BENAZIR BHUTTO (12/27/07) - Politician. Age 54. Ms. Bhutto former Pakistani Prime Minister. Recognizing what a peaceful women loving culture has been fostered in the Middles East, we're really shocked that Ms. Bhutto wasn't just stoned to death. We've said it before and we'll say it again....So much for cultural relativism, ay little chums?
DAN FOGELBERG (12/16/07) - Musician. Age 56. Mr. Fogelberg had some hits in the 1970s and early 1980s with songs that are sometimes termed "soft rock." In essence we read that as meaning they were generally sappy and spineless. Of course that doesn't make Dan a bad guy. Heck, he never smacked around Tina Turner. Of course that might be because Tina could have easily taken this guy.
IKE TURNER (12/12/07) - Musician. Age 76. Mr. Turner was quite the music guy. Not only could he perform, he had an ear for hits and eye for talent. Of course, he also had a hand for smacking around ladies (something Tina didn't take kindly to). Ike, along with his band The Kings of Rhythm, recorded Rocket 88 in 1951. Many folks believe this is the first Rock-N-Roll record ever recorded. You folks may better remember some of the hits Ike had with Tina Turner such as River Deep - Mountain High (Now I'll Kick Your Ass Biatch), I Want To Take You Higher (And Knock Your Teeth Out Biatch), Proud Mary (Ain't Gonna Be So Proud After the Biatch Tastes the Back Of My Hand), and Nutbush City Limits (Is Where I'll Be Heading As Soon As I Teach This Biatch Some Respect). What a Guy!
EVEL KNIEVEL (11/30/07) - Daredevil. Age 69. Mr. Knievel was way cool. The guy was the best known motorbike daredevil ever. Evel jumped Greyhound buses, he jumped live sharks, and he jumped the fountains in front of Caesar's Palace (even if he did crash). Heck, he even jumped Idaho's Snake River Canyon. Well, at least he tried. Evel broke 40 bones over his career. That earned him one of his several entries into the Guinness Book of World Records. Come on, how many of you were jumping off your swing set as kids when your mom yelled, "Who do you think you are, Evel Knievel?" All things considered it's probably for the best you aren't Evel Knievel though don't ya think?
HENRY HYDE (11/25/07) - Politician. Age 83. Mr. Hyde was a US Congressman who steered the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. Occasionally he was also seen drinking a strange elixir and turning into a rather brutish looking fellow with a top hat.
JOHN DRURY (11/25/07) - News Anchor. Age 80. Mr. Drury was a longtime Chicago News Anchor. He had Lou Gerhig's disease. Knowing a little about that disease, we're betting Lou was more than will to part with it too.
DICK WILSON (11/19/07) - Actor. Age 91. Dick played Mr. Whipple on the Charmin toilet paper commercials for 21 years. You know, "Please DON'T squeeze the Charmin." Now we recognize that it was a crappy job and that many of you felt Mr. Wilson's career was in the toilet. We, however, were wiped out with remorse and flush from crying when we heard about this one.
SIDNEY COLEMAN (11/18/07) - Physicist. Age 70. Sure he was a Harvard physicist, but we'll always love him for his beer coolers.
IRA LEVIN (11/12/07) - Playwright and Author. Age 78. Mr. Levin penned The Stepford Wives, The Boys From Brazil and Rosemary's Baby. He also was the Playwright who gave us the gem Deathtrap. Now sadly, Ira Levin had become Ira Leavin'.
NORMAN MAILER (11/10/07) - Author. Age 84. Mr. Mailer co-founded The Village Voice. Norman wrote such well known works as The Armies of the Night, The Executioner's Song and The Naked and the Dead. We understand that they found Norm fully clothed so he clearly wasn't among the naked....
CHAD VARAH (11/8/07) - Author. Age 95. Mr. Varah founded an organization in the UK called Samaritans. This group helped provide counseling and emotional support to folks contemplating suicide. Seems like the fella was a genuinely good person. Not a celebrity in our humble opinion mind you, but a good person. He got an AP obit so he counts this year. Next year, not a prayer.
ROBERT GOULET (10/30/07) - Actor/Singer. Age 73.
Our email played a distinct sound, and oh dear,
A guy whose robust singing n'er forgot
Will not be playing any other shows here
His quintessential role we will remember.
His cameo on Simpsons hit the spot!
