Mark Twain

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (Elmira) with tags , on September 9, 2019 by Cade

twain1November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910

Samuel Langhorne Clemens was arguably the most famous riverboat pilot in history.

He also – apparently – liked to write a little.

Young Sam Clemens grew up on the banks of the Mississippi river. His sole ambition as a boy was to pilot a riverboat…which he eventually did. After some time spent on the river, he found his way west to work with his brother in the Nevada territory. It was in Nevada where Clemens first began his work as a professional writer when his mining career floundered. In 1863, he wrote his first humorous piece for the Territorial Enterprise newspaper. He signed it as “Mark Twain” – boatman slang for water that was 12 feet deep, or safe to travel for the riverboats. Continue reading

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Rick James

Posted in Forest Lawn Cemetery (NY) with tags , , , on September 2, 2019 by Cade

February 1, 1948 – August 6, 2004

James Ambrose Johnson Jr. was born in Buffalo, NY. His mother worked as a dancer and numbers runner to make ends meet. Young James would often accompany her on her rounds and he was exposed to bars that featured musicians like Miles Davis and Etta James. Needless to say, he liked what he saw and it was music from there out. Well, music and drugs, but I digress. He got in trouble quite a bit as a young man, so he joined the Navy, as one does. Not finding military life to be for him, and finding himself under orders to go to Vietnam, he fled to Toronto and started performing music under the name Ricky James Matthews. Long story short, he met Neil Young, moved to Detroit, met Stevie Wonder (who encouraged him to shorten his stage name to “Ricky James”) and signed with Motown. Continue reading

Millard Fillmore

Posted in Forest Lawn Cemetery (NY) with tags , on August 26, 2019 by Cade

January 7, 1800 – March 8, 1874

Millard Fillmore was the 13th President of the United States. Born in a log cabin. Mostly self-educated. Became a lawyer. He was basically Abraham Lincoln lite. Well, not exactly. Fillmore was sort of haphazardly elected as Vice-President in 1848 and assumed the Presidency when Zachary Taylor ate some bad cherries in July of 1850. He was the last member of the Whig party to hold the office. Continue reading

Dennis Edwards

Posted in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery with tags , , , on August 22, 2019 by Cade

February 3, 1943 – February 1, 2018

Dennis Edwards, Jr. was an R&B vocalist who rose to fame in the Motown Records machine of the 1960’s Detroit scene. After a brief stint in the military, Edwards signed on retainer with Motown Records. He became the lead vocalist for The Contours, who traveled with, and opened for, The Temptations, with whom he became friends. In 1968, The Temptations fired “Classic 5” lead singer, David Ruffin, and asked Edwards to take his place. Continue reading

Gregory Hines

Posted in St. Volodymyr's Cemetery with tags , , , on August 18, 2019 by Cade

February 14, 1946 – August 9, 2003

Tony and Emmy award-winning dancer, singer and actor, Gregory Hines, was always on the stage. From a young age, Gregory (along with brother, Maurice, and sometimes their father) would entertain audiences in nightclubs throughout their native New York City. Especially adept at tap dancing, young Gregory eventually headed to Hollywood and found work as a musician and actor. Continue reading

Corey Haim

Posted in Pardes Shalom Cemetery with tags , on August 9, 2019 by Cade

December 23, 1971 – March 10, 2010

Once a “Lost Boy”…

1980’s teen heartthrob, Corey Haim, got into acting at a young age when he was discovered at one of his sister’s auditions. By the time he was 15, he was already playing lead roles (Lucas, Stephen King’s Silver Bullet), but it was 1987’s vampire teen classic, The Lost Boys, that launched Haim – and a fair number of other young stars – into the limelight. It was on the set of Boys where Haim met his lifelong on-and-off-screen friend, Corey Feldman. The two Coreys would dominate the teen box office together for the next several years, churning out hits like License to Drive and Dream a Little Dream.  And dream, they did. Continue reading

Jeff Healey

Posted in Park Lawn Cemetery (ON) with tags , , on August 5, 2019 by Cade

healey2March 25, 1966 – March 2, 2008

Jeff Healey’s place in pop-culture extends well beyond the fact that he was a talented blues-rock guitarist and singer who had one really great year. His eponymous trio, The Jeff Healey Band, had a monster hit in Canada and the U.S. with 1989’s “Angel Eyes” and he dominated the Toronto club scene in the mid-to-late 1980s. After the success of their first single and album, The JHB went on to record four more albums over the ensuing dozen or so years. But, Jeff didn’t just front his blues-rock band. Continue reading