Friday, January 12, 2018
She was considered the most popular author in the world when she died, having written more than eighty books during her lifetime. British author, Agatha Christie’s books have sold over 2 billion copies. She wrote plays, short stories, poetry, and novels under her real name, and romance books under the pen name, Mary Westmacott.
Christie wrote her first detective novel in 1920, The Mysterious Affair of Styles, which featured her most famous detective, fastidious Hercule Poirot. She had learned about poisons and their affects while working as a volunteer aid detachment (VAD) at the Devon England hospital during WWI. By the end of the war, she qualified as an "apothecaries' assistant,” someone who dispensed medications - a perfect side job for a mystery writer.
Known as “The Queen of Crime,” Christie wrote 66 mystery novels featuring Poirot, and her other famous detective, Miss Marple. Christie also published fourteen short story collections. And, she wrote the world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap, which opened in England in 1952, and is still playing after more than 25,000 performances.
During the Blitz in WWII, she worked as a pharmacy assistant in London, finessing her knowledge of poisons. After the war, Christie was awarded the first Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. She was also awarded an Edgar Award in 1955 for her play, Witness For the Prosecution.
Her best selling novel of all time, And Then There Were None, was published in 1939. In later years, Christie tired of her famous Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. But his popularity kept him in the forefront of her works. Determined to give the readers what they wanted, Christie continued to feature him throughout her books.
Christie began to suffer from the effects of dementia in the early 1970s. Agatha Christie died on January 12, 1976 in Oxfordshire, England. She was 85. She was buried in St. Mary Churchyard. It was rumored that at the time of her death, she still had one Miss Marple novel that had not been published, but as yet, has not been released. However, one of Christie’s essays was discovered in 2012, and published in the UK amid much fanfare. Agatha Christie was made a Dame of the British Empire in honor of her contribution to writing in 1971.
Friday, December 29, 2017
Today, we continue our remembrance of those who died during the previous 12 months. Here are a dozen more who left a lasting imprint on our world.
He was born Samuel Shepard Rogers III but was known in the entertainment industry as Sam Shepard. Shepard was a playwright, actor screenwriter, director and author. He wrote 44 plays along with two novels and numerous essays. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his play Buried Child in 1979. He began publishing plays in 1964 and continued for 30 years. His last play was A Particle of Dread in 2014.
Shepard was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in The Right Stuff for his portrayal of pilot Chuck Yeager in 1983. He had also appeared in Steel Magnolias, Black Hawk Down and Bloodline.
Sam Shepard died on July 27, 2017 from complications of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, at his home in Kentucky. He was 73.
Martin Landau began his acting career in the 1950s, landing his first major role as Leonard in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest in 1959. He went on to play Rollin Hand, the Master of Disguise, on the Mission Impossible television series in the 1960s.
Landau was nominated for an Academy Award for his performances in Tucker: The Man and His Dream in 1988, and Crimes and Misdemeanors in 1989. He scored an Oscar for the film Ed Wood for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi in 1994.
Landau took numerous supporting roles in television shows during the early 2000s.
Martin Landau died on July 15, 2017 after a brief hospitalization. He was 89. Landau was buried at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont New York.
Best known for his country music hits of the 1960s and 70s, Glen Campbell spent more than 50 years in the music industry. During that time, he released more than 70 albums and had 80 songs make the Billboard Country Chart, the Adult Contemporary Chart and the Hot 100. His biggest hits included “Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife,” ”Galveston," “Rhinestone Cowboy" and “Southern Nights,” a string of popular contemporary and country music songs that covered the mid-1960s through the early 1980s.
In 1968, he landed his own TV show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which ran on CBS until 1972. When his show was canceled, Campbell went on to appear on various other variety shows through the 1970s. This was the decade that made Campbell a household name. “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights” both became Number One hits in the U.S. In fact, “Rhinestone Cowboy” sold over 2 million copies, making it his largest selling single.
Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Three years later, he released his Meet Glen Campbell album, which was followed by his final tour. In 2010, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. By 2012, he was residing in a long-term care facility.
Glen Campbell died on August 8, 2017 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 81. He was buried in the Campbell Family Cemetery in Billstown, Arkansas.
Jerry Lewis was known for his slapstick comedy and his comedic partnership with Dean Martin. The two performed on television and in movies: Martin playing the straight man to Lewis’s slapstick goofiness. They starred in 16 films together and hosted The Martin and Lewis Show from 1946 to 1956 – the year their partnership ended.
