Mac Users call it The Beach Ball of Death …

That slowly spinning, brightly colored ball, signaling buffering that all of us here at work hate to see when we’re trying to watch a television broadcast or movie clip or whatever.

Yes, I said “watch it here at work.” Now there’s a name for it … ‘buffer rage.’ Oh for crying out loud. Now that you think of it, I did tear up a piece of paper towel into tiny shreds when I was trying to watch the Ben-Hur trailer yesterday but then I just changed the speed and it was fine.

Anyway, read more about ‘buffer rage’ here:

Disney Labs Enables Graphical Sports Play

Disney researchers have discovered a way to search sports footage using hand-draw play diagrams. Quite literally … the user draws the play on a “chalkboard” and the technology finds it.

The technology was created in conjunction with STATS and is called Chalkboarding and allows the user to issue queries by drawing a play of interest, very similar to how a coach draws up plays.

“The method is far more effective than keyword searching,” according to Patrick Lucey, director of data science at STATS, who started working on Chalkboarding while a scientist at Disney Research.

Reach the article here:

— from Newsbytes from TVTechnology

Criminal Minds – Derek – Stars Danny Glover

The latest episode of Criminal Minds is a study in mind control and how in the face of adversity, you can use disassociation to “save” yourself.


“Derek” — When Morgan is abducted, the BAU scrambles to find him and save his life. Legendary actor Danny Glover guest stars as Morgan’s father, Hank. Credit: Trae Patton/CBS ©2016 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

At the end of the previous episode, Derek Morgan is kidnapped just as he reaches home. He’s on the phone with his girlfriend, Savannah, and she’s about to tell him some good news when he is attacked.

Derek, the episode which aired Wednesday, March 2, picks up with Derek being unloaded from crates, and strapped to beams via cables. A team of six men in an isolated location stands by taking orders from a man leading the show.

When the leader orders them to “wake him,” they realize Derek is awake but is disassociating himself from the pain that is about to be inflicted on him. After two similar dreams, one involving children, the other involving the team, but ending with Danny Glover sitting in his dining room, Derek’s torture begins with some body shots and his conversation with Danny Glover begins in earnest.

He needs a hint to find out who he is, discovers it’s his Dad, and with the encouragement of his Dad, begins a cognitive interview on himself to discover who and why he’s in this predicament and how he’s going to get out of it.

His next torture is nasty – some kind of flammable gel is applied down the center of his chest and lit, and when that doesn’t phase him to the delight of the leader he orders Derek to be stripped. They cut him loose and as he falls to the ground and his shirt is cut off, Derek makes his break, grabbing one of the guys as a shield and begins shooting at the rest, killing and/or wounding all of them.

Meanwhile Garcia and JJ take Savannah home to pack a bag and do some cyber scouting and Garcia discovers an Intranet in their wireless router. It opens up a page about the CIA which causes JJ to get on the phone immediately to a contact of hers.

While searching for a cell phone on one of the six, now assumed dead, Derek finds one, but it displays “No Signal.” He finds an interesting tattoo and discovers the leader is still alive and encourages him to talk, but all he does is mutter name and serial number gibberish. He realizes he isolated and has no way of contacting anyone to help him.

He and his Dad are now standing next to a body of water, and Derek asks him “why are here?” His father says, “you created this space in your head when you were 15.” “I don’t want to talk about what happened when I was 15,” Derek tells him. Dad tells him he’s very proud of him, which floors Derek. “Proud!” “Yes, Derek,” his Dad says, “Proud you turned your pain into your greatest asset.”

Soon Penelope shows up in his dissassociated state, teetering around in heels among the grass and dirt with a furry halo wired to her, appealing to Derek for help so she can do something to find him. Nothing comes to him immediately, but he remembers the tattoo and in the real world, JJ has returned to headquarters with a picture of a six man team that hires itself out to the highest bidder. Hotch tells Garcia to focus in on the tattoo and they have a clue.

Is this a Walking Dead episode?!?…. no but Derek has heard one of the survivors talking on a satellite phone and when he tries to get it away from him the guy swallows the sim card and Derek’s only option is to gut the guy with a knife and get the card …. which he does. When he gets the phone working it says “enter password” and he proceeds to throw a temper tantrum and just like our friend Garcia his Dad says “let me know when you’re done throwing your temper tantrum” and continues smoking his cigar.

Derek calms himself and says, “okay Dad. Hey is that a Dominican? At work we had this Day of the Dead thing and I left it for you,” and Danny Glover takes a puff and says, “well, I got it.”

Still he’s really stressed as he plays with the phone, his only chance and his fear takes over and briefly they show the aftermath of his death … his photo up on the FBI wall, his team solemnly standing in front of it. As he continues to play with the phone he finds the redial screen and with his Dad talking him through it, he redials the first number ….

Which gets Garcia incredibly excited hoping someone answers it, and someone does, sending everything into motion …. Morgan talking to the man who had him kidnapped, the team heading out to rescue him on helicopters, Garcia going to tell Savannah they know where he is and they’re going to get him.

So the guy shows up and tries to finish the job. Kicks Derek down, takes the knife away and stabs him in the hand. Derek is calling to his Dad, wondering where he is, and Derek plays a little possum so Reed can sneak in the front door and shoot the guy.

But it doesn’t end there. Derek is rescued. So go check OnDemand and watch it for yourself. You’ll really enjoy Danny Glover’s performance as Derek Morgan’s dad.

Thomas Gibson (Hotch) directs this episode.



Today’s World Wildlife Day …

And the future of Elephants is in our hands.

World Wildlife Da

This year’s focus is on elephants – African and the Asian variety. It’s estimated that 100,000 African elephants were slaughtered for their ivory between 2010 and 2012. Asian elephants are losing their habitat.

There is some progress, but more needs to be done to protect elephants and to stop the illegal trafficking of all wildlife.

Go to and to find out how you can help.

Indulging in New Major Crimes Episodes?

For the first time ever the five winter episodes are one continuous story line, and after seeing the first two, it’s playing like an impeccably acted mini-series.

It begins with a young woman and her infant son getting killed while driving through LA in the wrong colored car threw rival gang territories. When Major Crimes shows up, they discover that some of the shots are so close to the car, there’s powder residue around the holes. They also find packaged heroin and lots of cash hidden in the car.

When the shell casings Amy Sykes takes to ballistics for analyzing uncovers 12-year old wounds from a missing uzi, Sykes is forced to make the acquaintance with a disgraced LAPD detective for some inside information (Mark Hickman).

In the meantime, Rusty catches Gary following him and discovers that his mom has rehabilitated herself right out of custody and into an apartment and a program. But he’s afraid if he goes to see her, Gary will just follow him there so he and Gus concoct a high tech way of communicating with her using Talk Chat on Gus’s cell phone.


Jason Gedrick plays Mark Hickman. Credit: Doug Hyun

By the time the second episode has begun, they’ve discovered the missing uzi in the pulpit of a church that is run by one of the suspects of the 12-year old crime and Mark Hickman has been invited down to the squad for some face time.

Though he does keep his secret liaisons with Sykes quiet, he’s not so silent with his contempt for almost everyone else in the squad: Captain Raydor originally fired him; he asks Andy Flynn if he’s still cheating on his girlfriends, causing Capt. Raydor’s eyes to fly open; and of course he has a lot to say to Lt. Tao, because he was his (Hickman’s) old partner.

By the end of the second episode, their only witness, Emile Fisher is dead, and they still don’t know his connection to the girl who was killed in the car, even though she was calling his cell phone.

So either clear your Monday nights or set your DVRs, or learn how to use your OnDemand, because you won’t want to miss the winter episodes (3 to go) of Major Crimes, on TNT at 8pm CT.

If  you haven’t heard, TNT has cancelled Rizzoli & Isles. It will end after a shortened season this summer.

2015 Obits – Those we lost in 2015 – October thru December

© johnny-strange_3461353b

Johnny Strange ©2010 Barry King

October 1: Johnny Strange, 23: American mountain climber and adventurer, who at 18 became the youngest to scale some of the world’s tallest peaks, died in the Swiss Alps while making a wingsuit jump. He died on impact with the ground after jumping from Mount Gitschen in central Switzerland.

October 6: Billy Joe Royal, 73: pop and country singer (Down in the Boondocks, Cherry Hill Park, Burned Like a Rocket) died in his sleep at his North Carolina home.

October 7: Helen Wilkes, 88: businesswoman, politician and first female Mayor of West Palm Beach, Florida (1978-1979) and City Commissioner (1976-1988), was also a hotelier and animal lover. She is survived by her husband.

October 8: Lindy Infante, 75: former football coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1988-91 with a 24-40 regular season died of pneumonia at Community Hospital of Northeast Florida. Infante’s wife said he fell at home in late September and suffered four broken ribs. He was hospitalized and it was then doctors discovered through x-rays and tests the seriousness of the pneumonia. Mike Holmgren succeeded Infante as Coach of Green Bay.

October 9: Dave Meyers, 62: former basketball player for UCLA and then Milwaukee Bucks, died from cancer in Temecula, California.

October 9: Jerry Parr, 85: American Secret Service agent, who saved a wounded Ronald Reagan during the 1981 assassination attempt, died of heart failure, his wife said. Carolyn Parr said her husband died three days short of their 56th wedding anniversary.


Robert Leuci

October 12: Robert Leuci, 75: police detective and writer, who exposed graft among fellow detectives in the ’70s as a so-called Prince of the City, died at his home in Rhode Island from complications after surgery.

October 14: Robert M White, 92: meteorologist, director of the National Weather Service (1963-1965), ESSA (1965-1970), NOAA (1970-1977) complications of dementia.

October 16: Bevo XIV, 13: American longhorn steer collegiate mascot for the Texax Longhorns, bovine leukemia.

October 18: Anita Sarko, 68: DJ, journalist, NY Club culture female DJ with a big personality was known for her bracing mix of music. Sarko took her own life, she is survived by her husband, Erzen Krivca.

October 20: Cory Wells, 74: co-founder and singer from 1970s band Three Dog Night, died from complications from multiple myeloma in Dunkirk, NY. He had stopped performing in September complaining of severe back pain.

October 22: Arnie Klein, 70: Michael Jackson’s Physician, “The Father of Botox” and the man rumored to be the father of MJ’s oldest son and Michael Jackson’s closest friend died of natural causes at the age of 70. He was admitted to a hospital in Palm Springs on Oct. 19 suffering from severe abdominal pains and stayed in treatment until he died on Oct. 22 around 7:50 pm.

Maureen O'Hara Tweet ©October 24: Maureen O’Hara, 95: Legendary Irish-American actress who appeared in The Quiet Man with John Wayne and was best known for her role in Miracle on 34th Street died of natural causes at home in Boise, Idaho, according to her family.


Willis Carto

October 26: Willis Carto, 89: American white supremacist, founder of the American Free Press, and one of a handful of people who denied the Holocaust ever existed, died at his home in Virginia, of heart failure. His death was announced in the newspaper he helped found, the American Free Press (and confirmed by his wife, Elizabeth). The Southern Povertly Law Center, which tracks extremist organizations, described Carto as a “white nationalist” who espoused “pro-Nazi and rabidly anti-Jewish views.”

October 27: Sam Sarpong, 40: Yo Momma Host and Tommy Hilfiger model died after jumping off a bridge. The circumstances surrounding his death are still under investigation but his death has been ruled a suicide.



October 27: Tillman, 10: skateboarding English bulldog, heart disease.

October 30: Al Molinaro, 96: one of Kenosha, Wisconsin’s most recognizable native sons, Al Molinaro, was best known for his TV role as drive-in owner Al Devecchio on “Happy Days.” He played Murray the Cop on “The Odd Couple” and appeared in 42 national commercials.

Fred Thompson

Fred Dalton Thompson

November 1: Fred Dalton Thompson, 73: U.S. Senator from Tennessee (1994-2003), minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee) and actor (Die Hard 2, Law & Order, In the Line of Fire, 90 Minutes in Heaven) died after a recurrence of lymphoma. He passed away peacefully in Nashville, surrounded by his family.

November 7: Gunnar Hansen, 68: Icelandic-born American actor (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), who played Leatherface, died from pancreatic cancer at his home in Maine. His agent, Mike Eisenstadt said Leatherface was “one of the most iconic evil figures in the history of cinema.”

November 7: Eddie Hoh, 71: rock drummer (The Mamas & The Papas, The Monkees, Donovan) died in Westmont, Illinois.

November 8: Joseph Cure, 31: ice hockey player and actor (Miracle) who was a Minnesota native died in a car crash in Montana. The vehicle spun off the left side of US Highway 284 and rolled over. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Road conditions were reported icy at the time of the crash.

November 9: Tommy Hanson, 29: MLB pitcher (Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) died at Piedmont Hospital after being found not breathing at a friend’s home. He had fallen into a coma with catastrophic organ failure. An autopsy revealed he died from delayed complications of cocaine and alcohol toxicity. The death was ruled an accident caused by cocaine use.

November 10: Vernon Ashley, 99: American Crow Creek chief, Tribal Elder and tribal chairman in mid 1900s who is credited with helping author the tribe’s constitution and bylaws. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and also worked for three South Dakota governors during his lifetime.

