Category Archives: News

Farewell, Batman! (Adam West, RIP)

Adam West (September 19, 1928 – June 9, 2017)

Adam West, (born William West Anderson) the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series Batman, has died. He was 88.

West, who was at the pinnacle of pop culture after Batman debuted in January 1966, only to see his career fall victim to typecasting after the ABC show flamed out, died Friday night in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia, a family spokesperson said.

West died peacefully surrounded by his family and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Batman debuted at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 1966, a Wednesday.  The cliffhanger episode would be resolved the very next night — Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel!

The series, filmed in eye-popping bright colors in an era of black-and-white and featuring a revolving set of villains like the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), Joker (Cesar Romero), Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and Catwoman (Julie Newmar), was an immediate hit; the Thursday installment was No. 5 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1965-66 season, and the Wednesday edition was No. 10.

RIP Don Rickles

Don Rickles
(May 8, 1926 – April 6, 2017)

Donald Jay “Don” Rickles was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Best known as an insult comic, he also acted in both comedic and dramatic roles on film.
After toiling in relative obscurity for years as a more conventional stand-up comedian, Rickles unwittingly discovered his biggest laughs came when he turned the tables on his hecklers. His career then skyrocketed after he insulted the hot-tempered Sinatra, who normally did not take kindly to such treatment.
When the superstar singer and actor walked into a Miami Beach club in 1957 where Rickles was performing, the comedian greeted the “Chairman of the Board” from the stage: “Make yourself at home Frank. Hit somebody.” Sinatra roared — with laughter.
With Sinatra’s endorsement, Rickles began his comedic assault on people famous and not so famous — Jews, Asians, African Americans, the Irish, Puerto Ricans, red-headed women, short guys, you name it — with tremendous results. He referred to stupid people as “hockey pucks,” and in 1959, he signed for his first Las Vegas appearance, in the lounge of the Hotel Sahara.
In 1985, when Sinatra was asked to perform at Ronald Reagan’s second Inaugural Ball, he insisted that Rickles accompany him for a comedy routine. Rickles, naturally, did not spare the president (“Am I going too fast for you, Ronnie?” he asked) and considered that performance among the highlights of his career.
Rickles honed his reputation in numerous appearances on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts that ran on NBC from the mid-1970s to the mid-80s. The specials provided a perfect venue for Rickles to unleash his caustic brand of humor on such visiting dignitaries as Sinatra, Reagan, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Kirk Douglas, Sammy Davis Jr. and Mr. T.
Johnny Carson provided Rickles a late-night stage by making him one of The Tonight Show’s most-frequent guests. On one memorable moment in 1968, Rickles cozied up to a half-naked Carson during a sketch with two Japanese female masseuses and said, “I’m so lonely, Johnny!” Carson threw him in a bathtub. More recently, he was a regular guest on Late Show With David Letterman, in which the CBS host treated Rickles like royalty.
Rickles intermittently played in movies, highlighted by Kelly’s Heroes (1970), where he co-starred with Clint Eastwood as Sgt. Crapgame, an Army black-marketer who had no compunction about cutting favorable deals with the Nazis.
He also played opposite beach bunny Annette Funicello in such movies as Pajama Party (1964) and Beach Blanket Bingo (1965), appeared as a Vegas casino manager in Martin Scorsese’s Casino (1995) and voiced the cranky Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story films.
Rickles and his wife, Barbara, often vacationed with deadpan comic Bob Newhart and his wife, Ginnie.
 
“He was called ‘The Merchant of Venom,’ but in truth, he was one of the kindest, caring and most sensitive human beings we have ever known,” the Newharts said in a statement. “We are devastated, and our world will never be the same. We were totally unprepared for this.”
 
Rickles died on April 6, 2017, of kidney failure, in his home in Los Angeles.

 

RIP Captain Apollo (Richard Hatch)

Richard Lawrence Hatch (May 21, 1945 – February 7, 2017) was an American actor, writer, and producer best known for his role as Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica television series, and also as Tom Zarek in the 2003 remake of Battlestar Galactica.  He starred as Jan Berry in Deadman’s Curve as well.

