Norman Smith – Recorded 180 Beatles songs

The man who helped create The Beatles’ early sound

Norman Smith aka Hurricane Smith (February 22, 1923 – March 3, 2008) was a musician and record producer. He was the engineer on all of the recordings by the Beatles up until 1965 when EMI promoted him from engineer to producer. The last Beatles album he recorded was Rubber Soul, and Smith engineered the sound for approximately 180 Beatles songs in total.

A native of the North London area of Edmonton, Smith was working with the Beatles on 17 June 1965 when he was offered 15,000 pounds by the band’s music publishing company, Dick James Music, to buy outright a song he had written.

Death of Norman Smith
Norman Smith was 85 years old at the time of his death.


Jeff Healey – Blind singer from Roadhouse

** Blind singer from Patrick Swayze’s Roadhouse (1989)

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Jeff HealeyNorman Jeffrey Healey (March 25, 1966 – March 2, 2008), known professionally as Jeff Healey. He was a blind Canadian jazz and blues-rock guitarist and vocalist.

Death of Jeff Healey
Jeff Healey died of cancerat St. Joseph’s Health Centre in his home town of Toronto.
Jeff Healey wwas 41 years old at the time of his death. His death came a month before the release of his new album, Mess of Blues, which will be his first rock album in eight years.

Jeff Healey had a surgery for Lung Cancer last year (Blog Entry: Jeff Healey Lung Cancer)

Patrick Swayze – On March 5, 2008, media announced that the Roadhouse buddy Patrick Swayze is battling cancer. (Blog Entry: Patrick Swayze battling cancer)

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Jeff Healey Biography 

Life and career
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Healey was raised in the city’s west end. His father was a firefighter. Healey lost his sight when he was one year old, due to retinoblastoma, a rare cancer of the eyes which he suffered from throughout his life and which ultimately killed him. His eyes had to be surgically removed, and he was given artificial replacements. He began playing guitar when he was three, developing his unique style of playing the instrument flat on his lap.

When he was 17 he formed the band Blue Direction, a four-piece band which primarily played bar-band cover tunes. Among the other musicians were bassist Jeremy Littler, drummer Graydon Chapman, and a schoolmate, Rob Quail on second guitar. This band played various local clubs in Toronto, including the Colonial Tavern.

Shortly thereafter he was introduced to two musicians, bassist Joe Rockman and drummer Tom Stephen, who formed a trio and made their first public appearance at The Birds Nest, located upstairs at Chicago’s Diner on Queen Street West in Toronto. The new band received a write-up in Toronto’s NOW magazine, and quickly were playing almost nightly in local clubs such as Grossman’s Tavern and the famed blues club Albert’s Hall. At this point, Healey and the band were featured in a movie, Road House, which was inspired when its creator saw Healey playing. With the resulting stardom, they soon signed with Arista Records and in 1988 released See The Light, which included the hit single "Angel Eyes". The song "Hideaway" was nominated for the "Best Instrumental" Grammy Award, and in 1990 the band won the "Entertainer of the Year" Juno Award. Other hits have included "How Long Can a Man Be Strong" and a cover of The Beatles’ "While My Guitar Gently Weeps".

Healey was never particularly enamored with the world of rock music, however, and soon left it for music he preferred, vintage jazz. He had been sitting in with traditional jazz bands around Toronto since the beginning of his music career.

In his later years, he released three CDs from his true passion, traditional American jazz from the 1920s and 1930s. He was an avid record collector and amassed a collection of well over 25,000 78 rpm records. For many years Healey played his music-at Healey’s on Bathurst Street in Toronto, where he played with a rock band on Thursday nights, and with his jazz group, Jeff Healey’s Jazz Wizards, on Saturday afternoons. The club moved to a bigger location at 56 Blue Jays Way and it was named Jeff Healey’s Roadhouse. Though he had lent his name and often played there, Jeff Healey did not own or manage the bar.

Though known primarily as a guitarist, Healey also played trumpet and clarinet during live performances. He also appeared on Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan’s CD/DVD Gillan’s Inn. He can also be seen playing the electric guitar with Stevie Ray Vaughan in SRV’s rock video Look At Little Sister.