November 11: Nathaniel Marston, 40: known for his six-year run as Michael McBain on One Life to Live died of injuries sustained in a late-October car accident. He also appeared in episodes of Blue Bloods, Law & Order: SUV, Castle and White Collar.

November 14: Nick Bockwinkel 80: former CAC (Cauliflower Alley Club) President, WWE Hall of Famer, and “The Greatest AWA World Champion of All Time” died due to health issues.

November 15: P.F. Sloan, 70: singer/songwriter (Secret Agent Man, Eve of Destruction, A Must to Avoid) died after a short bout with pancreatic cancer.

November 18: Abdelhamid Abaaoud: Ringleader of the Paris terrorist attacks, was killed in a French police raid. It is reported he went to Syria and joined ISIS in 2013. His name is connected with the foiled terror attack on a train in Northern France where a gunman was overpowered by passengers, among other attacks.

November 23: Austin Kiplinger, 97: co-founder (with his father) of a personal finance magazine (Kiplinger’s Personal Finance). He also expanded the family’s financial publishing company into a $100 million enterprise into the late 1990s. He died in Rockville, Maryland of brain cancer.

November 27: Garrett Swasey, 44: co-pastor of his church, ice-skating champion and police officer, Swasey was killed during a shooting standoff at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. He was married and had two young children and had been with the University of Colorado at COW police department for six years and had responded to the initial reports of an active shooter. The suspect was taken into police custody after an hours-long standoff at the clinic where Swasey and two civilians were killed.

December 3: Melvin Williams, 73: drug trafficker and actor (The Wire). Known as ‘Little” Melvin Williams, was an authentic Baltimore drug kingpin whose life in the 1960s and post-prison redemption earned him a place in HBO’s “The Wire.” Williams died at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Friends said Williams had cancer.


Robert Loggia Credit: Photo by ITV/REX Shutterstock

December 4: Robert Loggia, 85: Oscar-Nominated actor Robert Loggia had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease for the past 5 years, said his wife of 33 years. A durable and versatile actor, I remember seeing him in Scarface, Jagged Edge and Big. His TV credits span 1966 to 2015. He has two movies listed for release in 2016. He was working up until his death. He was one of my favorite actors. In addition to being survived by his wife, Mr. Loggia has four children.

December 5: Hack Meyers (Donald Haviland) , 41: professional wrestler (ECW) was in a coma after recent brain surgery and passed away without regaining consciousness.

December 5: Chuck Williams, 100: business executive and author, founder of Williams-Sonoma died of natural causes. His cookware retailer, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. helped spur a gourmet revolution in American kitchens. He helped introduce kitchen equipment including garlic presses, food processors and pasta machines and was the first to import balsamic vinegar from Italy.

December 6: Marque Lynche Jr., 34: former co-star of Justin Timerberlake, former Mickey Mouse Club star and American Idol finalist was found dead by his room mate in their New York City apartment.

December 8: Douglas Tompkins, 72: conservationist and businessman, co-founder of The North Face and Esprit died from hypothermia after a kayaking accident in Patagonia. A group including Mexicans and Americans capsized on Chile’s General Carrera Lake. Three members of the group made it to an island. Tompkins and two others remained in the water until personnel from the Chilean Navy arrived to rescue them. Thompkins was transported by helicopter to the Coyhaique Regional Hospital, where doctors attempted to revive him.


Ron Bouchard

December 10: Ron Bouchard, 67: Former Modified great, New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame member and NASCAR Spring Cup Series, a native of Fitchburg, Mass, Ron Bouchard passed away after battling cancer for many years. Bouchard’s wife Paula is the daughter of legendary Modified driver Ed Flemke, Sr.

December 12: Rose Siggins, 43: American Horror Story: Freak Show‘s Legless Suzi died from an infection she contracted that eventually spread through her body. She died in a Denver hospital.

December 13: Don Leaver, 86: award-winning TV director and producer of such likable shows as The Avengers,Police Surgeon (1960), Prime Suspect and A Touch of Frost. He is survived by his second wife, Tania Scott and by their son and daughter and by four children from his first marriage to Caroline Swinton (which ended in divorce).

December 19: Louis DiGiaimo, 77: a casting director who worked on such blockbuster movies as The Godfather, The Excorcist, Rain Man and Sleepers also recommended a relatively unknown Brad Pitt for a role in Thelma & Louise died from complications from a stroke, said his wife, Lee.

December 19: Samir Kuntar, 53: Lebanese convicted murderer, member of Hezbollah, longest-held Lebanese prisoner in Israel, died during a successful missile strike.


CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 21: DJ Timbuck2 performs on stage during AAHH!! Fest 2014 at Union Park on September 21, 2014 in Chicago, United States. Credit: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

December 19: Timbuck2 (Timothy Jones), 34: Chicago DJ, who started performing as a DJ at age 12, according to NBC Chicago, died of cancer. He was 34. Derrick D. Brown, program director at WGCI wrote, “Timbuck2 was a premier turntable technician. His creativity and ear for music was unparalleled. He leaves a huge void that will be extremely difficult to fill.” His hip-hop mixes became a radio station staple.

Hamzah Alijahmi

Hamzah Aljahmi

December 22: Hamzah Aljahmi, 19: American bantamweight boxer from Dearborn, Michigan died after collapsing during his first pro fight. He died at a Youngstown, Ohio hospital after undergoing brain surgery.

December 22: Billy Glaze, 72: convicted Minnesota serial killer who was attempting to clear his name, died of lung cancer in prison.

Brooke McCarter, 52: The Lost Boys star (vampire Paul) died from a genetic liver condition alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AAT). It was reported on McCarter’s official Facebook page by his family.

December 23: Michael Earl, 56: Muppeteer, puppeteer and puppetry instructor, Earl took over the Sesame Street role of Mr. Snuffleupagus, originated by Jerry Nelson. Earl said in an interview with Tough Pigs (the Muppets fan site), that when he was 19 years old, Jim Henson gave him his big break, when he hired him for The Muppet Movie. Earl died after a 3-year battle with colon cancer.

Guest on Left

William Guest (on left)

December 24: William Guest, 74: member of the legendary Gladys Knight and the Pips  died of congestive heart failure in Detroit. He performed with GK&the Pips from 1953 to 1989 when they released such hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

December 25: George Clayton Johnson, 86: the legendary sci-fi writer who authored the first Star Trek TV episode and co-wrote the dark futuristic Logan’s Run passed away from prostate and bladder cancer in Los Angeles.


Dave Henderson ©Betty Udesen/The Seattle Times

December 27: Dave Henderson, 57: former Mariners outfielder and broadcaster died from a massive heart attack at Harborview Hospital . He will be remembered for his postseason heroics and his gregarious, outgoing personality.

December 27: Meadowlark Lemon, 83: Hall of Fame basketball player (Harlem Globetrotters) who had a halfcourt hook shot that dazzled anyone who saw it, died in Scottsdale, Ariz. His death was confirmed by his wife, Cynthia. A cause was not specified. Lemon was a gifted athlete who dreamed of playing for the Globetrotters as a boy in North Carolina. He joined the team in 1954, shortly after leaving the Army. I see the Globetrotters play in Milwaukee every New Year’s Eve, I will miss not seeing Meadowlark Lemon.

2015 Obits – Those we lost in 2015 – July thru September

© Palmer Cecil killer

© James Breeden/Splash News

July 1: Cecil, 13: Zimbabwean protected lion, was murdered by Walter James Palmer, a dentist from Minnesota who paid approximately $55,000 to kill the much-loved animal with a bow and arrow. Palmer boasted he also wanted to kill an elephant but couldn’t find one “big enough.” Cecil was in Hwange National Park, one of Zimbabwe’s national parks when he was killed.


July 3: Steven Benson, 63: convicted murderer who killed his mother and brother in an attempt to receive the family’s $10 million tobacco fortune died in prison after nearly three decades behind bars. At age 63, he was the same age as the mother he killed by a pipe bomb he planted in her Chevy Suburban in the family’s North Naples driveway in 1985. Also in the car were her two children, 21-year-old Scott, who died and 41-year-old Carol Lynn who was injured but survived. When Benson died he had $30 in his commissary fund.


Diana Douglas

July 3: Diana Douglas, 92: actress, ex-wife of Kirk and mother of Michael, died of cancer at the Motion Picture and Television Home in Woodland Hills according to her husband of 15 years, Donald Webster. In the 2003 film It Runs in the Family (about a dysfunctional New York clan) Diana played devoted matriarch Evelyn Gromberg opposite ex-husband Kirk; her son Michael (who also produced) and Cameron Douglas (Michael’s son with Diandra Douglas) as her grandson. Diana’s other son with Kirk (Joel) served as the associate producer. Her resume includes 22 other films, live TV dramas, Broadway and her memoir, which included the revelation she dated Errol Flynn.

July 3: Phyllis Amanda Peterson, 43: American actress.

July 4: Scot Breithaupt, 57: ‘Godfather of BMX’ was found dead in a tent in a vacant lot in Indio, Calif. at the SW corner of Las Palmas Road & Monroe Street. Apparently he had been dead for an unknown amount of time before someone noticed and called police.

July 5: Burt Shavitz, 80: beekeeper, businessman and co-founder of Burt’s Bees passed away in Bangor, Maine from respiratory problems. The Durham-based natural personal care company was started in 1984 after Shavitz, who ran a roadside honey stand in Maine, picked up artist Roxanne Quimby, a hitchhiker. Quimby made candles out of unused wax from Shavitz’ beehives and together they made $20,000 the first year. From there they started making lip balm, soaps, faces washes, lotions and other personal care products that can now be found in 40 countries. Burt’s Bees relocated to North Carolina in 1994. Clorox Co. bought the company in 2007 for $925 million.

July 6: Jerry Weintraub, 77: film producer, chairman and CEO of United Artists, died of a heart attack brought on by a bowel rupture (obstruction). Shortly after attending a July 4 BBQ, he started feeling ill. Thinking he had contracted food poisoning, his partner, Susie called 911 at 3am. Weintraub was in the hospital for 30 hours, yet doctors were not able to identify the problem, even after the CT scan diagnosed the bowel obstruction. Just after 6am on Monday, Weintraub had a heart attack; a second CT scan revealed he had suffered a bowel rupture. When the rupture occurred, it sent poison throughout his body. Weintraub was taken to ICU, where he suffered a second heart attack, and died. Weintraub is known for such films as Ocean’s Eleven, Diner, The Karate Kid (old and new), The Specialist, Oh, God! and many more.

July 8: Muhsin al-Fadhli, 34: Kuwaiti militant, Khorasan Group Leader, believed dead in Syria airstrike. At 20, he was a top al Qaeda leader. His rise in the group was based on his ability to network and raise funds for the terrorist group. He was brought up in the oil rich nation of Kuwait. His involvement in terrorist circles brought him from Kuwait to Afghanistan to Russia to Iran and Syria, where US officials said he may have met his death in an airstrike; although no confirmation that he was killed. At the time of his death, there was a $7 million bounty on his head from the US State Department.

July 8: Irwin Keyes, 63: an actor with credits from The Jeffersons to House of 1000 Corpses died from acromegaly, a pituitary gland disorder. He is survived by his wife Tracy Fontaine, whom he married in 2008.

July 8: Ken Stabler, 69: football player with the Oakland Raiders, and former University of Alabama quarterback, died listening to his favorite songs, like Sweet Home Alabama, as a result of complications associated with colon cancer.

July 9: Michael Masser: 74: songwriter (Saving All My Love For You, Theme from Mahogany) complications from a stroke.

July 11: Satoru Iwata, 55: Japanese game programmer, president and CEO of Ninetendo (since 2002), bile duct cancer.

July 12: D’Army Bailey, 73: American civil rights campaigner, judge, actor; founder of the National Civil Rights Museum, cancer.

July 12: JaJuan Dawson, 37: American football player (Cleveland Browns). Divers recovered Dawson body two days after he fell out of a rented boat on Lavon Lake near Wylie during a family outing in Dallas. Dawson was not wearing a life jacket and likely could not swim when he fell overboard as his two daughters, wife and three friends looked on in horror.

July 14: Marlene Sanders, 84: the first woman to anchor a prime-time network newscast for ABC, in 1964, when she filled-in for Ron Cochran who had lost his voice that night, was also the first network TV female journalist to report for Vietnam in 1966 and the first female vice-president of a news division in 1976. She won 3 Emmy Awards. Her son, CNN legal analyst and New Yorker staff writer, Jeffrey Toobin announced her death on his Facebook page. She died at the Calvary Hospital Hospice. She is also survived by two grandchildren.

July 16: Alan Kupperberg, 62: comic book artist (The Amazing Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man) thymus cancer.

July 17: Jules Bianchi, 25: French Formula One drive, head injuries sustained in a race collision.


Neal Falls

July 18: Neal Falls, 45: an Oregon man who was killed this month by an escort he’d met online, is now being investigated in connection with the deaths and disappearances of sex workers in at least  9 states from coast-to-coast, authorities told NBC News. Authorities said they are convinced that the woman stopped a cold-blooded serial killer when she shot and killed Falls with his own gun in her Charleston, West Virginia, apartment. They described the scene has “textbook case” right out of Law Enforcement 101. Information abut Neal Falls has been shared with other detectives in 8 other states including Nevada, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, Texas, Oregon and California. No links have been found, but in all of the other states, detectives are reviewing cases in which prostitutes or escorts disappeared or were found dismembered about the same time that Falls, 45, is known to have been living in the vicinity.

