Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Necrology - The Best of the Rest (Celebrities and other Notable Characters) PART 3 of 3

Elizabeth Edwards
Born: July 3, 1949, Jacksonville, FL
Died: Dec. 7, 2010, Chapel Hill, NC
Age: 51

Author, Attorney, Activist. Born Mary Elizabeth Anania she was the daughter of Vincent J. and Elizabeth Thweatt Anania. Author of "Saving Graces" and "Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life's Adversities" Elizabeth Anania Edwards, became a national figure in her fight against cancer. She was also an accomplished lawyer and the mother of four children. A graduate of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her goal was to obtain a doctorate in English literature and become a teacher. Job prospects for English graduates being limited she entered UNC's law school where she met her future husband John Edwards. The couple married after graduation and upon completion of the bar exam in 1977. She helped change the way political wives are viewed. She was the self-proclaimed "anti-Barbie". Estranged from her husband in early 2010, the one-time presidential hopeful Senator John Edwards, they remained close. She was preceded in death by one son Lucius "Wade" Edwards in 1996. Elizabeth's breast cancer was first diagnosed in 2004.

Leslie Nielsen
Born: Feb. 11, 1926, Regina Saskatchewan, Canada
Died: Nov. 28, 2010, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Age: 84

Actor. Born Leslie William Nielsen, he was a World War II-era Royal Canadian Air Force veteran. He attended the Lorne Greene Academy of Radio Arts and Neighborhood Playhouse (New York City actor's training school) before beginning steady television work in the late 1940s.

Steve Landesberg
Born: Nov. 23, 1936, NYC
Died: Dec. 20, 2010, Los Angeles, CA

Actor, Comedian. Best remembered as Arthur P. Dietrich, the intellectual, unflappably deadpan detective from the long-running 1970s television series "Barney Miller". Born and raised in New York City, Landesberg began his career in the late 1960s as a stand-up comedian, alongside comics such as David Brenner and Jimmie Walker. He died of Cancer.
Age: 74

John Crawford
Born: September 13, 1920
Died: September 21, 2010
Age: 90

Crawford appeared in bit parts for many years before playing leads in several films in the UK in the late 1950s and early 1960s. When he returned to the US, he played supporting roles in several films but was more prolific on TV in character roles, in scores of series such as The Fugitive, The Dukes of Hazzard, Mission: Impossible, Hogans Heroes, and most notably as Sheriff Ep Bridges on The Waltons. He died from a stroke.

Janet MacLachlan
Born: Aug. 8, 1933 (New York City, NY)
Died: Oct. 11, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age: 77

She was an American character actress who had roles in such television series as "The Rockford Files", "Alias" and "The Golden Girls".

Belva Plain
Born: Oct. 9, 1915 (New York City, NY)
Died: Oct. 12, 2010 (Essex County, NJ)
Age: 95

She published more than 20 successful Jewish-themed novels, releasing the first at age 59. In 1978 she saw her debut novel "Evergreen", which centered-on a Polish immigrant girl in early 20th century New York, spend over a year on the "New York Times" best-seller list (in hardcover and paperback versions).

Denise Borino-Quinn
Born: Jan. 6, 1964 (Essex County, NJ)
Died: Oct. 27, 2010 (Morris County, NJ)
Age: 46

She portrayed overweight mob wife Ginny Sacramone in the hit HBO series "The Sopranos" from 2001 until its conclusion in 2007. She later lost 175 pounds via stomach stapling. She married Luke Quinn, Jr., in 2005 and they lived in Bordentown, New Jersey. He died in March 2010. They had no children. She died following an extended battle with liver cancer.

Charlie O'Donnell
Born: Aug. 12, 1932 (Philadelphia, PA)
Died: Oct. 31, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age 78

He was best known as the longtime announcer for the popular TV game show "Wheel of Fortune" (1975 to 1980, 1988 until his death). He was also the announcer for numerous game shows including "The Gong Show", "The Joker's Wild", "The Newlywed Game" and "To Tell The Truth".

Johnny Sheffield
Born: Apr. 11, 1931 (Los Angeles, CA)
Died: Oct. 15, 2010 (San Diego, CA)
Age: 79

He will be best remembered for his role as Boy in eight pictures of the "Tarzan" film series from the late 1930s and 1940s. He also played the title role in the "Bomba" film series. He died of a heart attack.

