2018 Obits, April thru June

If you know anyone who may be contemplating suicide, give them this number: 1-800-273-8255 Suicide Prevention Lifeline or text TALK to 741741

April 1

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Steven Bochco

Steven Bochco, 74: American television producer, writer, 10-time Emmy winner, and the creative force behind Hill Street Blues, L.A. Law, Doogie Howser, MD, Murder in the First and NYPD Blue had been suffering with leukemia for several years. He received a stem cell transplant from a then-anonymous 23-year-old in late 2014. In May of 2016, he met the man who prolonged his life, a 25-year old named Jon Kayne. He started off working for MTM Enterprises, came to Hill Street Blues, which debuted at last-place NBC in January 1981 and amassed 98 Emmy noms during its remarkable 146-episode run. They agreed (Bochco and Michael Kozoll) that they would do the pilot for NBC under one condition, which they assumed would kill the deal. The condition was that they leave them completely alone to do whatever they wanted. NBC’s Brandon Tartikoo said “Okay.” In 1987, CBS legend William S. Paley offered Bochco, then 44, the job of president of the network’s entertainment division. He turned it down to sign an unprecedented six-year, 10-series deal (worth about $10 million) with ABC, which had just ended its contract with Aaron Spelling. Of course he had his misfires, too, like NBC’s Bay City Blues; CBS’ Public Morals, ABC’s infamous Cop Rock. But the best Bochco series included large ensemble casts and parallel storylines that pushed the hot-button social issues of the day. He survived by sister Joanna Frank (married to Alan Rachins); his wife of 17 years, Dayna; children Jesse, Sean and Melissa; grandchildren Wes and Stevie Rae. He was married to actress Barbara Bosson, who had a role on Hill Street Blues. One quote I’ve heard him say several times was “… what you try to do is never shit on the people below you and only shit on the people above you.”

April 2

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Connie Lawn

Connie Lawn, 73: American journalist, longest serving White House correspondent, passed away after a battle with Parkinson’s disease. She had spent nearly 50 years covering successive US presidents. She was a familiar voice on Radio New Zealand for more than 20 years and also promoted New Zealand tourism. Her last RNZ appearance was on Election Day in the United States, when she described the prospect of a Trump presidency as horrifying. In 1968, she conducted one of the last interviews with Bobby Kennedy, moments before he was shot in Los Angeles. She was beaten by Chicago police during the riots of the Democratic National Convention, and arrived in Czechoslovakia two weeks after Soviet tanks rolled in to crush the Prague Spring. She was living in a Watergate apartment in 1972 at the time of the infamous break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Washington complex and was smuggled into Lebanon in 1982 during that country’s civil war. Her proudest moment was a meeting with Nelson Mandela. She died at her Lake Barcroft home in Falls Church, VA.

Winnie (Madikizela) Mandela, 81: was a controversial figure in South African history and a staunch anti-apartheid activist. She married Nelson Mandela in 1958. When he went to prison in 1963, she became his public face through his 27 years of imprisonment. On several occasions, she was arrested, tortured and exiled. Her image was damaged in the 80s when it emerged she had been involved in the kidnapping, torture and murder by her security detail (known as the Mandela United Football Club). Once Nelson Mandela was released in 1990, their marriage quickly ended and they were divorced in 1996. She died from complications of diabetes.

April 3
Ron Dunbar, 78: American songwriter (“Give Me Just a Little More Time,” “Band of Gold,” “Patches”) Grammy winner (1971). He worked with Barry Gordy, George Clinton and the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland. His death was confirmed by his son Terone.

David Edgerton, 90: American entrepreneur, co-founder of Burger King (complications from surgery).

April 4
Don Cherry, 94: American singer (Band of Gold) and golfer.

Gertrude Jeannette, 103: Afro-American taxi driver, playwright and film/stage actress (Shaft, Cotton Comes to Harlem). She was an original member of the American Negro Theatre. She was the first woman to work as a licensed taxi driver in New York, which she began doing in 1942. She obviously was a pioneer in everything she did.

