VINCENT SCHIAVELLI (12/26/05) - Actor. Age 57. Mr. Schiavelli had an unmistakable face. This trademark look landed him character actor parts in such hits as One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Ghost, the later of which being a role he is now reprising.
MICHAEL VALE (12/24/05) - Actor. Age 83. Mr. Vale is known throughout the United States as "The Dunkin Donuts' Guy." Mr. Vale played the tired, worn out, doughnut worker who greeted viewers with his sighing mantra, "Time to make the doughnuts." You pansy ass Starbucks types don't have a doughnut guy, do ya? No, we didn't think so! Oh, maybe ya got some bran muffin, androgynous looking dude with a piercing somewhere we really don't want to know about. Sure you get an offer to buy some crap jazz CD when you fuel up on the java in the AM. Yeah, you get wireless Internet. Who gives a flying fist fornication. Dunkin has the juice man. It has the goods. Must have the coffee. Need the coffee. Okay, we're better now. Sorry.
VINNIE "THE CHIN" GIGANTE (12/19/05) - Reputed Mobster. Age 77. Mr. Gigante was alleged to have led the Genovese crime family since the 1980's. What made the guy pretty famous is the act he used to put on to avoid prosecution. He'd act as if he were certifiably crazy. It worked for a long time too. With his passing, the mob really took one on the chin.
JACK ANDERSON (12/17/05) - Reporter. Age 82. Mr. Anderson made a name for himself exposing the undertakings of secretive politicians, most notably Richard Nixon. Heck, a few Nixon operatives were plotting the guy's murder. Man, it took them a friggin' long time, didn't it?
JOHN SPENCER (12/16/05) - Actor. Age 58. Mr. Spencer played Leo McGarry, the guy who was the chief of staff to Martin Sheen's president Jeb Bartlet on "The West Wing." This season Leo McGarry was to run for Vice President. However, his nomination has been withdrawn.
WILLIAM PROXMIRE (12/15/05) - Former Senator. Age 90. Mr. Proxmire got elected on a platform that included taking on the manner in which committee assignments were determined. Later in his 40 year career, he began awarding "The Golden Fleece" to point out frivolous expenditures of public money. That earned him some enemies on both sides of the political spectrum. But he kept on doing it. Good for him! In his honor the government passed a bill making December 15, 2005 "William Proxmire Day." Riders included 5 million for research into turning marshmallow fluff into alternative fuel and a 12 million dollar grant to study the behavior of the house fly.
EUGENE MCCARTHY (12/10/05) - Former Senator. Age 89. Mr. McCarthy was a senator from Minnesota. Eugene challenged Lyndon Johnson for the 1968 Democratic nomination using the debate over the Vietnam War as his wedge issue. This little bit of politics split the Democrat party and cost it the presidency. Then there was that time he posed nude in Playboy. What? Oh, that was Jenny McCarthy? Sorry. Well, there was all that hub-bub about the Communists. Huh? That was Joe McCarthy? Jeez. Maybe we should just forget about this. It's just that we can't believe Edgar Bergen was able to get his hand that far up Eugene's rump.
RICHARD PRYOR (12/10/05) - Comedian. Age 65. Mr. Pryor made a name for himself in the 1970s and 1980s with his curse laden stand-up routines. At the time, he was considered the most foul mouthed comic in the business. Of course, this helped secure his ultimate success and a handsome set of movie deals. Man that guy could get fired up. When he was on a roll he'd just sizzle. With his lifestyle though, its no wonder he burned out. Anyone see a theme here? Can you say free base?
WENDIE JO SPERBER (11/29/05) - Actress. Age 47. Ms. Sperber played opposite a young Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies. She also made several other television appearances and numerous movie appearances. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Wendie became an outspoken advocate for cancer care. IMDB quotes Wendie as having said, "I spent many years with low self-esteem, but the cancer has given me the gift of seeing how many people love me." We always knew self esteem was WAY over rated.
STAN BERENSTAIN (11/26/05) - Author. Age 82. Mr. Berenstain was half of the writing duo that penned tons of Berenstain Bears books for kids. The first such book, The Great Honey Hunt, was published in 1962. From there countless Berenstain bears books hit the shelves. Who can forget when Papa Bear brought the Bear Scouts camping. Oh and how mama bear used to get pissed at papa. What a screw-up that big oaf was. "Do we have honey? No we do not. Better check that burial plot."
GEORGE BEST (11/25/05) - Footballer. Age 59. Mr. Best was one of the greats of not only 1960s soccer but of soccer all around. He played for both Northern Ireland and Manchester United. George scored 180 goals in over 12 years with Manchester United. Unfortunately, Mr. Best also scored tons of beer, whiskey, and wine which he drank with a hearty appetite. After a second liver and wealth of related health problems, George finally got handed his second yellow card.
PAT MORITA (11/24/05) - Actor. Age 73. Mr. Morita is known for his roles as Kesuke Miyagi in The Karate Kid and as Arnold, the proprietor of Arnold's on Happy Days. What a life this guy had, first Ralph Mouth then Ralph Macchio. Only the 'Cold One' could teach him the secrets of the masters.
