Monday, December 31, 2012

THE PASSING SCENE OF 2012

I say this every year, but it is hard to believe that another year is over with. On a personal note, 2012 was a pretty good year for me - but I just wish time would stand still for a second so I can catch my breath. Unfortunately with every year we lose more and more great stars. Many of those stars were icons of the golden age of entertainment. Here are some of the talents in enterainment that passed away in 2012...

Andy Griffith
ANDY GRIFFITH, 86, actor - Andy Griffith was one of the true talents in television, and his two TV shows - The Andy Griffith Show (1960-1968) and Matlock (1986-1995) spoke to generations of television viewers. In 1957, Griffith made his film début, starring in the film A Face in the Crowd. Although he plays a "country boy," this country boy is manipulative and power-hungry, a drifter who becomes a television host and uses his show as a gateway to political power. Of all of the entertainment people who died in 2012, I think Griffith's death made me the saddest. Mayberry might have been a fictional place, but I wanted to escape to there because of Griffith. (July 3rd)

ETTA JAMES, 73, singer - Etta James had a long career as a jazz singer, and nothing stopped her from singing except for ill health in the last couple years of her life. What wedding party would not be complete without the strains of James' "At Last" being played. (Jan. 20th)

HARRY CAREY JR, 91, actor - Harry was a character actor best known for Western roles in films directed by John Ford. In a more than 50-year career, Carey made over 90 films and was a member of the John Ford Stock Company, making several films with the legendary director. Many of those starred John Wayne and included: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers, 3 Godfathers, and Rio Grande. (Dec. 27th)

DAVID BRUBECK, 91, jazz musician - David Brubeck was considered to be one of the foremost exponents of progressive jazz. He wrote a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke". Brubeck's style ranged from refined to bombastic, reflecting his mother's attempts at classical training and his improvisational skills. His music is known for employing unusual time signatures, and superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters, and tonalities. (Dec. 5th)

PAULA KELLY JR, age unknown, singer - Paula Kelly Jr was born into a musical family. Her mother Paula Kelly (1920-1993) was an original singer with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. When her mother retired in 1978, Paula Jr took over in the Modernaires. (Apr. 26th)

MAX BYGRAVES, 89, entertainer - British born Max Bygraves never made it big in the United States, but he was a favorite entertainer in England for years. He was known for his singalong albums, as well as popular singles like "Things Ain't What It Used To Be". (Aug 31st)

DOROTHY MCGUIRE, 84, singer - Dorothy was one of the trio of McGuire Sisters, who along with Christine (born 1926) and Phyllis (born 1931) had numerous hits during the 1950s like "Sugartime" and "Sincerely". The group broke up in 1968 but reunited in 1986 to perform mostly in Las Vegas. The last time the trio appeared together was on a PBS special in 2004. (Sept. 7th)

IRVING FEIN, 101, agent - Irving Fein was the long time friend and manager of Jack Benny and George Burns. Fein was responsible for Benny's lucrative television contracts as well as for getting Burn's role in "The Sunshine Boys" (1975) which wone Burns an Oscar. Fein managed Jack Benny until Benny's death in 1974, and he managed George Burns until Burn's death in 1996. (Aug 10th)

SUSAN LUCKEY, 74, actress - Susan Luckey was most famous for the role of Mayor Shinn's daughter Zaneeta in the 1962 classic The Music Man. Besides her role in The Music Man, Luckey starred alongside Shirley Jones in the 1956 film Carousel … and was one of the Native Americans in the original Broadway production of “Peter Pan.” (Nov.29th)

CHARLES DURNING, 89 - actor - Not only was Charles Durning a great actor, but he was one of the soldiers that stormed the beaches at Normandy on June 6, 1944. With appearances in over 100 films, Durning's memorable roles include police officers in the Oscar-winning The Sting (1973) and crime drama Dog Day Afternoon (1975), along with the comedies Tootsie, To Be Or Not To Be and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the last two of which earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor. He won a Tony award for his portrayal of Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in 1990. (Dec. 24th).