Johnny Valiant, 71: American Hall of Fame professional wrestler (The Valiant Brothers) and manager (WWF, AWA). He died after being hit by a truck while crossing a busy North Hills, Penn. road. The driver stayed on the scene and there was no indication that it was anything other than a terrible accident. He died at the hospital.

April 5
Tim O’Connor, 90: American actor (Peyton Place, General Hospital, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), cancer.

April 6

Donald McKayle

Donald McKayle

Donald McKayle, 87: American dancer and choreographer (The Great White Hope, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Jazz Singer). Known as a pioneering dancer and choreographer whose seven decades in modern dance distinguished him as one of the art form’s leading lights and socially conscious practitioners, died from complications due to pneumonia.

April 7
Gerald Ayres, 82: American studio executive (Columbia Pictures) and film producer (The Last Detail, Cisco Pike) and he wrote the movie Foxes, died from complications from dementia at a hospice facility in Watertown, New York.

April 8
Nathan Davis, 81: American jazz musician, a multi-instrumentalist who played tenor sax, soprano sax, bass clarinet and flute. He worked with the likes of Eric Dolphin, Kenny Clarke, Ray Charles, Slide Hampton and Art Blakely.

April 9
Barney A. Ebsworth, 83: American business executive (Build-A-Bear Workshop) and art collector.

April 11
Mitzi Shore, 87: American comedy club owner and mother of Pauly Shore (The Comedy Store), died in Los Angeles after battling Parkinson’s disease for years. Mitzi’s Comedy Store was the launching pad for some of the biggest comics in the world including Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Arsenio Hall and Roseanne Barr. She is survived by 4 children.

Kevin Wortman, 49: American ice hockey player (Calgary Flames, JYP Jyväskylä, Schwenninger Wild Wings).

April 12
Deborah Coleman, 61: American blues musician, complications from bronchitis and pneumonia.

Milos Foreman

Milos Forman

April 13
Milos Forman, 86: Czech-American film director (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Amadeus, The People vs. Larry Flynt), Oscar winner (1976, 1985) died at the Danbury Hospital near his home in Warren, Conn.

April 14
Kirk Simon, 63: American documentarian (Strangers No More, Chimps: So Like Us, Rehearsing a Dream), Oscar winner (2011), cardiac arrest.

April 15
Philip D’Antoni, 89: American film producer (The French Connection, Bullitt), Oscar winner (1972) died at his home in New York.

R Lee Ermey

R. Lee Ermey

R. Lee Ermey, 74: American actor (Full Metal Jacket, Toy Story, The Frighteners, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and military drill instructor, whose nickname was “The Gunny,” died from complications of pneumonia. Even at age 14 he was a “troublemaker and a bit of a hell-raiser” he told the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s online magazine in September 2010. It was his role in Kubrick’s 1987 Full Metal Jacket that brought him instant recognition and critical acclaim and his Golden Globe nom, considering that he was originally hired to advise and train the actor who would play the role. But Kubrick was so impressed by what he saw, he offered Ermey the role. He had a healthy voiceover career as well, playing the lead of the green plastic Army soldiers in the Toy Story films, along with a role in SpongeBob SquarePants, among others.

April 16

Night Court - 1984-1992

Harry Anderson

Harry Anderson, 65: American actor (Night Court, Dave’s World, It) and magician. He presided over Night Court for nine seasons. He was a magician turned actor and was a rabid fan of jazz singer Mel Torme. It was that affection that was woven into his TV alter ego, Judge Harry Stone, who ruled the bench at a Manhattan night court of NBC from 1984 to 1992. He earned three consecutive Emmy nominations for his work 1985-1987. He was found dead in his home in Asheville, North Carolina, according to a local media report. Foul play was not suspected.

