Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Legacy Issue

2012 will be remembered as a year of  record losses. Some of the greatest icons and legacy builders of our time passed away.Welcome to the 5th anniversary edition of Real School People. I know that this issue has taken a long time to complete. It was a massive undertaking and I knew it was going to take a long time and made peace with that reality. There is no way that I couldn't do an issue of such magnitude. It may take you several days to read it. You may come back time and again to reflect. I hope that you find as much joy in reading it as I did in putting together this issue.

What this issue brings is something to share with the children and grandchildren; a simpler place in time that we call the real school. From the beginning of the year to the end of it, we suffered the shocking loss of Whitney Houston, Dick Clark,  Don Cornelius, Etta James, Johnny Otis, Phylis Diller, Andy Griffith, Donna Summer. Just a few of the names that spell out the real school generation with indelible memories.

When I was growing up these people were immortal. Only other people died and left legacies. Folks from the real school would live forever. And of course they do, with what they have left behind. We can't thank them enough for the joy they brought to our lives, as they gave us  personal bookmarks in our coming of age: first love, graduations, marriages, the coming of the new year. A sheriff named Andy Taylor raised his young son, Opie and instilled the same values that were instilled in us growing up. We can hear professional  whistler Fred Lowery put an  indelible iconic  print on the show's theme song. as Andy and Opie embarked on an afternoon going fishing in the opening credits. We rode the Soul Train which included passengers from all cultures and diversities. We watched American Bandstand with Dick Clark and brought in many new years with the familiar countdown to the beginning marked by the 12 o'clock hour. Our hearts were warmed by the stellar memory of Kevin Costner as he spoke at the funeral of his Body Guard co-star. What can we say about 2012? It was a year the world got really quiet, due to the record number of passing of some of the brightest and the best.

It is to all of these wonderful people that I give a salute, a thank you, a sad and tearful farewell. Thanks for making our world.

 I would like to thank, Kevin Goins, Robb Lawrence and Toby Walker  for their contributions to this issue as well as give credit to innumerable sources. IMDB, The Times news papers and the AP.

aka Mr. Bowler
 July 29, 1926 – January 5, 2012
 He dominated bowling in the 50s 
  • First bowler to win every possible major tournament in a career (All-Star, World Invitational, PBA National and ABC Masters)
  • First president of the PBA
  • First bowler to have a professional tournament named after him
  • First athlete to sign a $1 million endorsement contract, inking a multi-year deal with Ebonite International in 1964


June 23, 1940 – January 16, 2012
singer, saxophonist, percussionist and bandleader
  •  a wide range of styles during his career — doo-wop, Latin jazz, funk —  led to his nickname, “the Everything Man.”
  •  His 1966 hit “Hey Leroy, Your Mama’s Callin’ You”  popularized the Latin soul sound that came from Latin jazz and rhythm-and-blues in Harlem and came in the wake of similar hits by Joe Cuba and Ray Barretto.


Johnny Otis 
December 28, 1921-January 17, 2012

Quote: “Society wants to categorize everything, but to me it’s all African-American music.The music isn’t just the notes, it’s the culture — the way Grandma cooked, the way Grandpa told stories, the way the kids walked and talked.”

An incredible legacy, songwriter, author and nightclub owner, producer and band leader, journalist and broadcaster, artist and mentor.
  • Born of Greek descent as Loannis Alexandres Veliotes
  • He  discovered stars Hank Ballard, Etta James, Esther Phillips, and Jackie Wilson, and would produce some of Little Richard’s early work.
  • He described himself as “black by persuasion”
  • In 1960, he picketed in support of sit-in protesters opposing segregation at lunch counters. In the same year, somebody burned a cross on his lawn in the dead of night. 
  •  political activist, and preacher as well as an organic farmer.


Etta James
January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012
  •  Born Jamesetta Hawkins, her name was changed to Etta James by the Godfather of R & B Johnny ‘Otis.
  • Was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993
  • Never knew her biological father was, but she believed her father was legendary pool player, Rudolf “Minnesota Fats” Wanderone.
  • First started in the the music biz when she formed “The Creolettes,” with a group of fourteen year old girls.
  • Sang at the opening ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics
  • Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.
  • A child prodigy began singing in her church choir as a young child and was on radio at age 5.
  • 8. James co-wrote her autobiography, Rage to Survive, in 1995 with David Ritz.
  • 9. The story of James’s time with Chess Records was bought to life by Beyonce in 2008′s Cadillac Records.
  • 10. With a career that spanned over sixty years, Etta’s last album ‘The Dreamer’ was released in November of 2011.



Henry Davis
Birthdate unknown-Jan 18, 2012
Bass player

By Toby Walker (soulwalking)
Henry Davis, the bass player for the group Love, Togetherness & Devotion (L.T.D.), died on the 18th of January 2012.

Details are scarce regarding the causes relating to Henry's passing. 

Henry commenced his artistic career amongst the ranks of the Friends of Distinction, during the Sixties.  In the Seventies he joined the ranks of L.T.D, playing on the groups most famous songs 'Love Ballad' and '(Everytime I Turn Around) Back In Love Again'.

During the Eighties, he worked with the likes of Lionel Richie, Morris Day and the Time and Diana Ross. Henry's bass playing can be heard on Diana Ross's Seventies hit 'Love Hangover'.

He was later reunited with L.T.D., additionally working at two Los Angeles churches, playing bass for Messiah Missionary Baptist Church and conducting the choir at St Paul Catholic Church.
Henry's funeral was held on the 26th of January 2012 at Messiah Missionary Baptist Church.
Henry was not only a hugely proficient bassist, he was also a flutist, keyboardist and fine singer

In  an interview, Davis gives his thoughts on Real School Pre. No one could have said it better than this.

 Charla Krupp

Jan 29, 1953 - Jan 23, 2012 

Quote: “For our generation, looking younger isn’t  just about vanity. Looking good is about our personal and financial survival.”
  • Her best sellers  "How Not to Look Old" and "How to Never Look Fat Again," 
  • “How Not to Look Old,” published in 2008, spent 15 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, rising to No. 2 in the advice and how-to category. It sold more than 300,000 copies
  • began investigating the relationship between a woman’s attractiveness and her career trajectory early in her own career. At Glamour magazine, where she was entertainment editor from 1980 to 1995, she wrote articles about ageism and salary disparities in Hollywood.


John Levy
 April 11, 1912-January 20, 2012

Quote: "We are put on this earth for a reason: to help people reach their potential. I'd like to be remembered as someone who made it possible for George Shearing, Cannonball Adderley, Nancy Wilson, Wes Montgomery and dozens of others to bring music and joy into the lives of audiences all over the world."


John Levy, an accomplished bassist who 
  • became the first black personal manager in the jazz field, dies at 99.
  • personal manager Cannonball Adderley, Betty Carter, Herbie Mann, Freddie Hubbard, George Shearing, Joe Williams and Nancy Wilson.
His 2001 biography, "Men, Women, and Girl Singers: My Life As a Musician Turned Talent Manager" — written with his wife, Devra, the daughter of jazz guitarist Jim Hall

Interview with John Levy from


Dick Tufeld
December 11, 1926 – January 22, 2012
  • He was the voice of the iconic Robot on Lost in Space
  • Began in radio working for such ABC shows as The Amazing Mr. Malone, Falstaff’s Fables, and Space Patrol before expanding his career into TV news as the anchor of L.A.’s The Three Star Final
  • Became one of Disney’s go-to announcers in the 50s, most famously working on shows such as Zorro and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World Of Color, while also setting up TV programs such as Surfside 6, The Hollywood Palace, The Gallant Men, and The Julie Andrews Hour
  • Years later  had a close working relationship with producer Irwin Allen, providing the narration for shows such as The Time Tunnel and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, where Dick Tufeld’s voice was often the first thing audiences heard.
  • Developed a tumor paralyzing one of his vocal cords and was unable to speak at all for some time. He eventually had vocal cord surgery in Los Angeles and his voice was so improved that he'd been told over and over again that he now spoke with the voice he had in the 1960s.
  • Was the VO for Gallo wines. They switched agencies and held a audition for new announcers. Dick wasn't invited, was miffed, and secretly submitted an audition tape to the recording studio under an assumed name. Shortly thereafter, he met the Gallo ad manager who, embarrassed because Dick hadn't been asked to audition, asked him to record. The studio later told Dick he was two out of the three finalists, and Gallo decided not to change the VO talent.


James Farrentino
February 24, 1938 – January 24, 2012

Quote: I've got a resume that could choke a horse. I'm impressed by it. Producers who are casting people, they're all in their 20s now. You show it to somebody in the motion picture industry or television, they don't know and they don't care.
  • Appeared in nearly 100 television, film and stage roles
  • Was one of Universal Studios' last contract players in the 1960s
  • In 1967,  won a "Most Promising Newcomer" Golden Globe for his performance in the comedy "The Pad and How to Use It."
  • He also had recurring roles on "Dynasty," "Melrose Place," "The Bold Ones: The Lawyers" and "ER," playing the estranged father to George Clooney's character.
  • In 1978, he was nominated for an Emmy for his portrayal of Saint Peter in the television mini-series "Jesus of Nazareth."


Robert Hegyes
May 7, 1951 – January 26, 2012)
  • Best known for his portrayal of high school student Juan Epstein on the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter.
  • Guest starred in more than thirty television shows, including Saturday Night Live with Quentin Tarantino, NewsRadio, Diagnosis: Murder with Dick Van Dyke, The Drew Carey Show (in an April Fools' Day episode where the character Oswald was recast for a brief scene with Hegyes playing the role) and The Streets of San Francisco with Michael Douglas. He also appeared in the award-winning Volkswagen Passat commercial "The Chase" for director Kinka Usher. 
  • Appeared in Honeymoon Hotel with Jane Kaczmarek, Underground Aces with Melanie Griffith and Dirk Benedict, Bob Roberts with Tim Robbins, The Purpose with Mia Farrow, and Bar Hopping with Kevin Nealon.
  • Cousin of Jon Bon Jovi and Mario Lanza

Clare Fischer
(October 22, 1928 – January 26, 2012)

keyboardist, composer, arranger, and bandleader.
Quote: I relate to everything. I’m not just jazz, Latin, or classical. I really am a fusion of all of those, not today’s fusion, but my fusion.”