We sorta thought he'd linger through December
But, he did not.
SAM DANA (10/29/07) - Oldest Former NFL Player. Age 104. Four years ago the football record books were listing Sam Dana as deceased. However, rumors of his death were greatly exagerrated. Seems that Sam's given name was Sam Salemi. He changed the last name to Dana 'cause he thought Salemi sounded like salami. Now, get this, there was another NFLer named Sam Salemi that died in 1969. The record keepers thought it was Mr. Dana. Weird. It wasn't until Sam was 100 that the error was discovered. As the good folks at Boar's Head advertise all the time, not all Salemis are alike.
PORTER WAGONER (10/28/07) - Country Singer. Age 80. Mr. Wagoner had 81 songs hit the country-music chart. Nineteen of 'em were duets with his one time partner, Dolly Parton. This dude was a Grand Ole Opry mainstay. Porter enjoyed a 50 plus year career with several major generational comebacks. Most recently, after fighting off illness he was told would kill him, the dude played to several packed venues of teens and twenty year olds who thought he was the bomb. As we're certain any of you who imbibe fine ales are aware, it's always a real downer when the porter's gone.
JOEY BISHOP (10/17/07) - Last of the Rat Pack. Age 89. Sometimes in this crazy game of chess we call life you're gonna lose a bishop.
BARBARA J. WEST DAINTON (10/16/07) - Titanic Survivor. Age 96. Ms. West Dainton was believed to be one of the last two Titanic survivors. We "believe that the heart does go on" too. The body however gets pretty fragile after the first ninety years.
DEBORAH KERR (10/16/07) - Actress. Age 86. From here to.... well, eternity.
WERNER VON TRAPP (10/11/07) - One of the von Trapp Kids. Age 91.
So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night,
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.
So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, adieu,
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.
LOIS MAXWELL (9/29/07) - Miss Moneypenny. Age 80. That will be all Moneypenny.
MARCEL MARCEAU (9/22/07) - Mime. Age 84. Hmm, let's think here..."He was a quiet man." Uh, uh. "He never had a bad thing to say about anyone. In fact, he never had a thing to say at all." Nah. How about this one... "After plenty of years pretending to be inside a box, he now has the privilege of seeing how well he faked it." So, so. Maybe the loss of the world's greatest mime will breath some life back into the careers of Shields and Yarnell. Who? Exactly!
ALICE GHOSTLEY (9/21/07) - Actress. Age 81. Ms. Ghostley appeared on Broadway, winning a Tony Award for her work in The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window. In addition, Alice appeared as Esmeralda on the television show Bewitched. More recent appearances by Alice were described by those viewing as, well, ghostly. Man, they sure do make these easy sometimes.
BRETT SOMERS (9/15/07) - Game Show Panelist. Age 83. Heck, Ms. Somers wasn't just A game show panelist, she was among a small list of folks who were THE QUINTESSENTIAL game show panelists. We put Brett up there with Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Kitty Carlise Hart. And, in fact, she is now officially "up there" with Paul Lynde, Charles Nelson Reilly, and Kitty Carlise Hart.
JANE WYMAN (9/10/07) - Actress. Age 93. Ms. Wyman won an Oscar for here performance in Johnny Belinda. In addition, She was nominated for three additional Oscars during her career. Jane also played matriarch, Angela Channing, on television's Falcon Crest too. It was early in her career that Wyman got noticed during her work in Billy Wilder's Lost Weekend. It appears to us, the next several weekends are going to be lost for Jane too. Oh yeah, back in the 1940s she was married to Ronald Reagan too.
JANE TOMLINSON (9/3/07) - Cancer awareness activist and fund raiser. Age 43. Here's a lady who was diagnosed with terminal cancer seven years ago and spent the remainder of her life raising awareness and performing amazing physical feats, including a cycle ride across the United States, to raise money for charity. An amazing story about an obviously incredible person.
LUCIANO PAVAROTTI (9/6/07) - Opera Singer, Tenor. Age 71. Man, we're gonna need to borrow some money. We've been looking to get a case of this really fine English ale but it runs about thirty bucks and we're down to two tenors. Ouch.
RICHARD JEWELL (8/29/07) - Security Guard, Wrongly accused bombing suspect. Age 44. The plight of Mr. Jewell alone is a perfectly good reason to not trust what you hear from those hacks in the newsroom.
