Claire Trevor – Oscar winning actress, Stagecoach, Key Largo

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Clair TrevorClaire Trevor (March 8, 1910 – April 8, 2000) was an Academy Award-winning American actress. Beautiful and talented, she was nicknamed the "Queen of Film Noir" because of her many appearances in "bad girl” roles in film noir and other black-and-white thrillers. She appeared in over 60 films.

Death of Claire Trevor
Claire Trevor died of respiratory failure in Newport Beach, April 8, 2000.
Claire Trevor was 90 years old at the time of her death.
Claire Trevor is survived by several stepchildren by her marriage to Bren. Claire Trevor was cremated and her remains were scattered at sea.

Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1948 for Key Largo

Early life
Trevor was born as Claire Wemlinger in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, the only child of a 5th Avenue merchant-tailor and his wife. Her family was of Irish American and French American descent.

Stagecoach

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Early life
Trevor was born as Claire Wemlinger in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York, the only child of a 5th Avenue merchant-tailor and his wife. Her family was of Irish American and French American descent.

Career
Trevor’s acting career spanned more than seven decades and included success in stage, radio, television and film. Trevor often played the hard-boiled blonde, and every conceivable type of "bad girl" role. After attending American Academy of Dramatic Arts, she began her acting career in the late ’20s in stock. By 1932 she was starring on Broadway; that same year she began appearing in Brooklyn-filmed Vitaphone shorts. Her first credited film role was in the 1933 film Life in the Raw, with her feature film debut coming that same year in Jimmy and Sally (1933), with her portraying "Sally Johnson". From 1933 through 1938 Trevor starred in twenty nine films, often having either the lead role or the role of heroine. In 1937 she starred with Humphrey Bogart in Dead End, which would lead to her being nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

By 1939 she was well established as a solid "leading lady". Some of her most memorable performances during this period were opposite John Wayne, including the classic 1939 western Stagecoach, which was Wayne’s breakthrough role. She also starred opposite Wayne in Allegheny Uprising that same year, and again in 1940 in Dark Command. Another two of her more memorable roles was when she starred in Murder, My Sweet opposite Dick Powell, and fellow film noir flick Born to Kill playing a divorcee who gets more than she bargained for by falling in love with a bad boy who impulsively murders.

Awards and nominations
Trevor seemed to have her best performances when starring with either John Wayne or Humphrey Bogart. Of the Academy Award nominations and wins that she earned, two were starring opposite Bogart, and one was opposite Wayne. Although she was not nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Wayne’s 1939 breakthrough film, Stagecoach, the film itself received Academy Award nominations in four categories, winning two of them.

Her awards and accolades include;

  • She was nominated for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Dead End, a 1937 melodrama in which she played a good girl who grows up to be a prostitute, which co-starred Humphrey Bogart.
  • Trevor won the award for Best Supporting Actress for her 1948 performance in Key Largo, co-starring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and Lauren Bacall.
  • In 1956, Trevor won an Emmy for Best Live Television Performance by an Actress for Dodsworth, with Fredric March, on NBC’s Producers’ Showcase.
  • She was nominated again for an Academy Award for her performance in The High and the Mighty, a 1954 airplane disaster epic starring John Wayne.
  • The Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine was named in Trevor’s honor. Both her Oscar and Emmy trophies are on display in the Arts Plaza there, next to the Claire Trevor Theatre.
  • She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Private life
Trevor married film producer Clark Andrews in 1938, but they divorced four years later. Her second marriage to Cylos William Dunsmoore produced a son, Charles. The marriage ended in divorce in 1947. The next year, Trevor married Milton Bren, another film producer and soon after moved to Newport Beach, California.

In 1978 her only biological child, her son Charles Dunsmoore, died in an airliner crash and her last husband, Milton Bren, died from a brain tumor in 1979. Trevor retired from acting in 1987. She made a special Academy Awards Appearance in 1998 at the 70th Academy Awards.

She died of respiratory failure in Newport Beach, April 8, 2000 at the age of 90, survived by several stepchildren by her marriage to Bren. Claire Trevor was cremated and her remains were scattered at sea.

