Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867-April 9, 1959)

Wright and Wife

Wright and Olgivanna

Married three times, divorced twice, no stranger to tragedy; Frank Lloyd Wright, without question, was the greatest American architect of all time. In his lifetime he designed more than one thousand structures and completed over 500 of them.

Living in Milwaukee, there are three duplexes not far from me that are Wright designed homes. They have those organic lines, low-pitched roof lines and deep overhangs. You can’t drive by them without doing a double-take.

Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin on June 8, 1867 and after a few years of apprenticeship he started his own Chicago firm and immediately preached his philosophy of “organic architecture.” Its central principle demanded that a structure be developed out of its natural surrounding.

He was a bold revolutionary in industrial designs and introduced innovations such as steel-reinforced concrete, all-glass revolving doors, indirect lighting, air conditioning and metal furniture. New York City’s Guggenheim Museum is an example of a Frank Lloyd Wright work that mimics a design found in nature.

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Taliesin in Spring Green today

Wright converted his Taliesin home in Wisconsin into a school and workshop, but in 1914 tragedy struck one night when Wright was away on business. An employee of the school set fire to Taliesin, burning it to the ground. Before setting the fire he nailed the exterior doors shut except for the lower half of a Dutch door. By the time the fire was put out, seven people lost their lives, including five who had been bludgeoned with an ax by the employee as they tried to escape through the bottom of the Dutch door. Wright’s wife and two stepchildren were among those who were dead.

Wright rebuilt Taliesin in Wisconsin and later remarried. In 1938 he built Taliesin West atop a central Arizona mesa, as a winter home and school. This 37,000-square-foot estate includes living quarters, offices and farm buildings that are subtly distinguished from the environment.

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Taliesin West today

Wright died at 91 in Arizona at Taliesin West from complications after surgery for an intestinal blockage. Per his wishes, he was buried at Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisc. alongside the confessed love of his life, his mistress Mameh. She had been killed that night in 1914.

Wright’s second wife, Olgivanna, had her own idea about where he would spend eternity. Upon her death in 1985, her will stipulated that he be exhumed and cremated. His cremains mixed with her own and the combined remains kept in an urn at Taliesin West.

Her wishes were fulfilled and the urn holding the ashes is kept in Scottsdale. It is NOT available for public viewing and is currently tucked away “in storage.”

 

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Elizabeth Taylor

Liz Taylor graveBorn in London, England on February 27, 1932, Elizabeth Taylor was the epitome of a movie star. She had beauty, glamour, a celebrity lifestyle and an enormous talent.

She was a child actress, performing in National Velvet at the age of 12 before moving on to adult roles such as A Place in the Sun at age 20 and winning an Oscar for BUtterfield 8 at age 28. Considering she was never professionally trained in acting, her skills were exceptional. Though many critics wondered if anyone as beautiful as Elizabeth Taylor could also be talented, she could play a vixen, a wounded victim or a melodramatic heroine. It seemed she had to prove her abilities all her life.

Her next film, Cleopatra, would change her life. She received $1 million for that film (the first actress to do so), and she met Richard Burton, who played Mark Anthony. They began a tempestuous relationship, causing them to marry and divorce twice and their lives would be forever bound together, some would say.

Of her seven husbands, Burton was “the love of her life.” She even said that had he not died, she probably would have married him a third time.

Taylor was dogged by the paparazzi, but she existed for her fans. Her private life played out in the magazines and scandal pages. But behind all that press was a star with a sense of morality, even though she habitually married her lovers. People remarked that she became “Elizabeth Taylor Hilton Wilding Todd Fisher Burton Burton Warner Fortensky.”

cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof_babed93bShe said once, “I’ve been lucky all my life. Everything was handed to me. Looks, fame, wealth, honors, love. I rarely had to fight for anything.”

But she did have her share of misfortune. Richard Burton died before his time and Michael Todd (her third husband), died in a plane crash at 48.

She struggled with alcohol and an overeating problem. Juggling five doctors, she managed hundreds of antidepressant and painkiller prescriptions which sent her to Betty Ford. Plus she suffered at least 70 incidents requiring hospitalization.

But she didn’t need to make movies to make money and influence the public. She marketed her own perfume and made millions. She raised nearly $300 million for AIDS and was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1993. In 2000, Queen Elizabeth II honored her with a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (an honor on the level of knighthood).

Taylor was also known for her love of jewels and her remarkable collection was the most valuable jewelry collection ever. When it was sold at Christie’s it brought in $156,756,576 and every single item sold. It generated intense interest from bidders throughout the world.

On March 23, 2011 she died of congestive heart failure. At her request, the funeral began 15 fashionable minutes late because she stated she wanted to be late for her own funeral. She’s buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif. In the Hall of Memory you’ll see a 12-foot-high, Michelangelo-like carved statue of an angel with arms outstretched, beneath which is the crypt of Elizabeth Taylor.

 

 

Taphophile

Ever wonder why people (or friends and acquaintances) want to visit cemeteries when they’re on vacation? Well there’s a word for those kind of people. It’s Taphophile and I’m a self-confessed one and have been since I lived across the street from a rather large cemetery when I was growing up in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

It was a short cut and I never hesitated to take it. I found the graves, the headstones and the larger mausoleums extremely interesting and the peace and quiet of the property welcoming.

The interest has never stopped. If I’m driving and I pass a cemetery that looks interesting, I stop and wander in. If I’m on vacation I’ll look up where some of the cemeteries are and if some celebrities are buried there.

I have a Pinterest page entitled “Unique Cemeteries and Gravestones” with over 2,000 pins and over 300 followers. During some weeks, it garners me over 100 pins or more. Cemeteries and gravestones are a very popular subject.

My father always told me that there are two things you could always make money doing: being an undertaker or a grocer, because people have to eat and people are going to die.

But I digress, because the reason I’m writing this is to introduce my new column about Taphophile. I’ve accumulated several books on the subject and I’m going to post a regular column about someone “famous” who’s died, how they died, perhaps something ironic about their death, where their grave is located and, other interesting tidbits about their death.

I sincerely hope you enjoy it and if you have questions or comments, please post them.

2017 Obituaries – October thru December

Oct. 1: Stephen Paddock, 64: The gunman who executed the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. He took his own life with his own gun. He killed at least 58 innocent people and wounded 500 others. He had no known connection to terrorism.

Oct 2: Tom Petty, 66: a true rock legend, Petty reportedly died from cardiac arrest. He was a Grammy winner, Hall of Fame musician (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Traveling Wilburys) and voice actor (King of the Hill).This is one of the best obits for Tom Petty. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/music/news/tom-petty-found-unconscious-full-cardiac-arrest-not-breathing/

Oct. 3: Michel Jouvet, 91: French oneirologist and neurobiologist, developer of Modafinil and discoverer of REM sleep.

Oct. 3: Lance Russell, 91: American professional wrestling announcer and commentator (CWA, USWA, WCW), complications from a broken hip.

Oct. 4: Rufus Hannah, 63: American advocate for homeless rights, traffic collision.

Oct. 6: Holly Block, 58: American museologist, gallery director in Art in General (1988-2004) and Director of Bronx Museum of the Arts (since 2006) breast cancer.

Oct. 6: Hervé L. Leroux, 60: French fashion designer, founder of Hervé Leger, ruptured aneurysm.

Oct. 6. Ralphie May, 45: American comedian and Last Comic Standing second-place winner, died after suffering cardiac arrest in Las Vegas. He had been battling pneumonia and had cancelled a handful of dates over the last month prior to his death, in an effort to recover.

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Bunny Sigler

Oct. 6: Bunny Sigler, 76: Philly music creator, that helped Gamble and Huff create the Philly Sound died at home of a heart attack. He worked with Patti LaBelle, Lou Rawls, the Spinners and countless others and his music was sampled by Jay Z, Nelly and Outkast. Lee Remick, his longtime attorney and friend stated, “He wrote, produced, recorded and sang.” Sigler had been sick for the last 10 months and suffered from diabetes. He is survived by his wife Martha and a daughter Eva in California and a son Jabare in Philadelphia.

Oct. 10: Nick Corvino, 30: an American political staffer during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign died after he was shot 13 times as he slept in his Florida home. He apparently was killed by his roommate earlier in the week in their apartment near Kissimmee. Deputies found Corvino dead in his bed. He’d been shot in the head, back and legs.

Oct. 11: Jeremy, 2: The British left-coiled snail died days after mate has young.

Oct. 12: Robert Lynn Pruett, 38: American murderer. Executed by Texas for a prison guard’s murder.

Oct. 14: Daniel Webb, 28: Former Chicago White Sox pitcher died in an ATV accident.

Oct. 15: Melvin “Burrhead” Nelson Jones, 80: American professional wrestler (WWWF, CCW, CWA). He had been dealing with a number of health issues including blindness due to glaucoma and arthritis which left him bed-ridden at a medical facility.

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Roy Dotrice

Oct. 16: Roy Dotrice, 94: The famed actor died peacefully in his London home, surrounded by his family, including his three daughters and grandchildren. He discovered his passion for acting while he was held as a German prisoner during the Second World War. In 2008, he was award an OBE for services to drama by the Queen.

Oct. 17: Mychael Knight, 39: American fashion designer and Project Runway alum died outside of Atlanta, Georgia surrounded by his loving family and friends.

Oct. 17: Michele Marsh, 63: American television journalist and longtime New York TV anchor, breast cancer.

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Brent Briscoe

Oct. 18: Brent Briscoe, 56: American actor and screenwriter (Twin Peaks, A Simple Plan, Swing Blade) who worked often with Billy Bob Thornton and was a busy character actor and was most recently seen in the revived Twin Peaks died from complications from a fall.

Oct. 18: Helen DeVos, 90: American philanthropist (Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital) stroke complications.

Oct. 20: Stan Kowalski, 91: American professional wrestler (AWA, NWA Tri-State, Stampede Wrestling). Wrestler, veteran, patriot, fundraiser and a friend to many.

Oct. 24: Fats Domino, 89: He was one of the first honorees inducted into the Rock & Rock Hall of Fame and is best known for his hits “Blueberry Hill” and “Ain’t That a Shame.” He is survived by his eight children. He died of natural causes.

