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'Sweet Joe' Russell, singer with the Persuasions, dies 72

"Sweet Joe" Russell, who spent half a century harmonizing with the Persuasions, an influential vocal group widely regarded as the "kings of a cappella," has died. (May 5, 2012)

Joe Russell Cause of death
Joe Russell in a Brooklyn hospice after a long struggle with diabetes.
Joe Russell was 72 years old at the time of his death

The Persuasions are an a cappella group that began singing together in Brooklyn, New York in the mid 1960s. They have performed interpretations of both secular and non-secular music, and have covered a wide range of musical genres.

The Persuasions with Jerry Lawson - 1974 Performance and Interview
Joe? Russell in the middle (on the step)

John Rich, Legendary TV Director, 'All in the Family', Dies 86

John Rich (July 6, 1925 – January 29, 2012) was a film and television director. He directed such television shows as Where's Raymond?, Mister Ed, The Dick Van Dyke Show, All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, Good Times, Barney Miller, Newhart, Benson, The Brady Bunch, Bonanza, The Rifleman, The Twilight Zone, Murphy Brown, and Gilligan's Island.

His feature film credits include Wives and Lovers, Boeing Boeing, Roustabout and Easy Come, Easy Go (the latter two starring Elvis Presley). He also participated in the live telecast of the opening day ceremonies of Disneyland in 1955. He won an Emmy for The Dick Van Dyke Show, two Emmys for All in the Family, and two Golden Globes for All in the Family.

In the 1980s Rich and Henry Winkler formed a production company called Henry Winkler/John Rich Productions and together they produced MacGyver for Paramount Television.

John Rich cause of death
John Rich died of heart failure.
John Rich was 86 years old at the time of his death

John Rich directed this famous episode of All in the family
Sammy Davis Jr. Kissing Archie Bunker

Sam Rivers, pioneering jazz saxophonist, composer, dies 88

Samuel Carthorne Rivers (September 25, 1923 – December 26, 2011), was an American jazz musician and composer. He performed on soprano and tenor saxophones, bass clarinet, flute, harmonica and piano.

Rivers was born in Enid, Oklahoma. Active in jazz since the early 1950s, he earned wider attention during the mid-1960s spread of free jazz. With a thorough command of music theory, orchestration and composition, Rivers was an influential and prominent artist in jazz music.

Sam Rivers cause of death
Sam Rivers died from pneumonia in Orlando, Florida
Sam Rivers was 88 years old at the time of his death.

Sam Rivers Trio 1979 - Sam Rivers on Sax

Andy Rooney, '60 Minutes' commentator, dies 92

Andrew Aitken "Andy" Rooney (January 14, 1919 – November 4, 2011) was an American radio and television writer. He was most notable for his weekly broadcast "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney", a part of the CBS News program 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011. His final regular appearance on 60 Minutes aired October 2, 2011.

Rooney's "end-of-show" segment on 60 Minutes, "A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney" (originally "Three Minutes or So With Andy Rooney"), began in 1978

In 1990, Rooney was suspended without pay for three months by then-CBS News President David Burke, due to the negative publicity around his saying that "too much alcohol, too much food, drugs, homosexual unions, cigarettes [are] all known to lead to premature death."

Andy Rooney Cause of Death
Aney Rooney was hospitalized on October 25, 2011 for developing postoperative complications, and died 10 days later (November 4, 2011).  He died about a month after his last appearance on 60 Minutes.
Aney Rooney was 92 years old at the time of his death.

Sylvia Robinson, ‘the Mother of Hip-Hop,’ Dies 75

Sylvia Robinson (March 6, 1936 - September 29, 2011) was a singer, musician, music producer, and record label executive, most notably known for her work as founder/CEO of the seminal hip hop label Sugar Hill Records. She is credited as the driving force behind two landmark singles in the genre. The first was "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, which was the first rap song to be released by a hip hop act. The second was "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five.

Sylvia Robinson cause of death
Sylvia Robinson died of congestive heart failure.
Sylvia Robinson was 75 years old at the time of her death.