John Wetton, Asia and King Crimson Frontman, Dies at 67

John Wetton (06/12/1949 – 01/31/2017)

John Wetton was an English singer, bassist, and songwriter. He rose to fame with bands Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson, Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry, Uriah Heep, and Wishbone Ash.

After his period with King Crimson, Wetton formed U.K., and later he was the frontman and principal songwriter of the supergroup Asia, which proved to be his biggest commercial success. Their self-titled debut album sold eight million copies worldwide and was Billboard magazine’s No. 1 album of 1982. He later formed the duo Icon with Geoff Downes (ex-Yes, ex-The Buggles), and since the 1990s had a successful solo career releasing a large number of studio and live albums.

Wetton had a long career as an in-demand session bass player, and collaborated with many members of progressive rock bands such as Yes (including Steve Howe, Bill Bruford, Geoff Downes, Alan White, Billy Sherwood and Peter Banks), Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry, and Genesis (Steve Hackett).

January 11th 2017— A PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM JOHN WETTON

I am disappointed to announce that, on the advice of my medical team, I have to withdraw from Cruise to the Edge, and from the first leg of the Journey tour, March 15 – April 4.

I will soon be starting a new medical chemotherapy procedure, under which I will not be able to fly.

I am grateful to the promoters of the cruise. I wish them pleasant sailing and I know my friends on the cruise, both artists and fans, will have a ball on the ocean wave, I will be with you all in spirit.

My good friend Billy Sherwood will fill in for me within Asia, keeping my seat warm during the initial 12 Journey dates. While I am naturally disappointed to miss the beginning of what I know will be an historic ASIA tour, I am intending to return to the stage with Asia later in 2017, dates soon to be announced.I know this decision will be in the best interests of my health and our fans, in the long run.

John Wetton
Bournemouth
England
January 11th. 2017

Wetton has an AMAZING discography… he has played with an impressive line of musicians.  Check it out on his Wikipedia page, at the bottom.

Wikipedia Link

Mike Connors, ‘Mannix,’ Dies at 91

Mike Connors (August 15, 1925 – January 26, 2017)

Mike Connors (born Krekor Ohanian) was an American actor best known for playing detective Joe Mannix in the CBS television series, Mannix. Connors’ acting career spanned six decades; in addition to his work on television, he appeared in numerous films.

Connors died just a week after being diagnosed with leukemia, at the age of 91.

Wikipedia Link

Farewell Mary Tyler Moore, Adieu Laura Petrie

Mary Tyler Moore (December 29, 1936 – January 25, 2017)

Mary Tyler Moore was an American actress, known for her roles in the television sitcoms The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970–1977), in which she starred as Mary Richards, a thirty-something single woman who worked as a local news producer in Minneapolis; and The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966), in which she played Laura Petrie, a former dancer turned homemaker, wife and mother.  She died from cardiopulmonary arrest because of pneumonia at the age of 80 on January 25, 2017.

Wikipedia Link

RIP Debbie Reynolds

Debbie Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016)

Mary Frances “Debbie” Reynolds (April 1, 1932 – December 28, 2016) was an American actress, singer, entertainer, businesswoman, film historian, humanitarian and a noted former collector of film memorabilia. Her breakout role was the portrayal of Helen Kane in the 1950 film Three Little Words, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer. However, it was her first leading role in 1952 at age 19, as Kathy Selden in Singin’ in the Rain, that set her on the path to fame.

On December 28, 2016, a day after the death of her daughter Carrie Fisher, Reynolds died after suffering a massive stroke.

RIP Princess Leia

Carrie Fisher (October 21, 1956 – December 27, 2016)

Carrie Frances Fisher was an American actress, screenwriter, author, producer, and speaker. She was known for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. Fisher was also known for her semi-autobiographical novels, including Postcards from the Edge and the screenplay for the film of the same name, as well as her autobiographical one-woman play and its nonfiction book, Wishful Drinking, based on the show. Her other film roles included Shampoo (1975), The Blues Brothers (1980), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), The ‘Burbs (1989), and When Harry Met Sally… (1989).