HILLY KRISTAL (8/29/07) - Founded and ran CBGBs. Age 75. Mr. Kristal can be credited with single handedly supplying the venue that launched The Ramones, Blondie, Patti Smith, Television, and The Talking Heads. Plus, his name rhymes will Billy Crystal and Silly Pistol.
BUTCH VAN BREDA KOLFF (8/22/07) - Basketball Coach. Age 84. On the college scene Mr. Van Breda Kolff coached Lafayette, Hofstra, Princeton, and the University of New Orleans. The dude took six teams to the NCAA Tournament. In the big league, he coached the Los Angeles Lakers, the Detroit Pistons, the Phoenix Suns, the Memphis Tams and the New Orleans Jazz. We've got no idea how Butch found time to have all those cool adventures with Sundance too.
LEONA HELMSLEY (8/20/07) - Real estate nasty ass. Age 87. Thinking back on Ms. Helmsley's long and often very public career we can't help but think, "Good!"
LORD WILLIAM DEEDES (8/17/07) - British Journalist. Age 94. Apparently Mr. Deeds was the inspiration for the Evelyn Waugh novel Scoop. More recently he inspired several laborers to scoop up quite a bit of soil.
PHIL RIZZUTO (8/13/07) - Baseball Great. Age 89. Holy Cow! The Scooter has scooted.
BROOKE ASTOR (8/13/07) - Philanthropist. Age 105. Ms. Astor gave away loads of cash. Almost $200 million actually. The problem is she never gave any to us. What a tightwad.
YONE MINIGAWA(8/13/07) - Rather elderly lady. Age 114. Ms. Minigawa didn't create Jeopardy nor did she pen any music for the show. She had nothing to do with Wheel of Fortune either. Yone did not own any hotels or casinos and she never hosted a talk show. This doesn't make Yone a bad lady. It just make a whole bunch of you not realize the meaning of the word "Celebrity." Sheesh. Ms. Minigawa was born in Fukuchi, a town in Fukuoka. We're pretty sure there's a joke in there somewhere but we're a family game.
MERV GRIFFIN (8/12/07) - Game show creator and talk show host. Age 82. Mr. Griffin created Jeopardy. Yup, you read that right. Heck, the guy wrote the stupid theme music they play during that final question. He created Wheel of Fortune too. Speaking of fortune, he amassed one by investing in high end real estate such as casinos and hotels. Did we mention the talk show with all those famous folks? Also, his last name rhymes with stiffen.
LEE HAZELWOOD (8/4/07) - Country Singer. Age 78. These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do... Then again, maybe they'll just lie here.
TOMMY MAKEM (8/1/07) - Irish musician. Age 74. Mr. Makem was well known for his Irish music. He played with the Clancy Brothers and on his own. Some even called Tommy the "Godfather of Irish Music." We wonder if you had to kiss the ring left on his coaster.
MICHELANGELO ANTONIONI (7/30/07) - Italian movie director. Age 94. Blewup.
BILL WALSH (7/30/07) - Former 49ers coach. Age 75. As much as we admire the "West Coast Offense," we're thinking a leukemia defense would have served Bill better.
INGMAR BERGMAN (7/30/07) - Filmmaker. Age 89. You know what's really compelling about Bergman's movies? Really, do you know? 'Cause we gotta tell ya, we didn't see one decent car chase or nudey scene in any of those things.
TOM SNYDER (7/29/07) - Tomorrow Show host. Age 71. Yeah, yeah we know, "great interviewer," "edgy," "compelling." Enough with that crap already. He made some really good hard pretzels. What the hell is a colortini anyway?
ROLLIE STILES (7/22/07) - Oldest former Major League Baseball Player. Age 100. 'Cause it's 1, 2, 3, uh, 4, um, 5, er, 6, 7, wow, 8, sheesh, 9, phew, 10 decades and your out....
TAMMY FAYE BAKKER (MESSNER) (7/20/07) - Televangelist Jim Bakker's former wife. Age 65. And to think that for all these years we thought she was counted among the UNdead. Live and learn we guess.
PATRICA OWENS FORDICE (7/12/07) - First Lady of Mississippi. Age 72. She was referred to as "The Eternal First Lady" in Mississippi. Is it any wonder that Mississippi ranks 48th in education?