  • Since 1985 Fischer wrote orchestral arrangements for pop artist Prince. Some appeared on Prince's albums and have been used for his movies Under the Cherry Moon (Fischer's first screen credit), Graffiti Bridge and in Spike Lee's Girl 6
  • When he moved to Hollywood in 1958, he went to East L.A. to play and learn more about Latin-Jazz. He started in a charanga group with Modesta Duran as leader and played with many different groups.
  • In 1986 won his second Grammy Award – this one for his album, “Free Fall,” the first having been won in 1981 for his album, “Salsa Picante plus 2 + 2.”
  • has written for Cal Tjader, George Shearing, Diane Schuur, Natalie Cole, Chaka Khan and Rufus, The Jacksons, Earl Klugh, Prince, Robert Palmer, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Spike Lee, João Gilberto, Paula Abdul, and most recently Brian McKnight, Regina Belle, J. Spencer, Norman Whitfield, Branford Marsalis, Tori Amos, Terry Trotter, a French group – “Charts,” a Japanese group – “Sing Like Talking,” Vanessa Williams, Brandy, Tony! Toni! Toné! and many others
  • Since beginning his professional career, has recorded over 45 albums as leader and has arranged, composed and/or played on another 100 plus albums for other recording artists


John Rich                  

July 6, 1925 – January 29, 2012)

  •  Television comedy director and a key figure in the history of the Directors Guild of America
  • Won two Emmys, one for directing and one for producing, on that series, plus a third Emmy for directing The Dick Van Dyke Show.
  • Member of the Screen Directors Guild since 1953, Rich was instrumental in the 1960 merger between the Screen Directors Guild and the Radio and Television Directors Guild, which formed today's DGA.
  • Extensive resume as a TV director, handling shows that ranged from Westerns like Bat Masterson and Bonanza to a whole array of sitcoms, including Gilligan's Island, Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C., The Brady Bunch, That Girl, Benson and Dear John
  • 1985 to 1992executive producer on MacGyver and last worked as exec producer of the 2003 TV movie Young MacGyver. 
  • ________________________________________________________________________________

Donald Cortez "Don" Cornelius 
September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012

By Kevin Goins
Don Cornelius left this earth at the age of 75 and today I’m still somewhat shell-shocked by it all. Is it because of how he died?  Well, that does play a part in a way.  Or is it the news of what occurred during the last few years of his life? But these issues aren’t paramount to this writer and music journalist.

What hurts like hell is the fact that a hero that I’ve admired since childhood is gone, and believe me in the 1970s this kid from Rochester NY had plenty of them.  While the grown-ups (and some youth) dealt with Civil Rights, the killings of the Kennedys and a King, the Vietnam war, riots and in Upstate NY the Attica Prison uprising, a young Kevin Goins was busy watching positive images of Black folks on TV, reading about the good and the bad concerning folks of color in Ebony magazine and spinning records released on Motown, Curtom and the then-Al Bell-co-owned Stax Records.  Bill Cosby, Morgan Freeman on “The Electric Company”, Gail Fisher from “Mannix”, Diahann “Julia” Carroll, Clarence “solid like Linc Hayes” Williams III , the genius of Barney Collier (uh, Greg Morris, that is) from Mission: Impossible and reruns of “Star Trek” with Nichelle Nichols’ Lt. Uhura…and of course the cast members of Sesame Street (Gordon, Susan and the gang). And BTW - my heroes weren’t just Black folks, either….Dick Clark and American Bandstand as well as the Rochester radio icons at WBBF & WAXC can count themselves in as well.
Yet with all of these people that I looked up to, there was one who stood head and shoulders above most of them, and that was our dear Mr. Cornelius.  Good God, y’all….a music show with Black kids dancing to the latest soulful sounds hosted by a former Chicago policeman-turned  radio news reporter?  Now, to be fair, there have been a few programs like that in certain regions in the country but only one went on to national prominence.  Founded in Chicago on a UHF station, SOUL TRAIN made the trek to Los Angeles one year after it debuted in the Windy City in 1970 and within two years it became a nationally syndicated weekly TV show.  
I remember the first time I had seen the program - it was early 1973 on WROC-TV (Channel 8), the guests were the O’Jays performing “Love Train”.  Within months I’d be watching acts such as Tower Of Power perform “So Very Hard To Go” live and in living black & white (Dad didn’t buy a color TV until 1981), the Isley Brothers doing “That Lady” and the one of many performances from the Chi-lites.  What a mind-blower…kids wearing the biggest afros and coolest clothes, doing dance moves without needing to take aspirin and the music, the Soul Train Line.….all brought together by a sharp-dressed host with wire-rimmed glasses and the smoothest baritone voice this side of Isaac Hayes and Barry White.
And of course, the commercials - Johnson Products with their Afro Sheen and Ultra Sheen (Dad & Mom each had their own jar). When Mom bought the Afro Sheen Blowout Kit in early 1977, I was on cloud nine! Had me a nice, SWEET blow-out ‘fro that would have made Michael Jackson jealous (okay, maybe not…but I can dream!). Sadly, after three weeks of the blow out ‘fro and yours truly wearing his favorite navy blue turtleneck, dashiki, cool jeans and ankle boots, Dad couldn’t deal with the sight anymore and ordered me into the barber’s chair.  I soon went from looking like a young Don Cornelius to Elvis Presley at the time he was drafted into the Army!
With all the great tunes and performances Don presented on Soul Train, it wasn’t all about entertainment.  To paraphrase Bill Cosby from the Fat Albert cartoon series, “you’re gonna learn something before we get done “.  Y’all think the famous Scramble Board was there just for fun and games? Nooooo….that was purposely set up for the viewers and the Soul Train Gang to learn Black History.  Come on now, you think “Harriet Tubman” was a singer from Detroit? Please….The Scramble Board, the appearance of the Reverend Jesse Jackson (big ‘fro, dashiki and all), Curtis Mayfield’s several appearances with his songs that reflected what was happening in the world.  Even the head of Johnson Products stopped by on one episode.  Examples of history and those who made it happen.

When I look at the massive posting of Soul Train clips on You Tube as well as the excellent documentaries regarding the series, I am indeed thankful that this program (except for its first year in Chicago) was videotaped, preserved and properly archived for us to watch.  For those who weren’t born when it aired weekly, they get to see and experience what we “grown folks” had enjoyed.  Hopefully, it will spark conversations between generations not only about the music, but what was going on at the time here in the world with the understanding that if we are going to progress into the future, we need and should know what happened in the past that got us to the present.

As for me, Don Cornelius - along with Berry Gordy, Dick Clark, Al Bell, Vivian Carter & James Bracken of Vee-Jay Records, Curtis Mayfield & Eddie Thomas from Curtom Records, Ebony founder John H. Johnson, Cathy Hughes of TV-One/Radio One, Joan Cooney of public TV's Children's Television Workshop - proved that if he could create something for folks to enjoy that he owned outright, anything is possible.  So, I sit here and write this appreciation as the proud owner of Kevin Goins Production & Media, LLC in addition to the liner note/interview work for David Nathan’s

Our dear Mr. Cornelius has left us but his spirit lives on.  I know, for last Wednesday, right after  I had learned of his death, I opened my emails and found two liner note assignments and an approval to pursue an interview with a classic soul music legend.  At the risk of sounding corny, it’s as if Mr. Cornelius said to God, “please give this brother some work to do….somebody has to keep the history alive…”

 And that is exactly what I’m doing…


David Peaston 
March 13, 1957 – February 1, 2012
Vocalist on the Geffen label who won a Soul Train Music Award in 1990 for Best R&B or Rap New Artist


Ben Gazarra 
 (Biagio Anthony Gazzarra )
August 28, 1930 – February 3, 2012

"I turned down so many movies because I was idealistic. I was so pure. I didn't really take advantage of the opportunities. If I had the same chances today I would take them all because you never know where it will lead."

He and his good friend John Cassavetes made 5 movies together: Husbands (1970), Capone (1975), If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969), Opening Night (1977) and The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)


Peter Breck
March 13, 1929 – February 6, 2012

Best known for his starring role as Nick Barkley on "The Big Valley" (1965).

Quote: I do miss the old Hollywood. I'm not too happy with what's there now. I did Jiminy Glick in Lalawood (2004) - they gave me the role of the head of the studio - and it was just a rush job. Everything's too fast now and you can't go bang-bang-bang and get a performance. They don't make good movies anymore.

  • The son of a jazz musician, also named Joseph (nicknamed "Jobie"). Over time, his father worked with such legendary greats as Fats Waller, Bix Beiderbecke, Paul Whiteman and Billie Holiday. 
  • Extended his stage resume at Washington D.C.'s Arena Theatre. While performing there in a 1957 production of George Bernard Shaw's "The Man of Destiny", he was "discovered" by Robert Mitchum, who cast him in an un-billed role in the film Thunder Road (1958), which Mitchum himself produced, co-wrote and starred in. 
  • Guest-starred on all the top Warner Bros. TV shows of the day -- "The Roaring 20's" (1960), "Sugarfoot" (1957), "Surfside 6" (1960), "Bronco" (1958), "Hawaiian Eye" (1959), "77 Sunset Strip" (1958), "Cheyenne" (1955) and played a recurring "Doc Holliday" in the popular series "Maverick" (1957). He returned to the movies as well, but this time in stronger leads or co-leads. Handed a choice co-starring assignment in Portrait of a Mobster (1961) opposite star Vic Morrow, who played the infamous "Dutch Schultz",
  • Also portrayed  a rare, gentler side in the outdoor family drama Lad: A Dog (1962).

Whitney Houston
August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012

Recording artist, actress, producer, model and vocally, America's sweetheart, She knew how to work her game vocally and even more gave a sophisticated presence in her videos and film roles. She was a stunning beauty with a troubled heart and our hearts broke when she was gone. 

Quote: "From the beginning, the camera and I were great friends. I know the eye of the camera is on me -- eye to eye. It loves me, and I love it."
  • Daughter of Cissy Houston (gospel-blues singer).
  • Cousin of Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick.
  • Multi-Grammy award winning singer; has had an unequaled run of seven consecutive #1 records (1980s) in the USA, and held the #1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 for 14 weeks with "I Will Always Love You" in 1993.
  • Appeared on the covers on Seventeen and Glamour magazines before becoming a major recording artist.
  • Her 1987 album "Whitney" became the first female album to debut at #1 on the Billboard Charts.
  • Holds the record for winning the most American Music Awards, twenty-six in total.
  • "I Will Always Love You" is the best-selling single by a female artist, and the biggest- selling non-charity single of all time, with world sales of nearly nine million copies.
  • She is the only female artist to have three albums sell over nine million copies each: "Whitney Houston" (1985), "Whitney" (1987), and "The Bodyguard" (1992).
  • Her mother, Cissy Houston was at one time a background singer for Elvis Presley.

