2018 Obits, July thru September

July 3
Lorraine Rodgers, 97: American WASP pilot. Lorraine was an avid pilot and loved flying; she was a First Lieutenant and a Woman’s Airforce Service Pilot in WWII.

Richard Swift, 41: American singer-songwriter, producer and musician (The Shins, The Black Keys, Starflyer 59) complications from hepatitis.

Dave VanDam, 63: American voice actor and impressionist (David Letterman, Barack Obama) member of the Wack Pack.

July 5
Saman Kunan, 38: died from asphyxiates after delivering oxygen to 13 trapped people in Tham Luang Nang Non cave. He was a former Thai Navy SEAL.

July 7

tyler honeycutt

Tyler Honeycutt

Tyler Honeycutt, 27: American basketball player (UCLA, Sacramento Kings). The LAPD reported an unnamed suspect appeared to have died of a “self-inflicted gunshot,” after reportedly firing on officers. US Media reported it was the former Sacramento Kings player, who was on contract for Moscow’s BC Kimki. Honeycutt’s mother had called the police because her son was acting erratically. His team confirmed his death on Twitter.

Alan Johnson, 81: American choreographer (The Producers, Young Frankenstein), Emmy winner (1972, 1980, 1988), Parkinson’s disease.

July 8


Tab Hunter

Tab Hunter, 86: died from a blood clot that caused a heart attack according to Allan Glaser, his romantic partner of more than three decades. That alone would confirm the long-standing rumors about his homosexuality. He also published his autobiography in 2005: Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, which confirmed it.

Alan Johnson, 81: American 3-time Emmy Award winning choreographer (Springtime for Hitler, West Side Story).

Barry Mills, 70: American white supremacist and criminal, leader of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang,  while incarcerated at a federal Supermax prison. He was found dead one day after his 70th birthday. The death was not suspicious. 

July 13
Nancy Barbato Sinatra, 101: first wife and life-long friend of Frank Sinatra. She not only outlived her husband, but also her son, Frank, Jr. as well, who died in 2016.

July 17

Gary Beach

Gary Beach

Gary Beach, 70: veteran Broadway actor and star of The Producers and Beauty of the Beast died in Palm Springs, Calif. His death was confirmed by his agent. His career began in 1969 as an understudy for the role of Edward Rutledge in the original Broadway cast of 1776 (he later assumed the role). He was born in Alexandria, Virginia and is survived by his husband, Jeff Barnett.

July 18
Mollie Tibbetts, 20: American student (University of Iowa) was found dead of multiple sharp force injuries. She was reported missing for over a month, after being seen jogging near her home in the central Iowa town of Brooklyn. Twenty-four year old Christhian Bahena Rivera has been charged with first degree murder in connection with her death. She is the first of two students to have died around Iowa college towns this year.

July 19
Denis Ten, 25: Kazakhstani figure skater, Olympic bronze metalist (2014) died after being stabbed in an incident involving two robbers.

John Vigilante, 33: American ice hockey player (Milwaukee Admirals, Syracuse Crunch, Plymouth Whalers). Cause of death not known.

July 21
Elmarie Wendel, 89: American actress (3rd Rock from the Sun, The Lorax, George Lopez) and singer. She was best known for her role on TV’s 3rd Rock from the Sun as Mrs. Dubcek.

July 22
Rene Portland, 65: Penn State Basketball coach (1980-2007), cancer.

July 23
Lucy Ferry, 58: British model (Robert Mapplethorpe) and socialite, the former wife of singer-songwriter Bryan Ferry, apparent suicide by gunshot. She was married to the Roxy Music singer for 21 years and had four sons with him before their divorce in 2003. Three years later she married Robin Birley, who announced her death.

Elbert Howard

Elbert Howard

Elbert Howard, 80: American civil rights activist, co-founder of the Black Panther Party. He served as newspaper editor, information officer and logistics genius behind the group’s popular social programs. His wife stated he died in Santa Rosa, Calif. after a long illness

August 2
María José la Valenciana, 44: Spanish transsexual sex worker and internet personality.

August 4
Lorrie Collins, 76: American rockabilly singer (The Collins Kids). Lorrie was the older half of the 1950s rockabilly singing duo. Her younger brother and professional partner, Larry Collins, confirmed her death in a post on social media. He stated that his sister had died from injuries related to a fall.

