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

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Ms. Melodie, Rap pioneer, KRS-One's ex-wife, dies 43

Ramona Parker (1969 – July 17, 2012), known as Ms. Melodie, was an emcee married to KRS-One in July 1987, and was associated with his group Boogie Down Productions (BDP) until the couple's divorce in 1992. She was raised in the Flatbush section of the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

Her first release was the 1988 12-inch single "Hype According to Ms. Melodie", which, like most of her records, was produced by KRS-One. While they began recording her debut album, Ms. Melodie and the rest of BDP appeared in the Keenen Ivory Wayans film I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. Her only album, Diva, would be released the following year by Jive/RCA Records and was largely produced by KRS-One, with contributions from Sam Sever and the Awesome 2's DJ Teddy Tedd. The single "Wake Up, Wake Up" reached the Top 20 of Billboard's Hot Rap Singles chart; the music video to its follow-up single "Live on Stage" was a hit on video stations. She is the older sister of former BDP member Harmony.

Ms. Melodie Cause of death
According to news reports, she died on July 17, 2012. The cause of death is unknown.
Ms. Melodie was 43 years old at the time of her death.

Ms. Melodie - Communication 1989

Rodney King, key figure in LA riots (1992) dies 47

Rodney Glen King (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012) was the victim in a police brutality case involving the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) on March 3, 1991. A bystander, George Holliday, videotaped much of the incident from a distance.

The footage showed seven officers surrounding the solitary King, with several LAPD officers repeatedly striking a helpless King with their batons while the other officers stood by watching, without taking any action to stop the beating. A portion of this footage was aired by news agencies around the world, causing public outrage that increased tension between the local black community and the LAPD and increased anger over police brutality, racism and social inequalities in Los Angeles.

Four LAPD officers were later tried in a state court for the beating; three were acquitted and the jury failed to reach a verdict for the fourth. The announcement of the acquittals sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots. A later federal trial for civil rights violations ended with two of the officers found guilty and sent to prison and the other two officers acquitted.

After LA Riots

  • In 1993, King entered an alcohol rehabilitation program and was placed on probation after crashing his vehicle into a block wall in downtown Los Angeles.
  • In July 1995, he was arrested by Alhambra police, who alleged that he hit his wife with his car, knocking her to the ground. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail after being convicted of hit and run. 
  • On August 27, 2003, King was arrested for speeding and running a red light while under the influence of alcohol. He failed to yield to police officers and slammed his vehicle into a house, breaking his pelvis.
  • On November 29, 2007, while riding home on his bicycle, King was shot in the face, arms, and back with pellets from a shotgun.
  • In May 2008 King checked into the Pasadena Recovery Center in Pasadena, California, which was filmed as part of the second season of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
  • On March 3, 2011, King was stopped by Los Angeles police for driving erratically. He was issued a citation for driving with an expired license. 
  • In February 2012, King was convicted in misdemeanor for reckless driving.

Death of Rodney King
On June 17, 2012, King's fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, found him dead in his swimming pool. Rialto Police (California) received a 911 call from Cynthia Kelly, about 5:25 a.m. PST. Responding officers found King at the bottom of the pool, removed him, and attempted to revive him. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.  Rodney King as 47 years old at the time of his death.

*Kings fiancee Cyntia Kelly was juror #5 at King's beating trial (1992)

Ray Bradbury, author of 'Fahrenheit 451,' dies 91

Ray Douglas Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012) was an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th-century American writers of speculative fiction. Many of Bradbury's works have been adapted into television shows or films.

Ray Bradbury cause of death
Bradbury died in Los Angeles, California, on June 5, 2012, after a "lengthy illness".  Ray Bradbury was 91 years old at the time of his death

Richard Dawson, 'Family Feud' TV host, dies 79

Richard Dawson (November 20, 1932 – June 2, 2012) was an English-born American actor, comedian, game show panelist and host in America. He was best known for his role as Corporal Peter Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes, being the original host of the Family Feud game show from 1976–1985 and 1994-1995, and for being a regular panelist on the 1970s version of Match Game on CBS from 1973 to 1978. He was also famous for his final film role, that of Damon Killian, host of "The Running Man" in the 1987 film, The Running Man.

Richard Dawson cause of death
Richard Dawson died from complications of esophageal cancer
Richard Dawson was 79 years old at the time of his death.

Family Feud- funny answers

Dick Beals, voice of Gumby and Speedy Alka Seltzer, dies 85

Richard "Dick" Beals (March 16, 1927 - May 29, 2012) was an American voice actor. He performed many voices in his career, which spanned the period from the early 1950s into the 21st century. He specialized primarily in doing the voices of young boys.

Perhaps his most recognizable characterization was the voice of the stop-motion animation figure called "Speedy Alka-Seltzer", featured in television commercials for more than 50 years.