Healey had, from time to time, hosted a CBC Radio program entitled My Kind of Jazz, in which he played records from his vast vintage jazz collection. He hosted a program of the same name on Toronto station CJRT-FM, also known as JAZZ.FM91.

He had also been touring with a group called the Jazz Wizards, playing American jazz from the 1920s, 1930s and early 1940s.

They had been planning to perform a series of shows in Britain, Germany and Holland in April 2008.

Healey discovered and helped develop the careers of other artists, including Amanda Marshall and Terra Hazelton.

On January 11, 2007, Healey underwent surgery to remove metastatic tissue from both lungs. In the previous eighteen months he had two sarcomas removed from his legs.

Healey was married to his wife Christie with two children

1988: See the Light
1989: Road House Soundtrack
1990: Hell to Pay
1992: Feel This
1995: Cover to Cover
2000: Get Me Some
2002: Among Friends
2004: Adventures in Jazzland
2006: It’s Tight Like That
2008: Mess of Blues


Roy Scheider, Jaws, dies 75


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Roy Scheider MemoryRoy Richard Scheider (November 10, 1932 – February 10, 2008) was an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-nominated American actor.

Death of Roy Scheider
In 2004, Roy Scheider was diagnosed with myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells. In June 2005, he underwent a bone marrow transplant to successfully treat the cancer which was classified as being in partial remission. He died February 10, 2008 in Little Rock, Arkansas of complications from a staph infection
Roy Scheider was 75 years old at the time of his death.

Scheider was born in Orange, New Jersey. As a child Scheider was an athlete, participating in organized baseball and boxing competitions. He attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey and was inducted into the school’s hall of fame in 1985. He traded his boxing gloves for the stage, studying drama at both Rutgers University and Franklin and Marshall College, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. After three years in the United States Air Force, he appeared with the New York Shakespeare Festival, and won an Obie Award in 1968

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Roy Scheider’s biography continues 

Roy Scheider’s first marriage was to Cynthia Bebout on November 8, 1962. The couple had one daughter, Maximillia, before divorcing in 1989. On February 11, 1989, he married his current wife, actress Brenda Siemer Scheider, with whom he has a son, Christian, and a daughter, Molly.

Film roles
Scheider’s first film role was in the 1963 horror film Curse of the Living Corpse. (He was billed as "Roy R. Sheider"). In 1971 he appeared in two highly popular movies, Klute and The French Connection, the latter garnering him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Four years later he portrayed Chief Martin Brody in the Hollywood blockbuster Jaws. In 1976 he starred as Doc, a secret agent in Marathon Man with Dustin Hoffman and Laurence Olivier. In 1983 he starred in Blue Thunder, a John Badham film about a technologically advance attack helicopter prowling the skies of Los Angeles. This was followed by appearing in Peter Hyams’ 2010: The Year We Make Contact, a 1984 sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 science fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Four years after he appeared in Jaws, he was nominated for his second Academy Award, this time as Best Actor in All That Jazz.

He was originally cast as Michael in The Deer Hunter, as the second movie of a three movie deal with Universal Studios. However, bound by a Universal contract to make a Jaws sequel, he was deprived of the role.

Scheider went on to star in films such as The Myth of Fingerprints (1997) and Silver Wolf (1998).

Other appearances
In 1993, Scheider signed on to star in the Steven Spielberg-produced television series seaQuest DSV. During the second season, Scheider voiced disdain for the direction in which the series was heading. His comments were highly publicized and the media criticized him for panning his own show. NBC made additional casting and writing changes in the third season, and Scheider decided to exit the show. His contract however, required that he make several guest appearances in season three.

He has also repeatedly guest starred on the NBC television series Third Watch. Among his most recent films is the crusty father of hero Frank Castle in The Punisher (2004).

Scheider also hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live in the tenth (1984-1985) season (musical guest: Billy Ocean) and appeared on the Family Guy episode Bill and Peter’s Bogus Journey voicing himself as the host of a toilet-training video.

