Saturday, January 5, 2008

Notable Deaths in 2007 - Complete thru December

December 27 - Benazir Bhutto, 54, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, assassinated. Another sad event for a country in crisis.

December 16 - Dan Fogelberg, 56, American singer-songwriter. Rocked a little on "Part of the Plan", but mostly wrote and sang poignant ballads like "Leader of the Band" and "Auld Lang Syne".

December 12 - Ike Turner, 76, American R&B musician and producer. Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett did a great job playing Ike and Tina Turner in the movies.

November 30 - Evel Knievel, 69, American motorcycle daredevil. His leaps were a staple on "Wide World of Sports" in the '70s.

November 29 - Henry Hyde, 83, US Representative from Illinois. Stauch foe of abortion, Hyde also led the impeachment effort against President Clinton in the Lewinsky affair. It was later learned that Hyde had his own mistress in the '60s.

November 27 - Sean Taylor, 24, NFL football player, murdered by burglars in his home. The police say that the burglars didn't know that Taylor was at home recovering from an injury.

November 26 - Bill Hartack, American jockey. I remember him along with Willy Shoemaker as the dominant American-born jockeys of the 1960s.

November 20 - Ian Smith, 89, white supremacist and former Prime Minister of segregated Rhodesia.

November 15 - Joe Nuxhall, 79, baseball broadcaster and former player. During WWII, at age 15, Nuxhall appeared in a major league baseball game, making him the youngest MLB player in history.

November 10 - Norman Mailer, 84, American author, best known for the WWII novel, "The Naked and the Dead" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning non-fiction novel, "The Executioner's Song", both of which are among my all-time favorite books.

November 3 - Ryan Shay, 28, American marathoner, unexpectedly died five miles into a U.S. Olympic qualifying race.

November 1 - Paul Tibbets, 92, American pilot of Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

October 30 - Robert Goulet, 73, American singer and actor, best known for portrayal of Lancelot in "Camelot." Later in life, Goulet was open to spoofing his trademark singing style.

October 22 - Eve Curie, 102, daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie. My daughter played Marie Curie in an elementary school history pageant.

October 16 - Deborah Kerr, 86, British actress, best known for starring roles in "From Here in Eternity" and "The King and I." Her "Getting to Know You" was a grade school music class favorite in the '60s, though I think that another singer may have done voiceovers for Kerr in the movie.

October 11 - Werner Von Trapp, 91, member of the Von Trapp family singers, whose story inspired the Broadway musical and film "The Sound of Music." He must have been one of the oldest of the children. 91 is too young to have been the captain.

October 2 - Dan Keating, 105, last survivor of the Irish War for Independence. The curtain falls on another piece of history.

September 22 - Marcel Marceau, 84, French mime artist

September 10 - Jane Wyman, 90, American actress and first wife of Ronald Reagan

September 6 - Luciano Pavarotti, 71, Italian operatic tenor, of pancreatic cancer.

September 6 - Madeline L'Engle, 88, American writer, author of A Wrinkle in Time.

August 29 - Richard Jewell, 44, American security guard falsely accused of planting a bomb in Atlanta's Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Games. Eric Rudolph was eventually apprehended and convicted of the crime.

August 20 - Leona Helmsley, 87, American hotelier. Most famous for her Marie
Antoinette-like statement, "only little people pay taxes."

August 16 - Three miners working on rescuing six miners trapped in a Utah coal mine collapse on August 6 were killed when a part of the mine collapsed on them. A mine official described the mountain as "collapsing slowly". Rescue operations were suspended indefinitely. Drilling continues to pump air into the cavern where the original miners are thought to be. I remember this lesson from chemical plant days--rescue can be just as dangerous or more dangerous than the original accident. The rescuer had detected some mysterious noises via "geophones". Drilling continues to try to reach this area.

