2013 Posts – September


Mario Montez

Sept. 26: Mario Montez, 78 – died from complications of a stroke in Key West, Florida. Mr. Montez, whose glamour and poise as a drag performer elevated him to the heights of avant-garde theater and cinema in the 1960s, made him a fixture in films by Andy Warhol. The Berlin International Film Festival presented him with a lifetime achievement award in “queer film” in 2012.

Sept. 25: Paul Oliver, 29 – a defensive back for five seasons with the San Diego Chargers was found dead at his home in Marietta, GA of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound.

Sept. 18: Ken Norton Sr., 70 – former heavyweight boxing champion (defeated Muhammad Ali in 1973) and actor, died at a hospital where he had been undergoing rehabilitation since suffering a stroke last year. He had congestive heart failure.

Sept. 16: Patsy Swayze, 86 – the mother of Patrick Swayze died after suffering a stroke at her Simi Valley, California home.

Sept. 12: Omar Hammami (aka al-Amriki aka The American) – killed in an ambush after falling out with Somalia’s al Shabaab group leader. Hammami, originally from Alabama had ascended the ranks of al-Shabaab high enough to attract a $5 million US government bounty was illed in an ambush ordered by that group’s leader, witnesses said.

Sept. 6: Alexis Urbina, 17 – national champion boxer is dead after being found severely beaten in his family’s south Phoenix home and police believe it’s a homicide. Alexis Urbina died from his injuries at a hospital after the Phoenix Police found him unconscious and covered in blood at 1:30pm pm Tuesday, Sept. 3. There were no obvious signs of forced entry into the house, but some of his boxing memorabilia was missing.

Sept. 3: Ariel Castro, 52 – the man responsible for holding Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michele Knight captive for over a decade was found dead in his cell at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio at 9:20pm. In early October, it was discovered that two correctional officers had doctored some of their daily logs. It was also reported that Castro may have died due to sexual asphyxiation. It was later determined that this was not true.

2013 Obits – August

Blue II

Blue II

August 31: Blue II, 8 – the English bulldog mascot for Butler’s men’s basketball championship games in 2010 and 2011 died from complications from congestive heart failure. Blue appeared on the floor of every Butler’s men’s basketball home game, select away games and at the 2010 and 2011 Final Four games. He’s been succeeded by Blue III, also known as Trip.

August 24: Julie Harris, 87 – unprepossessing anti-diva who, in the guises of Joan of Arc, Mary Todd Lincoln, Emily Dickinson and other characters both fictional and real, became the most decorated performer in the history of Broadway, died of congestive heart failure at her home in Chatham, Mass.

August 23: Stephen Crohn, 66 – known as “The man who can’t catch AIDS, was a man notable for a genetic mutation, causing him to be immune to the HIV virus. Crohn has the “delta 32” mutation on the CCR5 receptor. His sister, Amy Crohn Santagata confirmed his suicide. “My brother saw all his friends around hiim dying, but he didn’t die, she told The New York Times. “He went through a tremendous amount of survivor guilt about that and said to himself, ‘There’s got to be a reason.'”

Sid Bernstein with Paul McCartney

Sid Bernstein with Paul McCartney

August 21: Sid Bernstein, 95 – a soft-spoken impresario whose long career included bring the Beatles to Carnegie Hall in 1964 and Shea Stadium in 1965 died in Manhattan.

August 20: Elmore Leonard, 87 – a prolific crime novelist died at his home in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. His louche characters, deadpan dialogue and immaculate prose style in novels like “Get Shorty,” “Freaky Deaky” and “Glitz” established him as a modern master of American genre writing.

August 20: Charles Pollock, 83 – an industrial designer whose vision of a simple line in space led him to develop sleek, functional chairs that became a hallmark of executive suites in the latter 20th century died in a fire in South Jamaica, Queens.

Lee Thompson Young

Lee Thompson Young

August 19: Lee Thompson Young, 29 – a child star from the Disney Channel and a gifted actor who played Barry Frost on “Rizzoli & Isles” since its debut season in 2010. The cause was suicide.

August 15: Lisa Robin Kelly, 43 – best known for her recurring role on the hit sitcom “That ’70s Show,” died in Los Angeles at a drug rehab center, but the cause had not yet been determined. Her roommate and former boyfriend, John Michas, had taken her there on Monday, August 12.