Pillow Talk - Sylvia Robinson

The Sugar Hill Gang - Rapper's Delight

Cliff Robertson, Oscar & Emmy Winning Actor, Dies 88

Clifford Parker "Cliff" Robertson, III (September 9, 1923 – September 10, 2011) was an American actor with a film and television career that spanned half of a century. Robertson won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the movie Charly. His most recent film role was "Uncle Ben Parker" in the Spider-Man film series.

Robertson's television appearances included The Twilight Zone episodes "A Hundred Yards Over the Rim" (1961) and "The Dummy" (1962)

Cliff Robertson was in the air and piloting a private plane over New York City on the morning of September 11, 2001

Cliff Robertson Cause of Death
Robertson died in Stony Brook, New York, on September 10, 2011, one day after his 88th birthday, from natural cause.

Cliff Robertson in Twilight Zone - "The Dummy" (1962)

Gil Robbins, 60s folk group the Highwaymen, Tim Robbins' father, dies 80

The Highwaymen were a circa 1960 "collegiate folk" group, which originated at Wesleyan University and had a Billboard number-one hit in 1961 with "Michael" and another Top 20 hit in 1962 with "Cottonfields". "Michael" sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold record.

Gill Robbins spent three years with the group.

Gill Robbins is a father of Academy Award winning actor Tim Robbins.

Gill Robbins Cause of Death
Gill Robbins died on April 5, 2011 in of prostate cancer.
Gill Robbins was 80 years old at the time of his death.

Michael - The Highwaymen

Jane Russell, Hollywood star, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, dies 89

Ernestine Jane Geraldine Russell (born June 21, 1921 – February 28, 2011) an American film actress and was one of Hollywood's leading sex symbols in the 1940s and 1950s.

Russell was voted one of the 40 Most Iconic Movie Goddesses of all time in 2009 by Glamour (UK edition).

Death of Jane Russell
Jane Russell died of respiratory problems.
Jane Russell was 89 years old at the time of her death.

Jane Russell

Marilyn Monroe and Russell putting signatures, hand and foot prints in cement at Grauman's Chinese Theater, 1953

Peggy Rea, Actress (Dukes of Hazzard, I Love Lucy,etc.. ), Dies 89

Peggy Rea (March 31, 1921 - February 5, 2011) was an American character actress known for her many roles in television, often playing matronly characters. Her recurring roles included:

  • Cousin Bertha on All in the Family
  • Martha Burkhorn on All in the Family
  • Rose Burton on The Waltons
  • Lulu Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Ivy Baker on Step by Step
  • Jean Kelly on Grace Under Fire

Rea appeared in such television programs as I Love Lucy, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Sergeant Bilko, Ironside, Burke's Law, Marcus Welby, M.D., Hunter, The Odd Couple, Gidget, MacGyver, and The Golden Girls. She also appeared in feature films, including Cold Turkey and In Country.

Death of Peggy Rea
Peggy Rea died of congestive heart failure at her home in Toluca Lake, Calif.,
Peggy Rea was 89 years old at the time of her death

Dukes of Hazzard - Lulu

Step By Step - Theme Song

Gerry Rafferty, Singer 'Baker Street', dies 63

Gerald "Gerry" Rafferty (April 16, 1947 – January 4, 2011) was a Scottish singer and songwriter best known for his hits "Right Down the Line" and "Baker Street". He was the son of a Scottish mother and an Irish father.

Death of Gerry Rafferty
Gerry Rafferty died on 4 January 2011, at the age of 63 of liver failure.

In November 2010, Rafferty was admitted to a hospital in Bournemouth, Dorset, suffering from liver failure. His family was told that there was little chance of his survival, although after he was taken off life support, his condition began to improve.

Related Blog

Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street

Oscar Nominated Lynn Redgrave (Redgrave Acting Dynasty) dies 67

Lynn Rachel Redgrave (March 8, 1943 – May 2, 2010) was an English actress.

A member of the well-known British family of actors, Lynn Redgrave trained in London, before making her theatrical debut in 1962. By the mid-1960s she had appeared in several films, including Tom Jones (1963), and Georgy Girl (1966) which won her a New York Film Critics Award and nominations for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award.

Redgrave was born in London, England, the daughter of actors Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Her sister is actress Vanessa Redgrave; her brother was actor and political activist Corin Redgrave. She was the aunt of actor Carlo Gabriel Nero and actresses Joely Richardson, Jemma Redgrave and Natasha Richardson.

