In Memoriam 2007

The great artists who left us this year
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2.
Darlene Conley
Darlene Conley has received two Emmy Award nominations as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of Sally Spectra on The Bold and the Beautiful, a role she has played since December of 1988. She was also nominated for two Soap Opera awards from Soap Opera Digest as Outstanding Comic Performer in a Daytime Drama...
 
3.
Iwao Takamoto
Producer, The Smurfs
Iwao Takamoto had recently graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Los Angeles when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor; Iwao, his parents and siblings were interned as enemy aliens in the Manzanar internment camp where he learned the rudiments of drawing and animation from two fellow internees who had worked as art directors at Hollywood film studios...
 
4.
Lee Bergere
Actor, Dynasty
Born in Brooklyn, Bergere began his career in 1936 as understudy to Danny Kaye in the Broadway production of "Lady in the Dark", with Gertrude Lawrence. His television debut was with James Dean in the live production of "Thunder on Sycamore Street". A World War II veteran, he was in charge of entertainment services for soldiers serving in North Africa...
 
6.
Sidney Sheldon
Sheldon was born in Chicago on February 17, 1917. He began writing as a youngster and at the age of ten he made his first sale of a poem for $10. During the Depression, he worked at a variety of jobs and while attending Northwestern University he contributed short plays to drama groups. At seventeen...
 
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8.
Yvonne De Carlo
Actress, The Munsters
Yvonne De Carlo was born Margaret Yvonne Middleton on September 1, 1922 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She was three when her father abandoned the family. Her mother turned to waitressing in a restaurant to make ends meet--a rough beginning for an actress who would, one day, be one of Hollywood's elite...
 
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10.
Barbara McNair
Popular African-American vocalist and entertainer Barbara McNair dazzled audiences with her singing prowess and exceptional beauty for well over four decades until her death on February 4, 2007 of throat cancer in Los Angeles. The Chicago-born entertainer and one-time secretary was raised in Racine...
 
11.
Frankie Laine
Music Department, Raging Bull
Singer, composer and author Frankie Laine was born March 30, 1913 in Chicago. His real name was Francesco Paulo LoVecchio and he lived in Chicago's Little Italy. Frankie was the oldest of eight children born to Sicilian immigrants John and Anna Lo Vecchio, who had come from Monreale, Sicily near Palermo...
 
13.
Ian Richardson
Actor, Dark City
A classical actor (and founding member in 1960 of the Royal Shakespeare Company), Richardson earned international fame as the villainous Francis Urquart in the BBC television trilogy, "House of Cards." Uttered in a cut-glass accent, the Machiavellian Prime Minister's sly "You might well think that ...
 
14.
Janet Blair
When it came to bright and polished, they didn't get much spiffier than singer/actress Janet Blair -- perhaps to her detriment in the long haul. At Columbia, she was usually overlooked for the roles that might have tested her dramatic mettle. Nevertheless, she pleased audiences as a pert and perky co-star to a number of bigger stars...
 
15.
Ray Evans
Music Department, The Godfather
Academy Award-winning songwriter ("Buttons and Bows" [1948], "Mona Lisa" [1950], "Que Sera Sera" [1956]), composer, author, musician and publisher, educated at the Wharton School and the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career in the college dance orchestra, then played in local night clubs and cruise ships...
 
16.
Betty Hutton
Betty Hutton was born Elizabeth June Thornburg on February 26, 1921, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Two years later Betty's father decided that the family way of life wasn't for him, so he left (he committed suicide 16 years later). Having to fend for themselves, Mrs. Thornburg moved the family to Detroit to find work in the numerous auto factories there...
 
17.
Bradley Delp
Soundtrack, The Limey
In 1995 Brad Delp and John Muzzy formed the Beatles Cover band, BeatleJuice. They played throughout New England until his death in 2007. BeatleJuice was what he referred to as his "hobby" and they performed for many charity events, school functions, parties and small scale venues. There are some fantastic videos on YouTube under Brad Delp BeatleJuice...
 
21.
Dabbs Greer
Greer's last role in a long and successful career, was in the hit movie, The Green Mile. He shared the starring role with Tom Hanks--Hanks as the younger version, Greer as the much older version--of lead character, Paul Edgecomb. Greer's character narrates throughout the entire film. It is from Greer's p.o.v. and memory flashbacks that the entire tale unfolds. He was 82 years old.
 