STAN ZEMANEK (7/12/07) - Aussie radio host. Age 60. Just what we needed, Australia's answer to Rush Limbaugh.
LADY BIRD JOHNSON (7/11/07) - Former First Lady. Age 94. Well, well, well. The number two pick. Out of 173 of you clowns, 78 of you picked Ms. Johnson. As for the other 95 of you......you should have known Lady Bird' flown.
CHARLES LANE (7/9/07) - Actor. Age 102. Mr. Lane has in excess of 338 Internet Movie Database entries. If he had started acting at birth that would average out to about 3.3 movies and/or televisions shows a year. Thing is, he didn't appear in his first picture until he was 26 and he worked on his last listing when he was 101. That means 338 entires over 75 years of work (or 4.5 movies and/or televisions shows a year). We'll some it up this way: Charlie Lane was in our ears and in our eyes, up until his Monday night demise.
BEVERLY SILLS (7/2/07) - Opera Singer. Age 78. Besides performing opera, Ms. Sills sat on the board for the Metropolitan Opera and appeared often on the Muppet Show and The Tonight Show. Beverly was a fundraiser for both the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the March of Dimes and the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Oh, by the way, Ms. Sills was a soprano. Sadly, her ending didn't garner anywhere near the interest that the ending for those other Sopranos achieved.
JOEL SIEGEL (6/29/07) - Movie Critic. Age 63. Mr. Siegel was known for delivering quips and puns during his movie reviews both in print and on Good Morning America. How can you not like a guy who publishes a review of Sponge Bob Square Pant The Movie with the headline, "Sponge Bob Less Absorbing On Big Screen."
ELISABETH CLAIBORNE ORTENBERG (6/26/07) - Liz Claiborne. Age 78. As a designer, Ms. Claiborne changed the manner in which department stores sold women's clothing. Liz was also the first woman to found a company listed in the Fortune 500. Most of what we've read indicates the Ms. Claiborne really had a vision for how women should dress. That's something that we share with Liz. We suspect, however, that our vision is a bit different than the one Liz experienced.
RUTH GRAHAM (6/14/07) - Billy's Wife. Age 87. Putting aside all that evangelical stuff, this broad made one wicked good cracker.
KURT WALDHEIM (6/14/07) - Former United Nations Secretary-General. Age 88. Mr. Waldheim was the Secretary General of the UN throughout the 1970s and into the 1980s. Now some of you may not care for the UN. And others of you may think its the best thing since sliced bread. But we're pretty certain that most of you would agree that having a dude who was involved with war crimes committed in the Balkans during World War II was probably not a great idea. By 1987 this dude wasn't even allowed into the United States, never mind the United Nations. Might we suggest a better screening process?
DON HERBERT (6/11/07) - Mr. Wizard. Age 89. Mr. Herbert was Mr. Wizard on the popular television show from the 1950s and 1960s and again in the 1980s. What the hell kind of wizard doesn't get rescued by some giant bird or something when he's about to die is what we want to know.
RUDOLPH ARNHEIM (6/9/07) - Author and perceptual psychologist. Age 102. Mr. Arnheim wrote a lot about visualization in art work. Instead of a snide comment about Rudolph's ideas and works, we'll instead leave you with a quote of his which we found rather entertaining, "At one of the annual conventions of the American Society for Aesthetics much confusion arose when the Society for Anesthetics met at the same time in the same hotel."
CRAIG THOMAS (6/4/07) - Senator from Wyoming. Age 74. The senator from Wyoming yields the remainder of his time.
BILL FRANCE JR. (6/4/07) - NASCAR dude. Age 74. Mr. France was the former chairman of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, a position he held for 31 years. During that time, Bill turned NASCAR into a billion dollar business. Think about it, Bill turned a "sport" with the reputation of having overweight, T-shirt wearing, beer swilling, unwashed, wife beating, red-necks with cars on blocks in their front "yards" (that is the dirt patch in front of their trailer at the trailer park) as its only fans into a billion dollar business consumed by much of the American public. P.T. Barnum would be so friggin' proud.
JORG IMMENDORFF (5/28/07) - Artist. Age 61. Apparently Mr. Immendorff could trace the progression of his art work from Neo-Expressionism to Realism. And what, dear friends, can be more real than biting the big one?
