Alan Rickman – More Than Just Snape

I really hate how the media sometimes summarize someone’s life in a few words.king-louis

Many times they will look at an incredible actor and only see a few of the more popular roles he played and miss the greater body of work. They are doing that now with Alan Rickman.

Actor Alan Rickman took his Final Taxi at age 69 because of cancer. He has done so many wonderful films that have touched our lives but the news mostly focuses on the franchises, Harry Potter and Die Hard.

I first took notice of Rickman as an actor in the movie “Truly, Madly, Deeply” in 1990. This was two years after Die Hard. In it he plays Jamie, a dead musician so in love that death cannot keep him apart from his lover. It was kind of a thinking man’s “Ghost.”

 

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One of my daughter’s favorite Rickman films is Ang Lee’s ” Sense and Sensibility” from 1995. This adaption of Jane Austin’s book has Rickman playing Colonel Brandon as a rich and worthy suitor for Marianne, played by Kate Winslet. This would not be the only time Winslet and Richman worked together. In 2015 Rickman directed ” A Little Chaos” with her as his lead ( He gives a great portrayal of King Louis XIV.)

Many fans will remember his role in 1999’s Galaxy Quest. Playing Alexander Dane, a Shakespearean actor who had found himself trapped and most fondly remembered for an alien on a silly sci-fi TV show. He did not hide the fact he hated it and we all thought it was hilarious as it echoed reality with a great spoof of Star Trek’s Spock. ( “By Grabnar’s Hammer!” )

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I will always remember Rickman’s voice. It conveyed a wide range – from dripping sarcasm to great comic pomposity. He proved that in one of my favorite roles as Marvin the paranoid robot in 2005’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. With a brain as big as a Volkswagen, Marvin was utterly depressed by having to hanging out with other life forms that were less intelligent than him. Rickman was actually one of the best at that kind of deadpan comic delivery. He used his voice only again in 2010’s Alice In Wonderland as the Blue Caterpillar a role that he repeated for the 2016 sequel.

There are so many other great films by Rickman you should see- The Cohen Brother’s “Gambit,” “Bottle Shock” Lee Daniel’s “The Butler” and “Something The Lord Made”. Alan Rickman will be missed for many reasons — his dry wit, incredible English humor, and most importantly for his ability to completely capture our attention on the big screen with his incredible performances. ..and that unforgettable voice.

 

 

 

Edited by Lesa Rosato Burson

‘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.

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.
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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.

Those Who Have Taken Their Final Taxi In 2009

A decade comes to an end and in 2009 that end came to several celebrities. We lost several entertainers during 2009’s infamous ‘summer of death’ as names like Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Billy Mays, David Carradine, Ed McMahon all died within days of each other. Of that lot one name shocked the public the most: Michael Jackson. In his short life of 50 years Jackson helped shape popular music and culture. From his early years with the Jackson 5 to his solo career he maintained the title ‘King of Pop.’ Other deaths without warnings for the year included actress Natasha Richardson, David Carradine, and of course Brittany Murphy.
Through 2009 we all watched as Patrick Swayze continued to act ( in the TV series ‘The Beast’) knowing he didn’t have long to live. It didn’t make is easier as the actor in films like ‘Ghost’ & ‘Dirty Dancing’ died due to pancreatic cancer in September.
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 2009:

JANUARY
Johannes Mario Simmel, 84. Austrian-born author; topped German-language best-seller lists. Jan. 1.
Jett Travolta, 16. John Travolta’s son. Jan. 2.
Betty Freeman, 87. Modern-art collector, music patron. Jan. 3.
Olga San Juan, 81. Actress, dancer known as “Puerto Rican Pepperpot.” Jan. 3.

Pat Hingle, 84. Tony-nominated stage actor. (I will always remember him as Commissioner Gordon in the “Batman” movies.) Jan. 3.
Ned Tanen, 77. As Paramount and Universal chairman. ( The man who help bring “Top Gun,” “E.T.” into our lives). Jan. 5.
Ron Asheton, 60. Punk rock guitarist for the Stooges. ( Worked great alongside Iggy Pop) Jan. 6.
Cheryl Holdridge, 64. Mouseketeer on “The Mickey Mouse Club”; also known for playing Wally Cleaver’s girlfriend Julie Foster in the TV series “Leave it to Beaver.” Jan. 6.
John Scott Martin,82, Actor best known for playing the chief Dalek in the “Dr. Who” Also in “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life,” “Pink Floyd The Wall” “Ali G Indahouse,” “Erik the Viking,” Jan 6
Don Galloway, Actor playing officer Ed Brown in TV’s “Ironside” and was also JoBeth Williams’ husband in “The Big Chill.” Jan 7
Cornelia Wallace, 69, Former Alabama First Lady (Loved that she was played by sexy Angelina Jolie in mini-series with Gary Sinese) Jan 8
Jon Hager, 67. One of the Hager Twins on TV’s “Hee-Haw.” ( The other twin died last year.) Jan. 9
Henry Endo, 87, Actor who played Che Fong on the hit TV series “Hawaii 5-0.” Jan 9
Daniel Allar, 46, Played Avacado in season one of “Prison Break.” Jan 10
Tom O’Horgan, 84. Directed “Hair,” “Jesus Christ Superstar” on Broadway. Jan. 11.
Claude Berri, 74. French actor, director. Jan. 12.
W.D. Snodgrass, 83. Pulitzer-winning poet (“Heart’s Needle”). Jan. 13.
Pedro “Cuban Pete” Aguilar, 81. Star mambo dancer in 1950s. Jan. 13.
Patrick McGoohan, 80. Emmy-winning actor. Will be remembered as ‘6’ in the cult TV classic “The Prisoner” but I loved him in Braveheart as Edward Longshanks. Jan. 13.
Hortense Calisher, 97. Fiction writer known for dense prose (“False Entry”). Jan. 13.
Ricardo Montalban, 88. Actor – What a loss! Known for MGM musicals, Mr. Roarke on “Fantasy Island,” or my favorite as Star Trek villain Kahn. Jan. 14.
John Mortimer, 85. British writer; created curmudgeonly lawyer Rumpole of the Bailey. Jan. 16.
Susanna Foster,84, Actress remembered for starring with Claude Raines in the 1943 remake of “Phantom of the Opera.” Jan 17
David “Fathead” Newman, 75. Jazz saxophonist; played with range of luminaries, including Ray Charles. Jan. 20.
Darrell Sandeen,78, Actor; rogue cop Buzz Meeks in “L.A. Confidential.” Also in “Father Murphy,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Bonanza” Jan 22
Kim Manners,58, Director; Nominated four time for Emmy awards for “The X Files.” He produced over 100 episodes and directed over 50 episodesof the series. Jan 25
James Brady, 80, Author, Parade magazine celebrity columnist. Jan. 26.
John Updike, 76, Pulitzer-winning novelist, essayist. Jan. 27.
Billy Powell, 56, Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboard player (“Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird”). Saw him in the original lineup in the 70’s Jan. 28.
John Martyn, 60. British singer-songwriter, guitarist (“May You Never”). Jan. 29.
Hans Beck, 79. Created colorful Playmobil toy figures. Jan. 30.
Milton Parker, 90. Owned New York City’s Carnegie Deli, known for gargantuan sandwiches. Jan. 30.

FEBRUARY

Lukas Foss, 86. Avant-garde composer. Feb. 1.
Dewey Martin, 68. Drummer with influential band Buffalo Springfield (“For What It’s Worth”). Feb. 1.
Lux Interior, 62. Lead singer of horror-punk band the Cramps. (What a shock this was for me! A lost talent.) Feb. 4.

