As is any given year, many notables, both famous and infamous, passed on. There are far too many to list them all, but here are a few which touched our hearts in various ways. They are all listed in chronological order from January, 2011, to December, 2011. Due to the length of this, I have added a list in alphabetical order (last name, first name) tagged to anchors so you may jump to who you would like to view.
May they all rest in peace, and may we all gain wisdom from their lives. Whether a positive or negative impact on people and society, there are always lessons to learn. Not to negate what work many others have done, but the person who died which most touched me was Harry Morgan as Colonel Potter in M*A*S*H*. Oh, horse-hockeys….
Barry, John – English conductor and composer of film music
Bin Laden, Osama – Founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda
Christopher, Warren Minor – American lawyer, diplomat, politician, and Secretary of State under Bill Clinton
Clemons, Clarence – American musician best known for sax with Springsteen’s E Street Band
Conaway, Jeff – American actor best known for his role as Kenickie in the movie musical Grease
Cooper, Jackie – American child and adult actor, television director, producer and executive
Davis, Al – Principal owner of the Oakland Raiders of the NFL from 1970 to 2011
Falk, Peter – American actor, best known for his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the television series Columbo
Ferraro, Geraldine – First female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major political party (Democrat)
Ford, Betty – First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977 during the presidency of her husband Gerald Ford
Frazier, Joe – a.k.a “Smokin’ Joe”, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion
Gough, Michael – English actor best know as the butler “Alfred” in newer Batman movies
Heidi the Cross-Eyed Opossum – A cross-eyed Virginia Opossum housed at Germany’s Leipzig Zoo
Hetherington, Timothy – British-American photojournalist killed while covering the Libyan civil war
Hitchens, Christopher – British American author and journalist
Husain, M.F. – Eminent painter of Indian origin, widely regarded as the “Picasso of India”
Jobs, Steve – Reknowned as a pioneer of the PC revolution; co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc
Jong-il, Kim – Supreme leader of North Korea
Kameny, Frank – One of the most significant figures” in the American gay rights movement
Keane, Bil – American cartoonist known for The Family Circus
Kevorkian, Jack – American pathologist and euthanasia activist, aka “Dr Death”
LaLanne, Jack – American fitness, motivational speaker
Lumet, Sidney – American director, producer and screenwriter; known for movie Dog Day Afternoon
Morgan, Harry – American actor best known for his role as Colonel Sherman T. Potter in M*A*S*H
Nelson, David Oswald – American actor, director, producer; Ozzie & Harriet
Rafferty, Gerry – Musician originally from Scotland; song Baker Street
Rooney, Andy – American radio and television writer, a part of 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011
Russell, Jane – American film actress, sex symbol
Savage, Randy – a.k.a “Macho Man”, was an American professional wrestler
Scott-Heron, Gil – American poet, author and musician, best known for his “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
Stempel, Robert – Former Chairman and CEO of General Motors (GM)
Taylor, Elizabeth – British-American actress
Wheldon, Dan – British racing driver and winner of the Indy 500 in both 2005 and 2011
Winehouse, Amy – English singer-songwriter known for her powerful deep contralto vocals
Yates, Peter James – English director, producer; known for movie Bullitt
Gerry Rafferty: D. January 4, 2011
Gerry Rafferty (16 April 1947 – 4 January 2011) was a Scottish singer songwriter best known for his solo hits “Baker Street“, “Right Down the Line”, “Days Gone Down”, “Night Owl”, “Get It Right Next Time”, and with the band Stealers Wheel, “Stuck in the Middle with You”. Rafferty was born into a working-class family in Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. His mother taught him both Irish and Scottish folk songs as a boy; later, he was influenced by the music of The Beatles and Bob Dylan. He joined the folk-pop band The Humblebums in 1969, but left in 1971 and recorded his first solo album Can I Have My Money Back. Rafferty and Joe Egan formed the group Stealers Wheel in 1972, producing several hits, most notably “Stuck in the Middle with You”. In 1978, he recorded his second solo album, City to City, which includes “Baker Street”, his most popular song.
Peter James Yates: D. January 9, 2011
Peter James Yates (24 July 1929 – 9 January 2011) was an English director and producer. He was born in Aldershot, Hampshire. Summer Holiday (1963), his first film as director, was a “lightweight” vehicle for Cliff Richard. Yates had directed the original Royal Court production of N. F. Simpson’s play One Way Pendulum and was chosen to make the film version released in 1964. Robbery (1967), a crime thriller, is a fictionalized version of the Great Train Robbery of 1963. This led to Bullitt (1968), of which Bruce Weber has written, “Mr. Yates’s reputation probably rests most securely on “Bullitt” (1968), his first American film – and indeed, on one particular scene, an extended car chase that instantly became a classic.” After Bullitt, Yates would do action films, but would intermix them with comedy and drama films.
David Oswald Nelson: D. January 11, 2011
David Oswald Nelson (October 24, 1936 – January 11, 2011) was an American actor, director, producer. He was the elder son of bandleader/TV actor Ozzie Nelson and singer Harriet Hilliard and the older brother of singer Eric “Ricky” Nelson.
Return to the List at the Top
Francois Henri “Jack” LaLanne (September 26, 1914 – January 23, 2011) was an American fitness, exercise, and nutritional expert and motivational speaker who is sometimes called “the godfather of fitness” and the “first fitness superhero.” He described himself as being a “sugarholic” and a “junk food junkie” until he was 15. He also had behavioral problems, but “turned his life around” after listening to a public lecture by Paul Bragg, a well-known nutrition speaker. During his career, he came to believe that the country’s overall health depended on the health of its population, writing that “physical culture and nutrition — is the salvation of America.”
John Barry: D. January 30, 2011
John Barry Prendergast, OBE (3 November 1933 – 30 January 2011) was an English conductor and composer of film music. He is best known for composing the soundtracks for 12 of the James Bond films between 1962 and 1987. He wrote the scores to the award winning films Midnight Cowboy, Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa, in a career which lasted over 50 years.
Born in York, North Riding of Yorkshire, Barry spent his early years working in cinemas, owned by his father. During his National Service in Cyprus, Barry began performing as a musician having learned to play the trumpet. Upon completing his national service, he formed his own band in 1957, The John Barry Seven. He later developed an interest in composing and arranging music making his début for television in 1958. He came to the notice of the makers of the first James Bond film Dr. No who were dissatisfied with a theme for James Bond given to them by Monty Norman. This started a successful association between Barry and the James Bond films which lasted for 25 years.
