Celebrity deaths, illness, and divorce

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Edd Byrnes, ‘Grease’, ’77 Sunset Strip’, dies 87

Edd Byrnes (Edward Byrne Breitenberger; July 30, 1932 – January 8, 2020) was an American actor, best known for his starring role in the television series 77 Sunset Strip. He also was featured in the 1978 film Grease as television teen-dance show host Vince Fontaine, and was a charting recording artist with “Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)” (with Connie Stevens).

Edd Byrnes cause of death

Edd Byrnes died of natural causes on January 8, 2020, at his Santa Monica home.

Edd Byrnes & Connie Stevens “Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb”

Neil Peart, drummer and songwriter for band Rush, dies 67

Neil Ellwood Peart, OC (/pɪərt/; September 12, 1952 – January 7, 2020) was a Canadian musician and writer best known as the drummer and primary lyricist of the rock band Rush. Peart received numerous awards for his musical performances, including an induction into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1983,[3] making him the youngest person ever so honoured.[4][failed verification] His drumming was renowned for its technical proficiency, and his live performances for their exacting nature and stamina.

In the mid-2010s, Peart acquired U.S. citizenship.[

On December 7, 2015, Peart announced his retirement. In January 2018, bandmate Alex Lifeson confirmed that Rush was retiring due to Peart’s health issues. During his last years, Peart lived in Santa Monica, California, with his wife, photographer Carrie Nuttall, and daughter Olivia.

After a three-year illness, Peart died of glioblastoma on January 7, 2020, at age 67.

YYZ – Rush (Neil Peart Drum Solo)

Sue Lyon, star of ‘Lolita,’ dies 73

golden globe

Suellyn “Sue” Lyon (July 10, 1946 – December 26, 2019) was an American actress. She joined the entertainment industry as a model at the age of 13, and later rose to prominence and won a Golden Globe for playing the title role in the film Lolita (1962). Her other notable film appearances included The Night of the Iguana (1964), 7 Women (1966), Tony Rome (1967), and Evel Knievel (1971).

Lyon died at age 73 in Studio City, California on December 26, 2019. She had been in poor health for “some time”.

Sue Lyon in Lolita

Lolita 1962 Car Scene

Don Imus, radio shock jock, dies 79

John Donald Imus Jr. (July 23, 1940 – December 27, 2019) was an American radio personality, television show host, recording artist, and author. He was known for his radio show Imus in the Morning which aired on various stations and digital platforms nationwide until 2018. He attended broadcasting school in the 1960s and in 1968 secured his first radio job at KUTY in Palmdale, California. Three years later, he landed the morning spot at WNBC in New York City; he was fired in 1977.

In 1979, Imus returned to WNBC and stayed at the station until 1988 when the show moved to WFAN. He gained widespread popularity when the show entered national syndication in 1993. He was labelled a “shock jock” radio host throughout his later career. He retired from broadcasting in March 2018, after nearly 50 years on the air, and died the following year.

Don Imus Health and death

During his early years broadcasting in New York City, Imus battled with alcoholism. In 1983, he was persuaded by Michael Lynne, then his lawyer, to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. Imus attended meetings and ceased to drink in public, but continued to in private. On July 17, 1987, after a nine-day vodka binge, he attended rehabilitation at a Hanley-Hazelden treatment center in West Palm Beach, Florida, for six weeks and remained sober. By 1991, Imus had adopted a vegetarian diet.

In 2000, Imus suffered serious injuries after a fall from a horse at his ranch and broadcast several shows from a hospital. The injuries resulted in chronic breathing problems, especially at higher altitudes, which he spoke about on his program.

In March 2009, Imus was diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer. He was advised to have radiation treatments, but said he chose to treat the disease holistically.

Imus was hospitalized at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center in College Station, Texas, on December 24, 2019. He died three days later, on December 27, at the age of 79. The cause of his death was not immediately reported.

Best Of Imus Montage

Jerry Herman, Broadway composer, ‘Hello Dolly,’ ‘Mame,’ dies 88

Gerald Sheldon Herman (July 10, 1931 – December 26, 2019) was an American composer and lyricist, known for his work in Broadway musical theater. He composed the scores for the hit Broadway musicals Hello, Dolly!, Mame, and La Cage aux Folles. He was nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles.

In 2009, Herman received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. He was a recipient of the 2010 Kennedy Center Honors.

Herman was openly gay and at the time of his death was partnered with Terry Marler, a real estate broker.

Herman was diagnosed HIV-positive in 1985. As noted in the “Words and Music” PBS documentary, “He is one of the fortunate ones who survived to see experimental drug therapies take hold and was still, as one of his lyrics proclaims, ‘alive and well and thriving’ over quarter of a century later.”