James Whitmore, 87. Actor ; did one-man shows on Harry Truman & Will Rogers but most younger audiences will remember him as Brooks Hatlen in The Shawshank Redemption. Feb. 6.
Philip Carey, 83. Played tycoon Asa Buchanan in “One Life to Live.” Feb. 6.
Molly Bee, 69. Country singer; teamed with Tennessee Ernie Ford (“Don’t Go Courtin’ in a Hot Rod Ford”). Feb. 7.
Blossom Dearie, 84. Jazz singer with girlish voice. Feb. 7.
Robert Anderson, 91. Broadway playwright (“Tea and Sympathy”). Feb. 9.
Orlando “Cachaito” Lopez, 76. Bassist for Cuba’s Buena Vista Social Club. Feb. 9.
Estelle Bennett, 67. One of the Ronettes, ’60s girl group (“Be My Baby”). Feb. 11.
Hugh Leonard, 82. Irish playwright; won Tony for father-son drama “Da.” Feb. 12.
Gerry Niewood, 64, and Coleman Mellett, 34. Members of Chuck Mangione’s band. Feb. 12. Buffalo, New York ( plane crash. )
Louie Bellson, 84. Jazz drummer; performed with Duke Ellington, wife Pearl Bailey. Feb. 14.
Snooks Eaglin, 72. New Orleans R&B singer, guitarist. Feb. 18.
Kelly Groucutt, 63. Bass player with Electric Light Orchestra. ( Saw my first concert with him playing with ELO) Feb. 19.
Howard Zieff, 81. Directed films (“Private Benjamin”), TV ads (Alka-Seltzer’s “Spicy Meatballs.” ) Feb. 22.
Philip Jose Farmer, 91. Science-fiction writer. (World of Tiers & Riverworld series) Feb. 25.

Wendy Richard, 65. Actress: Known as Miss Brahms in “Are You Being Served?” & Pauline Fowler in “EastEnders.” Feb. 26.
Paul Harvey, 90. Radio news and talk pioneer; one of the nation’s most familiar voices. Feb. 28.
Natasha Richardson , 45, Actress: Films include Nell, The Parent Trap & Maid in Manhattan. Married to actor Liam Neeson. Died in skiing accident.

MARCH

Joan Turner, 86, Comedian & actress; “All About the Benjamins,” “Scandal,” “No Surrender,” & as Marilyn Chamber’s aunt in the porn classic “Insatiable” March 1
Ernie Ashworth, 80. Grand Ole Opry singer (“Talk Back Trembling Lips”). March 2.
Sydney Chaplin, 82. Tony-winning actor; son of Charlie Chaplin (“Bells Are Ringing”). March 3.
Horton Foote 92. Playwright (“The Trip to Bountiful”) and screenwriter (“To Kill a Mockingbird”). March 4.
Kyle Tucy Sweet, 52, Make-up artist in such films as “The Terminator,” “Teen Wolf,” “Ghost,” & “Repo Man” ( Side note; she was wife of Michael Sweet, the lead singer of the Christian rock band “Stryper.) March 5
Jimmy Boyd, 70. Child actor, singer known for “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”. March 7.
Tullio Pinelli, Writer & Director; Wrote 13 films for Federico Fellini. including “8½,” “La Dolce Vita,” “I Vitelloni” and “La Strada.” March 7
Hank Locklin, 91. Smooth-voiced country singer “Send Me the Pillow You Dream On”. March 8.
Anne Wiggins Brown, 96. Soprano; the original Bess in Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.” March 13.
Betsy Blair, 85. Actress, Oscar-nominated for role as shy woman courted by homely Ernest Borgnine in “Marty.” March 13.
Alan Livingston,91, Music exec; Created Bozo The Clown and while at Capitol Records brought the Beatles to the US. March 13
Millard Kaufman, 92. Writer; Oscar nominations for writing “Bad Day at Black Rock” and “Take the High Ground!” Co-creator of “Mr. Magoo.” March 14.

Ron Silver, 62. Actor, Director, Producer: Films include: “Reversal of Fortune,” “Enemies, a Love Story,” “Silkwood” “Ali,” “Best Friends,” “Garbo Talks.” TV: “Rhoda,” “Veronica’s Closet,” “The West Wing” March 15.
Jack Lawrence, 96. Lyricist for Frank Sinatra’s first hit, “All or Nothing at All.” March 15.
Eddie Bo, 79. New Orleans blues singer-pianist; worked with greats such as Irma Thomas. March 18.
Uriel Jones, 74. Drummer for Motown in songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” “I Second That Emotion” “For Once In My Life. March 24.
Dan Seals, 61. Half of duo England Dan and John Ford Coley. March 25.
Steven Bach, 70. Movie executive and writer. Ran United Artists studio and killed it with the movie “Heaven’s Gate. ( Also produced “Raging Bull,” “The French Lieutenant’s Woman,” “Annie Hall,” “Eye of the Needle” ) March 25.
Irving R. Levine, 86. NBC newsman. War March 27.
Maurice Jarre, 84. Oscar-winning film composer (“Lawrence of Arabia,” &”Doctor Zhivago”). March 28.
Andy Hallett, 33. Actor who played the demon Lorne in TV series “Angel.” March 29.
Hal Durham,77, Announcer for the Grand Ole Opry from 1964 through 1996 March 30

APRIL

Bud Shank, 82. Jazz saxophonist, flutist ( He played with Mamas & the Papas on “California Dreamin'”). April 2.
Tom Braden, 92. Helped launch CNN’s “Crossfire”; wrote memoir “Eight Is Enough,” which inspired a TV show. April 3.
Victor Millan, 89, Actor who played Sal Mineo’s father in the classic “Giant.” Other credits “Boulevard Nights,” “Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze,” & Brian DePalma’s “Scarface.”
Maxine Cooper,84, Actress and social activist; Active in civil rights during the 1960s while making films like “Fear on Trial,” & “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” ( I loved her as a sick passenger in the “Airplane!”) April 4
Dave Arneson, 61. Co-creator of groundbreaking Dungeons & Dragons fantasy game. April 7.
David “Pop” Winans Sr., 76. Grammy-nominated patriarch of gospel music family. April 8.
Randy Cain, 63. Member of “Philadelphia sound” soul group the Delfonics. April 9.
Jane Bryan,90, Actress that appeared in nearly 20 films during the late 1930s.( “Marked Woman ” “Kid Galahad.” “Brother Rat”) April 8
Marilyn Chambers, 56. Actress in the groundbreaking porn film “Behind the Green Door.” April 12.
Jack D. Hunter, 87. Wrote novel “The Blue Max,” made into 1966 film. April 13.
Peter Rogers, 95. Producer of the British “Carry On” films. April 14.
J.G. Ballard, 78. Author of “Empire of the Sun” and “Crash” April 19.
Tharon Musser, 84. Tony-winning lighting designer (“A Chorus Line,” “Follies”). April 19.
Jack Cardiff, 94. Oscar-winning cinematographer on the classic “Black Narcissus.” His other cinematography Oscar nods were for “War and Peace” and “Fanny.”. April 22.
Ken Annakin, 94. Director: “Battle of the Bulge,” “Swiss Family Robinson,” “The Longest Day.” April 22.
The Rev. Timothy Wright, 61. Grammy-nominated gospel singer, and composer (“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus”). April 23.

Bea Arthur, 86, Actress known to TV audiences as “Maude” in the 1970s & on “Golden Girls” as Dorothy. Received eleven Emmy nominations during her career April 24
Salamo Arouch, 86. Jewish boxer whose Auschwitz experiences inspired movie “Triumph of the Spirit.” April 26.
J.J. Linsalata, 65, Assistant director; worked on children’s TV show “The Big Blue Marble,” “X-Men 2,” “Kindergarten Cop.” April 27
Vern Gosdin, 74. Country singer: “I Can Tell By The Way You Dance (You’re Gonna Love Me Tonight)”, “Set ’em Up Joe” and “I’m Still Crazy”. April 28.

