SADDAM HUSSEIN (12/30/06) - Former Baath Party Leader and President of Iraq. Age 69. Mr. Hussein was a bad man. One can argue the morality, strategy, and/or utility of U.S. operations in Iraq. That's for certain. But, one would be hard pressed to find much good in Saddam; a guy who murdered plenty of people. Here's our brief eulogy:
Saddam was a fella we've heard
Who massacred Shia and Kurd
In '03 defanged
And in '06 was hanged
Man was this f**ker a turd
GERALD FORD (12/26/06) - Former U.S.President. Age 93. Mr. Ford wasn't elected. He got the job because Tricky Dick was, well, tricky. The two things Gerald will most be remembered for are 1) the pardon of Nixon: "Our long national nightmare is over" and 2) falling down alot. At least he went out on the better of the two notes.
JAMES BROWN (12/25/06) - Godfather of Soul. Age 73. "AHHHOOWWW! I feel wood!" The Godfather of Soil. Not living in America. Crap, why do we do this?
JOE BARBERA (12/18/06) - Cartoon genius. Age 95. Just think about how many great cartoons for which this guy was responsible. Just think about eight Emmys for cartoons! This guy shoulda lived forever! ...And he would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling kids!
PETER BOYLE (12/13/06) - Actor. Age 71. Now's there's one less person around who loves that putz Raymond.
ELIZABETH BOLDEN (12/11/06) - Oldest Person in the World. Age 116. We've said it before and we'll say it again: It just seems like every time one of these oldest people in the world dies, another one crops up. Go figure.
AUGUSTO PINOCHET (12/10/06) - Former Chilean Dictator. Age 91. What a name, eh? Sounds like a wine. "Can we interest you in a 1996 Pinochet? It will truly compliment the fillet monsieur." Hmm, and one should store wine in a dark, cool place....
JEANE KIRKPATRICK (12/8/06) - Former Ambassador to the UN. Age 80. Jeane is officially part of the fertilize America first crowd.
MOSES HARDY (12/7/06) - Last Black WWI Veteran. Age 113. What can you say about a guy like this? Clearly he wasn't really a celebrity in our eyes, but he is on three lists. That having been said, Moses was clearly a hero and deserving of some respect. So, to that end, we're not going to allow Michael Richards to write the eulogy he had asked to pen.
CASEY COLEMAN (11/27/06) - Sport Announcer. Age 55. Mr. Coleman did play-by-play for the Cleveland Browns. If that doesn't make you a celebrity, what does, right? Plus those coolers he came up with really keep the beer cold.
ROBERT ALTMAN (11/21/06) - Director. Age 81. Mr. Altman directed M*A*S*H. He directed The Player. These movies kick some serious ass. So what can be funny about such a talented guy's death. That one's easy, just check the internet for the condolence letter Lindsay Lohan sent (really!). Not only does it make our spelling look great and our grammar coherent, it really goes to show why it's so easy to take a few swipes at certain celebrities (because they're begging for it).
MILTON FRIEDMAN (11/16/06) - Economist. Age 94. Mr. Friedman won the 1976 Nobel Prize in economics. The guy turned the economic theory of the 1960s and 1970s on its head. He spawned the famed Chicago School of economic thought. He influenced numerous economists, politicians, and thinkers. The guy was just flat out brilliant. Milton had a television series on PBS in the early 1980s called Free to Choose and later, along with his wife, penned a book of the same name. It's really quite a fine read. He's been called a classic liberal, a conservative, and, by his own words, a libertarian. Us, we just call him dead.
JACK PALANCE (11/10/06) - Actor. Age 87. Mr. Palance made a career out of playing tough guys. Then he wins an Oscar for playing that role in, of all things, a comedy. Then, when he goes up to accept the award, he does one handed push-ups on stage. About his work in the movies Jack had this to say, "Most of the stuff I do is garbage." Really! He also said this one about movie directors he's worked with, "Most of them shouldn't even be directing traffic." Wonder if any of them are any good at directing funerals.
ED BRADLEY (11/9/06) - News Correspondent. Age 65. Mr. Bradley spent 35 years as a newsman with CBS. Twenty-five of those years were spent on the television journal show 60 Minutes. All indications are Ed was a really nice guy. Too bad they made him work with that putz Andy Rooney.
JOHNNY SAIN(11/7/06) - Former Baseball Player. Age 89. Back in the day, Johnny pitched along with teammate Warren Spahn. That caused the Boston Post to print the following poem: "First we'll use Spahn, then we'll use Sain, Then an off day, followed by rain. Back will come Spahn, followed by Sain, And followed, we hope, by two days of rain." Now both of these two are deep under terrain.