22.
Gordon Scott
American actor and body-builder whose greatest claim to fame was his role as the movies' eleventh (and some say best) Tarzan. Scott was born Gordon Merrill Werschkul in Portland, Oregon, one of nine children of advertising man Stanley Werschkul and his wife Alice. He grew up in Oregon, where he discovered body-building...
 
23.
Kitty Carlisle
Kitty Carlisle Hart wore a cloak of many professional and elegant colors. Actress, opera singer, Broadway performer, TV celebrity, game show panelist, patron of the arts, and, at age 95, this vital woman continued her six-decade musical odyssey with songs and reminisces in her one-woman show: "Kitty Carlisle Hart: An American Icon," which toured from her beloved New York to Los Angeles...
 
24.
Roscoe Lee Browne
He was a master class in cerebral eloquence and audience command...and although his dominant playing card in the realm of acting was quite serious and stately, nobody cut a more delightfully dry edge in sitcoms than this gentleman, whose calm yet blistering put-downs often eluded his lesser victims...
 
25.
Tom Poston
Veteran comedic actor Tom Poston, he with the bugged-out eyes that commonly accentuated a vague look of bewilderment, was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1921 and, by age nine, was appearing with an acrobatic troupe. He was attending Bethany College in West Virginia when World War II broke out and he joined the U.S...
 
28.
Gretchen Wyler
Lovely, sparkling blonde musical actress and dancer Gretchen Wyler was born Gretchen Weinecke in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the daughter of Louis Gustave Weinecke, a gasoline engineer, and Peggy (nee Highley) Weinecke, on February 15, 1932. She graduated from her home town high school and went on to study dance with June Runyon in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
 
29.
Chris Benoit
Benoit has trained in Stu Hart's "Dungeon". He has wrestled in such places as Canada, the U.S., Japan, Mexico and Germany. Benoit has held the WCW Tag Team title and Television title (his TV title reign was never acknowledged on TV) At his level of experience and natural skill Benoit should be the World Champ and in main events throughout the country...
 
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32.
Beverly Sills
This vibrant, fine-humored coloratura was able to accomplish what most others of her ilk could or would not do -- she humanized opera and made it approachable to the masses. There were no diva-like traits in this star and the public absolutely adored her for it. Dubbed "America's Queen of Opera" in 1971 by Time magazine...
 
33.
Charles Lane
Mean, miserly and miserable-looking, they didn't come packaged with a more annoying and irksome bow than Charles Lane. Glimpsing even a bent smile from this unending sourpuss was extremely rare, unless one perhaps caught him in a moment of insidious glee after carrying out one of his many nefarious schemes...
 
34.
Ingmar Bergman
Ernst Ingmar Bergman was born July 14, 1918, the son of a priest. The film and T.V. series, The Best Intentions is biographical and shows the early marriage of his parents. The film 'Söndagsbarn' depicts a bicycle journey with his father. In the miniseries Private Confessions is the trilogy closed. Here, as in 'Den Goda Viljan' Pernilla August play his mother...
 
35.
Michel Serrault
Actor, Diabolique
As accomplished and versatile the well-loved French actor Michel Serrault proved to be over the course of five decades, American audiences still remember this actor for one role only - that of the neurotic, outrageously flamboyant drag performer Albin (aka Zaza) in the side-splitting French gay farce La Cage aux Folles...
 
36.
Michelangelo Antonioni
Writer, Blow-Up
Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper. In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema" studying directorship at the School of Cinema...
 
39.
Lee Hazlewood
Soundtrack, Forrest Gump
This singer, songwriter and producer who wrote millionsellers for Nancy Sinatra 'These boots are made for walkin' and for Dean Martin 'Houston' and 'Shades', and for Frank sinatra 'This town' was the son of an oilman. Drafted during the Korean war, he became a country DJ in¨Phoenix in 1953. He began experimenting with session guitarist Al Casey by putting echo on country songs...
 
40.
Merv Griffin
Producer, Jeopardy!
Merv Griffin was a singer and band leader, movie actor, television personality and media mogul who in his time hosting The Merv Griffin Show was second in fame and influence as a talk show host only to Johnny Carson. Griffin was best known for creating the two most popular game shows in television syndication history...
 
41.
Miyoshi Umeki
Although she projected the typical Japanese female stereotype of humbleness, delicacy and subservience in most of her prime film and stage roles, beguiling, tiny-framed Miyoshi Umeki was nevertheless an assertive scene-stealer. This docile and deceptive-looking talent with the cropped hair and heart-shaped face radiated charm and innocence so effortlessly...
 