Art Gilmore
Born: Mar. 18, 1912
Died: Sep. 25, 2010
Age: 98

Best remembered as the 'voice' for such hit television shows as "The Red Skelton Show " and "Highway Patrol", he had a career that spanned over 60 years. He passed away from natural causes in Irvine, California.

Iva Ibbotson
Born: Jan. 21, 1925 (Vienna, Austria)
Died: Oct. 20, 2010 (Newcastle, England)
Age: 85

Begining at age 50 she published a number of ghost and witch themed children's fantasy novels which were always marked by a happy ending. Born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner, she was initially raised in a Vienna orphanage after her parents broke-up in 1928, but joined her father when he moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, to escape the Nazis. Three of her books are being prepared for the silver screen.

Lisa Blount
Born: Jul. 1, 1957 (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Died: Oct. 25, 2010 (Pulaski, Arkansas)
Age: 53

She is best known for her role of Lynette Pomeroy in the hit 1982 picture "An Officer and a Gentleman", for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. She died after a 17-year battle with a rare blood disorder.

Alexander Anderson
Born: 1920 (Berkeley, CA)
Died: Oct. 22, 2010 (Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA)
Age 90

Best remembered as the creator of the cartoon characters "Rocky and Bullwinkle".

James MacAurthur
Born: Dec. 8, 1937 (Los Angeles, CA)
Died: Oct. 28, 2010 (Florida)
Age 72

Adopted as an infant by playwright Charles MacArthur and his wife, actress Helen Hayes, he grew up in Nyack, New York, and was educated at Allen Stevenson School in New York, and later at Solebury School in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He is most identified with the role of Detective Danny "Danno" Williams in the long-running police drama "Hawaii Five-O"

2010 Necrology - The Best of the Rest (Celebrities and other Notable Characters) PART 2 of 3

Johnny Maestro
Born: May 7, 1939 (Brooklyn, NY)
Died: Mar. 24, 2010
Age: 70

He was the lead singer of the music groups The Crests and Brooklyn Bridge. Born, John Mastrangelo, and raised on Manhattan's lower east side on Mulberry Street, he helped form The Crests in 1956, which became one of the most successful integrated doo-wop groups of all-time. After signing with the Coed Record label, they scored their most memorable hit with "16 Candles", which reached number 2 on the pop charts in December 1958. During the early 1960s he left The Crests to pursue a solo career, also becoming a member of the group The Del-Satins. In 1967, Maestro formed the pop group Brooklyn Bridge, and under the Buddah Record label, scored a gold record with the hit "Worst That Could Happen", peaking at number 3 on the pop charts in January 1969. Maestro remained an active performer as a member of Brooklyn Bridge into the 2000s. He died of Cancer at the age of 70.

Billie Richards
Born: Nov. 21, 1921 (Toronto, Canada)
Died: Sep. 10, 2010 (Burlington, Canada)
Age: 88

Known primarily for voice characterizations, she shall be remembered as the title lead in the 1964 television special "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". She had roles in several radio series where her ability to sound like a young boy proved valuable (she was even sometimes billed as "Billy Richards"), the most noted being the Kid in "Jake and the Kid" which was broadcast thru the 1950s. Later she was to be Tenderheart Bear in the early Care Bears films, and to have parts in "The Smokey Bear Show", "The King Kong Show", "Spider Man", and other series. Richards was seen on camera a few times, her credits including "Pennies from Heaven" (1981) and 1998's "Bram Stoker's Shadow Builder". She was to reprise Rudolph twice, in "Rudolph's Shiny New Year (1976) and the 1979 "Rudolph and Frosty's Christmas in July". In later years, Richards retired to Totonto. She died of a stroke. Of her signature role, she said: "What better legacy can you leave than a show that everybody loves?"

James Gammon
Born: Apr. 20, 1940 (Newman, IL)
Died: Jul. 16, 2010 (Cosa Mesa, CA)
Age: 70

A well known character performer, best recognized for his rugged features and gravelly voice. He is best remembered for his role as Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown in the motion pictures "Major League" (1989), "Major League II" (1994), and for his recurring role in the television series "Nash Bridges" from 1996 to 2001. Gammon began his television career in the early 1960s, appearing in the western classics "Gunsmoke", "Bonanza", "The Wild Wild West", and "The Virginian", and made his film debut in "Cool Hand Luke" (1967). He died of Cancer at the age of 70.