August 14: Gia Allemand, 29 – Former ‘Bachelor’ contestant who hailed from Queens, NY was found unconscious by her boyfriend, Ryan Anderson, and was rushed to the hospital. She was later taken off life support due to a “critical loss of brain and organ function.”

Eydie Gorme

Eydie Gorme

August 10: Eydie Gorme, 84 – the Voice of Sophisticated Pop, the lively singer with a remarkable range who performed for decades with her husband, Steve Lawrence, died in Las Vegas.

August 7: Margaret Pellegrini, 89 – one of the last three surviving Munchkins from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” died in Phoenix. She had never entirely recovered from a stroke she had several months prior. At 15 she stood 3’4″ and became one of MGM’s 124 Munchkins. She attended the ceremony when the Munchkins collectively received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007.

August 5: George Duke, 67 – jazz pianist, keyboardist, who crossed genre boundaries died from heat complications after being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Dixie Evens

Dixie Evens

August 3: Dixie Evens, 86 – who brought ‘Monroe’ to Burlesque Houses and was a popular stage performed, died in Las Vegas. Her death was announced on the web site “the Burlesque Hall of Fame”, of which she was a former curator and director. Ms. Evans was a marquee name in the 50s, mentioned in the same breathe as Gypsy Rose Lee, Sally Rand and Lili St. Cyr. She was featured in newspaper articles and television programs about burlesque and appeared in the 2010 documentary “Behind the Burly Q.”

2013 Obits – March

March 30: Phil Ramone, 79 – music producer and innovator, a former violin prodigy and expert engineer. He worked with Dylan, Sinatra, McCartney, Bennett, Charles, Streisand, Simon, Joel and Bacharach and spent more than50 years in the music business. He won 14 Grammies and was nominated 33 times and was once dubbed the “Pope of Pop.”

March 26: Don Payne, writer, 48 – (“The Simpsons,” “Thor”) died at his home in Los Angeles after battling bone cancer.

March 25 – Scott Hardkiss (born Scott Friedel), 43 – Bay Area DJ and 90s Rave pioneer and founding member of Bay Area trio the Hardkiss Brothers died. He suffered from a degenerative eye disorder Keratoconus and underwent eye transplant surgery to restore vision in his left eye in 2011 but the surgery was unsuccessful. Keratoconus is not known to be fatal and very little information is known about the cause of Hardkiss’ death.

March 24 – Todd A. Breitenstein, 47 – Owner (along with his wife) of Twilight Creations, a gaming company, best known for “Zombies!!!”

In this Nov. 21, 1979 file photo, Harry Reems discusses his acting career in New York. Reems, the former porn star who co-starred in the 1972 movie "Deep Throat," died Tuesday, March 19, 2013 in Slat Lake City.  He was 65.(AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)

In this Nov. 21, 1979 file photo, Harry Reems discusses his acting career in New York. Reems, the former porn star who co-starred in the 1972 movie “Deep Throat,” died Tuesday, March 19, 2013 in Slat Lake City. He was 65.(AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)

March 19 – Harry Reems, 65 – The man who brought pornography to mainstream audiences, died at the veterans’ hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, his wife, Jeanne Sterrett Reems said. Reems became famous for his role in the adult-film classic “Deep Throat” which brought middle class audiences to the theater and became a forerunner of today’s hardcore adult-entertainment industry.

March 16 – Bobby Smith, 76 – Co-founder and long time co-lead singer of the legendary  Spinners, died from complications of influenza and pneumonia. He had also been diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2012.

March 15 – Olen Burrage, 82, suspect in the 1964 Klan slayings. No cause of death was given. Burrage owned land in Neshoba County in central Mississippi where the three civil rights workers were buried in an earthen dam after the Klan members murdered them in 1964. He was acquitted of conspiracy in 1967.

March 11 – Robert Troyan, 63 – An American socialite living in London was found dead from head injuries at his Mayfair flat. He was the first person in London to enter a civil partnership. His partner, Anthony Feldman, a renowned architect, interior designer and com poster, died of pancreatic cancer in 2005. The pair had been together since 1983 and entered into a civil partnership just one month before Feldman’s death, becoming the first couple in the capital to do so. The police have launched a manhunt to find who beat Robert Troyan.

March 11 – Erica Andrews – Mexican-born American drag performer, Miss Continental (2004), long ailment. Renowned for her unique routines including her Mommie Dearest boardroom/Shirley Bassey mix to “I Who Have Nothing,” her many titles include Universal Show Queen (2004), Miss Gay USofA (1999) and Miss Continental (2004). She was also featured in the 2006 Showtime documentary Trantasia and had a role as Emma Grashun in the 2010 revenge-horror-exploitation opus Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives. She was often referred to as “the most beautiful drag queen in captivity.”