Selected filmography
Dante’s Inferno (1935)
15 Maiden Lane (1936)
Dead End (1937)
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse (1938)
Stagecoach (1939)
I Stole a Million (1939)
Allegheny Uprising (1939)
Dark Command (1940)
Honky Tonk (1941)
Crossroads (1942)
Street of Chance (1942)
Murder, My Sweet (1944)
 Johnny Angel (1945)
Crack-Up (1946)
Born to Kill (1947)
Raw Deal (1948)
The Velvet Touch (1948)
The Babe Ruth Story (1948)
Key Largo (1948)
Raw Deal (1948)
The High and the Mighty (1954)
The Mountain (1956)
Marjorie Morningstar (1958)
How to Murder Your Wife (1965)

Pee Wee King – Country songwriter “You belong to me”

Pee Wee King, born Julius Frank Anthony Kuczynski (February 18, 1914 – March 07, 2000), was an American country music songwriter and recording artist. He was born in Milwaukee to a Polish American family and lived in Abrams, Wisconsin, during his youth.

King’s songs included "The Tennessee Waltz", "Slow Poke", and "You Belong to Me". His songs introduced waltzes, polkas, and cowboy songs to country music. King joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1937

He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1974. He died of a heart attack in Louisville, Kentucky, at age 86.

Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts Comic Strip

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Charles Schulz Cartoonist's DeathCharles 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.

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Charles Schulz’ Biography continues 

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.

Death

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.

Awards

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.

Legacy

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."

Religion

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.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I put a spell on you

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Screamin' jay hawkinsJalacy Hawkins, best known as Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (July 18, 1929 – February 12, 2000) was an African-American singer. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery & wildly theatrical performances of songs such as "I Put a Spell on You" and "Constipation Blues," Hawkins sometimes used macabre props onstage, making him perhaps the first shock rocker.

"I Put A Spell On You"
His most successful recording, "I Put a Spell on You" (1956), was selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Death of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
Hawkins died on February 12, 2000 after surgery to treat an aneurysm. He left behind many children by many women; about 55 were known (or suspected) upon his death, and upon investigation, that number "soon became perhaps 75 offspring", according to this website. News of Hawkins’ death was largely overshadowed by the deaths of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry, and pop singer Oliver on that same day.

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I put a spell on you, Live

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Early career
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Hawkins originally set out to become an opera singer, and has regularly cited Paul Robeson as his idol. When his initial ambitions failed, he began his career as a conventional blues singer and pianist.

He served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Ocean during World War II, primarily as an entertainer, although he claimed to have been a POW. Hawkins was an avid and formidable boxer: in 1949, he was the middleweight boxing champion of Alaska.

In 1951, he joined guitarist Tiny Grimes for a while, and recorded a few songs with him. When Hawkins became a solo performer, he often performed in a very stylish wardrobe, featuring leopard skins, red leather and wild hats.

Later career
Hawkins had several further hits, including "Constipation Blues", "Orange Colored Sky", and "Feast of the Mau Mau". Nothing he released, however, had the monumental success of "I Put a Spell on You".

He continued to tour and record through the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in Europe, where he was very popular, but his career was not advancing in America until filmmaker Jim Jarmusch featured "I Put a Spell on You" on the soundtrack – and deep in the plot – of his film Stranger Than Paradise (1983) and then Hawkins himself as a hotel night clerk in his Mystery Train. This led to a few other movie performances, such as Álex de la Iglesia’s Perdita Durango and Bill Duke’s adaptation of Chester Himes’ A Rage In Harlem.

His 1957 single "Frenzy" (found on the early 1980s compilation of the same name) was included in the compilation CD, "Songs in the Key of X: Music From And Inspired By The X-Files", in 1996. This song was featured in the show’s season 2 episode "Humbug". It was also covered by the band Batmobile

In July 1991, Hawkins released his album Black Music for White People. The record features covers of two Tom Waits compositions; "Heart Attack and Vine" (which, later that year, was used in a European Levi’s advertisement without Waits’ permission, resulting in a lawsuit), and "Ice Cream Man" (which, contrary to popular belief, is a Waits original, and not a cover of the John Brim classic. Incidentally, Hawkins also covered the Waits tune "Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard" for his album Somethin’ Funny Goin’ On.)

Hawkins also toured with The Clash and Nick Cave during this period, and not only became a fixture of blues festivals, but appeared at many film festivals as well.

His performance style earned him a loyal following — the use of a skull, a moving arm and, in his early days — a coffin added to his charisma.

Hawkins died on February 12, 2000 after surgery to treat an aneurysm. He left behind many children by many women; about 55 were known (or suspected) upon his death, and upon investigation, that number "soon became perhaps 75 offspring", according to this website. News of Hawkins’ death was largely overshadowed by the deaths of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry, and pop singer Oliver on that same day.