MAY

Danny Gans, 52. Singer-Actor-Comdeian; Films: “Bull Durham,” “Sinatra,” “Race To Witch Mountain”. May 1.
Ric Estrada, 81, Animator on “Jonny Quest,” “Pound Puppies,” “Smurfs,” “Challenge of the GoBots,” “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” “Tiny Toon Adventures” May 1
Marilyn French, 79. Feminist writer; “The Women’s Room” May 2.

Dom DeLuise, 75. Actor. I think this is one actor I will miss most in the 2009 Final Taxi riders. Wither working with Burt Reynolds (The Cannonball Run, The End, All Dogs Go to Heaven, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) or with Mel Brooks (Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie, History of the World, Part I, Spaceballs) DeLuise will be remembered as one of the great comedians of the 70’sand 80’s May 4.
Randall ‘Poodie’ Locke,60, Willie Nelson’s stage manager for over 30 years May 6
Vincent Davis, 65 , Animation director for “Cow and Chicken.” “The Batman,” “Captain Planet and the Planeteers,” “Duck Tales,” “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “The Wuzzles,” “My Little Pony,” “The Mouse and His Child,” “Garfield and Friends” and “Mother Goose and Grimm.” May 6
Linda Dangcil, 67, Actress best known for her role as Sister Ana in the Sally Fields TV series “The Flying Nun.” May 7
Mickey Carroll, 89. One of last surviving Munchkins from “The Wizard of Oz.” May 7.
John Furia Jr., 79. Film & television writer ( “ Twilight Zone,” “Bonanza,” “The Waltons”). May 8.
Stephen Bruton, 60. Guitarist, songwriter; worked with T Bone Burnett, Bonnie Raitt, Rita Coolidge, Christine McVie, Elvis Costello, Delbert McClinton & Kris Kristofferson. May 9.
Wayman Tisdale, 44. Jazz musican May 15.
Alice Eisner,87, Actress in “The Cemetery Club,” “Zac and Miri Make a Porno,” “Passed Away” May 15
Lee Solters, 89. Hollywood publicist; clients included Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand. May 18.
Jay Bennett, 45. Ex-member of rock band Wilco. May 24.

JUNE


Koko Taylor, 80. Known as “Queen of the Blues” for her rough, powerful vocals and traditional blues stylings. June 3.
Sam Butera, 81. Las Vegas saxophonist; teamed with Louis Prima, Keely Smith. June 3.
Shih Kien, 96. Veteran Hong Kong actor; Bruce Lee’s archrival in 1973’s “Enter the Dragon.” June 3.

David Carradine, 72. Actor who appeared in more than 100 feature films. (“Death Race 2000,” “Bound for Glory,” “Kill Bill”) He will be remembered as the half-breed Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine on the hit TV series Kung Fu June 4.
Fleur Cowles, 101. Author; founded magazine “Flair.” June 5.
Kenny Rankin, 69. Pop vocalist, musician, songwriter. June 7.
Norman Brinker, 78. The man who give us Chili’s restaurant. June 9.
Bob Bogle, 75. Guitarist, co-founded of the rock band the Ventures. June 14.
Ed McMahon, 86. Tonight Show sidekick of Johnny Carson and host of Star Search. June 23.

Farrah Fawcett, 62, Sex symbol of the 70’s. I had her poster on my bedroom wall. Starred in “Charlie’s Angels.” June 25
Michael Jackson, 50, The King of Pop. Starting with the Jackson 5 and moving to a solo career his 1982 album Thriller remains the best-selling album of all time, with Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995) also among the world’s best selling albums. 15 Grammy Awards & 26 American Music Awards. June 25
Gale Storm, 87. Actress in the early TV show “My Little Margie”. June 27.
Billy Mays, 50. Bearded TV salesman for such items as OxiClean, Orange Glo & Kaboom. June 28.
Fred Travalena, 66. Las Vegas impressionist. June 28.
Harve Presnel,75, Actor best remembered as William H. Macy’s father-in-law in 1996 film “Fargo” & was a regular in the TV series “The Pretender” June 29

JULY

Karl Malden, 97. Oscar-winning actor whose career spanned more than seven decades. Films include A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, How the West Was Won and Patton. TV he played Lt. Mike Stone on the 1970s crime drama, The Streets of San Francisco. July 1.

Mollie Sugden, 87, Actress who remembered as Mrs Slocombe in long-running BBC sitcom “Are You Being Served?” Every episode Sugden sported a different hair color and continually harped on about her “pussy”. July 1
Allen Klein, 77. Music manager who worked with the Beatles & Rolling Stones. July 4.
Vasily Aksyonov, 76. Russian writer (“Generations of Winter) July 6.
Sir Edward Downes, 85. Longtime head of the BBC Philharmonic. July 10.
Beverly Roberts, 96, Actress in “The Singing Kid”, “Two Against The World with Humphrey Bogart, “China Clipper” &“God’s Country and the Woman” July 13
Walter Cronkite, 92. THE TV News anchorman for a generation. On CBS Evening News for 19 years (1962–81). Reported many events from 1937 to 1981, including bombing in World War II, the Nuremberg trials, Vietnam War,the death of President John F. Kennedy, Watergate, the Moon landings, to the Space Shuttle. The first American broadcast of The Beatles was with Walter Cronkite. July 17.
Gordon Waller, 64. Half of the pop duo Peter and Gordon. July 17.
Frank McCourt, 78. Irish-born schoolteacher who enjoyed a Pulitzer, for memoir “Angela’s Ashes.” July 19.
Heinz Edelmann, 75. Graphic designer; art director of the 1968 Beatles film “Yellow Submarine.” July 21.
John “Marmaduke” Dawson, 64. Co-founded psychedelic country band New Riders of the Purple Sage. July 21.
Les Lye, 84, Know as one of the only two multitalented adults on the children’s show You Can’t Do That On Television July 21
Merce Cunningham, 90. Avant-garde dancer and choreographer who revolutionized modern dance. July 26.
George Russell, 86. Jazz composer; theories influenced greats like Miles Davis. July 27.
Gidget, 15 known as the Taco Bell talking Chihuahua July 27

AUGUST

Naomi Sims, 61. Black model of the ’60s. Aug. 1.
Billy Lee Riley, 75. Rockabilly performer recording “Flyin’ Saucers Rock & Roll” and “Red Hot”. Aug. 2.
Budd Schulberg, 95. Novelist (“What Makes Sammy Run?”) and Oscar-winning screenwriter (“On the Waterfront”). Aug. 5.
John Hughes, 59. Writer-director of the 80’s so-called ‘Brat pack’ films. (“Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Sixteen Candles,” “ Pretty in Pink,” “Home Alone”). Aug. 6.
Willy DeVille, 58. Singer, songwriter; Founder of punk group Mink DeVille who were a regular at New York’s CBGBs Aug. 6.
Mike Seeger, 75. Co-founded traditional folk group the New Lost City Ramblers. Aug. 7.