Gloria Winters
Born: Nov. 28, 1931 (Los Angeles, CA)
Died: Aug. 14, 2010 (San Diego, CA)
Age: 78

She shall be remembered as Penny King from the 1950s television series "Sky King". Thru the 1950s, she was seen on a number of small screen shows, among them "The Lone Ranger", "The Gene Autry Show" (on which she got a chance to sing), "The Jack Benny Show", "Richard Diamond Private Detective". Winters received a 2002 Golden Boot Award as a "Sweetheart of the West"; she died of pneumonia complicated by Alzheimer's Disease.

Lorene Yarnell
Born: Mar. 21, 1944 (Inglewood, CA)
Died: Jul. 29, 2010 (Sandefjord,Vestfold County, Norway)
Age: 66

She was half of the comic team of Shields and Yarnell, who won popularity on US television during the 1970s. Shields and Yarnell continued their professional partnership until 2009. She was married to her fourth husband, Bjorn Jansson, and was living in Norway. Her sudden death was due to a brain anuerysm.

Carl Smith
Born: Mar. 15, 1927 (Maynardville, TN)
Died: Jan. 16, 2010 (Franklin, TN)
Age: 82

Country Musician Carl Smith was raised listening to music of the Grand Ole Opry, influenced by Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe. While a teenager, he gained recognition as a guitarist, bass player and singer at WROL Radio in Knoxville before graduation from high school. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003.

Dorothy Janis
Born: Feb. 19, 1910 (Dallas, TX)
Died: Mar. 10, 2010 (Paradise VAlley, AZ)
Age: 100

Typecast in "exotic beauty" parts, she had a brief career in the late 1920s, and was one of the last performers to have had a starring turn in silent films. Born Dorothy Penelope Jones, she was discovered by Hollywood talent scouts while still in high school and signed by MGM to a five-year contract. She made her screen debut in "Kit Carson" (1928), and after two more westerns, "The Overland Express" and "Fleetwing", had her best remembered role as Ramon Novarro's leading lady in the smash hit "The Pagan" (1929). Dorothy's only "talkie" was the 1930 "Lummox", in which she took the part of "Chita". She did make one more movie with sound; "White Captive" was filmed in Southeast Asia late in 1930, but was never released, probably due to the print being damaged. At her death, a couple of controversies remained; stories from her acting days that she was really a Cherokee Indian may, or may not, have been true. Further, while most sources credit her 1910 birth year, some say that she was actually born in 1912, the earlier date allegedly invented to hide her underage status.

Dorothy Provine
Born: Jan. 20, 1935 (Lawrence County, SD)
Died: Apr. 25, 2010 (Bremerton, WA)
Age: 75

After co-hosting a TV quiz show in Seattle, she launched her Hollywood career during the late-1950s, appearing in guest roles on many popular programs including "Lawman", "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Wagon Train". During that period, she made her big screen debut in the B-movie "The Bonnie Parker Story" (1958), and appeared in the film "The 30-Foot Bride of Candy Rock" (1959), most noted for being Lou Costello's last movie. She will perhaps be best remembered by movie audiences for her part as Milton Berle's wife in the star-studded 1963 picture "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World". She died from complications of emphysema.

Jefferson Thomas
Born: Sep. 1, 1942 (Little Rock, AK)
Died: Sep. 5, 2010 (Columbus, OH)
Age: 68

One of the "Little Rock Nine", a group of African-American students who in 1957 were chosen to integrate the all-White Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Thomas was a 15 year-old sophomore when he volunteered to participate. When Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called in the National Guard to prevent Thomas and his eight fellow students from entering the school, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in the 101st Airborne Division to ensure their enrollment. Despite this the youths endured bullying and threats on campus, and Thomas was one of only three of the group to graduate there, in 1960. President Bill Clinton presented the Congressional Gold Medal to Thomas and the other members of the "Little Rock Nine".

James Mitchell
Born: Feb. 29, 1920 (Sacramento, CA)
Death: Jan. 22, 2010
Age: 89

Although he is best-known to television audiences as Palmer Cortlandt on the soap opera All My Children (1979–2009), theatre and dance historians remember him as one of Agnes de Mille's leading dancers. Mitchell's skill at combining dance and acting was considered something of a novelty; in 1959, the critic Olga Maynard singled him out as "an important example of the new dancer-actor-singer in American ballet", pointing to his interpretive abilities and "masculine" technique.