He received awards for his work, including five Academy Awards; two for Born Free, and one each for The Lion in Winter (for which he also won a BAFTA Award), Dances with Wolves and Out of Africa (both of which also won him Grammy Awards). He was later nominated for a Golden Globe for best original score for the 1980 film Somewhere in Time. Barry completed his last film score, Enigma in 2001 and recorded the successful album Eternal Echoes the same year.
Jane Russell: D. February 28, 2011
Jane Russell (June 21, 1921 – February 28, 2011) was an American film actress and was one of Hollywood’s leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s. Russell moved from the Midwest to California, where she had her first film role in 1943 with The Outlaw. In 1947, Russell delved into music before returning to films. After starring in multiple films in the 1950s, Russell again returned to music while completing several other films in the 1960s. She starred in over 20 films throughout her career. Russell married three times and adopted three children and, in 1955, founded the World Adoption International Fund. For her achievements in film, she received several accolades including having her hand and foot prints immortalized in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Michael Gough: D. March 17, 2011
Michael Gough (pronounced gawf; 23 November 1916 – 17 March 2011) was an English character actor who appeared in over 150 films. He is perhaps best known to international audiences for his roles in the Hammer Horror films from 1958, and for his recurring role as Alfred Pennyworth in all four movies of the Burton/Schumacher Batman franchise, beginning with Batman (1989). His later roles included Alfred Pennyworth for director Tim Burton, including Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992). He also reprised his role as Alfred in the 1994 BBC radio adaptation of Batman: Knightfall and in Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) for director Joel Schumacher. Gough worked for Burton again in 1999′s Sleepy Hollow and 2005′s Corpse Bride. He also briefly reprised his Alfred role in six 2001 television commercials for the OnStar automobile tracking system, informing Batman of the system’s installation in the Batmobile. As a favor to Burton, Gough came out of retirement once more to appear in Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.
Warren Minor Christopher: D. March 18, 2011
Warren Minor Christopher (October 27, 1925 – March 18, 2011) was an American lawyer, diplomat and politician. During Bill Clinton’s first term as President, Christopher served as the 63rd Secretary of State. He also served as Deputy Attorney General in the Lyndon Johnson administration, and as Deputy Secretary of State in the Jimmy Carter administration. At the time of his death, he was a Senior Partner at O’Melveny & Myers in the firm’s Century City, California, office. He also served as a professor in the College Honors Program at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Serving as Secretary of State from January 20, 1993 until January 17, 1997, Christopher’s main goals were expanding NATO, establishing peace between Israel and its neighbors, and using economic pressure to force China’s hand on human rights practices. The major events transpiring during his tenure included the Oslo Accords, the Dayton Agreement, normalization of United States–Vietnam relations, the Rwandan Genocide, Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti, and the Khobar Towers bombing.
Elizabeth “Liz” Taylor: D. March 23, 2011
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond “Liz” Taylor, DBE (February 27, 1932 – March 23, 2011) was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood’s Golden Age. As one of the world’s most famous film stars, Taylor was recognized for her acting ability and for her glamorous lifestyle, beauty and distinctive violet eyes.
National Velvet (1944) was Taylor’s first success, and she starred in Father of the Bride (1950), A Place in the Sun (1951), Giant (1956), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), and Suddenly, Last Summer (1959). She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for BUtterfield 8 (1960), played the title role in Cleopatra (1963), and married her co-star Richard Burton. They appeared together in 11 films, including Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), for which Taylor won a second Academy Award. From the mid-1970s, she appeared less frequently in film, and made occasional appearances in television and theatre.
Her much publicized personal life included eight marriages and several life-threatening illnesses. From the mid-1980s, Taylor championed HIV and AIDS programs; she co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research in 1985, and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1993. She received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Legion of Honour, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and a Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, who named her seventh on their list of the ”Greatest American Screen Legends”. Taylor died of congestive heart failure in March 2011 at the age of 79, having suffered many years of ill health.
Geraldine Ferraro: D. March 26, 2011
Geraldine Anne Ferraro (August 26, 1935 – March 26, 2011) was an American attorney, a Democratic Party politician, and a member of the United States House of Representatives. She was the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party.
Ferraro grew up in New York City and became a teacher and lawyer. She joined the Queens County District Attorney’s Office in 1974, where she headed the new Special Victims Bureau that dealt with sex crimes, child abuse, and domestic violence. She was elected to the House in 1978, where she rose rapidly in the party hierarchy while focusing on legislation to bring equity for women in the areas of wages, pensions, and retirement plans. In 1984, former Vice President and presidential candidate Walter Mondale selected Ferraro to be his running mate in the upcoming election. In doing so she became the only Italian American to be a major-party national nominee in addition to being the first woman. The positive polling the Mondale-Ferraro ticket received when she joined faded as questions about her and her husband’s finances arose. In the general election, Mondale and Ferraro were defeated in a landslide by incumbent President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. W. Bush.
Ferraro ran campaigns for a seat in the United States Senate from New York in 1992 and 1998, both times starting as the front-runner for her party’s nomination before losing in the primary election. She served as a United States Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights from 1993 until 1996, in the presidential administration of Bill Clinton. She also continued her career as a journalist, author, and businesswoman, and served in the 2008 presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Ferraro died on March 26, 2011, from multiple myeloma, 12 years after being diagnosed.
Sidney Lumet: D. June 25, 2011
Sidney Lumet ( /lu?’m?t/ loo-met; June 25, 1924 – April 9, 2011) was an American director, producer and screenwriter with over 50 films to his credit. He was nominated for the Academy Award as Best Director for 12 Angry Men (1957), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976) and The Verdict (1982). He did not win an individual Academy Award, but he did receive an Academy Honorary Award and 14 of his films were nominated for various Oscars, such as Network, which was nominated for 10, winning 4.
The Encyclopedia of Hollywood states that Lumet was one of the most prolific directors of the modern era, making more than one movie per year on average since his directorial debut in 1957. He was noted by Turner Classic Movies for his “strong direction of actors”, “vigorous storytelling” and the “social realism” in his best work. Film critic Roger Ebert described him as having been “one of the finest craftsmen and warmest humanitarians among all film directors.” Lumet was also known as an “actor’s director,” having worked with the best of them during his career, probably more than “any other director.” Sean Connery, who acted in five of his films, considered him one of his favorite directors, and a director who had that “vision thing.”
Timothy Hetherington: D. April 20, 2011
Timothy Alistair Telemachus Hetherington (5 December 1970 – 20 April 2011) was a British-American photojournalist with work that “ranged from multi-screen installations, to fly-poster exhibitions, to handheld device downloads.” He was best known for the documentary film Restrepo (2010), which he co-directed with Sebastian Junger; the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2011. Hetherington was killed by mortar shells fired by Libyan forces while covering the 2011 Libyan civil war. The thumbnail photo to the right is the last know picture taken of Tim as he climbs down a building after gunshots rang out from inside by loyalist forces in the besieged city of Misrata, hours before he was killed in the city while covering the conflict (courtesy of Getty Images).
