Tag: obituary

Hand Grenade with a Bad Haircut: Ross Perot Dead at 89

 

H. Ross Perot, the man who could have been America’s first Independent President, died today at age 89. When he ran in 1992 against the incumbent George H.W. Bush and the Democratic Party nominee Bill Clinton he received 19% of the popular vote, the highest since Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose bid in 1912.

An Annapolis graduate, he was a pioneer in computer data systems, twice building companies and twice selling them to make his fortune. And he was generous with his money while being appalled at the government’s generosity with the money of taxpayers. A special cause of his was the medical care of veterans. He personally funded the research of Dr. Robert Haley at UT Southwestern that showed that many vets of the first Gulf War did, indeed, suffer from a chemical-induced toxin syndrome.

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The Winds of War: Herman Wouk Dead at 103

 

He was many things. A gag writer, a sailor at war, a novelist, the grandson of a rabbi. But above everything else, he was a storyteller. Herman Wouk has died at age 103.

He is best remembered for his breakthrough novel, The Caine Mutiny, and an epic pair of television mini-series The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. Caine won the 1951 Pulitzer and was made into a classic film starring Humphrey Bogart as the mentally unstable Captain Queeg.

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Quote of the Day: The Fragility of Democracy

 

“A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over a loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by Dictatorship.

The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

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Second Banana: Tim Conway

 

Over the last couple of years, comedic actor Tim Conway has been in the news quite a lot and not in a good way. As Alzheimer’s ravaged one of television’s funniest minds his wife and daughter were in a court battle over his care. That battle is done as of this morning as Conway has passed away aged 85.

Born Tom Conway, he started his career in local television in the late 50s and early 60s in his hometown of Cleveland. He was writing and co-starring in comic skits that aired as filler for B-movies shown on the CBS affiliate WJW. His partner in crime was Ernie Anderson, whose greatest claim to fame was as the primetime announcer for ABC in the 1970s and 80s (“Next week on The Loooooooooove Boat!”) and the father of movie director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights). It was in these sketches that he was discovered by actress Rose Marie who was visiting the station during a promotional tour for The Dick Van Dyke Show. She secured him an audition on The Steve Allen Show and his national career took off from there. Tom became Tim in order to avoid conflicts with another, already established performer.

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Sentimental Journey: Doris Day Passes at 97

 

Les Brown and Doris Day (C. 1945)
The most tempting cliche in noting the passing of a celebrity is that a death marks “an end of an era.” Doris Day’s era ended much sooner than she did, but she truly was the last of her kind. She was the last of the great “girl singers” of the Big Band Era, the last of the great musical stars of the Hollywood studio system and the last performer to have headlined a weekly half-hour network radio show.

Rechristened Doris Day because Doris von Kappelhoff was a mouthful and a bit of a stretch for a marquee, she began her career singing on WLW (The Nation’s Station) in her hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. At that time, WLW had a habit of taking local acts and turning them into national sensations. Besides Day, WLW launched the careers of Rosemary Clooney, Andy Williams, and the Mills Brothers. It was in Cincinnati that she hooked up with Les Brown and his Band of Renown. Their partnership resulted in her first number one hit, Sentimental Journey. 

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Bruno Ganz is Dead and Hitler is P… Angry

 

Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor who helped give the world it’s first serious German-language portrayal of the last days of Adolf Hitler on film and an enduring internet meme, has died at age 77.

Thanks to the “Hitler finds out about X…”parodies that populate YouTube, Ganz’s turn in Der Untergang (The Downfall, 2004) has probably made him the most known “unknown” in the English-speaking world. He had a 50-year career in cinema but he made very few films for Hollywood.

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Member Post

 

Yesterday morning, Ricochet promoted to the main feed my short post about the passing of a local icon in Waterbury, Connecticut – Zeqir Berisha (Ziggy the Flagman). Last night, a local independent newspaper in Waterbury published an absolutely outstanding piece on the man which covered the writer’s almost 20 year friendship with Zeqir. This morning, […]

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Ziggy: The Passing of an Icon

 
Video Still Credit: Palin Smith

Known to the residents of Connecticut as Ziggy the Flagman, Zeqir Berisha passed on Christmas Day. An immigrant from communist Kosovo, Zeqir adopted and loved this country. In Connecticut, Ziggy was an absolute icon of America.

Some misunderstood both his passion for this country and his fear of encroaching communism — a passion and a fear that refugees from Marxist states often show. Others however, a bit more deplorable, understood these perfectly. And this polarizing presence is what made him an icon.

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RIP Stephen Hillenburg, Creator of ‘SpongeBob Squarepants’

 

Public reaction to the death of SpongeBob Squarepants creator Stephen Hillenburg, who died from ALS last Monday, might have confused those unfamiliar with his most famous work. Here was a man being mourned across all ages and demographics, from the trades to Twitter, for creating … a cartoon made and marketed for children?

But this gets SpongeBob, Hillenburg ’s magnum opus, all wrong. At its best, SpongeBob was not simply a kids’ cartoon. From the beginning, Hillenburg brought to the show a unique tone and aesthetic that drew from his background in marine biology. He attended the show’s pitch meeting in a Hawaiian shirt. SpongeBob, the relentlessly upbeat, cleaning utensil-shaped main character, lives in a pineapple under the sea; Squidward, his grouchy next-door cephalopod, inhabits an Easter Island head. And the opening theme song is sung by a portrait of a (human) pirate. Though a veteran of Rocko’s Modern Life, another successful Nickelodeon program, Hillenburg had something all his own in mind from the start.