From there, Lewis went on to perform solo in nightclubs, on television, and in movies, eventually earning himself the name, the “King of Comedy.” He even recorded an album, Jerry Lewis Just Sings, which made it to Number Three on the Billboard Charts.
Lewis was a popular guest on night talk shows and enjoyed going on them to promote his movies – several of which he wrote with Bill Richmond including The Ladies Man, It’s Only Money and The Nutty Professor. He also had two shows during the 1960s. The first, The Jerry Lewis Show ran for 13 week in 1963. But Lewis was back again with a one-hour variety show in 1967, which ran until 1969.
Lewis was well known for his efforts to raise money for muscular dystrophy. He began hosting MDA telethons in 1952. By 1966, the annual program was known as The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. He continued to anchor the annual event until 2010. During that period, he helped raise more than 2.6 billion dollars for MDA.
Jerry Lewis died on August 20, 2017 of cardiac disease at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91. Lewis was cremated and his ashes given to his family.
Basi, the Giant Panda, was the oldest known giant panda in captivity. She was born in the wild in 1980, and rescued from a frozen river in 1984. She is one of only three giant pandas that lived to be this old. The average age for a giant panda in the wild is twelve years; twenty in captivity.
Basi was listed in the Guinness World Records in January of this year for this achievement. She was also the model for the mascot PanPan for the first Beijing Asia Games held in China in 1990.
Basi died September 13, 2017 in Fuzhou, China. She was 37. (120 in human years.)
He was the iconic game show host, always ready with a quip or a joke. Monty Hall was best known as the co-creator and host of the game show, Let’s Make a Deal. Hall spent 22 years, from 1963 to 1986, chatting up contestants in crazy costumes as they decided whether to risk it all.
Hall began his television career in Toronto as a sportscaster. He then accepted a job in radio hosting a show in New York in 1955. From there, he went to Los Angles where he created the show Let’s Make a Deal with Stefan Hatos. It is estimated that Hall appeared in more than 4,500 episodes of the game show. Hall was one of the first to be inducted into the Game Show Hall of Fame, and was awarded an Emmy for lifetime achievement in 2013. Wayne Brady, the current host of Let’s Make a Deal, presented the award to Hall.
Monty Hall died September 30, 2017 from heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 96. Hall was buried at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Tom Petty knew he was destined for a life in music when he saw The Beatles perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. Not long after he formed a band called The Epics, which later became Mudcrutch. The band was popular in Florida but Petty wanted more. In 1975, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers was formed. It would take until their third album, Damn the Torpedoes, for the band to develop a real following, but the 1980 album went platinum with hit singles, “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “Refugee,” and “Here Comes My Girl.”
Petty released Full Moon Fever, his solo album in 1989 with “Free Fallin’” “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” and “I Won’t Back Down.”
In 1988, Petty joined the group The Traveling Wilburys made up of George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Jeff Lynne. Their first album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1 was a success and the group went on to release another album.
Petty began hosting “Buried Treasure,” a show where he played music from his personal collection on XM Satellite Radio. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers performed for the Super Bowl halftime show in 2008. The following year, the band released the four CD Live Anthology compilation from live recordings from 1978 to 2006. The band continued to tour around the world and release albums. In 2015, the Tom Petty Radio channel began on SiriusXM. The 40th Anniversary Tour began earlier this year and wrapped up on September 25 – one week before Petty suffered a fatal heart attack.
Tom Petty died on October 2, 2017. He was found in full cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, California. He was 66. Petty was buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery.
He was born Antoine Dominique Domino Jr., but the American singer and pianist, known as Fats, was a pioneer of Rock and Roll. Domino began performing in New Orleans bars when he was 14. By the age of 16, he was signed to a record label, but his real fame came with “Ain’t That a Shame” which appeared on the Billboard chart at Number 14 in 1955. He followed it up with “Blueberry Hill” in 1956, which went to Number 1 on the R&B chart ,and stayed there for three months. In fact, he had eleven songs in the Top Ten from 1955 to 1960. But in 1964 when The Beatles hit the US, musical tastes began to change.
In 1986, Domino was one of the first performers indicted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. One year later, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. And in 2007, he was inducted into his home state of Louisiana’s Music Hall of Fame.
Fats Domino died on October 24, 2017 of natural causes at his home in Harvey Louisiana. He was 89.
