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Celebrity Deaths

Bill Erwin, character actor, 'Seinfeld' Grumpy Old Man, dies 96

William Lindsey "Bill" Erwin (December 2, 1914 – December 29, 2010) was an American television, film, and stage actor with over 250 television and film credits. As a veteran character actor, he was widely known for his role of Sid Fields, an embittered, irascible man on Seinfeld – for which he received an Emmy nomination – as well his regular appearances in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Film
In the late 1950s, Erwin was in such pictures as "A Streetcar Named Desire" He played Jack Nicholson's father in "Cry Baby Killer,"  He would later co-star alongside Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour in the Somewhere in Time.

Erwin has appeared in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, She's Having a Baby, Home Alone, and Dennis the Menace.

Television
His TV credits were even more numerous in the 1950s as he appeared in such television shows as I Love Lucy, Crusader, Trackdown, Colgate Theatre, "Perry Mason" and The Rifleman. In the 1960s, Erwin appeared in television shows such as: The Andy Griffith Show, Mister Ed, Maverick, The Twilight Zone, 87th Precinct, The Fugitive, and Mannix. Continuing his growing television stardom, Erwin, in the 1970s, was found in such television shows as: Barnaby Jones, Cannon, and Gunsmoke. Entering into the 1980s and 1990s, Erwin established his legacy on television by appearing in shows like ER, Highway to Heaven, Voyagers, Seinfeld, Dukes of Hazzard, Married With Children, Growing Pains, Full House, The Golden Girls, Moonlighting, My Name is Earl, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He had been on television continuously from 1948 to 2006.

In the Seinfeld episode ("The Old Man"), Erwin played Sid Fields ("Sid Fields" was the name of the writer for Abbott and Costello, and a person admired by Jerry Seinfeld), a member of the Foster-A-Grandpa Program. Erwin was Jerry's foster grandparent, and his aggressive character and sheer hatred for Jerry made the relationship fail. Furthermore, Erwin's character bit Kramer on the arm causing him to lose his dentures. Irwin received an Emmy nomination for outstanding guest actor for the role, and later reunited with Michael Richards when he guest starred on the short-lived The Michael Richards Show.

In the 2000s, Erwin appeared on Monk, The West Wing, King of Queens, Everwood and My Name Is Earl.

Death of Bill Erwin
Bill Erwin died of natural causes in Studio City.
Bill Erwin was 96 years old at the time of his death.

 "The Twilight Zone" Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?
Bill Erwin as Peter Kramer (The Shop Owner? - need a fact check )

Billy Taylor Grammy & Emmy-Winning Jazz Musician Dies 89

Billy Taylor (July 24, 1921 – December 28, 2010) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and educator. He was the Robert L. Jones Distinguished Professor of Music at East Carolina University in Greenville. Since 1994, Taylor was the artistic director for jazz at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

With over twenty three honorary doctoral degrees, Taylor is also the recipient of two Peabody Awards, NEA Jazz Masters Award (1998) an Emmy Award (1983) for "Outstanding Informational, Cultural or Historical Programming", a Grammy Award (2004) and a host of prestigious and highly coveted prizes, such as the National Medal of Arts (1992), the Tiffany Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from Down Beat Magazine. He was also honored in 2001 with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Jazz Living Legend Award, and election to the Hall of Fame for the International Association for Jazz Education.

Death of Billy Taylor
Billy Taylor of died of heart failure.
Billy Taylor was 89 years old at the time of his death.

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free - Billy Taylor

Teena Marie, Singer/songwriter, 'LoverGirl', Died at 54

Teena Marie (March 5, 1956 - December 26, 2010) was an American Grammy Award-nominated singer–songwriter–producer. Marie, nicknamed Lady Tee, (sometimes spelled Lady T), was a protégée of late funk legend Rick James, and was notable as one of the few successful white performers of R&B. She played rhythm guitar, keyboards and congas. She also wrote, produced, sang and arranged virtually all of her songs since her 1980 release Irons in the Fire. She said it was her favorite album. She had a daughter, Alia Rose, who, as of 2009, sang under the name Rose Le Beau.

As a child, she had an acting role on The Beverly Hillbillies, credited as Tina Marie Brockert. She also sang at the wedding of actor Jerry Lewis's son when she was 10 years old.

Death of Teena Marie
Marie died on Sunday, December 26, 2010, at home, as announced by her manager, Mike Gardner. She was 54.  She died in her sleep (Sunday nap).  Cause of death is not known for now.

"Lovergirl" by Teena Marie

Portugese Love - Teena Marie

Lead Me On

Bernard Wilson , Soul singer, "If You Don't Know Me by Now," dies 64

Bernard Wilson (1946 – December 26, 2010) was a second tenor and baritone R&B, funk and soul music vocalist who was a member of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes and thus helped to define the “Sound of Philadelphia” in the 1970s.