Oct. 24: Robert Guillaume, 89: best known for his title role on the 1990 series Benson, Guillaume’s wife confirmed her husband’s passing to CNN. He won Emmys in 1979 and 1985. He died of prostate cancer.

Oct. 25: Ross Powell, 49: American baseball player (Cincinnati Reds, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates) and his father, 72-year old Lyle Powell, were discovered in a lawn care van, dead from carbon monoxide poisoning. Ross Powell had just opened his lawn care franchise a month prior. The fumes were so strong, it sent five first responders to the hospital.

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Dennis Banks

Oct. 29: Dennis Banks (Nowa Cumin), 80: One of the country’s most influential American Indian activists and one who was a key figure in the 1970s standoff with federal agents at Wounded Knee died at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester from complications following open-heart surgery.

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Brad Bufanda

Nov. 1: Brad Bufanda, 34: Best known for his role as Felix in Veronica Mars, died of an apparent suicide in Los Angeles. According to police, Bufanda jumped from a building, committing suicide. His manager said that he was in the process of reviving his career, recently completing two movies.

Nov. 5: Robert Knight, 72: American R&B singer who recorded the first version of “Everlasting Love,” one of the biggest songs to come out of Nashville, died after a short illness. He was a member of the Fairlanes and sang lead for the Paramounts before becoming a solo artist.

Nov. 7: Debra Chasnoff, 60: A 1992 Oscar-winning artist and activist, who saw films as tools for social changes, and made 12 documentaries, died at her home of metastatic breast cancer. She was only 60. She won her Oscar in 1992 for Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment, an expose of the energy giant’s production of nuclear weapons, and made Academy Award history when she came out as a lesbian by thanking her female partner at the time.

Nov. 7: Roy Halladay, 40: Former MLB pitcher (Toronto Blue Jays, Philadelphia Phillies), Cy Young Award winner (2003, 2010) was killed in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida. The plane was a two-person aircraft that was owned by Hallady, but he was the only one on board. He was the father of two with his wife Brandy.

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John Hillerman

Nov. 9: John Hillerman, 84: American actor, who was best known for playing Higgins on the television show Magnum, P.I. and won an Emmy in 1987, also appeared in Chinatown and Blazing Saddles. He died at his home in Houston, stated a family spokeswoman. She also stated the cause of death had not been determined.

Nov. 12: Liz Smith, 94: American gossip columnist, who wrote for Newsday, New York Daily News and was known as the Longtime Queen of Tabloid Gossip Columns for more than three decades died at her home in Manhattan, her friend and literary agent confirmed. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Nov. 16: Fergie Pacheco, 89: American physician and boxing cornerman, known as the “Fight Doctor” and Muhammad Ali’s physician, died at his home in Miami, in his sleep.

Nov. 17: Aijalon Gomes, 38: American teacher, imprisoned by the Government of North Korean in 2010 was found burned to death over the weekend in a dirt lot in Mission Bay Park in San Diego. The police believe that Gomes likely dies as a result of an accident or suicide.

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Earle Hyman

Nov. 17: Earle Hyman, 91: best known for playing Grandpa Huxtable on The Cosby Show, Hyman was a veteran of stages around the world. In addition to The Cosby Show, he was a voice on Thundercats. Hyman died at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey.

Nov. 18: Flawless Sabrina (Jack Doroshow), 78: American drag queen and trans rights activist, was a drag legend. She was a central figure of the New York queer community and was a guide and mentor to countless queer youths for decades.

Nov. 18: Malcolm Young, 64: The AC/DC guitarist and cofounder, died after a three-year battle with dementia.

Nov. 19: Peter Baldwin, 86: American actor and director, who turned prolific Emmy-winning TV director with credits including The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Sanford and Son, Murphy Brown and The Wonder Years. He died at his home in Pebble Beach, his son announced. He is also survived by his wife, two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Nov. 19: Charles Manson, 83: American criminal and cult leader, died in prison from cardiac arrest from colon cancer. I won’t write a single word about his life, but I will list the lives that he and his “family” members ended, way too soon: Sharon Tate, Wojciech Frykowski, Abigail Folger, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent, Leno LaBianca and Rosemary LaBianca. These are just the lives that he was “convicted of” taking.

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Della Reese

Nov. 19: Della Reese, 86: Della Reese segued from pop to jazz to acting. She had a long career as a popular TV actress on Touched by an Angel. She was a wife, mother, grandmother, friend and pastor. One of her four marriages included a brief, annulled union with Mercer Ellington, son of jazz great Duke Ellington. She is survived by her husband Franklin Lett, a film producer and concert promoter. She died at her home in California.

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David Cassidy

Nov. 21: David Cassidy, 67: Pop culture idol of the 1970s, died in a Florida hospital where he had been after suffering from organ failure. He had announced his diagnosis with dementia in early 2017. When he performed at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in New York in March, he talked about his dementia and said his arthritis made playing guitar an ordeal. He died surrounded by those he loved, free from the pain that had gripped him.

Nov. 25: Bertha Calloway, 92: American historian and museologist, founder of the Great Plains Black History Museum.

Nov. 27: Robert Powell, 66: American bass guitarist who played with The Young Rascals, The Crusaders.

Nov. 27: Bob Seidemann, 75: American rock album cover designer (Blind Faith, Go to Heaven, On the Beach) and a photographer who shot the Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin, died from Parkinson’s disease.

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Gomer Pyle

Nov. 30: Jim Nabors, 87: American actor (Gomer Pyle, USMC, The Andy Griffith Show, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) whose name was synonymous with the term “bumpkin,” and brought the words “golly” and “shazam” into the vernacular of the American television audience. His series, Gomer Pyle, USMC was a spinoff of The Andy Griffith show and ran for four seasons. Nabors’ 20% cut of the syndication revenue made him financially secure thereafter and allowed him to pursue broader interests as a singer and a comic. He married his partner of 38 years in Washington in 2013, a month after gay marriage became legal in that state. In addition to his partner, Stan Cadwallader, he is survived by two sisters, Freddie and Ruth.

Nov. 30: Ben Sylliboy, 76: Canadian Waycobah grand council chief, spiritual leader of Mi’kmaq.

Dec. 2: Lowell Hawthorne, 57: Jamaican-born American entrepreneur who was the founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill shot himself inside the Park Ave. building inside his Bronx factory. He once appeared on Undercover Boss. Apparently the business was plagued by tax debt and a worker’s law suit.

Dec. 4: Christine Keeler, 75: English model and showgirl, at the heart of the Profumo affair, and whose affairs with Russian diplomat and British MP John Profumo caused one of UK’s biggest scandal of the 20th century died from COPD. She had been ill for several months. A major BBC series revisiting the scandal is due to start filming next year.

Dec. 5: August Ames, 23: Canadian pornographic actress, August Ames was one of the most popular porn stars on the Internet. Just days after receiving criticism on social media for refusing to work with certain performers, she was found dead of an apparent suicide by hanging.

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Jose Padron

Dec. 5: José Padrón, 91: Cuban-American tobacconist, founder of Piloto Cigars, Inc., some of the world’s best Cuban cigars, died at a hospital in Coconut Grove, Florida.

Dec. 8: Steve Revvis, 55: American actor (Fargo, Geronimo: An American Legend, The Longest Yard).

Dec. 9: Kevin Robinson, 45: veteran BMX professional and Guiness Book of World Records holder and X Games veteran, died of a stroke. By the time he retired in 2013, he had spent nearly 25 years using BMX progression. He is survived by a wife and three children.

Dec. 9: Tom Zenk, 59: American bodybuilder and professional wrestler (WCW, AJPW, WWF).

Dec. 10: Angry Grandpa (better known as Charlie Green Jr.), 67: American Internet personality (YouTube) died after a short battle with skin cancer.

Dec. 10: Jack Boyle, 83: legendary rock concert promoter and venue owner (The Cellar Door) turned Georgetown’s Cellar Door nightclub into the flagship venue of a national concert promotion empire. Known as the Door, it was one of the country’s premier music venues until it closed in 1982. Jack Boyle (the son) stated his father died from complications from dementia. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Dec. 11: Charles Robert Jenkins, 77: American soldier, deserted to North Korea and husband of former Japanese abductee Hitomi Soga.

Dec. 11: Paul T. Fader 58: former Mayor of Englewood, New Jersey (1998-2003).

Dec. 12: Zarley Zalapski, 49: Canadian ice hockey player, played in the NHL between 1987-1998 and a 12-game stint during the 1990-00 season. Originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins fourth overall in 1986, Zalapski made stops playing for the Hartford Whalers, Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers. During his 637 games of NHL experience, Zalapski scored 99 goals, 285 assists while racking up 684 penalty minutes. He died due to complications of a viral infection.

Dec. 12: Ed Lee, 65: Mayor of San Francisco (since 2011). The city’s first Asian American mayor and the man who presided over the transformation during the recent tech boom died after suffering a heart attack at the age of 65. He collapsed while shopping at a grocery store near his home and was quickly taken by ambulance to San Francisco General Hospital. He died at 1:11am, surrounded by friends and family.

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Warrel Dane

Dec. 13: Warrel Dane, 56: American heavy metal singer, who achieved fame with the bands Sanctuary and Nevermore died from a heart attack while in São Paulo, Brazil. It apparently happened during the night and he could not be revived.

Dec. 14: Tamio Oki, 89: Japanese voice actor (Ghost in the Shell, Astro Boy, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure). He had been undergoing medical treatment for an unspecified illness.

Dec. 14: Bob Givens, 99: American animator (Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, Garfield and Friends). He died just three months shy of his 100th birthday.

Dec. 14: Yurizan Beltran, 31: American pornographic actress. The owner of the house where she was living found Beltran dead of an apparent drug overdose. Friends confirmed her death. She was a native of Long Beach, Calif. who worked at Hooters before she went into porn.

Dec. 15: Robert Follis, 48: American mixed martial arts coach (Xtreme Couture). Las Vegas authorities confirmed to ESPN that Follis’ death was a suicide from a gunshot to the head. Follis was a head coach at Xtreme Couture for four years and was a key piece of former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate’s camp. But last month, Follis parted way with Xtreme Couture, ending a run that began in 2014.