42.
Alice Ghostley
Actress, The Graduate
Whether portraying a glum, withering wallflower, a drab and dowdy housewife, a klutzy maid or a cynical gossip, eccentric character comedienne Alice Ghostley had the ability to draw laughs from the skimpiest of material with a simple fret or whine. Making a name for herself on the Tony-winning Broadway stage...
 
43.
Jane Wyman
Actress, Falcon Crest
Jane Wyman was born Sarah Jane Mayfield on January 5, 1917, in St. Joseph, Missouri (she was also known later as Sarah Jane Fulks). When she was only eight years old, and after her parents filed for divorce, she lost her father prematurely. After graduating high school she attempted, with the help of her mother...
 
44.
Lois Maxwell
Actress, Goldfinger
Lois Maxwell has lived in Canada having moved from England. While still acting in the Bond films during the 80s Lois also became a regular columnist for the Toronto Sun newspaper. She purchased a cottage in northern Ontario and would often share stories about her experiences on the movie set, her co-stars...
 
45.
Luciano Pavarotti
Soundtrack, Man on Fire
Luciano Pavarotti was the best-selling classical singer and humanitarian known for his most original and popular performances with the 'Three Tenors' and 'Pavarotti & Friends'. He was born on October 12, 1935, in Modena, Emilia-Romagna, in Northern Italy. He was the first child and only son of two children in the family of a baker...
 
46.
Marcel Marceau
Marcel Marceau was the legendary mime, who survived the Nazi occupation, and saved many children in WWII. He was regarded for his peerless style pantomime, moving audiences without uttering a single word, and was known to the World as a "master of silence." He was born Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923...
 
47.
Percy Rodrigues
A symbol of intelligence, leadership and moral strength in his various 1960s and 1970s roles, African-Canadian actor Percy Rodrigues rose in Hollywood stature during the late 1960s following a couple of earlier Broadway appearances. The serenely handsome, distinguished-looking actor also became notable...
 
48.
Deborah Kerr
Born Deborah Jane Kerr-Trimmer in Scotland in 1921, she was the daughter of a soldier who had been gassed in World War I. A shy, insecure child, she found an outlet for expressing her feelings in acting. Her aunt, a radio star, got her some stage work when she was a teenager, and she came to the attention of British film producer Gabriel Pascal...
 
49.
Joey Bishop
Perpetually glum standup comedian Joey Bishop was born Joseph Abraham Gottlieb on February 3, 1918, in the Bronx, New York. He was the youngest of five children of Chana "Anna" (Siegel) and Jacob Gottlieb, a bicycle repairman. His father was an Austrian Jewish immigrant and his mother was a Romanian Jew...
 
50.
Robert Goulet
Robert Gerard Goulet was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to a family of French-Canadian origin. He was the son of Jeanette (Gauthier) and Joseph Georges André Goulet. After hearing his son sing "Lead Kindly Light", in their church hall, his father told him, "I'm proud of you, son". A few weeks later...
 
51.
Delbert Mann
Director, Marty
Delbert Mann, the Oscar-winning film director, was born Delbert Martin Mann Jr. in Lawrence, Kansas, in 1920. His father moved the family to Nashville, Tennesse, after taking a teaching position at Scarritt College. The young Mann graduated from Vanderbilt University, where he met his future wife, Ann Caroline Gillespie...
 
53.
Hank Thompson
Soundtrack, Slither
 
54.
Laraine Day
Born into a prominent Mormon family in Utah, Laraine Day's acting career began after her parents moved to Long Beach, California, where she joined the Long Beach Players. She appeared in her first film in 1937 in a bit part, then did leads in several George O'Brien westerns. Signing a contract with MGM...
 
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57.
Norman Mailer
Norman Mailer, the Brooklyn-born and -bred writer who fought for what he characterized as the "heavyweight championship" of American letters after the 1961 death of Ernest Hemingway, never came close to his dream of writing the Great American novel, but he was a colossus of American culture and literature in the 1960s...
 
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59.
Floyd 'Red Crow' Westerman
A renowned American Indian activist-singer-songwriter.
 
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61.
Oscar Peterson
Oscar Peterson, the famous jazz musician, started his recording career in the mid 40s with records for RCA. As member of the group "Jazz at the Philharmonic" he started touring in the 50s and continued until late in the 60s. During this time he made also numerous recordings for various labels. He has recorded with the great jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong...