Friday, December 29, 2017
Those Who Died in 2017 (Part 2)
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!