Discography

Selected Singles
1956 I Put a Spell On You/Little Demon
1957 You Made Me Love You/Darling, Please Forgive Me
1957 Frenzy/Person to Person
1958 Alligator Wine/There’s Something Wrong With You
1958 Armpit #6/The Past [Red Top 126]
1962 I Hear Voices/Just Don’t Care
1962 Ashes/Nitty Gritty – w/ Shoutin’ Pat
1966 Poor Folks / Your Kind of Love
1970 Do You Really Love Me/Constipation Blues
1973 Monkberry Moon Delight/Sweet Ginny

Albums
1958 At Home with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Okeh/Epic) – other editions entitled Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and I Put a Spell on You
1965 The Night and Day of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Planet) – also entitled In the Night and Day of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins
1969 What That Is! (Philips)
1970 Because Is in Your Mind (Armpitrubber) (Philips)
1972 Portrait of a Man and His Woman (Hotline) – also entitled I Put a Spell on You and Blues Shouter
1977 I Put a Spell on You (Versatile–recordings from 1966-76)
1979 Lawdy Miss Clawdy (Koala)
1979 Screamin’ the Blues (Red Lightnin’) – also entitled She Put the Wammee on Me
1983 Real Life (Zeta)
1984 Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and The Fuzztones Live (Midnight Records) – live
1988 At Home with Jay in The Wee Wee Hours (Midnight Records) – live
1988 Live & Crazy (Blue Phoenix) – live
1990 The Art of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Spivey)
1991 Black Music For White People (Bizarre/Straight Records/Planet Records)
1991 I Shake My Stick at You (Aim)
1993 Stone Crazy (Bizarre/Straight/Planet)
1994 Somethin’ Funny Goin’ On (Bizarre/Straight/Planet)
1993 Rated X (Sting S) – live
1998 At Last (Last Call)
1998 Live (Loudsprecher/Indigo) – live
1999 Live at the Olympia, Paris (Last Call) – live with one studio new song
2004 Live (Fremeaux & Associés) – live with two studio new songs

###

Jim Varney, James Varney – Ernest Goes to… movies

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Jim Varney DeathJames Albert Varney Jr. (June 15, 1949 – February 10, 2000) was an American actor. He was best known for his character Ernest P. Worrell, originally created by Nashville advertising agency Carden and Cherry in the 1980s. The character was used in numerous television commercial campaigns and movies in the following years, giving him fame worldwide. He is best known for his slapstick style and his portrayal of "redneck" stereotypes in a friendly, approachable way.

Death of James Varney
James Varney died of lung cancer on February 10, 2000 at 4:45 a.m. in his White House, Tennessee home as the movie Ernest the Pirate neared completion and when Atlantis: The Lost Empire was still in production.He is interred at Lexington’s cemetery.
James Varney was 50 year old at the time of his death

Jim Varney’s TV commercial bloopers

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Early life
Varney was born in Lexington, Kentucky, where he grew up. He began his interest in theater as a teenager, winning state titles in drama competitions while a student at Lafayette High School (which he graduated from with the class of 1968) in Lexington. At the age of 15, he portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge in a local children’s theater production, and by 17, he was performing professionally in nightclubs and coffee houses. He listed a former teacher, Thelma Beeler, as being one of the main contributing factors in his becoming an actor.

Television commercial career
The first commercial as Ernest, filmed in 1980, was to advertise an appearance by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders at Beech Bend Park, an amusement park located near Bowling Green, Kentucky. The character was franchised for use in markets all over the country, and was often used by dairies to advertise milk products. For example, the Midwestern dairy bar chain Braum’s ran several advertisements using Ernest’s catch phrase, "KnoWhutImean, Vern?" (as it was spelled in his registered trademark). Purity Dairies, based in Nashville, and Oakhurst Dairy in Maine ran commercials that were nearly identical, but with the dairy name changed.

For the same agency, Varney created a different character, "Sgt. Glory", a humorless drill instructor who harangued cows of the client’s dairy into producing better milk. In another spot, Glory’s home was shown as he had a date, and was so heavily decorated with the products of the sponsor and advertising specialty items for it that it was essentially devoid of any other decor. The Sgt. Glory character also appeared in an advertisement for a southern grocery chain, Pruitt’s Food Town, in which he’s drilling the checkout clerks on proper behavior. ("Bread on top. Repeat: Bread on top.") He approaches one of them at the end of the commercial with a look of menace and says, "You’re not smilin’." The checkout bagger gives a very nervous and forced smile.

Varney also starred as Ernest in a series of commercials that ran in the New Orleans area, and throughout the Gulf South, as a spokesman for natural gas utilities. In one, he is seen kneeling down in front of Vern’s desk under a lamp hanging from the ceiling, stating "Natural gas, Vern; it’s hot, fast and cheap. Hot, fast, cheap; kinda like your first wife, Vern, you know, the pretty one!?" Vern then knocked the lamp into Ernest’s head, knocking him down. Those same TV ads were also featured on TV channels in the St. Louis area for Laclede Gas, during the mid-1980s.