Ron Banks
Born: May 10, 1951 (Redford, Michigan)
Died: Mar. 4, 2010 (Detroit, Michigan)
Age: 58

He was a founding member of the Detroit-based music group The Dramatics. With several appearances on the music program "Soul Train", their popularity was assured throughout the 1970s. In 1983 Banks left the group to pursue a solo career, but would later reunite with them continuing to record and perform as a member until his death from a heart attack.

Cammie King
Born: Aug. 5, 1934 (Los Angeles, CA)
Died: Sep. 1, 2010 (Fort Bragg, CA)
Age: 76

She played Bonnie Blue Butler, the daughter of Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, in the 1939 classic "Gone With the Wind". Born Eleanore Camarack King, she was raised in Los Angeles and was cast as Bonnie Blue for her resemblence to her on-screen parents. She later remembered developing a father figure attachment to Clark Gable. In later years she was to appear frequently at autograph and movie nostalgia shows, and was to say of her brief film career: "I peaked in show business at age five". She died of lung cancer.

Helen Wagner
Born: Sep. 3, 1918 (Lubbock, TX)
Died: May 1, 2010
Age: 91

She will be remembered as 'Nancy Hughes' from the long-running CBS daytime soap "As The World Turns". Last seen on "As The World Turns" on April 5, 2010, she is in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for the longest-playing of a single role. Start of role: April 2, 1956, she had that role for 54 years.

Frances Reid
Born: Dec. 9, 1914 (Wichita Falls, TX)
Died: Feb. 3, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age: 95

She is fondly remembered for her role of Alice Horton in the daytime TV serial "The Days of Our Lives", from the show's debut in 1965 until 2007. She earned two Daytime Emmy Award nomination, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. She was married to stage and TV actor Philip Bourneuf.

Meinhardt Raabe
Born: Sep. 2, 1915
Died: Apr. 9, 2010
Age: 94

One of the last surviving Munchkin-actors in The Wizard of Oz, he was also the last surviving cast member with any dialogue in the film. At 4'7", he played the coroner in The Wizard of Oz in 1939,

Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 Necrology - The Best of the Rest (Celebrities and other Notable Characters) PART 1 of 3

The Best of the rest means that a hodgepodge of Celebrities and Notable people will be listed. Some actors/actresses were well known, some were not, some were deaths that occured toward the end of the year. As well as them, I've included other personalities that made a great contribution to society. This is broken in to 2 parts, there were a lot of sad passings in 2010.

Simon MacCorkindale
Born: Feb. 12, 1952 (Cambridgeshire, England)
Died: Oct. 14, 2010 (London, England)
Age: 58

He studied drama, gaining experience on the repertory stage, appearing in a production of "Pygmalion" (1974). During that period, he began appearing on British TV in the series "Hawkeye, the Pathfinder" and made his movie debut in the suspenseful picture "Juggernaut" (1974). More substantial roles followed in "Death on the Nile" (1978) and "The Sword and the Sorcerer" (1982). MacCorkindale will be best remembered by American audiences for his part as Greg Reardon on the TV series "Falcon Crest" (1984 to 1986). During the late-1980s, he began producing, but remained an active performer, with a recurring role as Harry Harper in the TV series "Casualty". He was married to actress Susan George. He died following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Kathryn Grayson
Born: Feb. 9, 1922
Died: Feb. 17, 2010
Age: 88

She starred in a number of film and Broadway musicals from the 1940s to the 1960s. Born Zelma Kathryn Hedrick, she moved from North Carolina to St. Louis with her family where, at 12, she was discovered singing on the stage of an empty opera house. After she received voice lessons from Frances Marshall, the Hedricks relocated to Hollywood so that she could gain more advanced training. Meeting Louis B. Mayer, she was signed by MGM; her silver screen debut came in the 1941 "Andy Hardy's Private Secretary". Thru the 1940s, Grayson was to have a number of musical roles, including an appearance with Frank Sinatra in "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), and turns in Mario Lanza's first two movies, 1949's "That Midnight Kiss", and the 1950 "The Toast of New Orleans".

