Rock and Roll’s Chameleon – David Bowie

Ziggy Stardust. Halloween Jack. The Thin White Duke. Thomas Jerome Newton. Aladdin Sane. Major Jack Celliers. The Cracked Actor. The Elephant Man. The Goblin King. These are just some of the many faces of David Bowie. Bowie was a chameleon of an artist – always changing his looks, his musical style and his outlook on life.

david_bowie_album

I was awoken on Monday morning January 11th 2016 by a text from my youngest son telling me that David Bowie had taken his Final Taxi because of cancer. He knew what Bowie’s music meant to me. How the music Bowie made took me through difficult times – growing up an oddball in a small Southern town to surviving heart surgery. It seemed like whenever I felt like an alien, David Bowie understood and had already put the feeling into words.

Being a pre- teen in the early 1970’s I was stuck somewhere in the middle of the 60’s hippy movement and punk rock scene of the late 70’s. David Bowie was making rock music that was mainstream enough to get airplay but strange enough to be interesting.

David Bowie was born David Robert Jones in London in 1947. He changed his name to Bowie as to not to be confused with The Monkees’ lead singer Davy Jones. The first song I remember hearing on early FM radio was Bowie’s “Space Oddity” which introduced the recurring character Major Tom. It was his striking androgynous looks as well as the music from “Ziggy Stardust” that launched Bowie as leader of the early 1970s glam rock era. The stuttering rock sound of “Changes” gave way to the disco soul of “Fame,” co-written with The Beatles’ John Lennon. Other collaborators included Freddie Mercury, Marc Bolan, Brian Eno, Trent Reznor and Pat Methany but his closest partner in music would have to be Iggy Pop. Together Pop and Bowie molded a new direction for each other as well as helping each other out of their respective drug addictions.iggybowie-624-1360253656

Bowie had some of his biggest successes in the early 1980s with the “Let’s Dance,” an LP that took the world by storm with pop hits and MTV music videos. My wife, Lesa, worked at Captial records at the time and she recalls the huge promotion campaign for the record.

I also loved David Bowie as an actor. I could not wait to see “The Man Who Feel To Earth” when it was released. I don’t know how I did it but I got in to see it even though it was rated “X” and I was 15. (This film is very tame by today’s standard and was X because of pubic hair being seen.) In it Bowie plays Thomas Newton, an alien trapped on Earth trying to get home to his family. This spoke to those of us who felt like we were all aliens too, in a world of Legionnaires’ disease ,Tomahawk cruise missiles and Gerald Ford politics.

david-bowie-cracked-actor
The ‘cracked actor’ emerged again in several films including ‘Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence’ playing Major Jack ‘Strafer’ Celliers and as the goth vampire John Blaylock in ‘The Hunger,’ both from 1983.  It was 1986’s Labyrinth that struck a chord with most people as Bowie was both actor and singer in the family musical. Playing Jareth- The Goblin King Bowie wrote and sang most of the music for the film.

He also had film roles including historical figures Nicolas Testla, Andy Warhol and Pontius Pilate.

Returning to music it is fitting that David Bowie’s last single, Lazarus, was a ‘parting gift’ for fans – a skillfully craftedfinale. The producer of his new CD Blackstar confirms David Bowie had planned his poignant final message, with videos and lyrics show how he approached his death- as a work of art.

As a friend of mine posted on Facebook, ” Rock and roll used to be for outsiders, rebellion against the mainstream.. he(Bowie) helped embrace alienation. That meant you were more accepting of the different. Rock isn’t like that anymore. It’s heartbreaking. Bowie’s gone and we’ll never see a combination of rebellion, innovation and art like that again...”

David Bowie was 69.

The generation before me asked “Where were you when JFK died?” Will Bowie’s death be as poignant to my generation?

 

 

 

Thanks to Marlesa Burson for editing this and to Marjorie Boykin for the quote.

Advertisements

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”

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.

Ari Up, Founder of The Slits, Dies at 48

If you are ever in the Avondale area of Birmingham check out a place called Bottletree. It is a great place to grab a meal but it is also well know for bringing many different musical acts to the Magic City. Back in 2006, as the club/ restaurant was just getting started, they brought a legendary punk/ reggae band to the city. The group was called The Slits.

The Slits were formed in 1976 and were a support group for bands like The Clash and the Buzzcocks. The founder of the band was Arianna Forster who went by the name Ari Up. She had been performing with the band off and on through the years and was there, dreadlocks and all, at the Bottletree on that cold winter night back in 2006.

Ari Up has died at the age of 48.

I had been a fan of the Slits for years. Being known as one of the first all female British punk bands was in itself something to be proud of. Most people will remember the cover of their LP called Cut. On this debut album, the artwork features Ari and her band mates topless in loincloths yet smeared with mud from head to toe. The front cover became a well known punk image. I remember seeing the album in local record stores like Camelot or Turtles with the price tags in areas to block your view of certain female anatomy.

Arianna Forster was born in Munich Germany in 1962. Her mother, Nora, was well known in the music industry and was a close friend of Jimi Hendrix. Her mother would marry the Sex Pistols’ lead singer, John Lydon ( aka Johnny Rotton) who would be her stepfather. Her godfather was Jon Anderson, the singer from the group Yes.

Forster experimented with music and would learn guitar skills from The Clash’s Joe Strummer. With these skills she formed the band The Slits at the age of 14. The Slits became known for tracks such as “Typical Girls,” “Shoplifting” and their cover of “Heard It Through The Grapevine.”

Ari can be see in The Clash’s movie “Rude Boy” and in “The Punk Rock Movie.”