July 19: Val Alexander, 100: American big band leader, songwriter-arranger (A-Tisket, A-Tasket), film and TV composer (I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Donna Reed Show), died of heart failure.

July 19: Douglas S. Cook, 56: screenwriter (The Rock, Double Jeopardy, Criminal). He was surrounded by his family when he passed away.

July 19: Josh Greenberg, 28: technology executive, co-founder of Grooveshark, was discovered dead in his Florida home. No evidence suggests that his death was a result of foul play or suicide, police say. Greenberg’s girlfriend had just returned from a trip to Orlando that evening when she reportedly found him deceased.

July 20: Tom Moore, 86: American cartoonist (Archie), throat cancer.

July 22: Iringa, 46: North America’s oldest African Elephant, who was living at the PAWS sanctuary, was euthanized following a long history of degenerative joint and foot disease. Her favorite time of day was her therapy pool sessions, where she would float, taking the weight off her feet and joints. Her caregivers would feed her special treats. After the session she would immediately go and cover herself in mud, like an elephant would do naturally in the wild. Iringa was born in Mozambique, Africa in 1969 and was captured before she was two years old and sent to the Toronto Zoo in 1974. She was one of seven elephants shipped to the zoo from Mozambique that year; Iringa was the longest-lived elephant from that group. Together with two other elephants named Toka and Thika, who were born at the zoo, Iringa arrived at PAWS in October of 2013 after the Toronto City Council voted to relocate the elephants following the Zoo’s decision to end its elephant program. Toka is 45 and still lives at PAWS,

July 24: Joe McMahon: 24 American television associate producer (Deadliest Catch), shot.

July 25: Scott Sims, 59: veterinarian and TV personality (Aloha Vet) who turned his love of animals into a reality show on Nat Geo WILD died after a two-month fight with bladder cancer. He was in talks for a second season when he was diagnosed.

Bobbi Kristina Brown

Bobbi Kristina Brown

July 26: Bobbi Kristina Brown, 22: media personality, singer, daughter of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, died after spending nearly six months in a comatose state. She was found face down and unresponsive in a bathtub at her home in January. The initial autopsy found no significant injuries and the final autopsy did not show any “obvious underlying cause of death.”

July 26: Michael Lutz, 44: whistleblower (John Doe Wisconsin investigation of Scott Walker, et al.) died of an apparent gunshot wound while in the presence of Menomonee Falls tactical officers after a brief tactical situation. He had recently finished fourth in a primary of the 11th Aldermanic District to fill the Common Counil seat left vacant by the death of Joe Dudzik. He had received 426 votes out of 4,155 ballots cast. He retired from the Milwaukee Police Department after 17 years, receiving disability pay for PTSD. He later became a criminal defense attorney and was the anonymous source for a series of stories last year critical of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm. Lutz suggested that Chisholm (a Democrat) had a political agenda in overseeing a John Doe investigation of aids and associates of Reppublican Gov. Scott Walker during his time as Milw. County Executive and in initiating a separate probe of Walker’s campaign. Scott Walker has recently announced his bid to run for President in 2016.

Ann Rule

Ann Rule

July 26: Ann Rule, 83: true crime author (The Stranger Beside Me), who worked with Ted Bundy at a crisis center, died in Seattle of heart failure. Her book about Bundy eventually became a TV movie. She went on to write 35 additional books, 28 of which were USA Today best sellers. In 1969 she began writing for True Detective magazine under a male pseudonym, “Andy Stack.” As a female crime writer, Rule focused on the victim, who was often female. By doing so, she reinvented the true-crime genre and earned the trust of millions of readers.

July 28: Shawn Robinson, 41: stunt performer (Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers, Hook), had been working on the Lionsgate movie Deepwater Horizon when he was found dead in his hotel room in New Orleans, Louisiana after he failed to report for work. He was the son of legendary Hollywood stuntman Dar Robinson. His brother Troy is Vin Diesel’s stunt double. A cause of death is still unknown.

July 29: Sean Malone, 54: actor (The Fighter, Gone Baby Gone, The Forger) died in Boston after being in a coma for 9 days following a drowning accident. He went out too far while swimming at a South Boston beach and though off-duty firefighters and others had raced to rescue him, Malone was already underwater by the time they had reached him.

Lynn Anderson

Lynn Anderson

July 30: Lynn Anderson, 67: (photo: Jimmy Ellis) best known for her classic recording (I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden, died of a heart attack at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  In addition to her country music career, she was also a horse breeder and an award-winning, lifelong equestrian who became involved in therapeutic horse riding programs for disabled and troubled children. She is survived by her father, 3 children, 4 grandchildren and her partner (Mentor Williams).

Oscars 2012 - PRESS ROOM

Uggie. ©Leonard Ortiz/The Orange Co. Register/

August 7: Uggie, 13: canine actor (The Artist, Water for Elephants). His role in The Artist earned him a Golden Collar Award and the Palm Dog Award at Cannes. He also nipped at Harvey Levin (good Dog!) during a visit to TMS Live. He cashed in on all that success to become Ninetendo’s first ever spokes dog. But Uggie, at 13, was sadly euthanized due to a prostate tumor, that he had been suffering with. RIP Uggie.

August 8: Tony Lara, 50: fishing captain (FV Cornelia Marie) and reality show personality (Deadliest Catch) died in Sturgis, South Dakota during the famous motorcycle rally, confirmed by Sturgis authorities. Lara died at a private home in his sleep according to the Meade County Sheriff. Lara worked on the Cornelia Marie for 10 years in the 1990s and was a close friend of Phil Harris, the captain of the Cornelia Marie who died in 2010.

August 9: Frank Gifford: 84: American Hall of Fame football player (New York Giants), broadcaster (Monday Night Football) and Pro Football Hall of Famer, died suddenly at his Connecticut home of natural causes.

August 15: Julian Bond, 75: civil rights activist and politician, chairman of the NAACP (1998-2010), complications of vascular disease.

August 16: E’Dena Hines, 33: actress, Morgan Freeman’s granddaughter and a young woman with talent and promise was stabbed in front of her apartment building on West 162nd Street by her boyfriend, Lamar Davenport, who was taken into custody.

August 17: Yvonne Craig: 78: As a trained dancer, she did her own stunts, and she originated the role of Batgirl in the 1960s Batman television series. She died after a two-year battle with breast cancer at her home in Pacific Palisades; but it “didn’t dampen her sense of humor or her spirit,” her family said in a statement. She leaves behind her husband, her sister and two nephews.

August 18: Karolyn Ali, 70: Ali died of natural causes at her home in Los Angeles. She was devoted to her community and was an Oscar-nominated producer. She collaborated on projects ranging from film, documentaries, music videos and commercials for more than three decades. In 1984 she founded Renge Films along with Bill Parker and Peter Allen and together they produced commercials for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. She also produced music videos (with Renge) including Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover.” Her clients included Sinbad, Steele Pulse, Ziggy Marley, Dionne Warwick and Burt Bacharach. In 1994 she produced Kla$h starring Jasmine Guy and Giancarlo Esposito. She joined Tupac Shakur’s Amaru Entertainment company in 2000 as senior production executive and with Lauren Lazin, were Oscar nominated for the 2004 documentary feature, Tupac: Resurrection. She was a founding member and board chair of Theatre of Hearts/Youth First Artists-in-Residence, a Los-Angeles-based nonprofit and the recipient of numerous honors including the Lillian Gish Award for Women in Film and the NAACP/Legal Defense Fund’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.

August 19: Russell Poole, 58: the retired LAPD police officer who publicly contended that the Los Angeles Police Department was involved in the death of rapper Biggie Smalls a.k.a. The Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace) died suddenly from a suspected heart attack. Sherriff’s investigators performed CPR and Poole was rushed to a local hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.


Toby Sheldon ©Inside Edition

August 21: Toby Sheldon, 35: reality television star (Botched, My Strange Addiction) and Justin Bieber lookalike was found in a Motel 6 room in Los Angeles three days after he was reported missing. On My Strange Addiction he discussed the numerous surgical procedures he had including hair transplants, lip surgery and a chin reduction all to look like Justin Bieber. He spent well over $100,000 on over 12 surgeries. Like Bieber, Sheldon wrote and recorded his own music. In a July 2014 episode of Botched, he was shown in the recording studio “the gift of writing music is not something you can learn” he said at that time.


Dust Lady Marcy Borders

Marcy Borders “Dust Lady”

August 24: Marcy Borders, 42: 911 survivor, subject of “Dust Lady” photograph. The mother of two, a native and lifelong resident of Bayonne, NJ, Marcy Borders was diagnosed with cancer last August and had been undergoing treatments. She was working as a legal assistant for Bank of America on Sept. 11, 2001. Her office was on the 81st Floor of 1 World Trade Center when it was attacked by terrorists. Then 28, Borders found her way down the stairwell and stepped onto the sidewalk just as the south tower began to fall. A stranger pulled her into the lobby of a nearby building as the other tower began to tumble and photographer Stan Honda snapped the photograph known as Dust Lady, on of the most vivid images of the terrible tragedy of 911. Borders has died of stomach cancer, according to her family, at age 42.

August 26: Alison Parker, 24: news reporter at WDBJ, shot by Vester Flanagan/Bryce Williams.

August 26: Adam Ward, 27: news cameraman and photojournalist at WDBJ, shot by Vester Flanagan/Bryce Williams.

August 27: Darryl Dawkins, 58: Known as Chocolate Thunder and for shattering backboards in the NBA, died of a sudden heart attack. He made history in 1975 when he became the first player ever drafted directly from high school to the NBA. The Orlando native played 15 seasons in the NBA, playing with the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets. If you ever heard of Darryl Dawkins, then you probably have a story about  him … here’s mine. I saw him once when he was in town with the the 76ers. He was at the Tangiers, a club known for having the best chicken wings in town. He was with a couple of other players and they were enjoying wings. Their first order was 15 orders of 10 wings each. That’s 150 wings. These were actual wings, not just pieces. They then ordered another 15 orders, and then another 15 orders. By the time they were finished, you could hardly see them behind the mountain of bones from the wings. A chicken wing looked like a pencil in the huge hands of Darryl Dawkins. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

wayne dyer

Wayne Dyer

August 29: Wayne Dyer, 75: Self-help author and motivational speaker, died after battling leukemia. A statement read, “Wayne has left his body, passing away through the night. He always said he couldn’t wait for this next adventure to begin and had no fear of dying. Our hearts are broken, but we smile to think of how much our scurvy elephant will enjoy the other side. We love your forever Da/Wayne.”

August 29: Kyle Jean-Baptiste, 21: theatre actor (Les Misérables), died after he fell off a fire escape at his mother’s home in Brooklyn. He died at Woodhull Hospital. He was the youngest actor to play Jean Valjean on the Great White Way. Police believe his death was accidental.

'Good Will Hunting' Premiere

Wes Craven Credit: Terry Lilly/

August 30: Wes Craven, 76: film director, writer, producer, Horror Maestro died after a battle with brain cancer. He wrote horror, directed it and guided Meryl Streep to an Oscar nom for Music of the Heart. He wrote and directed the first Nightmare on Elm Street and claims he got the idea from living next to a cemetery on a street of that name in the suburbs of Cleveland. The five Nightmare on Elm Street movies were released from 1984-89. Craven’s Scream series was a box-office sensation, which began in 1996 and grossed more than $100 million domestically, as did Scream 2 (1997) and he recently executive produced a Scream series for MTV. The season finale of the series will pay tribute to Craven, an MTV spokesperson has said. Craven is survived by  his wife, producer and former Disney Studios VP, Iya Labunka.

Dean Jones_

Dean Jones

September 1: Dean Jones, 84: star of The Love Bug and That Darn Cat, died of Parkinson’s disease. He had a long association with The Walt Disney Co., which began with an unexpected phone call from Walt Disney himself, who praised his work on the TV show “Ensign O’Toole.” Two years later, Disney called again to offer him a role in That Darn Cat opposite Hayley Mills. It would be the first of ten Disney films Jones would make. He returned to Broadway as well, debuting with Jane Fond in There Was a Little Girl, playing Fonda’s boyfriend in a short-lived drama about the rape of a young woman. He eventually returned to film and TV, hosting a variety show, What’s It All About, World? in 1969. He is survived by Lory, his wife of 42 years; 3 children; 8 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren.

September 3: Leon Gorman, 80: Head of L.L. Bean died of cancer at his home in Yarmouth, Maine.

September 3: Carter Lay, 44: businessman and philanthropist, heir to Frito-Lay and leukemia survivor was found dead in his home, but no foul play was involved. Lay was the grandson of Frito-Lay founder, Herman Lay. The Frito-Lay empire is worth more than $13 billion, according to Forbes.

Candida Royalle

Candida Royalle ©Deborah Feingold/Corbis

September 7: Candice Vadala, 64: former porn star, who spent years searching for the mother who abandoned her when she was only 18 months old, died of ovarian cancer, her friends said. Vadala, whose professional name was Candida Royalle, was raised in New York by her father and step mom. Though she eventually located her mother with the help of a private detective, only to discover that the woman had died of the same disease.