Della Reese began her career as a jazz/gospel singer but became known for her television and movie roles. Reese released her first single “Don’t You Know?” in 1959. By the late 1960s, she was hosting her own talk show. Reese appeared on numerous television shows in guest-starring roles.
She also appeared in three films, Harlem Nights in 1989, A Thin Line Between Love and Hate in 196, and Expecting Mary in 2010. She is best remembered for her role of Tess on the television show Touched By An Angel, which ran from 1994 to 2003.
Della Reese died November 19, 2017 at her home in Los Angeles. She was 86.
He was a teen heart-throb sensation the 1970s with his picture featured almost weekly on teen magazines Tiger Beat and 16. David Cassidy came to fame as Keith Partridge son of Shirley Partridge (actually his step-mother Shirley Jones) on the 1970s television show The Partridge Family. Cassidy was allowed to sing instead of lip sync to the music on the show, and his vocals led the group with such hits as “I Thing I Love You,” “Cherish,” and “How Can I Be Sure.” During the four-year run of the show, ten Partridge Family Albums were released along with five solo albums for Cassidy.
Cassidy dropped out of the television show in 1974 due to a tragic stampede at his London concert. According to reports, nearly 800 people were injured, 30 hospitalized and a 14-year-old girl was killed. He began writing songs and releasing albums for the remainder of the 70s. By the 1980s, he was broke and playing guitar on other singers’ albums. During this decade, he also delved into musical theatre on Broadway.
During the next few decades, Cassidy released more solo albums and appeared on numerous television programs. At the beginning of this year, Cassidy told the media that he was suffering from dementia and was retiring from the stage.
David Cassidy died on November 21, 2017 of liver and kidney failure. He was awaiting a transplant at the time. He was 67.
He was part of one of the greatest hoaxes of the 20th Century. Clifford Irving was a writer and investigative reporter. His first novel was published in 1956, and his last in 2012, but his claim to fame was the alleged biography he wrote per Howard Hughes. Clifford Irving and Richard Suskind decided to “write” the autobiography of millionaire recluse Howard Hughes in 1970. Figuring that Hughes would not come forward and denounce them, the pair set up a book deal with McGraw-Hill, stating that Hughes had requested Irving ghost write his life story. The publishers fell for it and eventually paid a total of $765,000 to “H.R. Hughes,” which his wife deposited in a Swiss bank account under the name of Helga R. Hughes. The story began to unravel in early 1972 when Hughes held a telephone conference with seven well-known journalists and denied knowing Irving or requesting his assistance in writing a book. Hughes then had his lawyer file suit against McGraw-Hill, Irving and Dell Publications.
On January 28, 1972, Irving and his wife confessed to the hoax. Irving served 17 months in prison, and voluntarily returned the $765,000 to McGraw-Hill. His wife served time in prison in the US, and in Switzerland.
In 2007, the film, The Hoax, based on the incident, was released in the US. Irving declared that the film distorted the real story.
Clifford Irving died on December 19, 2017. He was 87.
Rose Marie Mazzetta
Throughout her life, she went only by Rose Marie. Starting her life in Vaudeville at the age of three, Rose Marie’s singing and acting career spanned over nine decades.
At the age of five, she had a slot on NBC as a child singer, and appeared in several films. In her teens, she performed at nightclubs. In the 1960s, she played Sally Rogers for five years on The Dick Van Dyke Show. From there, she went on to play Myrna Gibbons on The Doris Day Show. She also appeared several times on The Dean Martin Show, and was a regular on the game show Hollywood Squares.
From 1977 to 1985, Rose Marie toured with Rosemary Clooney, Margaret Whiting and Helen O’Connell in the musical, 4 Girls 4. During her performing career, she received three Emmy nominations for her role in The Dick Van Dyke Show, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001.
Rose Marie died December 29, 2017 at the age of 94.
And so a final toast to the famous, and infamous, that passed in 2017.
Best wishes for a grand and glorious 2018 to each of you!
Happy New Year!
Friday, December 22, 2017
Each year, we pause and remember those who died during the previous 12 months. For the next two weeks, we’ll take a look back at those who left a lasting imprint on our world.
|Reporter Clare Hollingworth|
Clare Hollingworth was born on October 10, 1911 in Knighton, England. She became a journalist in 1939 and was the first war correspondent to report the outbreak of World War II, landing “the scoop of the century.” Hollingworth’s knowledge of the war earned her the designation of "the undisputed doyenne of war correspondents" from the New York Times.