March 9 – Sybil Christopher, 83 – the wife that Richard Burton left for Elizabeth Taylor died, from an unknown cause. When married to Burton, they had two daughters, Kate Burton – a successful actress currently starring in ABC’s “Scandal” and Jessica Burton, who suffered from autism. Following the media circus of her break-up with Burton, Ms. Christopher reinvented herself, moved to New York and opened a Manhattan nightclub called Arthur (named after George Harrison’s hair style). For the next several years, there was no hotter discotheque in the city and it transformed Sybil into a celebrity. In 1966 she married Jordan Christopher, 10 years her junior, the lead singer of the Arthur house band The Wild Ones. He died in 1996. They had one child.

March 5 – Hugo Chávez, 58 – Venezuelan politician and military officer, President (since 1999), cancer. Mr. Chávez had been seriously ill with cancer for more than a year, undergoing several surgeries in Cuba. He was a controversial figure in Venezuela and on the world stage, a critic of the US, he inspired a left-wing revival across Latin America.

March 5: William ‘Paul Bearer’ Moody, 58 – the pasty-faced, urn-carrying manager for performers The Undertaker and Kane of the WWE, died on Tuesday, March 5.

March 5: Wilfried Knight, 35 – Gay porn actor reportedly committed suicide according to a press release from an adult entertainment industry news site and porn studios Falcon Studios and Raging Stallion Studios have confirmed that Knight took his own life. Though the details of his death still aren’t clear, Knight did lose his husband of nine years, Jerry Enriquez, to suicide, earlier this month.

March 3 – Bobby Rogers, 73 – Co-Founder of The Miracles in 1956 with Smokey Robinson, his cousin Claudette Rogers, Pete Moore, Ronnie White. The Miracles were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2012 after recording hits including “I Second That Emotion” and “The Tears of a Clown.” Rogers had been ill for several years.

Bonnie Franklin

Bonnie Franklin

March 1 – Bonnie Franklin, 69 – The veteran stage and television performer who became a well-known star after playing the divorced mom Ann Romano on “One Day at a Time” died at her home in Los Angeles due to complications from pancreatic cancer.

March 1 – Jewel Akens, 79 – R&B crooner whose song “The Birds & The Bees” vaulted him into short-lived fame in the mid 60s, died of complications from back surgery in Inglewood, as told by his wife, Eddie Mae.

2013 Obits – February

Dale Robertson died Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. He was 89. (AP Photo, File)

Dale Robertson died Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013. He was 89. (AP Photo, File)

Feb. 27 – Dale Robertson, 89 – an Oklahoma native who became a television and movie star of Westerns during the genre’s heyday, died at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, CA following a brief illness.

Richard Street, 70 – former Motown vocalist, member of The Temptations for 25 years, died at a Las Vegas hospital after a short illness.

Feb. 25 – Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, 96 died peacefully at his home in Hanover, NH. Koop served as surgeon general from 1982-1989 under Presidents Ronald Regan and George H.W. Bush.

Dan Toler, 64, Former Allman Brothers guitarist died from Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He played with the Allman Brothers Band from the late 1970s through the 1980s. His disease had kept him from speaking or playing guitar in recent months. He lost his brother David “Frankie” Toler, who was also a musician (drummer) in 2011 from a prolonged illness following a liver transplant. He was 59 at the time.

Feb. 20 – Joseph “Pep” Simek Sr., 86, One of the founding partners of Tombstone Pizza in Medford, Wisconsin, died of natural causes at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Milwaukee. Simek and his late wife, Frances, moved to Medford from Chicago in 1960. By 1962 they were running the Tombstone Tavern – right next to a cemetery – with Simek’s  brother, Ronald. The brothers both had families to support and came up with the pizza-making idea to bring in more money. They worked out of the bar’s 6-by-6-foot kitchen. The pizzas were fine, but they got better after Pep Simek broke his leg and, unable to tend bar, had time to fiddle with the recipe. He called the owner of a favorite Chicago pizza place, who told him the secret was in the spices. The resulting pizzas were a hit, and within three years Tombstone Pizza was available in the Medford area, selling 2,000 pizzas a day and known for the tagline, “What do you want on you Tombstone?” (by Jan Uebelherr, Milw. Journal Sentinel)

Feb. 19 – Damon Harris, 62 – former Temptations member, died from prostate cancer. Damon Harris took the place of Eddie Kendricks, one of the original lead singers of the Temptations group. He was only 20 at the time.