In 2007, Scheider received one of two annually-presented Lifetime Achievement Awards at the SunDeis Film Festival in Waltham, Massachusetts. (Academy Award winner Patricia Neal was the recipient of the other.)

Scheider guest-starred in an episode Law & Order: Criminal Intent as a death row inmate on May 14, 2007.

The Curse of the Living Corpse (1964)
Paper Lion (1968)
Stiletto (1969)
Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1969)
Loving (1970)
Klute (1971)
The French Connection (1971)
The Seven-Ups (1973)
Jaws (1975)
Marathon Man (1976)
Sorcerer (1977)
Jaws 2 (1978)
Last Embrace (1979)
All That Jazz (1979)
Still of the Night (1982)
Blue Thunder (1983)
Tiger Town (1983)
2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984)
The Men’s Club (1986)
52 Pick-Up (1986)
Cohen and Tate (1988)
Listen to Me (1989)
Night Game (movie) (1989)
The Fourth War (1989)
The Russia House (1990)
Somebody has to Shoot the Picture (1990)
Naked Lunch (1991)
Wild Justice (1993)
seaQuest DSV (1993) (television series)
Romeo is Bleeding (1994)
The Peacekeeper (1996)
Executive Target (1997)
The Myth of Fingerprints (1997)
The Rainmaker (1997)
The Rage (1997)
Plato’s Run (1997)
Evasive Action (1998)
RKO 281 (1999)
Falling Through (2000)
Daybreak (2000)
The Doorway (2000)
Texas 46 (2002) aka The Good War (USA)
Dracula II: Ascension (2003)
The Punisher (2004)
Dark Honeymoon (2007)
The Poet (2007)
Iron Cross (2007)

Christodoulos – primate of the greek orthodox church

christodoulosChristodoulos (born Christos Paraskevaides) (January 16, 1939 – January 28, 2008), was the primate of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Greece, a position to which he was elected in 1998.

In June 2007, Archbishop Christodoulos was hospitalized in Aretaeion Hospital of Athens and diagnosed with colonic adenocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma in the right lobe of the liver, and cirrhosis due to chronic hepatitis C.

Following colonic tumor resection, transplantation specialist Professor Andreas Tzakis, of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, announced that the Archbishop would be transferred to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida in order to undergo liver transplantation. On October 8, 2007 the transplantation was cancelled because one of the tumors had already spread to the peritoneum. As a result of the transplantation cancellation and following suggestions by his attending doctors, Christodoulos returned to Athens on October 26, 2007 to continue his treatment. He passed away on January 28, 2008 after battling bravely with his illness.

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Gordon Hinckley, president of Mormon churches

Gordon HinckleyGordon Bitner Hinckley (June 23, 1910 – January 27, 2008) was the fifteenth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) from March 12, 1995 until his death. He was the oldest person to preside over the LDS Church in its history. As president of the LDS Church, he was considered by its members to be a prophet, seer, and revelator. His presidency was noted for the building of new temples and the creation of the Perpetual Education Fund. Hinckley holds the record for dedicating the most LDS Church temples and has dedicated more than half of the current church temples.

As president of the church, Hinckley was also chairman of the Church Board of Education and Board of Trustees that governs the Church Educational System

Death of Gordon Hinckley
On January 27, 2008, at approximately 7 p.m. MST, Hinckley died due to "causes incident to age", at the age of ninety-seven. He was surrounded by family in his Salt Lake City apartment at the time of his death. According to a church news release, a presidential successor will likely not be named until after the funeral.

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Christian Brando – Marlon Brando’s Son

Christian Brando (May 11, 1958 – January 26, 2008) was the eldest of the offspring of the late actor Marlon Brando. He was convicted of the voluntary manslaughter of his half-sister Cheyenne’s boyfriend on May 16, 1990 at Marlon Brando’s residence on Mulholland Drive. He was released from prison in 1996. In 2005, he pled guilty to spousal abuse with his then wife Deborah Presley, for which he was given probation.

Death of Christian Brando
Christian Brando died of pneumonia on 26 January 2008 at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Christian Brando was 49 years old at the time of his death.