Hollingworth began reporting for The Guardian in 1950, and as a British reporter covered wars in China, Algeria, Vietnam, and Iran. Hollingworth was also the last reporter the Shah of Iran requested be allowed to interview him.
During her life, Hollingworth was awarded Woman Journalist of the Year in 1962, the James Cameron Award for Journalism in 1994, and in 1999, Hollingworth received a lifetime achievement award from the UK TV program “What the Papers Say.” She was also made an officer in the Order of the British Empire for services rendered in journalism.
Hollingworth died January 10, 2017 after being discovered unresponsive in her apartment. She was 105 years old.
|Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards|
Mary Tyler Moore
Who could turn the world on with her smile … Mary Tyler Moore, who died in January. Moore was best known for her two television roles, playing the perky Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961 to 1966, and as Mary Richards on the Mary Tyler Moore Show from 1971 to 1977.
In both roles, Mary pushed the gender boundaries. As Laura Petrie, she was a modern wife and mom. But it was the role of Mary Richards, a single career woman working as a news producer for WJM that made her an inspiration to girls and young women everywhere. (She was one of the reasons I pursued a career in broadcasting and journalism.) At a time when women were just beginning to break into male-dominated jobs, it was a breath of fresh air to see her portray a smart, witty woman, sans husband and children, who worked and held her own in the then male-dominated work world. And Mary Richards didn’t have to act tough to pull it off. She remained quintessentially Mary Tyler Moore.
|Mary Tyler Moore|
Mary also appeared in several films including Thoroughly Modern Millie in 1967, Change of Habit with Elvis Presley in 1969, and Ordinary People in 1980 for which she was nominated for an Oscar and an Academy Award for Best Actress. Moore went on to star in several plays in the 1980s and wrote two books, both memoirs, describing her life, losing her only son, her battle with alcoholism, and living with Type 1 diabetes.
Mary Tyler Moore died on January 25, 2017 from cardiac arrest complicated by pneumonia. She was 80 years old. She was buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery in Fairfield, Connecticut.
|Al Jarreau in the 70s|
Jazz singer Al Jarreau announced his retirement two days before he died in February. Born Alwin Lopez Jarreau, Al would make jazz music his life. Starting with nightclubs and working up to appearances on the late night shows, Jarreau gained fame when he sang on Saturday Night Live during its first season in 1976.
He soon released his first album, We Got By in 1978, and won his first Grammy Award for best Jazz Vocal Performance for his album, Look to the Rainbow. We’re in This Love Together put him on top of the Pop charts in 1981 where he remained with After All in 1984, and scored another spot with the theme from the television show, Moonlighting.
Jarreau continued touring during the 1990s but stepped back from making records. He released a handful of albums during the 2000s, preferring to take to the stage and perform his music live. In fact, Jarreau had to cancel his remaining 2017 tour dates after he was hospitalized for exhaustion on February 8, 2017. Four days later, on February 12, Al Jarreau died of respiratory failure at the age of 76. He was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.
|A Young Bill Paxton|
He was that character actor who could portray “every man” but is best known for his leading roles. William “Bill” Paxton starred in The Terminator, Aliens, True Lies, Twister, Titanic and Nightcrawler, just a few of his recognized film hits. He also starred in the drama series Big Love (2006-2011) earning three Golden Globe Awards. His final film, The Circle was released in April 2017.
Paxton knew he wanted to be an entertainer at an early age. He formed a band called Martini Ranch in the 1980s, releasing one album and a music video. By the Nineties, he was appearing in box-office hits like Tombstone, True Lies and Apollo 13.
But Paxton was also a force behind the screen. In 1997, he produced the film Traveller, and directed Frailty in 2001, and The Greatest Game Ever Played in 2005. Then came the HBO series Big Love in 2006 and Paxton made the character of Bill Henrickson believable. After the show ended in 2011, Paxton went on to co-star with Kevin Costner in the History Channel miniseries Hatfield and McCoys for which he was nominated for an Emmy. In 2014, he returned to television to play John Garrett in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, and again in 2017 in Training Day.
Bill Paxton died on February 25, 2017 from a fatal stroke following heart surgery. He was 61 years old. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
|Chuck Berry in the 50s|
Charles Edward Anderson Berry was an American music innovator; a man Rock and Roll greats owe a huge debt to. Thanks to Chuck Berry’s stunning grasp of rhythm and blues, he changed the sounds of the Fifties, and influenced decades of musicians to come. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Aerosmith are just a few groups that have thanked him for his influence.
