Major Causes of Death: Accidental | Cancer | Drug | Heart Attack | Heart Failure | Lung | Natural Causes | Suicide

Archive - May 2011

May 30th

Clarice Taylor, Anna Huxtable from 'Cosby Show', Dies at 93

Clarice Taylor (September 20, 1917 - May 30, 2011) was an American stage, film and television actress.

Clarice Taylor was known for her recurring role on television on The Cosby Show as Dr. Heathcliff "Cliff" Huxtable (Bill Cosby)'s mother, Anna Huxtable. She was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1986 for the role. She also played Harriet on Sesame Street and appeared as Grady's cousin Emma on Sanford and Son.

In 1971 she played Birdie in Clint Eastwood's Play Misty For Me.  Taylor appeared in the hit musical The Wiz, as Addaperle, the Good Witch of the North.

Clarice Taylor Cause of Death
Taylor died on May 30, 2011 of heart failure. She was survived by her two sons, William and James, and five grandchildren.  Clarice Taylor was 93 years old at the time of her death.

Purlie! "The World is Comin' to a Start" (Don Scardino - 1981 TV Cast) 
Clarice Taylor (as Idella) appears at 1:38

May 29th

Sean Kingston Stabilized After Jet Ski Accident

On May 29, 2011, Sean Kingston was involved in a jet skiing accident in Miami, Florida. Kingston and a female passenger were severely injured when their jet ski struck the bridge connecting Palm Island with the MacArthur Causeway at approximately 6 p.m. He was taken to a Miami Beach hospital. He is currently in stable condition.

Sean Kingston (born Kisean Anderson; February 3, 1990) is a Jamaican-American singer. He pursued a music career and debuted in 2007 with the album Sean Kingston.

Kingston recorded and released the single "Beautiful Girls" in May 2007. The single, based on the bass line and lyrical "association" of the 1961 hit "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King, reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks and topped the UK Singles Chart along with many other international charts.

Sean Kingston - Beautiful Girls

May 27th

Gil Scott-Heron, Voice of Black Culture, Godfather of Rap, died 62

Gil Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 – May 27, 2011) was an American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his work as a spoken word performer in the 1970s and 80s, and for his collaborative soul works with musician Brian Jackson.  Scott-Heron remained active until his death, and in 2010 released his first new album in 16 years, entitled I'm New Here.

Gil Scott-Heron influenced later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul.

Scott-Heron's recording work is often associated with black militant activism and has received much critical acclaim for one of his most well-known compositions "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"

Gil Scott-Heron Cause of Death
Gil Scott-Heron died on the afternoon of May 27, 2011, at St. Luke's Hospital, New York City, after becoming sick upon returning from a European trip. Cause of death is not known.

It was revealed in 2008, that Gil Scott-Heron was HIV positive.

Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
70's When Gil Scott-Heron was younger

Gil Scott-Heron - 'I'm New Here' (released 2010)
Mellow & older Gil Scott-Heron

George Clinton Hospitalized for Staph Infection

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Legendary Parliament-Funkadelic frontman George Clinton has been hospitalized for a staph infection in his leg.

A representative for Clinton promises that the infection is not life-threatening, and that the funk pioneer will make a full recovery.

George Clinton - Motown Live - Atomic Dog 

Jeff Conaway, star of 'Taxi' and 'Grease,' dies 60

Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway (October 5, 1950 - May 27, 2011, known by his stage name, Jeff Conaway, was an American actor, best known for his roles in the movie Grease, and the US TV series Taxi and Babylon 5. He also directed the 1992 film Bikini Summer 2.

Jeff Conaway Cause of Death
On May 11, 2011, Conaway was found unconscious from what was initially described as an overdose of what was believed to be pain medication, and was taken to a hospital in Encino, California, where he was listed as being in critical condition and in a coma.  After the initial reports, Dr. Drew Pinsky, who had treated Conaway for substance abuse, said the actor was suffering not from a drug overdose but rather from "pneumonia with sepsis", for which he was placed into an induced coma.

Official cause of death (announced October 1, 2011)
5 months later, Los Angeles County coroner ruled his death accidental.  Jeff Conaway died mn May 27, 2011, after 2 weeks in a comma.
Jeff Conaway was 60 years old at the time of his death.