He was admitted into Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center on 11 January. On 17 January, Christian’s attorney Benjamin Brin announced that the Brando was hospitalized with pneumonia. "The prognosis is for a complete recovery," Brin said, "He’s going to be OK." But another friend that asked not to be identified at the time claimed that Brando was in grave condition. "He’s in the hospital, and he’s not doing very well. He has pneumonia with complications," they said.

  • Christian Brando’s biography continues on next page

Early life
Brando was born in Los Angeles, California, the result of an affair between the Hollywood legend Marlon Brando and actress Anna Kashfi. They met in 1955. Kashfi became pregnant in 1957, and married Brando in 1958. Brando later claimed he had only married Kashfi because of the pregnancy, and had maintained additional romantic relationships away from home. Kashfi turned to barbiturates and alcohol and a year after Christian’s birth the couple divorced. Christian was passed between the two as their relationship became more and more hostile and abusive. The author Nellie Bly claimed that “When the Brandos quarreled, Anna displayed a ‘frightening’ rage,” and that “Anna left baby Christian alone in her car parked on Wilshire Boulevard while she confronted Brando in his office, ‘beating at him with her fists, in a frenzy of rage.” There was a protracted custody battle between Kashfi and Brando until he eventually won custody of Christian aged 13 after an incident when Christian was taken out of school to Mexico by Kashfi without Brando’s consent.

Christian had little contact with his father. He was primarily raised by nannies and servants and moved between Hollywood and the family’s private island near Tahiti. A reluctant witness to his father’s sexual exploits and bizarre behavior, Christian complained that: “The family kept changing shape, I’d sit down at the breakfast table and say, "Who are you?"”.

Brando had two small early movie roles as a child in 1968 in The Secret Life of an American Wife and I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!. He appeared in a number of films and TV productions using the stagename Gary Brown between 1980 and 1990.

Christian was convicted of manslaughter for killing Dag Drollet in 1990. Dag was in a relationship with Christian’s younger (half-)sister Cheyenne; he was the father of the child she was expecting at the time, her son Tuki. Christian and Cheyenne had discussed Dag over dinner at the Musso & Frank Grill. Cheyenne alleged that Dag was abusive, which may have been untrue. Christian confronted Dag at the family home and shot him. After heavily publicized pretrial proceedings, Christian pled guilty to manslaughter.

Bonnie Lee Bakley
Robert Blake claimed that Christian Brando was involved in the murder of Blake’s 44-year-old wife Bonnie Lee Bakley in 2001. Blake was however charged with the murder and acquitted, then later found liable in a civil case.

Testimony during criminal pre-trial hearings and civil trial implicated Christian in the murder. Testimony included that he had the same motive as Blake to have Bonny Lee Bakley killed. Bonnie Lee Bakley was dating Robert Blake and Christian Brando at the same time. Letters to Robert Blake from Bakley outlined financial motives for the relationships with Blake and Brando. Bakley became pregnant and claimed to both Brando and Blake that they were the father. Bakley named Christian Brando as the father in the official birth certificate and named the baby Christian Shannon Brando. After a DNA test, Robert Blake was proven to be the father.

According to trial testimony, just days before her murder Bakley sent a letter to Brando with pictures of the baby still claiming Brando was the father.[8] A witness, Dianne Mattson, testified that Brando became enraged and at one point stated "somebody should put a bullet in that bitch’s head!". In a tape recorded conversation between Brando and Bakley, Brando stated, "You’re lucky. You know, I mean, not on my behalf, but you’re lucky someone ain’t out there to put a bullet in your head.”

According to pre-trial testimony and corroboration, Christian Brando was in Washington state the night of Bakley’s death. He could not have shot Ms. Bakley. Other pre-trial testimony alleged associates of Christian Brando were involved in the murder. One of those allegedly involved was the prosecution star witness: a stuntman named "Duffy Hambleton". Hambleton claimed that Blake tried to hire him as the gunman to kill Bakley but he refused. Blake testified that he hired Hambleton for private security to protect him and Bakley from a stalker. Criminal pre-trial and civil trial testimony claimed that Duffy Hambleton was an associate of Christian Brando and he arranged the murder of Bakley to curry favor with Brando. The judge in the criminal case prevented the defense from presenting that view during trial.