RALPH EDWARDS (11/16/05) - Game Show dude. Age 92. Mr. Edwards hosted This is Your Life in the 1950s. From there it was on to producing such hits as Truth or Consequences and People's Court. Oh yeah, Ralph also had a hand in the classic Name the Tune. We can name that tune in two notes! Name that tune! Okay, "Taps."
ROBERT TISCH (11/15/05) - Co-owner on NY Giants. Age 79. Mr. Tisch not only had a piece of the NY Giants empire, he was also the postmaster general from 1986-88 and the chairman and director of Loews Corp., the movie theater chain that later became Loews Theaters. Robert was also involved in numerous civic duties including being the chairman of the New York Convention and the New York Visitors Bureau. Regardless of their performance as a team, it's been a really bad year to own the Giants.
PETER DRUCKER (11/11/05) - Management Expert. Age 95. Mr. Drucker was known as the "Father of Modern Management" for his theories on business management, human interaction and needs fulfillment. Just like that little rhyme from business school says, "Peter Drucker, Peter Drucker, that guy there is one smart ..." Hmmm, we seem to have forgotten the ending.
SKITCH HENDERSON (11/1/05) - Musician. Age 87. Mr. Henderson founded the New York Pops, he won Grammy Awards, he played with Sinatra, and he was the band leader on the "Tonight Show" when Steve Allen ran the show. He also led band early on in the Carson years. In the 1970s he did some time for tax evasion. Seems he fibbed about the value of some musical scores he donated to the University of Wisconsin. It appears they had no value. After a very interesting and lively career, we now find Skitch, well, in a ditch.
AL LOPEZ (10/30/05) - Hall of Fame catcher and manager. Age 97. Mr. Lopez brought the Cleveland Indians and the "Go-Go" Chicago White Sox to American League pennants in the 1950s. Al was also the oldest living Baseball Hall of Fame member and is known for being the only AL manager to lead teams that finished ahead of the New York Yankees between 1949-64. Interestingly, Al was the last living Major League player to play in the 1920s. The "Go-Go" is now gone-gone.
ROSA PARKS (10/24/05) - Symbol of Civil Rights Movement. Age 92. Ms. Parks was taking a bus ride in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955. Some guy gets on the bus and tells Rosa to give up her seat. She says, "No" and becomes, with that one word, a symbol of the civil rights movement. See, Rosa was black and the guy was white. For that one small act, Rosa was thrown in jail and fined $14 bucks. So, in essence, Rosa didn't park, she rode. Rode toward equality! Of course, she's kinda thrown it into neutral now.
LOUIE NYE (10/9/05) - Comedian. Age 92. Mr. Nye was a regular on the Steve Allen show and coined the catch-phrase, "Hi, ho, Steverino." Louie got around the idiot box. He was in everything from Trapper John M.D. to The Cosby Show, Fantasy Island to Curb Your Enthusiasm. The guy had a face you can't help but place with TV shows. Of course, it'll now be placed elsewhere. Did we mention his last name means "a brood or flock of pheasants?"
TOM CHEEK (10/9/05) - Baseball Announcer. Age 66. Mr. Cheek wasn't just an announcer. The guy call every game in the entirety of the Toronto Blue Jay's existence (well, until last year). The guy announced 27 and one half seasons of baseball. Think about it. That's twenty seven and one half years of chewing tobacco and butt jokes.
NIPSEY RUSSELL (10/2/05) - Comedian. Age 80. Mr. Russell played Officer Anderson on Car 54 Where Are You? From there it was celebrity roasts, variety shows, and game shows galore. Sure there was The Wiz and a few other pictures. But it was the funny rhymes and the stellar TV appearances that made this guy great. Come on, Match Game alone made this guy a genius. We can almost hear Gene Rayburn saying, "After 44 years of great comedy, they finally found a tumor in Nipsey's 'blank.'"
DON ADAMS (9/25/05) - Actor. Age 82. Mr. Adams was the voice of Tennessee Tuxedo and Inspector Gadget. However, he is best known as that "Would you believe" saying, shoe phone talking, KAOS fighting secret agent Maxwell Smart from the Get Smart TV series. Think about it, after years of trying to get ninety nined, the guy got eighty sixed.
MOLLY YARD (9/21/05) - Former NOW president. Age 93. Ms. Yard was the president of the National Organization for Women from 1987 to 1991. She led the fight against Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination during that tenure. Apparently Molly was born in Shanghai, China, and her father's Chinese friends expressed their sorrow that Yard wasn't a boy. That musta got her pissed off right from the get go as she apparently never ate Sum Yung Guy.
SIMON WIESENTHAL (9/20/05) - Nazi Hunter. Age 96. Simon lost 89 relatives in the Holocaust and was held in several camps himself, before escaping in 1943. After World War II, Mr. Wiesenthal began gathering evidence used to find and try numerous war criminals, most famously Adolf Eichmann. "Put your hands on your hips. Lift your foot in the air. Spin around." Man, it's just not as fun now that he won't be saying it.
