Gene Okerlund, ‘Mean Gene’, WWE Hall of Fame Announcer, Dies 76

Eugene Arthur Okerlund (December 19, 1942 – January 2, 2019), better known by his ring name “Mean” Gene Okerlund, was an American professional wrestling interviewer, announcer and wrestler. He was best known for his work in the World Wrestling Federation and World Championship Wrestling. Gene was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 by Hulk Hogan. He was eventually signed to a lifetime contract with WWE and worked for promotional programs, mostly WWE Network programming and, occasionally, the TV series.

Okerlund died on the morning of January 2, 2019, at the age of 76 in a Sarasota, Florida hospital. This was later confirmed on WWE social media and its official website later that day. It was revealed by his son, Todd Okerlund, that he had received three kidney transplants and had suffered a fall in the weeks leading up to his death.

Hulk Hogan San Francisco Promo 1988

Bob Einstein, Super Dave Osborne, ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, dies 76

EmmyEmmy

Stewart Robert “Bob” Einstein (November 20, 1942 – January 2, 2019) was an American actor, comedy writer and producer, who is best known for creating and performing the satirical stuntman character Super Dave Osborne. Einstein is also known for his roles as Marty Funkhouser in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Larry Middleman on Arrested Development.

Einstein got his start as a writer on several television variety shows, including The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Einstein won two Emmy Awards as a writer and was nominated four other times. He also won a CableACE Award for acting as Super Dave, along with five other nominations.

Einstein is the older brother of fellow actor and comedian Albert Brooks.

He was 76 and recently had been diagnosed with cancer.

Ray Sawyer of Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show Dies 81

Ray Sawyer (February 1, 1937, Chickasaw, Alabama, United States – December 31, 2018) was an American singer best known as a vocalist with the 1970s rock band, Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show. Though primarily a backing vocalist and occasional percussionist on congas or maracas, he sang lead on their hit song “The Cover of Rolling Stone” and was a recognisable presence in the band due to the eyepatch and cowboy hat he wore. He was also the uncle of the vocalist of Wild Fire, Zack Sawyer.

Dr. Hook had many hit singles such as “Sylvia’s Mother”, “Cover of a Rolling Stone”, “A Little Bit More”, “Only Sixteen”, “Walk Right In”, “Sharing the Night Together”, “When You’re in Love with a Beautiful Woman”, “Better Love Next Time”, “Sexy Eyes”, “Girl Can Get It”, and “Baby Makes Her Bluejeans Talk”.

No cause of death was given.

Dr Hook & The Medicine Show – “Cover Of The Rolling Stone”
Ray Sawyer with eyepatch

Penny Marshall, ‘Laverne & Shirley’, ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’, dies 75

walk of fame

Carole Penny Marshall (October 15, 1943 – December 18, 2018) was an American actress, director and producer. She was the daughter of Marjorie Marshall, a tap dance teacher, and Tony Marshall, a film director and producer. Her parents’ background in entertainment, along with her brother, Garry Marshall’s, background as a comedy writer and her sister’s background as a casting director and producer, gave rise to Marshall’s career in the industry. She rose to fame in the 1970s for her role as Laverne DeFazio on the television sitcom Laverne & Shirley (1976–1983), receiving three nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy for her portrayal.

Marshall progressed to directing films in the 1980s, making her directorial debut with Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986) before directing Big (1988), which became the first film directed by a woman to gross more than $100 million at the U.S. box office. Her subsequent directing credits have included Awakenings (1990), which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, A League of Their Own (1992), Renaissance Man (1994), The Preacher’s Wife (1996), and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001). She has also produced Cinderella Man (2005) and Bewitched (2005), as well as episodes of the sitcom According to Jim.

On April 10, 1971, Marshall married actor/director Rob Reiner, who adopted her daughter and gave her his last name. Her marriage to Reiner ended in 1981 but Reiner and Marshall have five grandchildren.