Death of Bernard Wilson
Bernard Wilson died at a hospital in New Jersey after suffering a stroke and a heart attack.  Bernard Wilson was 64 years old at the time of his death

Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - If You Don't Know Me By Now

Bernard Wilson is on the far right (red, orange)
Lead Singer is Teddy Pendergrass (March 26, 1950 — January 13, 2010)

Geraldine Doyle, WWII Poster 'We Can Do It!' Inspiration, Dies 86

Geraldine Hoff Doyle (July 31, 1924 — December 26, 2010) was the real-life model for the World War II era We Can Do It posters, an embodiment of the iconic World War II character Rosie the Riveter.

Because the We Can Do It poster was created for an internal Westinghouse project, it did not become widely known until the 1980s, when it began to be used by advocates of women's equality in the workplace.

In 1942 Geraldine found work as a metal presser in a Michigan factory. (As men started enlisting and being drafted into military service for World War II, women began to support the war effort by taking on roles, including factory work, that were formerly considered "male only.")

Because she was a cello player, Geraldine feared a hand injury from the metal pressing machines and soon left the factory. During the brief time she worked there a wire photographer took a picture of her. That image - re-imagined by graphic artist J. Howard Miller while working for the Westinghouse Company's War Production Coordinating Committee -- became the basis for the poster Miller created during a Westinghouse anti-absenteeism and anti-strike campaign.

Doyle didn't know she was the model for We Can Do It until 1984, when she came across the original photograph in a 1940's back issue of Modern Maturity Magazine.

Death of Geraldine Doyle
Geraldine Doyle died in Lansing, Michigan, due to complications from arthritis.
Geraldine Hoff Doyle was 86 years old at the time of her death.

Bud Greenspan, Olympic Documentary Filmmaker Dies 84

Jonah J. "Bud" Greenspan (September 18, 1926 – December 25, 2010) was a film director, writer, and producer, mostly known for his sports documentaries.

Death of Bud Greenspan
Greenspan died of Parkinson’s disease on December 25, 2010, at the age of 84 in New York City.

 Greg Louganis - Film by Bud Greenspan

Fred Foy, 'Lone Ranger' announcer, dies 89

Frederick William Foy (March 27, 1921 – December 22, 2010) was an American radio and television announcer, who used Fred Foy as his professional name. He is best known for his narration of The Lone Ranger. Radio historian Jim Harmon described Foy as "the announcer, perhaps the greatest announcer-narrator in the history of radio drama."

Death of Fred Foy Fred Foy died on December 22, 2010 of natural causes. Fred Foy was 89 years old at the time of his death

Steve Landesberg, 'Barney Miller' Actor, Dies 74

Steve Landesberg (November 23, 1936  – December 20, 2010) was an American actor, comedian, and voice actor best known for his role of Arthur P. Dietrich on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller.

Death of Steve Landesberg

Landesberg died from colon cancer on December 20, 2010, aged 74. Initial reports of Mr. Landesberg’s death, relying on numerous biographical sources, said he was 65.

In acknowledging that he was actually nine years older, his daughter said he had provided varying birth dates over the years. "He got kind of a late start in show business," she explained, "so he tried to straddle the generations. He fooled the whole world. People were surprised to think he was even 65."

 Barney Miller: Dietrich Does Gregory Peck

Don Van Vliet, Captain Beefheart, dies 69

Don Van Vliet (January 15, 1941 – December 17, 2010) was an American musician and visual artist best known by the stage name Captain Beefheart. His musical work was conducted with a rotating ensemble of musicians he called The Magic Band, active between 1965 and 1982, with whom he recorded 12 studio albums. Noted for his powerful singing voice with its wide range, Van Vliet also played the harmonica, saxophone and numerous other wind instruments. His music blended rock, blues and psychedelia with free jazz, avant-garde and contemporary experimental composition. Beefheart was also known for exercising an almost dictatorial control over his supporting musicians.

Death of Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart)
Captain Beefheart died of complications from multiple sclerosis
Captain Beefheart was 69 years old at the time of his death

Captain Beefheart & Magic Band - Sure 'nuff 'n Yes I do 

Blake Edwards, Director, 'Pink Panther', '10', Husband of Julie Andrews Dies 88


Honorary, 2004

Blake Edwards (July 26, 1922 – December 15, 2010) was an American film director, screenwriter and producer. In 2004, he received an Honorary Academy Award in recognition of his writing, directing and producing an extraordinary body of work for the screen.