September 8: Tyler Sash: 27: football player (New York Giants), former Giants safety, was found dead in his Iowa home of an accidental drug overdose, as confirmed by an autopsy. Sash overdosed on two pain medications: methadone and hydrocodone. He had endured a recent shoulder dislocation and had a history of chronic shoulder pain – “significant conditions,” according to the medical examiner. The autopsy found “accidental mixed drug toxicity” was the cause of death. Further tests would be done to determine if he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease found in many former NFL players.

September 11: Alan Purwin, 53: helicopter pilot and aerial film operator for such blockbusters films as Transforms, Star Trek and more recently, Jurassic World, was one of several men who died in a plane crash while filming the Tom Cruise picture “Mena” in Columbia.

September 13: Moses Malone, 60: Twelve time NBA All-Star and Hall of Fame basketball player, who had a career with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Houston Rockets passed away in a hotel room in Norfolk, Va. at the age of 60. Malone was in Norfolk to participate in the Still Hope Celebrity Golf Weekend Extravaganza, a non-profit that helps Hampton Roads mothers get to a point beyond self-sustaining. The 6-foot-10-inch player was among the most dominant centers every to play the game.

September 13: Gary Richrath, 65: lead guitarist and songwriter of REO Speedwagon. News of his death was confirmed by his former REO Speedwagon bandmate Kevin Cronin.

September 16: Peggy Jones, 75: guitarist, known as Lady Bo, Mother of Rock ‘n Roll, who was an original part of Bo Diddley’s sound from 1957 to 1962 and influential in her own songwriting and musical endeavors thereafter. Her husband, Wally Malone, wrote on his Facebook page, “Today is one of the saddest days of my life. My wife and partner of 47 Years has been called up to that great rock & roll band in the heavens to be reunited with Bo Diddley, Jerome Green and Clifton James.”

September 22: Yogi Berra, 90: died of natural causes in his sleep in West Caldwell, New Jersey, 69 years to the day after his MLB debut. If you don’t know the career of Yogi Berra … Google him.


Joseph Coffey

September 27: Joseph Coffey, 77: a NYC detective sergeant who took Son of Sam’s confession, arrested John Gotti three times, trailed a mobster from Little Italy to Germany in a case that eventually implicated the Vatican Bank and even danced with Nancy Reagan at the Waldorf one night (he was assigned to guard her) died at his home in Levittown, NY from complications of a heart condition.

September 30: Kelly Gissendaner, 47: Convicted malice murderer, executed by lethal injection.

We Lost Two more magnificient Elephants in 2015

Wanda the Asian Elephant


February 12, 2015: Wanda, 57: one of the oldest Asian elephants in North America, Wanda was humanely euthanized at PAWS’ ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif. following a long history of arthritis and foot disease, the leading cause for the euthanization of captive elephants. Wanda was born in the wild but was captured at a young age to be put on display in the United States. During her lifetime she was moved from one place to another, including Disneyland, a circus, zoos in Texas and then Detroit. In 2005 the Detroit Zoo (a leader in animal welfare as well as providing sanctuary for animals in need of rescue) decided to end its elephant program and opted to relocate Wanda and fellow Asian elephant Winky to PAWS’ ARK 2000. (Winky passed away in 2008.) Another Asian elephant, Gypsy, arrived at the Sanctuary, and it was discovered that they had been in a circus together more than 20 years earlier. They instantly remembered one another and could always be found close together. Even in death, their friendship endured. After Wanda passed away, Gypsy approached her friend, stayed by her side for a period of time, gently touched her body and “spoke” to her in soft rumbles before slowly walking away.


Iringa at PAWS

July 22, 2015: Iringa, 46: North America’s oldest African Elephant, who was living at the PAWS sanctuary, was euthanized following a long history of degenerative joint and foot disease. Her favorite time of day was her therapy pool sessions, where she would float, taking the weight off her feet and joints. Her caregivers would feed her special treats. After the session she would immediately go and cover herself in mud, like an elephant would do naturally in the wild. Iringa was born in Mozambique, Africa in 1969 and was captured before she was two years old and sent to the Toronto Zoo in 1974. She was one of seven elephants shipped to the zoo from Mozambique that year; Iringa was the longest-lived elephant from that group. Together with two other elephants named Toka and Thika, who were born at the zoo, Iringa arrived at PAWS in October of 2013 after the Toronto City Council voted to relocate the elephants following the Zoo’s decision to end its elephant program. Toka is 45 and still lives at PAWS.

2015 Obits – Those we lost in 2015 – April thru June

April 1: Robert Walker, 54: Canadian-born American animator and director (Aladdin, Brother Bear, Mulan, The Lion King), was known as a “down-to-earth, quiet, thoughtful guy who cared about the people around him.” He translated his love and passion for drawing into a career as a Walt Disney layout artist and director — a career that culminated with a 2003 Academy Award nomination for the animated feature Brother Bear, a film that earned more than $250 million worldwide. Bob died from a heart attack at age 54, he had recently retired from the film industry.


Cynthia Lennon © Alastair Grant.

April 1: Cynthia Lennon, 75:  Cynthia was John Lennon’s first wife and mother of Julian Lennon. Lennon’s former Beatles bandmate, Paul McCartney released a special message in honor of Cynthia, writing, “The news of Cynthia’s passing is very sad. She was a lovely lady who I’ve known since our early days together in Liverpool. She was a good mother to Julian and will be missed by us all; but I will always have great memories of our times together.” Cynthia lost her battle with cancer.

April 2: Linsey Berardi, 22: Bad Girls Club star (Oxygen), Linsey “Jade” Berardi, who was known as “Brooklyn Brat” on the show, reportedly got kicked off the show after getting in a fight with a cameraman. At this time, her cause of death is unknown.

April 2: Tom Towles, 65: a character actor, who was a regular in Rob Zombie films died from a stroke at a hospital in Pinellas, Florida.

April 3: Bob Burns, 64: former Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer died in a single-vehicle wreck along Tower Ridge Road in Cartersville (Bartow County) Georgia. He was not wearing a seatbelt and was the only occupant in the vehicle.

NFL Historical Imagery

Terdell Middleton: ©1980 AP Photo/NFL Photos


April 3: Terdell Middleton, 59: American football player (Green Bay Packers) was a running back and attended the University of Memphis during the fall of 1973. He was a third round pick in the 1977 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals and was traded to Green Bay in the preseason. He went to the Pro Bowl after the 1978 season, when he ran for 1,116 yards, sixth best in the NFL. He was five days short of his 60th birthday when he died.

April 5: Frederic Brandt, 65: Brandt was likely the inspiration for Martin Short’s character on “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” a parody that reportedly DEVASTATED the celebrity doctor. He was found dead in his Miami home on Sunday morning after hanging himself, a spokesperson for the Miami Police Department confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. Some of Brandt’s patients included Madonna and Stephanie Seymour.

April 6: Alton “Ben” Powers, 64: Good Times actor, (Keith Anderson) passed away, cause of death unknown.

April 7: Jose Capellan, 34: former major league pitcher, was found dead from an apparent heart attack at his home in Philadelphia. He apparently was taking Ambien, a drug used for sleep disorders.

April 8: Geoffrey Lewis, 79: had roles in Clint Eastwood movies (High Plains Drifter, Thunderball & Lightfoot, Every Which Way But Loose, Any Which Way You Can, Bronco Billy, Pink Cadillac, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), plus other films (The Devil’s Rejects, Heaven’s Gate, Dillinger, TV Movie Salem’s Lot, Smile), and numerous television shows (Barnaby Jones, Hawaii Five-O, Lou Grant, Little House on the Prairie, Falcon Crest, Murder She Wrote). Geoffrey was the father of actress Juliette Lewis and he is survived by his wife Paula Hochhalter and nine other children including Lightfield and Matthew, both actors and Dierdre, an actress.

April 9: Alex Soto, 49: A popular Puerto Rican comedian and drag queen, Alex had been recovering from the amputation of his left foot when he suffered a heart attack. He died in Boston. He had previously battled diabetes.

April 10: Eduardo Gauggel Medina, 48 and Eduardo Gaugel Rivas, 70: both Honduran lawyers and politician, the elder Eduardo was also a member of the Supreme Court (1994-1998), the father and son were murdered in Honduras as they were entering Gauggel Rivas’ house in San Pedro Sula by gunman wielding high powered weapons. The son and father died at the scene suffering multiple gunshot wounds. One of the perpetrators was injured in the exchange and authorities arrested him at a clinic in Villa Nueva, 25 kilometers from where the original attack happened.

April 10: Lauren Hill, 19: American college basketball player, pediatric cancer advocate, died of Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). People diagnosed with this type of caner are given two years maximum to live. Lauren’s motto was “never give up.”

April 12: Ibrahim Sulayman Muhammad al-Rubaish, 35: Muslim cleric, said to be the religious leader of al-Qaeda in Yemen who had a $5m bounty on his head, has been killed by a US drone strike. It is unclear who launched the air strike. He was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2006, after which he joined al-Qaeda in Yemen.

Marion Warner

Marion C. Warner (courtesy of Havlicek family)

April 12: Marion C. Stroud Havlicek Warner, 92: passed peacefully on April 12, 2015 at the age of 92 of complications from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Marion is survived by her children: Scott R Stroud (deceased), Jeffrey Stroud, Mary-Jo and Annabelle Havlicek. She was preceded in death by her brother Robert Muehlbach and sister Margaret Muehlbach Bauer; and her husbands, James Stroud, Joseph F. Havlicek and Charles W. Warner. She was the loving grandmother to Nick Stroud; Lauren and Jenene Ebstein; Teresa, Scott Robert, James and Holly Stroud; the generous great grandmother to ten and the caring great-great grandmother to three. She was a secretary of the Year recipient and many times Toastmaster’s Speaker Award winner. Marion lived in Stevens Point for almost two decades and worked at Robert’s Irrigation, Joern’s Furniture Company, Inc. and Washington Elementary School. She moved to Milwaukee in the mid-70’s. Marion loved crossword puzzles, murder mysteries, shopping, jewelry, shoes and tiramisu. She was my mother.


April 14: Percy Sledge, 73: best known for his hit “When a Man Loves a Woman,” died at his Baton Rouge, Louisiana home after a long battle with cancer. His career spanned 50 years.

Homaro Cantu

Homaro Cantu

April 14: Homaro Cantu, 38: American chef, suicide by hanging, was found on Chicago’s Northwest Side. He was found in the brewery he was planning to open in the summer in Old Irving Park. Cantu was a culinary innovator on many levels.



April 14: Kevin Rosier, 53: American super heavyweight kickboxing champion and mixed martial artist (UFC), was one of the first men to ever step into the UFC Octagon. Rosier, who took part in the UFC 1 tournament in 1993 was ill for quite some time, suffered an apparent fatal heart attack.

April 15: Joseph A Bennett, 44: British actor (The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, The Bill) and husband to Julie Graham, was found hanging in Richmond Park, SW London. Bennett met Graham when they were in a play together and they married in secret.

April 16: Johnny Kemp, 55: born August 2, 1959, Kemp started singing in Bahamian nightclubs at age 13. He moved to New York in 1979 with the band “Kinky Fox.” He is well known for his hit “Just Got Paid.” He died after falling and hitting his head on a rock on the beach in Jamaica. Reportedly he was to join the Tom Joyner Morning Cruise. He is survived by his wife Deidre and their two sons. Enjoy the video, it will have you out of your seats … (below)

April 18: Joseph Lechleider, 82: was father of the DSL Internet Technology.

April 19: Freddie Gray, 25: police suspect in Baltimore. Six police officers were suspended after Freddie Gray died from a severed spinal cord after being chased and arrested.

Betty Willis

Betty Willis

April 19: Betty Willis, 91: the American graphic designer who created the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign along Interstate 15 that has served as a gateway to the city since 1959 died of natural causes at the home of her daughter in Las Vegas. She was born in Overton, Nevada and when she was about 2-weeks old, her father moved the family to Las Vegas. She also designed the sign for the fabled Moulin Rouge Hotel. Though the building was destroyed in a series of fires, the sign was saved and moved to the Neon Museum in 2009. In addition to her daughter, Willis is survived by two grandchildren and a great grandchild.


April 21: Cindy Yang, 24: model, and entertainer Cindy Yang (Peng Hsin-yi) committed suicide in her Taichung residence by reportedly inhaling helium, leaving behind a suicide note, blaming coworkers and bullying on the Internet. Fans of “Cindy Yang” and of the TV show “University” pointed to a Facebook page also saying that bullying led her to take her own life. Police said that Peng’s suicide note mentioned Internet “haters” and colleagues as being the reason for her suicide.

April 23: Richard Corliss, 71: longtime film critic for Time magazine, and autor of three books, including Talking Pictures. He died under hospice care in New York City after suffering a stroke.

April 23: Paul Ryan, 69: Actor, TV Host and correspondent (Entertainment Tonight) died from leukemia at Providence Saint Joseph Hospital in Burbank. He acted, he interviewed celebrities, he was a TV hosting coach, speaker and even hosted Celebrity Master Class for the SAG Foundation.


Sawyer Sweeten

April 23: Sawyer Sweeten, 19: the actor from Everybody Loves Raymond died from a suspected suicide (gunshot). He was 19 (photo is from 2010). He was only weeks from his 20th birthday. He was visiting his family in Texas where it is believed to have shot himself on their front porch.


