‘Gilligan’ & ‘Brady’ Creator, Sherwood Schwartz, Final Taxi At 94

Mash-ups have become very popular in modern music. They’re created when a DJ mixes two popular songs together to make one new song. This is accomplished by seamlessly overlaying the vocal track of one song over the instrumental track of another. This has been used quite a bit in the TV show ‘Glee’ where they’ve even done an entire show based on mash-ups. Recently I played one of my favorites to my girlfriend, Lesa. Imagine Led Zepplin’s ‘Stairway To Heaven’ and the theme to the TV show ‘Gilligan’s Island’ melded into one song. (This was recorded by Little Roger and the Goosebumps.)

Most everyone can sing the theme to ‘Gilligan’s Island’ if they’ve ever watched any of these shows. Remember these lyrics?

“Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip.
It started from this tropic port aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure,
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three-hour tour.”

The music and lyrics for the song, “The Ballad of Gilligan’s Isle,” were written by Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle. The TV show was also created and produced by Sherwood Schwartz.

Sherwood Schwartz has taken his Final Taxi.

Schwartz guided the little show through three seasons and garnered solid ratings during its run. It later appeared in syndication in the 70’s & 80’s making Gilligan a television icon and Bob Denver (who played the main character) a recognizable face.

Schwartz later took aim at the American family after hearing that in 1965 nearly one-third of American households included at least one child from a previous marriage. He then wrote the story of the marriage between a “lovely lady” with three daughters and “a man named Brady” with three sons. The series was called “The Brady Bunch”. It became the first sitcom to feature a family blended from two previous marriages. The show ran from 1969 to 1974 and had a theme song which, again, featured catchy lyrics written by Schwartz.

The show was so popular that it spun off a Saturday morning cartoon, a variety show, a reality show, TV movies, and several TV sitcoms. There was even a stage production called “The Real Live Brady Bunch” in the 90’s. A reboot in the movies came about in 1995 with “The Brady Bunch Movie” followed by “A Very Brady Sequel” (1996) and “The Brady Bunch in the White House,” a 2002 TV movie. Schwartz had his hand in all these projects in some form or another.

Schwartz also worked on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” “I Married Joan,” “The Red Skelton Show,” and “My Favorite Martian” early in his career.

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The Last Snapshot- Father Of The Digital Camera Dies

Almost everyone is carrying around a digital camera in some form or another. I have one in my phone as well as a nice Cannon that I take with me on vacations, family outings or to concerts. Today’s mega-pixel digital cameras have become smaller and far more powerful than my first one – a 1 pixel HP with comparatively poor visual quality.

The digital camera functions because of a charge-coupled device or CCD. The CCD is a device for the movement of electrical charge and converts this into a digital value. When integrated with an image sensor, it produces technology for digital imaging. This is used in professional, medical, and scientific applications where high-quality image data is required. At home we use it for our smartphones, camcorders, scanners and fax machines.

The CCD was invented in 1969 at AT&T Bell Labs by Willard S. Boyle and his partner George E. Smith. The two were brainstorming during lunch about ways to develop a new memory device for computers and came up with the CCD sensor during that time.

It is Willard S. Boyle who has taken his final taxi at the age of 86.

Besides being the father of the digital camera, Boyle can claim many other inventions and patents. In 1962 he invented the first operating ruby laser and later was named on the first patent for a semiconductor injection laser which is used in many electronic devices. In 1964 he worked with NASA helping choose lunar landing sites for the Apollo program.

In 2009 Boyle won the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention CCD. The Nobel Prize committee stated that “Digital photography has become an irreplaceable tool in many fields of research.” The tool is so commonplace now that we do not think twice about capturing images effortlessly and seeing the results immediately…even taking pictures of our family during embarrassing moments. So thank Mr. Boyle the next time you go through the ” naked” TSA scanner at the airport.

The Black Carpet of the 2011 Academy Awards

Being someone who loves movies I have to watch the Academy Awards every year. So on Sunday night I sat with my girl by my side and watched as we found out who was best actor or actress or what was the best picture of the year. My favorite section is the part where Oscar remembers those who died in 2010, [pays final respects to them and honors their accomplishments]. This year the death reel was fronted by Celine Dion singing “Smile” as the list of names rolled by.