ROBERT WISE (9/14/05) - Director. Age 91. Mr. Wise started out as an film editor. Not just any old editor mind you. The guy edited Citizen Kane. Robert went on to direct some serious classics. We're talking West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and The Day the Earth Stood Still. So, although the hills may be alive, Robert is not. Nah. Let's try this. Apparently the day that the Earth stood still was last Wednesday for Robert. Uh uh. Hmmm, when you're a jet you're a jet all the way from your first cigarette until September 14, 2005. That sucked. Screw it. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good friggin' night Bob.
SGT. MARK MATTHEWS (9/6/05) - Oldest Buffalo Soldier. Age 111. Mr. Matthews assisted in the search for Pancho Villa in 1916. He also, while in his late forties, fought in World War II. In spite of rumors to the contrary, he was never in a lodge with Fred and Barney and did not invent those spicy chicken wings.
WILLIAM REHNQUIST (9/3/05) - Chief Justice of Supreme Court. Age 80. Richard Nixon appointed Rehnquist to the Supreme Court in 1972. Ronald Reagan made him Chief Justice in 1986. Ya know, they say justice is blind. That may be, but we heard it had something to do with his throat.
BOB DENVER (9/2/05) - Actor. Age 70. Nope, not the guy who wrote Rocky Mountain High. He died in a plane crash a ways back. This was BOB Denver. We're talking Maynard G. Krebs from Dobie Gillis. We're talking Gilligan man! White hat. Red shirt. A three hour tour. This guy ruled. We're certain we speak for the Skipper when we say, goodnight little body.
HENDRIKJE VAN ANDEL-SCHIPPER (8/30/05) - World's oldest person. Age 115. This is just plain weird. We coulda sworn that The World's Oldest Person already died. Like, are their more than one of these people. It's like everytime The World's Oldest Person dies, there's another one. Plain weird we tell ya. Plain weird.
BROCK PETERS (8/23/05) - Actor. Age 78. Mr. Peters is likely best known for his portrayal of Tom Robinson in "To Kill a Mockingbird." In addition to that role, Brock played Admiral Cartwright in two of the "Star Trek" movies. Some of his other films include "The Pawnbroker" and "Soylent Green." In light of that last one, we suggest caution if you're attending the funeral repast.
DAVID LANGE (8/13/05) - Former New Zealand Prime Minister. Age 63. Mr. Lange was Prime Minister of New Zealand from 1984 to 1989. During that time, David performed the most significant economic overhaul in NZ history. However, his anti-nuclear stance strained NZ relations with the United States and many of his actions ended up killing the political capital of the NZ Labour Party for numerous years. So like most politicians, David had his ups and his downs. Currently, he's having one of his downs.
TED "DOUBLE DUTY" RADCLIFFE (8/8/05) - Baseball player. Age 103. Mr. Radcliffe was thought to be the oldest former professional baseball player. He was also among the first players in the Negro League. Ted was a great player! He was an all-star catcher and an all-star pitcher, thus the "Double Duty" moniker. Now-a-days if you were to tell someone that you're an all-star pitcher and an all-star catcher, you had better be prepared to take what's coming to you. And trust us, you'll end up with a hell of a lot more than a double doody. It'll be more like a week having trouble sitting down.
BARBARA BEL GEDDES (8/8/05) - Actress. Age 82. Ms. Bel Geddes is best known for playing Miss Ellie Ewing on "Dallas." Now "Dallas" is a show we really could give a crap about, then and now. It spawned tons of primetime serials on TV which basically all sucked. It was from those serials that some genius got the idea to replace actors with so called real people. That ushered in the era of Reality TV. Considering we kinda liked "I Dream of Jeannie" and "The Flintstones," we're simply not all that impressed. Barbara smells deady.
GENE MAUCH(8/8/05) - Baseball manager. Age 79. Mr. Mauch won 1,901 games throughout his 26 years managing major league baseball teams. Gene managed California, Philadelphia, Montreal and Minnesota and was National League manager of the year three times. They used to call this guy the "Little General" but, unlike another General, Gene never said, "I shall return." Which in this case is quite fortunate.
PETER JENNINGS (8/7/05) - Newscaster. Age 67. Mr. Jennings was the anchorman for ABC "World News Tonight." He held that position from 1983 until earlier this year when he stepped down due to a diagnosis of lung cancer. Peter was a Canadian by birth but became a U.S. citizen in 2003 (after feeding at the American trough for 20 years might we add). Unfortunately, Peter missed the biggest news of all, the news on the side of all those packages of cigarettes.
HUNTER KELLY (8/5/05) - Jim Kelly's son. Age 8. Sometimes running this pool really, really sucks. This is one of those times. Poor kid.
