1989, Wednesday, P.M. Final

SECTION: Part P; Page 1; Column 3; Late Final Desk

LENGTH: 276 words


BYLINE: From Times Wire Services

Jason McCallum, adopted son of actor David McCallum and actress Jill Ireland, was found dead in his Laurel Canyon home, police said today. He was 27. McCallum, whose long battle with drug addiction was the subject of a book by Ireland that was published earlier this year, had been undergoing a series of medical treatments at the time of his death, said his personal physician, Dr. Howard Mark.

Mark said the last time he saw McCallum he was lucid and "gave every evidence of being drug-free for some weeks."

Police found no sign of foul play, said Detective Don Kalash. "We do not know the cause of death at this point. We will have to wait for an autopsy report," he said.

The body was found Tuesday by a friend, Tracy Medina. The cause of death was not immediately known, and an autopsy will be performed.

McCallum was adopted shortly after his birth by David McCallum and Ireland, and was raised in Bel-Air after Ireland married actor Charles Bronson, a family spokesman said.

David McCallum is an actor and former co-star in "The Man From U.N.C.L.E. " television series.

Jason McCallum reportedly made numerous attempts at drug rehabilitation and said in April he had been clean for two months after one month in a recovery program.

Ireland, who has been battling cancer for months, said through a family spokesman, "I hate drugs. Jason had shown signs of being on the road to recovery. The book meant a lot to Jason, and he hoped it would keep other young people from going through what he had gone through."

Her book, "Life Lines," is in the process of becoming an NBC-TV movie, and McCallum was participating in its production.

GRAPHIC: Photo, Jason McCallum, who had a long history of drug abuse, talks with his mother, actress Jill Ireland, at a book party in Beverly Hills last April. ROBERT GABRIEL / Los Angeles Times

Copyright 1989 The Times Mirror Company
Los Angeles Times

November 11, 1989, Saturday, Home Edition

SECTION: Part A; Page 34; Column 3; Metro Desk

LENGTH: 55 words


Services for Jason David McCallum, 27, the adopted son of actor David McCallum and actress Jill Ireland, will be at 9 a.m. today at Forest Lawn Memorial-Park in Burbank.

McCallum was found dead in his Laurel Canyon home Tuesday evening. His problems with drugs and alcohol were the focus of Ireland's recent book, "Life Lines."

Copyright 1989 The Times Mirror Company
Los Angeles Times

November 13, 1989, Monday, Home Edition

SECTION: View; Part E; Page 1; Column 2; View Desk

LENGTH: 1402 words



Since February, Jill Ireland, her husband, Charles Bronson, and their seven children had lived with the specter of death. That was when Ireland's doctor had delivered the chilling news: Her cancer, which had come back after three years, had metastasized. Now there were tumors in her lungs.

The prognosis: Two years to live, possibly three. Ireland had sworn, she had cried, then she had done what she had to do if she wanted those precious years. She had begun a drastic, debilitating course of chemotherapy and radiation.

And she went on with her life, starting her third book, "Life Times," and hoping to be well enough to star in the television adaptation of "Life Lines," the book in which she chronicled the devastating struggle of her adopted son, Jason McCallum, with alcohol, cocaine and heroin addiction. Publicly, as she did when she underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer in 1984, Ireland continued to profess optimism.

Still, she knows the odds, and, in an essay written for the June issue of Life magazine, she even described the funeral she wants: "A real wake, with balloons, Champagne, everyone in bright, happy colors, lots of food and music. A fiesta. A celebration of my life. . . ."

On Saturday, Ireland was at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills to bury her son. Jason had been found dead Tuesday in his apartment in Laurel Canyon. He was 27.

Both David McCallum, Jason's legal father, and Bronson, the man who has been his father figure during a 21-year marriage to Ireland, helped carry the casket up the hillside to the burial plot.

It was the close of a short, tortured life.

In the chapel, Paul McCallum, 31, had given the eulogy for the little brother who used to stroke his head when he had a migraine -- and once ate his pet caterpillar. Then he and Valentine McCallum, the brother born nine months after Jason was adopted, sat on folding chairs before Jason's rose-blanketed casket, and, on guitars accompanied by a violin, played a song written by Valentine, a rock musician. "This is for you, Jay-Jay," Valentine said.