Berry began his musical career patterning himself after Nat King Cole but soon realized that he had more to offer than imitations. Self-taught on the guitar, Berry started playing clubs with the Sir John Trio in St. Louis. While visiting Blues clubs in Chicago, he asked Muddy Waters for advice on how to make it in the business. Waters connected him to Chess Records, and Berry soon signed a record deal. With his one-of-a-kind guitar riffs, and his signature “duck walk” across the stage, Berry became a popular performer.
Some of his best loved songs include “Maybellene,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and “Roll Over Beethoven.” By the 1970s, Berry had faded from the record music scene, but he went on to perform live at concerts through the coming decades and had a standing weekly gig to play at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant and pub located in St. Louis. Last year, he announced that he would release an album in 2017. Berry was one of the first musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.
Chuck Berry died on March 18, 2017 of cardiac arrest at his home in Missouri. Berry was 90 years old. He was buried with his Gibson guitar in his hometown of St. Louis.
|David Rockefeller in the 60s|
The world’s oldest billionaire died in March. Standard oil founder, John D. Rockefeller’s youngest and last surviving grandchild, David Rockefeller, spent his entire life in the corporate world. Rockefeller served as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Chase Manhattan Bank from 1957 to 1981. He was known and well regarded by presidents, prime ministers, kings and queens around the world.
Brothers John D. and William made the family fortune in the petroleum industry during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The founders, sons and grandsons branched out into the real estate market with the development of Rockefeller Center, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Empire State Building, Lincoln Center, the World Trade Center, and One Chase Manhattan Plaza. The family was very involved in conservation helping to create more than 20 national parks, and providing funds for the historical restoration of Colonial Williamsburg. The Rockefellers are considered to have been the most powerful family in American history.
Rockefeller was also a well known philanthropist, donating to causes that supported social change worldwide along with donations to the arts, and for medical research. His memoirs were published in 2002, something no other member of the family had ever done. His personal wealth was estimated at more than $3 billion at the time of his death.
David Rockefeller died at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York of congestive heart failure on March 20, 2017. He was 101. Rockefeller was buried in the Rockefeller Family Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow New York.
|Don Rickles in the 1960s|
America’s favorite insult stand-up comic died in March. Don Rickles was known for his pointed barbs lobbed at anyone famous. Rickles started his comedic career working bars and clubs in New York and Los Angles. He developed his style as a way to discourage hecklers but audiences loved it. Frank Sinatra saw Rickles' act in Florida and enjoyed it so much, they kept in touch and later became good friends.
During the 1960s, Rickles took roles on sit coms and dramatic shows. He also appeared in the infamous Annette Funicello Beach Party films, which brought his name into the mainstream. By the end of the Sixties, he was appearing on Johnny Carson and The Dean Martin Show. In 1968, he released his first comedic album, “Hello Dummy.”
Rickles stared with Clint Eastwood, Carol O’Conner, Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland in Kelly’s Heroes, a comedy war movie in 1970. By 1972, he had his own show, which lasted 13 episodes.
|Comedian Don Rickles|
From the 1980’s through 2015, Rickles appeared in movies, voiced characters in animated films, and kept his stand up routine going on the road. He performed for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and compared show notes with his best friend, comedian Bob Newhart. When asked in 2015 if he had considered retiring, Rickles replied that he still enjoyed doing the show, so he had no plans to quit.
Don Rickles died of kidney failure at his home in Beverly Hills on April 6, 2017. He was 90 years old. Rickles was buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in L.A.
|J. Geils in the 80s|
John Warren Geils Jr. was the guitarist and leader of the J. Geils Band during the 1980s. He began his musical career by forming a group called Snoopy and the Sopwith Camels in the Sixties. The group moved to Boston and changed its name to the J. Geils Band. Between 1970 and 1985, the band released eleven albums, two were successes – Love Stinks in 1980, and Freeze Frame with the Number One hit, “Centerfold” in 1985. The band broke up that same year. Geils went on to race cars, and opened KTR Motorsports, a vintage sports car restoration company in Massachusetts.
The J. Geils Band reunited in 1995, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2012, and 2013 to perform reunion concerts. Geils released his first solo album, Jay Geils Plays Jazz in 2005. His final album release was in 2009 with Toe Tappin’ Jazz.