Pamela Gidley, 52: she starred in the prequel to Twin Peaks and played Teri Miller in 5 episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Her family states she died peacefully in her home. The cause of death was not immediately clear. Her role as Teri Miller in CSI was that of the sculptor who put a face onto a skull when there was nothing else.

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Matthew Mellon

Matthew Mellon, 53: Blue-blood banking heir, cryptocurrency bigwig, an early backer of global settlement network Ripple and a former chair of the New York Republican Party’s finance committee, died in Cancun, Mexico where he was planning to check into a rehabilitation facility for follow-up treatment for an addiction consisting of 80 OxyContin pills a day.

Sax Man (Maurice Reedus, Jr.), 65: American street saxophonist, who spent many evenings on Cleveland’s streets entertaining sports fans and theater patrons with crowd-pleasing tunes, was found dead in his apartment. His sister said that he had suffered a heart attack in August of last year and had recovered enough to play music. When family members were unable to reach him, they went to his home, and discovered him. He died in his bed.

April 17
Barbara Bush, 92: First Lady of the United States from 1989-1993 and Second Lady (1981-1989). In 1990, she wrote “Millie’s Book,” about the president’s dog. It was a best-selling non-fiction book. Former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush were married for over 73 years. She died from complications from COPD and heart failure.

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Vel Phillips

Vel Phillips, 95: American attorney and politician, Secretary of State of Wisconsin (1979-1983), civil rights activist, Milwaukee Native, UW Law School graduate, who broke racial barriers by becoming the first Afro-American judge in Milwaukee and the first Afro-American secretary of state of Wisconsin died hours after the Milwaukee City Council unanimously approved the Vel Phillips Trailblazer Award be awarded every year. “She was a true pioneer and leader during the civil rights movement, and fought to improve social and economic justice for underrepresented communities,” said State Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, D-LaCrosse.

Randy Scruggs, 64: American music producer, songwriter (“Angel in Disguise,” “Love Has No Right,” “We Danced Anyway”) and guitarist, multiple Grammy winner.

April 18
Paul Jones, 75: American professional wrestler and manager (JCP, PNW, CWF).

Bruno Sammartino, 82: Italian-American Hall of Fame professional wrestler (WWF), longest-reigning Heavyweight Champion (1963-1971, 1973-1977) multiple organ failure, after being hospitalized for two months.

April 19
Walter Moody, 83: American convicted murderer, executed by lethal injection in Alabama who used a mail bomb to assassinate Judge Robert S Vance Sr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. He also killed Robert E Robinson, a black civil-rights attorney based in Savannah, Georgia, who died in a separate explosion at his office two days later. Moody also sent mail bombs that were defused at the Eleventh Circuit Court’s headquarters in Atlanta and at the Jacksonville, Georgia office of Willye Dennis of the NAACP. Judge Vance’s wife, Helen, was seriously injured in the blast that killed him. Moody was the oldest inmate to be put to death in the modern era.

Gil Santos, 80: American sportscaster (New England Patriots, WBZ), the legendary voice of the New England Patriots and one of the most beloved sports broadcasters who began his career in 1966, first as a color analyst and then as a play-by-play announcer. He retired in 2013 and was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

April 20
Avicii (Tim Bergling), 28: Swedish musician, DJ, remixer and record producer (“Levels,” “Wake Me Up,” “Sunshine”). At 16 he began posting his remixes on electronic music forums which led to his first record deal. He rose to prominence in 2011 which the single “Levels.” In 2013 his first studio album debuted. It peaked in the top ten in more than 15 countries, due mostly to the lead single “Wake Me Up.” In 2015 he released his second album “Stories” followed by an EP Avici in 2017. In early 2012 he was hospitalized for 11 days in NYC with acute pancreatitis caused by alcohol use. He had his appendix and gallbladder removed in 2014. He retired from performing in 2016 because of health reasons. In the documentary Avicii: True Stories, released in 2017, he spoke candidly about his physical and mental pain. The documentary talks about the pressure he was getting from his management to continue to perform life despite his personal objections. Avicii was found dead near Muscat, Oman. On April 26, his family released an open letter stating that he “really struggled with thoughts about meaning, life, happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace.” On May 1, TMZ reported that the case of death was a suicide due to self-inflicted injuries from a broken wine bottle. He was buried on June 8 in Stockholm.