August 5

John Blaire Moore

John Blair Moore Cartoon

John Blair Moore, 70: American comic book artist (Darkling Duck) and editorial cartoonist (St. Louis Post-Dispatch). His daughter posted that he passed away after a brief illness.

Charlotte Rae, 92: American actress (The Facts of Life, Diff’rent Strokes, 101 Dalmatians: The Series). Rae was the lovable house mother, Mrs. Garrett on The Facts of Life who charmed a TV generation. She passed away at her Los Angeles home. Last year she revealed she had bone and pancreatic cancer. She was born Charlotte Rae Lubotsky in Milwaukee, Wisc.

The Facts Of Life - 1979-1988

Charlotte Rae

August 6
Patricia Benoit, 91: American actress (Mister Peepers).

August 7
Étienne Chico, 69: French actor (The Da Vinci Code) and composer.

Richard H. Kline, 91: American cinematographer (King Kong, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Camelot).

August 9
Billy Ray Irick, 59: American convicted murderer, execution by lethal injection, the first by the state of Tennessee since 2009. This comes after his 1986 conviction in Knox County for the rape and murder of 7-year-old Paula Dyer.

August 13
Jim Neidhart, 63: American professional wrestler (WWF, Mid-South, Stampede). The former WWF tag team champion, “The Anvil” died from a grand mal seizure related to Alzheimer’s that he had been suffering from for some time. Neidhart was the father of WWE star Natalya and father-in-law to retired WWE star Tyson Kid (TJ Wilson) who is now a WWE producer. In recent years, he was often seen on the E! reality show Total Divas alongside his one daughter.

August 14
Mela Hudson, 31: American actress (Split Costs, Men in Black 3).

Jill Janus, 42: American rock singer (Huntress), suicide. The heavy metal band confirmed via their Facebook page that Janus had committed suicide, stating she was a “long-time sufferer of mental illness” and died outside of Portland, Ore.

August 16

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin, 76: died of advanced pancreatic cancer. Her voice transcended religion. She sang gospel, soul, pop and hip-hop. If you can “google,” check out her performance of “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman” Kennedy Center Honors, 2015 for Carole King. By the time the song ends, Aretha has shed her fur coat, President Obama wipes away tears and every person is on their feet. She was the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. If she had to be summed up into one song, it would have to be “Respect.” It’s what made her a live performance master. In 1971 at the Fillmore West, she took to the piano and sang the Simon & Garfunkel classic “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” slowing the song down so she could really tear into those big notes, Aretha style. One of her sets at the concert I “witnessed,” she sat at the piano and played and sang, and it was like she had transcended. It was truly magical. Originally from Memphis, she moved to Detroit at 3, when her father took over as pastor at New Bethel Baptist Church. Her parents separated when she was 6, her mother died before she turned 10. Not long after that, she performed publicly for the first time. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul at its most gospel-charged. She earned the title of “Queen of Soul” which she has worn uncontested. She lied in state at the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit in a 24-carat coffin beginning August 28, 2018. Her funeral was held in Detroit and was attended by Stevie Wonder, Ariana Grande and Bill Clinton with a procession of 140 pink Cadillacs. She had no will. She died of cancer. I saw her in 2016 at the Riverside Theater. She was on my “I don’t want to call it a bucket list, bucket list.”

August 18
Tom Clark, 77: American poet and biographer. Traffic collision.

Robert Todd, 55: American filmmaker, an Emerson College professor who was reported missing and then confirmed dead. His body was found in Franklin Park in the city’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood. He is survived by his wife.

August 19
Vaughn Beals, 90: American businessman, one of 13 Harley-Davidson Inc. executives who negotiated the buyback of Harley from AMF Corp. in 1981. He was reported dead by Haven of Rest Funeral Home in Gig Harbor, Washington.

August 22
Edward “Ed” King, 68: American psychedelic rock musician (Strawberry Alarm Clock, Lynyrd Skynyrd), cancer.

August 24
Tom Frost, 82: American rock climber and founder of the gear and apparel company Patagonia, died from prostate cancer.

August 25
John McCain, 81: American war hero, Republican politician who represented Arizona from 1983-2018, Presidential nominee 2008, who originally gained fame as a result of his experience as a POW in North Vietnam for 5 years (1967-1973). Even though he was a Republican, he was one of the fiercest critics of Donald Trump and did not invite him to speak or attend his funeral. Barack Obama, George W. Bush and his daughter Meghan McCain did speak at his funeral, which was broadcast live on network television. I didn’t know a lot about John McCain, but I learned much about his integrity and his love of America when I watched his funeral. He was a great man and will be missed. He died of brain cancer, which he was diagnosed with in July of 2017.