Conaway appeared on VH1's 'Celebrity Fit Club' in 2008 and later on 'Celebrity Rehab,' where he admitted to being addicted to cocaine, painkillers and alcohol.

Related Story:
In the movie Grease, Kenickie's dance partner was Cha Cha, played by Annette Charles.  Annette Charles died in August 3, 2011 from Cancer. 

Taxi: Reverend Jim's driving test
(Jeff Conway is a good looking guy with long hair)

May 22nd

Joseph Brooks, “You Light Up My Life” Songwriter, Dies Before Trial 73

Important Background Story:
Joseph Brooks was waiting for a trial on charges of sexually assaulting of more than a dozen women.  He allegedly lured the women to his apartment to audition for movie roles.  He was indicted on June 23, 2009. He was being tried by Manhattan's state Supreme Court for 91 counts and charged with rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual act, assault, and other charges.

A month ago, Joseph Brooks' son was accused of murdering a swimsuit designer.

 

Joseph Brooks (March 11, 1938 – May 22, 2011) was an American screenwriter, director, producer, and composer. He composed the hit song "You Light Up My Life" for the film of the same name that he also wrote, directed, and produced.

In the 1960s Brooks was a composer of advertising jingles, including highly successful ones for Pepsi, "You've Got a Lot to Live", and Maxwell House, "Good to the Last Drop Feeling".

In October 1977 "You Light Up My Life" reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 popularity charts where it held the top position for 10 consecutive weeks, which was then the longest run at #1 in the chart's history. With sales of over four million copies in the United States alone, the song ultimately became the biggest hit of the 1970s. It also hit #1 Adult Contemporary and was even a Top 10 "Country" single. The passionate ballad also earned Brooks a Grammy Award for Song of the Year as well as an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe Award and an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Award. The song was Debby Boone's first solo hit record and only Top 40 Pop hit.

Joseph Brooks Cuase of Death
Police reported on May 22, 2011, that Brooks was found dead by a friend of an apparent suicide. He was 73 years old. His body was found in his Upper East Side apartment with a plastic dry cleaning bag around his head and a towel around his neck. His body was near a helium tank with a hose on it and a suicide note.

Debby Boone You light up my life 

May 20th

'Macho Man' Randy Savage, WWF Wrester, Died 58

Randall Mario Poffo (November 15, 1952 – May 20, 2011), better known by his ring name "Macho Man" Randy Savage, was an American professional wrestler and actor best known for his time with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW). He also had a short run with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA). Savage held twenty championships during his professional wrestling career and is a seven-time world champion: a two-time WWF Champion, four-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion, and one-time USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion. Also a one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, WWE has named Savage the greatest Intercontinental 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 is 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.

Miss Elizabeth died May 1, 2003, at the age of 42

Randy Savage Cause of Death
Randy Savage suffered a heart attack around 10AM while driving on a highway in Tampa, Florida before losing control of the vehicle and crashing.  Randy Savage was driving a 2009 Jeep Wrangler when he "veered across a concrete median ... through oncoming traffic ... and "collided head-on with a tree." His wife Lynn was a passenger but survived with "minor injuries". According to officials, both were wearing their seat belts at the time.
Randy Savage was 58 years old at the time of his death

 Macho Man promo

May 19th

Zsa Zsa Gabor In Coma and Unresponsive

On May 18, 2011, it was announced that Zsa Zsa Gabor had been rushed to the hospital again due to bleeding around her feeding tube. It was later announced that she had gone into a coma and was unresponsive.

May 18th

Jeff Conaway of 'Grease' and 'Taxi' in critical condition (overdose)

On May 11, 2011, Conaway was found unconscious from an overdose on what was believed to be pain medication. He is currently in a coma in Encino, California and is listed as critical condition.

In early 2008 Conaway appeared with other celebrities in the VH1 reality series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. The show revealed that Conaway is addicted to cocaine, alcohol, and painkillers, and in a co-dependent relationship with his girlfriend Vikki, also a user of prescription opiates. 

Jeffrey Charles William Michael Conaway (born October 5, 1950, 60 years old) is an American actor, best known for his roles in the movie Grease, and the US TV series Taxi and Babylon 5. He also directed the 1992 film Bikini Summer 2.

