Civil Rights Figure Rodney King Drowns At His Home (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012)

Rodney King was not influential in the early 90’s for speaking out against the LAPD or rioting. He did however, incite riots after a bystander videotaped him taking a vicious beating by the police.

Some might say that he was a sacrificial lamb, that the brutality he endured was in some way necessary because it really showed how differently African Americans were being treated at that time.

No one should have to suffer that kind of abuse just to prove a point. King’s “fame” came at a heftier price than public humiliation and broken bones.  Continue reading “Civil Rights Figure Rodney King Drowns At His Home (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012)”

Desperate Housewives’ Kathryn Joosten, Dead At 72

Kathryn Joosten, best known for her hilarious roles as Mrs. McCluskey on Desperate Housewives, secretary Dolores Landingham in The West Wing, and “old lady god” in Joan of Arcadia, passed away on Friday of lung cancer.

Joosten had struggled with the illness two separate times, once in 2001 and then again in 2008. She won two Emmys for Housewives and a story arc focusing on cancer was included for her character.

Besides her three most notable television gigs, she played small parts in every show you can name – everything from Will & Grace to Monk, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Closer, and General Hospital.

Continue reading “Desperate Housewives’ Kathryn Joosten, Dead At 72”

Whitney Houston (Aug. 9, 1963 – Feb. 11, 2012)

As you probably already know, Whitney Houston passed away on Saturday afternoon at age 48. She was discovered in the bath tub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Reports indicate that water was found in Houston’s lungs and that there may have been prescription drugs and alcohol involved.

Her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown was taken to the hospital on Sunday after suffering from a severe anxiety attack. Bobby Brown pulled out from performing a concert with New Edition to spend time with her.  Continue reading “Whitney Houston (Aug. 9, 1963 – Feb. 11, 2012)”

Ian Abercrombie Of Quirky Seinfeld Fame (September 11, 1934 – January 26, 2012)

The man whose character managed to stand out for his eccentricities on a show already centered around peculiar behavior passed away yesterday at age 77.

Ian Abercrombie was best known for his role as Elaine’s boss, Mr. Pitt, on Seinfeld. His candy bar-cutting technique was particularly memorable.

Besides his work with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the rest of the Larry David-born gang Abercrombie appeared in a wide range of projects.

Everything from TV (Days Of Our Lives, Wizards of Waverly Place) to voice work (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Rango) to films like Sam Raimi’s cult classic, Army Of Darkness. 

His career spanned all the way back to 1965. No word yet on the cause of death.

X Games Medalist Sarah Burke Dies After Skiing Accident (September 3, 1982 – January 19, 2012)

Sarah Burke, a Canadian X Games competitive skier passed away on Thursday at 29 years-old after being hospitalized January 10 during a training session in Park City, Utah.

Burke went into cardiac arrest after a failed superpipe trick (a flatspin 540) in which she landed on her head. She was taken by helicopter to Salt Lake City’s University of Utah Hospital where she went into an induced coma.

On the 11th doctors attempted to repair a vertebral artery but Burke did not improve as she had suffered “irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest.” She died surrounded by loved ones – her parents, sister and husband, fellow skier Rory Bushfield. Continue reading “X Games Medalist Sarah Burke Dies After Skiing Accident (September 3, 1982 – January 19, 2012)”

Former Weezer Bassist Mikey Welsh (April 20, 1971 – October 8, 2011)

Michael Edward Welsh, known simply as Mikey Welsh, passed away on Saturday at the age of 40 after foreshadowing his own death two weeks earlier on both Twitter and Facebook.

The musician – who struggled with drugs, attempted suicide and had a nervous breakdown while touring in Europe – left the band in 2001. (He joined in 1998)

Welsh, who pursued art after departing from Weezer, mentioned death when referencing a painting on September 26th via Facebook wall post…

Continue reading “Former Weezer Bassist Mikey Welsh (April 20, 1971 – October 8, 2011)”

The Cultural Impact Of Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

There is hardly a person alive who hasn’t owned an iPod or used a Macintosh computer. Even your grandma has walked past a Mac Store or seen a movie with some celebrity doing important research, intently staring at a screen that slyly depicted some adorable colored fruit icon.

You’d see U2 and other prominent musicians famously dancing through an iTunes commercial.

That upside down glowing white logo, shown on several season of Sex And The City, was Carrie Bradshaw’s sole means of writing her famous sex and advice column.

The villainous characters on early season of Fox’s hit show 24 would use Windows computers, while the “good guys” used Macs. Attractive women in nearly every horror movie I can imagine put in iPod earbuds and start running down the street right before a big kill scene…

Continue reading “The Cultural Impact Of Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)”

Hip Hop’s Godmother, Sylvia Robinson (March 6, 1936 – September 29, 2011)

Sylvia Robinson, 75, was a woman whose name you may not of heard, but whose work you surely have. She is known as the mother/godmother of hip hop music.

Robinson was the founder and CEO of Sugar Hill Records. She put together The Sugarhill Gang and released their 1979 single “Rapper’s Delight,” which was the first rap song to be commercially recognized by the public.

Sugar Hill Records and Sylvia Robinson also put out Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message,” from the album of the same name, which is unarguably one of the best rap efforts of all time…

Continue reading “Hip Hop’s Godmother, Sylvia Robinson (March 6, 1936 – September 29, 2011)”

Tom Wilson, ‘Ziggy’ Cartoonist (August 1, 1931 – September 16, 2011)

The man behind the humorous simpleton “Ziggy,” a comic that he drew for over 17 years, passed away on Friday, September 16th. Tom Wilson, a former army veteran, died in his sleep of pneumonia in a Cincinnati hospital. He was 80 years old.