SUE GUNTER (8/4/05) - Women's basketball coach. Age 66. Ms. Gunter was a Hall of Fame coach and a pioneer in women's college basketball. Sue coached basketball for 40 years, 22 of which were spent at Louisiana State University. She took that team to 13 NCAA tournaments, setting them up as a Final Four team the last two years. Sue also helped coach Olympic teams and played on the 1960-1962 women's teams that competed against the Soviet Union. So, in all, she was pretty darn good at basketball. Wonder how she is at casketball.
KING FAHAD (8/1/05) - King of Saudi Arabia. Age 84. Man, we'll really miss this guy. Who wouldn't? Providing all that oil for all those years. Oh sure he may have jacked the price up some, but come on, gotta drive right. Gotta be warm. So stop your belly aching. What's that? Subjugation of women? Did you say Wahabists? Whadda ya mean breeding ground for global terrorism? Did we or did we not mention all that oil?
RAY CUNNINGHAM(7/30/05) - Baseball Player. Age 100. Mr. Cunnigham was among the oldest major league baseball players, having played for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1931 and 1932. An injury in 1932 took him out of the game for good. Then along came Richie and Joanie. Potsie and Ralph hung out at the house. The Fonz moved in upstairs. Man, the memories.
HILDEGARDE SELL (7/29/05) - Cabaret singer. Age 99. Ms. Sell, know as "The Incomparable Hildegarde," had a career in cabaret spanning nearly 70 years. In addition, Hildegarde is one of the few entertainers known only by one name. In fact, she is credited with starting the "single name vogue" trend (although, ever since Walter Winchell called her "The Incomparable Hildegarde" the descriptor held). Think about it; Sting, Madonna, Cher, Oprah, Beck, Jewel....we're betting you can each think of one of those self absorbed turds you'd rather see go. We can think of a few.
JAMES DOOHAN (7/20/05) - Actor. Mr. Doohan was a pretty busy character actor back in 1966 when he got a call regarding some wacky sci-fi series. The rest, of course, is history. James landed the role of Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, Chief Engineer, of the Starship Enterprise. Man, just think about the lexicon; "Beam me up Scotty." "I can't do it Captain." Now, of course, he really can't do it Captain.
WILLIAM WESTMORELAND (7/18/05) - Vietnam era General. Age 91. Gen. Westmoreland advocated a strong military buildup in Vietnam at a time when American casualties were increasing, no popular task. He also oversaw the introduction of ground troops in to South Vietnam and a large increase in the number of troops there. Westmoreland also served as the Army chief of staff from 1968 to 1972. He retired from active duty in 1972. As for the that whole idea of chanting "Hell no we won't go." Well, he went.
KEVIN HAGEN (7/9/05) - Actor. Age 77. Mr. Hagen played numerous western bad guys on television. Kevin had roles on Gunsmoke and Rawhide Then he landed the role of Dr. Hiram "Doc" Baker on Little House on the Prairie. Obviously, Doc Baker wasn't the role of bad guy..... except for that time Doc punched Laura Ingalls right in the uterus. That had to hurt.
JAMES STOCKDALE (7/5/04) - Retired Vice Admiral and Perot running mate. Age 81. Mr. Stockdale was a highly decorated Navy pilot and a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. Stockdale, a Vietnam veteran who did 7 1/2 years in a North Vietnamese prison, also received a Medal of Honor for valor. However, James is best known as the barely coherent running mate of Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential election. This is the dude who asked during a debate with Al Gore and Dan Quayle, "Who am I? Why am I here?" Well sir, you are James Stockdale and sir, to be clear, you aren't here any longer.
HANK STRAM (7/4/05) - Hall of Fame Coach . Age 82. Mr. Stram was the only coach in AFL history to take a team to two Super Bowls. That team was the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs which he coached from 1960 through the 1974 season. Frank was considered a superb evaluator of football talent. He was also an innovator for the game, devising such formations as the two-tight end offense and the tight I-formation. Mr. Stram was also the first to employ a moving pocket to enhance the abilities of his mobile quarterback. We remember a guy in high school who employed the moving pocket in math class once. When the teacher caught him, I thought he coulda died. Apparently, Frank got to the same point.
LUTHER VANDROSS (7/1/04) - Singer. Mr. Vandross was a Grammy Award winning R&B artist. He sang with folks from David Bowie to Bette Midler. Heck, he even did duets with Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson. And his duet with Janet didn't end with a boob shot! What more can we say.
SHELBY FOOTE (6/27/05) - Historian. Age 88. Mr. Foote made a name for himself writing volumes on the Civil War and several novels. But it was Ken Burn's documentary Civil War that really thrust Shelby into the limelight. We're guessing it was age that finally thrust Shelby into the dirt patch. Well, we knew this day would come eventually, we now officially have one Foote in the grave.
JOHN WALTON (6/27/05) - Wal-Mart heir. Age 58. John wasn't really so famous. Sure, his dad founded the biggest retail chain in the world but John just cashed in. Of course, John did have an impressive record of service during the Vietnam War, earning the Silver Star for saving the lives of several members of his Green Beret unit. We'll give you that. Anyway, goodnight John-boy.