Here is who we saw this year:

John Barry (composer)
Grant McCune (visual effects)
Tony Curtis
Edward Limato (agent)
Tom Mankiewicz (writer)
Gloria Stuart
William Fraker (cinematographer)
Joseph Strick (director)
Lionel Jeffries
Sally Menke (editor)
Ronni Chasen (publicist)
Leslie Nielsen
Robert Radnitz (producer)
Claude Chabrol (director)
Pete Postlethwaite
Bill Littlejohn (animator)
Pierre Guffroy (art director)
Patricia Neal
George Hickenlooper (director)
Irving Ravetch (writer)
Robert Culp
Bob Boyle (art director)
Mario Monicelli (director)
Lynn Redgrave
Elliott Kastner (producer)
Dede Allen (editor)
Peter Yates (producer-director)
Anne Francis
Arthur Penn (producer-director)
Theoni Aldredge (costume designer)
Susannah York
Ronald Neame (director)
David Wolper (producer)
Jill Clayburgh
Alan Hume (cinematographer)
Irvin Kershner (director)
Dennis Hopper
Dino De Laurentiis (producer)
Blake Edwards (writer-director)
Kevin McCarthy
Lena Horne

I almost wish that they had left Kevin McCarthy for last and use the scene in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” where he screams “Your Next!!” but it would have spoiled the mood.

Every year the Academy leaves off people that should have been on the list and this year is no exception. First off the list is Peter Graves. Graves deserves to be on that list of beloved actors not for bad sci-fi movies he did or the laughs he gave us as Captain Over in the Airplane( 1980) movies but at least for his involvement in the 1953 World War II film Stalag 17 (1953), acting as a German spy pretending to be a prisoner of war.

Another Airplane ( 1980) actor who was left off the list was Barbara Billingsley. Many will remember her as the mother on Leave It To Beaver but she had a strong start in films with movies like The Bad and the Beautiful (1950), Three Guys Named Mike (1950), with Jane Wyman, and the sci-fi movie Invaders from Mars (1953).

James Gammon should not have been left off the list either. The scruffy actor will be best known as the coach in the Major League movies but he was also in Cool Hand Luke (1967), Urban Cowboy (1980), Silverado (1985), Noon Wine (1985), The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993), Wyatt Earp (1994), Wild Bill (1995), Truman (1995), Cold Mountain (2003), and more recently, Appaloosa (2008).

Harold Gould who again will be known for his TV roles was also in the films The Yellow Canary(1963), The Satan Bug (1966); Inside Daisy Clover; and Harper (1966) with Paul Newman. He will also be known for playing Kid Twist in The Sting (1977) and as a villain in Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie (1976).

Betty Garrett, a comedic actress who was a fixture in such MGM musicals as “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” “Neptune’s Daughter” with Red Skelton and “On the Town” with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra, was missing from list.

Others missing include Maria Schneider, a French actress best known for playing Jeanne, opposite Marlon Brando, in the 1972 film, Last Tango in Paris and Maury Chaykin who acted in WarGames (1983), My Cousin Vinny (1992) and had a small but pivotal role in the film Dances with Wolves (1990), portraying Major Fambrough.

The person whose omission from this years’ list was most shocking was Corey Haim. Haim’s may have ended his career with a list of bad direct-to -video movies, but the body of his work is well worth a nod from the Academy. His first noted film was 1984’s thriller Firstborn, starring alongside Sarah Jessica Parker and Robert Downey Jr as a boy whose family comes under threat from his mother’s violent boyfriend, played by Peter Weller. After that the list just gets better with films such as Lucas ( 1986) , Silver Bullet( 1985), Murphy’s Romance (1985), License to Drive (1988) and Dream a Little Dream(1989). The movie that must be remembered is The Lost Boys (1987), which made Haim a household name. It is regarded as a 80s classic and bonded him alongside his friend Corey Feldman to fight teenage vampire Kiefer Sutherland.

Sexy star of “Faster Pussy Cat Kill Kill” Tura Satana

I recently watched “Grindhouse”, a film by Quentin Tarrantino and Robert Rodriguez, with a friend of mine who bought it on blu-ray. The film is a salute to the low-budget B-movies of the 60’s and 70’s. It has all the grainy video, bad edits, video lines running through, and poor dialogue that made these cheaply made films worth watching. There is a comic faction built into them for those of us with a twisted sense humor. One wonders why we were watching it on blu-ray and not VHS tape.