KELLY JO DOWD (5/24/07) - A Mom with a young daughter who is great at golf. Age 42. Sometimes folks, it just really isn't all that funny.
CHARLES NELSON REILLY (5/15/07) - Actor. Age 76. Mr. Reilly was a Tony winning Broadway actor who made a household name of himself on television. We're talking The Ghost and Mrs. Muhr. We're talking Lidsville. We're talking some bad 1970s and early 1980s game shows, especially Match Game. This fella was a pisser. Not to mention what he did for the world of wrestling. No? Really? Come on! Certainly you've heard of a full Nelson Reilly.
JERRY FALWELL (5/15/07) - Moral Majority Guy. Age 73. Mr. Falwell founded Liberty University and co founded the Moral Majority. In addition Jerry founded, and was the Pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia. In summing up a career like Jerry's one can't help but remember what a yahoo this dude was. Guess we'll have to replace our "The Moral Majority is Neither" bumper stickers with something a little more appropriate now. How about, Jerry Falwell is a non-breather? That works.
YAHWEH BEN YAHWEH (5/7/07) - Religious sect leader. Age 71. Mr. ben Yahweh led the Nation of Yahweh. As the leader of these fine folks, Yahweh preached both racial supremacy and violent separatism. Sounds like a swell guy, doesn't he? When we first heard that this dude bit it we said, "no way!" But alas, yahweh.
TOM POSTON (4/30/07) - Actor. Age 85. Mr. Poston is probably best known for his roles as George Utley on Newhart and Franklin Delano Bickley on Mork and Mindy. You may not have known, however, that Tom was married to Suzanne Pleshette. Mr. Poston also played Art Hibke on Coach, a role which earned him an Emmy nomination. Thing with Tom was, he has a look about him that made him easy to cast as a regular guy. For that reason, he appear as a guest star in scads of television shows. Turn on the TV, flip around the channels, and you're likely to find Tom Poston there for the viewing.
BORIS YELTSIN (4/23/07) - Some Russian Dude. Age 76.
He presided o'er Russia eight years
During changes, upheaval, and fears
He was oligarch beholden
With behaviors emboldened
By the super sized vodkas and beers
KITTY CARLISLE-HART (4/14/07) - Entertainer. Age 96. Ms. Carlisle-Hart, although a singer, an actress and an avid proponent for the arts, is best known as a game show panelist. Kitty was a regular on What's My Line and To Tell The Truth. We understand that the last words poor Kitty heard were, "Would the REAL Grim Reaper please stand up." Good-bye Kitty.
JUNE CALLWOOD (4/14/07) - Canadian writer and activist. Age 82. Ms. Callwood was an activist for, among other things, AIDs suffers, civil liberties, and children living in poverty. Add on to that the fact that she was a pilot, participated in hang gliding, and held in excess of 15 honorary doctorates. Oh, did we mention she was also involved in the founding of Casey House, Digger House, Nellie's hostel for abused women, PEN Canada, and Jessie's Centre for Teenagers? Considering all the good this Canuck did, we're almost inclined to forgive our neighbors to the north for Rick Moranis. Almost.
DON HO (4/14/07) - Singer. Age 76. Mr. Ho was a singer popular in the early 1960s, most notably for his hit Tiny Bubbles. Don had black wiry hair that we would most definitely not characterize as nappy. However, in spite of recent events in the public arena, we are perfectly comfortable stating that he was quite a Ho.
KURT VONNEGUT (4/11/07) - Writer. Age 84. Mr. Vonnegut wrote some perfectly swell books. He once described his story telling technique as putting a bitter coating on a sweet pill. It may have been an apt description of what we tend to do with our own humanity. Later in life, Kurt tended to see the sweet pill of humanity as quite a bit more bitter. Regardless, his body of work is thought provoking and sometimes inspiring. To this day, we (at least one of us) can't shake the mental image of Bluebeard's painting at the end of the book Bluebeard or the final message in the book Hocus Pocus. Plus there's this gem, "All persons, living and dead, are purely coincidental."
FLORNECE FINCH (4/10/07) - Old Lady. Age 113. Hmm, she was old and she was from New Zealand. Can't imagine how we ever missed this one. Did we mention the AP missed her too?