JOHN FIEDLER (6/25/05) - Actor. Age 80. Mr. Fiedler had some pretty hefty credentials under his belt including the Broadway productions of A Raison in the Sun with Poitier and The Odd Couple with Mathau and Carney. Of course, we know John best as Piglet. Yup, Mr. Fiedler was the voice of Piglet in those great Winnie the Pooh pictures. He continued to be Piglet's voice even recently. In 2003 he was the star voice in "Piglet's Big Movie." Pork chops anyone?
PAUL WINCHELL (6/24/05) - Entertainer. Age 82. Mr. Winchell got started as a ventriloquist. He was also and inventor and he hosted kids TV. However, Paul is best known as the voice of that crazy striped cat, Tigger, from the Winnie the Pooh movies. The wonderful thing about Tiggers is now there isn't one.
MASON ADAMS (4/26/05) - Actor. Mr. Adams got his start in radio. His deep, distinctive voice graced early radio serials like Batman and Pepper Young's Family. However, Mason really made it big with his role of Charlie Hume opposite that blow hard Ed Asner on "Lou Grant." Mr. Adams was also the Smucker's jelly voice that reminded us, "With a name like Smucker's, it has to be good." Hey, with a name like Mason, it's no wonder he's under a stone.
ANNE BANCROFT (6/6/05) - Actress. Age 73. Ms. Bancroft won the 1962 Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Helen Keller's teacher in "The Miracle Worker." In addition, she was married to Mel Brooks. That's all well and good, but she also gave a young Dustin Hoffmann, and quite a few other young men, some serious wood as the sexy Ms. Robinson in "The Graduate." Apparently Anne will be buried in a hiding place where no one ever goes; the type of place where you can stroll around the grounds until you feel at home.
LEON ASKIN (6/3/05) - Actor. Age 97. Mr. Askin was born in Vienna in 1907. He started his acting career in 1926 in the country of his birth. But oh, how he would progress. How could he possibly imagine one day he would play the recurring role of General Albert Burkhalter amidst a brilliant ensemble cast in Hogan's Heros? Clearly you'll remember the good General threating to send Klink to the Russian Front. Poor Leon is gone now. He won't be back. Quit Askin.
EDDIE ALBERT (5/26/05) - Actor. Age 99. Here we go....
Green pastures are the place he'll be.
He fought them spraying DDT.
On Broadway starred in Brother Rat.
In Oklahoma, man his Ali Hakim's phat.
Pneumonia's why he passed away.
Alzheimer's started brain decay.
We just adored his T.V. life.
Had no idea he once did Jack L. Warner's wife.
He's passed away......
Was born on Earth Day....
Green pastures he is there!
THURL RAVENSCROFT (5/22/05) - Voice artist. Age 91. Mr. Ravenscroft provided voices to many of the Disney animated classics such as "The Jungle Book," "Alice in Wonderland," "Mary Poppins," "Cinderella," and "Lady and the Tramp." In addition he was the voice of Kellogg's Tony the Tiger for over 50 years. And so, as the world turns, Mister Ravenscroft has moved from "They're Grrrrreat" to a crrrrrate.
FRANK GORSHIN (5/17/05) - Actor. Age 72. Mr. Gorshin had numerous television credits under his belt, including an Emmy nominated guest appearance on Star Trek. In addition, Frank played George Burns in the one man, Broadway show Say Goodnight Gracie. However, we will always remember Frank best for his Emmy nominated role as Batman's clever nemesis, The Riddler. Riddle me this Death Watchers....When is a villain no longer a villain? When he's used to vill in a six foot ditch at Forest Lawn.
PETER RODINO (5/7/05) - Former Congressman. Age 95. Mr. Rodino was really no big shakes until he headed up the House impeachment investigation of President Nixon. Prior to that, his biggest claim to fame was sponsoring a bill that made Columbus Day a national holiday. Celebrity? Not really. But he is on someone's list.
REGINALD "RED" HORNER (4/27/05) - Hockey Hall of Famer. Age 95.
Little Reg Horner
Surrounded by mourners
Wearing black suits and socks
At age ninety-five
He has finally arrived
In the ultimate penalty box.
SIR JOHN MILLS (4/23/05) - Actor. Age 97. Mr. Mills appeared in countless patriotic pictures. He also won a 1971 Oscar for his work in Ryan's Daughter (man is there a comment there). In 1968 he appeared in the picture Death Has No Sex. That, of course, is bound to disappoint old John's libido.
JOHANNES BJELKE-PETERSON (4/23/05) - Australian Politico. Age 94. Mr. Bjelke-Peterson governed over Australia's third most populous state, Queensland, at one time. He then thought of running for prime minister but that didn't pan out for him. Then there was this whole perjury thing. That's another story though. Anyway, he's dead now. G'day.