ERNESTINE GILBRETH CAREY (11/4/06) - Author. Age 98. Ms. Carey authored Cheaper by the Dozen. No surprise as she was one of twelve children. She also wrote a sequel entitled Belles on Their Toes . A third book, Tag on her Toe may be forthcoming.
RHONA DAMANT (11/2/06) - Author. Age 45. Ms. Damant appeared in a TV show, wrote a column, and ultimately made a book from the column. The topic matter? Her seven year battle with cancer and its physical and emotional strains on her and those around her. This is an instance where it is less a case of a celebrity death and more a case of the illness and death making the celebrity. Frankly, we don't like those cases so much.
P.W. BOTHA (10/31/06) - Former South African Prime Minister and President. Age 90. Mr. Botha ran South Africa during the days of apartheid. Although some credit him with the start to dismantling that system most believe his relaxation of some apartheid laws were self-serving. In South Africa, many called PW "Die Groot Krokodil," which means "The Big Crocodile." In this case however, that ticking in his chest wasn't a clock.
RED AUERBACH (10/28/06) - Celtics Coach and Manager. Age 89. Mr. Auerbach led the Boston Celtics to 16 championships. Many consider him among the greatest coaches in professional athletics. He also set the record for suspensions and fines for a coach in basketball, fighting with opposing team's fans and, in one case, an owner. His passing has us thinking back to the Cold War. You may recall the anti Cold War slogan "Better Red Than Dead." We're having a little trouble reconciling that right now.
JANE WYATT (10/23/06) - Actress. Age 96. Ms. Wyatt is best known for playing the mom on "Father Knows Best." Look, he may know best but it woulda been a boatload more helpful if he knew CPR. Right Jane?
FREDDY FENDER (10/14/06) - Singer. Age 69. Mr. Fender was what one would call a "local success" until his 1975 hit "Before The Last Teardrop Falls." That song skyrocketed Freddy onto the Country and Pop charts. Sadly, Freddy beat himself up pretty good with booze and drugs which, in the end help take a toll on his body. It's rumored that Freddy would go weeks without drugs or drink but then, in one weekend, he'd go nuts. Thus the term, "Fender Bender."
BUCK O'NEIL (10/6/06) - Baseball Player. Age 94. Mr. O'Neil was among a few of the great players left from the Negro Leagues. In addition, he was the only player from the Leagues to move on to a coaching position in professional baseball. All accounts are that Buck was a really nice guy who genuinely loved baseball. Too bad the Buck stops here.
BYRON NELSON (9/24/06) - Golfer. Age 94. Byron was a pretty darn good golfer. He won five majors and a 31 of 54 tournaments played between 1944 and 1945. That's 57%. Nelson won 52 PGA events in his career. Here's the kicker, he retired from golf at age 34. Many called Nelson "Lord Byron," which is somewhat odd as Lord Byron was an author, not a golfer. Both are, however, dead.
PATRICIA KENNEDY LAWFORD (9/18/06) - Kennedy. Age 82. What else do you want us to say? K-E-N-N-E-D-Y!
DOROTHY CONSTANCE STRATTON (9/17/06) – Former Director of SPARS and the Girl Scouts of America. Age 107. Ms. Straton was the director of the SPARS (Semper Paratus Always Ready) the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve throughout World War II. After the war, Stratton was director of personnel for the International Monetary Fund and the executive director of the Girl Scouts of America. The Thin Mint? Rumor has it that was all Dorothy.
ORIANA FALLACI (9/15/06) – Journalist. Age 76. Ms. Fallaci made a name for herself by conducting aggressive and uncompromising interviews with high profile figures. Later, following September 11, 2001, she made a name for herself again as a book of hers, which posed significant questions regarding how the world in general and Europe in particular was dealing with the rise of Islam, went to market. In that book, Ms. Fallaci stated that Europe ''has sold itself and sells itself to the enemy like a prostitute.'' She also indicated, though not in the book, that as she fought her cancer in New York City, she was in a self imposed exile from "an Italy more ill than I am." Hmmmm, Italy 1. Oriana 0.
ANN RICHARDS (9/13/06) - Former Texas Governor. Age 73. Ms. Richards went from being a house wife to being governor of Texas. Her wit and presentation made her a character recognized on the international scene and even featured in a Doritos commercial. Ms. Richards was a long time champion of women in politics and entered the arena for this reason, among others. She is quoted as once saying, "I did not want my tombstone to read, 'She kept a really clean house.'" In deference to this request let us be the first to tell you, the place was a dump.