Herman died of pulmonary complications at a hospital in Miami on December 26, 2019, at age 88.

Lee Mendelson, Producer, ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas,’ Dies 86

Leland Maurice Mendelson (March 24, 1933 – December 25, 2019) was an American television producer and the executive producer of the many Peanuts animated specials.

A Charlie Brown Christmas aired December 9, 1965, on CBS. The show went on to win both the Emmy and Peabody award, and was the first of over 40 animated Peanuts specials created by Mendelson, Meléndez and Schulz. In addition, they collaborated on The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show, which ran on Saturday mornings during the 1980s.

Mendelson founded and headed Lee Mendelson Film Productions, a Burlingame, California-based television and film production company. Mendelson Productions has produced over 100 television and film productions, winning 12 Emmys and 4 Peabodys, as well as numerous Grammy, Emmy, and Oscar nominations.

Lee Mendelson cause of death

Mendelson died on December 25, 2019, from lung cancer, leaving a wife, Ploenta, and four children.

Allee Willis, writer of Friends theme and Earth, Wind & Fire hits, dies 72

Alta Sherral Willis (November 10, 1947 – December 24, 2019), known as Allee Willis, was an American songwriter, artist and art director. Willis co-wrote hit songs including “September” and “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind & Fire. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for “I’ll Be There For You”, which was used as the theme song for the sitcom Friends, and won two Grammy Awards for Beverly Hills Cop and The Color Purple, the latter of which was also nominated for a Tony Award. Her compositions sold over 60 million records and she was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018. As a multimedia artist, she was one half of Bubbles & Cheesecake.

Willis also wrote songs for artists including Debby Boone, Rita Coolidge, Crystal Gayle, Sister Sledge, Jennifer Holliday, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Cyndi Lauper, Crystal Waters, and Taylor Dayne. Songs she co-composed for other artists that became hits include “Lead Me On” by Maxine Nightingale, “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters, “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” by Pet Shop Boys featuring Dusty Springfield, and “I’ll Be There for You” by The Rembrandts. “I’ll Be There for You” was used as the theme song of the sitcom Friends and went on to become one of the biggest television theme songs of all time. Willis jokingly referred to this song as “the whitest song I ever wrote”. In 1995 Willis was Emmy-nominated for “I’ll Be There for You”.

Willis died in Los Angeles on December 24, 2019, at the age of 72. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.

Friends theme song

Earth, Wind & Fire – September (Official Music Video)

Rip Taylor, actor, comedian, dies 84

Charles Elmer “Rip” Taylor Jr. (January 13, 1931 – October 6, 2019) was an American actor and comedian, known for his exuberance and flamboyant personality, including his wild moustache, toupee, and his habit of showering himself (and others) with confetti. The Hollywood Reporter called him “a television and nightclub mainstay for more than six decades” who made thousands of nightclub and television appearances.

Taylor died on October 6, 2019, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, having been hospitalized after suffering an epileptic seizure the week prior.

At the time of Taylor’s death, he had been in a long-term relationship with Robert Fortney.

Rip Taylor on Life as He Knows It

Aleksei Leonov, First to Walk in Space, Dies at 85

Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov (May 30, 1934 – October 11, 2019) was a Soviet/Russian cosmonaut, Air Force major general, writer, and artist. On 18 March 1965, he became the first human to conduct a spacewalk, exiting the capsule during the Voskhod 2 mission for 12 minutes and 9 seconds of extravehicular activity (EVA).

In July 1975, Leonov commanded the Soyuz capsule in the Soyuz-Apollo mission, which docked in space for two days with an American Apollo capsule.

Leonov died on 11 October 2019 after a long illness. He was 85 and the last survivor of the cosmonauts in the Voskhod programme.

Robert Forster, actor, ‘Jackie Brown,’ Dies 78

Robert Wallace Forster Jr. (born Robert Wallace Foster Jr.;[1] July 13, 1941 – October 11, 2019) was an American actor, known for his roles as John Cassellis in Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool (1969), Lebanese terrorist Abdul Rafai in The Delta Force (1986), and Max Cherry in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (1997), for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Forster’s varied filmography further includes titles such as Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), The Black Hole (1979), Alligator (1980), Me, Myself & Irene (2000), Mulholland Drive (2001), The Descendants (2011), Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016) and What They Had (2018).

He also had prominent roles in television series such as Banyon (1971–1973), Heroes (2007–2008), and Twin Peaks (2017). He won the Saturn Award for Best Guest Starring Role on Television for his performance in Breaking Bad’s “Granite State” (2013), reprising his role in the series’ sequel film El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which premiered the day of his death.

Robert Forster cause of death

Forster died on October 11, 2019 at the age of 78 from brain cancer.

Jackie Brown – Robert Forster as Max Cherry, bail bondsman