Dec. 18: Kim Jong-hyun, 27: lead singer of the K-pop group SHINee, was found unconscious at his rented apartment in southern Seoul. Kim’s sister made the initial call to emergency services reporting that she believed her brother was committing suicide. Investigators believe he committed suicide by inhaling toxic fumes, as they discovered coal briquettes burnt on a frying pan upon arriving at the apartment.

Dec. 22: Gerald B. Greenberg, 81: American film editor and 1972 Oscar winner (The French Connection, Apocalypse Now, Scarface). His film editing produced one of the most famous car chases in cinema history. He died after a long illness.

Dec. 22: Victor Llamas, 41: American comic book artist (Batman). Llamas was a veteran inker. He died from medical complications after a long hospital stay.

Dec. 22: Frank “Bobo” Marrapese, 74: American mobster (Patriarca crime family) and murderer, who was known as one of the most vicious enforcers, died at a Rhode Island hospital. He was serving time at the Adult Correctional Institutions for murder.

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Jordan Feldstein

Dec. 23: Jordan Feldstein, 40: American music manager for Maroon 5, and brother of Jonah Hill, died of a heart attack, according to the Feldstein family. He and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine were friends from childhood and Feldstein managed the group from their inception, guiding the band as they became one of music’s most successful international touring acts with three Grammy Awards and 20 million albums sold worldwide.

Dec. 24: Heather Menzies-Urich, 68: Canadian-born, American actress, who played the third oldest daughter, Louisa von Trapp in the 1965 film The Sound of Music, died of brain cancer. She was the widow of actor Robert Urich, who died in 2002. She was surrounded by her children and family members.

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Sue Grafton

Dec. 28: Sue Grafton, 77: A Louisville, Kent. native, who was a popular mystery writer with a best-selling series of alphabetically titled mystery novels died in California, according to Steve Bass, a family friend. Her heroine was Kinsey Millhone and it started in 1982 with “A is for Alibi.” Grafton published “Y is for Yesterday” earlier this year. Her daughter, Jamie posted to Facebook on Friday that her mother died surrounded by family after a two-year battle with cancer. There won’t be a Millhone book that starts with “Z.” AB: Grafton was one of my mother’s favorite authors.

Dec. 28: Rose Marie, 94: American actress, who was a regular on The Dick Van Dyke Show died at her home in Van Nuys, Calif. She started her career at age 3 in some of the earliest talking films and co-headlined on the opening night of Bugsy Siegel’s Flaminto Hotel in Las Vegas in 1946. She was always identified by the bow in her hair and her raspy voice. Throughout her life, is was active in many causes, most notably animal welfare.

Dec. 30: Erica Garner, 27: American civil rights activist and daughter of police chokehold victim, Eric Garner, passed away at the age of just 27, after suffering a massive heart attack one week earlier.

2017 Obits – July thru Sept

July 1: Stevie Ryan, 33: Los Angeles County coroner has determined that Stevie Ryan, the YouTube star and TV host was a suicide by hanging. Ryan, who made her name on a YouTube series called “Little Loca” before appearing in the VH1 series Stevie TV and hosting an E! channel was found at home, dead. She recently hosted a podcast about depression and about the recent death of her grandfather.

July 6: Robert Grodt, 28: American volunteer medic at the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011, where he met Kaylee Dedrick, who had just been pepper-sprayed in the face, died on the outskirts of Raqqa, Syria. He pulled her out of the crowd to treat her, then he married her. They had a daughter together. Robert then volunteered to fight in the Syrian war and joined the Kurdish militia. It was while in was in Syria that he was killed.

July 6: Melvyn “Deacon” Jones, 73: American blues musician, switched from trumpet to organ and from there embarked on a career playing the blues on a Hammond B3. A Richmond native, died in Hollywood, Calif. He was a composer and arranger and a mentor, a genius and a legend. He was the brother of jazz drummer Harold Jones, who backs singer Tony Bennett and was among the musicians forming the rock ’n roll band Baby Huey and the Babysitters. He also toured and recorded with Curtis Mayfield, Freddie King, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughn and others.

July 6: William Morva, 35: American convicted murdered was executed by lethal injection for the murder of Derrick McFarland and Montgomery County sheriff’s Deputy Eric Sutphin during an escape from custody in 2006.

July 13: John Bernecker, 33: American stunt performer (Logan, The Hunger Games, The Walking Dead), fell more than 20 feet from a balcony onto a concrete floor, suffering a serious head injury that required him to be transported to a nearby hospital by helicopter. AMC announced that they had temporarily shut down production of The Walking Dead’s eighth season in the wake of the tragedy. Later that evening, AMC announced that his family had decided to remove him from life support following organ donation.

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Nelsan Ellis

July 8: Nelsan Ellis, 39: American actor (True Blood, Get on Up, Elementary). He played a short-order cook at Merlotte’s on True Blood. In the books, he was killed off, but because Ellis made him such as enjoyable character, he survived on the series. His manager told The Hollywood Reporter that he died from complications with heart failure.

July 13: Olive Yang, 91: Burmese opium warlady, also known as Yang Jinxiu, the de facto ruler of Kokang in the 1950s, died at the age for 91 in Shan State’s Muse Township. She once had her own army of nearly 1,000 men and was an influential figure in the opium trade of the Golden Triangle region.

July 15: Justine Damond, 40: Australian woman shot by Mohamed Noor, Minneapolis police officer, after she placed a 911 call to report the assault of a woman in an alley behind her home. Officer Noor had been with MPD for 21 months and in that time had acquired three formal complaints against him. Two, as of Sept. 2017, were pending resolution.

July 15: Martin Landau, 89: an American actor who starred in both television (Mission: Impossible) and movies (Ed Wood, Crimes and Misdemeanors) and won an Oscar in 1995 (Ed Wood) died from an abdominal hemorrhage. He had been married to is co-star from Mission: Impossible, Barbara Bain from 1957 until their divorce in 1993. Survivors include his daughters Susie (a writer-producer) and Juliet (an actress-dancer) from his marriage to Bain; plus sons-in-law Roy and Deverill; sister Elinor; granddaughter Aria; and godson Dylan.

July 16: Jerry Bird, 83: American basketball player (Kentucky Wildcats, New York Knicks). Died from natural causes.

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George Romero

July 16: George A. Romero, 77: American-Canadian film director, screenwriter, creator of Night of the Living Dead, and father of the modern movie zombie. His “Living Dead” franchise went on to create the horror genre we all know and many of us love today, seen in movies like The Purge and TV shows like The Walking Dead. He died in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” according to a family statement to the Los Angeles Times. His wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero and daughter, Tina Romero, were at his side.

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Chester Bennington

July 20: Chester Bennington, 41: American singer and songwriter (Linkin Park, Dead by Sunrise, Stone Temple Pilots) frontman for Linkin Park, Bennington committed suicide by hanging at his Palos Verdes residence which was later confirmed by the LA County coroner. He struggled with drug and alcohol addiction throughout his life and spoke openly about this, as well as being molested by an older man when he was a child. He was married and is survived by six children.

July 20: Kenneth Jay Lane, 85: American costume jewelry designer, whose exquisite gems were worn by formers first ladies and royalty past away in his sleep at age 85. A documentary about Lane’s illustrious 50-year career has been in the works which will feature some of his closest friends including Barbara Bush, Joan Collins, Diane Von Furstenberg and Anne and Kirk Douglas. In the film, Joan Collins recalls a time when she was stopped at customs with her Lane jewels and even the customs officials couldn’t stop complimenting her about them. Even at age 85, Lane had no plans for slowing down. In addition to the documentary, he had been focusing on his e-comm site.

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Pudsey

July 20: Pudsey, 11: Britain’s Got Talent champion dog, Pudsey, was put down after a short bout with leukemia.

July 21: John Heard, 71: American actor, best known for his role in the Home Alone films, Heard was found dead in his hotel room in Palo Alto, Calif. He had been staying at the hotel after minor back surgery for a week. It was later determined that he died from cardiac arrest.

July 23: Robert Gardiner, 70: English writer and RMS Titanic conspiracy theorist who wrote several books including Titanic: The Ship That Never Sank?

July 25: Barbara Sinatra, 90: American fashion model, showgirl and philanthropist, who rose to social prominence as “Lady Blue Eyes” and went on to develop a legacy of her own, died at her Rancho Mirage home at age 90. She was married to Frank Sinatra for almost 22 years, longer than any of his previous three marriages. She used his fund-raising clout to build the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center to help abused children at Eisenhower Medical Center. “She died comfortably surrounded by family and friends at her home,” said Children’s Center Director John Thoresen.

July 26: June Foray, 99: American voice actress (The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, Looney Tunes, Cinderella) cardiac arrest.

July 26: Ronald Phillips, 43: whose execution was postponed six times, was finally carried out in Ohio via lethal injection. Ohio had been taking a three-year break, but resumed execution just in time to execute Phillips, who was convicted of raping and beating to death his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter. There were no reports of complications during his execution.

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Cena

July 27: Cena N641: American labrador retriever, therapy and bomb detection dog served in the Marines until his retirement in 2014, received a hero’s send-off that was organized by his first wartime partner, Jeff DeYoung. Hundreds turned out to salute and say a tear-filled final goodbye to a cancer-stricken Cena, who served three tours in Afghanistan with the US Marines. After his retirement, he became a service dog for Lance Cpl Jeff DeYoung. Cena had been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. DeYoung had organized the celebration for Cena, he said he wanted to take his dog on one last ride in a topless Jeep before Cena was put down.

July 27 : Cheri Maples, 64: American police office and peace activist, died after suffering life-threatening injuries in a bicycle crash.

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Sam Shepard

July 27: Sam Shepard, 73: American playwright and actor, Pulitzer Prize winner (1979) and one of the most important and influential writers of our generation, died at his home in Kentucky from complication of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). He wrote more than 55 plays, acted in more than 50 films and had more than a dozen roles on television. He was an author of prose works and a memoir. He had a long relationship with actress Jessica Lange, which cast an unwanted spotlight on his private life, which he described as “terrible and impossible.” AB: two of my personal Sam Shepard favorites – The Pelican Brief and Thunderheart.