He was also noted for doing commercials for car dealerships across the country, most notably Cerritos Auto Square in Cerritos, California, Tyson’s Toyota in Tysons Corner, Virginia, and Audubon Chrysler in Henderson, Kentucky. Another favorite Ernest vehicle was promotions for various TV stations around the nation, including the news team and the weather departments.

Varney also portrayed another character, "Auntie Nelda", in numerous commercials long before he resurrected the character for the movies Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam, Ernest Goes to Jail and Ernest Goes to Camp. Dressed in drag and appearing to be a senior-citizen, the commercials gave off the tone of a motherly lady encouraging you to do what was right – in this case, buy whatever product was being promoted. This character, along with the "Ernest" character, ran a couple of years in Mississippi and Louisiana in commercials for Ledco Aluminum Siding, a company that would come out and give you an estimate for placing aluminum siding on your home. Ledco often bought 2 hour slots in local markets. During the 2 hour slot, a movie was televised and Varney, as one of his characters, and a Ledco representative, would be the only commercial breaks during the movie to promote Ledco.

During the 1990s, Jim reprised his role as Ernest for Blake’s Lotaburger, a fast food chain in New Mexico. During these commercials, Ernest would typically be trying to get in to Vern’s house to see what food Vern was eating. After a lengthy description of whatever tasty morsel Vern had, Ernest would get locked out, but continue to shout from outside.

An interesting fact about the commercials is how universal they were. For example, the dairy spots would be the same situation and script, changing only the name of the dairy. The same situations would be used (varying the script for the product, but resulting in the same punchline) for countless other products. The end result was that a finite number of commercials could sell a wide variety of products. However, all the commercials were not based on those cookie-cutter premises, and original commercials were shot for specific products/sponsors.

Ernest’s popularity
Varney’s character Ernest P. Worrell proved so popular that it was spun off into a TV series, Hey Vern, It’s Ernest! and a series of movies in the 1980s and 1990s. Ernest Goes to Camp earned Varney a nomination for "Worst New Star" at the 1987 Golden Raspberry Awards (he "lost"). The movie was a huge hit; however, grossing $25 million at the box office.

Other Ernest movies included Ernest Saves Christmas, Slam Dunk Ernest, Ernest Goes to Jail, Ernest Goes to Africa, Ernest Goes to School, Ernest Scared Stupid, and Ernest in the Army. The Walt Disney World Resort’s Epcot theme park featured Ernest. Epcot’s Cranium Command attraction used the Ernest character in its preshow as an example of a "lovable but not the brightest person on the planet" type of person. And in addition to his Ernest Goes to… series, he starred as Ernest in several smaller movies for Carden & Cherry such as Ernest P. Worrell’s Family Album, Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam, and Your World as I See It, all of which showcased his great facility with assuming a wide variety of characters and accents.

Non-"Ernest" work
Varney played a recurring guest on faux late-night-talk show Fernwood 2 Night

He also lent his voice to the character "Slinky Dog" in Disney’s Toy Story film series, and to the character "Cookie" Farnsworth, from Atlantis: The Lost Empire, which was released the year after his death.

Varney provided the guest voice for the carny character "Cooder" for "Bart Carny" episode of The Simpsons.

Varney played the character "Walt Evergreen" in the Duckman episode "You’ve Come a Wrong Way, Baby".

Varney played the prince that Roseanne’s sister Jackie started dating near the end of the 1990s television series Roseanne.

Varney played the villain Lothar Zogg in the 1998 film 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain.

Varney is in Hank Williams, Jr. ‘s video for "All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight," where he is briefly shown casually riding a bull.

Varney also played the part of Jed Clampett in the 1993 production of The Beverly Hillbillies.

Varney also played the entertainer/watch guard Rudy James in the movie Snowboard Academy.

He also has a small part in an independent production 100 Proof. Just prior to his stint as Ernest P. Worrell, Varney was a cast member on the notorious television flop Pink Lady and Jeff.

Varney was a special guest, appearing as himself, in the Bibleman Genesis Series Bibleman Jr..

Varney starred in three videos The Misadventures of Bubba, The Misadventures of Bubba II, and Bubba goes Hunting in which he played himself and taught young kids important safety rules about hunting and guns. He illustrated the rules with the help of his bumbling and accident prone cousin Bubba (also played by varney) and Bubba’s imaginary hunting pal Billy Bob. The videos were distributed as part of a membership pack from Buckmasters’ Young Bucks Club.