His high voice and boyish appearance were due to a glandular problem; he did not go through puberty. Beals was 4 foot 7 inches (just under 140 cm) tall and weighed just under 70 pounds (about 31 kg).

During the late 1980s, Beals provided the voices for various characters on Garfield and Friends with the most major character he voiced being Jon's cruel nephew Rosco.

Dick Beals cause of Death
Dick Bealspassed away on May 29, 2012, at the age of 85

Vintage Alka Seltzer Commercial - Funny Buster Keaton

Robin Gibb, Singer, Bee Gees co-founder, dies 62


All Awards: won as a Group Bee Gees

Robin Hugh Gibb, CBE (December 22, 1949 – May 20, 2012) was a British singer and songwriter. He is best known as a member of the Bee Gees, co-founded with his twin brother Maurice and older brother Barry. He had another younger brother, Andy Gibb, who was also a very popular singer.

Robin Gibb was the fraternal twin brother of Maurice Gibb, and the elder of the two, born 35 minutes before Maurice.  Maurice Gibb passed on January 12, 2002 of of complications resulting from a twisted intestine.  Currently, Barry Gibb is the only surviving original member of the Bee Gees.

The Bee Gees became one of the most successful pop groups of all time with record sales estimated in excess of 200 million units.

Robin Gibb cause of death.
Robin Gibb died after long battle with colorectal cancer.
Robin Gibb was 62 years old at the time of his death.

Bee Gees - How Deep Is Your Love

Bee Gees - Stayin' Alive

Ronnie Montrose, Guitarist, dies 64

Ronnie Montrose (November 29, 1947 – March 3, 2012) was an American rock guitarist who led a number of his own bands as well as performing with a variety of musicians, including Sammy Hagar, Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison, The Beau Brummels, Boz Scaggs, Beaver & Krause, Gary Wright, Tony Williams, The Neville Brothers, Dan Hartman, Edgar Winter and Johnny Winter.

Ronnie Montrose cause of death.
The coroner's report released on April 6, 2012 ruled his death a suicide by self-inflicted gunshot wound. Ronnie Montrose was 64 years old at the time of his death.
On his most recent tour, in late 2009, Montrose revealed that he had successfully fought prostate cancer over the last two years.

Ronnie Montrose with Sammy Hagar (1974) - Bad Motor Scooter

Robert Hegyes, Epstein from 'Welcome Back, Kotter' dies 60

Robert Hegyes (May 7, 1951 – January 26, 2012) was an American actor best known for his portrayal of high school student Juan Epstein on the 1970s American sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter.

Robert Hegyes Cause of Death
On January 26, 2012, after suffering from chest pains at his Metuchen, New Jersey home, Hegyes died from an apparent heart attack at John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey. Robert Hegyes was 60 years old at the time of his death.

Welcome Back, Kotter Wedding Scene (this video is likely to get deleted)

Robert Dickey, a guitarist and singer, “I’m Your Puppet,” died 72

Robert Dickey (Bobby Purify) died December 29, 2011

James & Bobby Purify were an R&B singing duo, whose biggest hits were "I'm Your Puppet" in 1966, which reached #6 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and in a re-recorded version #12 in the UK Singles Chart (in April 1966), and "Let Love Come Between Us" in 1967, which reached #23 in the U.S.

Robert Dickey cause of death
Robert Dickey's Cause of death was not released.
Robert Dickey was 72 uears old at the time of his death.

I'm Your Puppet - James & Bobby Purify

Ralph MacDonald, Grammy-winner, wrote ‘Just the Two of Us’, dies 67


Ralph MacDonald (March 15, 1944 Harlem, New York - December 18, 2011 Stamford, Connecticut) was an American percussionist and song-writer. He joined Harry Belafonte's band at age 17. He wrote the Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway song "Where is the Love" with songwriting partner William Salter. Probably his best-known composition is the Grover Washington, Jr. - Bill Withers hit "Just the Two of Us", which has since been covered by many artists, including Will Smith.

His recording credits number in the hundreds and include George Benson, David Bowie, Aretha Franklin, Art Garfunkel, Billy Joel, Quincy Jones, Carole King, Miriam Makeba, David Sanborn, Paul Simon, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Luther Vandross, Amy Winehouse, and Jimmy Buffett, whose Coral Reefer Band has featured MacDonald as member since the late 1990s.

Ralph MacDonald cause of death
Ralph MacDonald died after a long illness.
Ralph MacDonald was 67 years old at the time of his death.

Grover Washington Jr. Featuring Bill Withers - Just the Two of Us

Roberta Flack / Donny Hathaway - Where Is The Love (1972)

Roger Williams, pianist, 'Autumn Leaves', dies 87

Roger Williams (born Louis Weertz, October 1, 1924 – October 8, 2011) was an American popular music pianist. As of 2004, he had released 116 albums.