One of the actress in the film, Rose McGowan, becomes this strong female character, who does not like to be pushed around. She is the tough chick (a real bad ass). This is a character we have seen played before. One of my favorite no-nonsense female characters is in the Russ Meyer’s 1965 film “Faster Pusscat, Kill, Kill.” The film features gratuitous violence, sexuality, provocative gender roles, and campy dialogue. It is not a film for everyone, but is worth watching for the acting of actress, Tura Satana, who plays the leader of a gang of thrill-seeking go-go dancers.

The Japanese born Tura Satana took her Final Taxi this week at the age of 72 in Reno Nevada.

In “Faster Pusscat, Kill, Kill” Tura played “Varla” a very aggressive and sexual female character, like something out of a comic book. In the film she did all of her own stunts and fight scenes. She asked the director to do this because of all the martial art training she had taken as a child. She learned aikido and karate, after being sexually attacked. In an interview in with Psychotronic Video Magazine, she said that she later tracked and exacted vengeance on each of her attackers.

After being “discovered” by silent screen comic Harold Lloyd, she first worked in the movies with Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine in 1963’s “Irma La Douce”. In the musical she played one of the Parisian prostitutes friend of the main character. That same year she played a dancer in “Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed?” with Dean Martin and Elizabeth Montgomery. Other films include the James Bond parody “Our Man Flint” (1966) with James Coburn, “The Astro-Zombies” (1968), “The Doll Squad” (1974) and “Mark of the Astro-Zombies” (2002).

In TV Tura appeared in “Burke’s Law”, “The Greatest Show On Earth”, “Hawaiian Eye”, and “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.”.

In her personal life Tura Satana at one time dated “the King of Rock and Roll'” Elvis Presley, but turned down his marriage proposal but she kept the ring. She also had a relationship with Frank Sinatra.

Tura Satana’s exotic looks, buxom frame and no-nonsense attitude paved the way for other actresses and can be seen in pop-cultural artifacts ranging from “Xena, Warrior Princess” to Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill”

Gerry Rafferty Singer-Songwriter of ‘Baker Street’ Takes Final Taxi

One of the most memorable scenes in Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film “Reservoir Dogs” was when the character Mr. Blonde (played by Michael Madsen) tortures Kirk Baltz while dancing to the 1972 classic song by the band Stealers Wheel called “Stuck in the Middle With You”. The song was originally a joke song by a member of the band that parodied Bob Dylan’s distinctive lyrical style. It became a surprise hit for the group and peaking at No. 6 in 1973 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

The song was written by song writters Joe Egan and Gerry Rafferty. Singer and songwriter Gerry Rafferty has taken his Final Taxi at age 63.

Rafferty will be best known for his solo work which includes hits like “Baker Street” and “Right Down the Line”.

Known for its prominent eight-bar saxophone riff, “Bakers Street” remains Rafferty‘s most identified song. Released in 1978 it reached No. 2 in the U.S singles chart. The album it came from,” City To City”, sold over 5.5 million copies and became a No. 1 selling LP. The songs lead to a resurgence of saxophone use in mainstream pop music and TV advertising at the time.

His song “Right Down the Line” reached No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and spent four non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Easy Listening chart in the U.S., making this Rafferty’s only song to ever reach No. 1 on any US chart.

Rafferty continued to record music but never had the success he did with “City To City.” His last recording was titled “Life Goes On” which was released in November 2009.

Actor Pete Postlethwaite Takes Final Taxi

I get knocked down – But I get up again – You’re never going to keep me down

Pissing the night away – Pissing the night away

He drinks a whisky drink- He drinks a vodka drink – He drinks a lager drink – He drinks a cider drink

He sings the songs that remind him Of the good times – He sings the songs that remind him Of the better times………..

These are some lyrics to the song, “Tubthumping” by the band Chumbawumba. In August 11 1997. It reached #6 on the US Billboard Hot 10.

The album version of the song opens with a sample of a monologue used in the 1996 film Brassed Off and goes: “Truth is, I thought it mattered. I thought that music mattered. But does it? Bollocks! Not compared to how people matter.”

That clip was performed by Pete Postlethwaite who starred in the film. It is Postlethwaite who has taken his Final Taxi at the age of 64.

