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Archive - Feb 2009

February 28th

Radio Legend Paul Harvey Dies 90

Paul Harvey Aurandt (September 4, 1918 - February 28, 2009), better known as Paul Harvey, was an American radio broadcaster for the ABC Radio Networks. He broadcasted News and Comment on weekday mornings and mid-days, and at noon on Saturdays, as well as his famous The Rest of the Story segments. His listening audience was estimated at 22 million people a week. Harvey liked to say he was raised in radio newsrooms

Harvey died on February 28, 2009, at the age of 90 after being taken to a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. He died while surrounded by family and friends. His son, Paul Harvey Jr., said "millions have lost a friend" in response to his father's passing.  The cause was not immediately known.

February 27th

Ed McMahon Hospitalized in Serious Condition

On February 27, 2009 it was reported that Ed McMahon has been in an undisclosed Los Angeles hospital for almost a month. He is currently listed in serious condition and is in the intensive care unit. His publicist told reporters that he was admitted for pneumonia, but could not confirm reports that McMahon has been diagnosed with bone cancer.

In March 2008, it was announced McMahon was recovering from a broken neck and two subsequent surgeries. He was injured in 2007 in a fall. He later sued Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and two doctors, claiming fraud, battery, elder abuse and emotional distress and accusing them of discharging him with a broken neck after his fall in 2007 and later botched two neck surgeries.

Edward "Ed" Leo Peter McMahon, Jr. (March 6, 1923) is an American comedian, game show host, announcer, and television personality most famous for his work on television as Johnny Carson's announcer on Who Do You Trust? from 1957 to 1962 and on the Tonight Show from 1962 to 1992, and as the host of the talent show Star Search from 1983 to 1995.

February 22nd

Heath Ledger Wins Oscar

Heath Ledger won an Oscar for best supporting role at Dark Knight. 

I hate to say this, but... the only reason Heath Ledger won an Oscar is because he's dead. 

After a huge media hype, general public got on the "Best Acting of the Century" bandwagon.  But the fact is that the movie was not exactly a masterpiece.  It was just another Sci-Fi. 

It's like listening to a handicap stand up comedian.  You cannot boo him off because he's a handicap. We always give them sympathy applause. 

I believe Heath just won a sympathy Oscar.

Movie and Commercial Director Howard Zieff dies 81

Howard Zieff (October 21, 1927 Los Angeles - February 22, 2009 Los Angeles) was an American director, television commercial director, and advertising photographer.

Zieff's films include The Main Event (1979), Private Benjamin (1980), Unfaithfully Yours (1984), The Dream Team (1989), My Girl (1991) and My Girl 2 (1994).

Zieff retired from directing after My Girl 2 was released as he became increasingly debilitated by Parkinson's disease.

Death of Howard Zieff
Zieff passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at 8:10am on Sunday, February 22, his wife (renowned retired motion picture literary agent) Ronda Gomez-Quinones at his side.

Zieff grew up in Boyle Heights. He studied art for one year at Los Angeles City College, then dropped out in 1946 to join the United States Navy. He learned photography at the Naval Photography School in Pensacola, Florida and then, after his discharge, at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. He became a commercial photographer in New York City in the 1950s, soon earning a reputation as one one of the city's best-known advertising photographers of the 1960s. His campaigns included "You Don't Have To Be Jewish" for Levy's rye bread, "Mamma Mia, that's a spicy meatball" for Alka-Seltzer, and ads for the New York Daily News, Polaroid, and Volkswagen.

February 20th

Horror Movie Actor (B-Movies) Robert Quarry Dies 83

Robert Walter Quarry (November 2, 1925 - February 20, 2009) was an American actor, known for several prominent horror film roles. His films include Count Yorga, Vampire (1970), its sequel The Return of Count Yorga (1971), and Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972). 

Death of Robert Quarry
Robert Quarry was 83 and had been in generally declining health for the past year.

February 19th

ELO Bass Player Kelly Groucutt dies 63

Kelly Groucutt (born Michael William Groucutt, (September 8, 1945 - February 19, 2009) was an English musician who was best known for being the bass player for the band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), between 1974 and 1983. He was born in Coseley, Staffordshire.

Death of Kelly Groucutt
Kelly Groucutt died of heart attack he suffered the previous night.
Kelly Groucutt was 63 years old at the time of his death.

The first Electric Light Orchestra album to feature Kelly on bass guitar and as a backing vocalist was 1975's Face the Music. He continued contributing on the following albums A New World Record (1976), Out of the Blue (1977), Discovery (1979), Xanadu (1980) and Time (1981).