KING TAUFAAHAU TUPOU IV (9/11/06) - King of Tonga. Age 88. King Tupou ruled Tonga for 41 years. At one point he was known as the heaviest monarch in the world. Why you ask? Because he weighed about 440 pounds. Apparently the people of Tonga loved the King (most likely because he didn't eat them).
PATTY BERG (9/10/06) - Golfer. Age 88. Ms. Berg was a one of the original 13 members of the Ladies Pro Golf Association and its first president. She had an LPGA-record 15 major titles. That's not all. Ms. Berg also quarterbacked a sandlot football team and served for three years in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Apparently, Patty also sank the Titanic. Huh? Oh. Iceberg, Patty Berg, whatever. Hmm, that sounds awfully familiar.
ROBERT EARL JONES (9/7/06) - Actor. Age 96. Mr. Jones appeared in Broadway productions starting in the 1940s. In addition, he has numerous film credits under his belt as well. His best known is likely his performance as Luther Coleman in “The Sting.” Did we mention his kid James yet? No? Ah, well then....Darth Vader dudes.
STEVE IRWIN (9/4/06) - Crocodile Hunter. Age 44. Mr. Irwin made television career out of filming himself in the wild handling dangerous animals such as snakes and crocodiles. Steve had a very successful television show and even a movie. Steve got stung by a sting ray while filming. The stinger pierced his heart. His parting words were thought to be his trademark phrase "Crikey!" We, however, believe he really said, "Spikey!"
GLENN FORD (8/30/06) - Actor. Age 90. Mr. Ford appeared in over 100 movies. Among some of the greats were Blackboard Jungle, Ransom! (the original one), Pocketful of Miracles, The Courtship of Eddie's Father, and Gilda. Of course we prefer his work as Jonathan Kent in Superman. Glenn's last credited work is 1990's The Final Verdict. Anyone care to guess what that verdict was?
NAGUIB MAHFOUZ (8/30/06) - Author. Age 94. Mr. Mahfouz was a novelist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. Naguib published 34 novels, In excess of 350 short stories, many movie scripts and five plays in his lifetime. Here's some irony for you...Naguib was an Egyptian and, during his life, worked as Director of Censorship in the Bureau of Art. However, some of his works ended up being banned in Egypt and in other Arabic countries. See, he had the gall to write about God, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Apparently that got the Imams and Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman all riled up. There's a shocker.
MARIA ESTHER DE CAPOVILLA (8/27/06) - Old Lady. Age 116. Ms. De Capovilla was the oldest person in the world (we could have sworn that that person died a few times already). "A paramedical hi lot serve, a ill vet shop camaraderie" and, "a hilltop academia server" are just a few of the great things you can do with her name. Man we hate the "oldest" picks.
MAYNARD FERGUSON (8/23/06) - Trumpet Player. Age 78. Mr. Ferguson was one heck of a trumpet player. He was known for hitting especially high notes including an elusive double high C. Maynard's best known work is likely his performance of the theme to the Rocky movies. Gonna Fly Now? Yup, didn't think so.
ALFREDO STROESSNER (8/16/06) - Former President of Paraguay. Age 93. Mr. Stroessner was a General who ran Paraguay from 1954 to 1989. Apparently the guy did a whole lot of good for Paraguay economically. He was also a strong anti-communist, making him a U.S. pal throughout the Cold War. On the other hand, he was a control freak and was found to have a government guilty of plenty of human rights abuses. In addition, he harbored quite a few former Nazis in Paraguay. Alfredo was no slouch. He was known to start work at 4 a.m. and not end until 1 a.m. He never took a vacation during his time as President. We have no clue where he found the time to create that cheesy sauce.
BRUNO KIRBY (8/14/06) - Actor. Age 57. Mr Kirby was a character actor supporting roles really made several pictures. Take a look at his work in "Good Morning Vietnam," "When Harry Met Sally," "City Slickers" and "The Godfather: Part II." He had both a face and a voice you didn't forget. Bruno also had a great career in television, appearing on such shows as M*A*S*H, Kojak and Columbo. "Pardon me m'am, but has anyone else noticed Mr. Kirby isn't breathing?"
MIKE DOUGLAS (8/11/06) - Talk show host. Age 81. Before that bogus empathetic Oprah, before that so-wanna-be-svelt Ricky Lake, before that shoulda stuck with Taxi Tony Danza, before those menopause mavens on The View, and before those puke evoking piss wads like Jerry Springer and Maury Povich, there was Mike Douglas (and Dick Cavett but we're talking Mike Douglas here.) Mr. Douglas had quite a show. You just take a little internet shuffle over to The Mike Douglas Show web page and check out who appeared on that show. Go ahead. We'll wait....... See? This friggin' guy was "da bomb" before da bomb was "da bomb." Apparently, he exploded.