Malcolm McLaren – Sex Pistols Manager

1977 was so long ago. It was around that time when I took an interest in the newer music that was coming out of the UK at the time. The local progressive rock station at the time, WZZK, had a news story and interview with manager of this new punk rock band that was causing a stir with their single “God Save the Queen.” Once I heard the clips from the song I had to go get the 8-track tape of this band. They were called the Sex Pistols and the manager was Malcolm McLaren.

Since that time I have been a fan of the Sex Pistols and the individual members after the band broke-up. Sid Vicious would make a name for himself with a popular version of the song “My Way” and as the alleged killer of his stoned out girlfriend Nancy. Steve Jones and Paul Cook would make a band called The Professionals and later Steve would be a DJ on XM radio. John Lydon aka Johnny Rotten would go on and make a band call P.i.L. ( Public Image Limited) retire and make British butter commercials. This week Lydon puts P.I.L. back together and tours the US with a reunion tour. All this takes place just as we find out that Lydon’s old manager Malcolm McLaren has taken his Final Taxi at age 64.

McLaren is someone who you love and hate at the same time. His history with bands, especially alternative music bands, is well noted. He holds a place in the chronicles of history both in rock and in hip hop.

He had established a fetish clothing store on King’s Row in London with his girlfriend, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. On one trip to the US he met the post-punk band The New York Dolls. ( This is the band that highlighted singer David Johanson who would be known in the music world as Buster Poindexter.) The Dolls were known in the press for their outrageous dress which mainly was dressing in women’s clothes. McLaren briefly managed the band and saw were fashion and music might work hand in hand.

Back in the UK McLaren put together the Sex Pistols and knew that not only the name would cause controversy but also the clothes they wore. This plus their ‘don’t care’ attitudes helped ignite the press and punk rock was started. McLaren did all he could to cause scandal with the Sex Pistols. He once said “Good press or bad press it did not matter as long as their names were in the papers. “ The Pistols would sign with one record company and then because of their antics, edged on by McLaren, they would be fired and earn the money without even playing a note for the recording industry.

McLaren never saw the band as serious musicians and he and Lydon did not get along because of that. On the bands US tour McLaren fired Lydon and “Johnny Rotten” was left stranded in San Francisco. McLaren hired a few other lead singers but the band did not make it. After McLaren ruined a movie on the Sex Pistols directed by Julian Temple, he took the film and cut it into his own film. It was a disaster.

McLaren also became manager for Adam and the Ants. After their first LP McLaren left Adam and stole the Ants to make the band Bow Wow Wow. The band would go on the make songs like “I Want Candy” and “ Do You Want To Hold Me.” Adam would not miss McLaren’s management and would become one of the most popular singers of 1980’s MTV music videos and be nominated for a Grammy for the LP Kings of the Wild Frontier.
In 1983 Malcolm McLaren would make his own music career with the LP “Duck Rock.” This was a record which mixed up influences from Africa and urban America, which including hip-hop. Historically this album brought hip-hop to a wider audience and is the first hip-hop or rap music to ever be played on MTV. Another song on the record, song “Buffalo Gals,” help introduced scratchin and other club techniques being used on urban music at the time.

He followed up this LP with “Madame Butterfly” and “Fans.”

Malcolm McLaren was a shameless self promoter and loved to get in front of a camera and take credit for everything. When the Sex Pistols took McLaren to court over money they had earned he told the court he alone had invented punk rock. This arrogance can be seen in the movie “The Great Rock and Roll Swindle” as he tells the viewer it was all his idea. In the end McLaren does merit some of the credit for how music was changed and how modern alternative music as born but he does not deserve the whole pie.

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?

Ramones manager – Linda Stein

Back in the late 70’s I was invited by a friend to a concert at Brother’s Music Hall.  a nightclub in Birmingham. The band playing was The Ramones, who I had not heard of, but it was a night that would change my life. My musical taste would defiantly be influenced by one show.

I had been to several concerts before but this was the first one that I was a participant. There was no sitting down in chairs. This was an event. The music was loud and everyone was pleasant and moved to the music as one. (This was years before slam dancing started at punk shows.) I danced with the entire crowd there.

The Ramones were an American rock band often regarded as the first punk rock group. It was  their appearance in 1976 that  galvanized the beginning UK punk rock scene, inspiring future punk stars, including members of The Clash, The Damned, and the Sex Pistols.

It was a few months after that tour that they played Birmingham. On tour with them was their manger at the time, Linda Stein.  She has taken her Final Taxi at age 62.

Linda Stein, former manager of US punk band the Ramones and realtor to New York’s A-list celebrities has taken her Final Taxi.

Stein, a former teacher, was credited with jumpstarting the careers of the Ramones, The Pretenders ,Talking Heads and Madonna to stardom. She was a fixture in clubs from Studio 54 to the Mudd Club and later a reliable voice in gossip columns, aided by her quick wit and fanciful way with a four-letter word.

In the 1990s, Stein left band management and became a “real estate agent to the stars”. She landed mega-million-dollar apartments for Madonna, Sting, Billy Joel, Christie Brinkley, Bruce Willis, Michael Douglas, Steven Spielberg and Elton John.

According to her friend, author Steven Gaines, Stein inspired two movie characters: the real estate agent (played by Sylvia Miles) who sells a high-rise apartment to Charlie Sheen’s character in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, and a predatory record executive in the 1998 movie.

She was just getting over breast cancer treatments when she was found murdered in her New York apartment.

Long-time friend Elton John said in a statement: “I’m absolutely shocked and upset. She’s been a friend for over 37 years and will be greatly missed, She did so much for breast cancer and was a huge supporter of my AIDS foundation.”