One of my favorite roles he was in was in 1995’s hit film “The Usual Suspects”. Postlethwaite played the menacing criminal mastermind Kobayashi. The thought was that he was the major villain in the film, but he was not as it turned out.

He was recently seen in 2010 in the films “Clash of the Titans” and “Inception”. Other films include “The Last of the Mohicans”, “Aliens 3”, “Dragonheart” and “James and the Giant Peach”. He worked with director Steven Spielberg in the dinosaur adventure film “The Lost World: Jurrassic Park”, and Amistad, about a slave mutiny on a ship.

Postlethwaite received an Oscar nomination for his performance, as Guiseppe Conlon in the 1993 film In “The Name Of The Father”. He will be seen in April in the film “Killing Bono”

Those we lost in 2010

A year comes to an end and in 2010 that end came to several celebrities.

This year we lost so many of the people I watched growing up as a child in the 60’s and 70’s. For years I would watch Tom Bosley as he play Howard Cummingham, the father on TV’s Happy Days. “Mister C” would always have the right words to tell Richie or Fonzie what to do in that weeks subject. If Cummingham was the best father on TV then the best mother would be June Cleaver. On Leave It To Beaver I would watch as Beaver’s mom ( played by the late Barbara Billingsley) would tell his father, “Ward, I’m worried about the Beaver.” Billingley also had a role in the movie Airplane with Peter Graves and Leslie Nielsen, who we lost this year. Graves will be remember for the Mission Impossible TV show. Nielsen started out in westerns but found his genre with comedy spoofs. One western star we did have to watch was Daniel Boone. The lead was played by Fess Parker who influenced a nation of boys into wearing coonskin caps.

On the big screen we lost Tony Curtis, one of the last of early the Hollywood icon. Best known for his role in ‘Some Like it Hot,’ he appeared in more than 100 films and was nominated for an Oscar for ‘The Defiant Ones.’ Dennis Hopper’s career spanned more than 50 years. He received two Oscar nominations — for writing Easy Rider & the 1986 drama Hoosiers. He was great as the villain in Speed. Other Oscar nominees we lost include Jill Clayburgh , Lynn Redgrave, and Patricia Neal.

Several people who gave us music left us. Lena Horne is credited with opening the door for black entertainers in Hollywood. I loved hearing her sing Stormy Weather. Also Malcolm McLaren helped lead the way for establishing punk rock music as a music genre.

I would also like to remember two voice actors that have touch everyone’s life. Anyone who has seen the classic 1964 Christmas special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer know Rudolph’s voice. It was played by Billie Mae Richards. Another Christmas memory will be “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Christopher Shea played the voice of Linus in those classic Peanuts specials.

It’s always a shock every year as I make this list of who has checked out and taken their Final Taxi to their last resting place. Here is a list of some of those who have become Final Taxi riders in 2010:

DEATHS IN JANUARY

Casey Johnson, 30, socialite who was heiress to the Johnson and Johnson company, was found dead in her Los Angeles home on Jan 4

Art Clokey, an animator who created the pop culture animated Gumby. He was 88.

Eric Rohmer, 89, prolific French filmmaker and founding father of the French New Wave movement

Miep Gies helped hide Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis during the Second World War and saved Anne’s diary after the family was arrested. She was 100.

Teddy Pendergrass, 59, famous R&B singer

Carl Smith, 82, country music and television star of the 1950s and 1960s

Glen W. Bell, founder of Taco Bell food. He was 86.

Erich Segal, 72, an author best known for the romantic tragedy Love Story made into a 1970 movie of the same name

Jean Simmons, 80, actress whose ethereal screen presence and starring roles with Hollywood’s top actors made her widely admired. I loved her is so many roles that there are too many to name. I knew of her in the TV series Dark Shadows and found her again in 2004 when Simmons voiced the lead-role of Sophie in the English dub of Howl’s Moving Castle.

Robert. B. Parker, 77, the crime writer who created the private eye Spenser that became a TV show.

Earl Wild, classical pianist and jazz performer and who wrote music for television programs.

Pernell Roberts Jr. 81, an actor who portrayed the eldest son on Bonanza and a retired army doctor in “Trapper John, MD”

J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye He was 91.

