Famous (or perhaps infamous) deaths, that is.
(Of course, this all depends on how one defines fame or the starting point! And this is MY blog.)
Macnee, with Rigg
I am sad to report on the passing of Patrick Macnee, most famously known as John Steed of the British TV series The Avengers. At age 93.
The series ran in three permutations – the original British-only version (co-starring Honor Blackman), the import (with the most-lusted-after Diana Rigg), and a third version with Tara Thorson (later of Absolutely Fabulous).
Of course, most of us loved the series co-starring Ms. Rigg. Leather cat suits and all.
And how dapper was Patrick Macnee with his Edwardian clothes, bowler hat and lethal umbrella?
I remember an interview after the series, wherein Mr. MacNee quipped he had been approached about yet another remake. He responded, “What would they call it, The Geriatric Avengers?”
Retired, Mr. MacNee spent much of his time in his Rancho Mirage, California home, wearing Aloha shirts and shorts. He claimed doing so allowed him his privacy, as no one recognized him without his bowler and umbrella!
You will be missed, good sir!
the reaper the mechanic, NPR
The man who stood at the forefront to prosecute (and obtained convictions) against Charles Manson and his co-conspirators had died.
Mr. Bugliosi was 80.
Personally, he and I held some differing, and alike opinions.
He sided with the Warren Commission, even participating in a television drama ‘prosecuting’ Lee Harvey Oswald. (Gerry Spence was the defense attorney).
But he desperately wanted to reopen the RFK murder investigation, as there were so many unanswered questions.
But, he did ‘get’ Manson and company.
Remember the ‘cop-killer’ bullets that could penetrate a skip loader, but not a double-layer of ballistic vests in Lethal Weapon (Some-number)?
People believe this S***!
Fast forward to this:
Threaten to throw you off an 18th floor balcony
After a few hours of this, which involved an attempt to lure one of Cascioli’s suppliers to his building, the officers focused on Cascioli’s Palm Pilot, which they (correctly) believed contained the information they wanted. But Cascioli wouldn’t provide the password. He claims that police then tried to extract the password through intimidation.
Cascioli says [Officer Thomas] Liciardello asked him a question: “Have you ever seen Training Day?”
When Cascioli said yes, Cascioli says Liciardello looked him in the eyes and said: “This is Training Day for f—ing real,” and then instructed officers Norman and Jeffrey Walker to take him to the balcony.
According to Cascioli and the indictment, Liciardello told them to “do whatever they had to do to get the password.”
Out on the balcony, Cascioli says officers Norman and Walker lifted him up by each arm and leaned him over the balcony railing.
One of the cops involved has confirmed the story.
And the police (whom I generally admire) wonder why people continue to call them Gestapo and such. Even if 99 police officers follow their department policies to the letter, it only takes ONE STORY like this to sour the opinion for all.
Especially in the minority community, wherein people view cops as The Man, The Establishment.
Of course, media reportage regarding cops shooting, beating, tazing, torturing, and generally abusing minority suspects doesn’t help either!
PS – the story previously reported here regarding Freddy Gray having had recent back surgery (prior to his death in Baltimore Police custody) has allegedly been refuted. What about subsequent reports about him injuring himself after his arrest to claim brutality? Bueller? Bueller?
This just in (0754 MST) – Gray death ruled a homicide – police to be charged (Fox News)
Stan Freberg, whose freewheeling comic career in advertising garnered him worldwide acclaim and whose satirical entertainments abounded on TV, the radio and on records, has died. He was 88.
Freberg died of natural causes at a Santa Monica hospital, his son and daughter, Donavan and Donna Freberg, confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.
“He was and will always be my hero, and I will carry his brilliant legacy forward as best I am able,” his son wrote on Facebook.
The godfather of humorous and irreverent commercials, Freberg lampooned cultural institutions and described himself as a “guerilla satirist.” TheNew York Times dubbed him the “Che Guevara of advertising,” and years later, “Weird Al” Yankovic called him a major influence on his career.
“Very sad to say that one of my absolute all-time heroes has just passed away,” Yankovic wrote on Twitter. “RIP Stan Freberg. A legend, an inspiration, and a friend.”
Freberg also was known for his musical parodies. “Wun’erful Wun’erful,” his 1957 spoof of “champagne music” — on which he collaborated with orchestra leader Billy May — lampooned The Lawrence Welk Show.
He also parodied Johnnie Ray’s hit “Cry,” which Freberg rendered as “Try.” (Ray was quite angry until he realized Freberg was fueling sales of his record.)
The Los Angeles native had hit records of his own, including St. George and the Dragonet, a 1953 send-up of the series Dragnet. His recordings were so popular that he landed his own radio program in 1954, That’s Rich. Three years later, he presented The Stan Freberg Show on CBS Radio, where he regularly mocked commercials by advertising bogus products.
You should really go and read the whole thing!
Stan was a true Hollywood success story. He actually walked off the bus, and into an ad agency and began writing copy. He wrote terrific ads, like many for Volkswagen during the Bug era.
And was hysterically funny without being lewd.