April 24: Sabeen Mahmud, 39: Pakistani human rights activist, was shot dead in Karachi via a drive-by shooting after hosting a talk on allegations of torte in the province of Balochistan. She was driving home with her mother, who was also attacked. Ms. Mehmud was a director of the charity The Second Floor, also known as T2F.

April 25: notable deaths consequent to the 2015 Nepal earthquake: Dan Fredinburg, 33, American executive, head of privacy at Google; Mattias Kuhle, 67, German geographer.


Jayne Meadows-Allen

April 26: Jayne Meadows-Allen, 95: legendary actress, award winner on stage and screen, born to missionary parents in China, died peacefully of natural causes in her Encino, Calif. home. Meadows-Allen was in the entertainment industry for more than six decades, from Broadway roles to TV roles. She was also a panelist on the CBS hit program, I’ve Got a Secret. During her run on the show, Jayne was the highest rated actress on CBS, second only to Lucille Ball. Winner of countless awards, Int’l Platform Association Award, Susan B. Anthony Award and many more. Jayne’s husband of 46 years, Steve Allen, the first host of The Tonight Show, passed away in 2000. Their son, Bill Allen states that she was immediately charmed by him when they met, even saying to her sister, Audrey Meadows, “If that man isn’t married soon he will be … and to me.”


April 27: Verne Gagne, 89: professional wrestler, trainer and promoter (AWA); wrestling legend and Wrestling Observer first year Hall of Famer had suffered from dementia for many years, which included a 2009 incident where he threw down a fellow nursing home resident. Gagne was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s (or possibly chronic traumatic encephalopathy caused by a lifetime of head injuries) and had been living in the “memory-loss” section at a Bloomington, Minn. health care facility. He continued to make public appearances in his last years, aided by his son Greg. He was 89 when he died.

April 27: Andrew Lesnie, 59: Australian cinematographer (The Lord of the Rings, I Am Legend, The Water Diviner), Oscar winner (2002), died from a heart attack.


Nigel Terry

April 30: Nigel Terry, 69: an English actor who starred as King Arthur in John Boorman’s 1981 medieval drama Excalibur died of emphysema. (Blogger’s Note: When I first saw Boorman’s “Excalibur” I watched it at least once a week for almost a year, I was that hypnotized by Nigel Terry’s performance.) Terry also played in Anthony Harvey’s The Lion in Winter. In 1986 he played a bisexual voluptuary with a goatee and a gleaming eye in Caravaggio opposite Sean Bean and Tilda Swinton. He also worked in theatre (the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company), often working with director Max Stafford-Clark and playwright Howard Barker. In his last major film, Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy (2004) an epic starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom, he had the pleasure of playing a Trojan high priest and advisor to O’Toole’s King Priam. In 1993 in moved from London back to Cornwall partly to be near his parents in their later years, but also to enjoy the beauty of the cliffs and sea.


April 30: Ben E King, 76: soul and R&B singer, best known for his iconic 1961 single “Stand by Me,” died from coronary heart disease. Though he gained some fame with The Drifters, it was the classic Stand By Me that cemented his fame.

May 1: Dave Goldberg, 47: Silicon Valley entrepreneur, SurveyMonkey chief executive and husband of Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg was found lying next to a gym treadmill at a holiday resort in Mexico. Goldberg died of severe head trauma. He had vital signs when he was discovered, but later died at a hospital.

May 1: Grace Lee Whitney, 85: born in Detroit, Mich., she is best known for her Star Trek character, Yeoman Janice Rand of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Whitney passed away peacefully in her Coarsegold home.

Michael Blake

Michael Blake accepts his Oscar in 1991 as Doris Leader Charge translates his speech into the Sioux language.

May 2: Michael Blake, 69: author and Oscar-winning screenwriter of Dances With Wolves (he adapted the screenplay from his own novel), died peacefully after a lengthy illness in Tucson, Ariz. His novel sold more than 3.5 million copies and was translated into 15 languages. The 1990 film won seven Oscars. He is survived by his wife Marrianne and his three children.

May 2: Philip S. Goodman, 89: director, screenwriter and producer, who wrote for film and TV, died at his home in New York City. He wrote episodes for TV shows such as Profiles in Courage, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Johnny Staccato. He directed the 1963 feature We Shall Return. He also wrote and directed television documentaries and industrial films for many years. In 1970 he wrote three episodes of National Educational Television’s “Our Vanishing Wilderness,” one of the first series on TV to focus on environmental issues. He also directed TV commercials for Coca-Cola, RCA, Revlon and Rheingold beer, among others. He is survived by his daughter Jody (a lawyer); a son Nicholas (a film producer); and two grandchildren.

May 4: William Bast, 84: wrote extensively for both film and TV and was also known for his two James Dean bios, died of complications from Alzheimer’s.

© ellen-albertini-dow

Ellen Albertini Dow Credit: Erik Pedersen

May 4: Ellen Albertini Dow, 101: whose memorable take on “Rapper’s Delight” stole the show in the 1998 Adam Sandler movie The Wedding Singer – and whose screen career started in her 70s. She died at the age of 101 from pneumonia.


May 4: Joshua Ozersky, 47: the prominent American food writer and a Portland resident, died of drowning after suffering a seizure in his Chicago hotel, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. He was in Chicago to attend the James Beard Foundation Awards.

May 5: Gerard “Jock” Davison, 47: a former Belfast IRA commander and the most senior pro-peace process republican killed since the 1997 IRA ceasefire was shot dead, once in the back of the head in front of children going to a local primary school in the Markets area of south Belfast at 9am.

May 6: Guy Carawan, 87: a folk singer and political activist, introduced the song “We Shall Overcome” to the US civil rights movement.

May 7: Gilbert Lewis, 79: a character actor who played the kindly King of Cartoons on the first season of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, died at  home peacefully in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

May 8: Joanne Copeland, 83: the second wife of Johnny Carson and a confidante of Truman Capote, died at her longtime home in Los Angeles. She had been in declining health and was in hospice care. She married Johnny Carson in 1963 and divorced him in 1972 when she became a confidante to Truman Capote. Capote even kept a writing room at her house, where he died in 1984. Joanne Carson had a second marriage later in life to Richard Rever that also ended in divorce.

elizabeth wilson

Elizabeth Wilson in “The Graduate”

May 9: Elizabeth Wilson, 94: a character actress of stage, screen and TV, Wilson has over 70 appearances to her credit. Special acknowledgment of her work in The Graduate, 9 to 5, The Incredible Shrinking Woman, The Addams Family and an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. She was a Tony Award Winner.

May 11: Isobel Varley, 77: the world’s most tattooed female pensioner has died following a battle with Alzehimer’s disease. She was covered 93% with designs. Despite receiving her first tattoo in her late 40s, she went on to claim Guinness World Record for “most tattooed senior citizen (female)” and appeared in magazines, newspapers and advertisements across the globe.

May 12: Tony Ayala, Jr., 52: San Antonio boxer died from cardiac arrest. SAFD was dispatched to his home where they found him unresponsive. During his career he was 22-0 with 19 knockouts before he was convicted of rape and served 16 years in prison. He returned to prison in 2004 for parole violation and served another 10 years. He was the son of legendary trainer Tony Ayala, Sr., who died last year. His brothers, Mike, Sammy and Paulie all box on the amateur and pro levels.

May 12: John Colenback, 79: he played Dr. Dan Stewart on the defunct CBS soap opera As The World Turns and appeared in the original Broadway production of A Man for All Seasons. He died of complications from COPD according to his nephew. Other survivors include his brother and nieces and nephews.

May 12: Rachel Jacobs, 39: an American entrepreneur, who was thought to be missing after the 2015 Philadelphia Amtrak derailment was discovered dead from her injuries. She was CEO of ApprenNet and also co-founder of the non-profit Detroit-Nation. Her mother is former Michigan State Senator Gilda Z. Jacobs. Rachel leaves behind a husband and 2-year-old son.

MacDonald Serial Killer

William MacDonald

May 12: William MacDonald, 90: Australian serial killer known as “The Mutilator,” MacDonald was New South Wales oldest and longest-serving prisoner. He was jailed for life in 1963 for murdering four men in Sydney and 1 in Brisbane. He gained notoriety for slicing off his victims’ genitals.

May 12: Saulat Mirza: Pakistani convicted murderer and political activist was executed by hanging at Machh jail for the murder of former KESC managing director Shahid Hamid, his driver and guard in 1997.

May 13: Gill Dennis, 74: co-writer of the screenplay for Walk The Line and the man who also penned Return to Oz (1985) and did the teleplay for the 1996 TNT Western Riders of the Purple Sage died of an apparent heart attack at his home in Portland, Ore. according to his wife, Kristen.

May 14: B.B. King, 89: King of the Blues, blues legend who was the idol of generations of musicians and fans alike died at his home in Las Vegas. His attorney, Arthur Williams, Jr. said that King told him he wanted his funeral to be held in a church in Indianola, Mississippi, near the site where he worked picking cotton as a boy. King’s eldest surviving daughter, Shirley King of Oak Park, Illi. said she was upset that she didn’t have a chance to see her father before he died. King was a 15-time Grammy winner and continued to perform well into his 80s. His health had been declining during the past year and he had collapsed during a concert in Chicago last October; King blamed it on dehydration and exhaustion. He had been in hospice care at his Las Vegas home. During his career spanning nearly 70 years he was a mentor to scores of guitarists including Eric Capton, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall and Keith Richards. King recorded more than 50 records and toured the world, performing 250 or more concerts a year. Singer Smokey Robinson praised the music legend. “The world has physically lost not only one of the greatest musical people ever but one of the greatest people ever. Enjoy your eternity,” Robinson said.

May 15: Corey Hill, 36: former UFC fighter died at a hospital in Tampa, Fla. He apparently suffered a collapsed lung and a heart attack. He is survived by his wife Lauran and three children.

May 15: Valentina Maureira, 14: Chilean euthanasia advocate with cystic fibrosis whose heartbreaking request on YouTube to be allowed to end her own life was refused by the president of Chile died of her illness. Millions of people watched her YouTube video but her public plea was rejected by the Chilean government. Her brother also died of cystic fibrosis at age six.

Washington Redskins 2014 Football Headshots

Adrian Robinson

May 16: Adrian Robinson, 25: American football player, former NFL linebacker from Temple University who played 6 games with the Denver Broncos in 2013, died in Philadelphia. The death was ruled a suicide by hanging. He later played for the Chargers and Redskins. In April he signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.

May 16: Abu Sayyaf: Tunisian senior ISIS commander, head of oil operations, killed during a daring U.S. Special Operations raid in eastern Syria. He was killed in a heavy firefight after he resisted capture in the raid at al-Omar.

May 17: Chinx Drugz, 31: American rapper, murdered in a drive by shooting, a member of French Montana’s Coke Boys. It happened in Queens, NY.

May 17: Michael Kandel, 47: American hip-hop musician (aka Tranquility Bass) who recorded ambient and trip hop music. A cause of death is not known.

Screening of the TNT Original Movie "Hope"

Mary Ellen Trainor Credit: Erik Pedersen

May 20: Mary Ellen Trainor Zemeckis, 62: who appeared in every Lethal Weapon film, played the mother in Goonies, played Elaine in Romancing the Stone and was in many other films died from pancreatic cancer at her home in Montecito, Calif. She moved to Los Angeles in 1980, where she married director Robert Zemeckis and discovered her calling as an actress. She and Zemeckis divorced in 2000; she is survived by her son Alex; her mother, Jane; and siblings Ned, Jack, Barbara and Carolyn.

May 22: Marques Haynes, 89: American Hall of Fame, Harlem Globetrotter Great was known for his remarkable ability to dribble the ball and keep it away from defenders. According to the 1988 Harlem Globetrotter film Harlem Globetrotters: Six Decades of Magic, Haynes could dribble the ball as many as six times a second. He died in Plano, Texas of natural causes.

May 23: John Carter, 87: a diverse actor who had roles on stage and screen died from pneumonia. After graduating college in Missouri he moved to New York to pursue his dream of becoming an actor and married Barbara Williams (also an actor). After they divorced he moved to Los Angeles and became very busy in the world of television and film. He became a Theater West member and met his future wife, Kendall Fewel, a match made in heaven. His roles in television included Winds of War, Roots, Dallas, and Law & Order. Film work included Hoax, Badlands and Joe Kidd.


Anne Meara

May 23: Anne Meara, 85: comedian and actress, one half of Stiller & Meara and mother of Ben Stiller, she was married to Jerry Stiller for 61 years and worked together almost as long. In addition to her son, she is also survived by her daughter, Amy Stiller and grandchildren.

May 24: Marcus Belgrave, 78: a famous jazz trumpeter who shared the stage and studio with Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, Dizzy Gillespie and Aretha Franklin died of heart failure.

May 24: Michael Ryan, 66: an inmate on death row for the 1985 cult killings of two people including a 5-year-old boy died in custody at the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in southeast Nebraska. Ryan was convicted for the torture and killing of 26-year old James Thimm at a farm near Rulo (Nebraska) where Ryan led a cult, and in the beating death of Luke Stice, the 5-year-old son of a cult member.