She sang the National Anthem. Through her vocal style, she renewed our patriotism. Pay attention, real school pre, this is how you do it.

Dolly Parton's 1974 song, "I Will Always Love You", was given new life when Whitey touched the tender melody and lyrics with her vocal and suddenly it wasn't just a country song anymore.


Michael Davis
(June 5, 1943 – February 17, 2012) 

  • bass guitarist, singer, songwriter and music producer, best known as a member of the MC5
  • Following a serious motorcycle crash on a Los Angeles freeway in May 2006, Davis along with his wife Angela Davis, launched a non-profit organization called The Music Is Revolution Foundation to support music education in public schools.

Davy Jones
Dec 30, 1945- Feb 29, 2012
Actor, singer
  • Because of his popularity with The Monkees, another singer named David Jones was forced to change his name to David Bowie.
  • Appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" (1948) on February 9, 1964 with the cast of "Oliver!" (as the Artful Dodger). This is the same night The Beatles made their legendary debut.
  • When Jones first visited home after becoming a Monkee, his father refused to let him inside until he got his haircut - twice. Jones' reaction to this was to buy the family a new house, "so now he has to let me in!".
  • Shared a birthday with fellow Monkee Michael Nesmith.
  • Longtime friend of David Cassidy. They were planning to go on tour in April 2012 before Davy's death.
  • "The Monkees" (1966) $450/episode

Jan Berenstain
 July  26,1923-24 February 2012

  • Jan Berenstain,  with her husband, Stan, made up one of the most successful husband-wife teams in children's literature,
  • The first Berenstain Bears book, "The Great Honey Hunt,"  published 1962. 
  • They were discovered by and edited by children's author Dr. Seuss, who started Random House's Beginner Books series.


James Wesley "Red" Holloway 
(May 31, 1927 – February 25, 2012)
  • Fame in the 60s  due to work with organist "Brother" Jack McDuff. Another member of this band was guitarist George Benson. The band was together from 1963 to 1966 and performed road tours in the States as well as concerts in Europe. Red recorded several albums with McDuff on Prestige, including the hit single Rock Candy.
  •  Moved to Los Angeles in 1967 and in 1969 became the coordinator of talent and member of the house band at the famed Parisian Room for the next fifteen years and saw Red hire virtually everyone who was anyone in the world of jazz and blues. 
  • Quit as talent coordinator for the Parisian Room and the The club closed eight months later.


Ronnie Monstrose
November 29, 1947 – March 3, 2012
  • Before  forming the band Montrose,  had been a successful session musician, playing (along with future Montrose bassist Bill Church) on Van Morrison's Tupelo Honey album produced by Ted Templeman, and on albums by Beaver & Krause and Herbie Hancock. 
  • Was also a member of the Edgar Winter Group, playing on the hit singles Free Ride and Frankenstein from the best-selling album They Only Come Out at Night (1972).


Robert Sherman
December 19, 1925 – March 5, 2012
  • A songwriter who worked together with his younger brother Richard M. Sherman.
  • The brothers’ awards included 23 gold and platinum albums and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 
  • They became the only Americans ever to win First Prize at the Moscow Film Festival for “Tom Sawyer” in 1973 and were inducted into the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2005.
  •  They won two Academy Awards for Walt Disney’s 1964 smash “Mary Poppins” — best score and best song, “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” They also picked up a Grammy for best movie or TV score.
  • Most of their songs were written quickly, but others took longer. The pair spent two weeks trying to nail down a snappy title for a song sung by the nanny in “Mary Poppins.” They considered, and then nixed, “An Apple a Day” and “A Stitch in T0ime.” “Nothing was coming,” Robert Sherman recalled. Then one day his then-8-year-old son came home from school. “I said, ‘How was school?’ He said, ‘Great. We got the (polio) vaccine today.’ I said, ‘Oh, did it hurt?’ He said, ‘No, they just stuck medicine on a lump of sugar.’ I went, ‘Ohhhh!’ That was it!” “He came in the next day all glassy-eyed,” Richard Sherman recalled. The final lyric would become world famous when it emerged from the lips of Julie Andrews: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”
  • “It’s a Small World (After All)” — has become one of the most translated and performed songs on the planet. It plays on a continual, multilingual loop every few minutes at Disney theme parks across the world — a fact that Disney employees are only too well aware.

A tribute to Robert Sherman from his son


Robert Ayres                                                  July 28, 1913 -- Feb. 25, 2012

You may not know his name, but you know this set illustrator's famous work created on the Paramount lot in 1959. It was officially called "Map to Illustrate the Ponderosa in Nevada," it was created only to burst into flames on television screens during the opening of the long-running show "Bonanza." The show opener is certainly iconic.


Jimmy Ellis
November 15 1937-March 9, 2012

Lead singer of The Trammps—the Philadelphia band that helped fuel the disco revolution with their classic anthem "Disco Inferno"
 The Trammps  were formed in the early ’70s,
“The police called them tramps,” he said. “So they said they wanted to be high-class tramps, with two ‘m’s in the name.”
Their first recording was a remake of one of Judy Garland’s signature songs, “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart,” which reached No. 17 on the R&B charts. They went on to have hits like “Hold Back the Night,” and in 1975 were signed by Atlantic Records, which released seminal disco records by the group like “Where the Happy People Go.”
The Trammps peaked with the album “Disco Inferno,” whose title track climbed to No. 11 on the Billboard pop chart in 1977. It became emblematic of the disco era when it was used as background music in an extended John Travolta dance sequence in the 1977 movie “Saturday Night Fever.”


Gene Herbert "Joe" Byrd
1933-March 6, 2012
Joe Byrd (center)
  •  the youngest of four musical brothers,  grew up in Virginia’s Tidewater region. 
  • Brother was Charlie Byrd
  • They drew national attention and acclaim for “Jazz Samba,” which showcased the jazz saxophonist Stan Getz and was recorded in 1962 at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Washington. 
  • “Jazz Samba” remains the only jazz album to reach No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart, according to JazzTimes magazine. 


Jean Henri Gaston Giraud aka Mœbius
 May  8,1938 –  March 10 2012

  • Acclaimed illustrator, he is known for his highly detailed and fine line artwork, often incorporating surreal land-spaces.
  • First came to public attention in the USA in the 1980's after his work was published in the graphic science fiction magazine "Heavy Metal", an American version of the French publication "Metal Hurlant" (literally: "Screaming Metal").
  • Moebius contributed storyboards and concept designs to numerous science fiction and fantasy films, including Alien, Willow, Tron (1982), and The Fifth Element.

Michael Hossack 
October 17, 1946 – March 12, 2012

Lead drummer for the Doobie Bros. between 1971 and 1973, playing on many  of the band's best-known hits, including "Jesus Is Just Alright," "Listen to the Music" and "China Grove." Hossack returned to the band when they reunited in 1987 and was a mainstay of the group through the next two decades.


Josie DeCarlo
 (birthdate unknown-died March 14, 2012
  • was a French-born model 
  •  became the inspiration and namesake for Josie McCoy
  •  widow of comic book legend Dan DeCarlo and the model for the character Josie,
  • Born Josie Dumont, she became the idea behind the character during a vacation. "We went on a Caribbean cruise, and I had a costume for the cruise, that's the way it started," she told the New York Times following her husband's death in 2001. "The hairdo came after. One day, I came in with a new hairdo with a little bow in my hair and he said, 'That's it!'"


David L. Waltz
 May 28 1943 – March 22, 2012

  • a computer scientist whose early research in information retrieval become fundamental for today’s Internet search engines, died on Thursday in Princeton, N.J. He was 68.
  •  a pioneer  in artificial intelligence.
  • made fundamental contributions to computer science in areas ranging from computer vision to machine learning.
  • development of a basic technique that makes it possible for computers to render three-dimensional scenes accurately. 

Ron Palillio
April 2, 1949- August 14, 2012

  • Famous for his role as Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back Kotter
  • At 14 started his own summer theater in Cheshire, Connecticut which generated revenue
  • went to the University of Connecticut at Storrs, where he majored in drama. He appeared in many school plays in college. 
  • Shortly after arriving in New York, Ron got a role in the off-Broadway success "Hot l Baltimore." He stayed with the show for over a year.
  •  Ron was given a lead role in a musical special, "The Last Sweet Days of Isaac", on television. 
  • Toured  and appeared with Mickey Rooney in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" 



Warren Stevens

  •  He was a close friend of Gregory Peck and Kenneth Tobey.
  • In 2008, he was honored at the 44th. Cinecon Film Festival. He received their Society for Cinephiles Career Achievement Award at a banquet held at the Hollywood and Highland Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, California.
  • Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences [Actors Branch].
  • He made guest appearances on both "Twilight Zone" (1959) and "The Twilight Zone" (1985).


Jim Marshall
July 29, 1923-April 5, 2012

Tribute to Jim Marshall by Robb Lawrence
...His many talents as a dancer, drummer, teacher and driving force behind the legendary amplifiers that bear his name will live on in our hearts.

Les Paul and I had a great time talking when we first met him at the Guitar Center Rock Walk event in 1985. We socialized at the Troubadour and various Namm events over the years. His great stories enlightened me as to how band-mate Mitch Mitchell got his drumming style, Freddie Tavares' Fender 4-10 Bassman amp inspired his amplifying effort, Eric Clapton received the first combo - the famous Bluesbreaker amp (a 4-10 prototype left in Greece), Townshend started using the first 4-12 stacks... along with his friendship with Jimi Hendrix that permanently altered our sonic mindscape forever!

The amazing tone of the Marshall 4-10 Bluesbreaker amp and tall 4-12 Hendrix cabinet always inspires me to perform with deep soul. I feel fortunate to have filmed an interview he graciously shared for my Modern Les Paul book. This truly gentle giant shined a bright light and glorious tone for all to see and hear in the modern music world. My condolences to his son Terry (who also played with Mitch) and family, and associates including Mitch Colby. Thanks for the cool pic Seymour W. Duncan! Rest in Peace Jim.