It was Paul who had telephoned Ireland and Bronson at their home in Vermont to tell them that Jason was dead. In early 1985, another call to the Vermont farm -- a bucolic retreat that Ireland calls "my favorite place in the whole world" -- had shattered their lives. A doctor treating Jason for hepatitis B had told them: "The kid's on the needle. He's an addict." Morphine and cocaine.

Now, he was dead. Family and friends worried that Ireland was not strong enough to make the trip West, but, she said in a telephone interview two days after Jason's death, "Of course, I had to come."

She and Bronson had returned by chartered plane.

"I'm in the middle of treatment," she said. "Every three weeks, I have a massive chemotherapy program. But I'm stronger than I've been for a long time. I'm not bad."

At the services, she appeared pale but dry-eyed, reed-thin in a black suit, with a wide-brimmed black straw hat anchoring her blond wig. She and Bronson invited mourners to their Malibu house after the services.

Ireland said she had spoken with Jason by telephone the day before he died and "he was very optimistic. He said, 'I'm clean, I'm happy, I'm looking forward to the future.' "I think he was clean," she added. "He'd been through another detoxification program. We do know that they didn't find any needle marks, any traces, on him."

She had worried that he was becoming addicted to painkillers prescribed to relieve the leg cramps that were a result of years of drug abuse. And, she said, "We may find out that he had broken down and taken drugs again. I'm prepared for anything. When someone's had a dialogue with drugs for so many years. . . ."

(The coroner's autopsy was inconclusive, pending results of toxicology tests.)

The tragedy of Jason David McCallum stands apart from the too-familiar story of the world-weary children of Hollywood celebrities whose search for excitement ends with a fatal overdose.

"I think I may have adopted an addicted baby," Ireland said, "but I was only 25. I didn't know."

The private adoption, after she suffered a miscarriage during her 10-year marriage to McCallum (of TV's "The Man From U.N.C.L.E."), had been arranged through a lawyer, and, Ireland and McCallum learned later, he had not told them the truth about the days-old infant.

"We didn't know his father was a drug addict," she said. "We were told his father was an architect. It was in Jason's system, just floating around in there waiting for something to trigger it."

She thinks the trigger might have been Ritalin, prescribed when he was a small boy to control hyperkinesia.

Two years ago, Ireland and Jason found his birth mother, "Vicky," a dramatic encounter she describes in "Life Lines." She told them: that their son's father was a drug dealer and heroin addict who died of an overdose; that Jason's grandfather was an alcoholic.

"Vicky" was an outsider looking in as they buried Jason. A figure in black, she stood at graveside with other mourners behind the chairs set out for the family.

"I came to honor my son," she said softly.

When the others had left, she placed a rose and a rosary on his casket and bent to kiss it.

From the start, Jason was the odd child out among the seven reared by Ireland and Bronson -- his two by his first marriage, her three with McCallum, a daughter they had together and the daughter of a friend adopted unofficially when her mother died.

Jason was a willful child, always testing the limits, but, Ireland wrote, he "had a straight-through connection to my heart."

In an interview, she talked now of Jason's first encounter with drugs, when he was only 7: "He was waiting for a school bus and some older boys came by and gave him some stuff." When he was 12, he told her, he was given cocaine by a Rolling Stones bodyguard at a concert to which he was taken by his tutor.

"Jason was very impressionable," Ireland said.

As he tried to kick his addictions, she said, he told her that he wished rock groups would stop singing about drugs "because the adults don't understand what they're saying, but young people do. Jason hated drugs, he loathed them."

Ireland said, "I think we did everything we could. I would have kept on helping and helping throughout the rest of his life, and mine. There was nothing I could have done right now, there was nothing anyone could have done."

Jason, she said, hoped "Life Lines" would make people see "how evil the drugs were, what damage they did not only to the person that took them but to the entire family." She said she hoped his death might tell others: "Don't get started on drugs. Don't even think you can flirt with it."