Ilene Woods
Born: May 5, 1929 (Portsmouth, NH)
Died: Jul. 1, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age: 81

She voiced the title role of Walt Disney's 1950 animated classic "Cinderella". She was born Jacqueline Ruth Woods. She died of Alzheimer's Disease. Of her part in "Cinderella", she said: "Oh, I love the idea that after I'm gone children will still be hearing my voice".

George Steinbrenner
Born: Jul. 4, 1930 (Rocky River, OH)
Died: Jul. 13, 2010 (Tampa, FL)
Age: 80

He was owner of the New York Yankees Major League baseball team from 1973 until his death in 2010. His health failing, he gave up the day to day control of the team to his sons in 2006, and was feted triumphantly at the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which was held at the old Yankee Stadium. Soon after his 80th birthday, and two days after long time Yankee Stadium announcer Bob Sheppard's death, he died of a heart attack in Tampa, Florida.

Edith Shain
Born: Jul. 29, 1918 (Tarrytown, NY)
Died: Jun. 20, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age: 91

She was a subject of one of the 20th Century's most indelible images. On August 14, 1945, she was photographed by the renowned Alfred Eisenstadt while being kissed by a jubilant US Navy sailor in Times Square, in celebration of the end of World War II. Her identity was a mystery until the 1970s, when Shain wrote to Eisenstadt and said she was the nurse in the photo; she was working at Doctor's Hospital in New York City when the spontaneous smooch took place. The sailor's identity is still unknown. In 1979 she and photographer Eisenstadt were the subject of a Life Magazine feature article. From that time she became a World War II icon, participating in ceremonies on the 50th anniversary of V-J Day in 1995 and the 60th in 2005. She also devoted herself to helping veterans, was Grand Marshal of numerous parades and made many overseas appearances for Veterans Memorial events.

Miep Gies
Born: Feb. 15, 1909
Died: Jan. 11, 2010 (Noord-Holland Province, Netherlands)
Age: 100

One of the Dutch citizens who hid Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis during World War II. She discovered and preserved Anne Frank's diary after the Franks were arrested. Born Hermine Santrouschitz in Vienna, Miep Gies was transported to Leiden from Vienna in December 1920 to escape the food shortages prevailing in Austria after World War I. In 1922, she moved with her foster family to Amsterdam. In 1933, she met Otto Frank when she applied for the post of temporary secretary in his spice company, Opekta. She initially ran the Complaints and Information desk in Opekta, and was eventually promoted to a more general administrative role. She became a close friend of the Frank family, as did Jan Gies, whom she married on 28 July 1941 after she refused to join a Nazi women's association and was threatened with deportation back to Austria. Her knowledge of Dutch and German helped the Frank family assimilate into Dutch society, and she and her husband became regular guests at the Franks' home. Gies died on 11 January 2010, following a short illness.

J.D. Salinger
Birth: Jan. 1, 1919
Death: Jan. 27, 2010
Age: 91

His book "The Catcher in the Rye" (1951) is considered the classic 20th Century novel of alienated youth. It has sold over 60 million copies worldwide. The author himself became legendary for his reclusive behavior. The mystery of what he wrote during his long silence - the manuscripts reportedly locked in a safe inside a concrete bunker at his home - will no doubt entice fans of literature for years to come.

Merlin Olsen
Born: Sep. 15, 1940 (Logan, UT)
Died: Mar. 11, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age: 69

Hall of Fame Professional Football Player, Actor, Broadcaster. For fifteen seasons (1962 to 1976), he played at the left and right-defensive tackle positions in the National Football League with the Los Angeles Rams. Olsen concentrated on his acting career (which began in TV guest appearances) and became a respected performer with roles as 'Jonathan Garvey' in the TV series "Little House on the Prairie" (1977 to 1981), as 'John Michael Murphy' in "Father Murphy" (1981 to 1984) and as 'Aaron Miller' in "Aaron's Way" (1988). He also appeared in a series of commercials as a spokesman for FTD florists. In addition, he served as a broadcaster on nationally televised NFL games with NBC along with Dick Enberg. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980, and enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1982. Cause of death was Mesothelioma.

Pernell Roberts
Born: May 18, 1928 (Waycross, CA)
Died: Jan. 24, 2010 (Malibu, CA)
Age: 81

His role of 'Adam Cartwright' in the popular long-running television western series "Bonanza", made Roberts identifiable. He left the cast in 1965, remaining busy with guest appearances in a wide range of television programs throughout the 1960s and 1970s including "The Wild, Wild West", "Mission: Impossible", "Hawaii Five-O", "The Six Million Dollar Man" and "The Rockford Files". His second most identifiable part was the title role in the television medical drama "Trapper John, M.D." (1979 to 1986), for which he earned an Emmy Award nomination.

