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Archive - Feb 2016

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February 29th

Gil Hill, Detroit Detective and ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ Actor, Dies 84

Gilbert Roland "Gil" Hill (November 5, 1931 – February 29, 2016) was the President of the Detroit City Council. He was also a Detroit police officer and part-time actor, gaining recognition for his craft in the Beverly Hills Cop movie franchise.

Already a nationally-prominent figure through his success in law enforcement, Hill rose to worldwide fame when he appeared in the Beverly Hills Cop films, playing the role of Inspector Todd, the boss of Eddie Murphy's character Axel Foley. Offered other acting work after the film's release, Hill declined to pursue acting as a career, but did appear in the two subsequent sequels of the movie, saying that the only difference between his famous character's life and his own was that he didn't curse as much in real life.

Hill died from pneumonia at the age of 84 on February 29, 2016 at 4:40 PM at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

Gil Hill - Eddie Murphy's boss

February 28th

George Kennedy, Oscar Winner,'Cool Hand Luke,' Dies 91

walk of fameoscar winner

George Harris Kennedy, Jr. (February 18, 1925 – February 28, 2016) was an American actor who appeared in more than 200 film and television productions. He is best remembered for portraying "Dragline" opposite Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke (1967), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and was nominated for the corresponding Golden Globe. He received a second Golden Globe nomination for portraying Joe Patroni in Airport (1970).

Kennedy was the only actor to appear in all four films in the Airport series, having reprised the role of Joe Patroni three times. He was also widely recognized as Police Captain Ed Hocken in the Naked Gun series of comedy films and corrupt oil tycoon Carter McKay on the original Dallas television series.

For his contributions to motion pictures, Kennedy received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, at 6352 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California

Kennedy resided in Eagle, Idaho, at the time of his death. He died on the morning of Sunday, February 28, 2016, of a heart ailment at an assisted living facility in Middleton, Idaho, at the age of 91. He had a history of heart disease.

At the time of his death, Kennedy was the oldest living Oscar winner in the Best Supporting Actor category. Coincidentally, he died the day of the 88th Academy Awards ceremony.

GEORGE KENNEDY TRIBUTE

February 25th

Tony Burton, Actor, 'Rocky', Dies 78

Anthony "Tony" Burton (March 23, 1937 – February 25, 2016) was an American actor, comedian, boxer, and football player. He was best known for his role as Tony "Duke" Evers in the Rocky franchise.

Tony Burton had been frequently hospitalized for the last year of his life, according to his sister. On February 25, 2016, he died at the age of 78, from complications of pneumonia at a hospital in Menifee, California.

February 22nd

Sonny James, Country Singer, 'Young Love,' Dies 87

James Hugh Loden (May 1, 1928 – February 22, 2016), known professionally as Sonny James, was an American country music singer and songwriter best known for his 1957 hit, "Young Love". Dubbed the "Southern Gentleman" for his congenial manner, his greatest success came from ballads about the trials of love.[1] James had 72 country and pop charted releases from 1953 to 1983, including an unprecedented five-year streak of 16 straight Billboard #1 singles among his 26 #1 hits. Twenty-one of his albums reached the country top ten from 1964 to 1976. James was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1961 and co-hosted the first Country Music Association Awards Show in 1967.[2] He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.

James died on February 22, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 87.

Sonny James - Young Love [1965]

February 15th

George Gaynes, 'Punky Brewster', 'Police Academy', dies 98

George Gaynes (born George Jongejans; 16 May 1917 – 15 February 2016) was an American singer, actor, voice artist, and comedy performer of stage, screen, and television. Born to Dutch and Russian parents in Finland, he grew up in France, England, and Switzerland; after serving in the Royal Netherlands Navy during World War II, he immigrated to the United States, where he became a citizen and began his acting career on Broadway.