I hope you and Mel Blanc, June Foray, Bob Clampett and Daws Butler and the others are having a raucous time doing voices for The Supreme Being!
I remember as a child, the whole fam damly (as it was sometimes described) being shuffled into the station wagon, and off to the movies! Usually, a drive in theater. They were ubiquitous, and readily available in the Arizona weather. Much of the time, they were an extension of the TV-as-babysitter, translation: put the boy in from of a moving picture and he’ll go out like a light!
Then later in my youth, being dropped off at a Saturday afternoon matinee, with a friend or two, and funds for goodies – what a way to get them out of the house and from under foot. The only rule was call when the movie let out (translation: make certain you had a dime left from that fiver!)
Being a self-described child of TV, when gadget-addict friend Bob P. (one of the many Bobs) announced he had a videotape player/recorder, I knew something was beginning to change. This Magnavox machine took VHS tapes, but no standard had yet to be decided upon, and tapes made upon it wouldn’t play on later standardized VHS machines! It also had vacuum tubes as part of it’s construction, weighed a ton, and cost about $1000 (in 1975 dollars)!
Thus began the slow decline as technology continued to develop, and people began renting Beta and VHS tapes, (remember Laserdiscs?) then DIVX, then DVD, and now can see many movies/TV shows via the Internet and BlueRay.
And the audience figured out that while the kids used to hang out in the back of the Vista Cruiser in their jammies, and the adults dressed up to go to the theater, it was just more convenient for all to stay in the living room in their jammies. (Or boxer shorts, in the case of my Dad.)
And you didn’t have to trudge across a gravel-laden parking lot in the dark to a grimy snack bar restroom, either.
And while the drive ins have mostly faded away, now the indoor theaters are as well. Few want to pay $15+ each for a seat, plus another $20 for drinks and snacks, when they can watch Netflix or Amazon at home in their skivvies.
Another childhood dream of a secret agent meeting place in an nearly empty theater is going away.
And teenaged fantasies of making out (or more) in Dad’s station wagon now have to be redirected.
Declining Theater Attendance @ a 20 Year Low
(FTC – Magnavox, Amazon and Netflix have given me nothing!)
from Never Yet Melted (in part):
Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perret found their classroom environment at Berkeley hostile, even when their professor was lecturing on Karl Marx (!), because the Western canon is exclusively composed of works by dead, white, European males, not a single person of color or transgendered individual makes the cut.
Because a majority of founders of Western thought were gay, Black women…
BTW, have you noticed more ‘persons of color’, homosexual, transgendered or perhaps gender-confused folks in your favorite television shows of movies?
NOT THAT I CARE, PARTICULARLY.
I remember my Father (who had some bigotry issues) railing against the infusion of Black folks in 60’s and 70’s TV in much the same way. He said it was much the same in the 40’s and 50’s with Jewish people. They went from being 3% of the population, to a significant minority of those in entertainment media. (He, of course, forgot that the only work many Jewish folks could get was in the entertainment field!)
And it was much the same with Black folks. 13% of the population, but represented numerically larger in the entertainment media in the 70’s.
NOT THAT I CARE, PARTICULARLY.
My questions are these: Does the actor bring quality to the role, or further the plot? Or were they just added because of political correctness?
And now we have this infusion of gay/transgender etc. folks. Some are quite entertaining, but in my humble opinion, some are just over-the-top. And included for shock effect and/or political correctness.
Which does a disservice both to them in their sexuality or color, and to the audience by their inclusion for political reasons.
Stepin’ Fetchit meet Myra Breckenridge.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some folks I find clever, and entertaining, regardless of ethnicity or bent. Others are just plain annoying. I won’t give you specifics – you probably have your own.
A couple generations ago, Black people were largely invisible, or stereotyped, and gays (etc.) were just flamboyant characters. No mention was made of their sexuality.
But now it seems we’re out of the box, for certain.
There’s a popular cable series about polygamy.
What’s next, pedophilia and bestiality?
Where do we go from here?
We should be inclusive of different cultures and sexuality. As long as it reflects percentages and social mores.
Of course, I’m a libertarian. (Until mandated) I can always change the channel.
Back when I worked @ TMCCC, I befriended a guy I’ll call Batman. Why Batman? Well, he liked the Batman persona, dressed as him for Halloween and even his license plate was DRKNITE.
And he was something like 30 years of age.
He was one of the few ‘company’ friends who came and visited me in the hospital, after the accident. He brought me a stuffed Marvin the Martian. I still have it. I honor his kindness.
Then, Life separated us; he went to Australia, and I did not.
Years later, I discovered he had repatriated, and we became friends on Facebook. And made noises about getting together for lunch, or a drink.
Then, he started posting on FB about the nasty Second Amendment, and how none of us should be able to possess firearms. Obviously, his couple of years as a faux-Aussie took it’s toll.
I tried to dissuade him, first by posting about Our Constitutional freedoms, then, more directly in debate. But to no avail. He kept posting vile ideas about us being forced to give up our Rights. Me giving up mine.
So, I unfriended him. It was all I could do.
