Monday, April 3, 2017

Tributes, Tributes, Even MORE Tributes...

I thought I'd never get around to finishing this one!

Boy, there are a lot of celebrity tributes this time around. But then again, I haven't posted any for over two months, so I guess we're not doing too badly in the death department, overall. Not like 2016, certainly! Of course, the year's still relatively young...

Anyway, in absolutely no real order, here are short tributes (Yes, short. For me, that is. I'm nothing if not merciful, fellow babies!) to eleven celebrities of note (to me, anyway) who've passed away since late January.

1. Chuck Berry, 1926-2017, R.I.P.


Seminal rock'n'roller Chuck Berry has died at the age of ninety. Berry died on March 18th, pronounced dead after police responded to a 911 call. What can you say about Chuck Berry? Well, a lot, actually, much more than I'm going to attempt here. Berry, often called the "granddaddy of rock'n'roll" and other similar titles, is known for a long, long string of hits, including "Johnny B. Goode," "Maybellene," "You Never Can Tell," "Rock and Roll Music," "Wee Wee Hours," "Carol," "No Particular Place to Go," "My Ding-a-Ling" (groan), "Sweet Little Sixteen," "Too Much Monkey Business," "Back in the U.S.A.," "Memphis, Tennessee," "Reelin' and Rockin'," "Nadine..."  He was also known for several bouts with the law over the years, for various offenses including transporting a minor across state lines, misdemeanor marijuana possession, tax evasion, and for installing a camera in the women's restroom of a restaurant he owned! Berry toured extensively, and was well-known for travelling without a band. For each gig, he would hire a local band, assuming that any band should and would know his songs!

Here's my own favorite Chuck Berry song, a lesser-known tune called "Havana Moon!"





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2. Chuck Barris, 1929-2017, R.I.P.



Chuck Barris, creator of TV's The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, The Gong Show, and many other game (and non-game) shows (Anybody remember the $1.98 Beauty Show?), has died at the age of  eighty-seven from natural causes. He also wrote the hit song "Palisades Park" for Freddy Cannon in 1962. (That was the first 45 rpm record my older sister ever bought. I still have the copy she used to own, with a #1 sticker on its label.) He was also known for his infamous "unauthorized autobiography," Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, in which he claimed to have worked for the CIA as an assassin! (The CIA has gone on record denying Barris' involvement with them. But then again, this is the CIA we're talking about...) His autobiography was made into a movie in 2002, starring Sam Rockwell and Drew Barrymore, and directed by George Clooney. Barris died on March 21st. 


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3. Bill Paxton, 1955-2017, R.I.P.



Actor and director Bill Paxton has died at the age of sixty-one. Paxton died on February 25th, after a stroke which occurred following heart surgery. Personally, my favorite Paxton roles include the obnoxious older brother Chet (one of his earliest roles) in 1985's Weird Science, his role as Wyatt Earp's younger brother Morgan in 1993's Tombstone, and his portrayal of the lead character, Bill Henrickson, in HBO's Big Love (from 2006 to 2011).



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4. Bernie Wrightson, 1948-2017, R.I.P.



Artist and illustrator Bernie -- also known as "Berni" -- Wrightson, died on March 18th after a long battle with brain cancer. Wrightson was probably best known for his co-creation of DC Comics' Swamp Thing and for illustrating an editon of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.


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5. Dan Spiegle, 1920-2017, R.I.P.



Long-time comic artist Dan Spiegle passed away on January 28th. He was ninety-six. Spiegle was probably best known for his comics featuring various TV show and movie characters, everything from Hopalong Cassidy to Scooby-Doo. He worked as a cartoonist and comic artist from 1949 until 2011, and his artwork graced such companies as Dell, DC, Marvel,  and Dark Horse, among many, many others.









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6. Robert Osborne, 1932-2017, R.I.P.


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Robert Osborne, who died on March 6th of natural causes at the age of eighty-four, was a film historian and the primary host on the Turner Classic Movies channel. He started his long career as an actor at Desilu Studios.

7. James Cotton, 1935-2017, R.I.P.


James Cotton was a blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter who had played with the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Gregg Allman, Santana and the Grateful Dead, among many others. He died on March 16th. Cotton was eighty-one.

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8. Sib Hashian, 1949-2017, R.I.P.


John Thomas "Sib" Hashian, the drummer with the killer afro pictured on the back of the band Boston's first album (and elsewhere, of course), died at the age of sixty-seven on March 22nd, while performing on a rock legends cruise. Sib's granddaughter Jasmine is the daughter of Sib 's daughter Lauren and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.



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9. Jay Lynch, 1945-2017, R.I.P.



Underground comix icon Jay Lynch (also known as Jayzey Lynch, and no relation to yours truly) died at the age of seventy-two on March 5th. Lynch was involved in the earliest days of the undergrounds, and is probably best known for Bijou Funnies, and his characters Nard n' Pat. He was a major contributor to Topps' Wacky Packages series of trading cards.