In a June 2010 interview for The New York Times, when asked by photojournalist Michael Kamber about Infidel, the book he did with Chris Boot that was about to be published, Hetherington commented on the level of danger he encountered when working on it:
The first time I went to Afghanistan, in 2007, the world was very much focused on Iraq. People had forgotten – and now we have come to accept – that the Afghan war was going out of control. When I got to the Korangal Valley, and there was lots of fighting going on, it completely surprised me. I was gobsmacked. At the end of October 2007, 70 percent of American bombs being dropped were in that valley, and the casualty rate was at 25 percent wounded. So the images I made were very action oriented. Photojournalism. Reminiscent of classical war photography. I did that because I wanted people to see that there was a lot of fighting going on. Anyway, I go back and the fighting sort of bored me. Because when you are in a lot of combat after a while, a lot of it – you know? If you are inside a base that’s being attacked, like Restrepo was, you are in a fairly good position. The likelihood of you being killed was pretty low, unless they put a mortar on you.
Hetherington was killed while covering the front lines in the besieged city of Misrata, Libya, during the 2011 Libyan civil war. There appeared to be uncertainty whether he was killed by a mortar shell or an RPG round. The same attack also killed photographer Chris Hondros and gravely wounded photographer Guy Martin. A source said that the group was traveling with rebel fighters. One report said “several Libyan rebels” were also killed in the blast, and at least two other journalists also survived it. Hetherington tweeted the previous day, “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO”.
Here are a few of the last photos taken by Tim Hetherington in Libya.
Osama bin Laden: D. May 2, 2011
Osama bin Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden (Arabic: أسامة بن محمد بن عوض بن لادن, ʾUsāmah bin Muḥammad bin ʿAwaḍ bin Lādin; March 10, 1957 – May 2, 2011) was the founder of the militant Islamist organization Al-Qaeda, the jihadist organization responsible for the September 11 attacks on the United States and numerous other mass-casualty attacks against civilian and military targets. He was a member of the wealthy Saudi bin Laden family, and an ethnic Yemeni Kindite.
Bin Laden was on the American Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) lists of Ten Most Wanted Fugitives and Most Wanted Terrorists for his involvement in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. From 2001 to 2011, bin Laden was a major target of the War on Terror, with a US$25 million bounty by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
After being placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, bin Laden remained in hiding during three U.S. presidential administrations. On May 2, 2011, bin Laden was shot and killed inside a private residential compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, by U.S. Navy SEALs and CIA operatives in a covert operation ordered by United States President Barack Obama. Shortly after his death, bin Laden’s body was buried at sea. Al-Qaeda acknowledged his death on May 6, 2011, vowing to retaliate.
There is much controversy among the public whether or not bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center, or used as a patsy in order for the US to declare war, as well as whether or not this is his actual death.
Jackie Cooper: D. May 3, 2011
Jackie Cooper (September 15, 1922 – May 3, 2011) was an American actor, television director, producer and executive. He was a child actor who managed to make the transition to an adult career. Cooper was the first child actor to receive an Academy Award nomination. At age 9, he was also the youngest performer to have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role—an honor that he received for the film Skippy (1931). For nearly 50 years, Cooper remained the youngest Oscar nominee in any category, until he was surpassed by Justin Henry‘s nomination, at age 8, in the Supporting Actor category for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979).
Cooper joined the Our Gang series (also known as The Little Rascals) in the short Boxing Gloves in 1929, signing to a three-year contract. He initially was only a supporting character in the series, but by early 1930 he had done so well with the transition to sound films that he had become one of the Gang’s major characters. He was the main character in the episodes The First Seven Years, When the Wind Blows, and others. His most notable Our Gang shorts explore his crush on Miss Crabtree, the schoolteacher played by June Marlowe, which included the trilogy of shorts Teacher’s Pet, School’s Out, and Love Business.
In his personal life, Cooper served in the United States Navy during World War II and remained active in the reserves for the next several decades, reaching the rank of Captain. He was married three times.
Cooper participated in several automobile racing events, including the record-breaking class D cars at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. He also drove in several SCCA road racing competitions. Cooper was named the honorary starter for the 1976 Winston 500 at the Alabama International Motor Speedway, which is now known as Talladega Superspeedway, in Talladega, Alabama.
Robert Stempel: D. May 7, 2011
Robert Carl Stempel (July 15, 1933 – May 7, 2011) was a former Chairman and CEO of General Motors (GM). He joined GM in 1958 as a design engineer at Oldsmobile and was key in the development of the front-wheel drive Toronado. He was also involved with the team that created the first catalytic converter.
After serving two years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Stempel joined GM’s Oldsmobile Division as a senior detailer in the chassis design department in 1958, later serving as senior designer (1962); transmission design engineer (1964); motor engineer (1969); and assistant chief engineer (1972). Stempel subsequently worked on the team that developed the 1966 Toronado, the first modern American front-wheel-drive car. According to a GM biography, Stempel designed the Toronado’s front suspension and its engine and transmission mounting system.
In January 1984, he was promoted to the dual responsibility of Vice President and Group Executive in Charge of the Buick-Oldsmobile-Cadillac group. He was elected to the board of directors (February, 1986) and became CEO (August, 1990) where he served until he was voted out in 1992 – shortly after a recession when GM had closed a dozen plants, lost 74,000 jobs and lost $7 billion.
Randy Savage: D. May 20, 2011
Randall Mario Poffo (November 15, 1952 – May 20, 2011), better known by his ring name ”Macho Man” Randy Savage, was an American professional wrestler, best known for his time with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Savage held twenty championships during his professional wrestling career. He held six world heavyweight championships between the WWF and WCW, having won the WWF Championship twice and the WCW World Heavyweight Championship four times. In addition, he won the ICW World Heavyweight Championship three times and the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship once. Also a one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWE has named Savage the greatest champion of all time and credited him for bringing “a higher level of credibility to the title through his amazing in-ring performances.” Aside from championships, Savage was the 1987 WWF King of the Ring and the 1995 WCW World War 3 winner. For much of his tenures in the WWF and WCW, he was managed by his real life wife, “Miss Elizabeth” Hulette.