Now comes another foreign-influenced man, an actor, Liam Neeson. From Ireland, I believe.
Of late, he been making popular movies regarding his wife (and/or daughter) being kidnapped. And he rescuing them – being some-kind of agent/operative, and all.
Then this news story appears:
Speaking at the ‘Taken 3′ press conference in Dubai on Monday, the Irish-born star of ‘Schindler’s List’, who once again plays Bryan Mills in the final film of the trilogy, responded to a question about the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris last week, which he linked to gun violence in the US.
“There are too many fucking guns out there, especially in America,” said the 62-year-old. “I think the population is, like, 320 million? There are over 300 million guns. Privately owned, in America. I think it’s a fucking disgrace. Every week now we’re picking up a newspaper and seeing, ‘Yet another few kids have been killed in schools.’”
Reported by the Washington Post, Neeson added that there is a distinction between the violence of the movies and reality.
He said: “A character like Bryan Mills going out with guns and taking revenge: it’s fantasy. It’s in the movies, you know? I think it can give people a great release from stresses in life and all the rest of it, you know what I mean? It doesn’t mean they’re all going to go out and go, ‘Yeah, let’s get a gun!’”
Now, I’m all about the First Amendment, too, but, just like with Batman, I can take action. We were not friends on Facebook (so I couldn’t unfriend him) but I can not support him by refusing to see-rent-buy his movies.
It was all I could do.
Fortunately, some others stand with me:
PARA USA, the company that rented the guns used by Neeson in “Taken 3″ (2014), his latest action film, has responded to the movie star’s recent anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment remarks by stating publicly that they will no longer be providing the weapons for his cinematic fantasy roles.
There is strength in numbers. people!
Listen up, Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Stephen King and your ilk. I’m not against YOUR rights – why are you against mine?
h/t Never Yet Melted, HuffPo
I also love to hear when they are still alive, and kicking! So often when I hear about them, it’s in an obit, or an almanac mention of years ago, when they passed young.
Then, last night I came across THIS on Facebook:
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a birthday photo (yesterday, with cake) of LARRY STORCH at age 92 (today)! Those unfamiliar with Mr. Storch by name might remember Corporal Agarn in F-Troop, or the Maharishi presiding over the funeral in Blake Edwards’ S.O.B., or a wonderfully inept criminal in an episode of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Or the voice of Mr. Whoopee in his life long friend Don Adams’ cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LARRY!
So glad you are still with us, Larry! And such a rich life…(link)
It was reported yesterday that Donna Douglas, most famous for her portrayal of Elly Mae Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies, had passed away January 1, at 81. Or 82.
Except for the ubiquitous TV show, she never made her mark in Hollywood. She chose to embrace her typecasting because people loved the show and her role in it. After the show was cancelled, she got involved in real estate, and reverted to her first loves of gospel singing and charity work.
Unlike so many of the blonde bombshells who descended on Hollywood after WWII, she stayed true to herself, and was obviously not the dumb blond stereotype.
Marilyn Monroe (the most (in)famous for the dumb blonde, who wasn’t) tried to parlay her talents into a serious acting career. Her insecurities and need for love from (in)famous politicians did her in. Ms. Douglas avoided those pitfalls.
If there ever was a model for ‘stay true to yourself’, it was Donna Douglas.
Goodbye Donna D.*
Though I never knew you at all
You had the grace to hold yourself
While those around you crawled…
More than just our Elly Mae
*borrowed from Elton John’s Goodbye Norma Jeane
I love Bill Cosby. The public persona of him. Funny, kind, charitable, good to children. He took a segregated world of us and them and made us we. He understood that people are people, have children, they act like kids and parents act like parents. No matter what color you are.
He made a lot of money doing this, and got a doctorate along the way. And, was a good friend of his co-star in I Spy, Robert Culp. They spoke every day after they met initially to do the show. And for the rest of Culp’s life. Culp taught Cosby about acting and how Hollywood works.
I disagree with Bill Cosby about guns. His son was murdered. That could color your view. I agree with him regarding self-respect and education.
I love his comedy.
As to these allegations that have surfaced. At first, I was shocked, surprised. I didn’t want to believe. I mean, this is BILL COSBY, not Al Sharpton!?
But then I remembered Michael Jackson. And Bill Clinton. People in famous and monied positions are easy targets for predators.
And sometimes ARE predators.
Jackson paid some folks off. Whether it was easier than a trial or simply efficient, I do not know. Cosby paid some folks off. Clinton used his power and influence to intimidate folks into silence.
And there was more physical evidence regarding Clinton than Cosby!
Bill Cosby has yet to have his day in court. And THAT’S what we’re supposed to be about. Justice. The women who have come forward (
16 17 by this morning’s count) have no physical evidence and have nothing to gain. Those who allege payment were already paid. And concerts have been cancelled and reruns excised from TVLand. The testimonial evidence appears damning, but…
Innocent until proven guilty
I read that somewhere.
Being tried in and by the media is the price of fame. Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan know this. So do Bill Clinton and President Obama.
It helps to have them on your side.