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10. Skip Williamson, 1944-2017, R.I.P.



March was not a good month for underground cartoonists. Mervyn "Skip" Williamson, a contemporary of Jay Lynch, died on March 16th. Williamson, probably best known for the underground comix character Snappy Sammy Smoot, was seventy-two.


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11. Judge Joseph Wapner, 1919-2017


Joseph Wapner, presiding judge on the first incarnation of television's The People's Court, died on February 26th. And just a bit of trivia, here: When he was in high school, Wapner briefly dated a then-unknown Lana Turner! Wapner was ninety-seven.

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Whew! Thanks for your time.

31 comments:

  1. When Chuck Berry did that semi-split in the white pants, did he have to fall down and then crawl around to find something to hold onto to get back up? That's what I would have to do, except I couldn't spread my legs that wide in the first place. I suppose he was only eighty, though, when he did that.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. He seemed to be a fairly limber guy, but I've no ideas how late in his life he could do those splits.

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    2. I have never in my life done the splits, not even in bed.

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    3. That would seem like the best place to do it, if you could...

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  2. I've only heard of a few of these people! That's quite the list!

    It's always interesting to see the faces behind the comics, especially.

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    1. Yes, I'm sometimes surprised when I see the face of certain comic creators for the first time. They usually look nothing like I imagined.

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    2. Yeah, I thought the same thing!

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  3. Ahhhh, Bernie Wrightson! He illustrated a bunch of Stephen King novels, most notably the expanded "author's cut" of The Stand. Chuck Berry was just too great to warrant further comments from me! (Besides, I already did a HUGE tribute to him on Facebook.) I only saw Bill Paxton in one movie (that I can recall, anyhow), as astronaut Fred Haise in Apollo 13. I'm assuming he did as good a job in other films as he did in that one.

    So now that you've got that all out, maybe the universe will give you some breathing space now!

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    1. Yeah, in two months I had a lot of catching up to do./

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  4. I only knew about half of them. Weird Science was a great one indeed. Paxton sure had many roles.

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    1. I enjoyed him wherever I saw him.His death shocked me quite a bit.

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    2. Pat didn't rhyme. Is he feeling ok? :)

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    3. There are a lot of times he doesn't rhyme when he comments here, I've noticed. :)

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    4. The only time I've ever seen him not rhyme is when he emails! haha.

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  5. Bill Paxton's death was a shock to many and he seemed to be a genuinely nice person. I did not know the names of the cartoonists but i am aware of their work-quite a few the first half of this year. Chuck Berry was a bit lewd wasn't he? There must be a good reason for staying that limber

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    1. Yes, ol' Chuck had a few skeletons in his closet, it seems.

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  6. Ok, so I have to confess Chuck Berry was the only one I readily recognised. Probably comes from being British, not American! :)

    Susan A Eames at
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

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    1. Yeah, that excuse will work for you! :)

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  7. I love Chuck Berry, but I actually didn't know he was still alive. The celebrity death I'm feeling the most (thus far) is Bill Paxton. I love him in so many different roles, and my husband is an Aliens fan. He had an opportunity to meet the cast last year at Comic Con and didn't go, and he's really regretting it now.
    Doree Weller

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  8. Heavens, 11 already? 2017 is going the same way as 2016, I'm afraid. I really got a bad feeling about this. Personally, the year's already fallen apart at the seams, ghastly.

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    1. Let's hope the rest of the year lightens up a bit.

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  9. Some amazing lives there! And some totally unknown to me. Surprised that several almost made to to 100 years.
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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    1. People are living to advanced ages quite often now, it seems, but we still have those shockers that die young.

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  10. So much lost talent already, but as you say, not as bad as last year!
    Debbie

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    1. Right. True, I had eleven entries, but that represents over two months.

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  11. wow, so many names that i remember and grew up with. i loved judge wapner on the people's court. :(

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  12. That was quite a list! I have to say that I used to like Chuck Berry but couldn't get past his personal life as the years went by, and now just thinking of him makes me shudder. What a shame for someone who actually did a lot to change the face of music. I also watched a documentary (can't remember what event it was for) in which Chuck Berry and Keith Richards were performing together for something, and he was a total jerk to Keith during the rehearsals.

    I recognized most of the names, although not all the cartoonists. Bernie Wrightson stuck out to me because my husband's first cousin (John Totleben) also worked on Swamp Thing and I saw his post about the death on his fb page when it happened.

    I'm not sure why we're always surprised at celebrity deaths . . . they grow older just as the rest of us do, and yet there's something more poignant about a portion of our growing-up years going away. Nice tributes, David!

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    1. Thanks. The documentary you saw was probably "Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll," produced in 1987. And your husband's a cousin of John Totleben's? I was a Swamp Thing reader when he was on the book. Love his work!

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    2. John's mom and my father-in-law are siblings. John is a genuinely nice guy. He's lost most of his vision over the years and still continues to produce incredible work.

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