Savage was recognizable by wrestling fans for his distinctively deep and raspy voice, his ring attire (often comprising sunglasses, a bandanna or head band, flashy robes, and a cowboy hat), intensity exhibited in and out of the ring, and his signature catch phrase (“Ooh yeah!”). WWE (formerly the WWF) has said of Savage, “Few Superstars were as dynamic as “Macho Man” Randy Savage. His style – perfectly punctuated by his entrance music, ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ – was only outshined by his performances in the ring.”
Savage died of a sudden heart attack while driving with his wife, Barbara Lynn Payne, in Seminole, Florida on the morning of May 20, 2011.
Gil Scott-Heron: D. May 27, 2011
Gilbert “Gil” Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011) was an American soul and jazz poet, musician, and author, known primarily for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and ’80s. His collaborative efforts with musician Brian Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues, and soul, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismaticvocal styles by Scott-Heron. His own term for himself was “bluesologist”, which he defined as “a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues.” His music, most notably on Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul.
In addition to being widely considered an influence in today’s music, Scott-Heron remained active until his death, and in 2010 released his first new album in 16 years, entitled I’m New Here. His recording work received much critical acclaim, especially one of his best-known compositions “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised“. His poetic style was influential upon every generation of hip hop since his popularity began.
The music of Scott-Heron’s work during the 1970s influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. He has been described by music writers as “the godfather of rap” and “the black Bob Dylan”. Among the most notable is rapper/producer Kanye West, who has sampled Scott-Heron and Jackson’s “Home is Where the Hatred Is” and “We Almost Lost Detroit” for his song “My Way Home” and the single “The People,” respectively. Scott-Heron, in turn, has acknowledged West’s contributions, sampling the latter’s 2007 single “Flashing Lights” on his latest album, 2010′s I’m New Here.
A list of his Discography may be found by clicking here.
Jeff Conaway: D. May 27, 2011
Jeffrey Charles William Michael “Jeff” Conaway (October 5, 1950 – May 27, 2011) was an American actor best known for his roles in the movie Grease and the US television series Taxi and Babylon 5. Conaway was featured on the first season of reality series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
Conaway appeared in the original cast of the Broadway musical Grease, as an understudy to several roles including that of the lead male character, Danny Zuko, and eventually succeeded role-originator Barry Bostwick. He played the role for 2 1/2 years while his friend John Travolta, with whom he shared a manager, later joined the show, playing Doody in the chorus. The two would reunite in the 1978 motion picture musical Grease, in which Travolta played Zuko and Conaway his buddy Kenickie.
In addition to acting, Conaway also dabbled in music. In the mid-1960s, he was the lead singer and guitarist for a rock band, The 3 1/2. They recorded four singles for Cameo Records in 1966 and 1967.
Conaway was married three times. His second marriage, from 1980 until their divorce in 1985, was to Rona Newton-John, elder sister of his Grease co-star Olivia Newton-John.
Jack Kevorkian: D. June 3, 2011
Jacob “Jack” Kevorkian ( May 26, 1928 – June 3, 2011), commonly known as “Dr. Death”, was an American pathologist, euthanasia activist, painter, composer and instrumentalist. He is best known for publicly championing a terminal patient‘s right to die via physician-assisted suicide; he said he assisted at least 130 patients to that end. He famously said, “dying is not a crime”.
Beginning in 1999, Kevorkian served eight years of a 10-to-25-year prison sentence for second-degree murder. He was released on parole on June 1, 2007, on condition he would not offer suicide advice to any other person.
Kevorkian was tried four times for assisting suicides between May 1994 to June 1997. With the assistance of Fieger, Kevorkian was acquitted three times. The fourth trial ended in a mistrial. The trials helped Kevorkian gain public support for his cause. After Oakland County prosecutor Richard Thompson lost a primary election to a Republican challenger, Thompson attributed the loss in part to the declining public support for the prosecution of Kevorkian and its associated legal expenses.
On the November 22, 1998 broadcast of 60 Minutes, Kevorkian allowed the airing of a videotape he had made on September 17, 1998, which depicted the voluntary euthanasia of Thomas Youk, 52, who was in the final stages of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. After Youk provided his fully informed consent (a sometimes complex legal determination made in this case by editorial consensus) on September 17, 1998, Kevorkian himself administered Thomas Youk a lethal injection. This was highly significant, as all of his earlier clients had reportedly completed the process themselves. During the videotape, Kevorkian dared the authorities to try to convict him or stop him from carrying out mercy killings.
On March 26, 1999, Kevorkian was charged with second-degree murder and the delivery of a controlled substance (administering the lethal injection to Thomas Youk). Because Kevorkian’s license to practice medicine had been revoked eight years previously, he was not legally allowed to possess the controlled substance. As homicide law is relatively fixed and routine, this trial was markedly different from earlier ones that involved an area of law in flux (assisted suicide). Kevorkian discharged his attorneys and proceeded through the trial representing himself, a decision he later regretted. The judge ordered a criminal defense attorney to remain available at trial as standby counsel for information and advice. Inexperienced in law but persisting in his efforts to represent himself, Kevorkian encountered great difficulty in presenting his evidence and arguments. He was not able to call any witnesses to the stand as the judge did not deem the testimony of any of his witnesses relevant.
After a two day trial, the Michigan jury found Kevorkian guilty of second-degree homicide. Judge Jessica Cooper sentenced Kevorkian to serve 10–25 years in prison.
M. F. Husain: D. June 9, 2011
Maqbool Fida Husain (Marathi: मकबूल फिदा हुसेन, Urdu: مقبول فدا حسين, Hindi: मक़बूल फ़िदा हुसैन) (17 September 1915 – 9 June 2011) commonly known as MF, was an eminent painter of Indian origin, although a Qatari national at the time of his death. He has been widely regarded as the “Picasso of India” and has influenced a whole generation of artists in the country.
Husain was associated with Indian modernism in the 1940s. A dashing, highly eccentric figure who dressed in impeccably tailored suits, he went barefoot and brandished an extra-long paintbrush as a slim cane. He never maintained a studio but he spread his canvases out on the floor of whatever hotel room he happened to be staying in and paying for damages when he checked out. He created four museums to showcase his work and had a collection of classic sports cars. Enormously prolific, a gifted self-promoter and hard bargainer, he claimed to have produced some 60,000 paintings, when questioned about such prolificity by Michael Peschardt of the BBC in one of the last interviews he gave on May 27th, 2011, he replied that “All this talk about inspiration and moment is nonsense. Excuse us”. He amassed a fortune but maintained a bank balance of zero. He applied the formal lessons of European modernists like Cézanne and Matisse to scenes from national epics like the Mahabharata, Ramayana and to the Hindu pantheon.
