Joel Siegel (July 7, 1943 – June 29, 2007) was an American film critic for the ABC morning news show Good Morning America for over 25 years. Born to a Jewish family and raised in Los Angeles, California, he graduated cum laude from UCLA. During college, he worked to register black voters in Georgia, and he spoke frequently of having met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He also worked as a joke writer for Senator Robert F. Kennedy and was at the Ambassador Hotel the night the senator was assassinated.
Death Joel Siegel died of complications from colon cancer on June 29, 2007, in New York Joel Siegel was 63 years old when he died.
In 1981 he joined "Good Morning America" as a film critic. While Siegel worked at his reviewing, he wrote the book for The First, a Broadway musical based on the story of Jackie Robinson, for which he received a Tony Award nomination in 1982.
Gordon Scott (August 3, 1926 - April 30, 2007) was an American actor known for his portrayal of Tarzan in five films (and one compilation of three made-as-a-pilot television episodes) from 1955 to 1960.
Scott died on April 30, 2007 in Baltimore, Maryland of lingering complications from multiple heart surgeries earlier in the year. Gordon Scott was 80 years old.
Scott was born Gordon Merrill Werschkul in Portland, Oregon, one of nine children of advertising man Stanley Werschkul and his wife Alice. Scott was raised in Oregon and attended the University of Oregon for one semester. Upon leaving school, he was drafted into the United States Army in 1944 and was honorably discharged in 1947. He then worked at a variety of jobs until 1953, when he was spotted by a talent agent while working as a lifeguard at the Las Vegas Sahara Hotel.
Career and Personal Life
Due in part to his muscular frame and 6'3" height, he was quickly signed to replace Lex Barker as Tarzan. Scott's Tarzan films ranged from rather cheap re-edited television pilots to larger scale epics. Two of them, Tarzan's Greatest Adventure and Tarzan the Magnificent are generally considered to be among the very best Tarzan films ever made. Scott's (and his writers') particular gifts to the series included returning Tarzan to his former status as a literate, well-spoken character. Following his departure from the Tarzan films, he moved to Italy and became a popular star of what were known as "sword and sandal" epics, featuring handsome body-builders as various characters from Greek and Roman myth. Scott was a friend of Hercules star Steve Reeves, and collaborated with him as Remus to Reeves' Romulus in Duel of the Titans (1961). Scott also played Hercules in a couple of low-budget productions during the mid-1960s. His final film appearance was in The Tramplers, filmed in 1966, released in the U. S. in 1968. Scott was married apparently three times, including once to his Tarzan co-star, actress Vera Miles, from 1954 to 1959. He had one son, Michael, born 1957, with Miles, and possibly several more children. For the last two decades of his life, he was a popular guest at film conventions and autograph shows. His manner of making a living the last forty years of his life is unclear, for aside from autograph shows and selling occasional souvenir knives, he does not seem to have been employed. He spent much of his final years living with fans who remembered him from his Tarzan days.
Vickie Lynn Marshall (November 28, 1967 – February 8, 2007), better known under the stage name of Anna Nicole Smith, was an American model and television personality. She first gained popularity in Playboy, becoming the 1993 Playmate of the Year. She modeled for clothing companies, including Guess jeans. She starred in her own reality TV show, The Anna Nicole Show.
Anna Nicole Smith's Death
On February 8, 2007, Smith was found unresponsive in room 607 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. According to Seminole Police Chief Charlie Tiger, at 1:38 p.m. (18:38 UTC) Smith's friend and bodyguard, Maurice "Big Moe" Brighthaupt, who was a trained paramedic, called the hotel front desk from her sixth floor room. The front desk in turn called security, who then called 911. At 1:45 p.m. the bodyguard administered CPR before she was rushed to Memorial Regional Hospital at 2:10 p.m and pronounced DOA at 2:49 p.m.