John Quade, 71. Character actor; Played the villain in several Clint Eastwood movies including High Plains Drifter, Outlaw Josey Wales, and Every Which Way But Loose. Aug. 9.
Rashied Ali, 76. Jazz drummer who worked with John Coltrane. Aug. 12.
Les Paul, 94 guitarist and inventor. Pioneer in the development of the solid-body electric guitar which “made the sound of rock and roll” and also helped in multi-track recording. Aug. 13
Virginia Davis, 90. As child actress, appeared in Walt Disney’s early “Alice” films in the ’20s. Aug. 15.
Robert Novak, 78. Syndicated columnist, journalist, television personality, author, and conservative political commentator Aug. 18.
Hildegard Behrens, 72. German-born soprano hailed as one of the finest Wagnerian performers of her generation. Aug. 18.
Don Hewitt, 86. TV news pioneer who created “60 Minutes” and produced it for 36 years. Aug. 19.
Larry Knechtel, 69. Grammy-winning keyboardist and member of the 70’s soft-rock band Bread. Best known for his work as a session musician with such artists as Simon & Garfunkel, Duane Eddy, The Beach Boys, The Mamas & the Papas, The Doors, and Elvis Presley. Aug. 20.
Elmer Kelton, 83. Acclaimed Western novelist (Buffalo Wagons, The Day the Cowboys Quit, The Day It Never Rained, Eyes of the Hawk, The Good Old Boys). Aug. 22.
Ted Kennedy, 77, United States Senator from Massachusetts Aug 25
Ellie Greenwich, 68. Singer/Songwriter for “Be My Baby”, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”, “Da Doo Ron Ron”, “Leader of the Pack”, “Do Wah Diddy Diddy”, and “River Deep, Mountain High”, among many others. She discovered Neil Diamond and sang backing vocals on several of Diamond’s hit songs. Aug. 26.
Dominick Dunne, 83. Best-selling author and host of “Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege, and Justice” on CourtTV. Aug. 26.

Sadie Corré, 91, Actress known for one of the Ewoks in Star Wars and became a cult figure as the short Transylvanian in The Rocky Horror Picture Show Aug 26
Sergei Mikhalkov, 96. Soviet author. Aug. 27.
Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein, 36. Celebrity disc jockey and reality-TV actor. Aug. 28.
Chris Connor, 81. Female jazz vocalist who recorded songs like “Jeepers Creepers”, “If I Should Lose You”, “I Get A Kick Out Of You”& “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen” Aug. 29.
Marie Knight, 84. Gospel music singer with songs like “Cry Me A River,” “Beams of Heaven”, “Didn’t it Rain”, and “Up Above My Head. Aug. 30.

SEPTEMBER

Erich Kunzel, 74, leader of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Sept. 1
Wycliffe Johnson, 47. Keyboardist and producer: made Reggae music popular as part of Steely & Clevie. Preformed alongside the Specials, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, and No Doubt. Sept. 1.
Bill Hefner, 79. 12-term North Carolina congressman and gospel singer. Sept. 2.
Keith Waterhouse, 80. British playwright, novelist and columnist. Wrote several TV series for BBC. Sept. 4.
Frank Coghlan, Jr, 93, Actor who played the caped super-hero Captain Marvel in 1941 movie series. (Shazam!) Sept 7
Army Archerd, 87. Write for Hollywood’s Daily Variety. Sept. 8.
Frank Batten Sr., 82. Founder of the first nationwide, 24-hour cable weather channel, The Weather Channel through his media giant Landmark Communications. Sept. 10.
Jim Carroll, 60. Poet, punk rocker. Wrote “The Basketball Diaries” a story of his life. I’ll remember Carroll for one song I hear in my head every time I write this blog, “People Who Died.” Sept. 11
Larry Gelbart, 81. Screen writer. Wrote skits form early TV before writing screenplay for “M*A*S*H,” “Tootsie,” “Oh, God!’ to name a few.. Sept. 11.
Pierre Cossette, 85. Record label founder who brought the Grammy Awards to television.. Sept. 11.
Crystal Lee Sutton, 68. Her fight to unionize Southern textile plants became the film “Norma Rae.” Sept. 11.
Yoshihito Usui, 51, creator of feisty kindergartner “Shin Chan,” (seen on Cartoon Network) took Final Taxi after falling off cliff Sept 11
Paul Burke, 83. Two-time Emmy nominee for his role as Detective Adam Flint in the gritty crime drama “Naked City.” Sept. 13.

Patrick Swayze, 57. Movie heartthrob who starred in films including “Dirty Dancing,” “Red Dawn,” “Ghost.” “Point Break,” “Road House ,” Sept. 14.
Henry Gibson, 73. Comic character actor; loved him as the Nazi leader in The Blues Brothers or evil neighbor in The ‘Burbs . Sept. 14.
Trevor Rhone, 69. Jamaican playwright; co-wrote the reggae film “The Harder They Come.” Sept. 15.
Mary Travers, 72. One-third of the ’60s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. I remember her more for her radio talk show Mary Travers Presents where she talked to several of my rock heroes. If listened to in stereo Mary was in one speaker while the guest would be in the other. Sept. 16.
Linda C. Black, 65. Syndicated columnist. Sept. 17.
Dick Duroc,72, Actor and Stuntman; Best known for role of “Swamp Thing” in the movies and TV series. Sept 17
Art Ferrante, 88. Half of the piano duo Ferrante and Teicher. Sept. 19.

Robert Ginty,60, Actor, director and producer; One of the mose overlooked deaths of 2009- Started as a rock drummer playing with Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Carlos Santana and John Lee Hooker before moving to acting. Had a regular role on TV’s “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” In 1978 played Bruce Dern’s friend in “Coming Home” It was 1980’s “The Exterminator” that launched him into that of an unforgettable action star. Sept 21
Alicia de Larrocha, 86. Reuters referred to her as “the greatest Spanish pianist in history” Sept. 25.
William Safire, 79. Pulitzer-winning New York Times columnist Sept. 27.
John “Bootsie” Wilson,69.lead singer of the Silhouettes. Their # 1 song ‘Get a Job’ became a national anthem of doo-wop. Sept 29

OCTOBER

Mercedes Sosa, 74. Argentine folk singer. Oct. 4.
Stephen Gately, 33. Singer with Irish boy band Boyzone. Oct. 10.
Al Martino, 82. Singer,played the Frank Sinatra-type role in “The Godfather.” Oct. 13.
Daniel Melnick, 77. Producer of acclaimed films “Straw Dogs,” “Network.” Oct. 13.
Lou Albano, 76. Pro wrestler; appeared Cyndi Lauper’s dad in the music video “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” and other video by her. Oct. 14.
Collin Wilcox-Paxton, 74. Portrayed the false accuser in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Oct. 14.
Vic Mizzy, 93. Songwriter; best-known works are the themes to the 1960s television sitcoms Green Acres and The Addams Family. He also penned top-20 songs from the 1930s to 1940s.. Oct. 17.
Joseph Wiseman, 91. Actor; played the villain Dr. No in James Bond film of that name. Oct. 19.
Soupy Sales, 83. Comedian who perfected the pies to the face gag. Was also seen in several game shows. Oct. 22.

Lou Jacobi, 95. Actor with notable film roles including Uncle Morty in “My Favorite Year” Moustache in “Irma La Douce,” a transvestite husband in Woody Allen’s “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask),” Barry Levinson’s “Avalon;” and my favorite as the remote controled husband who get caught in his underwear between channels in “Amazon Women on the Moon”. Oct. 23.
Troy N. Smith, Sr, 87, American entrepreneur who founded Sonic Drive-In Oct 26
Claude Levi-Strauss, 100. French intellectual considered father of modern anthropology. Oct. 30.

NOVEMBER

Lou Filippo, 83. World Boxing Hall of Famer; had small roles in “Rocky” movies. Nov. 2.
Sheldon Dorf, 76. Founded Comic-Con International comic-book convention. Nov. 3.

Carl Ballantine, 92. Actor-comedian. Best remembered as Lester Gruber, one of the PT boat sailors in the sitcom “McHale’s Navy ” Nov. 3.
Ron Sproat,77, Screenwriter who wrote 100s of episodes of the dark gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” Nov 6
David Lloyd, 75, Emmy Award-winning screenwriter of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Taxi, Cheers, Frasier and Wings Nov 10
Paul Wendkos, 84. TV, film director of the Gidget movies and The Mephisto Waltz, and Guns of the Magnificent Seven to name a few Nov. 12.
Ken Ober, 52. Hosted ’80s MTV game show “Remote Control.” Nov. 15.
Dennis Cole, 69, Character actor who played on TV in shows Medical Center, Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Three’s Company, and Murder, She Wrote.