RIP George Michael

George Michael (June 25, 1963 – December 25, 2016),

Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, known professionally as George Michael, was an English singer, songwriter, and record producer who rose to fame as a member of the music duo Wham! He is best known for his work in the 1980s and 1990s, including hit singles such as “Last Christmas” and “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go“, and albums such as Faith (1987) and Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990).

Michael sold more than 100 million records worldwide. His debut solo album, Faith (1987), sold more than 20 million copies worldwide. Michael garnered seven number one singles in the UK and eight number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, including “Careless Whisper” and “Freedom! ’90“. He ranks among the best-selling British acts of all time, ranked by Billboard magazine as the 40th-most successful artist ever. Michael won various music awards throughout his 30-year career, including three Brit Awards—he won Best British Male twice, four MTV Video Music Awards, four Ivor Novello Awards, three American Music Awards, and two Grammy Awards from eight nominations. Michael, who was gay, was an active LGBT rights campaigner and HIV/AIDS charity fundraiser.

In 2004, the Radio Academy named Michael the most played artist on British radio during the period 1984–2004. The documentary A Different Story (released in 2005) covered his career and personal life. Michael’s first tour in 15 years, the worldwide 25 Live tour, spanned three tours over the course of three years (2006, 2007, and 2008). In the early hours of 25 December 2016, Michael, aged 53, was found dead in bed at his Oxfordshire home.

RIP Zsa Zsa

Zsa Zsa Gabor (February 6, 1917 – December 18, 2016)

Zsa Zsa Gabor was a Hungarian-American actress and socialite. Her sisters were actresses Eva and Magda Gabor.

Gabor began her stage career in Vienna and was crowned Miss Hungary in 1936.[1] She emigrated from Hungary to the United States in 1941 and became a sought-after actress with “European flair and style” and was considered to have a personality that “exuded charm and grace”. Her first film role was a supporting role in Lovely to Look At. She later acted in We’re Not Married! and played one of her few leading roles in the John Huston-directed film, Moulin Rouge (1952). Huston would later describe her as a “creditable” actress.

Outside of her acting career, Gabor was known for her extravagant Hollywood lifestyle, glamorous personality, and her many marriages. In total, Gabor had nine husbands, including hotel magnate Conrad Hilton and actor George Sanders.

In April 2016, Gabor expressed her wish to move back to Hungary during 2017 and live out the rest of her life there. Her husband stated he was determined to make her wish come true and intended to arrange for “a big party in the summer” to celebrate the actress’ 100th birthday, after which she would return to Budapest.

Sadly, Miss Gabor has died just short of her 100th birthday of a heart attack.

Wikipedia Article

RIP Bernard Fox

Bernard Fox (born Bernard Lawson, May 11, 1927 – December 14, 2016) was a Welsh film and television actor, known for his roles as Dr. Bombay in Bewitched, the naïve, bumbling Colonel Crittendon in Hogan’s Heroes, Archibald Gracie IV in Titanic, and as Captain Winston Havlock in The Mummy has died. He was 89.

Harlan Boll, a spokesman for Fox’s family, said he died Wednesday of heart failure at a Los Angeles-area hospital.

The Welsh-born actor’s extensive, wide-ranging film and TV credits included “The Mummy,” “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo,” “The Dyke Van Dyke Show,” “McHale’s Navy” and “Columbo.”

He appeared in both 1997’s “Titanic,” playing Col. Archibald Gracie, and in a 1958 movie about the ship tragedy, “A Night to Remember.”

On “Hogan’s Heroes,” he played the incompetent Crittendon, a Royal Air Force group captain referred to as the colonel.

He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline; daughter Amanda; daughter-in-law Lisa, and two grandchildren. Another daughter, Valerie, died in 2006, Boll said.