Sidney Sheldon (February 11, 1917 – January 30, 2007) was an American writer who won awards in three careers—a Broadway playwright, a Hollywood TV and movie screenwriter, and a best-selling novelist. His TV works spanned a 20-year period during which he created I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70), Hart to Hart (1979-84), and The Patty Duke Show (1963-66), but it was not until after he turned 50 and began writing best-selling novels such as Master of the Game (1982), The Other Side of Midnight (1973) and Rage of Angels (1980) that he became most famous.
Death of Sidney Sheldon: Sheldon died from complications arising from pneumonia at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California Sidney Sheldon was 89 years old at the age of his death.
He was cremated and buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
He struggled with bipolar disorder for years; he contemplated suicide at 17 (talked out of it by his father who discovered him), as detailed in his autobiography published in 2005, The Other Side of Me.
Claydes Charles Smith (September 6, 1948 – June 20, 2006) was an American musician best known as co-founder and lead guitarist of the group Kool & the Gang.
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, he was introduced to jazz guitar by his father in the early 1960s.
Later in that decade he was in a group of New Jersey jazz musicians, including Ronald Bell (later Khalis Bayyan), Robert "Kool" Bell, George Brown, Dennis Thomas and Robert "Spike" Mickens, who became Kool & the Gang. Other members would include lead singer James "JT" Taylor.
Kool & the Gang grew from jazz roots in the 1960s to become one of the major groups of the 1970s, blending jazz, funk, R&B, and pop. Despite their popularity waning briefly, the group enjoyed a return to stardom during the 1980s.
Illness forced Smith to stop touring with the group in January 2006. He died in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Smith, who was known professionally as Charles Smith, wrote the hits "Joanna" and "Take My Heart," and was a co-writer of others, including "Celebration," "Hollywood Swinging," and "Jungle Boogie."
Smith is survived by his six children -- Claydes A. Smith, Justin Smith, Aaron Corbin, August Williams, Uranus Guray, and Tyteen Humes -- and nine grandchildren.
Aaron Spelling (April 22, 1923 – June 23, 2006) was an American film and television producer. As of 2007, Spelling holds the record for most prolific television producer, with 218 producer and executive producer credits
Illness, lawsuit, and death In 2001, Spelling was diagnosed with oral cancer.
On January 28, 2006, Spelling was sued by his former nurse, who sought unspecified damages for 10 claims, including sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, sexual battery, assault, wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
On June 18, 2006, Spelling suffered a severe stroke at his estate in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. He died there on June 23, 2006, from complications of the stroke, at the age of 83. A private funeral was held several days later, and Spelling was entombed in a mausoleum in Culver City's Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery.
Notable productions Spelling worked in some capacity on almost 200 productions beginning with the Zane Grey Theatre in 1956. His most recognizable contributions to television include Charlie's Angels, Dynasty, Starsky and Hutch, Family, Hotel, The Rookies, Beverly Hills 90210 and its adult spin-off Melrose Place, The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Vega$, Hart to Hart, The Colbys, T.J. Hooker, Nightingales, Kindred: The Embraced, 7th Heaven, Charmed, Burke's Law, Honey West, The Mod Squad, and S.W.A.T.. His company also co-produced the David Lynch series Twin Peaks (although Spelling himself was not directly involved in its production).
He also produced the HBO miniseries And the Band Played On, based on Randy Shilts's bestseller. The miniseries won an Emmy Award, Spelling's first.
Lois Maureen Stapleton (June 21, 1925 - March 13, 2006) was an Academy Award-, Emmy- and two-time Tony Award-winning American actress in film, theater and television. She was also elected to the American Theatre Hall of Fame.