DEATHS IN FEBRUARY

John McCallum, creator of the Australian children’s program Skippy the Bush

Charlie Wilson, 76, the charismatic Democrat from Texas who was instrumental in funding the Afghanistan resistance fighting Soviet occupation after the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. He was portrayed by Tom Hanks in the film Charlie Wilson’s WarDick Francis, best selling crime writer. He was 89.

Alexander Haig, 85, American Republican. He was chief of staff to Richard Nixon and helped plan his resignation. He also served in Ronald Reagan’s cabinet.

Therese Rochette, the 55-year-old mother of Olympic figure skater Joannie Rochette, died in hospital shortly after arriving in Vancouver to watch her daughter compete. She had a heart attack. Rochette skated despite the tragedy and won a bronze medal.

Michael Blosil, the 18-year-old son of American celebrity Marie Osmond, jumped from his Los Angeles area apartment, killing himself. He suffered from depression.

DEATHS IN MARCH

Corey Haim, 38, 1980s child actor who starred in films like Lucas and License To Drive. His best-known role was alongside Corey Feldman in The Lost Boys.

Merlin Olsen, 69, Hall of Fame football player who made a successful transition to television as a commentator on NFL broadcasts and acting on Little House on the Prairie and Father Murphy.

Peter Graves, 83, movie and television actor best known for Mission Impossible and hosting the program Biography. I will always remember him in the film Airplane.

Johnny Maestro , 70, who performed the 1958 doo-wop hit “16 Candles” with the Crests and enjoyed a decades-long career with the Brooklyn Bridge

Fess Parker, 85, actor best known for playing Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone in the 1950s and 1960s.

Robert Culp, an American actor best known for playing a secret agent in the 1960s era program I Spy and later in the TV show Greatest American Hero. He was 79.

DEATHS IN APRIL

John Forsythe, 92, an actor who was the voice of Charlie on the Charlie’s Angels program and also starred in the show Dynasty.

Corin Redgrave, a brother to Vanessa and Lynn. He worked both in movies and theatre and was a Marxist political activist who attempted to get Prime Minister Tony Blair impeached over his role in the Iraq War. He was 70.

Eddie Carroll, 76, the voice of the Disney cartoon Jiminy Cricket for nearly 40 years not only in TV & movies but in the Kingdom Hearts games. During the 1970s, he co-wrote scripts for Hanna-Barbera and other cartoon studios.

One death that got me this year was that of Malcolm McLaren. He was the creator and manager of the British punk band the Sex Pistols, a leading influence in the punk music genre. Mclaren also managed the New York Dolls and Adam and the Ants. He was 64.

Dixie Carter, 70, an actress best know for playing Julia Sugarbaker in the 1980s television comedy Designing Women, died in Houston of endometrial cancer. She was 70.
redgrave.jpg

Daryl Gates was the former chief of police in Los Angeles who he was forced to retire after the Rodney King riots in 1992.

Allison Tross, 92, was a WW II hero. She was a linguist and German translator with the Royal Naval Service . She helped break the German cipher code “Enigma” during the Second World War.

Meinhardt Raabe, 94, played the Munchkin coroner in The Wizard of Oz

MC Guru (Keith Elam), 43, was a New York City-based rapper credited with fusing jazz into rap and hip hop.

Lynn Redgrave, 67, actress and playwright who was nominated for Oscars and Tonys, died of breast cancer just months after her brother.

MAY DEATHS

Lena Horne, 92, was a legendary black singer/actress who tried to break the Hollywood color barrier as a star in the 1940s and 1950s.She continued to perform on television, Broadway and nightclubs for decades.

John Shepherd-Barron, credited with making the first automated cash dispenser, first used at Barclay’s Bank in London in 1967.

Jose Lima, 37, was a thirteen-year pitcher in the major leagues for a variety of teams.

Frank Frazetta, 82, illustrator of comic books, movie posters and paperback book covers

Dorothy Kamenshek, 84, was a standout player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a Sports Illustrated top 100 female athlete of the 20th century and was the inspiration for the main character in the 1992 A League of their Own played by Genna Davis.

Art Linkletter. ,97, famous as an television host and interviewer in the 1950s and 1960s

Gary Coleman,42, former child actor from the sitcom Different – “What your talkin’ about Willis?”