Gaynes' most recognized roles in cinema were, arguably, that of Commandant Eric Lassard in the Police Academy series and the comedy film Tootsie. To television fans, he is perhaps best remembered as the curmudgeonly but lovable foster parent Henry Warnimont on the NBC series Punky Brewster; as high-powered theatrical producer Arthur Feldman on The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, in which Gaynes' real-life wife, Allyn Ann McLerie, co-starred as his love interest; and as Frank Smith, the mob boss brought down by Luke Spencer (Anthony Geary) on the soap opera General Hospital.

Gaynes died at his home in North Bend, Washington on 15 February 2016. He was 98 years old.

Punky Brewster Vs Zack Morris

February 6th

Daniel Gerson, Screenwriter on 'Monsters, Inc.' and Its Prequel, Dies 49

Daniel "Dan" Gerson (August 1, 1966 – February 6, 2016) was an American screenwriter best-known for his work with Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He co-wrote the screenplays of Monsters, Inc., Monsters University and Big Hero 6; the latter two with his regular writing partner Robert L. Baird. At the time of his death, it was reported that he would be a co-writer of the upcoming Cars 3, again with Baird.

Gerson was also a member of the Pixar and Disney writing teams, and contributed material to Chicken Little, Curious George, Cars, Meet the Robinsons, Up, Inside Out and Zootopia, as well as television shows including Misguided Angeles, Big Wolf on Campus and Something So Right. Of the films he wrote, Big Hero 6 won the Academy Award for best animated film, for which Monsters, Inc was also nominated. Big Hero 6 was also the highest-grossing animated film of 2014. He also won a BAFTA award.

Gerson died in Los Angeles at the age of 49 on February 6, 2016, due to brain cancer.  He was survived by his parents, wife and children, and his sister.

February 4th

Joe Dowell, singer, "Wooden Heart", dies 76

Joe Dowell (January 23, 1940 – February 4, 2016) was an American pop singer.

He sang the tune "Wooden Heart", which had been a hit for Elvis Presley in Europe, but which was never released as a single stateside. "Wooden Heart", became the first single released on Smash Records to shoot to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.  In the wake of his success, Dowell wanted to become a songwriter in his own right, but due to contractual obligations, he was required to sing music owned by Smash's parent company, Mercury Records. He had two further hits, "The Bridge of Love" (US #50) and "Little Red Rented Rowboat" (US #23), but after struggles with his management he was dropped from the label.

Joe Dowell died on February 4, 2016 in Bloomington, Illinois after suffering a heart attack in the prior weekend.

Wooden Heart - Joe Dowell

February 3rd

Joe Alaskey, voice actor, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Dies 63

Joseph Francis "Joe" Alaskey III (April 17, 1952 – February 3, 2016) was an American actor, comedian and voice artist.

Alaskey was credited as one of the successors of Mel Blanc at the Warner Bros. Animation studio. Alaskey alternated with Jeff Bergman in impersonating the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Tweety and other characters from Warner Bros.

Alaskey died in Los Angeles, California from cancer on February 3, 2016, aged 63. He was survived by his brother, John, and his nieces and nephews.[

Maurice White, Founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, Dies 74

*Maurice White was the bandleader and producer of most of the albums by Earth, Wind & Fire.

Maurice White (December 19, 1941 – February 3, 2016) was an American singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger and bandleader. He was the founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire. He was also the older brother of current Earth, Wind & Fire member Verdine White, and former member Fred White. Maurice served as the band's main songwriter and record producer, and was co-lead singer (along with Philip Bailey). White won seven Grammys, and was nominated for 21 Grammys in total.

White was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame as a member of Earth, Wind & Fire, and was also individually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Also known by his nickname Reese, he worked with several famous recording artists including; Deniece Williams, The Emotions, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.

White was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the late 1980s, which led him to eventually stop touring with Earth, Wind & Fire in 1994. However, White retained executive control of the band, and remained active in the music business.

Maurice White cause of death

White died in his sleep from the effects of Parkinson's disease at his home in Los Angeles, California on February 3, 2016 at the age of 74.

Earth, Wind & Fire - Boogie Wonderland.  Maurice White singing.