Death of Maureen Stapleton Maureen Stapleton suffered from anxiety and alcoholism for many years and once told an interviewer, "The curtain came down and I went into the vodka." She also said that her unhappy childhood contributed to her insecurities. In 2006, Maureen Stapleton, who was a heavy smoker, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at her home in Lenox, Massachusetts, at the age of 80
A Tribute to Maureen Stapleton
Maureen Stapleton's awards & filmography continues next page
Best Supporting Actress 1981 Reds
BAFTA Awards Best Supporting Actress 1982 Reds
Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress - Miniseries/Movie 1968 Among the Paths to Eden
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture 1971 Airport
Tony Awards Best Leading Actress in a Play 1971 The Gingerbread Lady Best Featured Actress in a Play 1951 The Rose Tattoo
Maureen Stapleton - Filmography
All the King's Men
TV; Nominated - Emmy Award
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated - BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
The Fugitive Kind
Vu du pont
aka A View from the Bridge
Bye Bye Birdie
Among the Paths to Eden
TV; Emmy Award
Truman Capote's Trilogy
Reprise of Emmy winning 1967 role
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Roebuck "Pops" Staples (December 28, 1914 – December 19, 2000) was a Mississippi-born Gospel and R&B musician. He was an accomplished songwriter, guitarist and singer. He was the patriarch and member of singing group The Staple Singers, which included his son Pervis and daughters Mavis, Yvonne, and Cleotha.
Biography Roebuck Staples was born on a cotton plantation near Winona, Mississippi, the youngest of 14 children. When growing up he heard, and began to play with, local blues guitarists such as Charlie Patton, who lived on the nearby Dockery Plantation, Robert Johnson, and Son House.. He dropped out of school after the eighth grade, and sang with a gospel group before marrying and moving to Chicago in 1935.
Biography continues on next page
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There he sang with the Trumpet Jubilees, while working in the stockyards, in construction work, and later in a steel mill. In 1948 he formed The Staple Singers to sing as a gospel group in local churches, with him singing and playing guitar behind his children. They first recorded in the early 1950s for United and then the larger Vee-Jay Records, with songs including "This May Be The Last Time" (later covered by The Rolling Stones) and "Uncloudy Day".
In the 1960s the Staples Singers moved to Riverside Records and later Stax Records, and began recording protest, inspirational and contemporary music, reflecting the civil rights and anti-war movements of the time. They gained a large new audience with the 1972 US # 1 hit "I'll Take You There", followed by "Respect Yourself", "If You're Ready (Come Go With Me)", and other hits. Pops Staples also recorded an instrumental blues album, Jammed Together, with fellow guitarists Albert King and Steve Croppe.
After Mavis left for a solo career in the 1980s, Pops Staples began a solo career, appearing at international "blues" festivals (though steadfastly refusing to sing the blues), and tried his hand at acting. His 1992 album Peace to the Neighborhood won a Grammy nomination, and in 1995 he won a Best Contemporary Blues Album Grammy for Father, Father.
In 1986, Roebuck played the role of Mr. Tucker, a voodoo witch doctor, in the Talking Heads film True Stories.
In 1998 he received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1999 the Staple Singers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Charles Monroe Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000) was a 20th-century American cartoonist best known worldwide for his Peanuts comic strip.
Charles M. Schulz was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and grew up in Saint Paul. He was the only child of Carl Schulz, who was German, and Dena, who was Norwegian. His uncle nicknamed him "Sparky" after the horse Spark Plug in the Barney Google comic strip.
Schulz attended St. Paul's Richard Gordon Elementary School, where he skipped two half-grades. He became a shy and isolated teenager, perhaps as a result of being the youngest in his class at Central High School.
Charles Schulz's death. Charles Schulz died in Santa Rosa of complications from colon cancer at 9:45 p.m. on February 12, 2000. Charles Schulz was 77 years old at the time of his death. He was interred in Pleasant Hills Cemetery in Sebastopol.
After his mother died in February 1943, he was drafted into the United States Army and was sent to Camp Campbell in Kentucky. He was shipped to Europe two years later to fight in World War II as an infantry squad patrol with the U.S. 20th Armored Division.
After leaving the army in 1945, he returned to Minneapolis where he took a job as an art teacher at Art Instruction, Inc. — he had taken correspondence courses before he was drafted. Schulz, before having his comics published, began doing lettering work for a Catholic comic magazine titled Timeless Topix, where he would rush back and forth from dropping off his lettering work and teaching at Art Instruction Schools, Inc.