Verne Troyer

Verne Troyer

April 21
Verne Troyer, 49: American actor (Austin Powers, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), who is best known for playing Mini-Me in the Austin Powers series died from suicide by alcohol overconsumption.

April 26
Charles Neville, 79: American vocalist and saxophonist (The Neville Brothers), Grammy winner (1990) died of pancreatic cancer.

April 29
Robert Mandan, 86: American actor best known for his role as Chester Tate in the sitcom Soap.

May 1
Dennis Claridge, 76: American football player (Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons) died from bladder cancer.

Robert B. Kennedy, 78: American politician (Massachusetts House of Representatives 1975-1979).

John “Jabo” Starks, 79: American drummer who played for James Brown and The J.B.’s.

May 3
Dan Grimm, 77: American football player (Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons) died of Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

May 6
Brad Steigner, 82: American author and paranormal researcher.

May 7
Jeremy D Safran, 66: Canadian-born American clinical psychologist was killed during a burglary. He was found dead in the basement of his Brooklyn home. Officers did arrest a man who was hiding in a closet, on a murder charge.

May 8
James Scott, 71: American boxer and felon.

Anne V. Coates, 92: British film editor (1962 Oscar, Lawrence of Arabia, The Elephant Man, Fifty Shades of Grey), Oscar winner (1963). She died at the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills. On Lawrence of Arabia, Coates and director David Lean worked with 33 miles of footage to craft the 4-hour epic which contains one of the most famous “match” cuts in the history of cinema. A sequence that transitions from a shot of Peter O’Toole as T.E. Lawrence blowing out a match to the desert sun rising from the horizon. The cut – which is said to have inspired Steven Spielberg to become a filmmaker – came about “by accident,” Coates has said.

May 9
Delphine Gibson, 114 years & 265 days: American supercentenarian and former oldest person in the U.S.

Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, 34: Australian heroin smuggler, one of the Bali Nine, which was a group of nine Australians convicted for attempting to smuggle 3.8 kg (18 lbs) of heroin out of Indonesia in April of 2005, dead from stomach cancer.

May 12
Chuck Knox, 86: American NFL coach (Rams, Bills, Seahawks) died from dementia.

May 13
Margot Kidder, 69: Canadian-American actress (Superman, Superman II, The Amityville Horror, Black Christmas) and activist, died from an intentional drug and alcohol overdose, according to the Park County Coroner. She was found in her Livingston, Mont. home, but at the time the Coroner had not specified what drugs she had taken. Her daughter, Maggie McGuane, stated the family wanted to be “open and honest” about the suicide to avoid any “cloud of shame.” Margot had struggled for years, very publicly at times, with bipolar disorder.

May 14
Tom Wolfe, 88: American author (The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Right Stuff, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test) and journalist. He died in a Manhattan hospital after being hospitalized with an infection.

May 16

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Joseph Campanella

Joseph Campanella, 93: American actor (Mannix, Days of Our Lives, The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre) complications from Parkinson’s disease.

May 18
Stephanie Adams, 47: American model (Playboy, Clairol, Venus Swimwear) and author, suicide by jumping. Former Playboy Playmate jumped with her 7-year-old son, to their deaths, from a Midtown hotel, amid a nasty custody battle with her chiropractic ex. She leaped with young Vincent from the top floor of the Gotham Hotel around 8:15am. The pair checked into the hotel around 6pm and were staying in the 25th-floor penthouse suite. Their bodies were found on a second-floor landing in the hotel’s rear courtyard.

May 19
Reggie Lucas, 65: American songwriter (“Never Knew Love Like This Before”) guitarist who played with Miles Davis and record producer (Madonna), won a Grammy in 1981. He died of heart failure.