He had been helping with the "Life Lines" TV script and there was talk of casting him as himself.

In September, pinch-hitting for Ireland, he had taped "Inside Edition." On that segment, which aired Wednesday, he said: "A drug addict doesn't really mean to hurt other people. . . . I, as a drug addict, never meant to hurt anybody." And he appealed to others, "Don't do (drugs). Stop if you are. . . . I've really gone through a nightmare many times over. . . ."

In Jason's case, Ireland is convinced, "It was his DNA," it was genetic. "Drugs will kill you," she said. "They may not kill you while you're taking them, but the body can only take so much. It's a runaway thing. Who knows when the last pill you took will put you over the top?"

Former First Lady Betty Ford, Ireland's role model for her courage in dealing with her own addiction and breast cancer, was among the first to call Ireland after Jason's death.

Ireland, like Ford, has talked frankly both about Jason's addictions and the cancer that has now spread through her body. She has discussed frankly recent treatments, which have included red-hot skewers embedded under the skin of her chest (a procedure called hyperthermia) and draining of massive amounts of fluid from her lungs.

Jason's death came less than three weeks after Ireland, with Bronson at her side, took part in a tulip-planting ceremony dedicating a "Garden of Hope" in New York's Central Park in tribute to cancer victims.

Ireland, 53, said that day: "I love life. . . . I've had a very good life so far. . . . I don't think it's over yet."

Then she added, "None of us know how long we have. . . . Every day is special and very important."

Copyright 1989 Toronto Star Newspapers, Ltd.
The Toronto Star

November 22, 1989, Wednesday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 96 words

HEADLINE: Ireland's son's death an accident

BYLINE: Reuter



LOS ANGELES (Reuter) - Jason McCallum, the adopted son of actress Jill Ireland died earlier this month of an accidental overdose of drugs, a coroner's spokesman said yesterday.

McCallum, 27, whose struggle with drug addiction was the subject of a recent book by his mother, died from "acute multiple drug intoxication." The death has been listed as accidental, the spokesman said.

Ireland, whose long battle against cancer suffered a recent reverse, adopted McCallum in 1962 with her then husband David McCallum, star of television's The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Copyright 1990 The Times Mirror Company
Los Angeles Times

May 18, 1990, Friday, P.M. Final


SECTION: Part P; Page 1; Column 4; Late Final Desk

LENGTH: 222 words


BYLINE: From Associated Press

Jill Ireland, the British actress whose courageous five-year battle against breast cancer brought hope and inspiration to the ailing and the healthy, died today from the disease. She was 54. Ireland, the wife of her frequent action movie co-star Charles Bronson, died at her Malibu home at 11:30 a.m.

Her husband, mother Dorothy, brother John, sons Paul and Valentine McCallum and daughter Zulieka Bronson were with her, said publicist Lori Jonas.

The actress first underwent surgery in 1984 for removal of a cancerous right breast and eight lymph nodes under her arm. The cancer, after a brief remission, spread to her lungs.

Last April, Ireland began feeling pain in her shoulder. The condition was diagnosed as cancer that had spread to her lungs, hip, femur and thyroid.

In two books and frequent lectures about her battle with the disease, Ireland spoke eloquently about self-respect and optimism in the face of devastating illness. She called herself a survivor, not a victim.

"I don't want to die," she said in early 1989. "It's not an OK thing. Not right now. We all die one day, but I am not in the mood to do it yet."

Her life was filled with calamity. Her adopted son, Jason McCallum, a longtime drug abuser, died in November after injecting a drug mixture. He was to have been married a few days later.