July 27: Marty Sklar, 83: legendary Disney Imagineer passed away in his Hollywood Hills home at the age of 83. During his illustrious career spanning 54 years, Marty worked closely with Walt Disney and was instrumental in creating, enhancing and expanding Disney’s creative vision. Named a “Disney Legend” in 2001, he is best remembered by fans around the world for his work bringing Disney’s theme parks to life.

July 28: Charlie Gard, 11 months: British infant, subject of life support and parental rights case, MDDS.

Aug. 3: Robert Hardy, 91: The Harry Potter actor, was known for playing the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge in four of the films. He also starred in the TV series, All Creatures Great and Small. He died at Denville Hall, a retirement home for actor in the outskirts of London.

Chantek

Chantek

Aug. 7: Chantek, 39: American hybrid orangutan, who was one of the first apes to learn to sign language, died in Atlanta. He was being treated for progressive heart disease.

Aug. 8: Eugene Burger, 78: A Chicago magician, who knew magic is life, and who once entertained at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, died in his hometown of Chicago at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

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Glen Campbell

Aug. 8: Glen Campbell, 81: died in Nashville after a year-long struggle with Alzheimer’s. He sang (Rhinestone Cowboy and By the Time I Get to Phoenix) and acted (True Grit). In 1967 he made history by winning 4 Grammys in the country and pop categories and then took home the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year Award in 1968. He is survived by his wife, Kim Campbell and had 8 children.

Aug. 14: Joi Harris, 40: American motorcycle racer and stuntwoman, was killed on the set of Deadpool 2. She had lost control of her motorcycle while performing a stunt for the superhero movie, crashing through a window near Vancouver’s Jack Poole Plaza. She billed herself as the first licensed African-American woman in US history to actively compete in sanctioned motorcycle road racing events. Working on Deadpool 2 was her first time filming a stunt for a movie, though she had reportedly completed the stunt successfully four times prior to the crash.

Kasatka

Kasatka

Aug. 15: Kasatka, 41: American orca, who was born in the wild, was euthanized at SeaWorld after a long battle with a lung infection. It was the same disease that killed Tilikum, the orca featured in the 2013 documentary Blackfish, who died last year. Orcas can live 50-80 year in the wild, according to the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. Kasatka had numerous descendants born at SeaWorld. She was the mother of four, a grandmother of six, and a great-grandmother of two, according to a statement from the park.

Aug. 16: Wayne Lotter, 51: South African elephant conservationist and anti-poaching activist, murdered in Tanzania. Police there have launched an investigation into the murder of Wayne Lotter. He had received numerous death threats in connection with his work. As a member of PAMS, the foundation has protected 32,000 elephants and confiscated more than 1,150 firearms. It also funds and supports Tanzania’s National and Transnational Serious Crimes Investigation Unit (NTSCIU), the body behind the arrest of “Queen of Ivory” Yang Feng Glan, and several other high profile ivory poachers and traders.

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Sonny Landham

Aug. 17: Sonny Landham, 76: an American actor who starred in Predator and 48 Hrs. died from congestive heart failure in Lexington, Ky. He was part Seminole and part Cherokee and was best known for portraying the tracker Billy Sole in the movie Predator in 1987 (AB: my favorite Sonny Landham role). In the early 70s, he appeared in several X-rated films, but after appearing in The Warriors, he got roles in tough guy films including Action Jackson and Lock Up. In 2003 he left Hollywood and went, unsuccessfully, into politics. He is survived by a son and daughter.

Aug. 19: Dick Gregory, 84: American comedian and civil rights activist. He broke ground at the Playboy Club in Chicago and on Jack Paar’s Tonight Show, then became a potent activist for civil rights. His son Christian announced his father’s death via a statement in Washington, DC that his father died of heart failure. He was hospitalized several days earlier.

Aug. 20: Jerry Lewis, 91: died at his Las Vegas home after suffering from ill health for many years. He was an actor, singer and director and was well known for his philanthropic work, raising more than $2.6 billion for muscular dystrophy research with his annual Labor Day telethon. He died from cardiomyopathy. He was married to Patti Palmer from 1944-1982. They had five sons and adopted another child. His youngest, Joseph, became a drug addict and committed suicide in 2009 at age 45. He married his second wife, SanDee Pitnick in 1983. They adopted a daughter, Danielle.

Aug. 24: Jay Thomas, 69: American actor (Cheers (Eddie LeBed), Murphy Brown (Jerry Gold)) and radio talk show host. He also worked on Ray Donovan. But according to his agent, his wife and his sons were the true passion of his life. He lost his battle with cancer.

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Tobe Hooper

Aug. 26: Tobe Hooper, 74: American film director, best known for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) which became one of the most influential horror films because of its realistic approach and deranged vision. He also directed the 1982 Poltergeist film written and produced by Steven Spielberg, a film which also became a classic of the genre. These are but two of Hooper’s films. His 1979 CBS miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s bestselling novel Salem’s Lot is considered by many to be one of the best in televisual horror. It combined the intrigue of a nighttime soap opera with the gothic atmosphere of a classic horror film. He is survived by a son.

Aug. 28: Melissa Bell, 53: English singer (Soul II Soul) and mother of Alexandra Burke (X Factor winner).

Aug. 31: Richard Anderson, 91: known for his role on The Six Million Dollar Man and the spinoff, The Bionic Woman, Anderson died at his home in Beverly Hills.

Sept. 3: Walter Becker, 67: American Half of Fame musician (Steely Dan), songwriter and producer. Grammy winner (2001).

Sept. 4: Earl Lindo, 65: Jamaican reggae musician (Bob Marley and the Wailers).

Sept. 6: Kate Millett, 82: American feminist writer (Sexual Politics), cardiac arrest.

Sept. 8: Troy Gentry: The Montgomery Gentry singer tragically died while taking a helicopter tour of Medford, New Jersey, where he and Montgomery were set to perform that evening. The helicopter pilot died immediately. In 2004, Gentry purchased a black bear named “Cubby” from a facility called the Minnesota Wildlife Connection and then shot the bear from inside an electrified enclosure, a practice commonly known as “canned hunting.” On Nov. 7, 2006, he pleaded guilty to a charge of falsely tagging a bear that was killed in a fenced enclosure. He agreed to pay a $15,000 fine, give up hunting, fishing and trapping in Minnesota for five years and forfeit Cubby’s taxidermied remains and the bow he used to shoot Cubby. He also posted a statement on the duo’s website on Nov. 9, 2010, apologizing for his actions as well as the unethical manner in which he killed Cubby. Kharma’s a bitch.

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Blake Heron

Sept. 8: Blake Heron, 35: who gained fame as a teen actor during the 1990s, died at his home in La Crescenta, Calif. He was discovered by a friend who told authorities that he had been sick with the flu for the last few days. Heron had made his film debut in the 1995 Disney movie Tom and Huck and in the TV series Reality Check. In 1996 he starred in the Warner Bros. family drama Shiloh, portraying an adolescent who rescues an abused hunting dog in a small town.

Sept. 10: Xavier Atencio, 98: American animator, lyricist and Imagineer (Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion).

Sept. 10: Len Wein, 69: American comic book writer and editor (Swamp Thing, Watchmen), co-creator of Wolverine.

Sept. 11: Michelle Rounds, 46: Rosie O’Donnell’s ex-wife was found in her home, dead of an apparent suicide.

Basi

Basi

Sept. 13: Basi, 37: Chinese panda, world’s oldest living, cirrhosis and renal failure.

Sept. 13: Gary Otte, 45: American murderer and robber. Executed in Ohio. Convicted of killing two in back-to-back robberies.

Sept. 13: Frank Vincent, 80: Was Hollywood’s go-to guys for mobster dramas. He starred in three of Martin Scorsese’s classics: Raging Bull, Goodfellas and Casino. He also gave Tony Soprano fits as crime boss Phil Leotardo in the final two seasons of The Sopranos. He was an incredible jazz drummer and had impeccable comic timing, honed from being on the road with Joe Pesci. His family issued an official statement confirming his death at the age of 80.

Sept. 14: George England, 91: American film producer and director (The Ugly American, Zachariah), fall.

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Harry Dean Stanton

Sept. 15: Harry Dean Stanton, 91: died of natural causes. His career spanned more than six decades. He was most recently seen in the Showtime revival of Twin Peaks. He also had memorial roles in films including Alien, Repo Man and Pretty in Pink. He was the character actor who had an exceptional career. He was an elegant musical performer with an angelic tenor voice and played rhythm guitar and harmonica in a Tex-Mex band that did weekly gigs at the Mint in LA. He said he never wanted to be a leading man, “too much work.” Except for a brief marriage, Stanton was a bachelor, who in the Partly Fiction documentary spoke about the lost love of his life, actress Rebecca De Mornay.

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Penny Chenery

Sept. 16: Penny Chenery, 95: Owner of the Triple Crown Winner Secretariat. She died in Boulder, Colo.

Sept. 16: Ted Christopher, 69: American race car driver (NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour) died when his Mooney M20C aircraft crashed in Guilford, Conn. enroute to the Miller Lite 200 at Riverbed Raceway in Riverhead, New York.

Sept. 16: Steve Baker, 79: American illusionist, known as Mr. Escape, died at his home in Illinois. His wife, Julia, who served as his faithful assistant throughout his career, was by his side.

Sept. 17: Bonnie Angelo, 93: American political journalist (Time), who wrote about mothers of U.S. presidents, complications from dementia.

Sept. 17: Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, 72: American professional wrestler, legendary manager and commentator (WWF, AWA, WCW) died from organ failure. He is survived by his wife Cynthia Jean and their daughter Jessica and grandson Austin.

Sept. 18: Chuck Low, 89: died at a nursing home in New Jersey. He served four years as an army major and was part of the U.S. Army Reserve for more than 30 years as well as the U.S. National Guard from 1957 to 1965. He starred along side his close friend Robert De Niro in Goodfellas, The King of Comedy and The Mission.

Sept. 19: Johnny Sandlin, 72: American record producer (The Allman Brothers Band), cancer.

Sept. 24: Barbara Blaine, 61: American Founder of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), heart disease.