Death of Lynn Redgrave
Lynn Redgrave died following her long seven-year battle with breast cancer.

Lynn Redgrave discussed her health problems associated with bulimia and breast cancer, the latter of which she was diagnosed with in December 2002. She had a mastectomy in January 2003, and chemotherapy.

The Muppet Show - Ending with Lynn Redgrave

Meinhardt Raabe, 'Wizard Of Oz' Munchkin Coroner, Dies 94

Meinhardt Raabe (September 2, 1915 – April 9, 2010) was an American  actor. One of the last surviving Munchkin-actors in The Wizard of Oz, he was also the last surviving cast member with any dialogue in the film.

Raabe still made occasional appearances at Wizard of Oz conventions and celebrations across the country. In 2008 he was honored by the International Wizard of Oz Club with the organization's L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.

Death of Meinhardt Raabe
He died on April 9, 2010 from a heart attack at age 94.

He was the coroner in The Wizard of Oz in 1939, with his only lines being:

As coroner, I must aver
I thoroughly examined her
And she's not only merely dead
She's really, most sincerely dead!

Poltergeist Psychic Zelda Rubinstein Dies 76

Zelda Rubinstein (May 28, 1933 – January 27, 2010) was an American actress and human rights activist, best known as eccentric medium Tangina Barrons in the movies Poltergeist (1982) and its sequels, Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986), and Poltergeist III (1988). She also made guest appearances in the TV spin-off Poltergeist: The Legacy (1996), as a seer, Christina. Rubinstein was also known for her outspoken activism for little people and her early participation in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Illness and death of Zelda Rubinstein
On December 29, 2009, it was reported that, after a month-long stay at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, her close companion and her family made the decision to take Rubinstein off life support due to both kidney and lung failure. On January 2, 2010, friends reported she was not near death, and was well on her way to recovery. On January 27, 2010, Rubinstein died at Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles, aged 76.

Zelda Rubinstein - (perhaps) The best scene from Poltergeist

Pernell Roberts of 'Bonanza' and 'Trapper John, MD' dies 81

Pernell Elvin Roberts (May 18, 1928 – January 24, 2010) was an American television actor and singer. He was best known for his roles as Ben Cartwright's eldest son, Adam Cartwright, on the western series Bonanza (a role he played from 1959 to 1965), and as chief surgeon, Dr. John MacIntyre, the title character on Trapper John, M.D. (1979-1986).

Born: Pernell Elvin Roberts Waycross, Georgia, U.S.
Died: Malibu, California, U.S.

He came to prominence playing Ben Cartwright's urbane eldest son, Adam, in the Western television series Bonanza. Despite the show’s success, he left after the sixth season in 1965 due to disagreements with the writers and a desire to return to legitimate theatre.

He was known for his activism, which included participation in the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965, and pressuring NBC to refrain from hiring whites to portray minority characters.

Death of Pernel Roberts
Roberts died of cancer at his home in Malibu, California on January 24, 2010, aged 81

Pernell Roberts

Alaina Reed, Olivia Robinson on 'Sesame Street', dies 63

Alaina Reed Hall (November 10, 1946 – December 17, 2009) was an American actress best known for her roles as Olivia, Gordon's younger sister, on the long-running children's television series Sesame Street, and Rose Lee Holloway on the NBC sitcom 227.

After 227 ended in 1990, Hall appeared in guest roles on various TV shows, including Herman's Head and Blossom. She also provided the voice for the animated characters on Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? and Sonic the Hedgehog. In 1995, Hall co-starred on the short-lived WB sitcom Cleghorne!, starring Ellen Cleghorne. The following year she appeared in the television film The Cherokee Kid. She has since had recurring roles on Ally McBeal, Any Day Now, and ER.

In addition to stage and television work, Hall has also appeared in several films including Death Becomes Her (1992), opposite Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep, Cruel Intentions (1999), and the 2007 independent feature I'm Through with White Girls (The Inevitable Undoing of Jay Brooks).

Death of Alaina Reed Hall
Alaina Reed Hall died on December 17, 2009, aged 63, from breast cancer. At the time of her death she was married to Tamim Amini.

Sesame Street - Sing (Olivia & Linda)

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