Schulz's drawings were first published by Robert Ripley in his Ripley's Believe It or Not!. His first regular cartoons, Li'l Folks, were published from 1947 to 1950 by the St. Paul Pioneer Press; he first used the name Charlie Brown for a character there, although he applied the name in four gags to three different boys and one buried in sand. The series also had a dog that looked much like Snoopy. In 1948, Schulz sold a cartoon to the Saturday Evening Post; the first of seventeen single-panel cartoons by Schulz that would be published there. In 1948, Schulz tried to have Li'l Folks syndicated through the Newspaper Enterprise Association. Schulz would have been an independent contractor for the syndicate, unheard of in the 1940s, but the deal fell through. Li'l Folks was dropped in January, 1950.
Later that year, Schulz approached the United Feature Syndicate with his best strips from Li'l Folks, and Peanuts made its first appearance on October 2, 1950. The strip became one of the most popular comic strips of all time. He also had a short-lived sports-oriented comic strip called It's Only a Game (1957 – 1959), but abandoned it due to the demands of the successful Peanuts. From 1956 to 1965 he also contributed a single-panel strip ("Young Pillars") featuring teenagers to Youth, a publication associated with the Church of God (Anderson).
Charlie Brown, the principal character for Peanuts, was named after a co-worker at the Art Instruction Schools; he drew much of his inspiration, however, from his own life:
Like Charlie Brown, Schulz's father was a barber and his mother a housewife.
Schulz had a dog when he was a boy. Unlike Snoopy the beagle, it was a pointer. Eventually, it was revealed that Snoopy had a desert-dwelling brother named Spike.
Spike's residence, outside of Needles, California, was likely influenced by the few years (1928 – 1930) that the Schulz family lived there; they had moved to Needles to join other family members who had relocated from Minnesota to tend to an ill cousin.
Schulz was also shy and withdrawn.
Schulz's "Little Red-Haired Girl" was Donna Johnson, an Art Instruction Schools accountant with whom he had a relationship. She rejected his marriage proposal, but remained a friend for the rest of his life.
Linus and Shermy were both named for good friends of his (Linus Maurer and Sherman Plepler, respectively).
Lucy was inspired by Joyce Halverson, his first wife.
Peppermint Patty was inspired by Patricia Swanson, one of his cousins on his mother's side.
Schulz moved briefly to Colorado Springs, Colorado. He painted a wall in that home for his daughter Meredith, featuring Patty, Charlie Brown and Snoopy. The wall was removed in 2001 and donated to the Charles M. Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, California. The restored artwork by Schulz is printed in the paperback edition of Chip Kidd's book Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz.
Schulz's family returned to Minneapolis and stayed until 1958. They then moved to Sebastopol, California, where Schulz built his first studio. It was here that Schulz was interviewed for the unaired television documentary A Boy Named Charlie Brown. Some of the footage was eventually used in a later documentary titled Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz. The original documentary is available on DVD from The Charles M. Schulz Museum.
Schulz's father died while visiting him in 1966, the same year his Sebastopol studio burned down. By 1969, Schulz had moved to Santa Rosa, California, where he lived and worked for more than 30 years.
Schulz had a long association with ice sports, as both figure skating and ice hockey featured prominently in his cartoons. In Santa Rosa, he was the owner of the Redwood Empire Ice Arena, which opened in 1969. Schulz's daughter Amy served as a model for the skating in the 1980 television special She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown. Schulz also was very active in Senior Ice Hockey tournaments; in 1975, he formed Snoopy's Senior World Hockey Tournament at his Redwood Empire Ice Arena, and in 1981, Schulz was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to the sport of hockey in the United States. In 1998, he hosted the 1st ever Over 75 Hockey Tournament (although goalies could be younger - 60). In 2001, Saint Paul renamed The Highland Park Ice Arena the "Charles Schulz Arena" in his honor.