Sept. 24: Orville Lynn Majors, 56: American serial killer, who was serving 360 years at Indiana State Prison in Michigan City died from cardiac issues due to natural causes. Majors was a nurse suspected of killing dozens of patients at the former Vermillion County Hospital in Clinton by injecting them with potassium chloride. He was convicted in six deaths in 1999.

Sept. 25: Joe Bailon, 94: American car customizer, creator of the candy apple red car color.

Sept. 25: Tim Quill, 54: American actor (Hamburger Hill, Argo, JAG).

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Hugh Hefner

Sept. 27: Hugh Hefner, 91: His son Cooper Hefner said in a statement, “He defined a lifestyle and ethos that lie at the heart of the Playboy brand, one of the most recognizable and enduring in history. He will be greatly missed by many, including his wife Crystal, my sister Christie and my brothers David and Marston, and all of us at Playboy Enterprises.” According to his death certificate, he died from cardia arrest, though he was also suffering from other illnesses, including blood and E. coli infections. He was buried in a crypt next to iconic actor Marilyn Monroe, who appeared on the cover of the first issue of Playboy in December, 1953. He bought the burial site for $75,000 in 1992. 

Those we have lost in 2017 – April thru June

hate manApril 2: Hate Man (Mark Hawthorne), 80: One of the most colorful homeless people to ever hit the Bay Area died of heart failure at a hospital in Berkeley, according to friends who were helping take care of him. He once was a reporter at the New York Times, but abandoned his job and took up residence on the streets of Berkeley. He came up with his name “Hate Man” after deciding that “honest communications can only be attained after acknowledging that hate exists between everyone.”

April 2: Rhubarb Jones, 65: American country disc jockey and professional wrestling ring announcer (WCW) heart attack.

Aril 5: Alma Soller McLay, 97: The American stenographer at the Nuremberg trials and the last surviving member of the U.S. team that prosecuted Nazi war criminals, died in Torrance, Calif. She is survived by her children and grandchildren.

April 5: Paul O’Neill, 61: rock producer who founded the progressive American rock band, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra died of a chronic illness. His death was posted to the bands Facebook page.

Don RicklesApril 6: Don Rickles, 90: abrasive comic, celebrity roast guest whose career spanned six decades and honorary Rat Pack member, Rickles died at his home in Los Angeles from kidney failure. He forged his career by turning the tables on his hecklers and went on to make fun of everyone he encountered. When Frank Sinatra walked into Rickle’s club in 1957, he was greeted from the stage …”Make yourself at home, Frank. Hit somebody,” heckled Rickles. Sinatra roared – with laughter. Rickles, with Sinatra’s endorsement, began his comedic assault on people, famous and not so famous. The rest is history.

April 7: Tim Pigott-Smith, 70: English actor (The Jewel in the Crown, Clash of the Titans, V for Vendetta).

April 8: Stephen Caracappa, 75: American NYPD police detective and one of the infamous “Mafia Cops” convicted in 2006 of carrying out murders for the mob while still working for the NYPD, died in prison while serving a life sentence, according to a federal source. It’s a rumor he died of cancer. He was in a federal prison medical facility in Butner, North Carolina.

April 12: Charlie Murphy, 57: American comedian, actor and screen writer, a performer on The Chappelle Show and Eddie Murphy’s older brother, died after a battle with leukemia.

Dara QuigleyApril 12: Dara Quigley, 36: Irish journalist, who was described by her family as a bright, intelligent person with an enduring commitment to creating a fairer society, is suffering her loss after she took her own life. She had been detained by Gardaí under the Mental Health Act for walking naked in a Dublin street. A Garda CCTV video of her detention was posted on Facebook shortly before her death. Garda believes the footage had been filmed on a mobile phone and then shared on the WhatsApp online messaging service. Compounding the posting of the video was the publication of her name on several websites. The video was subsequently posted on Facebook. Upon request, Facebook removed it, but over one hundred thousand people had already seen the video and it remains visible on other internet sites, hosted outside Ireland.

April 15: Sylvia Moy, 78: American songwriter (“Uptight (Everything’s Alright)”, “I Was Made to Love Her”, “My Cherie Amour”) and record producer.

April 16: Robert Godwin, 74: American retiree, victim of the Facebook Killer, shot while walking on a sidewalk in Glenville, a neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.

April 17: Rosey, 47: Samoan-American professional wrestler (WWE, AJPW, FMW) heart failure.

April 17: Trish Vradenburg, 70: American screenwriter (Designing Women, Kate & Allie, Family Ties) heart attack.

April 18: Dorrance Hull Hamilton, 88: American leading philanthropist, heiress of Campbell Soup Company and a “woman of vision.”

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J.C. Spink

April 18: J.C. Spink, 45: American producer (A History of Violence, The Hangover, The Butterfly Effect) accidental drug overdose. He died at his home in West Hollywood, Calif. He is survived by his brothers, his parents and others.

April 18: Steve W. Stephens: The Facebook Killer, who posted cellphone videos of his killings on Facebook. He committed suicide by gunshot when cornered by police in Erie County, Penn.

April 19: Delbert Daisey, 89: American waterfowl decoy maker. He was born on Chincoteague Island, Virg. He was an award-winning and nationally recognized waterfowl wood carver whose work has appeared in the Smithsonian, the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Chincoteague Refuge Waterfowl Museum and National Geographic. He is survived by countless relatives, siblings, nieces and nephews. He will be missed.

April 19: Aaron Hernandez, 27: who was once an American football player for the New England Patriots and became a convicted murderer (Odin Lloyd). While on trial for Lloyd’s murder, he was also indicted for the 2012 double homicide of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, but was acquitted in 2017. Days after being acquitted, he hung himself in prison and it was ruled a suicide. His conviction for Lloyd’s murder was vacated because he died during the appeal process.

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Cuba Gooding, Sr.

April 20: Cuba Gooding, Sr, 72: Gooding, Sr. was known for his 1972 hit “Everybody Plays the Fool” and as the lead singer of the band The Main Ingredient. He was found dead in his car in Los Angeles. He was the father of his namesake, Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. He also has three other children.

April 20: Ledell Lee, 51: American convicted murderer, Arkansas’s first inmate put to death by lethal injection since 2005. He is the first of four inmates scheduled to die before the end of the month, when a crucial lethal injection drug is set to expire. Lee murdered 26-year-old Debra Reese in October of 1995.

April 21: Sandy Gallin, 76: American talent agent, who during his time represented Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Cher and others and also worked as a producer (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Father of the Bride) died at the UCLA Medical Center after suffering a relapse of multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer.

April 21: Enrico Medioli, 92: Italian screenwriter (Once Upon a Time in America).

Happy Days - 1974-1984April 22: Erin Moran, 56: the actress who played Joanie Cunningham on the 1970s sitcom Happy Days and the spinoff, Joanie Loves Chachi was found unresponsive by authorities in Indiana. She had fallen on hard times in recent years and had been kicked out of her trailer park home in Indiana because of her lifestyle. The official cause of death was tonsil cancer.

April 24: Michael Mantenuto, 35: actor, hockey player, star in Disney’s 2004 film Miracle, died of an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound. Authorities found him in his car in Des Moines, Wash.

April 25: Calep Emphrey, Jr., 67: American drummer (B.B. King).

April 26: Jonathan Demme, 73: American film director, Oscar winner, whose thriller The Silence of the Lambs swept the Oscars and introduced one of the most indelible villains in movie history. He died in New York from complications from esophageal cancer and heart disease. Some of Demme’s films included Stop Making Sense, Married to the Mob, and Philadelphia, the 1993 drama starring Tom Hanks as a lawyer battling AIDS.

April 29: Jordan Edwards, 15: American victim of police shooting, shot and killed by a Balch Springs police man when he was leaving a house party. Thirty-seven year-old Roy Oliver was fired and indicted on a murder charge by a Dallas County Grand Jury. He was also indicted on four counts of aggravated assault for firing his rifle into a car full of teenagers leaving a party April 29. Jordan Edwards, who sat in the front passenger seat, was struck in the head.

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Jean Stein

April 30: Jean Stein, 83: Author of Edie: An American Girl and West of Eden, an expert in the art of oral history, jumped to her death from the 15th floor of a New York City apartment building.

May 7: Robert Wilson, 75: TV producer and father of actors Owen and Luke Wilson. Luke confirmed the news to the Dallas Morning News and told the Texas paper that his dad had spent the last few years battling Alzheimer’s, suggesting a cause of death.

May 6: Steven Holcomb, 37: American bobsledder, Olympic champion (2010), plumonary edema.

May 8: Clarence Williams, 70: American football player (Green Bay Packers). He is survived by his wife Icy, of 48 years and his three children.

May 9: Christopher “Big Black” Boykin, 45: entertainer and musician (Rob & Big), died of heart failure, according to TMZ. He was hospitalized in Plano, Tex. for several days while doctors monitored him. Boykin previously had a defibrillator implanted in his chest.

May 12: Michael Jackson, 48: American football player (Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens) and mayor of Tangipahoa, Louisiana (2009-2012) died in a motorcycle accident in his hometown of Tangipahoa. His motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed around 1am when it crashed into a car that was backing out of a parking space and into both lanes of the highway. Jackson struck the driver’s side door. Jackson and the driver were killed.

May 13: Jimmy Copley, 63: English drummer (Jeff Beck, Graham Parker, Tears for Fears) Leukemia.

powers-boothe-sin-cityMay 14: Powers Boothe, 68: a prolific character actor on the small and big screen, Boothe died in his sleep of natural causes. He was in Sin City and the sequel. He also played Curly Bill Brocious in Tombstone and saloon owner Cy Tolliver in HBO’s Deadwood. He was recently seen in Nashville and in the Hatfields & McCoys and played VP Daniels on 24. He took home an Emmy for the lead actor in a limited series or special for playing the infamous cult leader Jim Jones in Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.

May 14: Brad Grey, 59: American producer (The Departed, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Sopranos), chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures (2005-2017) cancer.

May 16: Doug Somers, 65: American professional wrestler (AWA), known as “Pretty Boy” was not only known as a genuinely nice guy, but one of the best workers in the ring. He worked in the Verne Gagne’s AWA as part of a tag team with “Playboy” Buddy Rose, managed by WWE Hall of Fame Sherri Martel.