Personal life
Varney was married twice, to Jacqueline Drew (1977-1983), and Jane Varney (1988-1991). Both marriages ended in divorce, though he remained friends with Jane until his death.

He would visit hospitals, and entertain sick children in his "Ernest" persona.

Death
Varney died of lung cancer on February 10, 2000 at 4:45 a.m. in his White House, Tennessee home as the movie Ernest the Pirate neared completion and when Atlantis: The Lost Empire was still in production. He is interred at Lexington’s cemetery.

Filmography

Cinema-Actor

  • Daddy and Them (2001) Hazel Montgomery
  • Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) Jedidiah Allardyce "Cookie" Farnsworth (voice)
  • Toy Story 2 (1999) Slinky Dog (voice)
  • Treehouse Hostage (1999) Carl Banks
  • Existo (1999) Marcel HRowitz
  • 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain (1998) Lothar Zogg
  • Ernest in the Army (1998) Pvt. Ernest P. Worrell/Captain Ernest P. Worrell/Operation Sandtrap Arab
  • Annabelle´s Wish (1997) Mr. Gus Holder (voice)(video)
  • Ernest Goes to Africa (1997) Ernest P. Worrell/Hey You, the Hindu/Auntie Nelda/African woman dancer
  • 100 Proof (1997) Rae’s Father
  • Blood, Friends and Money (1997) The Older Mariner
  • Snowboard Academy (1996) Rudy James
  • Toy Story (1995) Slinky Dog (voice)
  • The Expert (1995) Snake
  • Slam Dunk Ernest (1995) Ernest P.Worrell (video)
  • Your World as I See It (1994) Ernest P.Worrell/Aster Clement/Baby Ernest/Auntie Nelda/Bonnie/Coy
  • Ernest Goes to School (1994) Ernest P. Worrell
  • Ernest Rides Again (1993) Ernest P. Worrell
  • The Beverly Hillbillies (1993) Jed Clampett
  • Wilder Napalm (1993) Rex
  • Ernest´s Greatest Hits Volume 2 (1992) Ernest P.Worrell (video)
  • Ernest Scared Stupid (1991) Ernest P. Worrell
  • Ernest Goes to Jail (1990) Ernest P. Worrell/Mr. Felix Nash/Auntie Nelda
  • Fast Food (1989) Wrangler Bob
  • Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) Ernest P. Worrell/Aster Clement/Auntie Nelda/The Snake Guy
  • Ernest Goes to Camp (1987) Ernest P. Worrell
  • Hey, Vern, Win $10,000 (1987) Ernest P. Worrell (voice)
  • Dr. Otto and the Riddle of the Gloom Beam (1986) Dr. Otto/Rudd Hardtact/Laughin’ Jack/Guy Dandy/Auntie Nelda/Ernest P. Worrell
  • The Ernest Film Festival (1986) Ernest P. Worrell (video)
  • Knowhutimean? Hey Vern, It’s My Family Album (1983) Ernest P. Worrell/Davy Worrell & Company/Ace Worrell/Lloyd Worrell/Billy Boogie Worrell/Rhetch
  • Worrell/Pop Worrell (video)
  • Spittin’ Image (1982) Sheriff

Television-Actor

  • The Simpsons episode – Bart Carny (1998) Cooder (voice)
  • Roseanne (1996) Prince Carlos of Moldavia
  • Hey Vern, It’s Ernest! (1988) Ernest, Dr. Otto, Auntie Nelda, Sergeant Glory, Baby Ernest
  • The Rousters (1983) Evan Earp
  • Operation Petticoat (1977-1979) Seaman Broom

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Clayton Moore – The Lone Ranger

Lone RangerClayton Moore
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Lone Ranger DeathClayton Moore (September 14, 1914 – December 28, 1999) was an American actor best known for playing the fictional western character The Lone Ranger.

Clayton Moore’s Death
Clayton Moore died December 28, 1999, from a heart attack.
Clayton Moore was 85 years old at the time of his death. He is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Clayton Moore Biography
Born as Jack Carlton Moore in Chicago, Illinois, Moore was a circus acrobat as a boy, then later enjoyed a successful career as a John Robert Powers model. Moving to Hollywood in the late 1930s, he began working as a stunt man and bit player between modeling jobs. According to his autobiography, around 1940 Hollywood producer Edward Small convinced him to adopt the stage name "Clayton" Moore. He was an occasional player in B westerns and Republic Studio cliffhangers, ultimately starring in more such films than serial hero Buster Crabbe. His big break came in 1949, when George Trendle spotted him in "The Ghost of Zorro." As producer of the radio show and creator of "The Lone Ranger" character along with writer Fran Striker, Trendle was about to launch the masked man in the new medium of television. Moore was cast on sight.

