Admittedly, for years, my favorite part of award shows, be it the Emmys, Golden Globes (no, I’m not referring to Lindsey Lohan’s recent Playboy photo shoot) or the Oscars, is the “In Memoriam” segment. I like to see who’s played their last scene in the movie of life. I took this to a much higher level several years ago, when I subscribed to “celebritydeathbeeper.com” which provides email or text messages when some celebrity, or quasi-celebrity fades away.
A friend of mine recently told me about a “death pool” at work. You need to list people you think will die this coming year, and if you’re right, at the end, you win some cash. While I’m not entering, I’m think after watching “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”, Dick Clark has to be on everyone’s list. And maybe the aforementioned Ms. Lohan.
Reviewing a few of the names of the dearly departed from this past year…
Harry Morgan-in the M*A*S*H realm, you have the “Winchester v. Burns”, “Trapper John vs. B.J” and “Klinger vs. Radar” debates, but no debate is more active than “Col. Potter v. Col. Blake”. I, for one, am a huge Potter fan. I found McLean Stevenson’s portrayal of the civilian doctor unequipped to run an Army hospital funny, but unrealistically so. I found better humor in trying to integrate a career army doctor into running a hospital full of misfit conscribed doctors just trying to survive. To me, Harry Morgan was the consummate character actor, and his portrayal of Col. Potter was his all-time best.
Joe Frazier-“down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier”. An iconic expression arising from iconic battles between iconic fighters known only as “Ali” or “Frazier”. This was when boxing was a real sport and the fights lived up to the hype.
Andy Rooney-an ironic coincidence that he died only a week or so after his last show. Someone knew something, though his departure from the show came several years too late. Whenever he would begin “you ever wonder…” I would wonder why he’s on tv.
Al Davis-a bootstrapper who rose from the ranks of junior waterboy to coach/owner/ceo of the Oakland Raiders. A Jewish football legend that dressed like an 80 year old Boca Raton pimp.
Cliff Robertson-he was JFK and Uncle Ben, and I don’t mean the rice guy. “With great power comes great responsibility”.
Amy Winehouse-like a dog whistle, she was lost on me. A big “so what-no surprise”.
Sherwood Schwartz-the hero of my youth. Creator of Gilligan’s Island AND the Brady Bunch. Evil genius!
Betty Ford-I raise a glass in her honor.
Gil Scott-Heron-I still remember vividly his performance of “Johannesburg” on SNL back in the late 70s. “Say what’s the word? Johannesburg”. As I always say, “the revolution will not be televised”.
Randy “Macho Man” Savage-who’s gonna sell me my Slim-Jims? Ohhhh yeah!
Sidney Lumet-how can I not recognize this man for his contributions to this very blog. The director of “Network”, he made me mad as hell, and I’m not taking it anymore. “Attica, Attica…”
Gerry Rafferty-singer/songwriter-his “Baker Street” plays a prominent role in “Good Will Hunting” but whose “Stuck in the Middle With You” plays an even more prominent and scarier role in “Reservoir Dogs”.
Steve Jobs-who was this guy, and what did he do again? Changed the way we listen to music, the way we compute, the way we communicate…Oh yeah, changed the world.