His narrative paintings, executed in a modified Cubist style, can be caustic and funny as well as serious and sombre. His themes—usually treated in series—include topics as diverse as Mohandas K. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the British raj, and motifs of Indian urban and rural life. One of the most celebrated and internationally recognized Indian artists of the 20th century, he also received recognition as a printmaker, photographer, and filmmaker.
Clarence Clemons: D. June 18, 2011
Clarence Anicholas Clemons, Jr. (January 11, 1942 – June 18, 2011), also known as The Big Man, was an American musician and actor. From 1972 until his death, he was a prominent member of Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band, playing the tenor saxophone. He released several solo albums and in 1985, had a hit single with “You’re a Friend of Mine”, a duet with Jackson Browne. As a guest musician he also featured on Aretha Franklin’s classic “Freeway of Love” and on Twisted Sister’s “Be Chrool to Your Scuel” as well as performing in concert with The Grateful Dead and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. As an actor Clemons featured in several films, including New York, New York and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. He also made cameo appearances in several TV series, including Diff’rent Strokes, Nash Bridges, The Simpsonsand The Wire. Together with his television writer friend Don Reo he published his semi-fictional autobiography told in third person, Big Man: Real Life & Tall Tales, in 2009. Clemons suffered a stroke on June 12, 2011, and died of complications from it on June 18, at 69 years of age.
Clemons recalled their meeting in various interviews:
One night we were playing in Asbury Park. I’d heard The Bruce Springsteen Band was nearby at a club called The Student Prince and on a break between sets I walked over there. On-stage, Bruce used to tell different versions of this story but I’m a Baptist, remember, so this is the truth. A rainy, windy night it was, and when I opened the door the whole thing flew off its hinges and blew away down the street. The band were on-stage, but staring at me framed in the doorway. And maybe that did make Bruce a little nervous because I just said, “I want to play with your band,” and he said, “Sure, you do anything you want.” The first song we did was an early version of “Spirit in the Night”. Bruce and I looked at each other and didn’t say anything, we just knew. We knew we were the missing links in each other’s lives. He was what I’d been searching for. In one way he was just a scrawny little kid. But he was a visionary. He wanted to follow his dream. So from then on I was part of history.
At the end of shows, while recognizing members of the E Street Band, Springsteen referred to Clemons as “The Biggest Man You Ever Seen”. He sometimes changed this depending on where the E Street Band performs — at their 2009 concert in Glasgow he introduced Clemons as “the biggest Scotsman you’ve ever seen”.
Here is one of the best songs and The Big Man just wails in it! I wish I had video from when I saw them perform in Chicago back in the mid-1980′s.
Peter Falk: D. June 23, 2011
Peter Michael Falk (September 16, 1927 – June 23, 2011) was an American actor, best known for his role as Lieutenant Columbo in the television series Columbo. He appeared in numerous films such as The Princess Bride, The Great Race and Next, and television guest roles and was nominated for an Academy Award twice (for 1960′s Murder, Inc. and 1961′s Pocketful of Miracles), and won the Emmy Award on five occasions (four for Columbo) and the Golden Globe award once. Director William Friedkin, when discussing Falk’s role in his 1978 film The Brink’s Job said that “Peter has a great range from comedy to drama. He could break your heart or he could make you laugh.”
In 1996 TV Guide ranked him number 21 on its 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time list.
In 1968, he starred with Gene Barry in a ninety-minute television pilot about a highly-skilled, laid-back detective. Columbo eventually became part of an anthology series titled The NBC Mystery Movie, along with McCloud and McMillan & Wife. The detective series stayed on NBC from 1971 to 1978, took a respite, and returned occasionally on ABC from 1989 to 2003. He was “everyone’s favorite rumpled television detective”, wrote historian David Fantle. Describing his [Falk's] role, Variety columnist Howard Prouty wrote, “The joy of all this is watching Columbo dissemble [sic] the fiendishly clever cover stories of the loathsome rats who consider themselves his better.”
Betty Ford: D. July 8, 2011
Elizabeth Ann Bloomer Warren Ford (April 8, 1918 – July 8, 2011), better known as Betty Ford, was First Lady of the United States from 1974 to 1977 during the presidency of her husband Gerald Ford. As First Lady, she was active in social policy and created precedents as a politically active presidential wife.
Throughout her husband’s term in office, she maintained high approval ratings despite opposition from some conservative Republicans who objected to her more moderate and liberal positions on social issues. Ford was noted for raising breast cancer awareness following her 1974 mastectomy and was a passionate supporter of, and activist for, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Pro-choice on abortion and a leader in the Women’s Movement, she gained fame as one of the most candid first ladies in history, commenting on every hot-button issue of the time, including feminism, equal pay, the ERA, sex, drugs, abortion, and gun control. She also raised awareness of addiction when she announced her long-running battle with alcoholism in the 1970s.
Following her White House years, she continued to lobby for the ERA and remained active in the feminist movement. She is the founder, and served as the first chair of the board of directors, of the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and addiction and is a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal (co-presentation with her husband, Gerald R. Ford, October 21, 1998) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (alone, presented 1991, by George H. W. Bush).
Amy Winehouse: D. July 23, 2011
Amy Jade Winehouse (14 September 1983 – 23 July 2011) was an English singer-songwriter known for her powerful deep contralto vocals and her eclectic mix of musical genres including R&B, soul and jazz.Winehouse’s 2003 debut album, Frank, was critically successful in the UK and was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Her 2006 follow-up album, Back to Black, led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the then record for the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first British female to win five Grammys, including three of the “Big Four”: Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Song of the Year.
In 2007 she won a BRIT Award for Best British Female Artist; she had also been nominated for Best British Album. She won the Ivor Novello Award three times: once in 2004 for Best Contemporary Song (musically and lyrically) for “Stronger Than Me”, once in 2007 for Best Contemporary Song for “Rehab”, and once in 2008 for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for “Love Is a Losing Game”.
Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on 23 July 2011. Her album Back to Black subsequently became the UK’s best selling album so far in the 21st century.
Heidi the Cross-Eyed Opossum: D. September 28, 2011
Heidi was a Virginia Opossum housed at Germany’s Leipzig Zoo. In December 2010, the two-and-a-half year old, cross-eyed animal made international headlines shortly after a photograph was published by Bild. Since that time, Heidi had inspired a popular YouTube song, a future line of stuffed animals, and a Facebook page with over 290,000 followers.
The zoo’s new tropical wildlife exhibit opened to the public in July 2011, and Heidi was exhibited alongside two other opossums – her sister Naira and a male named Teddy. International media has noted that Heidi was one of several animals either born or living in German zoos who have made headlines over the past few years; she followed in the footsteps of other German celebrity animals such as polar bears Knut and Flocke, as well as Paul the Octopus. Heidi was euthanized by the Zoo veterinary staff on 28 September 2011 after several weeks of struggle against an unspecified health condition.