May 26: Paula Cooper, 45: convicted murderer and once the youngest death row inmate in U.S. was found dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in northwest Indianapolis. She had been released from prison two years ago after the Indiana Supreme Court set aside her death sentence and gave her a 60-year prison term instead.

May 27: Cotton Coulson, 63: filmmaker and photographer for National Geographic died in Norway after losing consciousness on a scuba dive off the coast of Norway. The dive was part of a 17-day National Geographic expedition. “Most of us divide time between family and career,” said Ford Cochran, director of programming for National Geographic Expeditions. “They found a way to mingle those things, doing the things they loved.”

May 27: Michael King, 67: television distributor who with his brother transformed a modest company they inherited from their father, into a syndicator of television megahits like The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Phil, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, died from a lingering infection.

May 27: William Newman, 80: was a character actor that provided him with countless roles in TV and film. He made his film debut in Brubaker and followed this up with The Postman Always Rings Twice. He also appeared in Stephen King’s Silver Bullet and George A. Romero’s Monkey Shines. During the 90s he appeared in Leprechaun, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Stand, The Craft, Touch and two films with Skeet Ulrich. He was also a familiar face on TV. Newman died after a prolonged struggle against the vascular affliction, Multi-infarct Dementia. He died at Hayes Manor Senior Residence in Philadelphia.

May 28: Reynaldo Rey, 75: longtime actor with TV and movie credits died from complications of a stroke he suffered late last year. Rey also had a career as a stand-up comedian and had served as a co-host on BET’s stand-up show Comic View. He had recorded 3 comedy albums and 3 videos.


Betsy Palmer who is best known for playing Mrs Voorhees in Friday the 13th

May 29: Betsy Palmer, 88: a veteran character actress who achieved lasting fame as the murderous camp cook in the horror film Friday the 13th died of natural causes at a hospice care center in Connecticut. In addition to films, Palmer had appeared on Broadway and in TV shows for decades before she played Mrs. Voorhees in Friday the 13th. She would say in later years that she only took the role because she wanted the money to buy a new car. Palmer is survived by her daughter, Melissa Merendino.

May 30: Jim Bailey, 77: a self-proclaimed “character actor” who did impersonations of female celebrities like Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland and Peggy Lee died from a heart attack due to complications from pneumonia.

May 30: Beau Biden, 46: Attorney General of Delaware and son of US Vice President Joe Biden, died after a battle with brain cancer.

May 30: Julie Harris, 94: British costume designer, who designed the clothes worn by The Beatles in the films A Hard Day’s Night and Help! and James Bond in the film Live and Let Die. Harris died in Westminster Hospital in London from a chest infection, according to her close friend, Jo Botting. Ms. Botting stated, “In a career that embraced more than 80 films and television productions … Julie worked with some of the greatest international stars.” She won an Oscar for costume design in the 1965 movie Darling. Ms. Harris never married or had children. She is survived by her god-daughter, Serena Dilnot.

June 1: Katherine Chappell, 29: American tourist, was a visual effects editor at  production company Scanline and helped create effects for the hit series Game of Thrones. She was attacked and killed by a lioness in South Africa. Apparently the animal approached the passenger side of the car and bit her through the window. Witnesses told park officials that the windows were down. There were numerous signs warning visitors to keep windows up.

June 2: Anthony Riley, 28: a vivacious street performer and a frontrunner on the 2015 season of The Voice who inspired one of the fastest four-chair turnaround in the series’ history apparently took his life. He mysteriously and abruptly left The Voice before the Knockout Rounds with no explanation other than “personal reasons.” It was later revealed that he’d dropped out in January to enter a two-week rehab program for substance abuse.

June 4: Hermann Zapf, 96: German typeface designer (Optima, Palatino, Zapfino).

©Vincent Bugliosi

Vincent Bugliosi © Getty Images

June 6: Vincent Bugliosi, 80: Attorney and author of Helter Skelter, was the man who prosecuted Charles Manson and the members of his “family” for seven murders. The book about the Manson case became one of the best-selling true crime books of all time. Bugliosi died after a years-long battle with cancer, his son, Vincent Bugliosi, Jr. revealed to Retuers.


Sir Christopher Lee

June 7: Sir Christopher Lee, 93: British actor (Dracula, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars), voice artist and singer. He died at London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital after suffering heart and respiratory problems. His career spanned more than half a century. He defined the macabre for a generation of horror film enthusiasts and played the sinister vampire Dracula no fewer than nine times in productions from 1958 through 1973. He was 6’4″ tall so he was an ideal candidate to play the bloodsucking Count. After playing Dracula for 20 years he tired of the role and moved to the United States where he enjoyed a lucrative career in both films and TV mini-series. He made some comedies in the mid-80s and into the 90s and was Count Dooku in Star Wars: Episode II and Episode III and Saruman in Lord of the Rings. He is survived by his Danish wife, Birgit and their daughter Christina.

June 7: Sean Pappas, 49: South African golfer, born on Feb. 19, 1966, died of a heart attack. He is survived by his wife Sue, their 7-year old daughter and a 20-year old son from a previous marriage.

June 7: Cole Tucker (born Rick Karp), 61: Gay porn star died of AIDS-related illness.

June 9: Pumpkinhead (born Robert Alan Diaz), 39: American rapper from New York’s rap scene, died in a New Jersey hospital while waiting to undergo a gall stone surgery. The cause of death has not been disclosed.

June 12: Rick Ducommun, 62: Canadian actor (The ‘Burbs, Scary Movie, Groundhog Day, Die Hard), complications from diabetes.

June 14: John Carroll, 73: newspaper editor (The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Sun), who reinvigorated the LA Times and restored the reputation and credibility of the paper in the early 2000s, even as he fought bitterly with the paper’s cost-conscious corporate parent, died of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare neurological disorder. He is survived by three siblings, two daughters and three stepchildren.

Blaze Starr

Blaze Starr

June 15: Blaze Starr, 83: Burlesque dancer and the performer who brought a playful version of stripping that combined the flair of an entertainer with the attitude of a satirist died at a hospital in Williamson, West Virginia. As a successful businesswoman she owned the 2 O’Clock Club on East Baltimore Street and appeared in an advertising campaign for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. She was born Fannie Belle Fleming and in the late-1950s had an affair with Louisiana Gov. Earl Long which turned into the 1989 movie Blaze starring Lolita Davidovich and Paul Newman. Ms. Starr had a cameo in the movie. Ms. Starr is survived by her sister, a brother and four other sisters.

June 17: Nelson Doubleday, Jr., 81: American publisher (Doubleday) and Major League Baseball team owner (New York Mets).

June 18: Ralph J. Roberts, 95: American businessman, founder of Comcast.

June 18: Jack Rollins, 100: American film producer (Annie Hall, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Irrational Man).

June 18: Jim Vandiver, 75: American racing driver.

June 18: Danny Villanueva, 77: American football player (LA Rams, Dallas Cowboys) and broadcasting executive, co-founder of Univision. Died from complications from a stroke.

June 19: Earl Norem, 91: American comic book artist (Silver Surfer, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe).

June 20: JoAnn Dean Killingsworth, 91: American actress and dancer, first person to play Snow White at Disneyland. Died from cancer.

June 21: Cora Combs, 92: American professional wrestler.

June 21: Juan José Estrada, 51: was a Mexican boxer in the Super Bantamweight division. He was a onetime WBC International and the WBA Super Bantamweight Champion. He was stabbed to death in what is believed to be a family dispute.

June 21: Darryl Hamilton, 50: American baseball player (Milwaukee Brewers). The bodies of Hamilton and Monica Jordan, 44, were found inside the house in Pearland (Houston). The woman (Jordan) who police believe shot and killed Hamilton and then herself pled guilty to arson in 2008 in a case where she believed her husband at the time was cheating on her. In the Hamilton shooting, police where sent to the home on a 911 call about a disturbance. When they arrived they found his body near the front entrance. Her body was found in another part of the house. The home was apparently owned by Jordan. Investigators said it appeared Hamilton has been shot more than once; Jordan died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The couples 13-month old boy was found unharmed in the home.

June 22: James Horner, 61: American composer (Titanic, Field of Dreams, Braveheart, Apollo 13), Oscar winner (1998), died while piloting a single-engine S312 Tucano turboprop plane when it crashed into a remote area about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara.

June 22: Buddy Landel, 53: American professional wrestler (SMW, USWA, WCW). An east Tennessee wrestling legend, “Nature Boy” Landel died in Virginia. He was a Knoxville, Tenn. native.


Dick Van Patten © Everett Collection

June 23: Dick Van Patten, 86: American actor (Eight Is Enough, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, The Love Boat), died due to complications from diabetes at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif. He is survived by his wife Patricia Van Patten to whom he was married for more than 60 years, and three sons.


Deer Island Jane Doe

June 25: Deer Island Jane Doe, 3-5: American unidentified decedent. The Facebook post has generated over 24 million views but the cause of death remains undetermined and her identity is still unknown. The girl was discovered June 25 in a trash bag by a woman walking a dog. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children used autopsy photos to create a computer-generated image of the girl, believed to be about 4 years old and white or Hispanic.

June 25: Patrick Macnee, 93: English-American actor (The Avengers, This Is Spinal Tap, A View to a Kill). Patrick Macnee played John Steed in the 1960s TV series The Avengers. It might not have made it to a second season if not for Macnee who breathed life into John Steed. It turned out that The Avengers was one of the first British programs to do well in America. The Avengers ran for 9 seasons plus a lame sequel in the mid-70s. He went on to do more TV and movies and publish a candid autobiography in 1988, Blind in One Ear. He was married three times, twice divorced. His last predeceased him. He is survived by his children. Blogger’s comment: Though I try to keep my comments to a minimum, The Avengers was one of the shows I watched religiously when I was growing up.

June 26: Damion Cook, 36: American football player (Detroit Lions), a former NFL lineman who played seven seasons died after suffering a heart attack. He was a Nashville native.

June 26: Richard Matt, 49: convicted murderer and prison escapee; one of two who engineered an elaborate escape from New York’s largest prison, was shot and killed by a federal agent ending a 3-week manhunt that spread over the state’s northern terrain.

June 26: Michelle Watt, 38: British TV presenter (60 Minute Makeover) suicide.

June 28: Raymond Kassow, 70: convicted murderer, bank robber, and the last of 3 convicts in the 1969 Ohio murders has died in custody. On Sept. 24, 1969 Lillian Dewald was working as a teller at Cabinet Supreme Savings and Loan Association in Delhi Township, Ohio. John L. Leigh, Raymond Kassow and Watterson Johnson came in to rob the place. Three customers (Helen Huebner and sisters Luella and Henrietta Stitzel) walked in moments later. The men forced all four women into the vault and shot them until they ran out of bullets. The men escaped with $275. Helen Huebner’s husband Joe, who had been waiting outside for her, discovered the homicides. John L. Leigh died in prison in 2000. Watterson Johnson died in prison in 2014.

Glenn FordJune 29: Glenn Ford, 65: Ford was exonerated last year after spending nearly 30 years of his life on death row for a crime he did not commit. The Innocence Project of New Orleans announced he died of lung cancer, surrounded by friends and family. In 1984 he was convicted and sentenced to die for the Nov. 5 death of a Shreveport jeweler.

June 29: Jackson Vroman, 34: a former Iowa State basketball player and resident of Los Angeles county was found dead in the pool of his home.

2015 Obits – Those we lost in 2015 – January thru March

Jan. 1: Mario Cuomo, 82: former governor of New York. He had been recently hospitalized to treat a  heart condition. His family reported that he passed away at home, from “natural causes due to heart failure.” Cuomo was governor for three terms (1983-1995). He will be remembered as the “last liberal giant of New York politics.” He was married to his wife, Matilda, for more than six decades. They had five children, including the current New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, who was sworn in for his second term; Chris Cuomo, host of CNN’s “New Day” and daughter Maria Cuomo who is married to designer Kenneth Cole.

Jan. 1: Donna Douglas, 82: died in Baton Rouge, La. said her niece, Charlene Smith. Douglas was known for playing Elly May Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies.

Jan. 3: Muath al-Kasasbeh, 26: Jordanian fighter pilot and ISIS hostage, burned alive by the cowards who held him.

Jan. 4: Stuart Scott, 49: longtime SportsCenter anchor and ESPN personality known for his enthusiasm and ubiquity died after a long fight with cancer.

Al Bendich

Al Bendich

Jan. 5: Al Bendich, 85: the lawyer who successfully defended the right of free speech in two landmark midcentury obscenity cases involving Allen Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” and Lenny Bruce’s nightclub act died of a heart attack in Oakland, Calif., according to his wife, Pamela Bendich. He was the last living member of the defense team in the “Howl” case and was the sole defense lawyer in the first of Bruce’s obscenity trials in San Francisco in 1962. Of the four trials Bruce would go through, the San Francisco case was the only one to end in an acquittal.

Jan. 7: Tim Roberts, 38: independent wrestler, known as The Zombie, who appeared on the first episode of WWE’s ECW on Syfy in 2006 died of circumstances unknown at this time.

Jan. 7: Rod Taylor, 84: the suave Australian native who came to Hollywood and starred in such films as The Birds and The Time Machine, died four days shy of turning 85. Taylor’s big breakthrough came with his starring turn in The Time Machine, director George Pal’s 1960 adaptation of the H.G. Wells 1895 sci-fi classic. He also played the heroic Mitch Brenner in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds, coming to the aid of Tippi Hedren, and starred opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in another 1963 release, The V.I.P.s.