Lone Ranger Opening

Clayton Moore’s Biography continues

Lone RangerClayton Moore
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Moore then faced the challenge of training his voice to sound like the radio version of The Lone Ranger, which had then been on the air since 1933, and succeeded in lowering his already distinctive baritone even further. With the first notes of Rossini’s stirring "William Tell Overture" and announcer Fred Foy’s, "Return with us now, to those thrilling days of yesteryear…", Moore and co-star Jay Silverheels in the role of Tonto made television history as the first western written specifically for that medium. The Lone Ranger soon became the highest-rated program to that point on the fledgling ABC network and its first true "hit", earning an Emmy nomination in 1950.

After two successful years, which presented a new episode every week, 52 weeks a year, Moore had a pay dispute and left the series. As "Clay Moore," he made a few more westerns and serials, sometimes playing the villain. The public didn’t really accept the new Lone Ranger, actor John Hart, so the owners of the program relented and rehired Moore at his requested salary. He stayed with the program until it ended first-run production in 1957. He and Jay Silverheels also starred in two feature-length "Lone Ranger" motion pictures.

After completion of the second feature, "The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold" in 1956, Moore embarked on what eventually became 40 years of personal appearances, TV guest spots, and classic commercials as the legendary masked man. Silverheels joined him for occasional appearances during the early 1960s, and throughout his career Moore always expressed his tremendous respect and love for Silverheels.

In 1979, the owner of the Ranger character, Jack Wrather, obtained a court order prohibiting Moore from making future appearances as The Lone Ranger. Wrather anticipated making a new film version of the story, and did not want the value of the character being undercut by Moore’s appearances, nor anyone to think that the 65-year-old Moore would be playing the role in the new picture. This move proved to be a public relations disaster of the first order. Moore responded by changing his costume slightly and replacing the mask with similar-looking wraparound sunglasses, and then counter-sued Wrather. He eventually won the suit, and was able to resume his appearances in costume, which he continued to do until shortly before his death. For a time he worked in publicity tie-ins with the Texas Rangers baseball team.

Some have attributed the incredible failure of Wrather’s picture, finally released in 1981 as The Legend of the Lone Ranger, to this move. In reality, it was only one of the picture’s many problems (including Klinton Spilsbury’s performance in the title role, reportedly so inept that his dialogue was re-recorded by James Keach). However, none of the subsequent remakes of the fictional western hero caught the public’s imagination nor earned their respect as did the original.

Moore often was quoted as saying he had "fallen in love with the Lone Ranger character" and strove in his personal life to take The Lone Ranger Creed to heart. This, coupled with his public fight to retain the right to wear the mask, ultimately elevated him in the public’s eyes to an American folk icon. In this regard, he was much like another cowboy star, William Boyd, who nurtured the Hopalong Cassidy character. Moore was so identified with the masked man that he is the only person on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as of 2006, to have his character’s name along with his on the star, which reads, "Clayton Moore — The Lone Ranger". He was inducted into the Stuntman’s Hall of Fame in 1982 and in 1990 was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In keeping with the nature of the Ranger character, Moore chose to protect the Ranger’s identity at all times and is perhaps the only actor whose full face is largely unknown to the public. It was never shown in the TV series, although occasionally he would don a disguise and affect an accent, revealing the upper half of his face in the process. However, there is no shortage of photos of Moore unmasked, including many in his autobiography. His many fans, however, could easily recognize him by his distinctive voice.

Curtis Mayfield – Soul Musician “Superfly”

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Curtis Mayfield DeathCurtis Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an American soul, R&B, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions and composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Superfly. From these works and others, he was highly regarded as a pioneer of funk and of politically conscious African-American music. He was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums.

Later years
In February, 1998, he had to have his right leg amputated due to diabetes. Mayfield was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 1999. Unfortunately, health reasons prevented him from attending the ceremony.