FEROZE KHAN (4/21/05) - Oldest Olympic Gold Medalist. Age 100. Mr. Khan took a gold in field hockey in Amsterdam in 1928. He also scored a pine in a field in Islamabad in 2005.
JUAN PABLO TORRES (4/17/05) - Cuban Salsa Legend. Age 59. Mr. Torres is known as one of the top trombonists in Cuban music. His work with the Cuban Masters is renowned. Plus the dude recorded with Tito Puente. There's really nothing more fun than saying that guy's name. Go ahead..Tito Puente. We digress. You may as well put the chips away, apparently we're out of salsa.
GEORGE YOUNCE (4/11/05) - Gospel Singer. Age 75. Mr. Younce was very well known in Gospel for his rich bass voice. George was a founding member of the Cathedrals Quartet, a group now giving serious consideration to the the whole concept of trinity.
CHALMERS ROBERTS (4/8/05) - Diplomatic Correspondent, Author. Age 94. Mr.Roberts was retired as the chief diplomatic correspondent for The Washington Post. In addition, he authored books on The Washington Post, nuclear arms control, and the pleasures of being a grandfather. Did we mention the dude's name is Chalmers, as in rhymes with embalmers.
PRINCE RAINIER (4/6/05) - Prince of Monaco. Age 81. Prince Rainier is likely best known for marrying American film star Grace Kelly. He was also Europe's longest reigning monarch, having been prince on Monaco for just shy of 56 years. Rainiers's heir is Crown Prince Albert. Poor Albert, who for years was the brunt of the classic "Do you have any Prince Albert in a can?" joke, finally has a response: "No, but I have a Prince Rainier in a box, now shut the hell up."
DALE MESSICK (4/5/05) - Created "Brenda Starr, Reporter." Age 98. Ms. Messcik broke into the male dominated world of newspaper comics with her character "Brenda Starr" in 1940. The strip ran, with Dale drawing, until 1985. The strip still runs today, but with a different artist and writer. Brenda Starr was a redheaded, adventuresome, hottie, that we would clearly "do." Of course, Nancy is a little pasty, spiky haired, chick without pupils that under the right set of circumstances we might consider also. For that matter, Dagwood, with a few beers in our belly, and if we were to close our eyes....well, you get the drift. We may not be all that discerning when it comes to comic strips. Mmmm, Garfield.
URA KOYAMA (4/5/05) - Japan's Oldest Person. Age 114. Ms. Koyama was pretty darn old. What else can we say? Oh right, she's dead too.
SAUL BELLOW (4/5/05) - Author. Age 89. Mr. Bellow wrote several award winning books, the most notable being "Humboldt's Gift" which earned him a Pulitzer in mid 1970s. Saul taught at Bard College, Princeton University, and at the University of Minnesota. He was also a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Besides writing books, Mr. Bellow also penned plays including "The Last Analysis" and three short plays, collectively entitled "Under the Weather." In the last analysis, Saul was clearly under the weather.
POPE JOHN PAUL II (4/2/05) - Pope. Age 84. Pope John Paul II was born Karol Józef Wojtyła in Wadowice, Poland. Karol was the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years. He was the third longest serving Pope in history and the first Pope of Slovic descent. Pope John Paul II has beatified and canonized more people than any other Pope in history. His rein over the Catholic Church has been heralded by many and criticized by many. Now check this out ... in order to certify the Pope's death, the Cardinal Chamberlain (a.k.a. Camerlengo) calls the Pope by his birth name three times and then hits him on the head with a little silver hammer. You'd think taking his pulse would be a bit easier, though clearly not as fun.
FRANK PERDUE (3/31/05) - Chicken guy. Age 84. Mr. Perdue created one of the nations largest poultry processing operations. Frank took his father's egg farm in Salisbury, Maryland and turned it into a household name. Heck, he was the first person to advertise chicken by brand name. Who can forget his commercials from the 70s and 80s: "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken." In 1991 Frank handed over the duty of making those commercials to his son, Jim. This, of course, was a fortunate move as it also takes a live man to sell a tender chicken. In an odd, and apparently unrelated turn of events, millions of chickens around the world were thought to have been heard giggling early today. Go figure.
TERRI SCHIAVO (3/31/05) - Woman used as a political football. Age 41. Ms. Schiavo has been the center of attention in the media recently. She had some pretty major brain damage and was, consequently, fed through a tube, confined to a bed, and unable to function beyond her basic autonomic nervous system responses. Now her husband, who appears to be somewhat of a scoundrel, opted to pull her feeding tube as was his legal right. Her parents wanted it put back. They went to court lots, he hollered lots, they lost lots, the politicians grandstanded lots, the judges puffed up lots, the media sucked it like leaches lots, the moralists swore they were right, the right-to-die folks swore they were right, and, in our humble opinion, no one really gave a toss about Terri. Oh sure, they all said they did. They probably even believed it. That may be the most pathetic part. Funny how everyone knows how right they are now-a-days. It sure cracks us up.