Jeff Conaway's Meltdown

May 15th

Montae Talbert, Rapper, 'Teach Me How to Dougie' Dead 22

On May 15, 2011 Cali Swag District's member Montae Talbertwas (M-Bone) was killed during a drive-by shooting.

Cali Swag District is an American hip hop group from Inglewood, California, founded by former Death Row artist Big Wy and Dairold Potts. The group is best known for the single "Teach Me How to Dougie", which debuted at number 91 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song remained on the chart and climbed steadily during the weeks that followed, rising to number 28 by its thirteenth week. "Teach Me How to Dougie" reached number 1 on Billboard Heatseekers, holding the number 2 position for six consecutive weeks before claiming the number 1 position in its seventh week. The group is signed with Capitol Records' Checkmate Entertainment imprint.

Cali Swag District-Teach Me How To Dougie (Unofficial Video)
M-Bone in Hello Kitty Shirt  - Warning: explicit lyrics

Bob Flanigan, Four Freshmen Founder, Dies 84

Bob Flanigan (August 22, 1926 – May 15, 2011), was an American tenor vocalist and founding member of The Four Freshmen, a jazz vocal group

Flanigan, who was born in Greencastle, Indiana, was a respected trombonist, and also played bass guitar with the outfit for several decades, beginning on September 20, 1948, and sang the top part.

After retiring from performing in 1992, Flanigan maintained the band's name and was responsible for the group's changing cast of performers.

Bob Flanigan Cause of Death
Bob Flanigan died of congestive heart failure at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 15, 2011. Bob Flanigan was 84 years old at the time of his death.

Four Freshmen - Poinciana (1952) Bob Flanigan on Bass
You can see Beach Boys and Manhattan Transfer were influenced by their style.

 A Visit with Bob Flanigan of The Four Freshmen

May 13th

Etta James hospitalized with serious blood infection

Legendary singer Etta James (73) is hospitalized since earlier this week with blood infection.  "she's doing a lot better." her son said.

Etta James' Health - Past Year
Etta James was hospitalized in January 2010 to treat an infection caused by MRSA. During her hospitalization, her son Donto revealed that James was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2009, and attributed her previous comments about Beyoncé Knowles to "drug induced dementia". On January 14, 2011 it was announced that James had been diagnosed with leukemia and was undergoing treatment.

She had gastric bypass surgery in 2003

Etta James (born, January 25, 1938 - 73 years old) is an American blues, soul, R&B, rock & roll, gospel and jazz singer and songwriter. James is the winner of three Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards.

May 12th

Mary Tyler Moore to undergo brain surgery (tumor).

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Mary Tyler Moore (74), the comedy icon whose tremulous exclamations were hallmarks of The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the '60s and '70s, has a benign brain tumor and has opted for surgery to remove it.

May 11th

Billy Graham hospitalized

On May 11, 2011, 92 year old Billy Graham was admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, for treatment of pneumonia.

May 10th

Norma Zimmer, 'Lawrence Welk Show' soloist, dies 87

Norma Zimmer (July 13, 1923 – May 10, 2011) was a vocalist, best remembered for her 22-year tenure as Lawrence Welk's "Champagne Lady" on The Lawrence Welk Show.

Zimmer sang with a quartet called The Girlfriends along with Betty Allan and others. They sang backup for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Perry Como, and others. Their coup was to be hired as backup for the famous Bing Crosby version of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas".

As her two sons were growing up, she decided to give it up to raise her children. Welk told her it was all right for her to quit the road tours, but he asked her to stay on the television show until he could find another singer. Each week, a new girl came on as a possible replacement, but Welk kept asking Zimmer to come back the following week. That went on for 20 years. As the show's Champagne Lady, Zimmer sang one solo and often a duet (usually with Jimmy Roberts); she frequently danced with Welk at the end of the show.

Norma Zimmer Cause of Death
Norma Zimmer stopped performing publicly since she was suffering from a neurological disorder. She died peacefully on May 10, 2011 at her Brea, California home.
Norma Zimmer was 87 years old at the time of her death. She was survived by her two sons, Ron and Mark, as well as three grand children.

Norma Zimmer on The Lawrence Welk Show: Hold Me, Thrill Me
** Recommended **

Dreamin' of a White Christmas on the Welk Show
1972, Norma Zimmer and Jimmy Roberts