SUSAN BUTCHER (8/5/06) - Iditarod Winner. Age 51. Ms. Butcher was the second women to win the Iditarod. She actually won the darn thing four times. What's the Iditarod you ask? Check this out. People actually stand on a sled and allow dogs (Huskies to be exact) to pull them across the frozen tundra of Alaska like some wacky-ass Yukon Cornelius wanna-bes. Of course, they do it for some 1,100 plus miles, which we suppose makes them a little bit tougher than that last sentence may have implied. The dogs they call "dogs" but the person they call a "musher." Hmmm, maybe they're not as tough as we were gonna give them credit for. "Mushers," Puh-lease.
JACK WARDEN (7/19/06) - Actor. Age 85. Mr. Warden had one of those faces you just know. That's because it showed up on so many darn television shows and in plenty of movies. We're talking "12 Angry Men," "Brian's Song," "Heaven Can Wait," and "Shampoo." We're talking "Being There." Presuming by "There" ya mean the cemetery.
MICKEY SPILLANE (7/17/06) - Author. Age 88. Mr. Spilane is best known for his Mike Hammer novels. The rough talking, no nonsesne detective in these books has defined the archtype of this character for generations. M-I-C. Guess we won't be seeing you in any more Miller Lite commercials. K-E-Y. Why? Because you're dead silly.
HOWDY GROSKLOSS (7/15/06) - Baseball Player. Age 100. Mr. Groskloss was a second baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates back in the early 1930s. He went on to become a gynecologist in Miami, Florida. We'd like to tell you he was a celebrity because of his fine gynecological work, but we can't. It's just another one of those cases where someone was pretty darn old.
RED BUTTONS (7/13/06) - Comedian. Age 87. Mr. Buttons was a star on early television. Red did the Borscht Belt, Burlesque, and plenty of Celebrity Roasts. Buttons also won an Academy Award for his dramatic role in the picture "Sayonara." Red was also a hit in the early days of television. Of course, there are several worms who never had a dinner....
SYD BARRETT (7/12/06) - Musician. Age 60. Mr. Barrett was a founding member of Pink Floyd. Early on, Syd wrote and performed some really wacky, really cool tunes. We're talking stuff like Arnold Layne and Bike. Here's the weired part. Syd did a bit of LSD and pretty much went wacky. Leaving the band, doing a little solo work, and then pretty much locking himself for the remainder of his life. Here's the cool part. The band always respected Syd. So much so they wrote the album "Wish You Were Here" about him and that they ensured he always collected Pink Floyd royalties. Syd died a pretty rich fella. "See Emily Play" .... taps.
BARNARD HUGHES (7/11/06) - Actor. Age 90. Mr. Hughes won a Tony Award for his performance in the play "Da." He also starred in the SitComs Doc and "Mr. Merlin." We figured Zach coulda cast a healing spell or something.
JOHN SPENCER (7/11/06) - Snooker Player. Age 71. Mr. Spencer got snookered.
JUNE ALLYSON (7/8/06) - Actress. Age 88. Ms. Allyson started as a teenage chorus girl on Broadway. She grew into a contract player for MGM, often playing the wife or support role of leading men such as Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Van Johnson and Dick Powell. June eventually married Powell. June once stated that, after Powell died, "I just locked myself away and — I found the bottle." We would have appreciated it if she returned it to us before she croaked. Sheesh.
KEN LAY (7/5/06)- Enron Founder and CEO. Age 64. There's really no reason to go through the whole story, is there? Good riddance, ya bastard.
PATSY RAMSEY (6/24/06)- JonBenet's mom. Age 49. Ms. Ramsey was a so called "person of interest" in the murder of her daughter JonBenet. Now we're not sure if she did it or not. Some things you read make her and/or her husband look pretty guilty. Other information out there makes the Ramseys look like victims of (imagine this) a vulturous press looking to fill hours of cable news time coupled with an under experienced, somewhat pig headed, Boulder Police Department. One thing we're certain of is a little girl got killed. Sorry kids, nothing even remotely funny there.