Jan. 7: Notable French people killed in the Charlie Hebdo shooting: Cabu, 76, cartoonist; Elsa Cayat, 54, psychoanalyst and columnist; Charb, 47, caricaturist and journalist; Philippe Honoré, 73, cartoonist; Bernard Maris, 68, economist and journalist; Tignous, 57, cartoonist; Georges Wolinski, 80, cartoonist.

Andraé Crouch

Andraé Crouch

Jan. 8: Andraé Crouch, 72: Grammy-winning gospel singer died at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications after suffering a heart attack. His twin sister, Sandra Crouch said in a statement, “Please keep me, my family and our church family in your prayers. I tried to keep him here but God loved him best.” In addition to singing and composing, Crouch also produced and arranged for artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Elton John and Diana Ross.

Jan. 9: Samuel Goldwyn Jr., 88: son of a fiercely independent-minded Hollywood mogul and producer of many independent films in his own right including Mystic Pizza and studio hits such as Master and Commander, died of congestive heart failure as reported by his son, John Goldwyn. In addition to his extensive film work he produced the Academy Awards ceremony twice in the late 80s, winning an Emmy in 1988 for his effort. He was married three times; to writer Peggy Elliott, with whom he had two children, and to actress Jennifer Howard, with whom he had four. He is survived by his current wife Patricia Strawn and four sons: producer John, actor Tony, Francis and Peter (senior VP of Samuel Goldwyn Films); and two daughters, Catherine and Elizabeth; and nine grandchildren.

Jan. 10: Taylor Negron, 58: actor and comedian known for The Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Easy Money, Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Jan. 11: Darrell Hugh Winfield, 85: one of the last of the original Marlboro Men who was discovered by The Leo Burnett ad Agency in 1968 while working on the Quarter Circle 5 Ranch in western Wyoming. He leaves behind a wife, son, 5 daughters and several grandchildren.

Anita Eckberg

Anita Eckberg

Jan. 11: Anita Eckberg, 83: Swedish-born actress and sex symbol of the 1950s and 60s who was immortalized bathing in the Trevi Fountain in La Dolce Vita.

Jan. 13: Andrew Brannan: a decorated Army officer who suffered from PTSD as a result of serving in the Vietnam War. In 1994 the Department of Veterans Affairs declared Brannan 100% disabled while he experienced depression and bipolar disorder. The Supreme Court refused to intervene at the last moment and Brannan was executed for the murder of Deputy Kyle Dinkheller at the age of 66 in Jackson, Georgia. (Another legitimate argument to do away with the death penalty.)

Jan. 14: Darren Shahlavi, 42: a talent martial artist who appeared in Mortal Kombat: Legacy (series) and Arrow, died in his sleep. The cause of death is unknown. Shahlavi had recently finished shooting Pound of Flesh with Jean-Claude Van Damme and is also known for his work in Ip Man 2 (2010), Watchmen (2009), 300 (2006) and Alone in the Dark (2005).

Jan. 17: George Gregory Plitt, Jr., 37: fitness model and reality TV star was struck and killed by a Metrolink train just slightly north of the station in Burbank in the afternoon. Plitt was actually walking on the tracks in an area where pedestrians are not allowed to cross. A native of Baltimore, Plitt was a cast member on Work Out and Work Out in The Zone on Bravo, and appeared on other TV shows and in some commercials.

Jan 19: Paul Campbell, 49: Campbell had small roles in major Hollywood movies and was childhood friends with Boston native Mark Wahlberg, who scored him the part of a toothless crack addict in 2010’s The Fighter. But early on January 19 he was fatally shot by police who had responded to a fatal stabbing, according to authorities. Campbell was agitated and armed with at least one knife when police came to the Weymouth home he shared with his mother, who was dead of multiple stab wounds. The two officers who responded to the 911 call that came from the home made simultaneous decisions to shoot Campbell and both shots struck and killed him. Patricia Campbell, Paul’s mother, 72, was found fatally stabbed at the front of the house.

Jan. 23: Ernie Banks, 83: Banks was a former Chicago Cubs baseball player. He was known as “Mr. Cub,” one of baseball’s optimistic ambassadors and the Cubs’ first African-American player who hit 512 home runs, had 1,636 RBIs and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977. Banks was playing with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League when the Cubs discovered him in 1953. They purchased his contract for $10,000. He made his major league debut at shortstop on Sept. 17, 1953 and three days later hit his first home run. A statue of Banks’ likeness was unveiled outside of Wrigley field in 2008.

Jan. 27: Warren Hill, 54: the state of Georgia finally achieved its goal: it exected an intellectually disabled prisoner in an apparent flagrant violation of the US Constitution. The court turned down a plea from seven doctors who all agreed Hill was mentally impaired. The execution was in violation of ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Hill had the cognitive ability of a young boy. He was pronounced dead at 7:55pm on Tuesday, Jan. 27, having been administered a lethal injection. Hill had a lifelong recognized condition of intellectual disability, with his first recording of an abnormal low IQ at the age 7. All of the medical experts who interviewed him (including 3 appointed by the state) concluded that he was mentally impaired by a “preponderance of the evidence.” Georgia however required Hill to prove he was disabled “beyond a reasonable doubt” – a standard no other state in the union requires; which experts say is almost impossible to match. Hill was on death row for murdering a fellow prison inmate. He was originally sentenced to life for murdering his girlfriend, Myra Wright in 1985. (Yet another reason to not have a death penalty.)

Colleen McCullough

Colleen McCullough

Jan. 29: Colleen McCullough, 77: (© Danielle Smith): internationally famous Australian author of the worldwide bestseller, The Thorn Birds, a romantic Australian saga published in 1977, which became a popular mini-series (starring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward). The paperback rights for The Thorn Birds, McCullought’s second novel, were sold at auction for a then record $1.9 million (US dollars). McCullough worked as a neuroscientist in the US before turning to writing full-time. She wrote 25 other novels, including a deeply researched series set in Ancient Rome. She died after suffering a series of small strokes.

Jan. 29: Rod McKuen, 81: the husky-voiced “King of Kitsch” whose music and verse recordings won him an Oscar nomination also made him one of the best selling poets in history.

Jan. 30: Geraldine McEwan, 82: a BAFTA-winning actress who was known for many roles including Miss Marple, the famous Agatha Christie detective in 12 TV episodes. She died of a severe stroke.

Jan. 31: Kenji Goto, 47: Japanese freelance journalist, whose work focused on refugees, children and other victims of war was apparently killed by the cowards known as ISIS. This group of terrorists who hide their faces under hoods and execute totally innocent victims continue to wage a war against major powers unheeded.

Feb. 4: Donald Newbury, 52: a three-time felon with a violent history, a convicted robber, already serving a 99-year prison term, then he joined six of his fellow convicts in the biggest prison break in the history of Texas in 2000. During the prison break, Newbury shot and killed a suburban Dallas police officer while robbing a sporting-goods store. He was pronounced dead at 6:25pm, almost 30 minutes after the procedure began. (Another reason to abolish the death penalty.)

Feb. 5: Sajida al-Rishawi, Ziad Karbouli: Sajida al-Rishawi was a suicide bomber whose release was requested by ISIS. Ziad Karbouli was a former top aide to the deceased leader of al Aaeda in Iraq. Al-Rishawi was executed for her role in a 2005 suicide bombing at a wedding reception in Jordan that killed dozens (unfortunately it didn’t kill her). Karbouli was sentenced to die in 2007 after he was convicted of terrorism that killed one person, plots of other attacks and the possession of explosives.

Kayla Mueller (© Mueller Family)

Kayla Mueller (© Mueller Family)

Feb. 6: Kayla Mueller, 26: ISIS first claimed she was killed by Jordanian bombings. ISIS cowards are responsible for yet another truly innocent victim murdered in a senseless act. Kayla was a compassionate young woman who represented everything good about the human spirit. She wanted to do nothing but good works in her lifetime: working at an HIV/AIDS clinic; working in Palestine and Turkey.

Feb. 7: Dean Smith, 83: North Carolina basketball coach who won two national championships died peacefully at his home. He had been retired since 1997.

Feb. 8: Pola Miller, 86: was an award-winning filmmaker and documentarian who served on the boards of Women in Film and the American Film Institute Associates. Miller was born Pola Chasman in 1928 in New York City. Both her parents taught English at the University of Maine — her father as a professor — and they later ran a school for continuing education in New York.

Feb. 9: Steve Sabol, 98: was the founder of NFL Films and made pro football look like “a Hollywood movie.” Sabol founded NFL Films in 1962 after filming his son Steve Sabol’s high school football games. In August 2011, Ed Sabol was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio — one of the few people to be inducted who never played or coached — and introduced by his son. During his tenure, which spanned 1964 through 1995, NFL Films won 52 Emmy Awards. He died at his home in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Feb. 11: Jerry Tarkanian (Tark the Shark), 84: Hall of Fame basketball coach who led the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels to a national title passed away after a short hospitalization from breathing difficulties and an infection. During his career he guided three schools to the NCAA Tournament and posted a 729-201 career record in 31 years at the Division I level.

Bob Simon

Bob Simon

Feb. 11: Bob Simon, 73: 60 Minutes correspondent, who covered riots, Academy Award-nominated movies, wars and was even held captive for more than a month in Iraq, died after being in a car crash in Manhattan. Simon and the car’s driver were taken to a hospital, where Simon was pronounced dead.

Feb. 12: Wanda, 57: one of the oldest Asian elephants in North America, Wanda was humanely euthanized at PAWS’ ARK 2000 captive wildlife sanctuary in San Andreas, Calif. following a long history of arthritis and foot disease, the leading cause for the euthanization of captive elephants. Wanda was born in the wild but was captured at a young age to be put on display in the United States. During her lifetime she was moved from one place to another, including Disneyland, a circus, zoos in Texas and then Detroit. In 2005 the Detroit Zoo (a leader in animal welfare as well as providing sanctuary for animals in need of rescue) decided to end its elephant program and opted to relocate Wanda and fellow Asian elephant Winky to PAWS’ ARK 2000. (Winky passed away in 2008.) Another Asian elephant, Gypsy, arrived at the Sanctuary, and it was discovered that they had been in a circus together more than 20 years earlier. They instantly remembered one another and could always be found close together. Even in death, their friendship endured. After Wanda passed away, Gypsy approached her friend, stayed by her side for a period of time, gently touched her body and “spoke” to her in soft rumbles before slowly walking away.

Gary Owens © 2003 WireImage

Gary Owens © 2003 WireImage

Feb. 12: Gary Owens, 20: voice actor, television announcer; if you watched Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in (1968-73) then you know the voice of Gary Owens. He was also the voice of Space Ghost, Garfield and Friends, The Fantastic Four, Eek the Cat and Bobby’s World. He had a mellifluous baritone voice with impeccable nuanced timing, and was equally adept at comedy or deadpan delivery.

Maria Movita Castaneda

Maria Movita Castaneda

Feb. 12: Movita Castaneda, 98: was the second of Marlon Brando’s three wives and appeared in such films as Mutiny on the Bounty opposite Clark Gable and Fort Apache with John Wayne. Castaneda played Tehani, a beautiful Tahitian who marries one of the insurgent sailors, in the 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty. The film was remade in 1962 with Brando, then Castaneda’s husband, playing the Gable role of Fletcher Christian. She in a Los Angeles rehabilitation center after suffering a neck injury and was believed to be 98. reports that she was 100 when she died.

Louis Jourdan as Kamal Khan in OctopussyFeb. 14: Louis Jourdan, 93: best known for Gigi and the James Bond movie Octopussy, Jourdan offered a certain charm that worked well in heroic roles and sinister ones. In Gigi, Jourdan starred with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier. The film won 9 Oscars; though Jourdan was not among those honored. In the 80s he raised his profile with big screen appearance in Wes Craven’s campy monster movie Swamp Thing and the film Octopussy. All told, he starred in more than 50 movies and 37 television episodes; spanning 70 or more years. In that time he was nominated for one Golden Globe award, won a Second Place Laurel Award and has two Stars on the Walk of Fame. His wife, Berthe, to whom he was married for more than six decades, died last year. His son, Louis Henry died of a drug overdose in 1981. In 2010 he was award the Legion d’Honneur in Los Angeles. Friends including Sidney Poitier and Kirk Douglas were there to congratulate him.

Feb. 16: Lesley Gore, 68: singer-songwriter, with hits “It’s My Party,” “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and “You Don’t Own Me,” died of lung cancer according to her partner of 33 years, Lois Sassoon. Brooklyn-born and New Jersey-raised, Gore was discovered by Quincy Jones when she was a teenager and was signed by Mercury Records. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with an English/American Literature Degree. In addition to her recordings, she played Catwoman’s sidekick in the cult TV comedy Batman. In the 90s, Gore co-wrote “My Secret Love” for Allison Anders’ film Grace of My Heart, released in 1996. Several years later she appeared on Broadway in Smokey Joe’s Cafe.

Feb. 16: Lorena Rojas, 44: was a popular Mexican soap opera and movie actress. The actress battled cancer since 2008 and died in Miami surrounded by loved ones.

