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The Dead Celebrity Thread
How random is it that a man known for writing songs for Sesame Street dies over the weekend in addition to the deaths of 3 superb character actors who all have first names starting with the letter '"D"?
You know, I posted in the Darren McGavin RIP thread, because I completely forgot about this one...

I throw myself onto the mercy of the court.

Originally Posted by Richard Dickson

Dennis Weaver, now being chased by the big rusty truck in the sky...
sorry about your grandad Electric.
Artful Dodger unable to dodge death:

Jack Wild, the actor who played the Artful Dodger in the 1968 film Oliver!, has died.The 53-year-old lost his battle with cancer last night.

And of course, he'll forever be Jimmy, the magical-flute-toting boy on H.R. Puffnstuff.
Jack Wild.....

Wow...that's really depressing. Between him and Don Knotts, that's a lot of childhood memories now tinged with sadness.
Jackson 5 drummer Johnny Jackson was found stabbed to death in his home Wednesday.
Kirby Puckett

One of the most likeable athletes ever, and who knows how much longer he could have played if it wasn't for the eye problems he developed.

This depresses the hell out of me.

Originally Posted by Richard Dickson

Kirby Puckett

One of the most likeable athletes ever, and who knows how much longer he could have played if it wasn't for the eye problems he developed.

This depresses the hell out of me.

Well, wasn't there all that awful PR stuff that emerged after his retirement? He didn't seem that squeaky clean and likeable by the time he got into the Hall of Fame.
Dana Reeve, wife of late actor Christopher Reeve


A lifelong nonsmoker, Dana Reeve revealed she had the disease in August, less than a year after her husband's death. She died Monday night.

"We are all just so sad," foundation President Kathy Lewis said.
Lewis said that she had visited Reeve on Friday and that she was "strong and gracious and courageous." (Watch how Dana Reeve's work inspired admiration -- 1:52)

Reeve was the chairwoman of the foundation, which funds research for new treatments for spinal cord injuries and works to improve the quality of life for people suffering from paralysis.

Her husband died in October 2004 at age 52 after falling into a coma. He had been paralyzed since a horseback riding accident in 1995.
Reeve was admired for the support and love she showed for her husband and for her assistance in his care.

She also was an actress and singer.

In January, she sang at the retirement ceremony for Mark Messier's New York Rangers jersey at Madison Square Garden.

"She sang beautifully. She looked lovely," said Kathie Lee Gifford, who interviewed Reeve at the event. "She was wearing a wig, of course. She had been through chemo and radiation. She was very thin, which you would expect for somebody going through what she was going through."

Gifford said she was surprised by the news because Reeve had seemed so healthy that night. (Watch how nonsmoking women face a lung cancer risk -- 3:34)

"I was absolutely stunned because she told me that day that the tumor was shrinking and she was the picture of optimism that night," Gifford said.

Kate Michelman, a member of the foundation's board, remembered Reeve as "a great spirit."

"The country suffers because Dana, on a personal level, was one of the most remarkable people I've ever known," Michelman said.

She said Reeve's health had seemed to improve, giving friends and loved ones hope that she might recover from the cancer.

"She was improving. You know her own spirit and her own determination to overcome this plague made us feel she could do it," Michelman said.

"She just recently learned that she was failing and right up [till] the end, I have to tell you, Dana was convinced she was going to overcome this."

Michelman said Reeve's death is "a dreadful loss" but that the foundation will "move forward with Christopher and Dana's vision."

Dana and Christopher Reeve married in 1992 after a five-year relationship.

The actor was famous for his role as Superman in a trilogy of movies in the late 1970s and 1980s. He continued to act and direct films after his accident.

Christopher Reeve became a crusader to help find therapies and treatments for paralysis and was an outspoken supporter of stem-cell research. Dana Reeve was credited with carrying on his work through the foundation.

"After Christopher's death, Dana was determined to preserve the important work and the legacy of hope that became his life's mission," Lewis said in a statement. "Even in our grief, the foundation must pick up and continue to go forward with this mission.

"At the same time, we commit ourselves to ensuring that the light of grace, courage and hopefulness that Dana embodied continues to shine bright -- bringing comfort and hope to people living with paralysis and their families and caregivers."

She is survived by the couple's son, Will, 13; her father; two sisters; and two stepchildren, according to the foundation's statement.

Damn! I cannot imagine what it's like to lose both of your parents in less than 2 years, much less having to grow up with a father who is physically immobile.

My thoughts go out to the Reeve family, and most especially, young Will Reeve.

Originally Posted by moovyphreak

Damn! I cannot imagine what it's like to lose both of your parents in less than 2 years

Now they should stick the Reeves kid in an escape pod and blast him into outer space. Just to make it more thematically satisfying.
Filmmaker Gordon Parks Dies at 93 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: March 7, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- Gordon Parks, who captured the struggles and triumphs of black America as a photographer for Life magazine and then became Hollywood's first major black director with ''The Learning Tree'' and the hit ''Shaft,'' died Tuesday, a family member said. He was 93.