VERONIQUE PECK, 80, widow of Gregory Peck - Veronique Peck was a French born American model who was married to actor Georgory Peck from 1955 until his death in 2003. The couple had a son and a daughter together. (Aug. 17th)


Ann Rutherford

ANN RUTHERFORD, 94 ACTRESS - Ann Rutherford was one of the last surving cast members of Gone With The Wind. (Olivia DeHavilland is still alive). She made her last movie in 1976, but she remained a favorite among movie fans.  In the 1970s, Rutherford made two guest appearances on television as Aggie Harrison, the mother of Suzanne Pleshette's character Emily Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show. During the 1990s, Rutherford was offered the role of Rose Calvert in the film Titanic (1997), but turned it down. The role instead went to actress Gloria Stuart. (June 11th).

GEORGE LINDSEY, 83, ACTOR - George Lindsey was a popular actor on television starring on The Andy Griffith Show from 1964-1968,  Mayberry RFD from 1968 to 1971, and Hee Haw from 1972-1992. His character of "Goober" was the cousin of Jim Nabor's character "Gomer Pyle". He published his autobiography in 1995 and last appeared on television in 2009. (May 6th)

LARRY HAGMAN, 81, ACTOR - Larry Hagman was best known for playing ruthless oil baron J. R. Ewing in the prime time television soap opera Dallas from 1978 to 1991, and befuddled astronaut Major Anthony "Tony" Nelson in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie from 1965 to 1970. Hagman had supporting roles in numerous films including Fail-Safe, Nixon, and Primary Colors. His television appearances also included guest roles on dozens of shows spanning from the late 1950s up until his death, and a reprisal of his signature role on the 2012 revival of Dallas. He was the son of legendary singer and actress Mary Martin (1913-1990). (Nov. 23rd)

ANDY WILLIAMS, 84, SINGER - Andy Williams was a popular crooner for generations beginning in the 1940s. He started out with his brothers in a singing group, and soon became one of the most popular entertainers in the 1950s and 1960s. He starred on his own variety show from 1962 through 1971, and his recording of "Moon River" is a beloved classic. (Sept 25th)

MARVIN HAMLISH, 68, SONGWRITER - Marvin Hamlish composed some of the most popular movie and pop songs of the 1970s like "The Way We Were", "The Entertainer", and "Nobody Does It Better". Shortly before his death, Hamlisch scored the musical version of The Nutty Professor, based on the 1963 Jerry Lewis film. (Aug 6th)

HERB REED, 83, SINGER - Herb Reed  was a founding member of The Platters, who were known for their hits during the 1950s and 1960s. Reed, who was the last surviving original member of the group, which he co-founded with four other musicians in 1953, is credited with creating The Platters' name. (June 4th)

RUSSELL ARMS, 92, SINGER - Russell Arms was best known as a  vocalist on Your Hit Parade, an NBC television series that reviewed the popular songs of the day and on which a regular cast of vocalists would perform the top seven songs of the week from 1952 to 1957. Arms and Eileen Wilson were the only surviving lead performers from the show. (Feb 10th).

JOAN ROBERTS, 95, ACTRESS - One of the original and last stars of the broadway musical "Oklahoma", which debuted in 1943. She originated the role of "Laurie". Roberts was in retirement for many years on Long Island, New York, when she appeared as Heidi Schiller in the 2001 Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. (Aug. 13th)

MARIA COLE, 89, WIDOW OF NAT KING COLE - Maria Cole was a one time singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, who retired from the limelight when she married singer Nat King Cole in 1948. They have three children together and remained married until Cole's death in 1965. She never remarried. (July 10th)

RICHARD ZANUCK, 77, FILM PRODUCER - Richard Zanuck was a legendary film producer who produced some of the greatest blockbusters in modern movies from Jaws (1975) to Alice In Wonderland (2010). The last movie he produced was 2012's unsuccessful Dark Shadows remake. Richard was also the song of movie mogul Daryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979). (July 13th)

Tony Martin

TONY MARTIN, 98, SINGER - Tony Martin was one of the last original vocalists from the 1930s. He made his first recording in 1932 and would spend nearly the next 70 years entertaining audiences. Some of his hit songs included: "Why Did You Leave Heaven", "You Stepped Out Of A Dream", "There's No Tomorrow", and "Kiss Of Fire". He never became a major Hollywood actor but he appeared in some popular films like: Ziegfeld Girl (1941), Til The Clouds Roll By (1946), and Hit The Deck (1955). He was married to actress Alice Faye from 1936 to 1940, and to dancer Cyd Charisse from 1948 until her death in 2008. They had one son together Tony Martin Jr, born in 1950 who sadly died in 2011. Tony Martin continued to sing until literally he was not able to sing anymore. (July 27th)

PEGGY AHERN, 95, CHILD ACTRESS - Peggy was best known for her appearance in eight of the Our Gang series of films released between 1924 and 1927. The Our Gang series, which were also known The Little Rascals or Hal Roach's Rascals, were a series of comedic, short, silent films created by director and producer Hal Roach. Ahern was one of the last surviving cast members from a Hal Roach film. (Oct. 24th)

GLORIA LLOYD, 87, DAUGHTER OF HAROLD LLOYD - Gloria Lloyd, also known as Gloria Lloyd Roberts, was an American actress and model. She was the eldest child of the silent film comedian Harold Lloyd (1893-1971) and actress Mildred Davis (1901-1969). Gloria appeared in the 1946 film Temptation, and in a number of documentaries about her father. (Feb 10th)

JACK KLUGMAN, 90, ACTOR - Jack Klugman was one of the truly gifted character actors. He was the last remaining cast member from the movie Twelve Angry Men (1957). Klugman also showed off his acting skills in four memorable episodes of The Twilight Zone on television in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He was most widely known for his hit television series The Odd Couple from 1970 to 1975 and Quincy from 1976 to 1983. (Dec. 24th)

CELESTE HOLM, 95, ACTRESS - Celeste Holm was a legendary actress of Hollywood's golden age. Holm won an Academy Award for her performance in Gentleman's Agreement (1947), and was Oscar nominated for her roles in Come to the Stable (1949) and All About Eve (1950). She originated the role of Ado Annie in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma" in 1943. Holm's last role was in a movie that will not be released until 2013 - College Debts. (July 15th)

PHYLLIS DILLER, 95, COMEDIAN - Phyllis Diller was a legendary funny woman who was pratically discovered by Bob Hope. She created a stage persona of a wild-haired and eccentrically dressed housewife who made self-deprecating jokes about her age and appearance, her terrible cooking, and a husband named "Fang", while pretending to smoke from a long cigarette holder. Diller's signature was her unusual laugh. (Aug. 20th)

MARJORIE LANE, 100, SINGER - Marjorie Lane was best known for dubbing the voice of actress Eleanor Powell in the movies Born to Dance (1936), Broadway Melody of 1936 (1936), Rosalie (1937) and Broadway Melody of 1938 (1938). Lane was married to actor Brian Donlevy from 1936 to 1947, and they had one child. Her career in film did not extend beyond the 1930s. (Oct. 2nd)

FRANK CADY, 96, ACTOR - Frank Cady was best known for his recurring and popular role as storekeeper Sam Drucker in three American television series during the 1960s — Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, and The Beverly Hillbillies. (June 8th)

ERNEST BORGNINE, 95, ACTOR - Ernest Borgnine was one of the most active movie and television star of his generation. Like the late Celeste Holm, Borgnine worked until the end as well. He was an unconventional lead in many films of the 1950s, winning an Oscar in 1955 for Marty. On television, he played Quinton McHale in the 1962–1966 series McHale's Navy and co-starred in the mid-1980s action series Airwolf, in addition to a wide variety of other roles. Borgnine earned an Emmy Award nomination at age 92 for his work on the series ER. (July 8th)

Ernest Borgnine 
These great and talented people who left us in 2012 are gone, but are they ever truly forgotten. We have their movie legacy on film or their signing voices on record. All lives eventually end, but their memories live on in their works and creations...

THE PASSING SCENE OF 2011

THE PASSING SCENE OF 2010

1 comment:

  1. We lost some of the great ones this year... But, as you've pointed out, we do have their legacies.

    Happy 2013 to you and yours!

    ReplyDelete