May 18: Roger Ailes, 77: powerful executive, who along with mogul Rupert Murdoch started Fox News in 1996 as an alternative to mainstream media and under its “fair and balanced” motto shot to the top of the ratings in cable, passed away, according to a statement from his wife. Ailes lost his power after a Fox anchor, Gretchen Carlson sued for sexual harassment. Bill O’Reilly was also ousted from the network because of sexual harassment complaints.

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Chris Cornell

May 18: Chris Cornell, 52: famed frontman of Soundgarden and Audioslave apparently committed suicide by hanging after an appearance in Detroit. Cornell’s rep called the death “sudden and unexpected” but gave no further details.

May 18: Frankie Paul, 51: Jamaican singer, kidney failure.

May 19: Rich Buckler, 68: American comic book artist (Deathlok, All-Star Squadron, Fantastic Four) cancer.

May 20: Lisa Spoonauer, 44: American actress (Clerks, Bartender). She left acting after failing to get a part in a Nic Cage movie. She is survived by her husband Tom and daughter. She died from an accidental overdose.

May 21: Kenny Cordray, 62: guitarist was part of a murder/suicide inside a home in Nassau Bay, Texas. Kenny’s wife told authorities she witnessed the crime. Family members said that Kelly, Kenny’s 33-year-old son, shot and killed Kenny, and then killed himself. Kenny was a member of the Grammy Awards and had collaborated with some of music’s biggest names, including co-writing The ZZ Top hit, “Francine.”

May 21: Jimmy LaFave, 61: American folk singer, songwriter and guitarist, cancer.

Dina MerrillMay 22: Dina Merrill, 93: American actress (Operation Petticoat, BUtterfield 8) heiress to two fortunes, philanthropist and socialite, died at home in East Hampton, NY. She was the daughter of EF Hutton and cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. She grew up in luxury, spending six months on the family yacht and during winter, home was the 115-room Mar-a-Lago estate (which is now owned by Donald Trump). Her father wanted her to become a lawyer and then run for Congress. Instead, Ms. Merrill made her Broadway debut speaking three lines in “The Mermaids Singing” in 1945. She is survived by her second husband and daughter from her first marriage, a stepson, six grandchildren, four step grandchildren and two stepgreat-grandchildren. Her second husband died in 2011.

Roger MooreMay 23: Sir Roger Moore, 89: English actor, best known for playing James Bond in seven films including Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill died after a short but brave battle with cancer. A statement from his children read: “Thank you Pops for being you, and being so very special to so many people.” He was also known for the TV series The Persuaders and The Saint and for his humanitarian work. Audrey Hepburn introduced him to Unicef and he was appointed as a goodwill ambassador in 1991. Moore was known for taking Bond in a more humorous direction that his predecessor, Sean Connery and he felt that Daniel Craig was the best actor to have played James Bond.

May 26: Robert Curtis, 27: a talented basketball player who was once the number one pick in the National Basketball League of Canada, was shot and killed outside a Home Depot in Victorville, Calif. The suspects fled the scene and are still at large. His short life was marred with violence. His father was shot and killed when he was five when Victorville was ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in California. At 6’10”, Curtis was a power forward who had won a state title with Saddlebrook Junior College in 2010. He transferred to Wayland Baptist University (Division II) and lead the team in scoring during his only year there.

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Gregg Allman

May 27: Gregg Allman, 69: Hall of Fame singer-songwriter (“Whipping Post”, “Midnight Rider”) and musician (The Allman Brothers Band) from complications of liver cancer. He was diagnosed with hepatitis C in 1999 and underwent a liver transplant in 2010. He passed away peacefully at his home in Savannah, Ga. http://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/7759662/gregg-allman-dead

May 29: Michael Nance, 31: Nance was a Bachelorette contestant in season eight and vied for Emily Maynard’s love. At 2:10am on May 29, Austin Police were dispatched to a home in reference to an unresponsive male. When they arrived, they found Michael Nance, deceased. His death remains unsuspicious.

June 2: Peter Sallis, 96: best known as the voice of Wallace in Wallace and Gromit died peacefully with his family by his side.

Danny Dias

June 4: Danny Dias, 34: reality television personality (MTV Road Rules, The Challenge) was found unconscious and unresponsive at his apartment in Brooklyn. Paramedics pronounced him dead on scene. A source told PEOPLE, Dias was found with lacerations on his wrists, surrounded by hallucinogenic drugs. It was ruled he died from complications from chronic substance abuse.

June 4: Roger Smith, 84: American actor (77 Sunset Strip, Mister Roberts, Auntie Mame) complications from Parkinson’s disease.

June 5: James Vance, 64: American comic book writer (Kings in Disguise, Omaha the Cat Dancer, The Crow), cancer.

June 7: James Hardy, 31: American football player (Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens). Hardy had been reported missing by family members a week prior. On June 7, emergency personnel found Hardy’s body in a log jam in one of Fort Wayne’s rivers. The coroner determined the cause of death as suicide by drowning.

June 8: Glenne Headly, 62: American actress (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Dick Tracy), a versatile and scene stealing actress died due to complications of a pulmonary embolism, said her husband, Byron McCulloch.

June 8: Robert Melson, 46: American murderer, executed by lethal injection in Alabama for a triple murder during a robbery.

Batman - 1966-1968June 9: Adam West, 88: American actor (Batman, Family Guy, Robinson Crusoe on Mars). Adam West was defined and constrained by his role as the 1960’s TV Batman. “Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement. A rep said that he died after a short battle with leukemia. He became known to a new generation of TV fans through his recurring voice role on Fox’s Family Guy as Mayor Adam West, the horribly corrupt, inept and vain leader of Quahog, RI. He also did voice-over work on such shows as Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken and Disney Channel’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates. But it was his role as the Caped Crusader ABC series that definitely defined his career. You were MY Batman Mr. West.

June 12: Charles P. Thacker, 74: American computer designer, co-inventor of Ethernet, complications from esophageal cancer.

June 13: Jeffrey Arenburg, 60: the man who fatally shot CJOH sportscaster Brian Smith in the station’s Merivale Road parking lot over 20 years ago, died from a heart attacked. Orenburg had undiagnosed and untreated paranoid schizophrenia and had been hearing voices when he waited in the parking lot and fatally shot Brian Smith, 54 on August 1, 1995. He shot Smith simply because he had recognized his face from television. Smith died at the hospital the following day. Orenburg surrendered to the the police and was eventually found not criminally responsible for the killing. He was granted an unconditional discharge from a psychiatric facility in 2006.

Khadija Saye

Khadija Saye

June 14: Khadija Saye, 24: incredibly talented, fast-rising British photographer, just beginning to show her abilities to the world, killed tragically young from injuries sustained in the Grenfell Tower fire in West London.

June 14: Henry “Hank” Deutschendorf, 29: played Baby Oscar in Ghostbusters II was found dead in his California home. He was “found suspended by a ligature around his neck” in a closet, according to the San Diego Medical Examiner’s Office. His twin brother, William, cut him down and called 911.

June 15: Sheila Raye Charles, 53: the daughter of Ray Charles and Sandra Jean Betts died after a gallant battle with breast cancer. She rose above her own tragic life choices with a message of hope for the world’s children based on her own experience of what faith and belief in “God” can do. “I know some of you out there are thinking, ‘Oh, she’s Ray Charles’s daughter; what could she have possibly been through?’ It is only by the grace of God that I’m not sitting in that chair right now.” – Sheila Raye Charles

June 16: Stephen Furst, 63: American actor (Babylon 5, Animal House, St. Elsewhere) died due to complications from diabetes.

Venus Ramey

Venus Ramey

June 17: Venus Ramey, 92: American beauty pageant contestant (Miss America 1994) and gun rights activist. In 2007, at age 82, Ramey shot out the truck tire of trespassers on her Waynesburg, Ky., farm, earning her a guest appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. During Venus’ reign, Miss America was seen as a political activist for the first time, as Venus worked with Senators from Kansas and Congressman from Missouri in publishing bills to gain suffrage for the District of Columbia, as well as other members of Congress to enact women’s rights legislation. The Miss American Organization sent out an email honoring the 1944 Miss America winner, saying … “Venus leaves behind a lasting legacy. Her memory will live on in the hearts of everyone in the Miss America family and all who had the pleasure of knowing her.”

June 18: Tim Hague, 34: Canadian MMA fighter (UFC, WSOF, KOTC) brain hemorrhage.

June 18: Tony Liscio, 76: American football player for the Dallas Cowboys, who protected Roger Gtaubach’s blind side. Dead at 76 after battling ALS. He believed playing football contributed to his ALS. His brain will be tested for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

June 18: Simon Nelson, 85: the man convicted of killing his six children and a family dog in 1978 died at an outside hospital. He was an inmate at Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro, Ill.

June 19: Otto Warmbier, 22: American college student, who was convicted of theft, detained and imprisoned by North Korea for seventeen months died shortly after he returned home to Ohio. Doctors from the Univ. of Cincinnati Medical Center said that Warmer was suffering from injuries relating to cardiopulmonary arrest and was in a state of unresponsive wakefulness. Scans showed extensive loss in all regions of his brain, doctors said. Warmer was a University of Virginia students who was medically evacuated from North Korea and flown to Cincinnati, then transported to the Medical Center.

June 20: Prodigy (aka Mobb Deep), 42: American rapper, died from choking on an egg, coroner confirmed.

June 22: Keith Loneker, Sr., 46: American football player who played with the LA Rams and who turned to acting (Out of Sight, Superbad, Lakeview Terrace) and was working as a substitute teacher in the Lawrence School District, died from cancer.

June 22: Sheila Michaels, 78: American writer and activist and the women who brought ‘Ms.” to prominence, died from leukemia.

June 26: Rex Makin, 91: British solicitor, who created the term “Beatlemania” as the family solicitor to Brian Epstein, who in 1963 sought his advice on setting up a perpetually binding contract between himself and the Beatles.