May 22
Philip Roth, 85: American writer, who wrote Goodbye Columbus, American Pastoral, The Human Stain and Pulitzer Prize winner (1998). Died of heart failure.

May 24
Jerry Maren (Gerard Marenghi), 98: American actor, played Mayor McCheese in The Wizard of Oz.

May 26
Ted (Samuel Frederick) Dabney, 81: American electrical engineer and founder of Atari (Pong).

May 27

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Connie Kurtz (on left)

Connie Kurtz, 81: American Gay Rights advocate. Died of liver cancer. She turned her coming out into a lifetime of activism with her wife, including serving as plaintiffs in a lawsuit over domestic-partner benefits for New York City school employees.

June 4
Dwight Clark, 61: American NFL wide receiver/executive who made “The Catch,” the winning touchdown reception in the 1981 NFC Championship Game played between the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on January 10, 1982. See it for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciI3E9l6wfI

June 5
Kate Spade, 55: American fashion designer, was found by a housekeeper in her Manhattan apartment. Her death was ruled a suicide by hanging. She had left a note addressed to her daughter. Shortly after her death, Andy Spade released a statement regarding her depression and anxiety. It was known that she battled severe depression and battled personal demons and was under medical care at times. Less than three weeks later, on June 20, her father Earl “Frank” Brosnahan, died at the age of 89.

June 7
Peter Stringfellow, 77: English nightclub owner (Stringfellows).

June 8
Eunice Gayson, 90: British actress and first Bond Girl (Sylvia Trench in Dr. No and From Russia with Love).

Danny Kirwan, 68: British musician, singer and songwriter (Fleetwood Mac-Albatross).

Travel Channel promo shoot for Anthony Bourdain Layover in New York

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain, 61: American-French celebrity chef, author and TV personality who was considered one of the most influential chefs in the world. He had several television shows: A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, The Layover, Parts Unknown plus participating in Top Chef and other guest appearances. In 2011 Ecco Press announced he would have his own publishing line named after him which would include acquiring between three and five titles per years. Anthony Bourdain wasn’t just any TV chef. He traveled to over 80 countries. Went to war zones. Dined with the President of the US. Received tattoos from an Iban tribesman and ate food Anywhere. He taught all of us that FOOD connected us like nothing else. He had a punk rock attitude but was a lover of literature, music and poetry. One of my favorite quotes from him: Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have. Bourdain had a daughter in 2007, which he said was his reason to live. He committed suicide by hanging. He was 61.

If you know anyone who may be contemplating suicide, give them this number: 1-800-273-8255 Suicide Prevention Lifeline or text TALK to 741741

June 23
Kim Jong-pil, 92: South Korean Prime Minister (1971-75, 1998-2000) and founder of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (now the National Intelligence Service).

June 24
Frank Evans Heart, 89: American computer engineer, who worked on the first routing computer for ARPANET, the Internet’s predecessor.

June 25
Jackson Odell, a songwriter and former teen actor, who was best known for roles on The Goldbergs and the teen movie Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer. According to law enforcement he died Friday in the San Fernando Valley. He was found unresponsive in a sober living home, and there were no signs of foul play.

June 27

Joe Jackson Date?

Joe Jackson

Joe Jackson, 89: The father and at times manager of Michael and Janet Jackson, along with the sibling singing group, The Jackson 5. He launched the career of the musical Jackson family dynasty. He died in a Las Vegas hospital due to complication of pancreatic cancer. He married his wife, Katherine, in 1949. They moved into a home in Gary, Ind. the following year, where they welcomed their first 10 children. They went on to become one of the most successful R&B groups in history.

June 28
Harlan Ellison, 84: American sci-fi author and screenwriter (Star Trek “The City on the Edge of Forever”) died of colon cancer.

June 29
Steve Ditko, 90: American comic book artist (The Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange).

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