The first full-scale biography of Schulz, Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography, by David Michaelis, was released in October 2007. The book has been heavily criticized by the Schulz family, while Michaelis maintains that there is "no question" his work is accurate. However, fellow artist Bill Watterson (creator of Calvin & Hobbes) feels that the biography does justice to Schulz's legacy, while giving insight into the emotional impetus of the creation of the strips.
In light of David Michaelis' biography and the controversy surrounding his interpretation of the personality that was Charles Schulz, responses from his family reveal some intimate knowledge about the Schulz's persona beyond that of mere artist.
Peanuts ran for nearly 50 years without interruption and appeared in more than 2,600 newspapers in 75 countries. In November 1999 Schulz suffered a stroke, and later it was discovered that he had colon cancer that had metastasized to his stomach. Because of the chemotherapy and the fact he could not read or see clearly, he announced his retirement on December 14, 1999. This was difficult for Schulz, and he was quoted as saying to Al Roker on The Today Show, "I never dreamed that this would happen to me. I always had the feeling that I would stay with the strip until I was in my early eighties, or something like that. But all of sudden it's gone. I did not take it away. This has been taken away from me."
Schulz died in Santa Rosa of complications from colon cancer at 9:45 p.m. on February 12, 2000, at age 77. He was interred in Pleasant Hills Cemetery in Sebastopol.
The last original strip ran the day after his death. In it, a statement was included from Schulz that his family wished for the strip to end when he was no longer able to produce it. Schulz had previously predicted that the strip would outlive him, with his reason being that comic strips are usually drawn weeks before their publication. As part of his will, Schulz had requested that the Peanuts characters remain as authentic as possible and that no new comic strips based on them be drawn. United Features has legal ownership of the strip, but his wishes have been honored, although reruns of the strip are still being syndicated to newspapers. New television specials have also been produced since Schulz's death, but the stories are based on previous strips.
Schulz had been asked if, for his final Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown would finally get to kick that football after so many decades. His response: "Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn't have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century."
He was honored on May 27, 2000, by cartoonists of 42 comic strips paying homage to him and Peanuts.
Schulz received the National Cartoonist Society Humor Comic Strip Award in 1962 for Peanuts, the Society's Elzie Segar Award in 1980, their Reuben Award for 1955 and 1964, and their Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999. He was also a hockey fan; in 1981, Schulz was awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding contributions to the sport of hockey in the United States, and he was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993. On June 28, 1996, Schulz was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, adjacent to Walt Disney's. A replica of this star appears outside his former studio in Santa Rosa. Schulz is a recipient of the Silver Buffalo Award, the highest adult award given by the Boy Scouts of America, for his service to American youth.
On June 7, 2001 the United States Congress posthumously awarded Schulz the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor the US legislature can award. Schulz's widow, Jean, accepted the award on behalf of her late husband.
Schulz was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2007.
In 2000, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors rechristened the Charles M. Schulz - Sonoma County Airport in his honor. The airport's logo features Snoopy in goggles and scarf, taking to the skies on top of his red doghouse.
The Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa opened on August 17, 2002, two blocks away from his former studio and celebrates his life's work and art of cartooning. A bronze statue of Charlie Brown and Snoopy stands in Depot Park in downtown Santa Rosa.
The Jean and Charles Schulz Information Center at Sonoma State University is one of the largest libraries in the CSU system and the state of California with a 400,000 volume general collection and with a 750,000 volume automated retrieval system capacity. The $41.5 million building was named after Schulz and his wife donated a large sum of the money, $5 million, needed to build and furnish the structure. The library opened in 2000 and now stands as one of the largest buildings in the university.
Peanuts on Parade has been Saint Paul, Minnesota’s tribute to its favorite native cartoonist. It began in 2000 with the placing of 101 five-foot tall statues of Snoopy throughout the city of Saint Paul. Every summer for the next 4 years statues of a different Peanuts character were placed on the sidewalks of Saint Paul. In 2001 there was Charlie Brown Around Town, 2002 brought Looking for Lucy, then in 2003 along came Linus Blankets Saint Paul, ending in 2004 with Snoopy lying on his doghouse. The statues were auctioned off at the end of each summer, so some remain around the city but others have been relocated. Permanent, bronze statues of the Peanuts character are also found in Landmark Plaza in downtown Saint Paul.