Fess Parker
Born: Aug. 16, 1924 (Fort Worth, TX)
Died: Mar. 18, 2010
Age: 86

He had a voice role as the driver in the now classic film "Harvey." He didn't appear in another film for two years, but then was in three separate films in 1952 and another four in 1953, most of which were uncredited. In 1954 he appeared in feature films such as "Them!" and "Battlecry" as well as branching out, appearing in almost a dozen television series including one of his twin signature roles, that of Davy Crockett, for which he returned for seven episodes of "The Wonderful World of Disney" over the next two years. He signed a contract with Disney appearing in films such as "The Great Locomotive Chase," in 1956 and "Old Yeller" in 1957. Apparently jealous of their wildly popular star, Disney refused to loan him out to other studios so as not to tarnish his persona. By 1959, his popularity had leveled off, and he found that he was unable to regain the success he had has Crockett.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Necrology - Celebrity Edition PART 3 of 3

Harold Gould
Born: Dec. 10, 1923 (Schenectady, NY)
Died: Sep. 11, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age: 87

Harold V. Goldstein launched his Hollywood career during the early 1960s, gradually becoming one of the busiest and most recognized character performers over the next five decades. He appeared in scores of TV programs and films, among them "Dennis the Menace", "Route 66", "That Girl", "The Wild, Wild West", "Hogan's Heroes" and "The Golden Girls", the movies "Harper" (1966), "The Sting" (1973), "Patch Adams" (1998) and "Stuart Little" (1999). He had featured roles in the TV series "Rhoda" (1974 to 1978) as Martin Morgenstern, and "The Feather and Father Gang" (1976 to 1977). He died from prostate cancer.

Gloria Stuart
Birth: Jul. 4, 1910 (Santa Monica, CA)
Died : Sep. 26, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age: 100

Best remembered for her Academy Award nominated role of the more mature, 'Rose Calvert ' in the multi-Academy Award winning motion picture, "Titanic" (1997). Stuart's film career spanned nearly seven decades. During the "Golden Age" of Hollywood she worked along side James Cagney, Claude Rains, Lionel Barrymore, Dick Powell, and Shirley Temple. She was scouted by Universal Pictures and signed to a contract in 1932, appearing in the films, "The Old Dark House" (1932), "The Invisible Man" (1933), and "The Kiss Before the Mirror" (1933). She would briefly retire from acting to become an accomplished artist, painting and sculpting. She returned to acting in the mid-seventies, appearing in numerous television shows. She continued acting until 2004, to retire a comfortable life in Beverly Hills, where she died of natural causes.

Robert Culp
Born: Aug. 16, 1930
Died: Mar. 24, 2010
Age: 79

Best known for his work in television, he earned an international reputation for his role as Kelly Robinson on I Spy (1965-1968), the espionage series, where he and co-star Bill Cosby played a pair of secret agents.

Dixie Carter
Born: May 25, 1939 (McLemoresville, TN)
Died: Apr. 10, 2010 (Houston, TX)
Age: 70

She graduated from the University of Memphis and competed in the 1959 Miss Tennessee pageant, earning first runner-up. She then began an acting career, first on the Memphis stage and later in New York City theaters. After a hiatus she returned to acting in 1974, landing television parts on the daytime dramas "One Life to Live" and "The Edge of Night". She was also an accomplished singer, winning positive reviews for her cabaret performances and recordings.

Kevin McCarthy
Born: Feb. 15, 1914 (Seattle, WA)
Died: Sep. 11, 2010 (Hyannis, MA)
Age: 96

His breakthrough role happened on the London stage where McCarthy played Biff Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" in 1949. He would reprise his part in the motion picture version two years later, receiving a Golden Globe Award and garnering himself an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Movie audiences will perhaps best remember McCarthy for his role of Dr. Miles J. Bennell in the original version of the classic 1956 science-fiction film "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (he would make a cameo appearance in the 1978 remake). He died from natural causes.