AARON SPELLING (6/23/06) - TV Producer. Age 83. Mr. Spelling wasn't just a TV producer. He was THE TV Producer. Aaron churned out over 200 shows in his career. A good many of them were hits. Here's just a small sample: The Mod Squad, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, TJ Hooker, Dynasty, Hart to Hart, Vega$, and Charlie's Angels.. Here goes:
Death, exciting and new
So who hit? There were only two
Death, provided reward
Player name: Wish We Could Kill You
The Death Watch, guess we'll be logging another tomb
The Death Watch, adding some points for Mistress of Doom
And a course there's an obit
A song for the Death Watch crew
Now death won't hurt anymore
Please don't test that out, we're not really sure
Welcome all broads
VINCENT SHERMAN (6/18/06) - Director. Age 99. Mr. Sherman directed both B- and A-movies in the 40s and 50s. Vincent directed Erol Flynn in The Adventures of Don Juan and Joan Crawford in The Damned Don't Cry. Mr. Vincent was often known as "woman's director" as he was able to draw out great perfomrances from leading ladies (both on and off the screen).
JOHN "EARTHQUAKE" TENTA (6/7/06) - Wrestler. Age 42. Mr. Tenta wrestled in the WWF, the WCW, and again in the WWF under several ring names. However, it's "Earthquake" for which he is best known. John was as big as a tent(a). Not to mention he was also Canadian; and you know how we feel about that. Furthermore, we really don't think much of pro-wrestling. As a matter of fact, we think pretty much nothing of it. Regardless, John was 42 and died of bladder cancer leaving behind a wife and three kids. That's a pretty crappy way to get pinned if you ask us.
ABU MUSAB AL-ZARQAWI (6/7/06) - Al Qaeda leader. Age 39. What a douche bag. Really! The guy gets his jollies blowing people up. Sending out suicide bombers. Teaching little kids to strap on explosives. How does a cute little bear go from hanging around with Yogi and the Ranger to being such an unmitigated pud knock? What? That was Boo Boo not Abu. Crap, sorry.
BILLY PRESTON (6/6/06) - Musician. Age 59. Mr. Preston played keyboards in sessions with the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. If that wasn't enough, in 1992, he was incarcerated for nine months at a drug rehabilitation center for cocaine and assault charges. In 1997, he was sentenced for violating probation. Then, in 1998, he pleaded guilty to insurance fraud. And then there was this, "Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'. You gotta have somethin' if you wanna be with me." Like perhaps some coke or a rap sheet?
STEVE MIZERAK (5/29/06) - Pool Player. Age 61. Mr. Mizerak is considered one of the greats in the game of pool. He won numerous championships, made training videos, and appeared in beer commercials and a movie. On the circuit, Steve was known as "The Miz." Dead is he, sadly, now. Reverse English.
LLOYD BENTSEN (5/23/06) - Politician. Age 85. Mr. Bentsen was a Senator and Treasury Secretary. He also ran as the Vice Presidential candidate with Michael Dukakis in 1988. They lost. Some of you think this makes Lloyd a celebrity. Senator, we served with celebrities, we knew celebrities, celebrities were friends of ours. Senator, you are no celebrity.
STANLEY KUNITZ (5/14/06) - Poet. Age 100. Mr. Kunitz was the Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in the 1970s and was named United States Poet Laureate in 2000. In addition, Stanley received a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and the National Medal of the Arts. Stanley earn a BA and a Masters Degree from Harvard. Here's a partial quote from Stanley, "Through the years I have found this gift of poetry to be life-sustaining, life-enhancing..." We guess he got writer's block.
LILLIAN ASPLUND (5/6/06) - Titanic Survivor. Age 99. Ms. Asplund is the last American survivor of the Titanic. She was five when she escaped the sinking vessel. Lillian was the last survivor to be able to remember the event. Two other survivor's are known to live in England but were less than one year old at the time of the sinking. Her mom, who was also a survivor died on the anniversary of the sinking in 1964. Upon her death bed, Lillian was heard to mumble the words, "The Jews sank it." Her physician, starting to jot down the words, inquired, "How can that be? It was an iceberg?" To which Lillian replied, "Iceberg, Goldberg, whatever." Then she cracked-up, gasped, and croaked.
EARL WOODS (5/4/06) - Tiger's Pop. Age 74. Mr. Woods raised one hell of a golfer. But, before all that, he was a Green Beret and the first black scholarship baseball player in the Big 12. Beyond that, Earl was the best known parent in professional sports. This guy would make astounding claims about the talent and potential of his them novice professional golfer son, Eldrick. Of course, those claims have pretty much been validated. By all accounts, Earl was quite a character. Come on, he named his kid Eldrick.