Parks, who also wrote fiction and was an accomplished composer, died in New York, his nephew, Charles Parks, said in a telephone interview from Lawrence, Kan.

''Nothing came easy,'' Parks wrote in his autobiography. ''I was just born with a need to explore every tool shop of my mind, and with long searching and hard work. I became devoted to my restlessness.''

He covered everything from fashion to politics to sports during his 20 years at Life, from 1948 to 1968.

But as a photographer, he was perhaps best known for his gritty photo essays on the grinding effects of poverty in the United States and abroad and on the spirit of the civil rights movement.

''Those special problems spawned by poverty and crime touched me more, and I dug into them with more enthusiasm,'' he said. ''Working at them again revealed the superiority of the camera to explore the dilemmas they posed.''

In 1961, his photographs in Life of a poor, ailing Brazilian boy named Flavio da Silva brought donations that saved the boy and purchased a new home for him and his family.

''The Learning Tree'' was Parks' first film, in 1969. It was based on his 1963 autobiographical novel of the same name, in which the young hero grapples with fear and racism as well as first love and schoolboy triumphs. Parks wrote the score as well directed.

In 1989, ''The Learning Tree'' was among the first 25 American movies to be placed on the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. The registry is intended to highlight films of particular cultural, historical or aesthetic importance.

The detective drama ''Shaft,'' which came out in 1971 and starred Richard Roundtree, was a major hit and spawned a series of black-oriented films. Parks himself directed a sequel, ''Shaft's Big Score,'' in 1972.

He also published books of poetry and wrote musical compositions including ''Martin,'' a ballet about the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
93 years old? Damn, I can dig that!

HBO made a great documentary about Parks in 2000 titled Half Past Autumn that aired during Black History Month.

If you'd like to read more about it, click here.
Parks was one of the most accomplished men of the century. He was a truly great man. In addition to "Half Past Autumn" (both the doc and the brilliant exhibition catalog book that was published with the "Half Past Autumn" touring exhibit), check out "Voices in the Mirror" and "A Choice of Weapons," a pair of autobiographies that are just as great as "Learning Tree."

Another must-read is the essay Parks wrote for LIFE magazine on the occasion of the death of his friend Malcolm X, an amazing article.

LENOX, Massachusetts (AP) -- Maureen Stapleton, the Oscar-winning character actress whose subtle vulnerability and down-to-earth toughness earned her dramatic and comedic roles on stage, screen, and television, died Monday. She was 80.

Stapleton, a longtime smoker who had been living in Lenox, died from chronic pulmonary disease, said her son, Daniel Allentuck.

Stapleton, whose unremarkable, matronly appearance belied her star personality and talent, won an Academy Award in 1981 for her supporting role as anarchist-writer Emma Goldman in Warren Beatty's "Reds," about a left-wing American journalist who journeys to Russia to cover the Bolshevik Revolution.

To prepare for the role, Stapleton said she tried reading Goldman's autobiography, but soon chucked it out of boredom.

"There are many roads to good acting," Stapleton, known for her straightforwardness, said in her 1995 autobiography, "Hell of a Life." "I've been asked repeatedly what the 'key' to acting is, and as far as I'm concerned, the main thing is to keep the audience awake."

Stapleton was nominated several times for a supporting actress Oscar, including for her first film role in 1958's "Lonelyhearts"; "Airport" in 1970; and Woody Allen's "Interiors" in 1978.

Her other film credits include the 1963 musical "Bye Bye Birdie" opposite Ann-Margret and Dick Van Dyke, "Johnny Dangerously," "Cocoon," "The Money Pit" and "Addicted to Love."

In television, she earned an Emmy for "Among the Paths to Eden" in 1967. She was nominated for "Queen of the Stardust Ballroom" in 1975; "The Gathering" in 1977; and "Miss Rose White" in 1992.

Brought up in a strict Irish Catholic family with an alcoholic father, Stapleton left home in Troy, New York, right after high school. With $100 to her name, she came to New York and began studying at the Herbert Berghof Acting School and later at the Actors Studio, which turned out the likes of Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and Julia Roberts.

Stapleton soon made her Broadway debut in Burgess Meredith's 1946 production of "The Playboy of the Western World."

At age 24, she became a success as Serafina Delle Rose in Tennessee Williams' Broadway hit "The Rose Tattoo," and won a Tony Award. She appeared in numerous other stage productions, including Lillian Hellman's "Toys in the Attic" and Neil Simon's "The Gingerbread Lady," for which she won her second Tony in 1971.

She starred opposite Laurence Olivier in Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Stapleton's friendship with Williams was well-known and he wrote three plays for her, but she never appeared in any of them.