JOHNNIE COCHRAN (3/26/05) - Lawyer. Age 67. What can we say about this guy? "If the tumor won't shrink, you're down the sink?" Nah. How about, "If the brain's got cancer you know the answer?" Uh-uh. Maybe, "A tumor in the the thinker is a real stinker?" Crap, that sucks. How about this, "Dude, we all know OJ did it."
JAMES CALLAGHAN (3/26/05) - Former UK Prime Minister. Age 92. Lord Callaghan was prime minister of the U.K. from 1976 to 1979. Mr. Callaghan represented the Labour Party. Now we have never really thought of labour as a party. Quite the contrary really. But James, he felt differently. Well, up until the point where he stopped feeling at all that is.
JOHN DELOREAN (3/19/05) - Auto designer. Age 80. Mr. DeLorean set up his own car company and designed a futuristic sports car (used in the Back to the Future movies). Of course, that venture didn't work out too well and John ended up getting busted with a heap load of cocaine which he was trying to sell to support the business. John wasn't new to cars though. Not at all. It was back in 1964 when John first made a name for himself in Detroit. That was the year that, as a designer for GM, John suggested cramming a V8 engine into the Pontiac Tempest. He called the car the GTO. This little baby was the first of what car enthusiasts around the world know as the "muscle car." Unfortunately, the muscle under John's hood has apparently popped a rod.
ANDRE NORTON (3/17/05) - Author. Age 93. Ms. Norton is best known for her science fiction and fantasy writings. Her most prolific series being the Witch World books. There are more than 30 books in the series. Although born Alice Mary Norton, she used the pen name Andre. Ms. Norton felt this name would baud better with with younger boys, her expected audience. In 1934, she legally changed her name to her pen name. With the exception of a brief stint working for the City Sewer Department, during which time she went by Ed, she stuck with the name Andre and penned over 130 books.
GEORGE KENNAN (3/17/05) - Age 101. Diplomat and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. Age 101. Mr. Kennan is the guy who basically invented the Cold War. Really. He came up with the theory and approach to beating global Communism by using, primarily, economic and political pressure. In 1989 George was awarded the Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian honor. Of course, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall fell, basically crushing the largest, strongest face of global Communism. Yet, for some reason, George still feels kinda cold.
HANS BETHE (3/6/05) - Nobel Prize winning physicist. Age 98. Mr. Bethe won a 1967 Nobel Prize in physics for discovering the process that powers the sun and the stars. That's not all though. Oh no! Hans also made major discoveries about how atoms are built from smaller particles, how the heavier elements are created from the remnants of supernovas and what makes fading stars blow up. For instance, he was finishing a paper on Kirstie Alley right before he croaked.
CHUCK THOMPSON (3/6/05) - Hall of Fame broadcaster. Age 83. Mr. Thompson called Baltimore Orioles games just about 50 years. He also spent 30 years as the play-by-play announcer of the Baltimore Colts. When the Orioles scored a much needed run or the Colts scored a crucial touchdown, Chuck would exclaim "Ain't the beer cold!" To which we reply, "not just the beer Chuck, not just the beer."
HERMANN DOERNEMANN (3/2/05) - Germany's Oldest Man. Age 111. Mr. Doernemann's longevity was credited, in part, to drinking a glass of sweetened beer each day and occasionally drinking water used to cook potatoes, just for the vitamins. It's really no wonder the Germans almost took Europe.
GENE SCOTT (02/21/05) - Televangelist. Age 75. Mr. Scott went from being the pastor Los Angeles University Cathedral to hosting bible talks and Sunday services, via radio and television, in over 180 countries. Unlike most televangelists, Scott's homilies did not condemn homosexuality, abortion or other hot-topic issues. He believed these issues were a personal choice. Gene sported a scruffy beard and smoked, often on his show. He also once wore glasses with eyes pasted on them. He'll be trying on a new pair with pennies pasted on them next.
HUNTER S. THOMPSON (02/20/05) - Gonzo Journalist. Age 67.
There once was a writer named Hunter.
Whose first person prose couldn't be blunter.
He wished to be dead,
So a slug hit his head
Like the foot of an NFL punter.
And now friends, its time for some tears and scrubbing in Colorado.
SANDRA DEE (02/20/05) - Actress. Age 62. Ms. Dee appeared in numerous films in the 1950s and 1960s. She was known for playing the role of the "sweet, innocent girl" in pretty much all of those pictures. This was best characterized by her portrayal of Gidget in the movie of the same name. Sandra spent several years married to teen heart throb Bobby Darin and a few more downing Scotch in seclusion. Look at me I'm Sandra Dee, infirm with a bad kidney, last night went to bed and then I woke up dead.......
ARTHUR MILLER (02/10/05) - Playwright. Age 89. Mr. Miller, until recently, was among America's greatest living playwrights. For obvious reasons, that is no longer the case. Art penned "The Crucible" and "Death of a Salesman." He won a Pulitzer Prize for the later. Miller was also married to Marilyn Monroe. Arthur leaves behind a detective named Barney, a pretty lousy beer, and the saltiest of the Canterbury Tales.