Edward Woodward, 79. British actor most known for playing ex-secret agent and vigilante Robert McCall in the series The Equalizer. Among his film credits, Woodward starred in the 1973 horror film The Wicker Man, and in the title role in Breaker Morant. Nov. 16.
Al Alberts, 87. Member of singing Four Aces who recorded “”Three Coins in the Fountain” & “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing”. Nov. 27.

DECEMBER

Aaron Schroeder, 84. Songwriter of Elvis Presley song’s “ A Big Hunk o’ Love,” “ Good Luck Charm,” ” It’s Now or Never,” & more. Also songs for Roy Orbison, Duane Eddy, Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Perry Como and Pat Boone. Dec. 1.
Richard Todd, 90. British actor who was the first choice of author Ian Fleming to play James Bond in Dr. No, but a scheduling conflict gave the role to Sean Connery. Dec. 3.
Vyacheslav Tikhonov, 81. Russian actor; starred in Oscar-winning Soviet production of “War and Peace.” Dec. 4.
Liam Clancy, 74. Last of Clancy Brothers Irish folk-song troupe. Dec. 4.
Bryan O’Byrne , 78, Actor; priest in the elevator in “Love at First Bite,” Reverend Simmons in “Murder She Wrote.” Hodgkins in 5 episodes of “Get Smart Dec 4
Mark Ritts, 63, Puppeteer; Played Lester the Lab Rat on “Beakman’s World Dec 7

Gene Barry, 90, Actor, known for roles in TV’s “Bat Masterson” & Amos Burke on “Burke’s Law” Also in both versions of “War of the Worlds” Dec 9
Roy Disney, 79. Nephew of Walt Disney, 56-year company veteran who helped make such blockbusters as “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King.” Dec. 16.
Conrad Fowkes, 76, Actor in soap operas:Search For Tomorrow, The Edge of Night, The Secret Storm, As The World Turns and cult favorite ‘Dark Shadows’ Dec 15
Jennifer Jones, 90. Actress, won Academy Award for “Song of Bernadette” Nominated for“Duel in the Sun” and “Love Letters.” Dec. 17.
Dan O’Bannon, 63, Screenwriter, director, actor. O’Bannon will be most known for writing of all the Alien movies. He worked on“Heavy Metal,” “Blue Thunder,” “The Return of the Living Dead,” “Invaders From Mars “and “Total Recall.” He did special effects work on “Star Wars.” My favorite movie was his student film he did with John Carpenter called “Dark Star.” This film help movie bookers listen to me to make a mid-might film series in Birmingham. Dec 17
Alaina Reed-Amini, 63, Actress from 1976 to 1988, she played the role of ‘Olivia’ on the popular children’s show “Sesame Street” and then moved to NBC’s “227” Dec 17
Connie Hines, 78, Actress most famous for playing Wilbur’s wife in “Mister Ed Dec 18
Brittany Murphy, 32. Movie actress; What a shocker for the year! her breakout film was 1995’s “Clueless.” Many people loved her in “Just Married” “Girl, Interrupted” and “8 Mile” Dec. 20.

Arnold Stang, 91, Nerdy looking actor was the spokesman for Chunky, the candy bar and the voice of T.C., the leader of cats in cartoon, “Top Cat.” In 1963 “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” Stang was one of the two attendants who witnessed their gas station being destroyed by a toppling water tower. Dec 20
Marianne Stone, 87, Played Nurse Alice Able in the Carry On movies and Vivian Darkbloom in Stanley Kubrick’s “Lolita.” Dec 21
Michael Currie, 81, started as Sheriff Jonas Carter in the cult series “Dark Shadows” and moved to the Dirty Harry movies as Captain Donnelly. Worked with Clint Eastwood as well in “Firefox” and “Any Which Way You Can”. Dec 22
Tim Hart , 61, Founder of the British folk rock band Steeleye Span Dec 27.
James ‘The Rev’ Sullivan, 28, drummer for heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold Dec 28
Erik Gates, 47, member of Discovery Channel hit series ‘Mythbusters’ Dec 29

How many of these people touched your life in one form or another during their lifetime?

Egg McMuffin Creator Bites The Big One

Why is it that kids always want to eat a McDonald’s? I did my best to take them someplace nicer or healthier but I ended up there just to appease them. The only time that I will eat at McDonald’s is during breakfast. I will buy their breakfast burrito or a bacon and egg biscuit but my favorite is the Egg McMuffin.

The McMuffin consists of a slice of Canadian bacon, a grill-cooked egg, and a slice of cheese on an English muffin. (What do they call Canadian bacon in Canada?) This trademarked McDonald’s egg sandwich was invented in 1972 and was important in the history of the company and opened up a whole new area of potential business for McDonald’s, the breakfast trade.

Herb Peterson shows off his famous creation- The Egg McMuffin

The sandwich was invented by Herb Peterson after he had a crazy idea–a breakfast sandwich. Peterson has taken his Final Taxi at the age of 89.

Peterson was very partial to Eggs Benedict and worked on creating something similarfor a morning meal on the go. He took an egg that had been formed in a Teflon circle with the yolk broken, topped with a slice of cheese and grilled Canadian bacon. It was served open-faced on a toasted and buttered English muffin.

The Egg McMuffin made its debut at a restaurant in Santa Barbara that Peterson co-owned with his son, David Peterson.

For a while the Egg McMuffin was served all day but was but back to just breakfast hours, although several countries serve the sandwich around the clock. I wish McDonald’s would start serving it at all hours- much like Jack-in the Box has breakfast at all the time.

The Egg McMuffin is the lowest-calorie breakfast sandwich McDonald’s offers. A complete Egg McMuffin has 300 calories, versus 450 or more for biscuit sandwiches and McGriddles.

Although semiretired, Herb Peterson still visited all six of his stores in the Santa Barbara area until last year when his health began to deteriorate.

Wham-O’s toy inventor of the Frisbee and Hula Hoop – Richard Knerr

There was a group of us kids from the neighborhood that rode our bicycles all day long through the street of my small Alabama home town. We knew short-cut and could get anywhere. We loved our bikes. We all had the high handlebars with the banana seats. A few even had the wheelie bar on the back of the bike. This was a bar that attached to the rear tire and frame of the bike so you could ride around on the back tire. 

This wheelie bar was something kids my age loved and it was popular because of cartoon drawing we had seen called “Rat Fink.”  He was a hot-rod car that was a green, depraved-looking mouse with bulging, bloodshot eyes, an oversized mouth with yellowed, narrow teeth, and a red T-shirt with yellow “R.F.” on it. Rat Fink use the wheelie bar and so did we. The bicycle attachment was made by a popular toy company called Wham-o.

Wham-o has made many of the toys from my childhood besides the wheelie bar. The Superball, Slip ‘N Slide and Silly String are just a few. One of the most popular, of course, has the be the Frisbee.

The Wham-O toy company was started by Richard Knerr and Arthur “Spud” Melin, two college graduates unhappy with their employment, who began the company in a Los Angeles, California, garage in 1948.

It is Wham-O founder Richard Knerr who has taken that Final Taxi at the age of 82.

The two toymakers first market idea was a slingshot. The idea came up as the young men hurled meat into the air for the training of pet falcons and hawks. The slingshot was called Wham-O to resemble the sound of a target being hit. It stuck as the name of the company.

They branched into other sporting goods, including boomerangs and crossbows. When a friend told them in 1958 about a large ring used for exercise in Australia, they devised their own version and called it the Hula Hoop. Before  they knew it the toy had created one the biggest fads in history. 25 million were sold in less than four months, and in two years sales reached more than 100 million units. By the end of 1959, after US$45 million in profits, the  Hula Hoop fad slowly was dying out.