For the past five years, Forbes Magazine has rated Schulz the second "highest paid deceased person" in America (after Elvis Presley), with his estate continuing to garner income totaling more than $32 million since his passing. According to the book "Where Are They Buried?" (as well as other sources), Charles M. Schulz's income during his lifetime totaled more than $1.1 billion, a true testament to the impact Schulz had on three generations of Americans who grew up with the Peanuts gang and "good Ol' Charlie Brown."
Schulz touched on religious themes in his work, including the classic television cartoon, A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965), which features the character Linus van Pelt quoting the King James Version of the Bible Luke 2:8-14 to explain "what Christmas is all about." In personal interviews Schulz mentioned that Linus represented his spiritual side.
Schulz, reared in the Lutheran faith, had been active in the Church of God (Anderson) as a young adult and then later taught Sunday school at a United Methodist Church. But, he remained a member of the Church of God (Anderson) until his death.
In an interview in the late 1980s, however, Schulz stated that his philosophical views had evolved over the years:
I do not go to church anymore… I guess you might say I've come around to secular humanism, an obligation I believe all humans have to others and the world we live in."
In the 1960s, Robert L. Short interpreted certain themes and conversations in Peanuts as being consistent with parts of Christian theology, and used them as illustrations during his lectures about the gospel, and as source material for several books, as he explained in his bestselling paperback book, The Gospel According to Peanuts.
Clarence Eugene Snow (May 9, 1914 – December 20, 1999), better known as Hank Snow, was a Hall of Fame country music singer and songwriter.
Death of Hank Snow Hank Snow was 85 years old at the time of his death.
The cause of death is unspecified
Recording Achievements Total Singles Charted – 85
Top 40 Chart Hits – 65
Top 10 Chart Hits – 43
No.1 Chart Hits – 7
Total Number of Weeks on Charts – 876
Total Number of Weeks at #1 – 56
Total Albums Released – 120 (Est.)
Hank Snow's Biography
Snow was born in Brooklyn, Queens County, Nova Scotia, Canada. When he was 14, he ordered his first guitar from Eaton's catalogue for $5.95, and played his first show in a church basement in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia at the age of 16. He then travelled to the nearest big city, Halifax, where he sang in local clubs and bars. A successful appearance on a local radio station led to his being given a chance to audition for RCA Victor in Montreal, Quebec. In 1936, he signed with RCA Victor, staying with them for more than 45 years.
A weekly Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) radio show brought him national recognition and he began touring Canada until the late 1940s when American country music stations began playing his records. He headed to the "Country Music Capital of the World," Nashville, Tennessee, and Hank Snow, the "Singing Ranger" (modified from the nickname "Yodelling Ranger" given him before his high voice changed to the baritone that graced his hit records), would be invited to play at the Grand Ole Opry in 1950. That same year he released his mega-hit, "I'm Movin' On." The first of seven Number 1 hits on the country charts, "I'm Movin' On" stayed at Number 1 for nearly half a year. While performing in Renfro Valley, Snow was walking with a young unknown performer by the name of Hank Williams when someone yelled out, "Hey, Hank," at which Williams turned around and Snow tapped Williams on the shoulder and said, "No, Hank, he means me."
Along with this hit, his other "signature song" was "I've Been Everywhere," in which he portrayed himself as a hitchhiker bragging about all the towns he'd been through. This song was originally written and performed in Australia by Geoff Mack, and its re-write incorporating North American place names was brilliantly accomplished. Rattling off a well-rhymed series of city names at an auctioneer's pace has long made the song a challenge for any country-music singer to attempt. Johnny Cash's version of it was used in recent years as the soundtrack to an American motel chain's television commercials.