August 26


Neil Simon

Neil Simon, 91: he won three Tony Awards and was nominated for four Oscars. His body of work includes The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, Promises, Promises, The Goodbye Girl and Lost in Yonkers. Simon died of complications from pneumonia at New York-Presbyterian hospital in Manhattan. His career spanned five decades and he wrote more than 40 plays, many of which were adapted for the screen. He is the most commercially successful American playwright in history. He’s only the second playwright to have four Broadway productions running simultaneously (that was in the 60s, when he was earning a reported $60,000/week). Almost every one of his 30+ plays have been adapted into a motion picture, resulting in more Oscar and Tony nominations than any other writer in the history of show business. Part of his film, Chapter Two, was based on his own life. After losing his first wife (Diane Lander), he married actress Marsha Mason after a courtship of 22 days. Son of Mamie (Levy) and Irving Simon, a garment salesman. His grandparents were all Russian Jewish immigrants.

Sept. 2
Clarence Brandley, 66: American janitor, wrongly convicted of murder, a death row exonerate, who never received an apology, died from pneumonia, in his home near Conroe, Texas. He was one of the first men to be released alive from Texas’s death row in 1990. Today, exonerations of the wrongly convicted occur regularly, but in 1990, it was a rarity.

Claire Wineland, 21: American cystic fibrosis assistance advocate, inspirational speaker and social media star, died one week after a lung transplant.

Sept. 3
Thomas Rickman, 78: American screenwriter (Coal Miner’s Daughter, Hooper, Truman) cancer.

Sept. 4
Bill Daily, 91: American actor and comedian (I Dream of Jeannie, The Bob Newhart Show).

Christopher Lawford.jpg

Christopher Lawford

Christopher Lawford, 63: American actor (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Thirteen Days, All My Children) memoirist and political activist. Member of the Kennedy family and son of Peter Lawford. In 2005, HarperCollins published his memoir Symptoms of Withdrawl: A Memoir of Snapshots and Redemption. In 2009 he released Moment of Clarity: Voices from the Front Lines of Addition and Recovery. Lawford battled a drug and alcohol addiction for much of his early life. He died of a heart attack.

Sept. 6
Thad Mumford, 67: American television producer and writer (The Electric Company, M*A*S*H, The Cosby Show), Emmy winner (1973).


Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds, 82: Born Burton Leon Reynolds on February 11 in Lansing, Mich., Reynolds was a heartthrob who starred in television and movies. He’s known for Boogie Nights, Striptease, Smokey and the Bandit and of course, Deliverance. During a production of Mister Roberts in New York, he was spotted and signed to a TV contract which led to roles in Gunsmoke, Riverboat and his own series, Hawk. He often played a character of Native American descent, but it was roles that demanded a tough-guy performance that made him popular. His ex-stuntman and longtime friend came to him with a “road film” script which turned out to be Smokey and the Bandit (with Sally Field and Jerry Reed) which took in over $100 million at the box office. In April of 1988 he marred Loni Anderson which is a story in itself. He died of cardiac arrest in Jupiter, Florida.

Sept. 7:
Marcelite Jordan Harris, 75: USAF general, first afro-american woman general. Her death was sudden and unexpected and she was taken to the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida while on a Caribbean vacation. She was a fierce military leader, devoted wife, loving mother and nurturing grandmother, who touched the lives of many throughout her career.

Sept. 10
Peter Donat, 90: Canadian-born American actor (The Godfather: Part II, The X-Files, The China Syndrome), complications from diabetes.

Sept. 11
Thomas Aquinas Higgins, 86: American judge.

Jim Houston, 80: American football player (Cleveland Browns), complications from dementia and ALS.

Sept. 12

Pasqualde Buba

Pasqualde Buba

Pasqualde Buba, 72: American film editor and longtime collaborator with George A. Romero, Buba edited Day of the Dead and several other efforts from the zombie movie maestro. He died of cancer at his home in Los Angeles, Calif., his family announced. A proud son of Pittsburgh, Penn. Buba cut the Steel-City thriller Striking Distance (1993), starring Bruce Willis and Sarah Jessica Parker, and worked on Michael Mann’s Heat (1995), starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro, and The Brave (1997), directed by Johnny Depp starring Depp and Marlon Brando. Buba also edited Romero’s Knightriders (1981), Creepshow (1982), Monkey Shines (1988) plus many others. He is survived by his wife, his brother, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law and nieces.