Blake Edwards's distinguished career began in the 1940s as an actor but soon turned to writing radio scripts at Columbia Pictures. He used his writing skills to begin producing and directing, with some of his best films including: Experiment in Terror, The Great Race, and the hugely successful Pink Panther film series with the British comedian Peter Sellers. Often thought of as primarily a director of comedies, he was also renowned for his dramatic work, Breakfast at Tiffany's and Days of Wine and Roses.

Blake Edwards's second wife (since 1969) and widow is Julie Andrews (Sound of Music).

Death of Blake Edwards
On December 15, 2010, Edwards died of complications of pneumonia at the Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. His wife and children were at his side. Blake Edwards was 88 years old at the time of his death

 

Neva Patterson, Actress in 'Affair to Remember', Dies 90

Neva Louise Patterson (February 10, 1920 – December 14, 2010) was an American character actress.

Her first feature movie was the 1953 film Taxi; other film credits include The Buddy Holly Story, All of Me, and as Cary Grant's fiancee in An Affair to Remember.

Her television credits included Nichols, The Governor & J.J., and as Eleanor Dupres in V, which she reprised in V: The Final Battle. She made guest appearances on The Defenders, Ironside, Barnaby Jones, The Dukes of Hazzard, and St. Elsewhere.

Patterson died from complications from a broken hip at age 90.

 

Don Meredith, "Monday Night Football", former Dallas Cowboy, dies 72

Joseph Don "Dandy Don" Meredith (April 10, 1938 – December 5, 2010) was an American football quarterback, sports commentator and actor. He played nine full seasons in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys.

Death of Don Meredith
Don Meredith died on December 5, 2010, at the age of 72 after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Jon D'Agostino, drawer of Archie and GI Joe, 81

Jon D'Agostino (John P. D'Agostino Sr.) (June 13, 1929 – November 28, 2010) was an Italian-American comic-book artist best known for his Archie Comics work. As well, under the pseudonym Johnny Dee, he was the letterer for the lead story in the Marvel Comics landmark The Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963), as well as other seminal Marvel comics.

D'Agostino is not the French comics artist Tony D'Agostino, a.k.a. Tony Dagos, whose early work was signed "D'Agostino". He is also not the concurrent early-Marvel letter John Duffy a.k.a. John Duffi, although he is listed as such in some databases.

Death of Jon D'Agostino
Jon D'Agostino died of bone cancer in Ansonia, Conn.
Jon D'Agostino was 81 years old at the time of his death

Leslie Nielsen dies 84

Leslie William Nielsen, OC (February 11, 1926 - November 28, 2010) was a Canadian actor and comedian. Although his acting career crosses a variety of genres in both television and films, Nielsen achieved his greatest successes in the comedy films Airplane! and The Naked Gun. His portrayal of serious characters seemingly oblivious to (and complicit in) their absurd surroundings gives him a reputation as a comedian.

Nielsen's lead roles in the films Forbidden Planet and The Poseidon Adventure came long before he considered a turn to comedy. His deadpan delivery as a doctor in 1980's Airplane! marked a turning point in Nielsen's career, one that would make him, in the words of film critic Roger Ebert, "the Olivier of spoofs." Nielsen appeared in over 100 films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying over 220 characters.

Death of Leslie Nielsen
In November 2010, Nielsen was admitted to a Fort Lauderdale, Florida hospital for pneumonia. On November 28, Nielsen's nephew announced to the CJOB radio station that Nielsen had died in his sleep around 5:30 p.m. EST, surrounded by family and friends. His nephew reflected on Nielsen's life, "He was truly a nice man. A very caring, naturally funny guy in day-to-day life, not just because someone wrote something on paper for him. He was a very tender-hearted man. He was one of my best friends and I loved him dearly. I'll miss him greatly."

 Please turn down volume for this video

Naked Gun - Umpiring

Irvin Kershner, Director Of 'The Empire Strikes Back,' Dies 87

Irvin Kershner (April 29, 1923 – November 27, 2010) was an American film director and occasional actor, best known for directing Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Never Say Never Again and RoboCop 2.

After Empire Strikes Back, Kershner directed Never Say Never Again (Sean Connery's return to the role of James Bond); the HBO film Travelling Man starring John Lithgow and Jonathan Silverman; for which Kershner was nominated for an ACE Award; and RoboCop 2. He also directed several episodes of the television series seaQuest DSV, and he made his debut as an actor in the Martin Scorsese film, The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), playing Zebedee, the father of the apostles James and John. He played a film director in Steven Seagal's On Deadly Ground.

Death of Irvin Kershner
Irvin Kershner died at his Los Angeles home after a long illness (unspecified).
Irvin Kershner was 87 years old at the time of his death.

Empire Stikes Back - trailer (unofficial, created by a fan)

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