Around the same time, they bought the rights to a plastic flying disc invented by Walter ”Fred” Morrison, who called it the Pluto Platter.  Wham-O bought the rights and renamed it the Frisbee and sales took off in 1959.

In the early 1960s, they created the Super Ball®. It was made of a relatively hard elastomer alloy dubbed Zectron®, exhibiting a remarkable 0.92 coefficient of restitution when bounced on hard surfaces. They sold some 20 million of them during the 1960s.

Knerr had other products that tried to take advantage of existing national trends. In the 1960s, Wham-O came out with a US$119 do-it-yourself bomb shelter. In 1962, they sold a limbo dance kit to take advantage of that fad, and in 1975 when the movie Jaws was released, they sold plastic shark teeth.

Of course for me my favorite thing Wham-O made as a comic book. This one was one you could share with others. Most comic were so small only you could look at it, but with Wham-O Giant Comics you could lay in a floor and spread this 3 foot tall book across the living room floor. The art was great and stories were well written.

Other products invented by Richard Knerr included: The Hacky Sack, Super Elastic Bubble Plastic, Magic Sand, Boomerang, Water Wiggle, and so much more.

This Years Deaths- Final Taxi Riders of 2007

Final Taxi LogoWe lost many a person who touched our lives in 2007. They made their marks in all walks of life: from politics to pop culture, fashion to music, movies and TV. There were big names and small names but the world lost many friends this year. I know I could never list them all but among the Final Taxi riders in 2007 are:

Tige Andrews, 86, a character actor who earned an Emmy nomination for portraying Captain Adam Greer, the officer who recruited the undercover police officers of television’s The Mod Squad, died of cardiac arrest Jan. 27.

Michelangelo Antonioni, 94, one of Italy’s most famous and influential filmmakers, died July 30. Considered the cinematic father of modern angst and alienation, Antonioni had a career spanning six decades that included the Oscar-nominated Blowup and the internationally acclaimed L’Avventura.

Warren Batchelder, animator of well over 200 Warner Bros. and Pink Panther cartoons. He was an animator for the main titles of the 1963 feature film The Pink Panther — which led to doing the cartoons. He also worked on G.I. Joe and Transformers cartoons.

Jeanne Bates, 89 was best known as Nurse Wills on the 1950s medical series Ben Casey. She appeared on hundreds of TV shows over the years, but will be known by cult film fans as the mother in David Lynch’s Eraserhead. We lost her in November.

Maurice Bejart, 80, the French choreographer whose flamboyant and populist ballets made him the equivalent of a pop star in Europe, died Nov. 22 of heart and kidney problems.

Ingmar Bergman, 89, the iconoclastic filmmaker widely regarded as one of the great masters of modern cinema, died July 30. Through more than 50 films, Bergman’s vision encompassed the extremes of his beloved Sweden: the claustrophobic gloom on unending winter nights, the merriment of glowing summer evenings and the bleak magnificence of the island where he spent his last years.

Joey Bishop, 89, the stone-faced comedian who found success in nightclubs, television and movies but became most famous as a member of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack, died of multiple causes on Oct. 17. He was the group’s last surviving member. The Rat Pack became a show business sensation in the early 1960s, appearing at the Sands Hotel, in Las Vegas, in shows that combined music and comedy in a seemingly chaotic manner.

Janet Blair, 85, the actress who appeared in several 1940s musicals and comedies, then turned to television, died Feb. 19 of complications from pneumonia.

Michael Brecker, 57, a versatile tenor saxophonist who won 11 Grammy Awards and whose work, as a studio and backup musician and leader, appears on thousands of recordings, died Jan. 13 of leukemia.

Teresa Brewer, 76, a bold-voiced singer whose novelty hit “Music! Music! Music!” established her as a jukebox favorite in the 1950s and secured her four-decade career performing in nightclubs and on Las Vegas stages, died Oct. 17 of progressive supra- nuclear palsy, a brain disorder.

Roscoe Lee Browne, 81, an actor whose rich voice and dignified bearing brought him an Emmy Award and a Tony nomination, died April 11 of cancer.

Carol Bruce, 87, regularly played Mrs. Carlson the owner of the radio station on the TV show WKRP in Cincinnati and made guest appearances on more than 25 television shows. She died in October.

James T. “Jimmy” Callahan, an actor best known for playing the cranky grandfather on the show Charles in Charge. He became a final taxi rider at 76 in August.

Ron Carey, 71, the short comedic actor who played Officer Carl Levitt on Barney Miller and who was a member of Mel Brooks’ troupe in films such as High Anxiety and Silent Movie, died of a stroke on Jan. 16.

Bob Carroll Jr., 88, a founding writer of I Love Lucy who helped introduce millions of viewers to the joys of frenzied grape stomping, warp-speed chocolate stuffing and the 46-proof patent medicine Vitameatavegamin, died Jan. 27 after a short illness.

Jim Carlson,a long-time TV writer for Laugh-In, Hee-Haw, Adam-12, Emergency!, CHiPs, The Bionic Woman and the original Battlestar Galactica. He took his Final Taxi at 75 in August.

Jean-Pierre Cassel, 74, the French actor who shot to fame as the star of film comedies by director Philippe de Broca in the 1960s, died April 19 after a long illness.

Henry Cele, an actor famous for his role as Shaka Zulu, died in November at 58.

Bob Clarke, 65, director of Porky’s and A Christmas Story was killed in a traffic accident in California on April 4. You watched A Christmas Story how many times this Christmas?

Liz Claiborne made her name designing affordable clothes for women. She died of cancer at age 78 on June 26.

Alice Coltrane, 69, the jazz performer/composer who was inextricably linked with the musical improvisations of her late husband, saxophonist John Coltrane, died Jan. 12 of respiratory failure.

Darlene Conley, 72, a longtime stage and television actress who entertained soap-opera audiences for nearly two decades as the feisty fashion mogul Sally Spectra on The Bold and the Beautiful, died Jan. 14 of stomach cancer.

Regine Crespin, 80, the French operatic soprano and later mezzo-soprano, one of the most important vocal artists to emerge from France in the decades after World War II, died July 4 of liver cancer.

Laraine Day, 87, the actress best remembered on screen as Lew Ayres’s fiancEe in a series of 1940s Dr. Kildare movies, died Nov. 10.

Yvonne De Carlo, 84, who played Moses’ wife in The Ten Commandments but achieved her greatest popularity on TV’s The Munsters, died of natural causes on Jan. 8.

Calvert DeForest, 85, the actor who visited David Letterman as Larry “Bud” Melman, died March 19. He made his debut on NBC’s Late Night in 1982 and appeared many times on that show and on CBS’s Late Show.

Denny Doherty, 66, a founding member of the 1960s folk-pop band the Mamas and the Papas, died Jan. 19 after a short illness.

Kevin DuBrow, 52, a gravelly voiced singer for Quiet Riot, a heavy-metal band that peaked in the 1980s, died Nov. 25 of a cocaine overdose.

Jerry Falwell, who took his Final Taxi at 73, was a fundamentalist preacher who made evangelical Christianity a political force as never before in American history.

Howard Field was an advertising creator for such characters as Rosie the waitress, Josephine the plumber and the Ajax White Knight. We lost him in April.

Dan Fogelberg, 56, the singer and songwriter whose hits “Leader of the Band” and “Same Old Lang Syne” helped define the soft-rock era, died Dec. 16 after battling prostate cancer.

Ed Friendly, 85, co-producer of hit television shows including Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and Little House on the Prairie, died June 17 of cancer.

Alice Ghostley, 81, the Tony Award-winning actress known on television for playing Esmeralda on Bewitched and Bernice on Designing Women, died Sept. 21 of colon cancer and a series of strokes.

Robert Goulet, 73, the handsome, big-voiced baritone whose Broadway debut in Camelot launched an award-winning stage and recording career, died Oct. 30 of a rare form of pulmonary fibrosis.

