Archive for December, 2013

Sonny Liston

Posted in Davis Memorial Park with tags , on December 30, 2013 by Cade

liston1May 8, 1932* – December 30, 1970

Charles “Sonny” Liston was the Heavyweight Champion of the world in 1962. Liston beat Floyd Patterson in a mostly unexpected knockout to gain the title. Sonny’s reputed mob connections delayed the fight for for years, but he proved his worth in the ring with a lightning fast knockout in the first round. Liston’s attempts at defending his title against some guy named “Ali” proved unsuccessful and, after two consecutive losses to him, Liston lost and never regained the title. Continue reading

Sammy Cahn

Posted in Westwood Memorial Park with tags , on December 30, 2013 by Cade

cahn1June 18, 1913 – January 15, 1993

Sammy Cahn – born Samuel Cohen in New York City – was a Academy Award winning songwriter and lyricist. Known for popular songs like “Three Coins in the Fountain,” “All the Way,” “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head” and “Come Fly With Me” (among countless others), he was famous for his collaborations with stars like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Doris Day. His songs were made popular on film, stage, radio and television. Continue reading

Eddie Cantor

Posted in Hillside Memorial Park with tags on December 30, 2013 by Cade

cantor1January 31, 1892* – October 10, 1964

Edward Israel Iskowitz, aka Eddie Cantor, was an actor, comedian and performer known universally by the amazing nickname “Banjo Eyes.” Cantor got his start – like so many – on the Vaudeville stages as a youth (often appearing with a young Jimmy Durante) and moved through the familiar route of Broadway>Radio>Television/Film. He suffered a number of professional setbacks. Cantor lost much of his wealth in the stock market crash of 1929 and was later ostracized for speaking out against popular anti-semitic sentiment. Continue reading

William S. Burroughs

Posted in Bellefontaine Cemetery with tags , , , on December 26, 2013 by Cade

burroughs1February 5, 1914 – August 2, 1997

William Seward Burroughs II was a highly influential and controversial American writer of novels, essays, short stories and poems. His love of subversion and satire coupled with his outlandish personal experiences made him one of the more colorful and unique voices of the 20th Century. A prominent member/founder of the Beat movement, his most famous works include Naked Lunch, Junkie and Queer. Burroughs was well involved with fellow Beats Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, at times living with one or the other in various New York and Paris locales. He was also big into drugs. Like heavy, heroin and morphine-type drugs. Continue reading

Buck O’Neil

Posted in Forest Hill Cemetery (MO) with tags , , , , on December 26, 2013 by Cade

oneil1November 13, 1911 – October 6, 2006

In lieu of writing something new about Buck O’Neil, I decided I will just re-post the tribute I wrote about him on an old blog the day after he died:

There is a man. Revered in some circles. Beloved in others. Unknown in most. To those who did know him, he was simply known as “Buck.”

John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil died yesterday at the age of 94. This is a sad day for the city of Kansas City. And, it is a sad day for the sport he loved and came to embody: baseball.

Buck’s career in baseball spanned 7 decades. He was a player, a coach, a scout and an ambassador. He began playing in Memphis in the newly formed Negro American League 1937. A year later, he was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs where he would stay (serving as first baseman and – eventually – manager) until 1955. After his stint in KC, he went on to become a scout for the Chicago Cubs. A position that led in 1962 to him being named a coach…the first Black coach in the major leagues.

In 1988, he returned to Kansas City as a scout for the Royals. Shortly thereafter, he helped lead the charge to create a museum dedicated solely to the players and teams that made up the Negro Leagues. The museum opened in 1990 and found its new home in Kansas City’s historic 18th & Vine district in 1994. Buck continued to work as honorary chairman until his death.

Most recently, (this summer in fact) Buck played in the Northern League All-Star game as a member of the Kansas City T-Bones minor league team. He was intentionally walked. Continue reading

Franklin Pierce

Posted in Old North Cemetery (NH) with tags , , on December 26, 2013 by Cade

pierce1November 23, 1804 – October 8, 1869

The 14th President of the United States, Franklin Pierce was, by all accounts, an incredibly likable guy and certainly the most popular person in his native New Hampshire. But his single-term presidency during the eve of the American Civil War was riddled with unpopular missteps. After working his way through Congress, he was nominated as the Democratic candidate for President in 1852. He won the election by a landslide. But, his decision to approve popular sovereignty in the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act allowed for infighting in the new territories over slavery. He was widely regarded as an ineffective president whose sympathies for the ever-unsettled South did little to quell the approaching division of the country. Continue reading

Rod Steiger

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , on December 17, 2013 by Cade

steiger1April 14, 1925 – July 9, 2002

Appearing in over 100 movies, Academy Award winner Rod Steiger was about as powerful of a screen presence and you could find. His turns in such classics as Oklahoma!, On the Waterfront, In the Heat of the Night and Doctor Zhivago are woven into the fabric of the history of film. In an attempt to escape his alcoholic mother, a young Steiger joined the Navy and served in World War II. Following the war, he broke into show business via stage and live television and embarked on a 50 year career that saw him do everything from channel Napoleon Bonaparte (Waterloo) to fight off comic alien invaders (Mars Attacks!). Continue reading

Ernie Kovacs

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , on December 17, 2013 by Cade

kovacs1January 23, 1919 – January 13, 1962

Modern television owes just about everything to the unbridled genius of Ernie Kovacs. His spontaneous, unexpected and often eccentric comedy style is either directly or indirectly responsible for shows like Saturday Night Live, The Muppet Show, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and Captain Kangaroo. He also influenced nearly all of the major talk show hosts of the last 30 years from Conan O’Brien to David Letterman. Kovacs was a true original. Continue reading

Bert Convy

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags , on December 17, 2013 by Cade

convy1July 23, 1933 – July 15, 1991

Bert Convy was an actor and singer who appeared in numerous stage productions and television shows over the course of his career. He was also a featured panelist on many popular game shows and eventually became a game show host in his own right. His work on shows such as Super Password and Win, Lose or Draw made him a household name. He also played some minor league baseball in his youth. So, he had a pretty well-rounded skill set. In 1990, Convy collapsed in an L.A. hospital (lucky) and was diagnosed with a brain tumor (not as lucky).  In July of 1991, the tumor took its toll and Bert Convy was dead at the age of 57. The password is: Bummer. Continue reading

Albert “Cubby” Broccoli

Posted in Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills with tags on December 17, 2013 by Cade

broccoli1April 5, 1909 – June 27, 1996

Ian Fleming wrote some books.

Some years later, an American producer named Cubby Broccoli made a lot of money because of them.

Broccoli became interested in Fleming’s James Bond stories and felt the need to adapt them to the screen. It was a good decision as the Bond franchise has made roughly $7,000,000,000,000,000* in the more than half a century since 1962’s modest Dr. No was released. Continue reading