Jonathon Frid
 Dec 2, 1924-April 13. 2012

  • He has appeared in major roles on-and-off Broadway, in such productions as "Roar Like A Dove", "Murder in the Cathedral" and "Wait Until Dark".
  • It was his portrayal of a complex, conflicted vampire on ABC-TV's daytime drama series "Dark Shadows" (1966) (co-starring with Joan Bennett) and in the subsequent motion picture House of Dark Shadows (1970) that earned him a place as an icon of American popular culture.
  •  His other film credits include co-starring roles in The Devil's Daughter (1973) (TV) (with Shelley Winters) and Seizure (1974) (Oliver Stone's directorial debut). 
  • In 1986, Mr. Frid joined the Broadway production of "Arsenic and Old Lace" (co-starring with Jean Stapleton). He won critical acclaim for his villainous turn as the homicidal nephew and spent ten months with the play's national tour. 
  • Founded his own production company, "Clunes Associates", to create and tour a series of one-man readers' theater shows across North America. 


Dick Clark
November 30, 1929-April 18, 2012

  • Got his first job in the mailroom of WRUN, a radio station in Utica, New York, which was owned by his uncle and managed by his father. 
  • Was promoted to weatherman before becoming a radio announcer. 
  • Worked at several radio and television stations before landing at WFIL radio in 1952. While working at the station, Clark became a substitute host for Bob Horn's Bandstand, an afternoon program where teenagers danced to popular music, broadcast by WFIL's affiliated television station. In 1956, Horn was arrested for drunk driving, giving Clark the perfect opportunity to step in as the full-time host.
  • In addition to the name change, Clark added interviews with artists (starting with Elvis Presley), lip-sync performances, and "Rate-a-Record," allowing teens to judge the songs on the show - and giving birth to the popular phrase, "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it." Clark also established a formal dress code, mandating dresses and skirts for the women and a coat and tie for the men.
  • Ended the "American Bandstand's" all-white policy, allowing  black artists to perform on the show.
  • Under Clark's influence, "Bandstand" became one of the most successful and longest-running musical programs, featuring artists including Chuck Berry, the Doors, the Beach Boys, Pink Floyd, and Smokey Robinson. Sonny and Cher, The Jackson 5, Prince, and Aerosmith were among the influential artists and bands that made their television debuts on "Bandstand", which is also credited with helping to make America more accepting of rock 'n' roll.
  • With the success of "American Bandstand", Clark became more invested in the music publishing and recording businesses, and began managing artists, hosting live sock hops, and arranging concert tours. But in 1960, when the United States Senate began investigating "payola", the practice in which music producing companies paid broadcasting companies to favor their products, Clark became caught up in the scandal. The investigation found he had partial copyrights to over 150 songs, many of which were featured on his show. Clark denied he was involved in any way, but admitted to accepting a fur and jewelry from a record company president. In the end, the Senate could not find any illegal actions by Clark, but ABC asked Clark to either sell his shares in these companies or leave the network so there was no conflict of interest. He chose to sell and continue on as host of "American Bandstand", which was unaffected by the scandal.
  •  moved Bandstand from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and became more involved in television production. Under his company Dick Clark Productions, he produced such shows as "Where the Action Is", "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes", and more recently, "So You Think You Can Dance", as well as made-for-television movies including "Elvis", "The Birth of the Beatles", "Wild Streets", and "The Savage Seven". Clark also hosted television's "$10,000 Pyramid", "TV Bloopers and Practical Jokes" (with co-host Ed McMahon), "Scattergories", and "The Other Half". 
  • had several radio programs, including "The Dick Clark National Music Survey", "Countdown America", and "Rock, Roll & Remember".
  • In 1972,  produced and hosted the very first edition of "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve", a musical program where Clark counted down until the New Year ball dropped in Times Square, featuring taped performances from musical artists. "New Year's Rockin' Eve" soon became a cultural tradition, airing on ABC every year with Clark as host (except in 1999 when ABC aired "ABC 2000: Today", a news milestone program hosted by Peter Jennings). 
  • In December 2004,  suffered a minor stroke and was unable to host, so Regis Philbin stepped in as a substitute. The following year, Clark returned as co-host alongside primary host Ryan Seacrest. Many were worried about Clark due to his slurred and breathless speech, and he admitted on-air he was still recovering but that he wouldn't have missed the broadcast for the world. The following year, Seacrest became "New Year's Rockin' Eve's" primary host, but Clark always returned for the countdown.
  • Clark has received several notable awards including four Emmy Awards, the Daytime Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and the Peabody Award in 1999. 
  • He was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1976, The Radio Hall of Fame in 1990, Broadcasting Magazine Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. Clark had been in St. John's hospital in Los Angeles after undergoing an outpatient procedure the night of April 17, 2012. Clark suffered a massive heart attack following the procedure. Attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful and he died the next morning of April 18, 2012.  


 Andy Griffith 
                          June 1, 1926-July 3, 2012

  • Commonly plays the accoustic guitar and sings folk or gospel songs
  • Most all of his characters have a folksy, friendly personality
  • Often recounts classic stories and histories with a folksy point of view. 
  • Both of his characters have driven 2 separate Ford automobiles: on "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), he drove a Ford Galaxie and on "Matlock" (1986), he drove a Ford Crown Victoria.
  • was the Tuesday night host for CBS Radio's "Sears Mystery Theater" (1979). He was still Tuesday's host when it became "The Mutual Radio Theater" on Mutual Radio (1980).
  • Attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in Music in 1949. He originally attended school to study to be a Moravian preacher before he changed his major. 
  • He recorded some albums of standup comedy, including one titled "Just for Laughs". Among his classic routines is "What It Was, Was Football", about a country bumpkin who witnesses his first football game.
  •  most popular character role of Andy Taylor, on "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960), was ranked at number 8 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time", in Sunday, June 20th, 2004's issue.
  • Was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award: in 1956, as Best Supporting of Featured Actor (Dramatic) for "No Time for Sergeants," and in 1960 as Best Actor (Musical) for "Destry Rides Again."
  • During a 1959 performance of the Broadway musical "Destry Rides Again", in which Griffith starred opposite Dolores Gray, a small fire broke out backstage at the Imperial Theater. Although it was put out within a few minutes time, without causing any major damage, just enough smoke drifted toward the stage that there could have been a panic had not Griffith and Gray continued on with the scene as though nothing was happening. For their bravery, they were rewarded by the audience that night with a standing ovation and by the New York City Fire Comissioner with citations for heroism.
  • The town of Mayberry on "The Andy Griffith Show" is based upon Andy Griffith's hometown Mount Airy, North Carolina. By the same token, the characters on the show will commonly mention the "sister city" of Mount Pilot. Mount Pilot does exist, but its true name is Pilot Mountain, and has the same basic geographical positioning to Mount Airy as Mayberry does to Mount Pilot. The towns in both reality and the series are about 15 miles apart. Both towns (in both universes) are north of Winston-Salem, North Carolina near the North Carolina and Virginia state borders.
  • Best known by the public for his starring roles as Andy Taylor in "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960) and the title character in "Matlock" (1986).
  • He and Don Knotts were best friends since 1955 

  • Before becoming an actor, he was a comedian and a singer.


George Lindsay
Dec. 17, 1928-May 6, 2012 

  • Although Lindsey has pretty much made a career out of playing variations of his most famous character, Goober from the 'Andy Griffith Show (1963)' -- a genial, good-hearted but somewhat slow-witted hick--Lindsey has a Bachelors Degree in Bioscience from the University of North Alabama and was a science teacher before deciding to become an actor.
  • Disney used his talents in a handful of projects, both as comedy support in features and giving vocal life to a few of their animated characters.
  • Former high school teacher and briefly a stand-up comic.
  • TV Land's "Star Trek" (1966) marathon on November 17th, 2006, had comments by the actors. Leonard Nimoy's stunner was that Gene Roddenberry's first choice to play "Spock" was George Lindsey. He turned the part down and the rest is history.
  • Devoted a good deal of his time to raising money for Alabama Special Olympics.
  • Lindsay and Academy Award winning actor Ernest Borgnine became close friends in the 20 years before Lindsay's death. 


Chuck Brown
“The Godfather of Go Go"
Aug 22-1936-May 16-2012

Chuck Brown is the undisputed sole founder and creator Go-Go music, a hypnotically danceable genre deeply rooted in funk and soul that he developed in the early 70’s , and  the only form of expressive culture  to originate in the District of Columbia.  Foreshadowing rap and many of the major popular R&B styles of the past three decades, Chuck's signature style earned him a place in American musical royalty.  This esteem was maintained by the reputation of his legendary live shows, heavy on audience participation and built around “the beat” to create an unparalleled non-stop party atmosphere.

  • was by artist James Brown. 
  • Got into the Latin percussion groove from the band he played Los Latinos.
  •  Combining  love of blues, jazz, gospel, soul, and African rhythms, to develop his sound.
  • His first hit was “We the People
  • Next hit “Blow Your Whistle” (sampled by Grammy winner Eve in 2007 in her hit “Tambourine”), and one of the most sampled break beats of ALL time from “Ashley’s Roach Clip”  (including Eric B and Rakim, LL Cool J and countless others).    
  •  In 1978, the Soul Searchers became Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers
  •  “Bustin’ Loose” took the #1 spot in Billboard, on Source/MCA Records.  The song was used in Grammy winner Nelly’s 2002 smash “Hot in Herre,” and continues to be one of the most relevant and often sampled funk songs ever written (“Bustin’ Loose” is currently featured in a national television campaign for Chips Ahoy). 

  • In 2006 the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Chuck a “Lifetime Heritage Fellowship,” the Federal Government’s highest honor for folk and traditional arts, and Chuck also performed at the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2006. The following year his “We’re About the Business” CD debuted as the #1 independent album and #2 R&B album  in Billboard.  The National Visionary Leadership Project recognized Chuck’s contributions in shaping American history in 2007, joining previous honorees such as Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, BB King, and Earth Kitt.
  • A street in Washington DC was recently renamed “Chuck Brown Way.”   
  • A three disc set “WE GOT THIS” was released on September 21, 2010.  It contains a live concert DVD shot in HD, a live concert audio CD and a CD of bonus new studio material including collaborations with Ledisi, Marcus Miller and Jill Scott.  


Donna Summer
Dec. 31, 1948-May 17, 2012
I think, no question, when you're a singer and you're looking to become so successful, it's the moments of success, singing the Oscar-winning song and having that moment, winning Grammies, and all that, but after you get those things, you're sorta sitting there in the room and you're thinking, 'O.K., what next?' When actors say they got the Oscar and then, they didn't get the job for 5 years somewhat it feels like internally, and it's like, 'Oh, O.K., is that all there is?,' and so, I think you just have to keep setting new goals for yourself. For me, after I had success on that level, my next goals were personal, they were my family, go on it's time now, 'You've done this, you've proven this, let's get on with your real-life.'