EDDIE ROBINSON (4/3/07) - Former Grambling Coach. Age 88. Mr. Robinson took the football program at a small school in Louisiana and turned it into what many feel is a farm team for the NFL. Plus, he did it while fighting off the notion that a black coach simply couldn't make a football team at a largely black school great. Eddie went on to become the winningest coach in college football history. So here's to you Mr. Robinson....
DR. RANSOM A. MYERS (3/27/07) - Marine biologist. Age 54. Mr. Ransom performed unique research on the possible extinction of marine species. Several of Ransom's papers were written with fellow scientist, Boris Worm. Apparently Mr. Myers got on so well with Boris, he's opted to spend a bit of time with the rest of the worms.
CALVERT DEFOREST (3/19/07) - Larry "Bud" Melman. Age 85. Why, why, why did it have to be him? Why couldn't it have been all of the people who thought Larry "Bud" Melman was his real name?
WILFORD "CRAZY RAY" JONES (3/17/07) - Dallas Fan. Age 76. Mr. Jones was a die hard Dallas Cowboys fan who spent 44 years on the sidelines cheering the team on. Thing is, Mr. Jones dressed up like a cowboy and riled up the fans at every home game. Although he was never on the payroll of the Cowboys, he was provided access to each home game and was given his own parking spot. All indications are Wilford was just a really nice guy who loved his home team. Regardless, this is one time we're not particularly interested in keeping up with the Joneses.
SIR ARTHUR MARSHALL (3/16/07) - Aviation Pioneer. Age 103. Besides being an aviation pioneer, they based the movie Chariots Of Fire on his youthful athletic prowess. Other than that, no one's ever heard of this guy.
BOWIE KUHN (3/15/07) - Former Baseball Commissioner. Age 80. Sure he oversaw a ton of changes to Major League Baseball and pissed-off a lot of people along the way, but the Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust is still a kick-ass album. Tin Machine, now that even pissed us off. Come on, playing rock-n-roll with Soupy Sales' kids. Sheesh.
ERNEST GALLO (3/6/07) - Businessman. Age 97. So big deal; Ernest, along with his brother Julio had a successful business. So what if the whole world knows Bartles & James and Carlo Rossi, two of Mr. Gallo's premier lines. Woop Dee Doo! Come on! According to the obituaries we've heard, all this guy did his whole life is whine, whine, whine. Huh? A cinnamon? What's a cinnamon? Oh! A synonym. Isn't it a synonym to tell a lie? Man we hope that dude Mister Brau doesn't die. His is a product we can really get behind. And if those guys Ripple and Thunderbird go, we're screwed. That would be a real tragedy.
BRUCE BENNETT(2/25/07) - Actor. Age 100. Mr. Bennett appeared in such pictures as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and Dark Passage. Bruce also appeared as Tarzan under his birth name, Herman Brix. Interestingly, Bruce also won a silver medal at shot-putting in the 1928 Olympics. In 1940 Bruce appeared in the Boris Karloff picture, The Man With Nine Lives. Obviously, Bruce was not the title character.
KIRK RUNDSTROM (2/22/07) - Musician. Age 38. Mr. Rundstrom was the singer for a punk/bluegrass band called Split Lip Rayfield. It's hard for us to imagine that, with a name like Split Lip Rayfield and an offering of punk and bluegrass all wrapped up into one, Kirk didn't enjoy more popularity.
MAURICE PAPON (2/17/07) - War Criminal. Age 96. Well, Mr. Papon deported Jews from France to Nazi Germany back in World War II. Anyone wanna take a guess what happened to many of those people? "But wait," you may say, "Mr. Maurice Papon sounds like a French name." Imagine that, the French collaborating with the Nazis in World War II. Who'd have thunk it?
ANTONIO PIERRO (2/8/07) - Old Fella. Age 110. Mr. Pierro died a few days before his 111th birthday. That made him pretty old. He was also the oldest living (prior to his death) veteran of World War I. For the record, there's going to be a rule change next year and folks like Mr. Pierro are going to be a lot less desirable to pick (if they are allowed at all).
ANNA NICOLE SMITH (2/8/07) - Train wreck. Age 39. What can we really say here. Sad? Pathetic? There was a time when, at the heart of the idea of "celebrity" there was a celebration. A celebration of deeds, of accomplishments, of values, and of gifts. For at least a decade we (all of us) have had the opportunity to gawk at one train wreck of a life after another; in books, on stage, in the cinema and of course, with ease on television. It has become a pitiful industry substitute for what was once called entertainment and, at its best, even called art. So, with the passing of this sickening, tortured lady we need to ask ourselves, "Who is the bigger loser, the person who lived the train wreck or the people who watched it for fun?" Speech over. Soapbox away. Next.
