Archive for October, 2013

Merv Griffin

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags on October 29, 2013 by Cade

griffin1July 6, 1925 – August 12, 2007

Mervyn Edward Griffin, Jr. began his long, successful career as a radio singer. After touring with an orchestra and eventually creating his own record label, Griffin was discovered in a nightclub and began acting in films. Though he appeared in a number of movies, he decided he would rather work in television, which he did for nearly 30 years. And, of course, by “work in television,” I mean he would make monumental contributions to its landscape. Not only did he host a number of successful talk shows, but he also created a producing empire that spawned stalwart game shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune and variety series like Dance Fever. In addition to creating Jeopardy!, he also penned its iconic theme song, so music was always there for him. Continue reading

Oscar Wilde

Posted in Père Lachaise Cemetery with tags , on October 26, 2013 by Cade

wilde1October 16, 1854 – November 30, 1900

Ever hear the term “The Gay Nineties”? Well, the British counterpart to the American decade of decadence at the end of the 19th century was deemed the “Naughty Nineties.”

Enter Oscar Wilde.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish-born (you don’t say?) writer who was known for his wit and flamboyant personality. His literary masterworks include his lone novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray and his most famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. But enough of the boring stuff…Wilde spent the first half of the so-called “Naughty Nineties” in London embroiled in an affair with Lord Alfred Douglas. A fact the Douglas family was none too thrilled about. Wilde was publicly outed – practicing homosexuality was illegal at the time – and sentenced to 2 years of hard labor in prison. Prison life vastly disagreed with Wilde’s sense of aesthetics and art and all things opulent and his health rapidly declined. Continue reading

George Harrison

Posted in Cremated with tags , , , , on October 26, 2013 by Cade

harrison1February 25, 1943 – November 29, 2001

In 1958, at the age of 15, George Harrison auditioned – for the second time – for a band made up of local lads from his native Liverpool. Two years later, the band was known as the Beatles. Three years after that, they were launched into international stardom and the rest was, quite literally, history. George was the lead guitar player for the group and developed into a significant songwriter over his 12 years with the band. His songs and instrumental work began to expand to include Eastern influences – specifically Indian music, culture and religion. By the time the Beatles broke up in 1970, Harrison was on course for a very successful solo career. Continue reading

Danny Gans

Posted in Palm Valley View Memorial Park with tags , on October 25, 2013 by Cade

gans1October 25, 1956 – May 1, 2009

Dubbed “The Man of Many Voices,” Daniel Davies Gans was a comedian, singer and impressionist who gained a significant amout of fame in Las Vegas where he performed in his own shows for over a dozen years. Gans was known for his vocal impressions of many top celebrities and was named Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year eleven straight times. Prior to entering show business, Danny played baseball in college and in the Chicago White Sox organization. He also appeared in a couple of movies, most notably the 1988 Kevin Costner classic, Bull Durham. In 2009, Danny Gans died of an adverse reaction to a medication he was taking. He was 52. Continue reading

Satchel Paige

Posted in Forest Hill Cemetery (MO) with tags , , , on October 25, 2013 by Cade

paige1July 7, 1906 – June 8, 1982

One of the most celebrated pitchers of the Negro Leagues, Leroy Robert “Satchel” Paige dazzled crowds with his charismatic personality and wide array of pitches. In 1948, Paige became the oldest rookie to play in Major League Baseball when he started for the Cleveland Indians at the age of 42. His five year MLB career was impressive, especially for someone in his 40’s, but his 20+ years touring the country in the Negro Leagues and stints in Latin America were what built his legacy. Continue reading

Carroll O’Connor

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , on October 24, 2013 by Cade

oconnor1August 2, 1924 – June 21, 2001

Being a bigot is easy.

Playing a bigot is hard.

Playing a bigot that is beloved by millions is the stuff of legend.

Carroll O’Connor did just that. He played abrasive, racist, misogynistic, homophobic…and somehow lovable, Archie Bunker for 13 years on Norman Lear’s landmark TV sitcom All in the Family. Prior to giving the world Archie, O’Connor was a gifted character actor who compiled an impressive roster of roles and appearances.  He broke out in 1970 opposite Clint Eastwood and Telly Savalas in the World War II caper Kelly’s Heroes. But it was the debut of All in the Family in 1971 that made him a star. Five years after Family (by then known as Archie Bunker’s Place) went off the air, O’Connor returned to television, reprising Rod Steiger’s role in the TV adaptation of In the Heat of the Night. The stark difference in racial tone between Bunker and Heat‘s Gillespie was not lost on the public. In the end, he won 5 Emmys, a couple of Golden Globes and two NAACP Image Awards for his work on both shows. Continue reading

Mary Frann

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery with tags , , on October 24, 2013 by Cade

frann1February 27, 1943 – September 23, 1998

Best remembered as Bob Newhart’s other TV wife, Mary Frann (born Mary Frances Luecke) was a former pageant girl from St. Louis who studied acting in college and forged a nice career for herself –  mainly in television. From 1974-1979, Frann appeared on the popular soap opera Days of our Lives. From there, she made appearances on many TV shows including Fantasy Island and WKRP in Cincinnati. But, it was in 1982 that she was cast in her most famous role; that of Joanna Loudon, the wife of innkeeper/author Dick Loudon (Bob Newhart) on Newhart. Continue reading

Bob Crane

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , on October 24, 2013 by Cade

crane1July 13, 1928 – June 29, 1978

Robert Crane was a disc jockey from Connecticut who forayed his love of music and radio to Los Angeles…and, eventually, to an acting career. He dabbled with guest spots on popular shows like The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Donna Reed Show before he was catapulted to fame as the titular colonel on CBS’s Hogan’s Heroes. As Robert Hogan, Crane earned a couple of Emmy nominations and enjoyed the show’s very successful six-year run. Sometimes, happiness is short-lived.

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Fred MacMurray

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery (CA) with tags , , on October 24, 2013 by Cade

macmurray1August 30, 1908 – November 5, 1991

Frederick Martin MacMurray’s nearly 50-year career was about as successful and varied as any you will find.  Throughout the 1930’s and ’40’s, MacMurray brought his talents from the stage to some of the most popular films of the era. He worked with everyone from Humphrey Bogart to Katharine Hepburn. His films with iconic director, Billy Wilder, (including the ultimate film noir Double Indemnity and the quintessential comedy The Apartment) became Hollywood classics. MacMurray later worked on a number of Disney live-action films like The Shaggy Dog and The Absent-Minded Professor while also landing what is possibly his most recognizable role (to folks under the age of 50 anyway): Steven Douglas, the father on the long-running TV sitcom My Three Sons.

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Selma Diamond

Posted in Hillside Memorial Park with tags on October 22, 2013 by Cade

diamond1August 6, 1920 – May 13, 1985

Selma Diamond was a actress/comedy writer in both radio and television who spent more than three decades in the business. Her writing brought her to the staff of Imogene Coca and Sid Caesar’s Your Show of Shows as well as a number of other radio and TV programs. Diamond’s stint on Show was said to have been the inspiration for Rose Marie’s character, Sally, on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Later in her career, she made more and more appearances onscreen – both TV and film – culminating in her final role as bailiff Selma Hacker on NBC’s Night Court. Continue reading