  • While living in Germany in the late 60s, she became a regular in the Munich production of musical "Hair.".
  • Spoke fluent German.
  • Only person to have guest-hosted "New American Bandstand 1965" (1952).

  • Was the first solo artist in history to have three consecutive #1 double-albums on the Billboard charts. The only other musical act to accomplish this feat were The Beatles.
  • Was also an exhibited artist. 
  • She sold over $1.2 million in original art beginning in 1989; her most expensive piece sold for $150,000.
  • Love To Love You Baby", was the first extended release single, the mother of all dance maxi-singles.
  • She charted 30 #1 hits (singles and albums) on the Billboard Pop/R&B,Disco/Dance, Album charts combined, over a period of 33 years.
  • In the summer of 1979, she became the first female artist in music history to have two hits in the Billboard Top 3 at the same time (with Hot Stuff and Bad Girls.) She did it yet again in the fall with a #1 duet with Barbra Streisand and #2 hit Dim All the Lights .

  • Bruce Springsteen, a great admirer of Donna Summer, wrote 2 songs for her. The first one, "Cover Me", he decided to use on his "Born in the USA" LP. The second song, "Protection", Donna recorded, and Bruce Springsteen & band supplied the music track. Donna & Bruce actually recorded the song as a duet, but that version has never been released.

  • Held the most ranked dance songs on VH1's 100 Greatest Dance Songs with "MacArthur Park" at #89, "I Feel Love" #76, "Love To Love You Baby" #63 and "Last Dance" at #6.
  • In 1978, became the first female artist in history to have a #1 single (MacArthur Park) and a #1 album (Live and More) simultaneously on the Billboard charts. She broke her own record just a few months later in 1979 when her single "Hot Stuff" and the album "Bad Girls" both reached the #1 position on the Billboard charts at the same time.
  • In 1979, Was nominated for 5 American Music Awards - winning three: Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist (Nominated) Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist (Nominated) Favorite Disco Artist Female (Won) Favorite Disco Album - Live & More (Won) Favorite Disco Single - Last Dance (Won).
  • In 1980, was nominated for 4 American Music Awards - winning three: Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist (Won) Favorite Pop/Rock Album - Bad Girls (Nominated) Favorite Pop/Rock Single - Bad Girls (Won) Favorite Soul/R&B Artist (Won).
  • Ranked at #24 on Billboard Magazines 50th Anniversary issue featuring the Hot 100 Artists of All Time.

  • Has won 5 Grammy awards with a career total of 18 nominations.
  • She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
  • Her grave is located in Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens, a cemetery in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Is set to be inducted, posthumously, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


Richard Dawson
 Nov. 20, 1932-June 2, 2012

Quote: Be nice to each other. You can make a whole day a different day for everybody.
  • Became a United States citizen in 1984 and showed his passport and photo to America during the intro to a "Family Feud" (1976) episode.
  • Met his second wife Gretchen when she was a contestant on "Family Feud" (1976) in 1981.
  • Hosted "Family Feud" (1976) for a total of ten years: nine consecutive years (1976-1985) and one non-consecutive year (the 1994-1995 season).
  • During an interview early in the "Family Feud" (1976) run, he revealed that he enjoyed wearing and collecting T-shirts (a huge fad in the 1970s). Shortly after, the custom began of families on Feud presenting him a shirt early in the game, usually during the "introduce the family members" portion. As a result, he had one of the largest collections of unique and rare T-shirts in the world.
  • Won the "Password All-Stars" (1961) All-Stars Grand Master Championship in 1975 against Betty White, Bill Bixby, and Hal Linden. He gave his winnings to a children's charity.
  • Picked up the nickname "The Kissing Bandit" during the initial run of "Family Feud" (1976) because he greeted every attractive female contestant with a kiss.

  • Best-remembered by the public for his role as Corporal "Peter Newkirk" in the television series, "Hogan's Heroes" (1965) and as the host of "Family Feud" (1976).
  • He was offered the lead role as Captain, Robert Hogan in "Hogan's Heroes" (1965), but he refused it, because his voice did not sound American enough, hence, the role was given to Bob Crane. Dawson was then offered the role of Corporal Peter Newkirk, which he accepted.

  • Originated the phrase "Survey says", for "Family Feud" (1976), which every host after him used as well.
  • After the cancellation of "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In" (1967), producer Mark Goodson signed him to serve as one of the regular panelists alongside Brett Somers and Charles Nelson Reilly on "Match Game 73" (1973).


Robin Gibb
May 20, 2012

  • Member of The Bee Gees.
  • Twin brother of Maurice Gibb; brother of Barry Gibb and Andy Gibb.
  • Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 (as a member of The Bee Gees).
  • Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994 with brothers Barry and Maurice.
  • He and The Bee Gees were awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6845 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
  • The Sunday Times List estimated the combined net worth of Gibb and his brother Barry at $180 million. [2009]
  • Underwent emergency surgery for a blocked intestine in August 2010. Twin brother, Maurice Gibb, died of complications from the same surgical procedure in 2003.


Donald Duck Dunn
November 24, 1941-May 13, 2012

Quote: I like to keep things spontaneous. That's my way of playing. even thought we were playing the same songs every night, I like to think I can change it a little bit and  use my input or creativity or whatever in any way that makes the band feel better. If I make the band smile, I make everybody smile."

  • Legendary bass player and member  of Booker T. & The MGs
  • Among the soul classics he played on Respect, Dock Of The Bay, I've Been Lovin' You Too Long, In The Midnight Hour, Hold On I'm Coming
  • Was part of the Blues Brothers Band with John Belushi and Dan Akroyd
  • Played sessions with many name acts including Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Jerry Lee Lewis 


Yvette Wilson
March 6, 1964-June 14, 2012

  • Best  known for her role as Andell Wilkerson on UPN's "Moesha" and its spinoff "The Parkers," 
  • appeared in the movies "House Party 2," "House Party 3" and "Friday."


Don Grady
June 8, 1944-June 27-2012

  • Was a Mouseketeer before becoming  My Three Sons
  • Worked as a showbiz composer and songwriter and wrote the theme to the Donohue show in 1970
  • Wored on film and TV scores as a composer for productions on Lifetime and the Discovery Channel.
  • Drumming/singing member of the band which toured as "Yellow Balloon". Band had a hit in 1967 - "Yellow Balloon" which reached #25 on the Billboard Pop Charts in April.
  • As a solo artist, hit #132 on the Billboard Singles Charts in 1966 with "The Children of St. Monica" (Canterbury 501)


Maria Cole
August 1, 1922-July 10, 2012
  • a jazz singer who performed with Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington in the 1940s
  • Fist married to writer producer and who was married to Nat King Cole for 17 years until his death in 1965
  • Adam Clayton Powell officiated at her wedding to Nat King Cole.
  • Married  to writer producer Gary Devore 1969-1978
  • left college in Boston to pursue a jazz career
  • Duke Ellington heard a recording of her and hired her as a vocalist for his band, Duke Ellington’s Orchestra.
  •  In 1946 she began appearing solo at Club Zanzibar in Harlem as an opening act for the Mills Brothers.    
  • Before Mr. Cole died of lung cancer, she returned to singing, recording songs with her husband with Capitol Records, according to her family.
  • Her best-known solo album, “Love Is a Special Feeling,”  released in 1966.            

Sally Ride
May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012

  • Double major in physics and English and received bachelor’s degrees in both subjects in 1973.
  • Continued to study physics at the university, earning a master’s degree in 1975 and a Ph.D. in 1978.
  • Became the first American woman in space aboard the space shuttle Challenger.


Sherman Hemsley
February 1, 1938-July 24, 2012

  • Played the same character, George Jefferson, on five different TV series and in a film: the TV series "All in the Family" (1971), "The Jeffersons (1975), "E/R" (1984) and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" (1990),"House of Payne" (2006). and the film "Jane Austen's Mafia!" (1998).
  • George Jefferson was ranked #44 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" [20 June 2004 issue].
  • Was over twenty years younger than his TV wife Isabel Sanford
  • He was only 11 years older than his TV son Lionel, played by Mike Evans
  • The name "Weezy" came about due to a girl, Sherman Hemsley had a crush on in real-life, named Louise. Sherman Hemsley would call her "Weezy", and one day asked Isabel Sanford if he could call her character "Weezy" and she said yes.
  • Also a professional singer having released a single in 1989 called, "Ain't That A Kick In The Head", with Sutra Records.
  • Hemsley never married or had any children.
  • He was also a musician, releasing an album called "Dance" in 1992, though his own taste ran more toward 1970s rock bands like Genesis and Yes.
  • Made his television debut playing George Jefferson on All in the Family and made his final television on House of Payne playing George Jefferson as well.

Who can forget Hemsley  as Deacon Frye jumping double dutch with the girls on the series Amen's show opener?

Or the George Jefferson Dance?

Chad Everett
June 11,1937-July 24, 2012
  • He first became known playing a deputy in the short-lived television series, "The Dakotas" (1963)
  • Was chosen by the Wayne family to be the voice of John Wayne at Disney MGM Studios "Great Movie Ride.".
  • Was born Raymon Lee Cramton.  Changed his name to Chad Everett because he got tired of explaining his real name, "Raymon-no-D, Cramton-no-P".
  • At one time in 1966, he and Richard Chamberlain were the only actors left under contract to MGM. Eventually Everett became the very last contract player at the studio.
  • He supplied the voice of Ultraman Chuck in the English version of the animated movie Ultraman: The Adventure Begins and voiced several characters in the animated television series The New Yogi Bear Show.
  • Best known for his role as Dr. Joe Gannon on Medical Center


Gore Vidal
October 3, 1925-July 31, 2012
Quote: To write a script today means working for a committee of people who know nothing about movies, as opposed, say, to real estate or the higher art of bookkeeping.