FRANKIE LAINE (2/6/07) - Singer. Age 93. Mr. Laine sold over 100 million records. Read that one again. 100 hundred million. His hits included That Lucky Old Sun, Mule Train, Cool Water, Moonlight Gambler, and I Believe. Not to mention that the dude sang the theme to Rawhide. "Keep movin', movin', movin'." Uh, fella, you ain't movin'.
LEW BURDETTE (2/6/07) - Baseball Player. Age 80. Mr. Burdette was the MVP of the 1957 World Series. Pitching for the Milwaukee Braves, he led that team to its only Championship. Lew started in baseball as a Yankee. Interestingly, his 1957 victory was against the Yankees. Burdette also played for Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, Philadelphia, and California. Among all the interesting anagrams we could make with his name, this one really popped out at us: DEW BUTT LEER. Go figure.
MAX LANIER (1/30/07) - Baseball player. Age 91. Mr. Lanier played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1938 to 1951. He pitched three World Series during that time; 1942, 1943 and 1944. Later, he was a New York Giant and a St. Louis Brown. Lately, however, he is rather tiny and has more of a bluish tinge.
BARBARA MCNAIR (1/28/07) - Singer and actress. Age 72. Ms. McNair got her start as a nightclub singer. She got noticed one day at the Village Vanguard and ended up on Broadway. She also recorded several numbers including the hit, "Bobby." McNair appeared in numerous movies including her debut in If He Hollers, Let Him Go and with Sidney Poitier in They Call Me MISTER Tibbs. After a failed variety show, she appeared in guest starring roles on numerous television shows including The Jeffersons and The Redd Foxx Show. Babs was quite a looker in her day. Unfortunately, she's now up for a viewing.
EMMA TILLMAN (1/28/07) - Another Oldie. Age 114. When the 2007 O.B.E. Memorial Celebrity Death Watch started, Ms. Tillman was known as the oldest living American. As of January 24, 2007 she became the oldest living person. That thanks to Emiliano Mercado del Toro. In spite of the fact that she lived a very long time, her stint as the world's oldest person didn't last long at all. Not a really good month if your the world's oldest something. That's for certain.
TIGE ANDREWS (1/27/07) - Actor. Age 86. Mr. Andrews played Captain Adam Greer on The Mod Squad. How cool was that , right? Linc, Pete, and Julie. Mmmmm Julie was so.... Oh, right, anyway, Tige appeared off-Broadway in Three Penny Opera in the mid-50s and later went on to appear with three tough, street punks, fighting a 1970s crime wave. Among those three kids, of course, was Mmmm Julie. Julie man! Back in the day we'd have... Oh, sorry, we'll sure miss ya Julie. Uh, Tige we mean.
MARCHELINE BERTRAND (1/27/07) - Angelina Jolie's Mom. Age 56. Yes, we now that Marcheline was an actress in her own right. And sure we know that she appeared in Lookin' to Get Out and The Man Who Loved Women. And of course we know she was married to Jon ("Don't die on me champ") Voight. But come on, Angelina is pretty darn hot and we have to work her into this somehow. We're only human.
SIDNEY SHELDON (1/27/07) - Author. Age 89. Mr. Sheldon had successful careers writing for Broadway, television, and motion pictures. Then, at age 50, he turned to writing novels. We like Sidney. Not so much for the movies. Not really for the books. Not even for the Broadway stuff. What we like is that he created and wrote The Patty Duke Show and I Dream of Jeannie. Those two achievements alone make Sidney a celebrity in our book. Identical cousins. Genius!
EMILIANO MERCADO DEL TORO (1/24/07) - Old Guy. Mr. del Toro was 115. That made him pretty darn old. Heck, he was as old as Julie Winnifred Bertrand (actually a wee bit older!). He had four years on Thomas Nelson Jr. Yup, he sure was old. Very, very old. Did we mention his age and how old he was yet? Oldest fella around they say. That made him, well, in a word, old. You can form the word "old" twice from his name. That's gotta prove something. Something like, he was really old. Gosh we love the oldest person picks. They are so.....old.