Death of Curtis Mayfield
Curtis Mayfield died on December 26, 1999 in Roswell, Georgia from Diabetes
Curtis Mayfield was 57 years old at the time of his death

Curtis Mayfield – Superfly

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Discography

Studio Albums
Curtis (1970)
Roots (1971)
Superfly (1972)
Back to the World (1973)
Got to Find a Way (1974)
Claudine (Gladys Knight and the Pips) (1974)
Sweet Exorcist (1974)
Let’s Do It Again (The Staple Singers) (1975)
There’s No Place Like America Today (1975)
Sparkle (Aretha Franklin) (1976)
Give, Get, Take and Have (1976)
A Piece of the Action (Mavis Staples) (1977)
Short Eyes (1977)
Never Say You Can’t Survive (1977)
Do It All Night (1978)
Heartbeat (1979)
Something to Believe In (1980)
The Right Combination (with Linda Clifford) (1980)
Love is the Place (1982)
Honesty (1983)
We Come in Peace with a Message of Love (1985)
Take It to the Streets (1990)
New World Order (1997)

Live albums
Curtis/Live! (1971)
Curtis in Chicago (1973)
Live in Europe (1988)
People Get Ready: Live at Ronnie Scott’s (1988)

Compilations
The Anthology 1961-1977 (1992)
People Get Ready: The Curtis Mayfield Story (1996)
The Very Best of Curtis Mayfield (1997)
Soul Legacy (2001)
Greatest Hits (2006)

Early years and The Impressions
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Mayfield attended Wells High School. He dropped out of high school early to become lead singer and songwriter for The Impressions, then went on to a successful solo career. Perhaps most notably, Mayfield was among the first of a new wave of mainstream African-American R&B performing artists and composers who injected social commentary into their work. This "message music" became extremely popular during the period of political ferment and social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s.

Mayfield had several distinctions to his style of playing and singing, adding to the uniqueness of his music. When he taught himself how to play guitar, he tuned the guitar to the black keys of the piano, giving him an open F-sharp tuning — F#, A#, C#, F#, A#, F# — that he used throughout his career. Also, he sang most of his lines in falsetto, adding another flavor to his music.

Mayfield’s career began in 1956 when he joined The Roosters with Arthur and Richard Brooks and Jerry Butler. Two years later The Roosters, now including also Sam Gooden, became The Impressions. The band had one big hit with "For Your Precious Love". After Butler left the group and was replaced with Fred Cash, Mayfield became lead singer, frequently composing for the band, as well, starting with "Gypsy Woman". Their hit "Amen," an updated version of an old gospel tune, was included in the soundtrack of the 1963 MGM film Lilies of the Field, which starred Sidney Poitier. The Impressions reached the height of their popularity in the mid to late 1960s, with a string of Mayfield compositions that included "Keep On Pushin’," "People Get Ready," "Choice of Colors," "Fool For You," "This is My Country" and "Check Out Your Mind." Mayfield had written much of the soundtrack of the civil rights movement alongside Bob Dylan and others in the early 1960s, but by the end of the decade he was a pioneering voice in the black pride movement, in the company of James Brown and Sly Stone. Mayfield’s "We’re a Winner" became an anthem of the black power and black pride movements when it was released in late 1967, much as his earlier "Keep on Pushing" (whose title is quoted in the lyrics of "We’re a Winner") had been an anthem for Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement.

Independent from his work with The Impressions, Mayfield became a songwriting powerhouse in Chicago, writing and producing scores of hits for other artists, including:

"Mama Didn’t Lie"/Jan Bradley
"We Girls"/Jan Bradley
"The Monkey Time"/Major Lance
"Um, Um, Um, Um, Um"/Major Lance
"Gypsy Woman"/Brian Hyland
"Just Be True"/(and numerous other hits) by Gene Chandler,
Walter Jackson, and The Five Stairsteps, among others. He also owned the Mayfield and Windy C labels, distributed by Cameo-Parkway, and was partners in the Curtom label (first independent, then distributed by Atlantic, then Buddah and finally Warner Bros.)

Solo career
In 1970, Mayfield left The Impressions and began a solo career, founding the independent record label Curtom Records. Curtom would go on to release most of Mayfield’s landmark 1970s records, as well as records by the Impressions, Leroy Hutson, The Staple Singers, and Mavis Staples, and Baby Huey and the Babysitters, a group which at the time included Chaka Khan. Many of these records were also produced by Mayfield.

The commercial and critical peak of his solo career came with his 1972 album Superfly, the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film of the same name, and one of the most influential albums in history. Unlike the soundtracks to other blaxploitation films (most notably Isaac Hayes’ score for Shaft), which glorified the excesses of the characters, Mayfield’s lyrics consisted of hard-hitting commentary on the state of affairs in black, urban ghettos at the time, as well as direct criticisms of several characters in the film. Bob Donat wrote in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1972 that while the film’s message "was diluted by schizoid cross-purposes" because it "glamorizes machismo-cocaine consciousness… the anti-drug message on [Mayfield’s soundtrack] is far stronger and more definite than in the film." Along with Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On and Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions, this album ushered in a new socially conscious, funky style of popular soul music. He was dubbed ‘The Gentle Genius’ to reflect his outstanding and innovative musical output with the constant presence of his soft yet insistent vocals.

