Jayne Mansfield

Posted in Fairview Cemetery (PA) with tags , , on March 8, 2021 by Cade

April 19, 1933 – June 29, 1967

Ah, the Hollywood machine of the 1950s and ’60s. The golden age of studio-driven film making. Every studio had its own stable of actors, directors and writers. There were film crews on every backlot and a blonde bombshell on every corner. With the rise in popularity of quintessential bombshell, Marylin Monroe, 20th Century Fox hedged their bets…and got themselves a second one. Continue reading

Eric Carr

Posted in Cedar Hill Cemetery (NY) with tags , , on March 1, 2021 by Cade

July 12, 1950 – November 24, 1991

Paul Caravello grew up in Brooklyn, New York idolizing – like many kids of his time – early Rock ‘n’ Roll bands like the Beatles. Caravello started dabbling in his own music during high school. A talented kid, he learned to play guitar, piano, drums and was also a vocalist. Over the course of the next decade, he joined a number of bands in and around New York that met with little success. By the age of 30, he had grown weary and was about to call it quits on his music career when a friend mentioned that the iconic rock band, Kiss, was looking for a new drummer.

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Elizabeth Montgomery

Posted in Cremated with tags on February 22, 2021 by Cade

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April 15, 1933 – May 18, 1995

Born into entertainment, Elizabeth Montgomery’s mother was a stage actress and her father, Robert Montgomery, was a successful TV and movie star. Young Elizabeth made her Broadway debut at just 20, earning a Theatre World Award for her performance in Late Love. She appeared in a string of TV shows following that and had already earned one Emmy nomination by the time she landed her most famous role. From 1964-1972 she played magical-nose-twitching Samantha Stevens on ABC’s beloved sitcom, Bewitched.

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Chet Atkins

Posted in Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens with tags , , , on February 15, 2021 by Cade

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June 20, 1924 – June 30, 2001

Iconic guitarist, instrumentalist and producer, Chester “Chet” Atkins rarely basked in the limelight during his 50+ year career. He was more than happy to play on a friend’s record, or churn out hit after hit from the helm of the now-legendary RCA Victor studio in Nashville, Tennessee. That is not to say he wasn’t gifted in his own right. You don’t win 14 Grammys, 9 CMA awards or earn the nickname “Mr. Guitar” by being a slouch. But his biggest contribution to the music industry was undoubtedly his time spent cultivating the “Nashville Sound” that allowed Country music to successfully cross over to Pop audiences throughout the 1950s and ’60s.

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Donna Summer

Posted in Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens with tags , , on February 8, 2021 by Cade

December 31, 1948 – May 17, 2012

The undisputed Queen of Disco, Donna Summer (LaDonna Gaines) was a steady presence in the Billboard Top 40 for more than a decade in the 1970s and ’80s. Born in Boston, Summer took a very unconventional route to international stardom. She left high school and moved to New York City to pursue a career in musical theatre…specifically, she wanted to be in the groundbreaking show Hair. She ended up landing a role in the Munich production of the show. While in Germany, she began her recording career and eventually fell in with producers Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte and began writing, recording and shopping new songs all throughout Europe. In 1974, the trio was able to get her single, “Love to Love You Baby” into the hands of Casablanca Records in the U.S. It became a hit and a popular early track in the emerging Disco scene.

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Sun Ra

Posted in Elmwood Cemetery with tags , on February 1, 2021 by Cade

May 22, 1914 – May 30, 1993

 Le Sony’r Ra (born Herman Blount) was an avant-garde jazz musician, composer, artist, poet and bandleader who came up through the Chicago Jazz scene of the 1940s. He fronted the cosmic and experimental music collective, The Arkestra, for nearly 4 decades. He often shortened his stage name to simply “Sun Ra” and held a deep connection to the Egyptian god of the sun. In addition to music, he dabbled in philosophy (though he rejected the term, claiming philosophy was based on “theory” and his thoughts were based on “logic”).

He also may have been an alien.

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Paul “Bear” Bryant

Posted in Elmwood Cemetery with tags , , on January 25, 2021 by Cade

September 11, 1913 – January 26, 1983

Legendary college football coach, Bear Bryant, is widely regarded as the best coach in the history of the sport. His 38 year head coaching career garnered 6 National Championships and 15 Conference titles. He is most closely associated with the University of Alabama, where he played as a student and spent 24 years at the helm of the Crimson Tide program. He remains the youngest head coach to reach 300 career wins and 30 winning seasons. He only had one losing season in his entire career. Bryant was named conference coach of the year 15 times. Though most of his on-field success was at Alabama, he also was the head coach at Maryland, Kentucky and Texas A&M.

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Jimmie Rodgers

Posted in Oak Grove Baptist Cemetery with tags , on January 18, 2021 by Cade

September 8, 1897 – May 26, 1933

“The Singing Brakeman”
“The Blue Yodeler”
“The Father of Country Music”

Jimmie Rodgers learned to play music at a very young age. His father, a railway foreman, tried to deter young Jimmie’s wont to become a traveling entertainer by getting him a job at the railyard. Jimmie spent his rail days learning to better play guitar from other workers and passing hobos…as one does. The urge to travel and play never left him and when tuberculosis ended his railroad career at the age of 27, it was all the confirmation Jimmie needed to take a real shot at being a musician.

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Donna Douglas

Posted in Bluff Creek Community Cemetery with tags , , on January 11, 2021 by Cade

September 26, 1932 – January 1, 2015

Doris Ione Smith – known professionally as Donna Douglas (and pop-culturally as Elly May Clampett) – was born and raised outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The local beauty queen moved to New York to pursue a career in modeling and acting. By the time she was 25, her television career was underway. After appearances on shows like The Steve Allen Show and The Perry Como Show, Douglas eventually made her way to Los Angeles and gave a crack at movies.

For the next several years, she appeared in films like Career and Li’l Abner and numerous TV shows including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and The Twilight Zone. In 1962, she landed a starring role on the new situation comedy, The Beverly Hillibillies, and the rest was history. Continue reading

Percy Sledge

Posted in Heavenly Gates Cemetery with tags , on January 4, 2021 by Cade

sledge2November 25, 1941 – April 14, 2015

Percy Sledge was a popular R&B and Soul singer in the 1960s and ’70s. He worked as an orderly in an Alabama hospital in his early years. Providential encounters through the hospital led to his distinctive and soulful voice getting discovered and he was offered a record contract. Sledge’s first recording produced what would become the signature song of his career: 1966’s “When a Man Loves a Woman.” Continue reading