Despite the opossum’s sudden fame, the Zoo had no plans to change the upcoming exhibit to better showcase its new star. Leipzig Zoo spokeswoman Maria Saegebart stated in early January: “We understand that Heidi has become so popular and that people will want to see her, but that will not change the zoo’s strategy with the exhibit – she’s one animal of many.” Heidi reportedly received an offer to appear at the 83rd Academy Awards on 27 February 2011 via video broadcast, but instead appeared on the late-night show Jimmy Kimmel Live! in a series of pre-taped vignettes, in which she predicted the winners of three Oscar categories. She missed one prediction, choosing the long-shot Oscar-nominated 127 Hours to win over the eventual Oscar-winning The King’s Speech for Best Film. A Heidi stuffed animal was included in some gift bags available to Oscar guests.
Steve Jobs: D. October 5, 2011
Steven Paul Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American businessman and inventor widely recognized as a charismatic pioneer of the personal computer revolution. He was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. Jobs was co-founder and previously served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios; he became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, following the acquisition of Pixar by Disney.
In the late 1970s, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak engineered one of the first commercially successful lines of personal computers, the Apple II series. Jobs directed its aesthetic design and marketing along with A.C. “Mike” Markkula, Jr. and others.
In the early 1980s, Jobs was among the first to see the commercial potential of Xerox PARC’s mouse-driven graphical user interface, which led to the creation of the Apple Lisa (engineered by Ken Rothmuller andJohn Couch) and, one year later, of Apple employee Jef Raskin’s Macintosh. After losing a power struggle with the board of directors in 1985, Jobs left Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets.
In 1986, he acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm Ltd, which was spun off as Pixar Animation Studios. He was credited in Toy Story (1995) as an executive producer. He remained CEO and majority shareholder at 50.1 percent until its acquisition by The Walt Disney Company in 2006, making Jobs Disney’s largest individual shareholder at seven percent and a member of Disney’s Board of Directors.
In 1996, NeXT was acquired by Apple. The deal brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, and provided Apple with the NeXTSTEP codebase, from which the Mac OS X was developed.” Jobs was named Apple adviser in 1996, interim CEO in 1997, and CEO from 2000 until his resignation. He oversaw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad and the company’s Apple Retail Stores.
In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Though it was initially treated, Jobs reported of a hormone imbalance, underwent a liver transplant in 2009, and appeared progressively thinner as his health declined. In August 2011, during his third medical leave, Jobs resigned as CEO, but continued to work for Apple as Chairman of the Board until his death.
A few previous postings about Steve Jobs:
Apple logo tribute to Steve Jobs, “Thanks, Steve”
RIP Steve Jobs. Dies at the age of 56. 1955-2011 (I included photos and information about the evolution of Apple computers. His NeXT is also shown as that was my “dream” PC back then.)
Here is a rare footage from 1980 of Steve conducting a presentation on Apple. This video was gifted to Computer History Museum by Regis McKenna and can be found on their online exhibit about Steve Jobs.
Al Davis: D. October 8, 2011
Allen “Al” Davis (July 4, 1929 – October 8, 2011) was an American football executive. He was the principal owner of the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League from 1970 to 2011. His motto for the team was “Just win, baby.”
Davis was long considered one of the most controversial owners in the NFL and was involved in multiple lawsuits involving Los Angeles, Oakland, Irwindale and the NFL. In 1980 he attempted to move the Raiders to Los Angeles but was blocked by a court injunction. In response Davis filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL. In June 1982 a federal district court ruled in Davis’ favor and the team officially relocated to Los Angeles for the 1982 NFL season. When the upstart United States Football League filed its antitrust suit in 1986, Davis was the only NFL owner who sided with the USFL.
In 1995 Davis moved the team back to Oakland. Davis then sued the NFL, claiming the league sabotaged the team’s effort to build a stadium at Hollywood Park in Inglewood by not doing enough to help the team move from the antiquated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to a new stadium complete with luxury suites. The NFL won a 9–3 verdict in 2001, but Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard Hubbell ordered a new trial amid accusations that one juror was biased against the team and Davis, and that another juror committed misconduct. A state appeals court later overturned that decision. The case was thrown out July 2, 2007 when the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the verdict against the Raiders stood. This was the last of several lawsuits the Raiders had outstanding against the league and its stadium landlords.
In the mid-1990s, Davis sued the NFL on behalf of the Raiders, claiming the Raiders had exclusive rights to the LA market, even though the Raiders were in Oakland. Davis and the Raiders lost the lawsuit.
In 2007, NFL Films chose the feud between Davis and the NFL and Pete Rozelle as their number one greatest feud in NFL history on the NFL Network’s Top Ten Feuds, citing almost a half century of animosity between Davis and the league. Some believe that the root of Davis’ animosity towards the NFL and his former co-owners in the AFL was the surreptitious way they pushed the AFL-NFL merger behind his back.
|Awards||AFL’s Coach of the Year in 1963|
|Honors||Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992|
|Career record||23–16–3 (as coach)|
|Super Bowl wins||1976 Super Bowl XI
1980 Super Bowl XV
1983 Super Bowl XVIII
|Championships won||1967 AFL Championship
1976 AFC Championship
1980 AFC Championship
1983 AFC Championship
2002 AFC Championship
Frank Kameny: D. October 11, 2011
Franklin Edward “Frank” Kameny (May 21, 1925 – October 11, 2011) was “one of the most significant figures” in the American gay rights movement. In 1957, Kameny was dismissed from his position as an astronomer in the Army Map Service in Washington, D.C. because of his homosexuality, leading him to begin “a Herculean struggle with the American establishment” that would “spearhead a new period of militancy in the homosexual rights movement of the early 1960s”.
Kameny protested his firing by the U.S. Civil Service Commission due to his homosexuality, and argued this case to the United States Supreme Court in 1961. Although the court denied his petition, it is notable as the first civil rights claim based on sexual orientation.
While on a cross-country return trip from Tucson, where he had just completed his research for his Ph.D. thesis, he was arrested in San Francisco by plainclothes police officers after a stranger had approached and groped him at the bus terminal. He was promised that his criminal record would be expunged after serving three years’ probation, relieving him from worrying about his employment prospects and any attempt at fighting the charges.