In 1955 Williams recorded "Autumn Leaves", the only piano instrumental to reach #1 on Billboard's popular music chart.   In 1966 he had another Top Ten hit with the song "Born Free" from the motion picture soundtrack. His other hits include "Near You", "Till", "The Impossible Dream", "Yellow Bird", "Maria", and "The Theme from Somewhere in Time". Billboard magazine ranks him as the top selling piano recording artist in history with 18 gold and platinum albums to his credit. Williams was known as the "Pianist to the Presidents" having played for nine administrations beginning with Harry S. Truman. His last White House performance was in November 2008 for a luncheon hosted by former First Lady Laura Bush.

Roger Williams cause of death
He died on October 8, 2011, one week after his 87th birthday of pancreatic cancer.

Autumn Leaves Roger Williams 1955

Roger Williams Excerpts From Vegas 2010 part 2

Ross Barbour, Last original member of Four Freshmen, dies 82

The Four Freshmen is a multiple (six) Grammy-nominated American male vocal band quartet that blends open-harmony jazz arrangements with the big band vocal group sounds of The Modernaires (Glenn Miller), The Pied Pipers (Tommy Dorsey), and The Mel-Tones (Artie Shaw), founded in the barbershop tradition. The Four Freshmen is considered a vocal band because the singers accompany themselves on guitar, trumpet, bass, and drums, among other instrumental configurations.

The group tours internationally to sold-out audiences and records jazz harmonies since its late '40s founding in the halls of the Jordan School of Music at Butler University (Indianapolis).

Ross Barbour cause of death
The last surviving founding member Ross Barbour died on August 20, 2011 from lung cancer in Simi Valley, California.  Ross Barbour was 82 years old at the time of his death

Related Blog
Bob Flanigan, Four Freshmen Founder, Dies 84 (May 15, 2011)

Robert Breer, Pioneer of Avant-Garde Animation, Dies 84

Robert Breer (1926 – August 12, 2011)

Robert Breer, an animator whose use of novel techniques to set lines and forms scrambling across the screen opened up a new language for film, died on Aug. 11 at his home in Tucson. He was 84.

 Swiss Army Knife with Rats and Pigeons - Robert Breer (1980)

REcreation (Robert Breer)

Rob Grill, singer for 60s rock band The Grass Roots, died 67

Robert Frank "Rob" Grill (November 30, 1943 – July 11, 2011) was an American lead singer, songwriter and bass guitarist of the rock and roll band, The Grass Roots.

Grill launched a solo career in 1979, assisted on his solo album by several members of Fleetwood Mac. Responding to 60s nostalgia, Grill then reformed The Grass Roots (billed "The Grass Roots Starring Rob Grill") and had with the toured the United States with the reunited outfit since the 1980s.

Grill composed sixteen songs for The Grass Roots and his solo album. One of these appeared as a single "A" side. It is "Come On And Say It". His other fifteen compositions appeared on single "B" sides and albums. He wrote frequently with Warren Entner and they were considered a songwriting team. Grill played with The Grass Roots on sixteen albums, seven of which charted. He took part in thirty two Grass Roots singles released, twenty one of which charted.

Rob Grill Cause of Death
Grill died July 11, 2011 in an Orlando, Florida hospital. He had been in a coma since sustaining a head injury several weeks earlier when he fell after suffering a stroke in northern California. Rob Grill was 67 years old at the time of his death.

The Grass Roots-Midnight confessions
Rob Grill is the mustache (bass guitar)

Rob Grill's official website

Roberts Blossom, Character Actor, Dies 87

Roberts Scott Blossom (March 25, 1924 - July 8, 2011) was an American actor and poet.

Blossom won three Obie awards. After his long career, Roberts Blossom is perhaps best known for a small role in Home Alone.

In the thriller Deranged, Blossom played the leading role as killer Ezra Cobb. In the Oscar-winning film drama The Great Gatsby (1974), he was accompanied on-screen by Robert Redford. He won the Soapy Award for his role on Another World, on which he appeared from 1976-1977. In 1990 he starred in Home Alone as Kevin McCallister's (Macaulay Culkin) snow-shoveling neighbor, Old Man Marley. In the comedy Doc Hollywood (1991), he appeared on-screen with Michael J. Fox.

He retired from acting in the late-1990s to pursue writing poetry. He lived in Berkeley, California, and resided in Southern California until his passing on July 8, 2011.

Roberts Blossom cause of death
Roberts Blossom died of natural causes.  Roberts Blossom was 87 years old at the time of his death.

"Deranged" movie trailer (1974 Roberts Blossom A.I.P.)

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