Groucutt remained with ELO until the onset of the recording sessions for 1983's Secret Messages album. It was at this juncture that he left the band, unhappy with royalty payments during his tenure, and made the decision to sue management and band leader Jeff Lynne. A settlement for the sum of £300,000 was reached out of court prior to proceedings. He is credited with playing bass on Secret Messages, although it has been stated from an official source that he only played on four songs.

In 2006 Groucutt married his second wife, long time girlfriend Anna-Maria Bialaga. He has four children and two grandchildren.

He took part in some of the many ELO spin-off groups: OrKestra, ELO Part 2, and The Orchestra. He toured worldwide with The Orchestra (Former members of ELO and ELO Part II) and also took part in tours as part of a local, little known band called Session 60.

Related Story
Mike Edwards, Member of ELO, dies of Freak Accident 62 (September 3, 2010)

Electric Light Orchestra - Mister Blue Sky

A lot of hospitalizations in Hollywood (show biz)

This is what happened recently.

  • Charlie Sheen's wife Brooke Sheen was hospitalized (currently pregnant with twin boys)
  • Suge Knight was hospitalized after a fight - He got beaten up pretty bad.
  • Beyonce's little sister Solange Knowles was hospitalized
  • Usher's wife Tameka Foster Raymond was hospitalized for plastic surgery complications
  • Amy Winehouse was hospitalized - again...
  • Pop singer Rihanna was hospitalized after an attack from her pop singer boyfriend Chris Brown.

Just be normal & be healthy.  God bless you all.

February 18th

R&B, jazz guitarist Snooks Eaglin dies 72

Snooks Eaglin (born Fird Eaglin, Jr., January 21, 1936 - February 18, 2009) was a guitarist and singer in New Orleans. He has also been referred to as Blind Snooks Eaglin.

His vocal style is reminiscent of Ray Charles; indeed, in the 50s, when he was in his late teens, he would sometimes bill himself as "Little" Ray Charles. He is generally regarded as a New Orleans R&B artist playing a wide range of music from blues, rock 'n' roll, jazz, country to Latin music. In his early years, he also played some straight-ahead acoustic blues.

Death of Snooks Eaglin 
Snooks Eaglin died of heart attack. He had been hospitalized for prostate cancer treatment and returned home not long prior to his death.

His ability to play a wide range of songs and his ability to perfectly understand and make the tunes his own earned him the nickname the "human jukebox." Eaglin claimed in interviews that his musical repertoire included some 1,000 songs.

At live shows, he did not usually prepare set lists, and was unpredictable, even to his bandmates. He played songs that come to his head, and he also took requests from the audience.

Snooks Eaglin with George Porter Jr.- Ripstick Traces

February 15th

Dorothy Bridges dies (Lloyd Bridges' wife, mother of Beau & Jeff)

Dorothy Bridges was actor Lloyd Bridges' wife for 59 years.  She was the mother of Beau and Jeff Bridges (actors).

Dorothy Bridges was 93 years old at the time of her death.

February 11th

'Be My Baby' The Ronettes' singer Estelle Bennett dies 67

Estelle Bennett (July 22, 1941 - February 11, 2009) was a member of the girl group The Ronettes, along with her sister Ronnie Spector and cousin Nedra Talley. After the Ronettes' 1966 break-up, she recorded a single for Laurie Records, "The Year 2000/The Naked Boy". She then quit the music business and had rarely been seen since. She got married (last name Dong) and raised a family.

In 2007, when the group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she refused to perform with them, and spoke only a brief two sentences during her acceptance speech, "I would just like to say, thank you very much for giving us this award. I'm Estelle of the Ronettes, thank you."

Death of Estelle Bennett
Estelle Bennett died on February 11, aged 67

The Ronettes - Be My Baby, Shout!

Frosty the Snowman

February 9th

Freestyle motocross rider Jeremy Lusk dies 24

Jeremy Lusk (November 24, 1984 - February 9, 2009) was an American freestyle motocross racer from San Diego, California.

He won gold and silver medals at the 2008 X Games. He won a bronze helmet in the 2008 Moto X World Championships.

Death of Jeremy Lusk
On February 7, 2009, Lusk crashed while attempting to land a Hart Attack backflip in a freestyle motocross competition in Costa Rica. He died of head injuries on February 10, 2009. At the time of his death, he lived in Temecula, California.

* There are Jeremy Lusk's videos of the accident at youtube.  That video will not be posted here. 

Jeremy Lusk Interview

February 7th

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" - Molly Bee dies 69

Molly Bee, born Mollie Gene Beachboard and also known as Molly Muncy (August 18, 1939 - February 7, 2009), was an American country music singer who became a popular teenage star on the 1950s TV show Hometown Jamboree.