RIP John Glenn – Go join your Mercury 7 teammates

And then there were none

John Glenn (July 18, 1921 – December 8, 2016)

John Herschel Glenn Jr. was an American aviator, engineer, astronaut, and United States Senator from Ohio. In 1962 he became the first American to orbit the Earth, circling three times. Before joining NASA, he was a distinguished fighter pilot in both World War II and Korea, with five Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen clusters.

He was one of the “Mercury Seven” group of military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become America’s first astronauts. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space. Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990. Glenn was the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven after the death of Scott Carpenter.

Glenn resigned from NASA in 1964 and announced plans to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio. A member of the Democratic Party, he first won election to the Senate in 1974 where he served through January 3, 1999.

He retired from the Marine Corps in 1965, after twenty-three years in the military, with over fifteen medals and awards, including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. In 1998, while still a sitting senator, he became the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs as crew member of the Discovery space shuttle. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

RIP Florence Henderson

Florence Henderson (February 14, 1934 – November 24, 2016)

Florence Henderson (February 14, 1934 – November 24, 2016)

Florence Agnes Henderson was an American actress and singer with a career spanning six decades. She is best remembered for her starring role as matriarch Carol Brady on the ABC sitcom The Brady Bunch from 1969 to 1974.

She was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars in 2010. On November 21, 2016, three days before her death, Florence appeared again on Dancing with the Stars giving moral support to her eldest Brady Bunch daughter Maureen McCormick, who played the popular Marcia Brady.

Farewell, Agent Solo

robert_vaughn

Robert Francis Vaughn (November 22, 1932 – November 11, 2016)

Robert Vaughn, who starred as the  suave spy Napoleon Solo on the NBC series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. from 1964-68, died today of acute leukemia.  He was 83.

Wikipedia Link

RIP Richard Kiel

Richard Kiel (September 13, 1939 – September 10, 2014)

Richard Dawson Kiel (September 13, 1939 – September 10, 2014)

Richard Kiel (September 13, 1939 – September 10, 2014) was an American actor known for his role of the steel-toothed Jaws in the James Bond movies The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) and Moonraker (1979) as well as the video game Everything or Nothing; he also had cameos in many other James Bond video games. He was also well-known as Mr. Larson in the 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore, for playing the Kanamit aliens in the classic The Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man” and for his role of Dr. Miguelito Loveless‘ assistant, Voltaire, in first-season episodes of The Wild, Wild West (1965-1966).

Richard Kiel in his younger days

Kiel died on September 10, 2014, aged 74, three days before his 75th birthday. He had been admitted to a hospital in Fresno, California after breaking his leg the previous week. He is survived by his wife, Diane, four children, and nine grandchildren.

Wikipedia Article

RIP Gene Wilder (He found his golden ticket)

Gene Wilder (June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016)

Gene Wilder (June 11, 1933 – August 29, 2016)

Gene Wilder has died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease.  He was 83.

Willy Wonka has found his golden ticket.

Jerome Silberman, known professionally as Gene Wilder, was an American stage and screen comic actor, screenwriter, film director, and author.

Wilder began his career on stage, and made his screen debut in the TV-series Armstrong Circle Theatre in 1962. Although his first film role was portraying a hostage in the 1967 motion picture Bonnie and Clyde,[1] Wilder’s first major role was as Leopold Bloom in the 1968 film The Producers for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. This was the first in a series of collaborations with writer/director Mel Brooks, including 1974’s Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, which Wilder co-wrote, garnering the pair an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Wilder is known for his portrayal of Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) and for his four films with Richard Pryor: Silver Streak (1976), Stir Crazy (1980), See No Evil, Hear No Evil (1989), and Another You (1991).[1] Wilder directed and wrote several of his own films, including The Woman in Red (1984).

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka (1971)

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka (1971)

RIP Carroll Shelby

Carroll Shelby

Carroll Hall Shelby (January 11, 1923 – May 10, 2012)

Carroll Shelby was an American automotive designer and racing driver. He was most well known for making the AC Motors-based Shelby American Cobra and later the Mustang-based performance cars for Ford Motor Company known as Mustang Cobras which he has done since 1965. His company, Shelby American Inc., founded in 1962, currently sells modified Ford vehicles, as well as performance parts.