Paddington bear author

Michael Bond

June 27: Michael Bond, 91: British children’s author whose most famous creation was Paddington Bear, died after a short illness. Continue reading

People We Lost in 2017, January thru March

Jan. 4: Wayne Westner, 55: a former South African golfing star, Westner died in an apparent hostage drama on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. A police spokesperson confirmed that Westner died as a result of a gunshot wound to the right side of his head. He reportedly held his wife hostage before committing suicide.

Jan. 6: Audrey Grevious, 86: American civil rights activist.

Jan. 6: Les Lazarowitz, 75: American sound mixer (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Groundhog Day) cancer.

sylversterpottsJan. 6: Sylvester Potts, 78: American singer and composer from the Motown legendary group The Contours and sang on the world-famous song “Do You Love Me,” passed away at a hospital in Detroit, Mich.

TilikumJan. 6: Tilikum, 35: American-held orca, subject of Blackfish, a documentary, and the orca that killed a trainer at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010 died from a bacterial infection. He was estimated to be 36 years old and was born in waters off Iceland. Trainer Dawn Brancheau died after Tilikum dragged her underwater by her hair and repeatedly struck her, as she performed with him in front of an audience.

Jan. 6: Francine York, 80: American actress, an alluring actress of the 1960s, who was memorable as a villainess on television’s Batman and in films such as Bedtime Story and The Doll Squad died at a hospital in Van Nuys, Calif. after a battle with cancer.

Jan. 8: Mary Ann Green: American tribal leader and politician, Chairperson of the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians (1988-2016) passed away after battling a long illness. She died peacefully at her home in Coachella, surrounded by her family. During her term as Tribal Chairperson, she was instrumental in protecting, maintaining and expanding the government, culture and traditions of the Augustine Band of Cahuilla Indians on its reservations.

Jan. 8: Roy Inns, 82: American civil rights activist, Parkinson’s disease.

Iconic sequoia treeJan. 8: Pioneer Cabin Tree, c. 1,000: American giant sequoia tree, known as the “tunnel tree” was brought down by a powerful winter California storm. It was carved into a living tunnel more than a century ago. It stood in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park and saw horses and cars pass through it over the years. Most recently, only hikers were allowed to walk through the massive tree. It’s unclear exactly how old the tree was, but the LA Times reported that the trees in the state park are estimated to be more than a thousand years old. Sequoias can live for more than 3,000 years.

Jan. 8: Eli Zelkha, 66: Iranian-born American entrepreneur, inventor of ambient intelligence.

Jan. 9: Timothy Well, 55: American professional wrestler (WWF, PNW, WCW) kidney failure.

Jan. 10: Steve Fryar, 63: American rodeo performer.

Jan. 10: Steven McDonald, 59: American police detective (NYPD), heart attack.

Jan. 10: Manlio Rocchetti, 73: Oscar and Emmy winner (1989) Italian make-up artist (Driving Miss Daisy, Lonesome Dove, Gangs of New York).

Jan. 10: Tony Rosato, 62: Italian-born Canadian actor (Saturday Night Live, SCTV, Night Heat), heart attack. He endured a stint in jail and battled a mental disorder but achieved fame as a cast member of both SCTV and Saturday Night Live.

Jan. 11: Tony Booth, 83: British poster artist (The Beatles), cancer.

Jan. 11: Arthur Manuel, 66: Canadian Neskonlith chief, indigenous rights and environmental activist.

Jan. 11: Christopher Chubasco Wilkins, 48: American murderer, executed by lethal injection in Texas (the first in 2017) for a two-day killing spree in Fort Worth when he killed a man for ripping him off in a $20 drug deal and his friend because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

williampeterblattyJan. 12: William Peter Blatty, 89: novelist and screenwriter (The Exorcist, Legion, A Shot in the Dark), Oscar for best adapted screenplay (1974), multiple myeloma. William Friedkin, who directed the film adaptation of Blatty’s novel, broke the news of his death on Twitter. Myeloma is a form of blood cancer.

Jan. 16. Eugene Cernan, 82: American astronaut (Apollo 10, Apollo 17), last person to walk on the Moon.

Jan. 17: Jim Fagan, 72: American voiceover artist (NBA on NBC, NBA Live), Parkinson’s disease).

Jan. 17: Colo, 60: American-bred, western gorilla, oldest gorilla in captivity.

Jan. 17: William Margold, 73: American pornographic actor and director. He was an adult industry legend and AVN Hall of Famer. He died during the broadcast of his program on XXXPornStarRadio.com from his Los Angeles apartment.

Jan. 19: Wayne Barrett, 71: American journalist (The Village Voice), lung cancer.

miguel_ferrerJan. 19: Miguel Ferrer, 61: actor (RoboCop, Mulan, NCIS: Los Angeles), throat cancer. “Miguel made the world brighter and funnier and his passing is felt so deeply in our family that events of the day, (monumental events), pale in comparison,” cousin George Clooney said in a statement. Ferrer passed peacefully at home surrounded by family and friends. He was the son of actor Jose Ferrer and singer Rosemary Clooney, making him a cousin to George Clooney. He is survived by his wife Lori and son Lukas and Rafi and has a brother, Rafael Ferrer.

Jan. 20: Alec Devon Kreider, 25: convicted murdered, suicide by hanging. He was serving three life terms for brutally murdering Kevin Haines and his parents, Tom and Lisa Haines. Kreider hung himself at SCI Camp Hill.

Jan. 21: Karl Hendricks, 46: American singer, songwriter and guitarist (The Karl Hendricks Trio), oral cancer.

Morrison ObitJan. 21: Walter “Junie” Morrison, 62: American Hall of Fame musician (Ohio Players, Parliament-Funkadelic) and record producer, a true Funk Mastermind. He was the singer, a keyboardist, producer, a one-man studio band. His daughter, Akasha, reported his death on his Facebook page. He was living in London. But others announced his death including his recent collaborator, the musician Dam-Funk and his 1970 band, the Ohio Players. In a 2015 interview for the Red Bull Music Academy website, Mr. Morrison said, “Funk is an excellent platform for moving or removing the ills that may be present in our lives.” Amen to that.

Jan. 23: Bobby Freeman, 76: American singer and songwriter (“Do You Want to Dance”), heart attack.

Jan. 23: Kudditji Kngwarreye, 78-79: Australian Aboriginal artist. He was an Anmatyerre Elder and a custodian of many important Dreamings in Utopia. He was named one of the 50 most collectible artists in Australia in 2007. In died in Alice Spings after a long illness.

Jan. 24: Butch Trucks, 69: The Allman Brothers Band drummer shot himself in the head at his waterfront Florida condo in a horrific scene witnessed by his artist wife of 25 years. Rolling Stone magazine considered him one of the top 10 drummers in rock history.

John HurtJan. 25: Sir John Hurt, 77: the man who could move audiences to tears in The Elephant Man, terrify them in Alien and then spoof them in Spaceballs, died after battling pancreatic cancer since 2015. He was twice nominated for playing the tortured John Merrick in The Elephant Man and for his role as a heroin addict in Midnight Express. His career spanned over 50 years. His most recent role was in the biopic of President JFK (Jackie), he starred at Father Richard McSorley. He died at his home in Norfolk.

Mary Tyler MooreJan. 25: Mary Tyler Moore, 80: she helped define a new vision of American womanhood in two top-rated television shows in the 60s and 70s. But she faced more than her share of private sorrow. In 1980 she was nominated for an Oscar for her role in Ordinary People (directed by Robert Redford) when she played a frosty, resentful mother whose son accidentally dies. But it was her role as Mary Richards on The Mary Tyler Moore Show that ran from 1970 to 1977 that she is best known for. Her family said she died at Greenwich, Conn. hospital from cardiopulmonary arrest after she had contracted pneumonia.

Mannix - 1967-1975Jan. 26: Mike Connors, 91: known best for playing detective Joe Mannix on the 60s-70s show Mannix died in Tarzana, Calif. from leukemia, according to his son-in-law, Mike Condon. Mannix ran for 8 eight seasons (1968-1975) and was the last series from Desilu Productions. Connors won a Golden Globe for his performance as a tough, athletic investigator. He drove a series of muscle cars, including a Dodge Dart and Chevy Camaro. Desilu president Lucille Ball convinced CBS not to cancel the show despite initial poor ratings and it caught on after being retooled. Gail Fisher was one of the few African-American actresses on TV at the time, playing Mannix’s secretary. He is survived by his wife Mary Lou, daughter Dana and a granddaughter.

Jan. 26: Barbara Hale, 94: the actress who play Della Street on Perry Mason passed away from complications of COPD at her home in Sherman Oaks, Calif at age 94. She was the matriarch of a show business family that included her late husband, actor Bill Williams and their son, William Katt, who played the title role in the early 1980s TV series The Greatest American Hero, confirmed her death.

rob-stewart-biographyJan. 31: Rob Stewart, 37: Canadian documentary filmmaker (Sharkwater) who was first reported missing after surfacing from a deep-water dive on the Queen of Nassau wreck near Alligator Reef off Islamorada has know been reported as dead. Cant. Jeffrey Janszen, commander of U.S. Coast Guard Sector Key West confirmed a Key Largo Volunteer Fire Department dive team found Stewart about 300 feet from his last known position. Stewart and a small group of divers were filming the next installment of his Sharkwater series. He and a colleague resurfaced around 5pm. His colleague boarded the boat and passed out. When the crew went to retrieve Steward, he was no longer in sight.

Feb. 2: Jeff Sauer, 73: American ice hockey coach (Wisconsin Badgers) pancreatic cancer.

Feb. 3: Benny Perrin, 57: a former safety with the St. Louis Cardinals took his own life with a self-inflicted gun shot wound. He was one of 4,500 former NFL players who sued the league claiming that concussions suffered during their playing careers made life after football a struggle. Perrin revealed that he suffered from headaches and blurred vision following his retirement. He stated these problems came from the many hits he took while playing. There are many who sacrificed their bodies to play with the NFL. Another Cardinal and 4-time Pro Bowler, Dave Duerson also suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest in 2011. Linebacker Junior Seau also died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest in 2012 at the age of 43. He was found to have CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a neurodegenerative disease that leads to dementia, memory loss and depression.