She was born in Oklahoma City. She had her first major recording success at the age of 13 with I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. This was followed by at least three more hit singles, and a brief acting career. On February 7, 2009, Bee died of complications relating to a stroke, at the Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside, California. She was 69

Cabaret Singer Blossom Dearie Dies 82

Blossom Dearie (April 28, 1926 - February 7, 2009) was an American jazz singer and pianist, often performing in the bebop genre and known for her "distinctive, girlish voice".

Death of Blossom Dearlie
Dearie died on February 7, 2009, at her apartment in Greenwich Village, New York City

In 1974, Dearie established her own label, Daffodil Records. Her distinctive voice and songs have been featured on the soundtracks of several films, including Kissing Jessica Stein, My Life Without Me, The Squid and the Whale and The Adventures of Felix. She has also recorded with various musicians, including Lyle Lovett.

Dearie continued to perform in clubs until 2007. One of the last remaining supper-club performers, she performed regular engagements in London and New York City over many years

Blossom Dearlie: I won't dance

February 6th

James Whitmore, Emmy, Golden Globe & Tony Winner, dies 87

1949 Battleground, best supporting actor2000 The Practice - Outstanding Guest Actor 

James Allen Whitmore, Jr. (October 1, 1921 - February 6, 2009) was an American two-time Academy Award-nominated, Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning film actor.

Death of Jame Whitmore
Whitmore was diagnosed with lung cancer in November of 2008. He died of the disease, at his home in Malibu, California,
James Whitmore was 87 years old at the time of his death.

Following World War II, Whitmore appeared on Broadway in the role of the Sergeant in Command Decision. MGM hired Whitmore on contract, however his role in the film was played by Van Johnson. Whitmore's first major movie was Battleground that was turned down by Spencer Tracy, for which Whitmore was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Other major films included The Asphalt Jungle, The Next Voice You Hear, Above and Beyond, Kiss Me, Kate, Them!, Oklahoma!, Black Like Me, Guns of the Magnificent Seven, Tora! Tora! Tora!, and Give 'em Hell, Harry!, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of former President of the United States Harry S Truman.

To a younger generation, he was probably best known, in addition to his role in The Shawshank Redemption, as the commercial spokesman for Miracle-Gro plant food for many years.

Brooks Commits Suicide - James Whitmore as Brooks

James Whitmore's Filmography continues next page

James Whitmore's Filmography 

The Majestic (2001)
Here s To Life (2000)
Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998)
The Relic (1997)
Wild Bill, Hollywood Maverick: The Life and Times of William A. Wellman (1996)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Where The Red Fern Grows - Pt. 1 & 2 (1992)
Old Explorers (1990)
Glory! Glory! (1988)
All My Sons (1987)
Frontier Heritage (1987)
Nuts (1987)
Celebrity (1985)
The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985)
The Killing of Randy Webser (1981)
Rage (1980)
The First Deadly Sin (1980)
Bully (1978)
The Word (1978)
The Serpent's Egg (1977)
Give 'Em Hell, Harry! (1975)
I Will Fight No More Forever (1975)
Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)
High Crime (1973)
The Harrad Experiment (1973)
Chato's Land (1971)
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
Guns of the Magnificent Seven (1969)
Madigan (1968)
Nobody's Perfect (1968)
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Chuka (1967)
Waterhole Number 3 (1967)
Black Like Me (1964)
Who Was That Lady? (1960)
Face of Fire (1959)
The Restless Years (1958)
The Deep Six (1957)
Crime in the Streets (1956)
The Eddy Duchin Story (1956)
The Last Frontier (1956)
Battle Cry (1955)
Oklahoma! (1955)
The McConnell Story (1955)
Them (1954)
All the Brothers Were Valiant (1953)
Kiss Me Kate (1953)
The Girl Who Had Everything (1953)
The Great Diamond Robbery (1953)
Above and Beyond (1952)
Because You're Mine (1952)
The Next Voice You Hear (1950)
Battleground (1949)
Ray Bradbury Dancing Among the Muses

Child Star, Shirley Jean Rickert, 'Our Gang' comedies, dies 82

Shirley Jean Rickert (March 25, 1926 - February 6, 2009) was an American child actress who was briefly the "blonde girl" for the Our Gang series in 1931, during the Roach talkie period. She left the "Our Gang" to work at Mickey Rooney's comedy show.

After the series, she had a brief movie career, followed by a string of jobs including driving trucks for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. She also worked in burlesque as Gilda and Her Crowning Glory. Until her death, she performed quilting and worked with her daughter and grandchild.

Death of Shirley Jean Rickert
Shirley Jean Rickert died February 6, 2009 in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Shirley Jean Rickert died after a long illness.