Feb. 17: June Fairchild, 68: was widely recognized as the Ajax Lady in Cheech and Chong’s 1978 comedy Up in Smoke. The actress, who is given credit for coming up with the unusual name for the band Three Dog Night, battled drug and alcohol addictions as her acting career fell apart. She died in a Los Angeles convalescent home from liver cancer.

Feb. 19: Harris Wittels, 30: executive producer of Parks & Recreation was found dead of a possible drug overdose. He had battled drug addiction in the past.

Feb. 21: Robert O. Marshall, 75: American convicted murderer, died in prison just weeks before his parole hearing. No foul play was suspected according to the Department of Corrections. “Blind Faith” killer Marshall was convicted of arranging the 1984 murder of his wife, Maria, in order to collect on a life insurance policy.

Ben Woolf

Ben Woolf

Feb. 23: Ben Woolf, 34: a preschool teacher by day, who played Meep in American Horror Story: Freak Show, died in an Los Angeles hospital from a head injury he suffered after being hit by a passing car. He apparently was clipped in the head by the side view mirror of an SUV as he was crossing a street in Hollywood. The driver was not arrested or ticketed because Woolf was jaywalking.

Feb. 24: Beatrice Small, 77: one of the original “Avon Ladies” and the author of more than 50 romances including many that hold the honored position of “the first I ever read” died at the age of 77. Small’s books, especially in the erotic romance circles pushes the envelope, redrew the boundaries and explored the limits – over 30 years ago.

Feb. 25: Ariel Camacho, 22: a popular singer and songwriter, who was signed to DEL Records was killed in his native city of Sinaloa in a car crash. Born Jose Ariel Camacho Barraza gained a following through his live shows and videos on YouTube, had been on tour promoting a deluxe version of his album “El Karma” when he was killed in the car accident on a highway outside the city of Sinaloa.

Leonard Nimoy Credit: Starz Encore Group

Leonard Nimoy Credit: Starz Encore Group

Feb. 27: Leonard Nimoy, 83: Susan Bay Nimoy confirmed the death of her husband, saying the cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Leonard Nimoy announced last year that he had COPD, attributing it to years of smoking, a habit he had give up three decades earlier. He had many artistic pursuits: poetry, photography and music in addition to acting; but it was as Mr. Spock, that Mr. Nimoy had become the world’s folk hero. “Live long and prosper” (from the Vulcan “Dif-tor heh smusma”).

March 1: Minnie Minosos, 92: first black player in Major League baseball in Chicago, came from the Cuban Negro league. He was an American League All-Star for seven seasons and a Gold Glove winner for three season when he was in his 30s. Miñoso was one of the most popular and dynamic players in Chicago White Sox franchise history. He left the major leagues following the 1964 season but went on playing and managing in Mexico through 1973. He rejoined the White Sox as a coach and made brief but highly publicized player appearances in 1976 and 1980. Miñoso attended a friend’s birthday party on February 28, 2015 and was found dead in the driver’s seat of a car near a gas station in Chicago at 1am on March 1. An autopsy revealed he died from a torn pulmonary artery resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

March 1: Daniel von Bargen, 64: Cincinnati native, who had roles on Seinfeld, Malcom in the Middle, and in movies Broken Arrow, Super Troopers and O Brother, Where Art Thou died after a long illness due to complications from diabetes. In February, 2012 he suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound because he didn’t want to have surgery to have toes removed due to diabetic complications.

Dirk Shafer. (PRNewsFoto/Dirk Shafer)

Dirk Shafer. (PRNewsFoto/Dirk Shafer)

March 5: Dirk Shafer, 52: filmmaker, Playgirl centerfold, fitness trainer and male model who came out as gay, and who made the 1995 mockumentary “Man Of The Year” about his experiences was found dead in his car in West Hollywood. Shafer became an icon in the mid-90s when the 1992 Playgirl Man of the Year announced  he was gay to the magazine’s straight female audience. He decided to document the pressure he was under from all sides to pose as straight and to be honest in Man of the Year. As well as directing and starring in the film, he mostly wrote the “fictionalized” account. In 2001 he made Circuit, a film about the gay party scene. It was co-written with Gregory Hinton, which won best film at the 2001 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.

izolaincustodyMarch 7: Izola Curry, 98: the American assailant who attempted to kill Martin Luther King, Jr. with a steel letter opener into his chest at a 1958 book-signing, a full decade before James Earl Ray assassinated him, died at a New York nursing home.

March 8: Sam Simon, 59: a co-creator of The Simpsons and nine-time Emmy winner, who wrote episodes of Taxi, Cheers and It’s Gary Shandling’s Show died of colorectal cancer at his home in Los Angeles. He was diagnosed in late 2012.

March 8: Lew Soloff, 71: American jazz trumpeter, who had a long and successful career and was an integral part of Blood, Sweat and Tears when they were at their peak, died after suffering a major heart attack. (I’m going to listen to BS&T now and enjoy their music.)

Windell D. Middlebrooks

Windell D. Middlebrooks

March 9: Windell Middlebrooks, 36: who co-starred on Body of Proof and was known as a diligent delivery guy in a series of ads for Miller High Life beer died at his home in the San Fernando Valley. An autopsy revealed that he suffered a fatal pulmonary embolism. He was a native of Fort Worth, Texas.

March 9: Juanita Nelson, 91: she worked for peace, civil rights and local farming. She created the idea for the Greenfield Free Harvest Supper which drew hundreds each year to eat together in Court Square, downtown Mass. She was 91.

March 9: Sam Simon, 59: the nine-time Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and producer who helped develop The Simpsons, made millions after leaving the show in 1993 and then donated his riches to charity.

March 10: Richard Glatzer, 63: American director, writer and producer (Still Alice, America’s Next Top Model) died just three weeks after Julianne Moore won a best actress Oscar for her role in Still Alice. Glatzer endured three years of ALS and died from it.

March 11: Jimmy Greenspoon, 67: American keyboard player and composer (Three Dog Night) died from melanoma. Greenspoon joined the band in 1968 and had been with them until last October (2015) when he took medical leave to pursue treatment for his cancer. Three Dog Night is known for its 60s & 70s hits: Joy to the World, Mama Told Me (Not to Come) and Black & White. Greenspoon also performed with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix and the Beach Boys.

March 11: Gerald Hurst, 77: American chemist and fire investigator died of complications from a prior liver transplant. Dr. Hurst was instrumental in driving the state of Texas to reform its outdated arson investigation practices which cost an innocent man (in prison) his life who was on death row and was executed (Cameron Todd Willingham, April 2004). He did manage to assist in stopping another man’s execution, that of Ernest Willis, who was also on death row after being wrongfully convicted of setting fire to a house that killed two women. Hurst was able to prove that the same faulty arson science that had been used to convict Willingham had also been used to wrongfully convict Willis. Willis was released and exonerated in 2004 at the age of 59. Willis said of Dr. Hurst’s passing, “I will forever be incredibly grateful to Dr. Hurst. That man helped save my life.” Another good argument to banish the death penalty — AB

March 12: Ray Arnett, 97: nicknamed “King of the Gypsies” early in his career for being the hardest-working choir boy in the now cult classic “Forgotten Musicals,” Arnett became Liberace’s stage director in the late 1950s, when the future Mr. Showmanship embraced a full showy stage persona. In HBO’s critically acclaimed Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, Arnett was portrayed by Tom Papa.

Suzette Jordan

Suzette Jordan

March 13: Suzette Jordan, 40: Ms. Jordan, an Indian woman, waived her right to anonymity after being gang-raped in order to encourage other rape survivors to speak out, has died. She had been suffering from a deadly form of meningitis. The chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, had called Ms. Jordan a liar after she was attacked in February of 2012. She was working as a counsellor at a helpline for victims of sexual and domestic violence. Ms. Jordan was a single mother of two girls. She was gang-raped on Park Street, one of Kolkata’s busiest streets, after she left a night club. She reported the crime to the police and the media. India’s laws prohibit the disclosure of the identity of a rape victim and those guilty of doing so can be sent to prison for up to 2 years and be fined. Ms. Jordan refused to hide and in June of 2013 she revealed her own identity on the BBC stating “I am tired of hiding my real identity. I am tired of this society’s rules and regulations. I am tired of being made to feel ashamed. I am tired of feeling scared because I have been raped. Enough is enough. My name is Suzette Jordan and I don’t want to be known any longer as the victim of Calcutta’s Park Street rape.” Three of the five men Ms. Jordan accused of raping her were arrested and are on trial. They deny the charges. Police are still looking for the main suspect.

Helen Banks

Helen Banks

March 14: Helen Banks, 87: Founder of Second Chance for Greyhounds, spent much of her childhood rescuing strays. As an attractive woman in New York City, she became a professional model, but gave it all up to marry a man who raised horses in Connecticut. When she learned what happened to aging horses, she persuaded a local slaughterhouse owner to let her know when a horse was headed for slaughter before its time so she could rescue it. When her marriage ended 25 years later, Banks relocated to Bonita Springs, Florida. Hearing dogs barking in the distance one day, she investigated and found greyhound handlers walking dogs. She was hired as a “lead out” at the Naples/Fort Meyers Greyhound Track. One day when she was visiting a vet’s office … she “walked into this room that I thought was the ladies’ room and there was a stack of 12 dead greyhounds.” That summer, in anticipation of the upcoming racing season, she enlarged her home to accommodate rescue dogs and persuaded the track to allow her to set-up a table so she could identify and recruit suitable adopters for the dogs. Banks personally underwrote all the expenses. She worked other jobs at the track, cleaned homes and even worked at a local spa to cover veterinary fees, food, leashes, collars and other expenses. She incorporated Second Chance for Greyhounds in 1986.

March 15: Mike Porcaro, 59: long time Toto bassist succumbed to Lou Gehring’s Disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).

March 15: Cristie Schoen Codd/JT Codd: Cristie was a Food Network star who competed on Season 8. Christie and her husband were brutally murdered by their neighbor Robert Jason Owens, who admitted to the crime after human remains were found in his woodstove. He claimed to have hit JT with his truck, but no details were released on how he killed Cristie, who was five months pregnant at the time of her death.

March 16: Braydon Smith, 23: died two days after finishing a 10-round featherweight bout in Brisbane, Australia. He was in the final year of a law degree and had been in an induced coma since collapsing 90 minutes after a WBC Asian Boxing Council continental title bout. He had lost the fight in a unanimous points decision.

March 20: Cincinnati Red (Gregory Daves), 40: the southern California independent wrestler died of a heart attack.

March 20: Robert Kastenmeier, 91: American politician, member of the US House of Representatives (1959-1991) from Wisconsin, died of heart failure.

March 20: A.J. Pero, 55: American drummer (Twisted Sister, Adrenalie Mob), heart attack.

Gary DahlMarch 23: Gary Dahl, 78: American entrepreneur, inventor of the Pet Rock, COPD.

March 23: Lil’ Chris, 24: British singer-songwriter, actor, TV personality, who rose to fame after appearing in “Rock School” in 2006 was found dead in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Police were not treating the death as suspicious.

March 24: notable German people killed in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525: Oleg Bryjak, 54, Kazakh-born opera singer; Maria Radner, 33, opera singer.

J. Karen Thomas

J. Karen Thomas

March 26: J. Karen Thomas, 50: American actress, a beloved and vital member of Nashville’s theater, film, television and music communities, died from Multiple Myeloma. Thomas was a professional SAG actress, singer-songwriter and voice-over artist best known to television viewers for her role as Audrey Carlisle, the wife of mayor Coleman Carlisle (Robert Wisdom) in the first season of ABC’s Nashville. She was also on Drop Dead Diva, Army Wives, Criminal Minds and Ellen. She leaves behind her longtime partner of almost 20 years, Colette Divine.



March 27: Sarbi, 12: Australian war hero, who was awarded the War Dog Operational Medal and the RSPCA’s Purple Cross, and who went missing in Afghanistan for over a year, died after a short battle with brain cancer. Sarbi, a Labrador-Newfoundland cross was a bomb-sniffing dog and only the second animal to win the Purple Cross for wartime service.

March 28: Victor Sánchez, 20: Venezuelan baseball player and Seattle Mariners prospect died from a head injury he received when he was hit by a boat off of a beach in Carupano, Venezuela in February. In had been in intensive care for a fractured skull and a hematoma, which caused a stroke and then a coma.

March 31: Billy Butler, 69: known to many as the younger brother of the legendary “Ice Man” Jerry Butler, and to soul fans as a talented singer and guitarist, died at age 69. Though sometimes in the shadow of his iconic older brother, Billy had a successful career both as a solo artist and group member. He formed the group The Enchanters in 1963 while still in high school. He immediately began working with some of the most important producers in the burgeoning Chicago soul scene, including Carl Davis and Curtis Mayfield. His sessions with Davis led to his biggest hit and career highpoint, the 1965 top 10 R&B hit “I Can’t Work No Longer.”  (from

March 31: Andrew Getty, 47: the grandson of J. Paul Getty died from massive blood loss from his intestines, based on a preliminary conclusion of the L.A. County Coroner. An ulcer is suspected. Andrew had been complaining of serious stomach pain for several days before he died.

March 31: Riccardo Ingram, 48: American baseball player and minor league instructor for the Minnesota Twins passed away after a second fight with brain cancer.