Along the way, she led a chaotic personal life, which her autobiography candidly described as including two failed marriages, numerous affairs, years of alcohol abuse and erratic parenting for her two children.

She often said auditioning was hard for her, but that it was just a part of acting, a job "that pays."

"When I was first in New York there was a girl who wanted to play 'St. Joan' to the point where it was scary. ... I thought 'Don't ever want anything that bad,' " she recalled. "Just take what you get and like it while you do it, and forget it."

Cast throughout her career in supporting roles, Stapleton was content not playing a lead character, Allentuck said.

"I don't think she ever had unrealistic aspirations about her career," he said.

Beside Allentuck, Stapleton is survived by a daughter, Katharine Bambery, of Lenox and a brother, Jack Stapleton, of Troy, New York.


Honky-tonk star Buck Owens, who sold more than 16 million albums and popularized country entertainment on television as host of "Hee Haw," died on Saturday at age 76.

Owens, who helped spread the twangy "Bakersfield sound" as an antidote to Nashville's slick country music, died of heart failure at his home, said his keyboard player Jim Shaw. The night before, he had performed his usual twice-weekly concert at his entertainment complex, Buck Owens' Crystal Palace.

"He was one of the true innovators," Shaw said. "He did it his own way, an outside gunslinger type who used his own band and made music in Hollywood rather than Nashville. That free spirit made him important to a lot of people."

Owens honed his craft in the rowdy bars of Bakersfield, a gritty oil and farming town about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. He played it loud and kept it simple, performing tunes that were more escapist than the hard-life tales of his Bakersfield colleague Merle Haggard.

Owens scored his first top-10 hit in 1960 with "Under Your Spell Again." Between 1963 and 1967, at a time when mainstream country music was flirting with complex arrangements, Owens enjoyed 15 No. 1 hits, including "I've Got a Tiger by the Tail," "My Heart Skips a Beat" and "Together Again."

"In Nashville, they were producing things with softer, more syrupy sounds," Owens told biographer Nicholas Dawidoff in the book "In the Country of Country. "I'm one of those turn-on-the-damn-thing-and-here-we-go folks."
I was just watching "The N Word" and it focused primarily on Richard Pryor when he was just getting started and I forgot for a minute he had died. What was his last best movie, I haven't watched any of his films in a long time and doubt I ever saw that many. need to check some out. I just remember see no evil hear no evil and his stand up comedy
So long Gene Pitney,

I really thought he was older than 65.
Just heard the news.

Tiger's father did a lot for his career and Earl's legacy will live through one of the greatest golfers to come in our time.

He will be missed. Is his Mother Yoko Ono still alive?
Sad news. I hope he had at least one crack at Tiger’s wife before he passed.

Originally Posted by Master Chuin

He will be missed. Is his Mother Yoko Ono still alive?

Poor Earl for I knew you but a short moment. Parting is such sweet sorrow. Oh wait this isn't about that dude with the Karma list?? My bad.
I didn't know Jason Thompson was a golf fan.

Golf bores me to tears. That doesn't mean I'm happy that a famous golfer's father died. Honestly, I just don't really care that much. It all seems so faraway, so disconnected. I know what it's like to lose a father, but I don't know what it's like to be a professional golfer. So in one way I can relate, but I'm not really upset by this news.

I did like that golf movie with Kevin Costner and Don Johnson, though; and I was pretty sad when those two people were tied to the anchor of their own boat and subsequently drowned, but this news really hasn't affected me yet.

Originally Posted by almostsexy

I didn't know Jason Thompson was a golf fan.

I leave it on almost every Sunday when football season is off and when there's not a decent baseball game on TV. I've kept up with it more and more as the years have passed and I was pretty surprised at how quickly I picked up on how much I liked watching this on TV.

The concept is worse than NASCAR in many ways, but I just can't help it.

Originally Posted by Shane

You're right.
Why do they have to be dead?
Mess with the bull, you get the horns.

BURBANK, Calif. - Paul Gleason, who played the go-to bad guy in "Trading Places" and the angry high school principal in "The Breakfast Club," has died. He was 67.

Gleason died at a local hospital Saturday of mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer linked to asbestos, said his wife, Susan Gleason.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Johnson were unavailable for comment.
He was 67? Wow!

Barry Manilow can finally get his wardrobe back.
That sucks. He was a great asshole in Die Hard.

Originally Posted by PSU Masterchief

That sucks. He was a great asshole in Die Hard.

"I hope that's not a hostage."

I stayed up till 430am friday morning to catch Die Hard on FMC. I hadn't seen it in forever and was flipping through the channels while in bed and saw that it just started. I was very tired at work the next day, but it was worth it.
I'll always remember him because of Die Hard and most especially The Breakfast Club. RIP Paul.
Yeah, that really sucks.

R.I.P. Gleason.

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