The Daily Telegraph

May 21, 1990, Monday


LENGTH: 562 words

HEADLINE: Obituary of Jill Ireland

JILL IRELAND, the actress who has died aged 53, came in her last years to be widely admired for her long and courageous fight against cancer. An attractive and versatile actress, she starred successfully with her second husband Charles Bronson in several films, including The Mechanic (1972) and Death Wish II (1981). But in 1984 her career was tragically interrupted by an emergency mastectomy. She recorded both her initial shock and the subsequent treatment with unsparing honesty in her book Life Wish (1987). The cure, she believed, lay in her own will: "I think it's unrealistic for people to leave their recovery all to the medical profession." She counted every month of life as a partial victory, and repeatedly confounded the gloomy prognoses of the doctors. Even though the disease spread remorselessly through her lungs, pelvis, legs and lymph nodes, she refused to the last to give way. Jill Ireland was born in Hounslow on April 24, 1936, the daughter of a manager of a chain of grocery shops. Her mother sent her to ballet school at the age of three, and at 12 she was performing professionally in stage musicals. At 16 Ireland signed a major film studio contract with J Arthur Rank. She made her screen debut as a dancer and singer in Oh Rosalinda (1955) and the next year was in Three Men in a Boat with Laurence Harvey and Jimmy Edwards. Altogether she appeared in 16 feature films for Rank. In Robbery Under Arms (1957), an otherwise unmemorable film, she and David McCallum played the parts of young lovers, roles which they speedily re-enacted in real life, marrying just three weeks after their first meeting. The couple had three sons, and motherhood to some extent impinged on Jill Ireland's acting career. She appeared, nevertheless, in Hell Drivers (1957), The Big Money (1958), Carry on Nurse (1959), Raising the Wind (1961), Jungle Street (1961) and Twice Round the Daffodils (1962). She also found time for two plays, Jean Anouilh's Thieves Carnival and, in 1960, a musical called The Dancing Heiress at the Lyric, Hammersmith. The turning point in her life came in 1961 when she accompanied David McCallum to Germany for the shooting of The Great Escape. Charles Bronson was also in the film, and Jill Ireland fell headlong in love with him. It was seven years, though, before they married: Bronson divorced his wife in 1965, and Ireland's marriage to McCallum was dissolved in 1967. What with her three sons and Bronson's two children by his previous marriage, Ireland accepted that her own movie career would have to take second place, and thenceforward she made films exclusively with her husband. The first two of these were Riders in the Rain and The Family (1970). Generally Bronson played some shady, if law-upholding outsider, and Ireland his faithful henchwoman. Films of this type included Hard Times (1975), From Noon to Three (1976) and Love and Bullets (1979). In a period of remission from her illness she played the part of the President's wife in The Assassination (1986); for the last two years of her life Bronson abandoned his own film career to care for her. Besides her three sons by McCallum Jill Ireland had a daughter by Bronson. The Bronsons also adopted the daughter of a dead friend. An adopted son, Jason, died last year of a drug overdose - an experience Ireland described as worse than any cancer.

Copyright 1991 Gannett Company Inc.

May 17, 1991, Friday, FINAL EDITION


LENGTH: 263 words

HEADLINE: Ireland movie irks Bronson

Charles Bronson has been sent a tape of Monday's NBC movie, Reason for Living: The Jill Ireland Story (9 p.m. EDT/PDT), but he probably won't be watching it any time soon.

Executive producer Bonny Dore said from the beginning the movie on the cancer battle of Bronson's late wife is a universal story, not a celebrity biography. But the very private Bronson didn't buy that, stating that ''the personal tragedies'' of his family shouldn't be the basis of ''melodramatic entertainment.''

He's at the Cannes Film Festival with Sean Penn's Indian Runner, in which he plays a father of two sons. Dore thinks he will watch the tape, ''unless it's too painful for him.'' Neither she nor Bronson will expand on tabloid reports that they've settled a suit she filed for breach of contract when he tried to stop filming. Bronson does say he'll give all money owed his wife on the project to cancer causes.

Dore says the movie is faithful to Ireland's book Life Lines, and focuses on the actress and her heroin-addicted son, Jason, not on Ireland and Bronson. After Jason died in 1989, Dore told Ireland, ''If you want to stop (the movie), I'll understand. She took about a week, and said, 'I want to do this more than ever.' ''

Dore said Bronson's main concern was Jill, ''and he knew our being there and working on it made her happy.''

Jill died in May 1990, two weeks after her son Paul's wedding, and Dore recalls her as ''very thin, but resolute. When Jill made up her mind to do something, she did it.'' Says Dore: ''Jill made me promise I would finish the movie