OSSIE DAVIS (02/4/05) - Actor. Age 87. Mr. Davis was well known for not only his acting ability but his taking on of roles that dealt with racial injustice. He, along with his wife, Ruby Dee, had significant roles in Roots: The Next Generation, Martin Luther King: The Dream and the Drum and The Stand. Davis also appeared in several Spike Lee films, including School Daze," Do the Right Thing and Jungle Fever. Wonder if that jungle fever is what finally got the poor guy.
ERNST MAYR (02/3/05) - Biologist. Age 100. Mr. Mayr was among the world's leading evolutionary biologists. During his tenure as a curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Ernst established him as a leading neo-Darwinist. Ernst was on the faculty of Harvard from 1953 to 1975. All indications are Mr. Mayr was no longer among the fittest.
MAX SCHMELING (02/2/05) - Boxer. Age 99. Mr. Schmeling is widely considered one of the greatest boxers of all time. Max was the first German (and European) heavyweight world champion. He also fought two amazing bouts against Joe Louis, winning one. These fights were used by both the U.S. and Germany for propaganda during the heated 1930s and the war ravaged 1940s. Interestingly, Max didn't care for the German government's policies too much at the time. Seems he was instrumental in saving several Jews from the tortures of the Nazis. After the war, Max was pretty much broke. So, the guy boxes a few bouts, takes the money, buys the license to the Coca-Cola franchise in Germany, and becomes rich. He then uses some of that wealth to help support and ultimately bury his former rival, Joe Louis. Joe had fallen on some pretty hard times. So, though Max may be schmelling pretty bad now, it scheems to us he was really schomething schpecial during his life.
PHILIP C. JOHNSON (01/25/05) - Architect. Age 98. Mr. Johnson is renowned for his "glass box" buildings. In fact, the guys house, a house he designed, was a big glass box in the Connecticut woods. His current residence, however, is a small pine box beneath the Connecticut soil. Hey, we coulda made some snide comment about his name. Think about it.
JOHNNY CARSON (01/23/05) - Tonight Show Host. Age 79. Mr. Carson, though not the first, was the best known host of the Tonight Show. Johnny told jokes, interviewed guests, and allowed performances. Along with band leader Doc Severinsen, Johnny performed as the United States drifted off to sleep. We asked Carnack the Magnificent for some words. Here's what we got: Rye, Pork, and Carson. Apparently, he had to name a toast, a roast, and a ghost.
CHARLIE BELL (01/16/05) - Former McDonalds CEO. Age 44. Mr. Bell was the previous CEO of fast food chain, McDonalds. At age 19, Charlie managed his first store. From there, he rose up the McDonalds ranks and ended up CEO. In 2004, Bell announced he had cancer and James Skinner replaced him as CEO. Interestingly, in April 2004, Bell replaced the former CEO James Cantalupo. Cantalupo died of a heart attack. What can we draw from this? Not only is eating at McDonalds not all that good for you, working there may kick your ass too.
RUTH WARRICK (01/15/05) - Actress. Age 88. Ms. Warrick launched her career opposite Orson Welles in the cinematic masterpiece "Citizen Kane." Then, just to prove that you don't have to stick with the high end stuff, she made a career for herself on the soap opera "All My Children" playing Phoebe Tyler Wallingford. Ms. Wallingford was a mover and shaker in the fictional town, Pine Valley. For the record, she no longer moves nor shakes but will continue to reside in pine.
ROSEMARY KENNEDY (01/7/05) - A Kennedy. Age 86. Ms. Kennedy was the oldest sister of John F. Kennedy. She was also the inspiration for The Special Olympics. See Rosemary was born retarded back when you were allowed to use that word. Matter fact, it was back when they'd do things like give you a lobotomy, which they did to Rosemary at age 23. Perennial Death Watch favorite Eunice Kennedy-Shriver founded the Special Olympics because of here sisters condition. It's been said before but it's worth repeating, "It's just not a Death Watch without a Kennedy."
MAKGATHO MANDELA (01/6/05) - Nelson Mandela's Son. Age 54. Mr. Mandlea really isn't a celebrity. He's the son of a celebrity. He died of AIDS complications. He lived on a continent, Africa, where AIDS claims a ridiculously large portion of the population. Approximately 600 people a day die of the disease in South Africa alone. Maybe the fact that some Africans have denied the disease's existence while others believe you can rid yourself of it by having sex with very young girls (in some cases infants) has something to do with those figures. So much for cultural relativism, eh little chums?
WILL EISNER (01/03/05) - Cartoonist. Age 87. Mr. Eisner helped popularize the graphic novel and was the first to use panels without dialog to place emphasis characters' emotions. In addition to that innovation, Will innovated comics by approaching topics no one else dared to approach. He wrote about spousal abuse, tax audits, urban blight and graft. Funny how he never tackled death. Well, not until recently anyway.