August 15 - More than 500 Peruvians were killed in a earthquake of magnitude 8.0. Most of the casualties occured in the coastal city of Pisco and the oasis city of Ica. This is the most deadly earthquake since a quake that struck Indonesia in May 2006, killing more than 6,000 people. A 7.8 magnitude quake in October 2005 killed about 100,000 people in the Kashmir region of Pakistan. A 9.3 magnitude quake on December 26, 2004 triggered a tsunami that killed 280,000 people along the shores of the Indian Ocean.

August 14 - Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, 89, Hall of Fame shortstop with the New York Yankees and member of seven world championship teams who also served for 40 years as a Yankee broadcaster. I listened to Phil while growing up in New York State. He was entertaining, but not that great at watching and describing the game--better suited for TV than radio. His signature phrase was "Holy Cow!" In 1985, the Yankees presented him with his own "Holy Cow" (a cow wearing a halo), which promptly knocked him to the ground, prompting Rizzuto to exclaim (of course), "Holy Cow!"

August 12 - A Missouri pastor and two churchgoers are killed by a gunman who was reportedly related to a church member. The suspect surrendered to police. Mass murders are always shocking, but those that happen in church seem particularly hideous. Despite the typical lack of physical security measures, church always seems like one of the safest places in the world--mostly because I'm surrounded by people I know and love.

August 12 - Merv Griffin, 82 - TV talk show host and producer. Merv affected my life from boyhood to now by inventing "Jeopardy" in the '60s.

August 6 - Six coal miners presumably die in mining accident in Utah. As of August 13, mine officials are still trying to rescue the miners. It seems as though every day you climb back out of the mine is a good day in the mining industry.

August 1 - Several (at least six) die during I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis. As of August 13, site of collapse is still being searched for bodies. We have a bridge across the Mississippi in my home town, so this story hit close to home even though it occurred over 1,000 miles away.

July 30 - Ingmar Bergman, 89 - Swedish filmmaker. "Scenes from a Marriage" was very slow going for me as a teenager.

July 30 - Bill Walsh, 75, American football coach. I was never a 49ers fan, except when they played the Cowboys, but I still admired what Walsh did.

July 26 - Skip Prosser, 56, American college basketball coach. From what I've read, this guy was universally admired in a very competitive world.

July 23 - Mohammed Zahir Shah, 92, last king of Afghanistan. I think he appeared briefly in Hosseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns".

July 22 - Mike Coolbaugh, 35, American professional baseball coach. He got hit in the neck with a foul ball. The New Orleans Zephyrs among other teams are honoring him with uniform patches.

July 22 - Laszlo Kovacs, 74, Hungarian-born cinematographer. He went by the name "Lesley" until he "made a good film."

July 20 - Tammy Faye Messner, 65, American teleevangelist. I lived in SC while she and husband Jim Baker were at their zenith.

July 11 - Lady Bird Johnson, 94, First Lady of the U.S. I admired for her devotion to LBJ, who had to be a tough guy to live with, though I read that he doted on her, and she was a very strong woman in her own right.

July 3 - Boots Randolph, 80, American saxophonist

July 2 - Beverly Sills, 78, American opera singer

June 26 - Liz Claiborne, 78, Belgian-born American fashion designer

June 23 - Rod Beck, 38, American baseball pitcher--nicknamed "The Shooter", Beck was a fearsome presence with his long hair and fu manchu mustache. For awhile he threw hard too.

June 14 - Kurt Waldheim, 88, former Austrian President and Secretary-General of U.N. Statesman who lost some standing when his ties with Naziism in Austria were revealed.

June 4 - Clete Boyer, 70 - American professional baseball player. Played 3rd base and batted 8th on the Yankee teams of my youth.

May 30 - Mark Harris, 84, American author ("Bang the Drum Slowly"). His book was probably the first tragic baseball book I ever read.

May 25 - Charles Nelson Reilly, 76, American theater actor and TV game show panelist. I'm glad to see he had another legitimate career besides game show panelist.

May 15 - Jerry Falwell, 73 - Teleevangelist; founder of Liberty University; founder of Moral Majority, a political action group for conservative Christians. Had the brilliant idea that politically-averse fundamental Christians could be mobilized.