Dennis Hopper,74, was a film actor best known now for intense performances in such movies as Rebel Without A Cause Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet and Hoosiers. He emerged from years of supporting roles to direct and act in the iconic biker movie Easy

Chris Haney, 59, one of the creators of the 1980s board game Trivial Pursuit.

Ali-Ollie Woodson, 58, led the Motown quintet the Temptations in the 1980s and ’90s

JUNE DEATHS

Rue McClanahan, 76, actress best known for playing Blanche Devereaux in the 1980s sitcom The Golden Girls. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in 1987

Marvin Isley,59, one of the lineup in the successful R&B group the Isley Brothers. He was with them from the doo-wop era of the 1950s through to the 1980s singing Lonely Teardrops, Shout and Its Your Thing.

Stuart Cable, 40, drummer for the British group the Stereophonics

Marina Semyonova, 102, the first great ballerina of the Soviet era, danced and taught for the Bolshoi Ballet from 1930 until her retirement about six years ago.

Jimmy Dean, 81, country singer, television host and sausage entrepreneur. He was known for his 1961 country crossover hit Big Bad John and for his role in the 1971 James Bond film “Diamonds Are Forever.”

Peter Quaife, 66, was original bassist for the British Invasion era rock band The Kinks. Played on this hits “You Really Got Me” and “All Day and All of the Night.”

Robert Byrd, 92, the longest-serving member of the U.S. Congress. He sat one term in the House, then 51 years in the Senate.

Garry Shider, 56, longtime musical director of Parliament-Funkadelic

JULY DEATHS

Ilene Woods, 81, the voice of Cinderella in the iconic 1950 Disney animated film.

Bob Probert, 45, retired NHL enforcer for the Detroit Red Wings

Jim Bohlen, 84, one of the founders of Greenpeace in the early 1970s

Harvey Pekar, 70, American comic book author best known for the autobiographical series American Splendor. He was play on film by actor Paul Giamatti.

George Steinbrenner, 80, was the owner of the New York Yankees since 1973. Often lampooned on the TV series Senfield.

James Gammon, 70, an character actor who tended to play grizzled father figures in westerns and would be more known for his role as the coach in the Major League movies.

Stephen Schneider, 65, scientist who was a pioneer in climate change research, Schneider was part of the group that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

Alex Green,68, legendary film stuntman who did everything from western movies to the Beachcombers on television

Ben Keith, 73, musician who was a longtime collaborator with Neil Young.

Mitch Miller, 99, record producer, Miller created the Sing Along with Mitch albums of standard songs to appeal to older listeners who did not like the new genre of rock and roll music taking over in the late 1950s. The concept was adapted to television with great success a few years later.

Walter Hawkins, 61, famed gospel singer, composer and arranger

Tuli Kupferberg , 86, founding member of the 1960s underground rock group the Fugs

AUGUST DEATHS

Patricia Neal, 84, actress who won an Academy Award for her role in Hud in 1963. Other films include Breakfast at Tiffany’s, All Quiet on the Western Front, & The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Abbey Lincoln, 80, well-known jazz singer, songwriter, actress and civil rights activist whose career spanned the 1950s to 2000s.

Dr. Frank Ryan, 50, plastic surgeon to Hollywood celebrities.

Bobby Thomson, 86, New York Giants baseball player, he hit “the shot heard round the world” to win the 1951 National League pennant.

Laurent Fignon, 50, popular French cyclist and two-time winner of the Tour de France

David L. Wolper, 82, Hollywood impresario whose landmark 1987 television miniseries Roots engrossed the U.S. with its saga of an American family descended from an African slave

Edwin Newman , 91, NBC News correspondent for more than three decades

SEPTEMBER DEATHS

Billie Mae Richards, 88, character actress who was the voice of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the classic 1964 television special.

Harold Gould, 86, character actor whose career spanned nearly 50 years. Gould appeared in popular sitcoms such as Rhoda and The Golden Girls, and movies such as The Sting.

Jackie Burroughs,71. actress best known for playing Aunt Hetty on the Road to Avonlea TV series for six years.

Kevin McCarthy, 96, actor in the science-fiction movie classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers,

Eddie Fisher,82, singer whose crooner style made him popular in the 1950s and early 1960s, he is probably better known now for leaving wife Debbie Reynolds for actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Gloria Stuart, 100, actress from the 1930s and 1940s, she was best known for playing Ros in the 1997 blockbuster Titanic at the age of 87.