Lou Myers, 76 – played Mr. Vernon Gaines on the NBC sitcom “A Different World” died at Charleston Medical Center in West Virginia after undergoing a heart-related emergency and falling into a coma.

Feb. 18 – Jerry Buss, 80 – Owner of the Los Angeles Lakers died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He had been hospitalized for cancer, but the immediate cause of death was kidney failure.

Feb. 17 – Michael Gage, 75 – The former publisher of the Green Bay Press-Gazette  and president of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame board died of heart problems according to his wife, Patty Gage. His grandfather, Andrew Turnbull was one of three men who started the Green Bay Press-Gazette in 1915 and was its first publisher. Gage’s uncle, Daniel Beisel was its second publisher and Gage was its third. Gage was the largest private shareholder of Packers stock.

Mindy McCready, 37 – who had an affair with ex-Yankee Roger Clemens, kills her dog and then commits suicide. The news comes a month after McCready’s boyfriend, music producer David Wilson, died under mysterious circumstances at the couple’s home in Heber Springs, a town west of Memphis and north of Little Rock.

Feb. 16 – Ken Clark, 46 – American football player (Indianapolis Colts, Nebraska Cornhusers), from a heart attack. He was one of the top all-time rushers at Nebraska who went on to play for the Colts.

Lanier Greig, 64 (death reported on 2/16/13) – early ZZ Top member, an immensely talented keyboardist, bassist, composer and arranger died in his sleep at his home in Austin; he was 64.

Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Pat Derby. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Feb. 15 – Pat Derby, 70 – British-born American animal trainer for TV series during the 60s and 70s and later became a crusader for animal rights.  She and her partner Stewart founded the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in 1984. She died in her home following a long battle with throat cancer.

Feb. 14 – Reeva Steenkamp, 29 – South African model, law school graduate, motivational speaker, was shot to death in the early morning hours of Valentine’s day, preparing a surprise for her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius. He’s been charged with her murder.

Tim Dog Rapper

Tim Dog Rapper

Tim Dog – 46, American rapper, died from a seizure following a long bout with diabetes.

Feb. 12 – Christopher Dorner, 33 – American spree killer, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head after the authorities had cornered him in the cabin where he had retreated after stealing two vehicles and traded gunfire with state game wardens. He killed one deputy and wounded another in a firefight that one law enforcement official described as being “like a war zone.”

Feb. 11: Mark Balelo, 40 – An A&E Storage Wars guest was found dead inside his car which was parked and running in the garage at his auction house in Simi Valley CA. His death was ruled as a suicide and came two days after he had been arrested for a drug-related offense.

Rick Huxley, 72 – Bass player and founding member of the Dave Clark Five.

Feb. 8: Chris Brinker, 42 – was a film producer and director, known for his work in the action film The Boondock Saints (1999), co-producer on Lonely Streets (2008) and on The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (2009). He died suddenly while he was working with his friend on the film Baby Proof. He made his directorial debut working with Matt Dillon, Kevin Chapman and Willem Dafoe in the feature film Whiskey Bay, which is slated for a 2013 release.

Feb. 5: Stuart Freeborn, 98 – LucasFilm confirmed today that the British pioneering movie makeup artist behind creatures such as Yoda and Chewbacca from the Star Wars films has died, “leaving a legacy of unforgettable contributions.” Mr. Freeborn also worked with Stanley Kubrick on 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Feb. 4: Donald Byrd, 80 – Jazz musician, leading hard-bop trumpeter of the 50s who collaborated on dozens of albums with top artists of his time.

Essie Mae Washington-Williams, 87 – the biracial daughter of longtime Senator Strom Thurmond, the child he refused to publicly acknowledge his entire life. Her mother worked as a maid for the senator’s family in Edgefield County during the 1920s. She was just 16 at the time.

Feb. 2: Chris Kyle – former Navy SEAL and author of “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History” was killed at the Rough Creek Lodge in Texas. He was shot point-blank while helping another soldier who is recovering from PTSD. The person doing the shooting was captured in Lancaster, south of Dallas.

Feb. 1: Robin Sachs, 61 – This British actor was best known for playing villainous character Ethan Rayne on “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” but had a full resume with roles on “Babylon 5” and “Star Trek: Voyager.”