Relocating to Washington, D.C., Kameny taught for a year in the Astronomy Department of Georgetown University and was hired in July 1957 by the United States Army Map Service. However, by the fall, he was in trouble with the Civil Service Commission following a late night run-in with police in Lafayette Park, a traditional cruising area along Pennsylvania Avenue across from the White House. He was arrested. Kameny was questioned by his superiors but he refused to give them information regarding his sexual orientation. Kameny was fired by the Commission soon afterward. In January 1958, he was barred from future employment by the federal government.
Kameny appealed against his firing through the judicial system, losing twice before heading to the United States Supreme Court, which turned down his petition for certiorari. After devoting himself to activism, Kameny never held a paid job again and was supported by friends and family for the rest of his life. Despite his outspoken activism, he rarely discussed his personal life and never had any long-term relationships with other men, stating merely that he had no time for them.
In 1971, Kameny became the first openly gay candidate for the United States Congress when he ran in the District of Columbia’s first election for a non-voting Congressional delegate. Following that election, Kameny and his campaign organization created the Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Washington, D.C., an organization which continues to lobby government and press the case for equal rights. He described the day – December 15, 1973, when the American Psychological Association removed homosexuality from its manual of mental disorders – as the day “we were cured en masse by the psychiatrists.”
Dan Wheldon: D. October 16, 2011
Daniel Clive “Dan” Wheldon (22 June 1978 – 16 October 2011) was a British racing driver from England. He was the 2005 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion, and winner of the Indianapolis 500 in both 2005 and 2011. Wheldon died from injuries shortly after a collision at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on 16 October 2011, at the age of 33.
At the IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on 16 October 2011, Wheldon was involved in a 15–car accident during lap 11 of the race, in which Wheldon’s car flew approximately 325 feet into the catch fence with the cockpit area first into a pole lining the track before landing back on the ground. The carnage and ensuing debris field resulted in race officials throwing a red flag almost instantly.Wheldon was extricated from his car by the Holmatro Safety Team and their Las Vegas–based colleagues and was airlifted to a local hospital with what were described as “unsurvivable injuries.”He succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at 1:54 PDT. He was 33 years old.
Andy Rooney: D. November 4, 2011
Andrew Aitken ”Andy” Rooney (January 14, 1919 – November 4, 2011) was an American radio and television writer. He was most notable for his weekly broadcast “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney,” a part of the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011. His final regular appearance on 60 Minutes aired October 2, 2011. He died one month later, on November 4, 2011, at age 92.
Rooney’s “end-of-show” segment on 60 Minutes, “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” (originally “Three Minutes or So With Andy Rooney”), began in 1978, as a summer replacement for the debate segment “Point/Counterpoint” featuring Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick. The segment proved popular enough with viewers that beginning in the fall of 1978, it was seen in alternate weeks with the debate segment. At the end of the 1978–1979 season, “Point/Counterpoint” was dropped altogether.
In the segment, Rooney typically offered satire on a trivial everyday issue, such as the cost of groceries, annoying relatives, or faulty Christmas presents. Rooney’s appearances on “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” often included whimsical lists, e.g., types of milk, bottled water brands, car brands, sports mascots, etc. In later years, his segments became more political as well. Despite being best known for his television presence on 60 Minutes, Rooney always considered himself a writer who incidentally appeared on television behind his famous walnut table, which he made himself.
His final 60 Minutes sign off:
Joe Frazier: D. November 7, 2011
Joseph William “Joe” Frazier (January 12, 1944 – November 7, 2011), also known as “Smokin’ Joe”, was an Olympic and Undisputed World Heavyweight boxing champion, whose professional career lasted from 1965 to 1976, with a one-fight comeback in 1981.
Frazier emerged as the top contender in the late 1960s, defeating opponents that included Jerry Quarry, Oscar Bonavena, Buster Mathis, Eddie Machen, Doug Jones, George Chuvalo, and Jimmy Ellis en route to becoming undisputed heavyweight champion in 1970, and followed up by defeating Muhammad Ali on points in the highly-anticipated “Fight of the Century” in 1971. Two years later Frazier lost his title when he was knocked out by George Foreman. He fought on, beating Joe Bugner, losing a rematch to Ali, and beating Quarry and Ellis again.
Frazier’s last world title challenge came in 1975, but he was beaten by Ali in their brutal rubbermatch. He retired in 1976 following a second loss to Foreman. He made a comeback in 1981, fighting just once, before retiring for good. The International Boxing Research Organization (IBRO) rates Frazier among the ten greatest heavyweights of all time. He is an inductee of both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
Frazier was diagnosed with liver cancer in late September 2011 and admitted to hospice care. He died November 7, 2011.
Bil Keane: D. November 8, 2011
William Aloysius Keane (October 5, 1922 – November 8, 2011), better known as Bil Keane, was an American cartoonist. He is most notable for his work on the long-running newspaper comic The Family Circus, which began its run in 1960 and continues in syndication, drawn by his son Jeff Keane.
Keane is a four-time recipient of the National Cartoonists Society’s Award for Best Syndicated Panel, winning in 1967, 1971, 1973 and 1974. In 1982, Keane was named the Society’s Cartoonist of the Year and received its top honor, the Reuben Award. He also received the Elzie Segar Award in 1982 for his unique contribution to the cartooning profession. Keane was honored with the Silver T-Square Award from the National Cartoonist Society in 2002 for “outstanding dedication” to the Society and the cartooning profession. In 1998, he became the tenth recipient of the Arizona Heritage Award, joining—among others—Barry Goldwater, Sandra Day O’Connor, Mo Udall and Erma Bombeck.
Here are a few samples of his comics, the first one is a vintage cartoon from 1960.
Harry Morgan: D. December 7, 2011
Harry Morgan (born Harry Bratsberg, often spelled Harry Bratsburg; April 10, 1915 – December 7, 2011) was an American actor. He was widely known for his roles as Pete Porter in both December Bride (1954–1959) and Pete and Gladys (1960–1962), Officer Bill Gannon on Dragnet (1967–1970), Amos Coogan on Hec Ramsey (1972–1974), and Colonel Sherman T. Potter in M*A*S*H (1975–1983) and AfterMASH (1983–1984). Additionally, Morgan appeared in more than 100 films.
In the 1964–1965 season, Morgan co-starred as Seldom Jackson in the 26-week NBC comedy/drama Kentucky Jones, starring Dennis Weaver.
Morgan is even more widely recognized as Officer Bill Gannon, Joe Friday’s partner in the revived version of Dragnet (1967–1970).
Morgan’s first appearance on M*A*S*H was in the show’s third season (1974–1975), when he played eccentric Major General Bartford Hamilton Steele in “The General Flipped at Dawn”, which originally aired on September 10, 1974.