  • Unsold script: Wrote the script for a TV movie, "The Magical Monarch of Mo", based on the novel by L. Frank Baum, which was to star Groucho Marx in the title role. [1960]
  • Wrote under the pseudonyms or Edgar Box, Katherine Everard and Cameron Kay.
  • His grandfather Thomas Pryor Gore helped create the state of Oklahoma and was first senator elected to represent the state.
  • Founded U.S. Peace Party with Benjamin Spock.
  • His father helped start three different airlines.
  • Cousin of U.S. ex-Tennessee senator, ex-U.S> Vice President and unsuccessful presidential candidate Al Gore.
  • Shared a stepfather with the late Jacqueline Kennedy when his mother Nina married Jackie's stepfather, Hugh D. Auchincloss.
  • Won a National Book Award (1993) for his non-fiction collection "United States: Essays, 1952-1992".
  • Uncle of Burr Steers, who is related on his mother's side to Thomas Jefferson 's infamous vice president 'Aaron Burr' (qv, the subject of Vidal's best-selling novel "Burr" in 1973.
  • Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, Vol. 132, pp. 395-409. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
  • Is uncredited as a screenwriter on Ben-Hur (1959), although producer Sam Zimbalist had promised Vidal and Christopher Fry, who worked on the script independently from Vidal, screen credit. Karl Tunberg, who wrote the original screenplay before many rewrites by Vidal and Fry produced the final shooting script, claimed the credit. Zimbalist died before the movie ended, and thus could not testify at the Writers Guild arbitration hearing. Tunberg won the credit, but failed to win the Oscar. The film had been nominated for 12 Oscars, and won a record 11, a record that has since been tied. The movie's sole loss was for best writing-screenplay based on material from another medium. The loss is usually attributed to the fallout over the credit dispute, which Vidal made widely known.
  • Was briefly engaged to Joanne Woodward
  • Was nominated for Broadway's 1960 Tony Award as author of Best Play for "The Best Man".
  • Gore is his mother's maiden surname.
  • In the early 1970s, a Washington, D.C. television station named the host of their weekly horror movie slot Gore Dival.
  • In 1936, as a 10-year-old, he appeared in a Pathé Newsreel landing his father's light aircraft.
  • Wrote the screenplay to Caligula


Tony Martin
December 25, 1913-July 27, 2012

Quote: I think I sound like a fella who's always making a plea through his music. Sort of a plea of sincerity.

  • Classic pop singer and actor. His biggest hit was "There's No Tomorrow" (RCA Victor, 1950), which was adapted from the traditional Neapolitan ballad "O Solo Mio" (Elvis Presley later had one of the biggest hits of his career by adapting the same song as "It's Now or Never"). Happily married for sixty years to actress/dancer Cyd Charisse.
  • Very early in his career, he was a sax player, under his real name of Al Morris, in an orchestra headed by Tom Gerun. Among the other orchestra members were unknowns (at the time) Woody Herman and singer Ginny Simms.
  • His first hit record was "Now it Can Be Told" (1938), a song by Irving Berlin from the film Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938). It was sung on-screen by his then-wife Alice Faye.
  • There was a misunderstanding that led to his discharge from the Navy during World War II, and even though he had served honorably, there were false rumors that he had tried to 'buy' an officer's commission. As a result even after the war, some major labels refused to record him. He finished up the war in the Army, winning a Bronze Star as a noncombatant in the Far East.
  • He was awarded 4 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6331 Hollywood Boulevard, for Motion Pictures at 6436 Hollywood Boulevard; for Radio at 1760 Vine Street; and for Television at 1725 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
  • Tony was at a Friar's Club Roast for Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz in November, 1958, when Harry Parke, having just completed his comedy routine and returning to his seat, collapsed into Milton Berle's lap. Berle, hoping to divert the audience from Harry's distress, urged Tony to sing something. His unfortunate song choice was "There's No Tomorrow." Parke died of a heart attack.
  • He appeared in more than 30 films.
  • Growing up in Oakland, Calif., he took up the saxophone after his grandmother gave him one when he was 10.
  • In high school, he formed his first band and after graduating spent about two years at St. Mary's College in Moraga, Calif., but left to pursue music.
  • For several years, he played and sang with bands in the San Francisco area, including the Tom Gerun Orchestra.

Marvin Hamlisch
June 2, 1944-August 6, 2012

Quote: Music can make a difference. There is a global nature to music which has the potential to bring all people together.
  • At the age of seven, he was the youngest student ever accepted at the acclaimed Juiliard School of Music. 
  • Made movie history in 1974 when he became the first individual ever to win three Academy Awards in one night in all three music categories. One for the song, "The Way We Were" (with co-writers Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman), another for the score to the movie The Way We Were (1973) and one for the adaption ofScott Joplin's ragtime music for The Sting (1973). In 1994, he conducted the London orchestra for Barbra Streisand's first British concert.
  • He was the accompanist and straight man for Groucho Marx, when he toured in 1974-1975.
  • Won the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for the musical "A Chorus Line", collaborating with Nicholas DanteMichael Bennett,James Kirkwood Jr. and Ed Kleban.
  • He is one of nine artists who have won all four major entertainment awards (Emmy, Oscar, Tony and Grammy).
  • Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986.
  • After legendary musical composer, Richard RodgersMarvin Hamlisch is the second only artist to have won the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prizes.
  • His musical, "A Chorus Line", at the Marriott Theatre in Chicago, Illinois was nominated for the 2011 Equity Joseph Jefferson Award for Production of a Musical (Large).

Judith Crist
May 22, 1922-August 7, 1922
Film critic.

  • When TV Guide decided to dismiss her in 1983 to replace her column with a computerized movie summary, executives told her that they might beg her to return in six months. The magazine was deluged with letters and asked her back three weeks later. She was given a raise and stayed until 1988.
  • Her first job at The Herald Tribune was assistant to the women's editor.
  • After becoming a general-assignment reporter, she won a George Polk Award in 1951 for her education coverage.
  • She began writing theater reviews in 1957 while continuing to cover news.
  • She was the "Today" show's first regular movie critic, a morning fixture on NBC from 1963 to 1973.
  • A Harris Poll of moviegoers in the 1960s cited her as their favorite critic.
  • Crist was age 5 when she saw her first movie, 7th Heaven (1927), a silent film with an Oscar-winning performance by Janet Gaynor.
  • Crist said she might have made Phi Beta Kappa at Hunter College in Manhattan had she not cut class so many times to go to the movies. She went on to do graduate work in 18th-century English literature at Columbia, teach at Washington State University, become a civilian English instructor for the Air Force and attend the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia, finishing her degree in 1945.
  • She saw her first "blue" movie as the only woman covering Senate hearings on pornography in New York in 1945.
  • During a newspaper strike in 1963 she reviewed theater and movies for WABC TV.
  • Crist, who taught at the Columbia journalism school for more than 50 years, continuing until this February, also held a small film festival in Tarrytown, N.Y.
  • In the 1980s and 1990s, Ms. Crist reviewed films for Coming Attractions magazine. She continued to write on other topics, including an article on TV dinners for Gourmet magazine in 2000.
Von Freeman
October 3, 1923-August 11, 2012

Phyllis Diller
July 17, 1917-August 20, 2012

Quote: A stand-up comic is judged by every line. Singers get applause at the end of their song no matter how bad they are.
  • As of 2000, had appeared as a piano soloist with 100 symphony orchestras across the United States, including performances in Dallas, Denver, Annapolis, Houston, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Cincinnati.
  • Nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame for her recorded version of The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction".
  • She describes her comedy as "tragedy revisited."
  • Was a housewife in San Francisco suburb with five children and an under-employed husband who eventually convinced her to make money with the talent she regularly displayed in PTA skits.
  • Had 10-year affair with "the love of my life", lawyer Robert Hastings before his death on May 23, 1996.
  • Breakthrough came in March 1955, age 37, with debut at San Francisco's Purple Onion club, and career was launched with subsequent appearance on Jack Paar's show. Later got major boost from Bob Hope, who saw Diller in a Washington, D.C. club. She went on to appear in three of Hope's movies and 23 of his television specials.
  • Her second marriage, to actor Warde Donovan, actually lasted only nine weeks.
  • Announced her retirement from nightclub/stage tours at age 84 in May 2002. Had pacemaker implanted at age 81. Lives in Brentwood section of Los Angeles, California.
  • Attended a July 2003 Las Vegas function on invitation of Wayne Newton, to help celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Stardust Hotel and Casino.
  • Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 137-139. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
  • Worked as a copywriter before becoming a comedian.
  • Retired from stand-up routine in 2002, due to ill health: She was 84 at the time! Continued to lend her voice to animated characters in movies.
  • In her later years after several cosmetic procedures, she posed semi-nude for spicy pictures proposed to be in Playboy magazine, similar to those published of Joan Collins, to prove that women can still be sexy in their 50s and 60s. The photos were not published in the magazine, but one is included in her autobiography "Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse".
  • In the mid-1960s, the trademark quirky dresses that she wore during performances were designed by Gloria Johnson of Omaha, Nebraska. Phyllis jokingly referred to Johnson as "Omar of Omaha", as tent dresses were in vogue at the time.
  • Before Joan Rivers made it as a stand-up comic, she wrote jokes for Phyllis Diller.
  • The cigarette with holder that she was famous for using in her stand-up routines in the 1960s and 1970s was only a prop for the act. She was a lifelong non-smoker.
  • A once highly serious student of the piano, she owned a custom-made harpsichord which she prized.

Michael Clark Duncan
December 10, 1957- September 3, 2012

  • Considered becoming a police officer with the LAPD, 
  • Did bodyguard work for Will SmithMartin LawrenceJamie FoxxLL Cool J, and The Notorious B.I.G.; he let a friend take over for him the night Notorious B.I.G. got shot, which prompted him to quit that line of work.
  • For his role as the criminal mastermind behemoth Kingpin in Daredevil (2003), Clarke put on 40 lbs. to his already largely built physique.
  • While filming The Scorpion King (2002), was accidentally hit by Dwayne Johnson during a fight sequence. He leaned in too far for a hit, and his chin connected with The Rock's elbow.
  • He tried out for the Chicago Bears in the mid 1980s. He wanted to try out at for one of the linebacker positions but the coaches chose to see how he would perform at tight end.
  • Had appeared in 4 films with Bruce WillisArmageddon (1998), Breakfast of Champions (1999), The Whole Nine Yards (2000) and Sin City(2005).
  • Narrated the 2005 Major League Baseball World Series Film, featuring the 2005 World Champion Chicago White Sox.
  • His Daredevil character, Wilson Fisk/Kingpin, first appeared as an enemy of Spiderman until Frank Miller made him a major enemy of Daredevil. Duncan has played him opposite both characters, in the animated series "Spider-Man" (2003) and in Daredevil (2003).
  • Was a blue belt in Brazilian JuJutsu.
  • Moonlighting as a bouncer and guard at various clubs on Chicago's South Side, he met one of the producers of the touring stage show, "Beauty Shop, Part 2" and was hired as the producer's personal security. Although he often asked for the opportunity to act in the play, the producer never gave him the chance.