LOUIS RUKEYSER (5/2/06) - Host of Wall $treet Week. Age 73. Mr. Rukeyser not only hosted the PBS staple Wall $treet Week, he created the concept. For 30 years Louis' show attempted to teach everyday folks how to enter, understand, and "play" the market. More recently, he had his own CNBC show also dealing with financial markets and published a newsletter. People magazine once named Rukeyser the only sex symbol in economics. Rumor has it that really pissed off Alan Greenspan.
JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH (4/29/06) - Economist. Mr. Galbraith was a Harvard Professor, a former ambassador to India and an adviser to several presidents including Clinton, F.D. Roosevelt, and L.B.J. Heck, Truman awarded him the Medal of Freedom and so did Clinton. Yup, he was a two time winner. With an esteemed career such as that we're almost inclined to overlook the fact that he was Canadian. Almost.
GENE PITNEY (4/5/06) - Singer and Songwriter. Age 65. Mr. Pitney's hit 24 Hours from Tulsa catapulted him to fame in the 1960s. Gene also had hits with Only Love Can Break a Heart, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Town Without Pity. Gene also wrote Rubber Ball for Bobby Vee. Oh it isn't very pretty what a town without pity can do. Furthermore, it isn't very pretty what a dude without a pulse can't do.
DAN CURTIS (3/27/06) - Television Producer and Director. Age 78. Mr. Curtis produced some great TV and TV movies including the original Dark Shadows and Night Stalker. He also produced and directed The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Really nothing funny to say. Let's try this instead. Acid Turns. Custard in. Scud rat in. Cut rind as. This is kind of fun. Can't rid us. Cut drains. And rustic. Saint crud. Okay, that's enough for now.
CASPAR WEINBERGER (3/27/06) - Politico. Age 88. Mr. Weinberger served as Budget Director under Richard Nixon and as Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan. "Cap," as he was known, was a true fiscal conservative believing budgets should always be balanced (imagine that!). Of course, he was pretty embroiled in that whole Iran-Contra thing too. He was pardoned, on Christmas Eve, by then President George Bush, only two weeks before his trial for concealing documents. In addition, he always said hello and was really glad to meet ya. Wherever he did go, he was kind to every living creature. Well, except for those Marxist Sandinistas.
LYN NOFZIGER (3/27/06) - Ronald Reagan's Press Secretary. Age 81. Mr. Nofzinger has a funny last name. Apart from that, he was the Ronald Reagan's Press Secretary and Political Adviser. He was with Reagan in some capacity from 1965 through the early 1980s. By all accounts, he was quite a character; wearing rumbled sports coats and slacks instead of suits, being brutally honest about his opinions instead of spinning, and never shying away from his partisan views. Most say he left Government in the 1980s because he hated government as a core belief. We suspect he also played the part of the Snowman in Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
RICHARD FLEISCHER (3/25/06) - Film Director. Age 89. Mr. Fleischer directed some killer pictures. We're talking Tora! Tora! Tora!, Fantastic Voyage, 20000 Leagues Under The Sea, Soylent Green, Conan The Destroyer, and The Jazz Singer. We'll let let Richard slide on Amityville-3D. Everyone has a bad day.
BUCK OWENS (3/25/06) - Country Singer. Age 75. Mr. Owens co-hosted the very successful Hee-Haw. He also had several country hits along with his band, The Buckaroos. Owens also wrote several songs that others made famous such as Cryin' Time by Ray Charles and Act Naturally by the Beatles. "They're gonna put me in a pine box. They're gonna make some worm food outta me. They'll dig a ditch, about six foot, and bring some flowers. And all I gotta do is lack a heart beat."
BILL BEUTEL (3/18/06) - News Anchor. Age 75. Mr. Beutel anchored ABC Nightly News in the New York market from 1970 to 2001. He also did a stint on Good Morning America. Bill won several Emmy awards and a Peabody award. Bill, “Good luck and be well.” Well, at least "Good Luck" buddy.
RAY MEYER (3/17/06) - Basketball Coach. Age 92. Mr. Meyer coached the DePaul Blue Demons for more than 40 years. In addition, the guy did color for the team for many years. All tolled, he had 55 years with the team as coach/broadcaster. Then, after retirement in 1984, Ray goes on to be a special assistant to the president of the team. If this dude keeled mid-court, he’d likely have flew in the air and seen nothing but net for the 3 pointer. In our case, however, he was actually a 5 pointer.
OLEG CASSINI (3/17/06) - Fashion Designer. Age 92. Mr. Cassini designed gowns for Jacqueline Kennedy and created a major fashion house. Oleg started out designing costumes for Paramount Studios. He served in the Army during WWII after which he opened his own design house on Seventh Ave. in New York. His best known clients, of course, were Jacqueline Kennedy and Johnny Carson. Come on, the dude made dresses. Sissy.