May 15 - Yolanda King, 51 - civil rights activist; daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

May 6 - Alvin Battiste, 74 - American jazz musician. Died the night before a scheduled appearance at his beloved New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

May 3 - Wally Schirra, 84 - American astronaut who flew in Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs. The Mercury astronauts were the heroes of third graders in 1962 central New York State--we didn't know or care what they drank.

April 30 - Tom Poston, 85 - American comic actor most well known for roles of Bob Newhart's TV sitcoms. I liked him best as Bob's best friend "The Peeper" in the original Newhart series.

April 29 - Josh Hancock, 29 - Pitcher for St. Louis Cardinals, died in car accident. Cards and their fans mourn his loss. Cards also mourn loss of beer in post-game clubhouse, an ironic outcome for a team owned by Anheuser-Busch.

April 28 - Tommy Newsome, 78, Musician who worked for many years on The Tonight Show--"Mr. Excitement" had one of the world's blandest faces.

April 23 - David Halberstam, 73, American journalist and author. One of journalism's early "superstars".

April 23 - Boris Yeltsin, 76, first President of Russian Federation. Pushed the Soviet Union over the chair that Gorbachev set up.

April 17 - Kitty Carlisle Hart, 96, American actress and television personality. Another game show personality. I knew that she had an earlier career as a Broadway actress.

April 14 - Don Ho, 76 - Hawaiian-born musician and entertainer. "Tiny Bubbles" is pretty far from my musical groove.

April 11 - Kurt Vonnegut, 84 - American novelist and social critic. Surprisingly, I've read very little of his work. Probably should start doing so.

April 7 - Johnny Hart, 76 - American cartoonist. "B.C." was dependability funny--may have pioneered absurdist cartooning.

March 19 - Calvert DeForest, 85 - American actor and comedian (Larry "Bud" Melman). Had a pretty good run at being stupid on TV.

March 15 - Bowie Kuhn, 80 - former Major League Baseball commissioner. Was in Cincinnati the night Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run.

March 9 - Brad Delp, 55 - lead singer for Boston . Two great albums and then pfft.

March 8 - John Vukovich, 58 - American baseball player and coach. A mediocre player and excellent coach--beloved by those he helped with baseball and life.

March 6 - Ernest Gallo, 97 - co-founder of Gallo wines. One of the brothers that would "sell no wine before its time" didn't die before his time either.

March 4 - Thomas Eagleton, 77 - US Senator from Missouri. Eagleton had to drop from Sen. George McGovern's ticket for the 1972 Presidential election because of revelations about past mental illness and treatment.

February 28 - Arthur Schlesinger, 89, American historian

February 22 - Dennis Johnson, 52, American professional basketball player. I always rooted for the Sixers and usually rooted for the Lakers against his Celtics.

February 4 - Barbara McNair, 72, American singer and actress

February 1 - Gian Carlo Menotti, 95, Italian opera composer. Founder of the Spoleto festival in Charleston, SC.

January 31 - Molly Ivins, 62, American journalist and political commentator. Owner of razor-sharp wit and abiding distrust of George W. Bush. She will be missed.

January 30 - Sidney Sheldon, 89, American TV producer ("I Dream of Jeannie")--the show that Larry Hagman did before "Dallas". Who played Jeannie?

January 29 - Barbaro, 3, American thoroughfare racehorse, winner of 2006 Kentucky Derby. Try as vets could, they couldn't save this brave horse as all America rooted for his recovery.

January 23 - E. Howard Hunt, 88, Watergate scandal principal. Not as scary as Gordon Libby. Involved in "Bay of Pigs" too.

January 17 - Art Buchwald, 81, American humorist and columnist. The master of the velvet needle.

January 9 - Carlo Ponti, 95, Italian film producer. Was married to Sophia Loren in her prime.

January 8 - Yvonne De Carlo, 84, Canadian-born American actress. I remember her as Mrs. Munster on TV.

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