Andy Williams
December 3, 1927-September 252012

Quote: The important things are children, honesty, integrity and faith.
  • His high baritone voice was used, along with his brothers, whenever Kay Thompson would do vocal arrangements at MGM. He can easily be heard in numbers featured in Good News (1947) (most notably in the "Ladies Man" number alongside Mel Tormé), The Harvey Girls (1946), andTill the Clouds Roll By (1946).
  • For many years was the owner and featured performer at the Andy Williams Moon River Theater in Branson, Missouri. The audiences, which were often sold-out, were always appreciative.
  • He was the first headline performer at Caesar's Palace casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on 6 August 1966.
  • Uncle of twin singer/songwriters David Williams and Andrew Williams.
  • Sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" at friend Robert F. Kennedy's funeral
  • In total, Andy received 18 gold and 3 platinum-certified albums.
  • As part of Andy's show at Branson, Missouri, he once used a clip of himself and Sandra Dee from his only acting film role in I'd Rather Be Rich(1964) in an absolutely hysterical bit.
  • Williams has recorded eight Christmas albums over the years.
  • His favorite songs were "Take A Bow" by Madonna, "Fool On The Hill" by The Beatles, "How Deep Is Your Love" by The Bee Gees, "Georgia On My Mind" by Ray Charles, "Southern Nights" by Glen Campbell, "She's The One" by Robbie Williams, "Desperado" by The Eagles, "You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor, "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life" by Stevie Wonder and "Just The Way You Are" by Billy Joel. (Source: BBC Radio 2 "Tracks of My Years").
  • Ex-son-in-law of Danielle Longet.
  • Younger brother of Bob WilliamsDick Williams and Don Williams.
  • He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6667 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
  • Tested for a part in State Fair (1962) which eventually went to Bobby DarinBarbara Eden appeared with Williams in the test.
  • Quit smoking in 1963.
  • Friend of Robert F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
  • 5 November 2011 - Announced that he has cancer of the bladder.
  • Is interred at Ozarks Memorial Park Cemetery in Branson, Missouri.
  • In April 2013 Christie's auction house was set to sell is major collection of art, including paintings by Jean Michel BasquiatKenneth Noland andEdward Ruscha.
Frank Wilson
December 5, 1940 – September 27, 2012

  • Motown producer and songwriter who wrote or co-wrote some of the label’s biggest hits, including “Love Child,”performed by the Supremes, “All I Need” by the Temptations and“Castles in the Sand” by Stevie Wonder.

  • became a born-again preacher 
  • started his career as a performer and had one single, “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do),” which became an underground hit long after he recorded it. 
  •  composed numerous other pop hits, among them“Chained,” for Marvin Gaye, and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” for Brenda Holloway. She recorded the song in 1967, and it went on to become an even bigger hit for Blood, Sweat and Tears two years later.
  • In 1968, with the Supremes struggling to remain at the top of the Billboard charts, Motown’s founder, Berry Gordy, gathered Mr. Wilson and a few other confidants to develop a bolder approach for the group. They came up with “Love Child.” Its taboo-breaking lyrics, about having a child outside marriage, helped propel the song to No. 1 on the pop charts in late 1968.
  • After the Supremes’ lead singer, Diana Ross, left to start a solo career a year later, Mr. Wilson produced the group’s next album and came up with subsequent Supremes hits like “Up the Ladder to the Roof” (1970), which he co-wrote, and “Stoned Love” (1970).
  • But in 1974 he had a born-again experience and began holding Bible-study sessions for singers at his house. In 1976 he quit Motown and went on to form a ministry for entertainers and founded a church, New Dawn Christian Village, in Los Angeles in 2004.
  • His mother taught him to play the piano by ear.
  • Mr. Wilson attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, La., but dropped out after his scholarship was revoked for joining a civil-rights protest in his sophomore year. 


Gary Collins
April 30-1938-Oct 12, 1938
  • discovered acting and performed as a radio and television personality for the Armed Forces Network. 
  • He has portrayed a variety of characters in films, television movies, miniseries, television series and on stage. In addition to these roles, 
  • Well known for his easygoing style and warmth as a Host.  
  • He and his wife were  involved with the March of Dimes for more than 20 years and they are active volunteers in relief organizations to end world hunger. They are also involved with the National Foundation for Ileitis and Colitis. 

Milt Campbell
December 9, 1933 – November 2, 2012
First black  Olympic decathlon  in the summer of 1956
Quote: “I’ve probably been the greatest athlete this country has ever seen,”
  • Expressed frustration that he was less well known than the four other Americans who became Olympic decathlon champions from 1948 to 1976: Bob Mathias (twice), Rafer Johnson, Bill Toomey and Bruce Jenner.
  • “I guess I sound angry about it,” he said. “I think I have a right to be. I’ve paid my dues, but the advertising and commercial worlds don’t call me.”
  • Explanations for Campbell’s lack of recognition after his victory at the 1956 Melbourne Games was that the Olympics were not televised as extensively as they would later be, he  he spent  much his career playing football in Canada and he alienated some people with his outspokenness about racial discrimination.
  • The Browns cut Campbell the next day. He went to Canada, where he played pro football with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the Montreal Alouettes and the Toronto Argonauts until 1964.
  • at Plainfield High School in New Jersey, Campbell was world class in track and a champion swimmer. At Indiana University,  he starred in track and football. 
  • Excelled in tennis, bowling, judo, karate and wrestling.
  • Campbell’s first decathlon came in 1952 in the United States Olympic trials. He finished fifth in the hurdles but made the team in the decathlon. (Later in his career, Campbell returned to the hurdles, setting world records in the indoor 60-yard high hurdles and the outdoor 120 high hurdles in 1957.) His second decathlon came weeks later: while still in high school, he finished second to Mathias in the Helsinki Olympics.
  • In 1956, two days before Campbell’s Melbourne competition began, he was visited by Johnson, his teammate and the Olympic favorite. As Campbell recalled for The Star-Ledger of Newark in 2011:
  • “Rafer sat on the bed and said, ‘So how do you think this is going to turn out?’ And I just said: ‘This is a bad year for you to show up. Because this could be your two best days, but I’m still going to walk away with it.’ And Rafer looked at me like I had hit him with a bat.”
  • Campbell’s prediction was correct. He won that gold medal and set an Olympic record of 7,937 points for the 10 events. Johnson won the silver medal that year; without Campbell as competition, he won the gold in 1960.
  • He later became a motivational speaker
  • Campbell was elected to the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1989 and the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 1992.


Terry Callier
May 24, 1945 – October 27, 2012
“I feel very blessed for my success,” he said. “Everything happens in its own time, and it happened when I could handle it. I didn’t have to bend myself out of shape to make a living, I got a position in computer programming, and I put my daughter through college. It couldn’t have been any better.”
  • Among his friends when he was growing up were Curtis Mayfield and Jerry Butler of the Impressions. 
  • While still in high school he recorded for Chess Records, the Chicago blues and R&B label, but his mother persuaded him to stay in school before starting a music career.
  • Soon after recording a single, “I Don’t Want to See Myself (Without You),” which he paid for himself, in 1982, he quit music and went to work as a programmer at the National Opinion Research Center, an affiliate of the University of Chicago. Meanwhile his music was attracting a cult following among British soul-music collectors and D.J.’s, and around 1990 he got a call from Eddie Piller of the Acid Jazz label, who wanted to reissue “I Don’t Want to See Myself.”

Ray Bradbury
(August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012

Quote: Sense of humor is everything. You can do anything in this world if you have a sense of humor. Many directors, producers, people haven't learned that -- that if you just salt people down a little and put a bit of butter on them and make them happy, then we can all work together.

  • He wrote the original manuscript of "Fahrenheit 451" on a rented typewriter in a public library, from handwritten notes and outlines. It first appeared in print in a shortened form (of about 25,000 words) in Galaxy magazine and later in its present length but in serial format in the just starting out Playboy magazine.
  • Though considered by many to be the greatest science-fiction writer of the of the 20th century, he suffers from a fear of flying and driving. He has never learned to drive, and did not fly in an airplane until October 1982.
  • National Public Radio's "Bradbury 13" (1984) was a 13-episode program based on many of his stories.
  • There is a noted irony in the names of two characters in his novel "Fahrenheit 451": "Montag" is also the name of a paper mill and "Faber" is a manufacturer of pencils. Ray Bradbury insists that this was unintentional.
  • His original title for one of his novels was "The Fireman". He called his local fire department and asked them what the temperature at which paper burns at - and was told "451 Fahrenheit". He reversed it to make it the title of his novel "Fahrenheit 451".
  • He is the great-great-great grandson of Mary Bradbury, a woman who was tried in the Salem Witch Trials in 1692, but saved herself from being hanged for witchcraft.
  • He had a series of short stories which his publisher said would never sell, so he linked the stories together, while living at a local YMCA, and created the novel, "The Martian Chronicles." He was paid just $500 for the story.
  • He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6644 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
  • A hero of his was the Italian director Federico Fellini. When they first met, as Bradbury claims, Fellini ran up to Bradbury, embraced him, and said "My twin! My twin". They became great friends but never collaborated on any projects. Bradbury claimed that his lifelong love of Halloween was soured after Fellini died on October 31, 1993.
  • Despite the anti-censorship message of "Farenheit 451", Bradbury has continually had to fight his publisher's censors who want to tamper or alter the language and tone of the book. He says that the irony is obviously lost on them.
  • In 1950, he discovered that comic book publisher William M. Gaines (later famous for producing Mad Magazine) had published several of his stories without his permission. Bradbury wrote Gaines a letter praising the artwork and treatment of his story, and politely asked for his royalty payment. He got it.
  • He once visited the set of "Star Trek" (1966) as a potential writer for the show. Crew members remembered him as being being very polite and courteous, thinking he was already making himself at home. It later turned out that he never had any intention to join the writing team, but wanted to come anyway. He remained friends with series creator Gene Roddenberry until Gene's death.
  • Had a nod in Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) with the ship named the Bradbury.


Elliott Carter 
December 11, 1908 – November 5, 2012

Quote: “As a young man, I harbored the populist idea of writing for the public. I learned that the public didn’t care. So I decided to write for myself. Since then, people have gotten interested.”