Tim PiazzaFeb. 4: Tim Piazza, 19 (photo displayed): American student that died in a hazing episode at Pennsylvania State University’s Beta Theta Pi fraternity pledge party. Charges were handed down to eighteen Pennsylvania State students and their fraternity through a grand jury investigation. Piazza died having suffered a nonrecoverable head injury, ruptured spleen and collapsed lung.

Feb. 5: Sonny Gerace, 70: American singer (The Outsiders, Climax).

Feb. 6: Christine Dolce, 35: American model, better known as ForBiddeN on MySpace during its super early days, who had over 2.1 million friends, died from liver failure. Her family stated that she had been hospitalized since December of 2016 after battling with alcohol-related issues. She died at the hospital, surrounded by her family.

Feb. 7: Richard Hatch, 71: known as Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica television series to legions of fans, he also replaced Michael Douglas in the remake of Streets of San Francisco. But it was his starring role in Battlestar Galactica that brought him worldwide recognition as well as a Golden Globe nomination. He passed away in Los Angeles peacefully with his family and friends at his side after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

PackyFeb. 9: Packy, 54: American-born Asian elephant. The Oregon Zoo’s most famous resident, Packy had to be euthanized. He was suffering from a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis. Zoo vets said they had run out of options to treat him. He was the oldest male of his species in North America. AB’s comment: Just ONE of the reasons I hate zoos.

Feb. 10: Miles Cahn, 95: American businessman, co-founder of Coach, Inc., along with his wife, Lillian. They founded Coach in New York in 1961 and sold the company in 1985. He died at his home in Manhattan.

Feb. 11: Chavo Guerrero, Sr., 68: American professional wrestler (NWA, AWA, WWE), liver cancer.

Feb. 12: Damian Davey, 52: British high-energy singer, whose top ten UK hit in 1988, “The Time Warp” died after a 3-year battle with cancer. The song, was a cover from The Rocky Horror Show. He followed it up with a cover of The Sweet’s Wig Wam Bam.

Feb. 12: Al Jarreau, 76: American jazz and R&B singer (“Moonlighting,” “Since I Fell for You,” “We Are the World”), seven-time Grammy Award winner, died shortly after he announced retirement from touring. He had been hospitalized for exhaustion. He was surrounded by family and friends when he died in Los Angeles.

Feb. 13: Aileen Hernandez, 90: American union organizer and women’s rights activist, President of the National Organization for Women (1970-1971).

Feb. 13: Bruce Lansbury, 87: British-American television producer (Murder, She Wrote, The Wild Wild West, Knight Rider) and screenwriter, and the brother of Angela Lansbury died due to complications from Alzheimer’s.

Feb. 18: Omar Abdel-Rahman, 78: Egyptian Muslim leader and convicted terrorist, linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He was known as the “blind sheik.”

nick_dupreeFeb. 18: Nick Dupree, 34: American disability rights activist, advocate, writer, blogger and artist died at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Feb. 18: Tom Larson, 69: American politician, member of the Wisconsin State Assembly (2011-2016) lung cancer.

Feb. 18: Clyde Stubblefield, 73: American drummer (James Brown), kidney failure.

Feb. 21: Ion Croitoru, 53: Canadian pro wrestler (SMW, AWA, WWF) and convicted criminal. Natural causes succeeded where mob hit men and gangsters failed.

Feb. 22: Ronald Blackwood, 91: Jamaican-born American politician, Mayor of Mount Vernon, New York (1985-1996), first elected black mayor in New York state, Parkinson’s disease.

Feb. 22: Ed Garvey, 76: American labor attorney, NFLPA executive director and counsel (1970-1983), who was an icon among Wisconsin’s progressives died in a Verona nursing home where he had been living for two weeks. He was a grad of the University of Wisconsin and its Law School, was the NFL Players Association’s counsel and executive director from 1970-1983, leading the players through two strikes in 1974 and 1982. He then returned to Madison in 1983 as an assistant to then Attorney General Bronson La Follette.

Feb. 24: Daryl, 61: American magician, who was well-known at Los Angeles’ Magic Castle, committed suicide by hanging. Taking his own life was intentional, the coroner’s office confirmed.

Bill PaxtonFeb. 25: Bill Paxton, 61: charismatic, charming, a memorable supporting actor and genuinely talented performer who could inflect his voice or body language and get amazing results. From Weird Science to Aliens to True Lies and on to Twister and Titanic, there are way too many roles to list. He also made his mark behind the camera in 2001 when he directed Frailty. He recently co-starred in Training Day on CBS and has a role in The Circle. He apparently died from complications from surgery according to a family statement.

Feb. 26: Joseph Wapner, 97: American judge who started in the Los Angeles County Superior Court and went on to television (The People’s Court, Judge Wapner’s Animal Court). His son told the AP that his father was suffering from breathing problems and was admitted to a hospital. He returned home under the care of hospice.

Feb. 28: Ric Marlow, 91: American songwriter (A Taste of Honey) and actor (Bonanza, Magnum, PI, Hawaii Five-O).

March 3: Tommy Page, 46: Singer, songwriter, music industry executive, best known for his No. 1 single “I’ll Be Your Everything,” was found dead by several friends. Although the cause of death was unclear, several believe it was an apparent suicide.

Vince RhinoMarch 5: Vince, 4: Dutch-born rhinoceros, shot and had his horn sawed off, was killed by poachers in a wild-life zoo outside Paris. It was probably carried out by organized crime and showed the intricate planning that usually goes into art heists, said French police. Officials say it was the first crime of its kind in Europe.

March 6: Robert Osborne, 84: American film historian and television host for Turner Classic Movies died of natural causes in his sleep at home in New York, said his partner of 20 years, theater director and producer David Staller.

March 7: Ron Bass, 68: American professional wrestler (CWA, CWF, WWE) died after surgery from an apparent burst appendix.

Kim, Debbie, Joni, and Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge photographed in 1981.March 10: Joni Sledge, 60: Member of the “We Are Family” hitmakers Sister Sledge, passed away at home in Phoenix, Ariz. She was the second eldest sister of the hit pop group. She is survived by her son, and her sisters.

March 18: Chuck Berry, 90: One of the creators of rock and roll, Hall of Fame guitarist, singer and songwriter (Johnny B. Goode, Maybellene, Roll Over Beethoven) was found unresponsive at home. According to a statement on Berry’s Facebook page, he “spent his last days at home, surrounded by the love of his family and friends.” He was 90.

March 21: Chuck Barris, 87: Television producer, game show creator, television host (The Gong Show, The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game) and songwriter (Palisades Park) died of natural causes at his home in Palisades, NY. His innovative shows changed the face of reality TV, but critics nicknamed him “The King of Schlock,” “The Baron of Bad Taste” and “The Ayatollah of Trasherola.”

Francine HughesMarch 22: Francine Hughes, 69: subject of The Burning Bed, a domestic abuse symbol, died after a bout with pneumonia in Leighton, Alabama. It was 40 years ago March 9 that Hughes walked into the Ingham County Jail in Mason and confessed that, fearing for her life, she had set fire to her home in Dansville, where Hughes, by that time her ex-husband, was sleeping. It was the case that made a turning point in the growing movement against domestic violence. It inspired the bestselling book and the TV movie – The Burning Bed.

March 23: Lola Albright, 92: she starred opposite Kirk Douglas in Champion and in Peter Gunn.

March 28: Darlene Cates, 69: lovable, impressionable and oh so talented, Cates was born in Texas. When her parents divorced when she was 12, she began overeating which manifested itself into obesity. At 410 lbs she underwent gastroplasty and dropped 100 lbs but gained it back plus 140 more pounds. She was discovered by author and screenwriter Peter Hedges who proposed she play the obese mother in the 1993 film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. She made other appearances in Picket Fences, Touched by an Angel and other shows. She died in her sleep.

March 28: Michael Sharp (United States citizen) and Zaida Catalan (Swedish national) U.N. investigators and their Congolese interpreter who were missing since March 12 were found in the Congo in an area engulfed in a violent uprising. They were part of a group of experts monitoring a sanctions regime imposed on the Congo by the U.N. Security Council when they disappeared in Kasai Central province. DNA tests and dental records were being used to confirm the identities.

March 29: Katherine Smith, 98: Defender of Navajo land who once warded off federally employed fencing crews with a shotgun during the infamous and protracted Navajo-Hopi relocation said goodbye to the land she loved and defended. “In our beliefs, when a death occurs the weather will tell you how blessed they were,” said Smith’s daughter, Marykatherine Smith. “We see rain, wind and snow as prosperity. So she was very blessed.”

March 30: Donald Harvey, 64: American serial killer, died after an assault in a Toledo prison cell. He was nicknamed the “Angel of Death” for pleading guilty to 37 murders while serving as a nurse’s aide at hospitals in Cincinnati and London, KY. Harvey said he did so to stop patients’ suffering.

March 31: Gilbert Baker, 65: Artist and gay activist, creator of the rainbow flag, died in his sleep in his apartment in Harlem. It’s believe a stroke that Baker suffered about two years ago may be related.

2017’s Most Sinful Cities (by WalletHub)

Of course Las Vegas is in the top spot, but New Orleans, LA is No. 10. The newest article to rate America’s most sinful places arrived in my inbox this morning from WalletHub.

The state of Nevada actually had three cities on the list; Louisiana had two. Orlando, Fla., home to Mickey and Minnie Mouse was rated number two as most sinful. That was kind of difficult to believe, but I haven’t been there in quite a while.

If you’d like to read the report for yourself, go here: https://wallethub.com/edu/most-sinful-cities-in-america/29846/

 

Today is Global Tiger Day

This is way off from my usual postings, but I am still working on my YA fiction book about canned hunts and tigers are popular in that category.

I received this stunning photo in my email this morning from WWF (World Wildlife Fund). Bhutan, where the high-resolution camera trap caught this image of a wild tiger, is home to an estimated 103 wild tigers. This tiny country works to ensure tiger safety and natural breeding against a backdrop of poaching and illegal wildlife traders.

Bhutan is probably the smallest country where wild tigers live and is fast becoming one of the biggest conservation champions.

Bhutan is located on the southern slopes of the eastern Himalayas, landlocked between the Tibet Autonomous Region to the north and the Indian states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to the west and south (per google.com).