Geils was found unresponsive at his home in Groton, Massachusetts on April 11, 2017. He died of natural causes at the age of 71.
|Roger Moore as 007|
Sir Roger George Moore was best known for playing the role of James Bond from 1973 to 1985. Moore took over the Bond role from Sean Connery in 1972 and made made it his own. Born in Stockwell, England, Moore began his career making television appearances and working as a model. He signed a contract with Warner Brothers Studio in 1959 and continued to take bit parts until he landed the lead role of Silky Harris on The Alaskans (1959-1960.) His next regular part was as Beau Maverick playing the English cousin to James Garner’s Brett Maverick in the Maverick western series. In 1962, he was cast as Simon Templar in The Saint and stayed with the show until 1969 - one of the longest running series of its kind on British TV. By now, Moore was known worldwide and the time seemed right to try films.
In August 1972, Moore was offered the role of James Bond. From 1973 to 1985, he portrayed 007 in Live and Let Die, The Man with the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, and A View to a Kill. Moore reigned as Bond for 12 years - the longest any actor held the part. He then took several years away from acting before returning to play numerous parts on British television shows, and continuing with his voice-over work.
Roger Moore died in Switzerland of cancer on May 23, 2017. He was 89 years old. Moore was buried at Cimetiere de Monaco.
|Dictator Manuel Noriega|
Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega died in May. Noriega was at one time one of Central America’s most notorious dictators and drug leaders leading a regime marked with brutality and repression. Noriega ruled Panama during most of the 1980s before the CIA invaded the country and overthrew his regime. He was the first head of state to be convicted in a U.S. court, but during the trial it was discovered that he had been on the CIA’s pay role as a spy. The CIA never commented on Noriega’s status with them.
|Noriega's Mug Shot|
Noriega was sentenced in 1992 to 30 years in prison but it was later reduced to 17 years, and he was given prisoner of war status. When his sentence was completed in the US, he appealed his extradition to France on a money laundering charge. He was convicted in absentia to serve ten years in a French prison. In April, 2010 he was extradited to France and his sentence reduced to seven years. Once in France, Panama requested his extradition to face charges of human rights violations he had ordered when he was dictator. Noriega arrived in Panama in December 2011.
In February 2012, Noriega was taken to a hospital in Panama City with a brain hemorrhage. One month later he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. On January 23, 2017, he was released from prison and placed under house arrest to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. On March 7, Noriega incurred a brain hemorrhage during the surgery. He was placed in a medically induced coma and died on May 29, 2017 at the age of 83. He was cremated and his ashes given to his wife.
|Adam West as Batman|
Adam West, long known for his portrayal of Batman in the 1960s, died in June. West began his career in westerns and cop shows during the ‘50s. He appeared in Maverick, The Rifleman, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, The Virginian, and Perry Mason, among others. He also had a regular role on The Detectives from 1959-1962.
Then came the role of his lifetime, playing Batman, part of the campy Dynamic Duo, which spent each episode fighting to keep Gotham City free from villains. Cesar Romero played the Joker, Burgess Meredith was the Penguin, and Burt Ward played sidekick Robin to West’s Batman. The show became an immediate hit and aired for three seasons before production costs ended it.
West went in search of more serious fodder but discovered that he had been typecast at Batman - no one could imagine him without the cape. West didn’t expect fame as a pop culture icon but discovered that he was in demand for live appearances as the caped crusader.
For the next forty+ years, West was active, mainly as a voice artist working on dozens of animated series, video games, and, yes, occasionally voicing Batman for cartoons. He also kept busy with small parts on numerous television shows and films. In 1994, Back to the Batcave was published. In it, West offered a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the television show along with a complete episode guide.
Adam West died June 9, 2017 after a short battle with leukemia in Los Angeles . He was 88 years old.
|Helmut Kohl in 1969|
Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl died in June. Kohl served from 1982 – 1998 as Germany’s chancellor – the country’s longest serving leader since 1945. Kohl first became the leader of Western Germany in 1982. His goal was to unify the western part of the country with Communist East Germany. That process began in 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Kohl surprised the world one week later when he gave a speech offering a 10-point plan to reunify the two countries into one Germany. By October 1990, Kohl was chancellor of a unified Germany. After he left office in 1998, Kohl kept abreast of what was happening, supporting European unity for the new century.
Kohl was hospitalized in 2008 for a serous head injury, which left him barely able to speak and bound to a wheelchair. Helmut Kohl died June 16, 2017 in deteriorating health in his hometown of Ludwigshafen. He was 87. He was buried in the Cathedral Chapter Cemetery in Speyer.