  • He was 103 and had continued to compose into his 11th decade, completing his last piece in August. Music won many awards, including two Pulitzer Prizes.
  • Refused to be held to deadlines, saying he would release his compositions when he felt they were ready. And for many years he would not accept commissions from orchestras that had not played his earlier music.
  • He avoided opera for most of his career because,saying in 1978 “American opera is a novelty, to be played once and that’s all, even when they’re good pieces,” and because he doubted he could find a libretto that interested him. Yet when he was 90 he completed his first opera,“What Next?”

Major Harris
February 9, 1947 – November 9, 2012

  • sang with several groups in the 1960s, including the Charmers, the Jarmels and Frankie Lymon’s Teenagers.
  • In the early 1970s he replaced Randy Cain in the Delfonics, whose hits “La-La (Means I Love You)” and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” had helped define the so-called Philadelphia sound.
  •  left the group in 1974 to pursue a solo career. He recorded a string of rhythm-and-blues singles, most notably “Love Won’t Let Me Wait,” which peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Larry Hagman
September 21, 1931 – November 23, 2012

 I was born with success. Lucky for me I am able to handle it. Also, I damn well deserve it!
  • Had a ring made from the gallstones that were removed during his liver transplant.
  • Served in the United States Air Force.
  • He refused to speak one day a week, simply as a test of his self discipline.
  • Required autograph seekers to sing a song for him or tell him a joke before giving his autograph. He said that he did it so he got something back from his fans.
  • Was once Chairman of the American Cancer Society's Great American Smokeout.
  • Was a vegetarian.
  • Son of Mary Martin.
  • Out of the original cast members of "Dallas" (1978), he was the only one that is originally from the state of Texas.
  • At his wife's suggestion, he auditioned for the lead role of J.R. Ewing in "Dallas" (1978). Fortunately, he won the role.
  • Always refused to talk about his role on "I Dream of Jeannie" (1965) until 2001.
  • Was reunited with "I Dream of Jeannie" (1965) series' lead, Barbara Eden, for the final season of "Dallas" (1978).
  • Was a spokesperson of American Cancer Society of the 1980s, who encouraged people to quit smoking.
  • He played the same character (J.R. Ewing) in three different series: "Dallas" (1978), "Knots Landing" (1979) and "Dallas" (2012).
  • His final guest-starring role was on "Desperate Housewives" (2004).
  • When "I Dream of Jeannie" (1965) began, a crisis cropped up right away: Series star Barbara Eden was pregnant. This forced the quick filming of 10 episodes. Problems developed immediately between him, who was determined to make the show, the best it could be, and director Gene Nelson, who insisted that they follow the script to the letter. Each man wanted the other fired. Due to NBC's preference, Larry prevailed.
  • Had originally wanted to be a cowboy.
  • Owned 5 Toyota Prius Hybrids.
  • Did not reprise his role in 2 "I Dream of Jeannie" (1965) reunion movies, because he was busy starring in "Dallas" (1978), and was taking a vacation with his family.

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Dave Brubeck
December 6, 1920 – December 5, 2012

One of the reasons I believe in jazz is that the oneness of man can come through the rhythm of your heart. It's the same anyplace in the world, that heartbeat. It's the first thing you hear when you're born - or before you're born - and it's the last thing you hear.

  • "Take Five" (1959) was his biggest selling single.
  • Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1986.
  • Graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. The Conservatory at UOP holds special concerts every year as part of their Brubeck festival, and there is a Brubeck institute at the University of his works.
  • He was awarded American National Medal of the Arts in 1994 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.
  •  pianist, band leader, and composer.
  • Winner of the first Benjamin Franklin Award for Public Diplomacy, given by the US Department of State, in April 2008.
  • He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1716 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
  • One of the five winners of the 2009 Kennedy Center Honors. Other 2009 winners were Bruce Springsteen, Robert De Niro, Mel Brooks, and Grace Bumbry.

Ravi Shankar
April 7, 1920-December 11, 2012

  • Taught George Harrison of the Beatles how to play the sitar, an instrument on which he is considered an expert player.
  • Father of musician Norah Jones and Anoushka Shankar.
  • Began his performing career as a dancer, and was taught his sitar exercises by his teacher's singing them; the teacher could not play the instrument.
  • Appreciated the increased attention his music received in the psychedelic era (particularly through his association with George Harrison), but found the frequent drug use of his listeners distasteful; Shankar would sometimes cut performances short, or actually stop the music and admonish the audience if wafting smoke or noises interfered with the musicians' playing. In time, his audiences cleaned up, which pleased Shankar greatly.
  • Approached George Harrison in the summer of 1971 with news about the civil war in Bangladesh (then part of Pakistan), and asked Harrison's help in promoting a benefit concert to aid war refugees who had fled to India; Shankar had hoped to raise $10,000. The resulting The Concert for Bangladesh (1972) raised more than a hundred times that amount, but most of the money was held in escrow, due to an IRS tax investigation, until nearly a decade later.


Fontella Bass
July 3, 1940 – December 26, 2012

by Kevin Goins
In late 2003, while working for an independent record label, I was assigned the task of writing liner notes for an Ike Turner CD collection that included recordings he supervised by singer Fontella Bass. Ms. Bass, who is best known for her iconic 1965 hit, “Rescue Me”, was enjoying a career re-boost during the last 17 years prior to her passing on December 27th of 2012 at the age of 72.

Thanks to a few colleagues in Chicago, where Fontella cut her classic works for Chess Records, I was able to reach her via telephone at her hometown - St. Louis, Missouri. At first she was hesitant and with good reason – having told her story repeatedly regarding how she fought over the years for writing credits and compensation pertaining to “Rescue Me”. But Fontella warmed up to talking about her work with St. Louis-based producer/bandleader Oliver Sain, cutting tunes with the intense-driven Ike Turner, the many albums she had cut with her husband, jazz trumpeter Lester Bowie (with the Art Ensemble of Chicago) and finally, the biggest hit record of her career.

Fontella came from a gospel music based family – mother Martha was a member of the legendary Clara Ward’s Singers, younger brother David Peaston (who also passed away earlier this year) went on to cut two great solo discs in the 1990s. Fontella earned the piano at an early age, hit the club and recording circuit with Oliver Sain in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Parted company with Sain due to his wife’s insecurities in regards to Fontella’s employment (“She felt threatened by my presence but my relationship with Oliver was strictly professional,” Ms. Bass explained to me). Cut tracks with Ike Turner for his Prann record label before leaving St. Louis for the Windy City.

Signed to Chess in 1964, Fontella’s first hit was a duet with Bobby McClure, “Don’t Mess Up A Good Thing.” But it was 1965’s “Rescue Me” that put her on the map. Production wise, it was Motown meets Chi-Town – Detroit native and former Berry Gordy colleague Roquel Billy Davis supervised the session (he was Chess’ A&R director and co-owner of Chevis Music Publishing with label founder Leonard Chess). Future Earth Wind & Fire founder Maurice White was the drummer, Louis Satterfield on bass, Floyd Morris on piano. Fontella remarked in 2003 about having a young teenager named Minnie Riperton on background vocals – “She helped me take the song to church and back! Minnie gave it that extra sass. I always had admired her abilities.”

“Rescue Me” hit #1 on the soul charts, #3 on the pop listings and became one of Chess’ biggest selling records – and a big headache for Fontella. First, the songwriting credits – she came up with the call and response verses that took up the last minute of the recording. Fontella was promised by Roquel Billy Davis that it would be taken care of – and it wasn’t. Then, the royalty checks – it has been known throughout music history that Chess’ accounting for artist payments left a lot to be desired. In the liner notes for the Chess Jazz boxed set, it was noted that Leonard Chess took monies jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal earned for his classic album “But Not For Me (Live at the Pershing Club)” and transferred it to the up and coming keyboardist Ramsey Lewis (which more than likely resulted in Jamal bringing in his own auditors to check the books, according to Etta James’ autobiography, “Rage To Survive”). Fontella noted that her money was looking funny, raised hell with the Chess brass (rightfully so) and was branded a troublemaker for not backing down.

Fontella left Chess to focus on touring and recording for the Louisiana-based Jewel/Paula label as well as with her husband, jazz man Lester Bowie (whose work with his group, Brass Fantasy, I highly recommend) and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. But, through the years and the many ownership changes that Chess Records had endured (the Chess family, then the GRT Corporation, Joe & Sylvia Robinson and finally Universal Music Group), Fontella never gave up fighting for proper royalty payment. Before he passed away in 2004, Chevis Music owner Roquel Billy Davis bemoaned to this writer in a conversation that all Fontella did “was a bunch of ad-libs – that doesn’t make someone a songwriter”. That’s when I reminded him that he fought to have “Rescue Me” co-writer Raynard Miner get proper credit for Jackie Wilson’s “Higher & Higher” (another story) so fair was and is fair.

What made Fontella finally yell enough is enough? The American Express television commercial that used “Rescue Me” in the spot. By this time, Madison Avenue made the placement of pop/soul oldies in radio/TV ads an all-too-common practice. For Fontella, the soul lady had sung – and did so loudly. After much hell-raising – to the ad firm, Universal Music Group and Chevis Publishing – Fontella finally got the songwriting credit and the monies she so deserved.

During the 1990s and into the new millennium, Ms. Bass returned to her gospel roots with the excellent, “No Ways Tired” (1995) as well as “Travelin”. But what I do admire about Fontella Bass is that while she was burned by what happened over “Rescue Me”, she refused to be the victim and fought back – even though it meant being ostracized by some in the industry. Ms. Bass stood her ground and didn’t let up until finally the powers-that-were admitted defeat. She was compensated financially after years of breaking down the brick wall.

And while she did record a great body of work over the years, Fontella Bass will always be remembered for the one song that has been carried over from generation to generation. “Rescue Me” has earned its place in pop music history - her contribution to American culture loved throughout the world.

Rest in peace, Ms. Fontella Bass – and thank you so much for the music.


Thanks for sharing the journey...


  1. Sweet 'T'... I am so glad to know you, and Treasure everyday that you are a friend... your informative issue's of Real School have be enlightening and always entertaining... Much Thankx for your efforts. tHe dUdE

  2. Mama Zumba finally had a minute to breathe, relax and relate in that order to check out your RSP.
    Love the golden memories that will never be again and should they find themselves amongst our life's palette, then let them fill up our spirits with vibrant colors which still linger.