After the 18 years or so that he drew Ziggy (his son continued the tradition in 1987) his comic, the beloved and well-known Ziggy, became a huge hit. A cute little bald guy with a prominent schnauze.

The hilarity of Ziggy occurred in the everyday problems that he encountered, the humor was actually in the normalness of it all. Excuse me, WAS is an inappropriate word since Ziggy now runs in the pages of more than 500 newspapers in America…

Continue reading “Tom Wilson, ‘Ziggy’ Cartoonist (August 1, 1931 – September 16, 2011)”

Spartacus Star Andy Whitfield (July 17, 1972 – September 11, 2011)

Andy Whitfield, 39, a fairly unknown actor before being cast on the hit Starz show Spartacus: Blood And Sandpassed away yesterday morning in Sydney, Australia.

The athletic Wales-native left the show for a hiatus after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, while the creators worked on a brief prequel to Blood And Sand called Spartacus: Gods Of The Arena, focusing on some of the core characters, sans Whitfield.

Whitfield would have come back for a second full season if he hadn’t received the terrible news in March of 2010 that his cancer had reappeared. Nobody but his family really knew the details of his health previously, so his death comes as a huge shock…  Continue reading “Spartacus Star Andy Whitfield (July 17, 1972 – September 11, 2011)”

Kimmel Show Regular, “Uncle” Frank Potenza (November 11, 1933 – August 25, 2011)

Jimmy Kimmel’s “Uncle Frank” on his regular night time talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live and real life uncle, Frank Potenza passed away today in LA at the age of 77. His nephew (Jimmy Kimmel) told reporters that the cause was cancer.

Though he never performed many security guard duties for Kimmel, he deservedly wore the uniform of one. He was a Korean war veteran, served for 20 years as a police officer in New York and later became a security guard at Caesars Palace in Nevada.

He even worked as a personal security guard for none other than Frank Sinatra.

He had a blustery humor to him that was just so obvious and hilarious. Everything from his voice to his hand gestures to his bewildered facial expressions…

Continue reading “Kimmel Show Regular, “Uncle” Frank Potenza (November 11, 1933 – August 25, 2011)”

10 Year Anniversary of Aaliyah’s Death

 [“Try Again” from the Romeo Must Die soundtrack, which earned her a Grammy nomination]

Ten years ago on this date, August 25th, R&B artist Aaliyah, 22, died in a tragic plane crash. She a phenomenal performer, recording artist, and aspiring actress and one of three of the most surprising deaths that I’ve witnessed in my lifetime next to Brittany Murphy and Heath Ledger.

Aaliyah was rising to level of fame that would have secured her a spot on the radio in today’s market. She had the star power of a toned-down Rihanna and was famous for her collaborations with Timbaland and Missy Elliot. She was also an excellent dancer, comparable at that time to Britney Spears or Beyonce…

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Frank DiLeo (October 23, 1947 – August 24, 2011)

Frank DiLeo, 63, a promoter, actor and manager passed away  yesterday in Pittsburg due to complications from heart surgery.

He starred in Scorsese’s Goodfellas and Wayne’s World 1 and 2, and most prominently managed Michael Jackson at the height of his career during the 80’s.

He had worked for Epic Records and RCA promoting noted bands of that time such as Culture Club, Cyndi Lauper and REO Speedwagon. He also helped make Jackson’s Thriller album the success that it was – the bestselling album of all time.

Continue reading “Frank DiLeo (October 23, 1947 – August 24, 2011)”

Jerry Leiber (April 25, 1933 – August 22, 2011)

78 year-old Jerry Leiber (left) passed away today at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA, of heart failure. Leiber is one-half of the songwriter duo responsible for the Ben E. King hits “Stand By Me” and “Spanish Harlem,” and “Hound Dog” originally sung by Willie Mae Thornton (made famous by Elvis) AND “Love Potion No.9” by The Clovers (which was covered by everyone from AC/DC to Neil Diamond to Robert Plant)

Leiber’s longtime partner in prolific platinum-hit-making glory was Mike Stoller (also 78) who composed music on piano while Lieber lyricized famous lines like:

Is that all there is to a fire?”
Is that all there is, is that all there is?
If that’s all there is
if that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
(“Is That All There Is?” 1969)…

Continue reading “Jerry Leiber (April 25, 1933 – August 22, 2011)”

Rest in Peace Miss Winehouse. You Were a Fucking Genius.

Amy Jade Winehouse
September 14th, 1983-July 23rd 2011

If you were to ask me a few months ago what celebrity was most likely to not make it to the age of 30, I would have thought about it for less than two minutes, and then said “Amy Winehouse.” My second guess would have been Lindsay Lohan, though we all know LL isn’t quite spiralling down a glass pipe smoke slide in the same way that Amy Winehouse was. This chick was in St. Lucia for over a year, becoming more and more bizarre with the release of each tabloid. Ex-husband drama, weight issues, drugs, breast implants…

…The great thing is, nobody cared about any of that even a fraction as much as they cared about news of new material. Amy Winehouse made two CDs in her lifetime. Her first, Frank, out in 2003, was more of an experimental growing process for Winehouse.

Her second, Back To Black was another story. Like Lady Gaga’s The Fame or Adele’s 21, Back To Black become a huge part of pop culture. The crucial time had arrived when actually going to rehab was simply a better option for celebrities. Plus, it boosted morale to venture to Cirque Lodge or Promises. For a celebrity, it signified improvement. “I am better, I am checking into rehab, I admitted my problem and am seeking help.”

Continue reading “Rest in Peace Miss Winehouse. You Were a Fucking Genius.”