Ronnie James Dio
Birth: Jul. 10, 1942 (Portsmouth, NH)
Death: May 16, 2010
Age: 67

Ronald James Padavona was born to an Italian family. He started his musical career in New York in 1957, playing in various bands first on bass and then switched to lead vocals. He took the name of Ronnie James Dio professionally in 1961. Dio joined the group Rainbow and they released their first album in 1975. Dio left Rainbow and joined Black Sabbath in 1979, replacing Ozzy Osbourne. He formed his own band, Dio, in 1982. In January 2007, Dio was inducted into the Rock Walk of Fame on Sunset Boulevard. He died from Stomach Cancer.

Eddie Fisher
Born: Aug. 10, 1928 (Philadelphia, PA
Died: Sep. 22, 2010
Age: 82

One of America's most popular singers of the 1950s. At the height of his celebrity Fisher left his first wife, actress Debbie Reynolds for recently widowed Elizabeth Taylor, creating one of the biggest scandals of the era. Although he married Taylor in 1959, NBC, RCA and Coca-Cola all dropped him over the negative publicity.

Teddy Pendergrass
Born: Mar. 26, 1950 (Philadelphia, PA)
Died: Jan. 13, 2010 (Philadelphia, PA
Age: 59

Theodore DeReese Pendergrass was a major figure in the American Soul and R&B genres as both a singer and a songwriter during the 1970s and 80s. His hits included "Close the Door," "Love T.K.O.," "Joy," and "It Should Have Been You." The Philadelphia native was named Theodore, which means "gift from God," by his mother because she had suffered six previous miscarriages before giving birth to him. His father Jesse, who had left the family, was murdered when Pendergrass was 12. Pendergrass started singing gospel music in Philadelphia churches at a young age, becoming an ordained minister at ten years old. He soon taught himself to play several instruments and he joined several local musical groups in Philadelphia. Pendergrass was the first African-American singer to sell five platinum albums in a row. On March 18, 1982, in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, Pendergrass was paralyzed when the brakes failed on his Rolls Royce and his car hit a tree. Paralyzed from the chest down with a spinal cord injury, he spent six months in rehabilitation. After completing physical therapy, he returned to public appearances on July 13, 1985 at the historic Live Aid concert in Philadelphia and continued to record throughout the 1980s and 90s. In 1998, he released his autobiography entitled, Truly Blessed. In 2006, Pendergrass announced his retirement from the music business. In 2009, Pendergrass entered Bryn Mawr Hospital in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania for treatment of a rare illness related to his paralysis condition. He later died there months later from complications following surgery for colon cancer at age 59.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2010 Necrology - Shocking Deaths

Joshua Andrew Koenig
Born: Aug. 17, 1968, Los Angeles, CA
Died: c. Feb. 25, 2010, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Actor, film director, editor and writer. Known for his portrayal in the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains, as Mike Seaver's best friend Richard 'Boner' Stabone. He was also a video producer for the podcast Never Not Funny. His father is actor Walter Koenig known for his role as 'Pavel Chekov' in the original Star Trek television series. Andrew took his own life in a State Park located in Vancouver, Canada.

This death hit me hard. Andrew was a funny young man and seemed to have it all. His suicide was a shock. I have nothing but sadness in my heart for his family. I was very depressed for weeks after his death, but slowly I came to terms with it.

Mary Christine Brockert
Born: Mar. 5, 1956 Los Angeles, CA
Died: Dec. 26, 2010 California

Best known as Teena Marie or Lady T(ee).

Teena Marie was notable as a performer of R & B and funk through her work on rhythm guitar, keyboards and vocals, as well as working as a songwriter and producer. Formerly a protege of Rick James. Marie continued to produce recordings and tour, and had been doing so until shortly before her passing.

I have been a fan of Teena Marie since 1980. I fell in love with her song "Behind the Groove". I recall hearing it on the radio and dancing to it. The first time I saw the cover of her album I almost fell over. I did not know she was white. She had such a soulful voice.

I learned of her passing while on Facebook. Word was going around, but I refused to believe it until an established news site stated it. Once it broke on Huffington Post, I knew it was true. She was and will always be one of my favorite singers.