The following season, Morgan joined the cast of M*A*S*H as Colonel Sherman T. Potter. Morgan replaced McLean Stevenson, who had left the show at the end of the previous season. Col. Potter was a career army officer who was a firm yet good-humored, caring father figure to the people under his command.
In 1980, Morgan won an Emmy award for his performance on M*A*S*H. When asked if he was a better actor after working with the show’s talented cast, Morgan responded, “I don’t know about that, but it’s made me a better human being.” After the end of the series, Morgan reprised the Potter role in a short-lived spinoff series, AfterMASH.
Morgan also kept busy appearing in several Disney movies throughout the decade, including The Barefoot Executive, Snowball Express, Charley and the Angel, The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Cat from Outer Space (opposite McLean Stevenson) and The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again.
Please see my previous posting: Tribute to Harry Morgan, Col Potter M*A*S*H* | Goodbye, Farewell and Amen which includes Potter trivia, photos and several short edited videos of Potter episodes. Also included in my tribute is his first appearance in M*A*S*H* as the eccentric Major General Bartford Hamilton Steele in “The General Flipped at Dawn.”
Goodbye, Farewell and Amen………..
Christopher Hitchens: D. December 15, 2011
Christopher Eric Hitchens, nicknamed “Hitch”, (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011) was a British American author and journalist whose books, essays, and journalistic career spanned more than four decades. He was a columnist and literary critic for The Atlantic, Free Inquiry, The Nation, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, World Affairs, and became a media fellow at the Hoover Institution in September 2008. He was a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits and in 2005 was voted the world’s fifth top public intellectual in a Prospect/Foreign Policy poll.
Hitchens was known for his admiration of George Orwell, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson and for his excoriating critiques of Mother Teresa, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger and Britain’s royal family,among others. His confrontational style of debate made him both a lauded and controversial figure. As a political observer, polemicist and self-defined radical, he rose to prominence as a fixture of the left-wing publications in his native Britain and in the United States. His departure from the established political left began in 1989 after what he called the “tepid reaction” of the Western left following Ayatollah Khomeini’s issue of a fatwā calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie. The 11 September attacks strengthened his internationalist embrace of an interventionist foreign policy, and his vociferous criticism of what he called “fascism with an Islamic face”. His numerous editorials in support of the Iraq War caused some to label him a neoconservative, although Hitchens insisted he was not “a conservative of any kind”.
Identified as a champion of the “New Atheism” movement, Hitchens described himself as an antitheist and a believer in the philosophical values of the Enlightenment. Hitchens said that a person “could be an atheist and wish that belief in god were correct”, but that “an antitheist, a term I’m trying to get into circulation, is someone who is relieved that there’s no evidence for such an assertion.” According to Hitchens, the concept of a god or a supreme being is a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom, and that free expression and scientific discovery should replace religion as a means of teaching ethics and defining human civilization. He wrote at length on atheism and the nature of religion in his 2007 book God Is Not Great.
Here is a great interview by CNN’s Anderson Cooper where Hitchens discusses his smoking and drinking, God, and cancer in his own satirical way.
Kim Jong-il: D. December 17, 2011
Kim Jong-il (born: Yuri Irsenovich Kim; 16 February 1941/2 – 17 December 2011) was the supreme leader of North Korea. He was the General Secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, the ruling party since 1948, Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, and the supreme commander of the Korean People’s Army, the fourth-largest standing army in the world.
In April 2009, North Korea’s constitution was amended to refer to him implicitly as the “supreme leader”. He was also referred to as the “Dear Leader”, “our Father”, “the General” and “Generalissimo”. His son Kim Jong-un was promoted to a senior position in the ruling Workers’ Party and is his successor. In 2010, he was ranked 31st in Forbes Magazine’s List of The World’s Most Powerful People. The North Korean government announced his death on 19 December 2011.
According to NNDB, his early reign was marred by a three-year famine which killed perhaps two million citizens, exacerbated by his own government’s policies. He had about 80 high-ranking officials, including several relatives and his own brother-in-law, rounded up and purged in 2004. Long under international pressure to end its nuclear program, North Korea astonished the world by testing a nuclear bomb in 2006. Its point made, six-party talks resumed, leading to a modicum of detente by 2007.
Kim Jong-Il was often said to be stark raving bonkers, but this was a misconception. He was eccentric, certainly, and his government was extremely secretive and brutal to dissidents, but experts say Kim was bright, clear-headed, politically astute, and as sane as any leader with unchecked power. He drove trendy Mazdas, preferred Hennessey cognac, and wore elevator shoes to hide his short stature (without the shoes, he stood about 5’2″).
His nation, of course, is staggeringly poor. Under Kim, internet access was forbidden and irrelevant, since computers and telephones, or even such modern amenities as refrigerators, stoves, and telephones were not available to ordinary citizens. Satellite imagery showed North Korea as utterly dark at night, as the nation’s electrical grid remains nonexistent outside military command centers. Access to paper — not newspapers, but ordinary writing paper — was severely restricted. Television was available only to well-connected insiders or in public community centers, and there was no need to change the channel, as North Korea’s one broadcast network was all that was allowed, and of course, it was all propaganda.
According to North Korea’s rigidly controlled media, however, the nation never experienced famine or poverty, and adoration for Kim Jong Il was virtually unanimous. In news accounts, the only mention of dissent was when disloyal citizens were arrested and never heard from again. In one well-known example of “news coverage” that would seem almost laughable to people accustomed to freedom, after a deadly explosion on a munitions train as it moved through a densely populated area, the official Korean Central News Agency reported that people dashed into their homes to rescue their portraits of the “Dear Leader”, even before looking for their own family members.
Kim Jong Il was a big movie buff, and owned videos of at least 20,000 films. A moviemaker himself, he was the credited producer of Pulgasari, a 1985 Godzilla-esque story based on a 14th-century Korean legend about a monster who helps peasants overthrow their dictatorial king. Kim abducted South Korean director Shin Sang-Ok and actress Choe Un-Hee, and forced them to make the movie. They escaped several years later, when Kim allowed them to attend a film festival in Vienna.
In June 2009 Kim named his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, as his Great Successor. Virtually nothing is publicly known about him, except that he was reportedly educated in Switzerland. In September 2010, Kim Jong-un was appointed General Secretary of the ruling Workers’ Party, and given the rank of four-star general in the North Korean Army, though he had no prior experience in the military.
On 18 December 2011, Dear Leader was reported to have died on a train from heart failure, the previous day (or perhaps one day before that). Unusual for the death of a head of state, foreign dignitaries will not be invited to the funeral of a man personally responsible for hundreds of thousands if not millions of deaths.