Dabbs Greer, 90, who played the Rev. Robert Alden on Little House on the Prairie and who appeared in nearly 100 movies and hundreds of TV episodes, died April 28 of kidney and heart disease. He was great as the older version of Tom Hanks in “The Green Mile.”

Merv Griffin, 82, a big-band singer who became one of television’s longest- running talk-show hosts and formidable innovators, creating some of the medium’s most popular game shows before becoming a major figure in the hotel and gambling businesses, died Aug. 12 of prostate cancer.

George Grizzard, 79, a versatile actor who achieved his greatest renown on the stage, playing everything from Shakespeare to Shaw, from Neil Simon to Edward Albee, died Oct. 2 of complications of lung cancer.

David Halberstam, 73, a Pultizer Prize-winning journalist and author of books on topics such as America’s military failings in Vietnam and the high-pressured world of basketball, was killed April 23 in a car crash.

Johnny Hart, 76, one of the most popular cartoonists of his era and creator of the B.C. and Wizard of Id strips, died April 7 of a stroke.

Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96, whose long career spanned Broadway, opera, television and film, including the classic Marx Brothers movie A Night at the Opera, died April 17 of pneumonia. I will remember her as a long time panelist on “To Tell The Truth.”

Lee Hazlewood, 78, best known for writing and producing Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 hit “These Boots are Made for Walkin’ ,” died Aug. 4 of complications from renal cancer. As a recording artist, Hazlewood made several solo albums, in addition to a series of duets with Nancy Sinatra.

Don Herbert, 89, who as television’s Mr. Wizard introduced generations of young viewers to the joys of science, died June 12 of bone cancer.

Don Ho, 76, the Hawaiian entertainer whose signature song Tiny Bubbles and laid-back, aloha style made him as much an island tourist attraction as Diamond Head and hula dancers for more than four decades, died April 14 of heart failure.

Betty Hutton, 86, the actress and singer who brought a brassy vitality to Hollywood musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun, died March 11 of complications of color cancer. Hutton was at the top of the heap when she walked out on her Paramount contract in 1952, reportedly in a dispute over her demand that her then-husband direct her films. She made only one movie after that but had a TV series for a year and worked occasionally on the stage and in nightclubs.

Luther Ingram, 69, the soul singer who was known for “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right,” died of a heart attack on March 19.

John Inman, 71, the actor best known for his role in the British TV series Are You Being Served? died March 8 after a long illness. (Are you free Mr. Humphries?)

Richard Jeni, 45, a standup comedian who played to sold-out crowds, was a regular on the Tonight Show and appeared in movies, died of a gunshot wound in an apparent suicide on March 10.

Deborah Kerr, 86, who shared one of Hollywood’s most famous kisses while portraying an Army officer’s unhappy wife in From Here to Eternity and danced with the Siamese monarch in The King and I, died Oct. 16 of Parkinson’s disease.

Michael Kidd, 92, the choreographer whose joyously athletic dances for ballet, Broadway and Hollywood delighted audiences for half a century and won him five Tonys and an Oscar, died of cancer Dec. 23.

“Sneaky” Pete Kleinow, 72, a steel guitar prodigy who rose to fame as one of the original members of the Flying Burrito Brothers, died Jan. 6 of Alzheimer’s disease.

Robert Craig “Evel”Knievel, 69, an American motorcycle daredevil, took the jump over the River Styx in the last days of November.

Laszlo Kovacs, 74, a Hungarian cinematographer who used light, shadow and imagination to give visual shape to seminal films such as Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces and Paper Moon, died July 22 of cancer.

Hilly Kristal, 75, owner of the New York nightclub that became ground zero for the American punk rock movement, died Aug. 28 of lung cancer.

Frankie Laine, 93, the pop singer who became the unofficial troubadour of TV and movie Westerns, died Feb. 6 of heart failure. He is perhaps best known for singing the theme to the TV series Rawhide, which ran from 1959 to 1966.

Charles Lane, the prolific character actor whose name was little known but whose crotchety persona and roles in hundreds of films made him recognizable to generations of moviegoers took his Final Taxi at 102 on July 9. His career spanned more than 60 years, appeared in such film classics as “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “Primrose Path.” He also had a recurring role as the scheming railroad man Homer Bedloe on the 1960s TV sitcom “Petticoat Junction” and appeared often on “I Love Lucy.”102,

Madeleine L’Engle, 88, the author whose novel A Wrinkle in Time has been enjoyed by generations of schoolchildren and adults since the 1960s, died Sept. 6 of natural causes. The Newbery Medal winner wrote more than 60 books, often highlighting spiritual themes and her Christian faith.

Ira Levin, 78, the best-selling writer whose genre-hopping novels such as the horror classic Rosemary’s Baby and the Nazi thriller The Boys from Brazil provided meaty movie roles for Mia Farrow and Laurence Olivier, died of a heart attack on Nov. 12. Norman Mailer, 84, the pugnacious prince of American letters who for decades reigned as the country’s literary conscience and provocateur with such books as The Naked and Dead and The Executioner’s Song, died Nov. 10 of acute renal failure.

Tommy Makem, 74, an internationally celebrated Irish folk musician, artist, poet and storyteller best known as a member of The Clancy Brothers in the late 1950s and 1960s, died of lung cancer on Aug. 1. Edward Mallory, 76, an actor who portrayed Dr. Bill Horton on Days of Our Lives for 14 years, died April 4 after a long illness.

Delbert Mann, 87, a director from the heyday of live television who won an Oscar for his first big-screen effort, Marty, in 1955, died Nov. 11 of pneumonia.

Marcel Marceau, 84, the master of mime who transformed silence into poetry with lithe gestures and pliant facial expressions that spoke to generations of young and old, died Sept. 22. He played out the human comedy through his alter-ego Bip, without ever uttering a word.

Janis Martin, 67, a rockabilly pioneer billed as the Female Elvis, died of cancer on Sept. 3. Her first record and biggest hit, “Will You Willyum,” was released in 1956, when she was just 15.

Kerwin Mathews, who earned a niche in film history as the handsome hero who battled a Cyclops, a dragon and a sword-wielding skeleton in the 1958 fantasy classic “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” took his Final Taxi in July. Mathews was also in “The Devil at 4 O’clock” with Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra and in b-movies “Octoman” and “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf.” He was 81.

Bruno Mattei director of such sleaze and gratuitous violence movies as Hell of the Living Dead, Women’s Camp 119, and several Emmanuelle films died after falling into a coma at the age of 75 in May.

Lois Maxwell, 80, an actress who starred as Miss Moneypenny in 14 James Bond movies, died Sept. 29 of cancer.

Barbara McNair, 72, a cabaret singer, actress and television personality of the 1960s who was noted as much for her stunning appearance as for her versatile voice, died of throat cancer on Feb. 4.

Gian Carlo Menotti, 95, who wrote his first opera before he was 11 and went on to become perhaps the most popular and prolific opera composer of his time, winning two Pulitzer Prizes, died Feb. 1. His works include Amahl and the Night Visitors, The Medium and The Saint of Bleecker Street.

Igor Moiseyev, 101, the master choreographer who created a new form of theatrical folk dance in Russia and whose troupe was one of the most popular dance companies of the 20th century, died Nov. 2.

Tommy Newsom, 78, a jazz saxophonist and the substitute bandleader on The Tonight Show nicknamed “Mr. Excitement” by Johnny Carson, died of bladder and liver cancer April 28.

Paul Norris, 93, creator of the legendary superhero Aquaman, died in November.

George Osmond, 90, father of Donny and Marie Osmond and patriarch to the family’s singing group, The Osmond Brothers, died Nov. 6.

