Archive for November, 2013

George M. Cohan

Posted in Woodlawn Cemetery (Bronx) with tags , on November 20, 2013 by Cade

cohan1July 3, 1878 – November 5, 1942

George Michael Cohan was – to put it simply (and to steal mercilessly from many before me) – “the man who owned Broadway.” The son of Irish Catholic performers, Cohan grew up on stage as a member of the family vaudeville act, The Four Cohans. At an early age, he began writing his own skits…and then his own songs. Fast forward a few years and little George had over 300 songs to his credit, including classics like “The Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Give My Regards to Broadway” and “Over There.” Continue reading

Malcolm X

Posted in Ferncliff Cemetery with tags , on November 20, 2013 by Cade

x1May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965

Malcolm X was a controversial religious and civil rights activist during the tumultuous American 1950’s and ’60’s. A leader in the Nation of Islam, Malcolm – also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz – rose to prominence as the very public face of the very outspoken group. His views on race relations were seen by many as inflammatory and racist in their own ways. The Nation of Islam’s belief in Black supremacy and the the “white devil” did little to quell the controversy. In 1964, he split from the Nation and converted to Sunni Islam. The split was contentious and he received a number of death threats for his repudiation of the Nation’s teachings. Continue reading

Ulysses S. Grant

Posted in Grant National Memorial with tags , on November 19, 2013 by Cade

grant1April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885

You know you’ve had an eventful life when being the President of the United States is the SECOND most famous thing for which you are known. Ulysses S. Grant was – of course – the commanding officer of the Union Army that accepted Robert E. Lee’s surrender to end the U.S. Civil War. Three years following the end of the war, Grant was elected as the 18th U.S. President. His presidency was full of successes and of failures. No real surprise considering the state of the country at the time. During his time in office, the last of the Confederate states were restored into the union. He was also instrumental in the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right to vote of (male) citizens, regardless of race. Continue reading

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Posted in Arlington National Cemetery with tags , on November 19, 2013 by Cade

kennedyoJuly 28, 1929 – May 19, 1994

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis skyrocketed to international attention as the glamorous wife of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. However, in the years after JFK’s assassination, Jackie did not fade away and maintained a relatively high profile. In 1968, she married shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis, and became – now, no longer entitled to Secret Service protection – a popular target for photographers and paparazzi. After Onassis died in 1975, Jackie committed herself to personal work. She worked as an editor and spent a lot of time campaigning for the preservation of historic landmarks and architecture. Continue reading

James Coburn

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , , on November 18, 2013 by Cade

coburn1August 31, 1928 – November 18, 2002

Best known for “tough guy” roles throughout his 45 year career, Academy Award winner, James Harrison Coburn III, was the epitome of cool. His huge, toothy grin was unmistakable and his hip demeanor was more “Rat Pack” than ruffian – despite his ominous presence on both the large and small screens. He is probably best remembered for his many roles in westerns and other action films. He appeared alongside fellow screen-toughies Charles Bronson and Steve McQueen in The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. Continue reading

Lawrence Welk

Posted in Holy Cross Cemetery with tags , on November 9, 2013 by Cade

welk1March 11, 1903 – May 17, 1992

“A one and a two . . . “

Lawrence Welk may be the most famous accordion player of all time.

He’s probably the most famous German-speaking accordion player of all time.

And, he’s MOST DEFINITELY the most famous German-speaking accordion player of all time from North Dakota.

Continue reading

Minnie Riperton

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , on November 8, 2013 by Cade

riperton1November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979

Minnie Riperton rose to fame in the 1970’s as a singer-songwriter known mostly for her 1975 single “Lovin’ You.” Riperton had a solid career as a solo artist, working with artists like Stevie Wonder and Muddy Waters and fronting a couple of differently-styled groups. She was most noted for her unique vocal quality, specifically her ability to sing quite clearly in even the highest registers. Continue reading

Phog Allen

Posted in Oak Hill Cemetery with tags , , , on November 5, 2013 by Cade

phog1November 18, 1885 – September 16, 1974

Forrest Clare Allen had many nicknames. To players he worked closely with, he was “Doc” (he was an osteopathic physician). To the larger, basketball community, he is the “Father of Basketball Coaching.” But, to most – including the legion of fans of his beloved Kansas Jayhawks – he is simply “Phog.”

Phog Allen played basketball for KU under the game’s inventor, James Naismith. He also lettered in baseball. He eventually coached both sports, along with the school’s football team. He even served as the university’s Athletic Director for nearly two decades. But it was as a basketball coach that he will always be remembered. Continue reading

Gloria Foster

Posted in Kensico Cemetery with tags , on November 4, 2013 by Cade

foster1November 15, 1933 – September 29, 2001

Sometimes, fame is just bookends. This was the case, to a degree, for the incredibly talented Gloria Foster. Foster made a splash in New York in 1963 for her Obie Award-winning performance in the Off-Broadway production of In White America. The show saw Foster portraying 27 different characters and wowed critics.  She continued a successful stage career appearing in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and other shows. Continue reading