E. HOWARD HUNT (1/23/07) - Helped Organize the Watergate Break-in. Age 88. Mr. Hunt was what they called a "Plumber" during the Nixon Administration. Although E. Howard never entered the Watergate Hotel, he recruited five of the fellas who did. Where'd he find the guys? Easy. They were associates of his from back in the days when he orchestrated the Bay of Pigs Invasion. This dude could really knock a covert operation out of the park, couldn't he?
JULIE WINNIFRED BERTRAND (1/19/07) - World's Oldest Woman. Age 115. Ms. Bertrand was old. Not a celebrity mind you, but quite old. And yes, her obituary was in the AP. Julie was born in September of 1891. 1891 also saw the birth of basketball. It was created on December 1, 1891 by James Naismith. The first game was played at Springfield College on December 21, 1891. Both Casey Stengel and Fanny Brice were born in 1891. What does this have to do with Ms. Bertrand. Nothing, really.
ART BUCHWALD (1/17/07) - Writer. Age 81. Mr. Buchwald wrote a Pulitzer prize winning column. About a year ago Art declined medical treatment (dialysis) for his failing kidneys. Furthermore, he was told that failure to get this treatment would result in his death within a matter of weeks. A YEAR later his kidneys finally gave out and he died. The point here folks is not only that Art was a well known and respected writer but that often times doctors don't really know crap.
BENNY PARSONS (1/16/07) - NASCAR Driver and Announcer. Age 65. Mr. Parsons went from driving a taxi to driving stock cars. As a matter of fact, he was the 1973 NASCAR Champion. Benny moved on to announcing races while he was still racing in the early 80s. He made the complete transition in 1988. Well actually we suppose he made the complete transition on January 16, 2007.
MICHAEL BRECKER (1/13/07) - Saxophonist. Age 57. Mr. Brecker played a mean sax. He won 11 Grammys for his work. Michael played with John Lennon, Frank Zappa, Elton John, and plenty of big names in the jazz world as well. In addition, Mr. Brecker had a brilliant solo career and a career with the Brecker Brothers band. To call Michael prolific would be to grossly understate his achievement. He's played on over 900 albums in 38 years. Read that again, 900 albums in 38 years. That's just about two albums a month since 1969. Talk about the experiencing the joy of sax.
LARRY STEWART (1/12/07) - Philanthropist. Age 58. This is quite a story. Mr. Stewart was a fella who spent each holiday season giving away money. Yup, he's handed out over 1.3 million dollars over the last 26 years. Now, you can say, "he had it, why shouldn't he." Maybe that's true. Thing is, lots of folks have "it" and never bother to use "it" (whatever "it" may be in their case). Point is that Larry earned the title Secret Santa for his good, mostly anonymous, works. The guy actually trained two other people to help him give out the money so he could touch more lives. You'll pardon us if we don't crack wise.
THOMAS NELSON JR. (1/9/07) - Old Fella. Age 111. Mr. Nelson was the second oldest man in the world. Yup, another one of those. His obituary never hit the AP but he does appear on one list so we're giving him his props but poor 01 Exoendo Zuzubar doesn't score the hit. We could scratch our heads for awhile trying to think of a tag line for Thomas but why bother. See, Time To Go already sent us one: "I hope you'll still do a posting on the main page (hey, this man sold candy for 90 years and never molested children)." We're guessing they'll leave that one off the tombstone.
CARLO PONTI (1/9/07) - Movie Producer. Age 94. Mr. Ponti is credited with discovering Sophia Loren. Apparently he discovered her in such a way that he felt compelled to marry her (by proxy) while still married to his first wife. That all worked out after some crazy goings on however and they (Sophia and Carlo) married for real in 1966. Did we mention Sophia was 15 when Carlo, then 40, met her. That reminds us of a math problem. What goes into 15 twice?
YVONNE DE CARLO (1/8/07) - Actress. Age 84. Ms. De Carlo appeared on both stage and screen. She appeared opposite Charlton Heston's Moses in the movie "The Ten Commandments." She was in the 1972 cast of Steven Sondheim's "Follies" (which won a Tony for original musical score). Heck, she even sang opera at the Hollywood Bowl once. With such a brilliant career under her belt it almost astounds us that we can only remember her, opposite that big lug Fred Gwynne, as Lily Munster. Almost.