Brando appeared as a witness in actor Robert Blake’s civil trial but refused to testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment constitutional right against self-incrimination. Although Brando refused to testify, his objectionable behavior in court earned him a "contempt of court" charge and conviction.

According to legal analyst Andrew Cohen, Blake’s acquittal was a result of defense lawyer M. Gerald Schwartzbach’s successful impeachment of the prosecution’s "stuntmen" witnesses[16] and suggestions that others could have been involved in the murder. Another civil trial witness, Brian Allan Fiebelkorn, testified that he alerted authorities to information that could confirm prosecution witness Duffy Hambleton was not being truthful in his assertions against Robert Blake. More importantly, Fiebelkorn (as well as other trial witnesses) asserted that Duffy Hambleton had an association with Christian Brando, but Fiebelkorn was rebuked by law enforcement.

The civil trial verdict found Robert Blake liable in the death of Bonnie Lee Bakley. An appeal was filed on February 28, 2007.

Marriage and spousal abuse
Brando married artist Deborah Presley on October 16, 2004 in Las Vegas. Presley, two years Brando’s senior, claims to be an illegitimate daughter of Elvis Presley. On January 10, 2005, Christian Brando was charged with two counts of spousal abuse in relation to battery of his wife. Pleading guilty, he was sentenced to three years’ probation, two months drug and alcohol treatment, and he was ordered to complete a spousal abuse prevention program. The couple divorced in June 2005.

In December 2005, Deborah Brando launched a suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court seeking financial damages for multiple counts of violence and threats of violence and murder against her and her 13-year-old daughter. Deborah claimed that Christian repeatedly forced her into sex by threatening to smother her with a pillow or to cut her daughter "into a million pieces.". The former couple reached a settlement in February, 2007

lead singer of boston

boston was the kind of music that everyone could rock to…what a sad day that he is gone…boston’s music will play on forever!! those were the days….

Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain) died at 28

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Heath Ledger DeathHeath Andrew Ledger (April 4, 1979 – January 22, 2008) was an Academy Award-nominated Australian actor.

Death of Heath Ledger 
(Feb 5, 2008 – Official cause of death was announced as "accidental pill over-dose" [more])
According to the New York City Police Department, Ledger was found dead in his apartment in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan on January 22, 2008.
Heath Ledger was 28 years old at the time of his death.

Sewell Chan of The New York Times writes:

"At 3:31 p.m., a masseuse arrived at Apartment 5A of 421 Broome Street in SoHo for an appointment with Ledger, the police said. The masseuse was let in to the home by a housekeeper, who then knocked on the door of Ledger’s bedroom. When no one answered, the housekeeper and the masseuse opened the bedroom and found Ledger unresponsive. They shook him, but he did not respond. They immediately called the authorities. The police said they did not suspect foul play and said they found pills near his body." 

10 Things I Hate About You – Heath Ledger Singing

Suzanne Pleshette – Character actress (Emily Hartley)

Suzanne PleshetteSuzanne Pleshette (January 31, 1937 – January 17, 2008) was an American actress, primarily known in character-type roles.

The naturally brunette-headed Pleshette was best known for her role as Bob Newhart’s wife, Emily Hartley, on The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s. She later guest-starred as Katey Sagal’s mother, Laura Egan, on 8 Simple Rules, in the 2000s.

Death of Suzanne Pleshette
Suzanne Pleshette died early in the evening of January 17, 2008 of respiratory failure at her Los Angeles home.
Suzanne Pleshette was 70 years old at the time of her death.

** Suzanne Pleshette’s husband is Tom Poston, an actor who passed away April 30, 2007.  At the time of her death, the city of Hollywood was getting ready for her star on the walk of fame.

Early life
Born to Eugene Pleshette, manager of the Paramount Theater in Brooklyn, New York and dancer Geraldine Kaplan, she was a cousin of Knots Landing actor John Pleshette. Pleshette graduated from Manhattan’s High School of Performing Arts. She then attended Syracuse University.