Tony Curtis, 85, an actor best known for his matinee idol good looks and for hit films such as Some like it Hot and Spartacus, he’s also remembered by film buffs for his searing portrayal of a hustling publicist in The Sweet Smell of Success.

OCTOBER DEATHS

Joan Sutherland, 83, Australian opera singer, described by Pavaroti as “the voice of the century”

Barbara Billingsley, 94, iconic actress best known for playing June Cleaver, the idealized postwar stay-at-home mom on the television program Leave it to Beaver from 1957-1963. Also played in the movie Airplane.

Tom Bosley,83, stage and television actor best known for playing all-American dad Howard Cunningham on the television show Happy Days. He also played the lead in the TV series Father Dowling Mysteries.

Albertina Walker , 81, Grammy-winning singer from Chicago known as the “Queen of Gospel,”

Alexander Anderson Jr., 90, TV cartoon artist who created Rocky the flying squirrel, Bullwinkle the moose and Dudley Do-Right the Canadian mountie

Bob Guccione, 79, publisher who founded Penthouse magazine and made his fortune in the adult entertainment industry before the rise of Internet pornography.

James MacArthur,72, actor who was the original Danno from the television program Hawaii Five-O. He played that character for 11 seasons .

NOVEMBER DEATHS

George “Sparky” Anderson, 76, legendary baseball coach won World Series titles in both leagues with Cincinnati and Detroit

Jill Clayburgh, 66, actress best known for her Oscar-nominated role in An Unmarried Woman. I loved her in the movie Silver Streak.

Dylan Arminda Burson, 20, daughter of the writer of this blog. I miss her so much

Dino De Laurentiis, 92, Italian film producer responsible for over 500 movies in Italy and the United States, his hits include the first remake of King Kong and the Federico Fellini film La Strada. I first became aware of him in when he made the Conan movies.

Laurie “Bambi” Bembenk, 52, former Playboy Club bunny and Milwaukee police officer who was jailed for killing her husband’s ex-wife in the early 1980s, she became even more infamous when she escaped from a Wisconsin prison and hid in Ontario for three months.

Leslie Nielsen, 84, comedic actor best known now for such film farces as Airplane and the Naked Gun series. Started out in westerns but found more success in comedy. My first film I remember him in was Forbidden Planet.

DECEMBER DEATHS

Don Meredith , 72, star of football (SMU and Dallas Cowboys), TV ( Monday Night Football) and commercials

James Moody , 85, jazz saxophonist who recorded more than 50 solo albums as well as songs with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie , Quincy Jones, Lionel Hampton and B.B. King

Blake Edwards, 88, director and writer known for clever dialogue, poignancy and occasional belly-laugh sight gags in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 10 and the Pink Panther comedies with Peter Sellers

Steve Landesberg, 74, actor and comedian best known for his role as Det. Arthur Dietrich on the 1970s and ’80s sitcom Barney Miller

Teena Marie, 54, R&B singer known as “Ivory Queen of Soul,” Dec. 26.

Bernie Wilson, baritone vocalist in the classic lineup of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes

Elizabeth Edwards, 61, the estranged wife of former Democratic presidential nominee John Edwards

Dorothy Jones, 76, was a member of the band ‘The Cookies’ who had a hit with the song Don’t Say Nothin’ Bad About My Baby & Chains

Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller, 92, a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians nicknamed “Rapid Robert

Christopher Shea, 52, who was the original voice of Linus in the original Peanuts TV special “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and four subsequent specials

Billy Taylor, 89, US jazz musician and composer, considered one of the foremost ambassadors ofAmerican jazz music.His most famous song, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free, became the unofficial anthem of the US civil rights movement.

Agathe von Trapp, 97, a member of the musical family whose escape from Nazi-occupied Austria was the basis for “The Sound of Music.” Von Trapp was the oldest daughter of Austrian naval Capt. Georg Ritter von Trapp. His seven children by his first wife, Agathe Whitehead von Trapp, were the basis for the singing family in the 1959 play and 1965 film, which won the Oscar for best picture. Agathe, a guitarist, was represented in the film by 16-going-on-17 Liesl, played by Charmian Carr.