Frank Serafine, 65: American sound designer and editor (Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Tron, The Hunt for Red October), traffic collision.

Jack N. Young, 91: American actor and stuntman (Death Valley Days, Wagon Train, How the West Was Won) who doubled for Clark Gable and many others. His death was announced by his son, University of Arizona film professor, Cody Young.

Sept. 13
Marin Mazzie, 57: American actress and singer (Ragtime, Kiss Me, Kate, Passion), ovarian cancer.

Kyle Stone, 54: American pornographic film actor and comedian. He passed away in his sleep and was discovered in his bedroom.

Sept. 15
Marty Ballin (Buchwald), 76: American singer (Jefferson Airplane/Starship).

Sept. 16
Frank Parker, 79: American actor (Days of Our Lives) complications from dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Sept. 17

Celia Arozamena

Celia Barquín Arozamena

Celia Barquín Arozamena, 22: Spanish golfer, who won the European Amateur Championship in July and was a top athlete at Iowa State University was found at the Goldwater Golf Links in the city of Ames, Iowa with several stab wounds to her head, neck and upper body. A homeless man has been charged in her murder. Ms Barquín is the second female student in Iowa to be killed in recent months. (Mollie Tibet’s was found dead after she went for a run July 18.)

Sept. 19
Jon Burge, 70: American police officer (Chicago PD) and suspected mass torturer who was accused of torturing suspects in his Chicago South Side police district (but was never prosecuted) died, a Florida funeral home confirmed. Burge had a “midnight crew” of rogue detectives accused of torturing more than 100 suspects, mostly black men, from 1972-1991, in order to secure confessions. Cattle prods for shocking, typewriter covers (for smothering suspects) and guns were shoved into the mouths of victims, all to secure a confession. Burge was fired in 1993 and sentenced to prison in 2011 for lying in a civil case about his actions. However, it was too late to charge him criminally on the torture charges. The funeral home in Ruskin, Florida confirmed that they were handling his remains, but refused to give the cause or exact date of his death, citing the wishes of his family.


Arthur Mitchell

Arthur Mitchell, 84: American dance and choreographer, founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem (1986), and the first afro-american dancer with the New York City Ballet (1955). Among other awards, he was recognized as a MacArthur Fellow, he was inducted into the National Museum of Dance’s Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame and received the United States National Medial of Arts and a Fletcher Foundation fellowship. In 1993 he received Kennedy Center Honors (one of the youngest persons recognized). George W Bush honored Mitchell and the Dance Theatre of Harlem with a dinner at the White House in 2006. Over a span of fifteen years, he received honorary doctorates from numerous leading universities including Juilliard, Harvard, Yale and Columbia, to name a few.

Sept. 20



K-Run’s Park Me in First (Uno), 13: American beagle show dog, winner of the 2008 Westminster Best in Show, Cancer.

Sept. 22


Al Matthews

Al Matthews, 75: American actor (Aliens, The Fifth Element, The American Way). He played the memorable cigar-chomping Sgt. Apone with the gravely voice in Aliens, and was a decorated US Marine who served almost six years in Vietnam receiving 13 combat awards and two Purple Hearts. He also appeared in Superman III and Tomorrow Never Dies. He was found dead in his home in Alicante on Spain’s Mediterranean coast by a neighbor.

Sept. 23
Gary Kurtz, 78: American film producer (American Graffiti, Star Wars, The Dark Crystal), cancer.

Mark Livolsi, 56: American film editor (The Devil Wears Prada, Saving Mr. Banks, We Bought a Zoo).

Sept. 24:
Norm Breyfogle, 58: American comic book artist (Batman, Prime), complications from a stroke.

Sept. 25:
Ronnie Shelton, 57: American convicted serial rapist who raped 30 women in Cleveland during the 1980s, died in prison. He was known as the “West Park rapist” and when he went on trial, there were hundreds of rape charges tied to attacks of more than 30 women. The jury had found him guilty of 220 counts of rape in one of the most high-profile cases of the decade. Judge Richard McMonagle sentenced him to 1,554-3,195 years in prison.

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