The one-time chicken farmer had more than a half-dozen successful careers during his long life. Among them: champion race car driver, racing team owner, automobile manufacturer, automotive consultant, safari tour operator, raconteur, chili entrepreneur and philanthropist.

“He’s an icon in the medical world and an icon in the automotive world,” his longtime friend, Dick Messer, executive director of Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum, once said of Shelby.

“His legacy is the diversity of his life,” Messer said. “He’s incredibly innovative. His life has always been the reinvention of Carroll Shelby.”

Shelby first made his name behind the wheel of a car, winning France’s grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race with teammate Ray Salvadori in 1959. He already was suffering serious heart problems and ran the race “with nitroglycerin pills under his tongue,” Messer once noted.

He had turned to the race-car circuit in the 1950s after his chicken ranch failed. He won dozens of races in various classes throughout the 1950s and was twice named Sports Illustrated’s Driver of the Year.

Soon after his win at Le Mans, he gave up racing and turned his attention to designing high-powered “muscle cars” that eventually became the Shelby Cobra and the Mustang Shelby GT500.

The Cobra, which used Ford engines and a British sport car chassis, was the fastest production model ever made when it was displayed at the New York Auto Show in 1962.

A year later, Cobras were winning races over Corvettes, and in 1964 the Rip Chords had a Top 5 hit on the Billboard pop chart with “Hey, Little Cobra.” (“Spring, little Cobra, getting ready to strike, spring, little Cobra, with all of your might. Hey, little Cobra, don’t you know you’re gonna shut ’em down?”)

In 2007, an 800-horsepower model of the Cobra made in 1966, once Shelby’s personal car, sold for $5.5 million at auction, a record for an American car.

“It’s a special car. It would do just over three seconds to 60 (mph), 40 years ago,” Shelby told the crowd before the sale, held in Scottsdale, Ariz.

It was Lee Iacocca, then head of Ford Motor Co., who had assigned Shelby the task of designing a fastback model of Ford’s Mustang that could compete against the Corvette for young male buyers.

Turning a vehicle he had once dismissed as “a secretary car” into a rumbling, high-performance model was “the hardest thing I’ve done in my life,” Shelby recalled in a 2000 interview with The Associated Press.

That car and the Shelby Cobra made his name a household word in the 1960s.

Read more »

RIP Prince

Prince (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

Prince (June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016)

Prince Rogers Nelson was an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. Prince was renowned as an innovator, and was widely known for his eclectic work, flamboyant stage presence, and wide vocal range. He was widely regarded as the pioneer of Minneapolis sound. His music integrates a wide variety of styles, including funk, rock, R&B, soul, hip hop, disco, psychedelia, jazz, and pop.

Wikipedia Article

Hate to, but:

“But life is just a party, and parties weren’t meant to last.”

― Prince, 1999

Goodbye Merle.

Merle Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016)

Merle Haggard (April 6, 1937 – April 6, 2016)

RIP Harper Lee

From ‘Go Set a Watchman’: “Prejudice, a dirty word, and faith, a clean one, have something in common: they both begin where reason ends.”

Harper Lee (April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016), whose novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” about racial injustice in a small Alabama town, sold more than 40 million copies and became one of the most beloved and most taught works of fiction ever written by an American, died on Friday in Monroeville, Ala., where she lived. She was 89.

The instant success of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction the next year, turned Ms. Lee into a literary celebrity, a role she found oppressive and never learned to accept.

“I never expected any sort of success with ‘Mockingbird,’ ” Ms. Lee told a radio interviewer in 1964. “I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers, but, at the same time I sort of hoped someone would like it well enough to give me encouragement.”

The enormous success of the film version of the novel, released in 1962 with Gregory Peck in the starring role of Atticus Finch, a small-town Southern lawyer who defends a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman, only added to Ms. Lee’s fame and fanned expectations for her next novel.