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Rest Easy, Gunny

 

R. Lee Ermey, USMC drill instructor, bordello owner, Golden Globe nominated actor and TV host is dead at age 74.

Statement from R. Lee Ermey’s long time manager, Bill Rogin: “It is with deep sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey (“The Gunny”) passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia. He will be greatly missed by all of us.”

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Member Post

 

Science fiction author Ursule K. Le Guin has died. I want to talk about one of her obituaries–but a search of the site shows no one has commented on her death. So first, a quick summary of her life: Le Guin was a remarkable writer. She was also a member of the far left. Both […]

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Whoa, Nellie! Keith Jackson dies at 89

 

He was the first voice of Monday Night Football, an excellent baseball play-by-play man, but Keith Jackson will forever be remembered as the voice of Autumn Saturday afternoons and ABC College Football. He has died aged 89.

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Must See TV: The Legend of Don Ohlmeyer

 
Don Ohlmeyer in 1998 (AP)

There are but a handful of American network executives that can rightly be called legends in the land of television. There were the founders, David Sarnoff and William Paley, the mavericks like Ted Turner and the two men that shaped what I and thousands of others do for a living — live sports production. Those men were a vibrant force at ABC and their names were Roone Arledge and Don Ohlmeyer.

Ohlmeyer, aged 72, passed away Sunday night. His contributions will not pass soon.

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The Day the Clown Died: Jerry Lewis at 91

 
Photo by Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock

Jerry Lewis was the man you either loved or loathed. He was the boy who wouldn’t grow up. His style was brash and abrasive and yet even grudgingly admired by detractors. How can you gainsay a man that raises over $2 billion to fight neuromuscular diseases?

Lewis, aged 91, passed Sunday morning in Las Vegas.

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Robert Hardy, Friend of Freedom

 

Photo: Andrew Crowley
If an actor is lucky they will find that one role that they can really sink their teeth into, make it their own and remain forever seared into the minds of the public. Sir Robert Hardy found that not once, but three times over his illustrious career. He passed Thursday in London, aged 91.

For the younger generation he will be remembered as Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic in four of the eight Harry Potter films. But for us old folks he will always be Siegfried Farnon, the patriarchal head of the country veterinary practice in All Creatures Great and Small and as the definitive portrayer of Sir Winston Churchill. He played the wartime Prime Minister no less than nine times in movies, on television and from the stage.

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One Tall, Cool Blonde

 

She was a cool blonde, a socialite and she wanted to be a star. But she was not Grace Kelly.

She was born Nedenia Marjorie Hutton, youngest daughter of Post cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post and the only child of stockbroker EF Hutton. She studied acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and as so not to capitalize on her parents she took her brother-in-law’s suggestion and changed her name to Dina Merrill, the latter picked from another famous stockbroker, Charles Merrill of Merrill-Lynch.

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George

 

George was 77, going on 78 when we met. He owned a firm that rather suddenly had become my client due to an emergency failure in their IT network – an emergency that lasted 20 years. A protégé of George’s at the firm would end-up becoming one of my best friends – a relationship that will last forever.

George was remarkable: full-bird Colonel on General Patton’s staff, DoD project manager for the implementation of the world’s first mainframe computer, editor of a military journal for decades, college teacher, business owner, founder of the Pachyderms – a group of folks with thick skins, a sense of humor, and a keen interest in politics and bourbon.

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Boy Drummer

 
Miguel, Gabriel and Maria Ferrer with mom Rosemary Clooney (Circa 1959)

Rosemary Clooney did not have an easy life. There was a contentious marriage to actor José Ferrer and a bitter divorce in 1961, remarriage in 1964 and re-divorce in 1967. A year later she was with Bobby Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night he was assassinated. She spiraled into drug addiction and mental illness quickly afterward.

Her career, which she described in her autobiography as just being “the girl singer,” was effectively over. That is, until she got a phone call from an old friend. In 1976 Bing Crosby planned a 50th anniversary in show business tour and he wanted Rosemary at his side. She was going to need support. Her oldest son was an accomplished drummer. Could he play in the band? Absolutely.

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Richard Adams, author of Watership Down, Dead at 96

 

The family of Richard Adams reports that he died Christmas Eve at the age of 96. Adams is the author of Watership Down, his first book, published at the age of 52. He wrote a small number of novels including The Plague Dogs, of which that and Watership Down were made into animated features. The announcement of his passing included a quote from the end of his most well-known work:

“It seemed to Hazel that he would not be needing his body any more, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch, but stopped for a moment to watch his rabbits and to try to get used to the extraordinary feeling that strength and speed were flowing inexhaustibly out of him into their sleek young bodies and healthy senses.

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Member Post

 

Coming off a busy holiday weekend here in the United States it’s possible that you missed this shocking news: After taking a year-long beating across the spectrum of political and media platforms, it was announced this morning (Friday, November 25th) that Conventional Wisdom is dead. An autopsy is pending. More

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