A regular at the Grand Ole Opry, in 1954 Hank Snow persuaded the directors to allow a new singer by the name of Elvis Presley to appear on stage. Snow used Elvis as his opening act, before introducing him to Colonel Tom Parker. In August of 1955, Snow and Parker formed the management team Hank Snow Attractions. This partnership signed a management contract with Presley but before long, Snow was out and Parker had full control over the rock singer's career.
In 1958, Snow became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Performing in lavish and colourful sequin-studded suits, Snow had a career covering six decades during which he sold more than 80 million albums. Although he became a proud American citizen, he still maintained his friendships in Canada and remembered his roots with the 1968 Album, "My Nova Scotia Home". That same year he performed at campaign stops on behalf of segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace.
In Robert Altman's 1975 film Nashville, Henry Gibson played a self-obsessed country star loosely based on Hank Snow.
Despite his lack of schooling, Snow was a gifted songwriter and in 1978 was elected to Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In Canada, he was ten times voted that country's top country music performer. In 1979, Hank Snow was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and the Nova Scotia Music Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1985.
In 1994 his autobiography, "The Hank Snow Story," was published, and later The Hank Snow Country Music Centre would open in Liverpool, Nova Scotia.
The victim of an abusive childhood, he set up the Hank Snow International Foundation For Prevention Of Child Abuse.
Snow died in Madison, Tennessee in the United States and was interred in the Spring Hill Cemetery in Nashville.
Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, Ashley MacIsaac, Johnny Cash and Emmylou Harris, among others, have covered his music. One of his last top hits, "Hello Love," was, for several seasons, sung by Garrison Keillor to open each broadcast of his Prairie Home Companion radio show. The song became Snow's seventh and final No. 1 hit on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in April 1974. At 59 years and 11 months, he became the oldest (to that time) artist to have a No. 1 song on the chart. It was an accomplishment he held for more than 26 years, until Kenny Rogers surpassed the age record in May 2000 (at 61 years and nine months) with "Buy Me a Rose." Snow currently ranks as the fourth-oldest artist to have a No. 1 song, behind Dolly Parton, Rogers and Willie Nelson.
Jean Parker Shepherd (July 26, 1921 - October 16, 1999) was an American raconteur, radio and TV personality, writer and actor who was often referred to by the nickname Shep.
With a career that spanned decades, Shepherd is best-known to modern audiences for narrating the film A Christmas Story (1983), which he co-wrote, based on his own semi-autobiographical stories.
Death of Jean Shepherd Jean Shepherd died on Sanibel Island in 1999 of "natural causes." at Lee Memorial Hospital near his home on Sanibel Island, Fla. Jean Shepherd was 78 years old at the time of his death.
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Jean Shepherd - "Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss"
Early life Born on the south side of Chicago, Illinois, Shepherd was raised in Hammond, Indiana, where he graduated from Hammond High School in 1939. As a youth he worked briefly as a mail carrier in a steel mill and earned his Amateur radio license when he was 16. He later attended several universities.
During World War II, he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Shepherd then had an extensive career in a variety of media:
Filmography America, Inc. NET Playhouse (1970) (TV) Jean Shepherd's America (1971) (TV) The Phantom of the Open Hearth (1976) (TV) The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters (1982) (TV) The Star-Crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski (1983) (TV) A Christmas Story (1983) The Great American Road-Racing Festival (1985) (TV) Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss (1988) (TV) My Summer Story (aka It Runs in the Family) (1994)
Radio career Shepherd began his broadcast radio career on WSAI-AM in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1948. From 1951 to 1953 he had a late-night broadcast on KYW-AM in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after which he returned to Cincinnati for a show on WLW. After a stint on television (see below), he returned to radio. "Shep," as he was known, settled in at WOR radio New York City, New York on an overnight slot in 1956, where he delighted his fans by telling stories, reading poetry (especially the works of Robert W. Service), and organizing comedic listener stunts. The most famous of the last involved creating a hoax about a non-existent book, I, Libertine, by the equally non-existent author "Frederick R. Ewing", in 1956. Later co-written by Shepherd, Theodore Sturgeon and Betty Ballantine, this Ballantine Book is now a collector's item. Among his close friends in the late 1950s were Shel Silverstein and Herb Gardner. With them and actress Lois Nettleton, Shepherd performed in the revue he created, Look, Charlie. Later he was married to Nettleton for about six years.