KEN BREWER (3/16/06) - Poet. Age 64. Mr. Brewer was a poet. In fact, he was the poet laureate of Utah. A Brewer that's a poet is okay with us but we'd prefer a Poet that's a brewer any day of the week.
MAUREEN STAPLETON (3/13/06) - Actress. Age 80. Ms. Stapleton acted on stage and screen and was quite successful in both arenas. Maureen received both Tony and Oscar awards. She won a Tony for he work in The Rose Tattoo and her Oscar for her work in Reds. In addition, she was nominated several more times for each award. Maureen also got an Emmy for her work on Among the Paths to Eden. Then there was her personal life consisting of two failed marriages, several affairs, many years of alcohol abuse and some pretty questionable parenting for her two children. Did we mention the Emmy?
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC (3/11/06) - Evil man. Age 64. Here's a pisser for ya. The Canadian press actually said this about Milosevic, "a butcher to some, Serbian hero to others." We guess they call that being balanced in their reporting. With about three hundred thousand dead and well over two million homeless because of the "hero to some," We're comfortable just saying he was a real dick.
JOHN PROFUMO (3/9/06) - Former Politician. Age 91. Mr. Profumo was an English politician who had a killer career going during the Cold War. But in 1963 John's johnson got the better of him and he was exposed as having a fling (or several) with a young lady for hire named Christine Keeler. This discovery was part of a greater investigation into the sexual goings on in the British Government of the late 50s and early 60s. Christine was kinda cute though we're told she had a stiff upper lip. Not unlike all of Mr. Profumo at this point.
DANA REEVE (3/7/06) - Wife of Chris. Age 44. Ms. Reeve wasn't really a celebrity per se. However, all indications are she was one hell of a human being. Too bad she went in for the kryptonite treatment. That crap gets 'em every time. You'd kinda figure Chris would have mentioned that.
KIRBY PUCKETT (3/6/06) - Baseball Player. Age 45. Mr. Puckett played his entire career with the Twins. Although he wasn't built like an athlete, he worked at the game more than almost any other player. The results showed. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2001. Here goes....There once was a fellow named Puckett...Aw, never mind.
MARION HIGGINS (3/2/06) - Old Person. Age 112. Here we go again. The oldest person in California, the sixth oldest person in the United States, and the eleventh oldest person in the world. We've gotta change the rules.
JACK WILD (3/2/06) - Actor. Age 53. Mr. Wild was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the Artful Dodger in the movie Oliver! However, we love him for his work as the kid from H.R. Pufnstuf. Apparently Jack had a taste for the drink and the smoke. You know how it is, "can't do a little cause he can't do enough."
DARREN MCGAVIN (2/25/06) - Actor. Age 83. Mr. McGavin was one of the busiest actors in television and film. He starred in Mike Hammer, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Riverboat. Of course, Darren's most famous role is likely that of the grumpy dad in the classic A Christmas Story. Although a large funeral repast was planned, the dog got in and ate it. Looks like Chinese again. At least HE didn't take HIS eye out with a damn B-B gun.
DENNIS WEAVER (2/24/06) - Actor. Age 81. Mr. Weaver appeared in numerous television shows including Gunsmoke, Kentucky Jones, and Buck James. Of course, Dennis' role as McCloud on the series of the same name is likely the role for which he is best known. Although, his work on the series Gentle Ben is also very well known. Here's some stuff that's less commonly discussed. Dennis lived in a house he called “Earthship.” He and his wife, Gerry, built this solar-powered house from tires and cans thrown away by others. We'd make a wise ass comment but why bother...come on, "Earthship."
DON KNOTTS (2/24/06) - Actor. Age 81. Mr. Knotts, a five time Emmy winner, had a long and illustrious career as a comedic actor. From his days with The Steve Allen Show to his time on The Andy Griffth Show and through his years as Mr. Furley on Three's Company he was able to evoke laughter with his comedic talent and brilliant face. In addition, Knotts was just grand in the film The Incredible Mr. Limpet. And who can forget The Apple Dumpling Gang? Heck, Don even did a stint on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. That search, of course, has come to an abrupt end.
CURT GOWDY (2/20/06) - Sports Caster. Age 86. Here's a brief review of his career.
At the Superbowl One he announced,
Heidi yodeled as the Jets got trounced,
For the Bosox his verse
Saw them play with the curse,
And on Monday Last Rites were prenounced.