Marshall had a brief relationship with singer Art Garfunkel in the mid-1980s, and he credits her with helping him through his depression. Their friendship stayed strong even after their romantic relationship ended. Garfunkel would later say of Marshall, “Everything changed. Penny is a sweet human being who can bring anybody down to earth. We had a lot of laughs, great sex, and a ton of party nights.”[31]

In 2010, it was reported that Marshall had been diagnosed with lung cancer that had metastasized to her brain, but she revealed in 2012 that she was in remission.

Marshall passed away on December 17, 2018 from complications of diabetes.

Laverne and Shirley – Take My Plants. Please!

Ken Berry, TV Actor in ‘Mama’s Family,’ ‘F Troop,’ ‘Mayberry R.F.D,’ Dies 85

Kenneth Ronald Berry (November 3, 1933 – December 1, 2018) was an American actor, dancer and singer. Berry starred on the television series F Troop, The Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry R.F.D. and Mama’s Family. He also appeared on Broadway in The Billy Barnes Revue, headlined as George M. Cohan in the musical George M! and provided comic relief for the medical drama Dr. Kildare, with Richard Chamberlain in the 1960s.

Berry died in Burbank, California on December 1, 2018 at the age of 85.  Cause of death has not been disclosed

Mama’s Family Clip – Mama and Vinton (Ken Berry)

Ken Berry (tap dancer) 1950s

George Bush, 41st US President, Dies 94

George Herbert Walker Bush (June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018) was an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993. Prior to assuming the presidency, Bush served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. As a member of the Republican Party, he had previously been a U.S. Representative, Ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence. During his career in public service, he was known simply as George Bush; from 2001 until his death, he was often referred to as “George H. W. Bush”, “Bush 41”, or “George Bush Sr.” to distinguish him from his eldest son, George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States.

George Bush Cause of Death

Bush suffered from vascular parkinsonism, a form of Parkinson’s disease that had forced him to use a motorized scooter or wheelchair since at least 2012. He died on November 30, 2018, aged 94, at his home in Houston, Texas.

President Bush Super Bowl LI Coin Toss, February 2017

Stephen Hillenburg, ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ Creator, Dies 57

Stephen McDannell Hillenburg (August 21, 1961 – November 26, 2018) was an American animator, cartoonist, and marine-biology teacher. He was the creator of the Nickelodeon animated television series SpongeBob SquarePants (1999–), which he also directed, produced, and wrote. It has gone on to become the fifth longest-running American animated series.

Illness and death

Hillenburg disclosed to Variety magazine in March 2017 that he had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a terminal illness that affects and causes the death of neurons that control the brain and the spinal cord. He released a statement to the publication, in which he said that he would continue to work on SpongeBob SquarePants “for as long as [he is] able.” He added, “My family and I are grateful for the outpouring of love and support. We ask that our sincere request for privacy be honored during this time.” At the time, Hillenburg was in the early stages of the disease, according to a source close to him.

Hillenburg died on November 26, 2018, at the age of 57, from complications from ALS.

Favorite Lines from Spongebob

Bernardo Bertolucci, ‘Last Tango In Paris’ Director, Dies 77

walk of fame Supporting Actor Streetcar Named Desire 1951

Bernardo Bertolucci (March 16 1941 – November 26 2018) was an Italian director and screenwriter, whose films include The Conformist, Last Tango in Paris, 1900, The Last Emperor (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Director and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay), The Sheltering Sky, Little Buddha, Stealing Beauty and The Dreamers. In recognition of his work, he was presented with the inaugural Honorary Palme d’Or Award at the opening ceremony of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. From 1979 until his death in 2018, he was married to screenwriter Clare Peploe.

Bertolucci died in Rome on 26 November 2018, at the age of 77 of lung cancer.

Scott English, Producer & ‘Mandy’ Songwriter, Dies at 81

Scott English (Sheldon David English, January 10, 1937 – November 16, 2018) was an American songwriter and record producer. He is best known as the co-writer of “Brandy” with Richard Kerr (and in Pittsburgh, he is best known for the DooWop ballad “High on a Hill”). This song became a No. 1 hit for Barry Manilow in 1974, under the revised title of “Mandy”. English had also released a single of “Brandy”, which reached No. 12 in the UK Singles Chart in November 1971, and entered the US charts in March 1972.

Cause of death is not known.

Scott English – Brandy 1975