Luciano Pavarotti, 71, the Italian tenor whose clarion lyric voice and performances from concert houses to outdoor stadiums made him a pop icon and the most famous opera singer since Enrico Caruso, died Sept. 6 of pancreatic cancer. He popularized opera more than any other singer through recordings that made him the best-selling classical artist ever and concerts in parks and stadiums around the world that were televised to millions.

Oscar Peterson, 82, whose dazzling piano playing made him one of the most popular jazz artists in history, died Dec. 23 of kidney failure.

Bobby “Boris” Pickett, 69, whose dead-on Boris Karloff impression propelled “Monster Mash” to the top of the charts in 1962, making him one of pop music’s most enduring one-hit wonders, died of leukemia April 25.

Pimp C, 33, the rapper who helped define Southern hip-hop with his group, UGK, was found dead on Dec. 4.

Anne Pitoniak, 85, an actress who began her stage career in late middle age, but received a Tony nomination for her Broadway debut, in ‘night, Mother, died April 22 of complications of cancer.

Carlo Ponti, 94, the Italian producer who discovered a teenage Sophia Loren, launched her film career and later married her despite threats of bigamy charges and excommunication, died Jan. 9 of pulmonary complications. He produced more than 100 films, including Doctor Zhivago, The Firemen’s Ball and The Great Day, which were nominated for Oscars.

Tom Poston, 85, an Emmy-winning comic actor whose television characters ranged from the slow-witted Everyman on The Steve Allen Show to George Utley, the slow-witted handyman on Newhart, died April 30 after a short illness.

Mala Powers, 76, an actress who played Roxanne to Jose Ferrer’s Cyrano de Bergerac and starred in other films of the 1940s and 1950s, died June 11 of complications of leukemia.

Boots Randolph, 80, a saxophonist who recorded more than 40 albums and who had his biggest solo hit, “Yakety Sax,” in 1963, died July 3 of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Del Reeves, 74, the Grand Ole Opry star who delighted audiences for decades with his full-throated vocals and comic impressions of fellow artists, died Jan. 1 after a long illness.

Charles Nelson Reilly, 76, the Tony-winning actor who appeared on numerous TV talk and game shows ( most noteable Match Game) in the 1970s and ’80s. Was also in the TV’s like the X-files and Lidsville. He died May 25 of complications from pneumonia.

Ian Richardson, 72, the Scottish actor of film, television and stage who was a major figure at the Royal Shakespeare Company before gaining international fame for his TV portrayal of a deliciously villainous politician in House of Cards, died Feb. 16. He was also the man in the commercial who asked, from the window of a Rolls-Royce, for Grey Poupon mustard.

Max Roach, 83, a founder of modern jazz who rewrote the rules of drumming in the 1940s and spent the rest of his career breaking musical barriers and defying listeners’ expectations, died Aug. 16.

Gary Rosen, 60, the musician who created the classic children’s album Teddy Bear’s Picnic, died April 14 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Mstislav Rostropovich, 80, the master cellist who fought for the rights of Soviet-era dissidents and later triumphantly played Bach suites below the crumbling Berlin Wall, died April 27 of intestinal cancer.

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 89, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning historian with a panoramic vision of American culture and politics, died Feb. 28 of a heart attack.

Gordon Scott, 80, an actor who portrayed Tarzan in the 1950s, died April 30 of complications after heart surgery. He also appeared in Westerns and gladiator films.

Tony Scott, 85, a jazz clarinetist who in the 1950s helped steer his instrument out of the swing era and into the sax-infested waters of bebop, died March 28 of complications from prostate cancer.

Michel Serrault, 79, a French film star known internationally for his role as the temperamental drag queen Zaza in the original film version of La Cage aux Folles, died of cancer on July 29.

Sidney Sheldon, 89, who at age 50 turned to writing popular novels, such as Rage of Angels and Master of the Game, after winning awards in Broadway theater, movies and television, died Jan. 30 of complications from pneumonia. Sheldon was the world’s most translated author, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

Joel Siegel, 63, the longtime film critic for ABC News, died June 29 of colon cancer.

Beverly Sills, 78, the acclaimed Brooklyn, N.Y.-born coloratura soprano who was more popular with the American public than any opera singer since Enrico Caruso, died July 2 of lung cancer.

Anna Nicole Smith was a 39-year-old model/centrefold/wealthy widow/celebrity that died of an overdose of prescription medications in a hotel room in Florida Feb. 8. One of the biggest news stories of 2007.

Tom Snyder, 71, who pioneered the late-late network TV talk show with a personal yet abrasive style and his robust, trademark laugh, died July 29 from complications of leukemia.

Brett Somers, 83, an actress and comedian who was a regular on Match Game in the 1970s, died of stomach and colon cancer on Sept. 15.

Dakota Staton, 76, a jazz and blues singer known from the 1950s for her bright, trumpetlike sound and tough, sassy style died April 10.

Camilla Gamelle Stull, a voice actress who was in one episode of Family Guy. She left us April 16, 2007, in her home, after a 3 year battle with leukemia at eight years old.

Iwao Takamoto, 81, the animator who created Scooby-Doo and directed the cartoon classic Charlotte’s Web, died Jan. 8 of heart failure. In a career that spanned more than six decades, Takamoto assisted in the designs of some of the biggest animated features and television shows for Disney and the Hanna-Barbera animation team.

Glen Tetley, 80, an acclaimed dancer and internationally celebrated choreographer who bridged the worlds of ballet and modern dance, died of melanoma Jan. 26.

Hank Thompson, 82, died Nov. 6 of lung cancer. Fans loved the singer’s distinctive gravelly voice and his musical style, a mix of honky-tonk and Western swing. He was named to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989.

Jim Thurman was an Emmy-award winning children’s television writer. He was one of a team of writers for Children’s Television Workshop creating “Sesame Street,” & “The Electric Company. We lost him in April.

Ike Turner, 76, whose role as one of rock’s critical architects was overshadowed by his ogrelike image as the man who brutally abused former wife Tina Turner, died Dec. 12.

Miyoshi Umeki, 78, a Japanese-born singer and actress who became the first Asian performer to win an Academy Award, for Sayonara in 1957, distinguished herself on stage in Flower Drum Song, and played a housekeeper on the TV series The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, died Aug. 28 of cancer.

Jack Valenti, 85, a former White House aide who became Hollywood’s top lobbyist in Washington for four decades and created the modern movie rating system, died April 26 of complications from a stroke.

Werner von Trapp, 91, a member of the musical family made famous by the 1965 movie The Sound of Music, died Oct. 11.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr., 84, whose blend of absurdist humor, science fiction and antiestablishment politics made his novels, including Slaughterhouse-Five and Cat’s Cradle, campus classics in the ’60s and ’70s, died April 11. He had suffered brain injuries in a fall at his home weeks before.

Porter Wagoner, 80, the rhinestone-clad Grand Ole Opry star who helped launch the career of Dolly Parton by hiring her as his duet partner, died Oct. 28 of lung cancer. His illness came after a comeback that saw him recording again and gaining new fans even as he reached his 80s.

Dick Wilson, 91, the actor who made the phrase “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin” a part of pop culture history, died Nov. 19.

Kathleen Woodiwiss, 68, a pioneer of the modern historical romance novel, marked by strong heroines, detailed period settings, and steamy sex scenes, died July 6 of cancer.

Nicholas Worth was a B-movie actor in such films as Swamp Thing and Darkman. He took his Final Taxi in May.

Gretchen Wyler, 75, an actress in Broadway musicals in the 1950s and ’60s who became known in her later years as an animal-rights advocate, died May 27 of complications of breast cancer.

Jane Wyman, 93, who won an Academy Award as best actress for Johnny Belinda, in which she did not speak a word, died Sept. 10. She also starred in the soap opera Falcon Crest while her former husband, Ronald Reagan, was in the White House. Classy to the end, she never said a bad word about her ex.