SUSIE GIBSON (2/16/06) - Old Person. Age 115. It's bad enough that some Death Watchers pick "the world's oldest...." for their lists. But come on, Susie was the world's THIRD oldest person. What'd they do, bury her in a bronze casket? Sheesh.
PHIL BROWN (2/11/06) - Actor. Age 89. Mr. Brown is best known for playing "Uncle Owen," Luke Skywalker's Uncle Owen Star Wars. In the 1950s, Brown was a blacklisted actor. Following that, he spent many pleasant years on Beru. Then that punk ass niece of his, who he hadn't seen in years, had to go and make trouble. Not to mention his a-hole brother (or was it brother-in-law?). Anyway, the next thing you know, the hut's on fire.
PETER BENCHLEY (2/11/06) - Author. Age 65. Mr. Benchley wrote numerous books including The Deep and The Island. Of course he is best known for his novel, Jaws, which Steven Spielberg turned into a blockbuster movie. Peter also worked for the Washington Post and Newsweek and as a speech writer for President Lyndon Johnson. Few of you probably remember Johnson wearing that dorsal fin, as the images are seldom shown. However, it really scared the crap out of the Vietnamese for a few weeks.
JOHNNY VAUGHT (2/3/06) - Football Coach. Age 96. Mr. Vaught took Mississippi to six Southeastern Conference titles and 18 bowl appearances over 25 seasons. Many professional and college teams continue use Johnny's variations on offense. Although Johnny vaught, his health ultimately vailed. Man, that wasn't fery vunny.
AL LEWIS (2/3/06) - Actor. Age 82. Mr. Lewis was an actor, basketball scout, restaurateur, and political candidate. Of course he is best known as Grandpa from the Munsters. Lewis also appeared with Fred Gwynne (Herman Munster) in Car 54, Where Are You? One of The Guys actually had an opportunity to talk with Al in front of his Downtown NYC restaurant back in the day. Frankly, he was kind of cold. Betcha that hasn't changed.
CORETTA SCOTT KING (1/31/06) - Civil Rights Icon. Age 78. Ms. King came to the front of the racial equality movement in America after her husband, Martin Luther King Jr., was assassinated in 1968. Apparently Coretta was in Mexico seeking "alternative treatment" for ovarian cancer. So much for the alternative, eh? We'll stick with our crappy health care here stateside.
WENDY WASSERSTEIN (1/30/06) - Playwright. Age 55. Ms. Wasserstien primarily wrote dramatic comedy about the plight of the American woman. Her best known work is likely The Sisters Rosensweig although The Heidi Chronicles was also very well received. Her most recent work, Third, is just getting off the ground. Unfortunately, Wendy is not.
IBRAHIM RUGOVA (1/21/06) - President of Kosovo. Age 61. Mr. Rugova was not only a politician but a literary scholar. Ibrahim became the symbol of Kosovar independence following The United Nations 1999 administration of the region following NATO forces ouster of Serb-led Yugoslav troops. Not to mention, those delicious pastrys made with a cream cheese dough and different fillings like raisins, walnuts and cinnamon; chocolate; or walnut with apricot preserves. Oh, sorry, that's rugulah. Our bad again.
WILSON PICKETT (1/19/06) - Age 64. Mr. Pickett was a pioneer in the soul music scene. He is best known for his hits Mustang Sally and The Midnight Hour. Wilson was arrested in 1991 for yelling death threats while driving a car across the mayor’s front yard in Englewood, N.J. Less than a year later, he was charged with assaulting his girlfriend. Then in 1993, he drove drunk and hit an 86 year old man. So it really ought to have gone, "...gonna hit you, gonna smack you, drive on your lawn and attack you, the midnight hour..." Oh well, hindsight's 20/20.
SHELLEY WINTERS (1/14/06) - Actress. Age 85. Ms. Winters started her career as a "pretty face" in the movies. However, she developed into a serious actress appearing in such films as The Diary Of Anne Frank and A Patch of Blue. Shelley was a devotee to method acting. In fact, there's a tale that she once dropped trou on stage and let fly. Really.
JACK SNOW (1/9/06) - Football Player and Broadcaster. Age 62. Mr. Snow broadcasted games for the Rams, his former team. Apparently Jack contracted a staph infection which ultimately claimed his life. We have absolutely no idea how winter weather will ever occur again. Oh, sorry, that's Jack Frost. Our bad.
LOU RAWLS (1/6/06) - Singer. Age 72. Mr. Rawls, a childhood friend of Sam Cooke, had several hits and won three Grammy Awards. Among his best known works are You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine and Love Is a Hurtin' Thing. Apparently, love isn't the only hurtin' thing; cancer can really kick your ass too.