Print Shepherd wrote a series of humorous short stories about growing up in northwest Indiana and its steel towns, many of which were first told by him on his programs and then published in "Playboy." The stories were later assembled into books titled "In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash," "Wanda Hickey's Night of Golden Memories," and "A Fistful of Fig Newtons." Some of those situations were incorporated into his movies and television fictional stories. He also wrote a column for the early "Village Voice," a column for "Car and Driver" and numerous individual articles for diverse publications, including "Mad Magazine."
Television and films Early in his career, Shepherd had a television program in Cincinnati called "Rear Bumper." Reportedly he was eventually recommended to replace the resigning Steve Allen on NBC's "The Tonight Show." NBC executives sent Shepherd to New York City to prepare for the position, but they were contractually bound to first offer it to Jack Paar. The network was certain Paar would hold out for a role in prime time, but he accepted the late-night assignment. However, he did not assume the position permanently until Shepherd and Ernest Kovacs had co-hosted the show.
In the early 1960s he did a weekly television show on WOR in New York. Between 1971 and 1994, Shepherd became a screenwriter of note, writing and producing numerous works for both television and cinema. He was the writer and narrator for the show "Jean Shepherd's America," produced by Boston Public Television station WGBH in which he told his famous narratives, visited unusual locales, and interviewed local people of interest. He used a similar format for the New Jersey Network TV show "Shepherd's Pie." On many of the Public TV shows he wrote, directed and edited entire shows.
He also wrote and narrated many works, the most famous being the feature film "A Christmas Story," which is now considered a holiday classic. In the film, Shepherd provides the voice of the adult Ralph Parker. (This narrative style was later appropriated, without acknowledgment, in the popular television sitcom "The Wonder Years.") He also has a cameo role playing a man overseeing the line at the department store waiting for Santa Claus. Much to Ralphie's chagrin, he points out to him that the end of the line is much further away.
A 1994 movie sequel, "My Summer Story," was narrated by Shepherd but featured an almost entirely different cast from the previous film. The PBS series "American Playhouse" aired a series of television movies based on Shepherd stories, also featuring the Parker family. These included "Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss," "The Great American Fourth of July and Other Disasters," and "The Phantom of the Open Hearth."
Live performances and recordings Shepherd also performed for several years at The Limelight Cafe in New York City's Greenwich Village, and at many colleges nationwide. His live shows were a perennial favorite at Rutgers and Fairleigh Dickinson Universities. He performed at Princeton University annually for 30 years, until 1996. The Limelight shows were broadcast live on WOR radio.
He also performed before sold-out audiences at Carnegie Hall and Town Hall. He was also emcee for several important jazz concerts in the late 1950s. Shepherd improvised spoken word lyrics for the title track on jazz great Charles Mingus's 1957 album The Clown. Eight record albums of live and studio performances of Shepherd were released between 1955 and 1975. Shepherd also recorded the opening narration and the voice of the Audio-Animatronics "Father" character for the updated Carousel of Progress attraction at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom.
Music Many of his broadcasts were accompanied by novelty songs such as "The Bear Missed the Train" (a parody of the Yiddish ballad "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen") and "The Sheik of Araby", or by Shepherd himself, playing the Jew's harp, nose flute and kazoo.
On radio as well as on his WOR-TV show, he frequently used his own head as a musical instrument, knocking the top of his skull with his knuckles while changing the size of his open mouth to produce different notes. Shep facetiously claimed that his "Head Thumping" (as he called it) spanned about an octave.
Ham Radio Jean held the Ham Radio call K2ORS. He was very active on ham radio until his death. Jean is also credited as the voice for the ARRL's tape series 'Tune in the world with Ham Radio'. This series of tapes helped many young people become ham radio operators.
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