Superfly’s success resulted in Mayfield being tapped for additional soundtracks, some of which he wrote and produced while having others perform the vocals. Gladys Knight & the Pips recorded Mayfield’s soundtrack for Claudine in 1974, while Aretha Franklin recorded the soundtrack for Sparkle in 1976. Mayfield worked with Mavis Staples on the 1977 soundtrack for the film A Piece of the Action. He was in danger of overreaching himself being writer, producer, performer, arranger and businessman but seemed to cope and still produce a remarkable output.

One of Mayfield’s most successful funk-disco meldings was the 1977 hit "Do Do Wap is Strong in Here" from his soundtrack to the Robert M. Young film of Miguel Piñero’s play Short Eyes.

Later years
Mayfield was active throughout the 1970s and 1980s, though he had a somewhat lower public profile. On August 13, 1990, Mayfield was paralyzed from the neck down after stage lighting equipment fell on him at an outdoor concert at Wingate Field in Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York. This tragedy set him back, but Mayfield forged ahead. He was unable to play guitar, but he wrote, sang and directed the recording of his last album, New World Order. Mayfield’s vocals were painstakingly recorded, usually line-by-line whilst lying on his back.

Mayfield received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.

In February, 1998, he had to have his right leg amputated due to diabetes. Mayfield was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, 1999. Unfortunately, health reasons prevented him from attending the ceremony, which included fellow inductees Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Dusty Springfield, George Martin, and 1970s Curtom signee and labelmate The Staples Singers. Mayfield died on December 26, 1999 in Roswell, Georgia surrounded by his family. His last work came to be the song "Astounded", with the group Bran Van 3000, recorded just before his death and released in 2000. As a member of The Impressions, Mayfield was posthumously inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003.

Legacy
Mayfield is remembered for his introduction of social consciousness into R&B and for pioneering the funk style in the 1970s. Many of his recordings with the Impressions became anthems of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and his most famous album, Superfly, is regarded as an all-time great that influenced many and truly invented a new style of modern black music (#69 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums). His distinctive, hard guitar riffs influenced the development of funk, and was highly influential on a young Jimi Hendrix who cited Mayfield as his biggest influence. He is also regarded as influencing other landmark albums, like Herbie Hancock’s Head Hunters. One magazine notes, "eulogies…have treated him…as a sort of secular saint–rather like an American Bob Marley". That noted, he is not as well-known as contemporaries like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, or James Brown, perhaps because of their more consistent streams of hits or more mainstream style of music. Nevertheless, he is still highly regarded for his numerous innovations in the 1960s and 1970s and for his unique style of music, perhaps best described as "black psychedelia…remarkable for the scope of its social awareness". In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Mayfield #99 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time

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Hank Snow – Hall of Fame Country singer

hank Snow CD CD Hank Snow Country Dead country Singer
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hank snowClarence 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 – I’ve Been Everywhere

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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.

Shirley Hemphill – Waitress from Whats Happening!!

Shirley Ann Hemphill (July 1, 1947 – December 10, 1999) was an American stand-up comedian and actress who was born in Asheville, North Carolina. She was best known for her role on the popular television situation comedy What’s Happening!!, which ran from 1976 to 1979.

Throughout her career Shirley performed her stand-up routine on a number of popular TV shows including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, A&E’s An Evening at the Improv, BET’s Black Comedy Showcase and Black Comedy Tonight. She was also a regular at The Laugh Factory comedy club in Los Angeles.

On December 10, 1999, Shirley died of kidney failure at her home in suburban Los Angeles, California. She was reportedly found dead by her gardener.

Shirley died nearly a month after her What’s Happening!! co-star Mabel King

Rick Danko – Singer from The Band

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rick dankoRichard Clare "Rick" Danko (December 29, 1942 – December 10, 1999) was a Canadian musician and singer, best known as a member of The Band.

Death of Richard Danko
Richard Danko was died of Heart Failure on December 10, 1999.
Richare Danko was almost 57 years old at the time of his death.

Discography
1977: Rick Danko
1991: Danko/Fjeld/Andersen (with Jonas Fjeld and Eric Andersen)
1994: Ridin’ on the Blinds (with Jonas Fjeld and Eric Andersen)
1997: Rick Danko in Concert
1999: Live on Breeze Hill
2000: Times Like These
2002: One More Shot (with Jonas Fjeld and Eric Andersen)
2005: Cryin’ Heart Blues

Rick Danko – It Makes No Difference