2010 Necrology - Celebrity Edition PART 2 of 3

Zelda Rubinstein
Born: May 28, 1933 (Pittsburg, PA)
Died: Jan. 27, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age: 76

She is best remembered as the ghost-hunting psychic from the "Poltergeist" movies of the 1980s. The 4'3" Rubinstein, who preferred the designation "little person", attended the University of Pittsburgh and the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to work as a blood bank technician. She lived for a number of years in London. Returning to the United States, she made the decision, at age 47, to switch to an acting career. She died of a combination of cardiac and respiratory problems. Of coming to terms with her short stature, she said: "I just decided it was a very interesting variation".

Corey Haim
Born: Dec. 23, 1971 (Toronto, Canada)
Death: Mar. 10, 2010 (Burbank, CA)
Age: 39

Best known for his 1980s Hollywood career as a teen idol. He starred or co-starred in a number of films such as "Lucas", "The Lost Boys", "License to Drive" and "Dream a Little Dream". He also collaborated numerous times with actor Corey Feldman, most notably appearing together on the reality TV show "The Two Coreys", which aired on the A&E Network from 2007 to 2008.

Gary Coleman
Born: Feb. 8, 1968 (Zion, IL)
Died: May 28, 2010 (Provo, Utah)
Age: 42

As a child he appeared in episodes of "The Jeffersons" and "Good Times" before attaining celebrity status as a star of the NBC situation comedy "Diff'rent Strokes", where his character's usual retort to his brother (played by Todd Bridges) "What'choo talkin' 'bout, Willis?" became a national catchphrase. He suffered from a congenital kidney disease which halted his growth at an early age, leaving him with a small stature (less than five feet tall) and a childlike appearance even as he grew into adulthood. He underwent two kidney transplants, one in 1973 and one in 1984, and required daily dialysis. Coleman died at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center after being removed from life support following a brain hemorrhage he suffered at his home.

John Forsythe
Born: Jan. 29, 1918 (Penns Grove, NJ)
Died: Apr. 1, 2010
Age: 92

John Forsythe starred in three television series, spanning three decades, as single playboy father Bentley Gregg in the 1950s sitcom Bachelor Father (1957–1962); as the unseen millionaire Charles Townsend on the 1970s crime drama Charlie's Angels (1976–1981), and as ruthless and beloved patriarch Blake Carrington on the 1980s soap opera Dynasty (1981–1989).

Jean Simmons
Born: Jan. 31, 1929 (London, England)
Died: Jan. 22, 2010 (Santa Monica, CA)
Age: 81

A leading lady of captivating beauty, she appeared in British and American motion pictures. During the 1950s and 1960s, she achieved star status with an abundance of memorable roles in such popular pictures as "The Robe" (1953), "Guys and Dolls" (1955), "The Big Country" (1958), "Elmer Gantry" (1960) and "Spartacus" (1960). She received an Emmy for her role in the mini-series "The Thorn Birds". She died from lung cancer. *she was one of my favorite actresses*

Lynn Redgrave, OBE
Born: Mar. 8, 1943 (London, England)
Died: May 2, 2010 (Kent, CT)
Age: 67

She had a long career on stage, television, and film. The child of a distinguished British theatrical family, she was raised within the show-business milieu and studied at the London School of Speech and Drama before making her professional stage debut in "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Ill with breast cancer since 2002, Redgrave continued her work on such shows as "Desparate Housewives" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent", making her final appearance in "Ugly Betty" (2009). A naturalized American citizen, she was named Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 2002.

Peter Graves
Born: Mar. 18, 1926 (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Died: Mar. 14, 2010 (Los Angeles, CA)
Age: 84

Peter Aurness participated in athletics and was an accomplished musician before beginning his career as a radio announcer, where he utilized his robust speaking voice. After studying drama at the University of Minnesota, he followed his older brother James Arness into the entertainment industry, when he broke into films with his motion picture debut in "Rogue River" (1951). It would be the role of 'Jim Phelps' on the popular series "Mission: Impossible" (1967 to 1973), for which TV audiences would most identify him with. A later generation would fondly remember him for his comical performance in the movie "Airplane!" (1980), its sequel in 1982, and for his narration work in the "Biography" series with the Arts and Entertainment Network.He died from natural causes.

Patricia Neal
Born: Jan. 20, 1926 (Whitley County, KY)
Died: Aug. 8, 2010 (Dukes County, MA)
Age: 84

Striking, husky-voiced leading lady of stage and screen. She won a Best Actress Academy Award for "Hud" (1963). In 1965 Neal nearly lost her life to a series of crippling strokes, but fought back and triumphantly resumed her career.