My first time in a major league clubhouse involved an interview with legendary baseball manager Sparky Anderson, who died today at the age of 76.
John Hughes, director of culturally significant films such as “The Breakfast Club,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” died suddenly today of a heart attack while taking a morning walk during a trip to Manhattan. He was 59.
NOTE: I’ll Update this as Robert sends posts from the scene. He’ll be writing a first person story for tomorrow’s newspaper: (I’ve haven’t edited these, so the dispatches are as I get them)
Actress Farrah Fawcett has died, according to several news reports. The actress had battled with cancer for several years and was reportedly in grave condition Wednesday afternoon.
Danny Gans died early this morning, after a family member called 911 to say Danny was having trouble breathing. By the time paramedics arrived, he was dead.
A ticket rep at Steve Wynn’s Encore hotel tells us they just got the call and the entire staff is “shocked and upset.”
Gans is a legend in Las Vegas — the self described “musical impressionist” signed a $150 million contract in 2000.
We’re told Gans died at 3:00 AM at his home in Vegas. There are reports his wife discovered his body and called for help.
Gans was named “Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year” a record 11-times in a row. He did not perform last night.
Besides being a gifted entertainer, Gans was a pretty good athlete — in fact, he was drafted by the KC Royals out of high school and played minor league ball.
UPDATE: TMZ has learned a 911 call was made by a family member at 3:44 AM for a 52-year-old man who was “having trouble breathing.” By the time medics arrived, Gans had already passed away.
From the Sacramento Bee:
California Highway Patrolman Joseph Sanders was laid to rest today, one day after the 29-year-old officer would have successfully completed his probation period.
Sanders, a Galt High School graduate, had served just 359 days as a CHP officer – his longtime goal – before he was struck and killed one week ago today while conducting traffic in heavy rain on a Los Angeles County highway.
Hundreds of family, friends and uniformed officers gathered in Elk Grove this morning to remember Sanders, who had been assigned to the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs area office in Southern California. Law enforcement officers from all across the state — including a large contingent from Southern California — and as far away as Texas filled the First Baptist Church to memorialize Sanders.
Sanders’ death marks the CHP’s first line-of-duty death of 2008 and the 214th in the CHP’s 79-year history.
Reporter Amanda Baumfeld turned in a great obituary about Buddy McDonald, one fo the original Little Rascals. He died this week in a Seal Beach retirement home. Here’s a snippet of Baumfeld’s piece:
What he might not be known for is his endless dedication and work in substance abuse counseling, those who know him said.
In the 1950 s, McDonald developed a drinking problem and ended up in Alcoholics Anonymous. It was a move that ended up being a “significant turning point of his life,” according to his son, Scott.
Soon after, McDonald became a popular speaker at AA meetings throughout Southern California and strived to help people regain control of their lives.
In 1965, he met Leon Emerson, a Downey Municipal Court judge. The two of them thought people convicted of alcohol-related offenses should be sent to AA meetings instead of jail.
I also found an interview with Buddy that ran on a Web site devoted to Laurel and Hardy comedies. The interview is fascinating and describes a robbery conviction from the 1950s:
Question: What did they send you to prison for?
Bud McDonald: Robbery. I was with some other guys, and we robbed a market. I had just come out of the marine corps, served in Guadalcanal. I didn’t know any better, I didn’t have any money to get an attorney, so I took a public defender. He got me to cop a plea. I plead guilty. Later on, when I was sober about a dozen years after Alcoholics Anonymous, a probation officer named Brown in Walnut Park gave me some advice. He was going to law school and we found a law I didn’t know about and together with my sponsor, a man named Carson, they got all my felonies taken back to court and the guilty pleas removed and the not guilty pleas entered. All my citizenship rights and everything else were restored to me.
EL MONTE — The mysterious death of a man whose body was found outside an office building in the 9600 block of Flair Drive is looking more like a suicide.
The death was listed with the coroner’s office as a “possible suicide.”
Coroner’s officials said the death was due to blunt force truama.
The afternoon of the discovery, detectives took measurements of a large mechanical lift being used for construction at the site, and spent a good deal of time with their eyes trained upwards toward the lift and the nearby multi-story building.
The dead man is being described only as an Asian man in his 30s pending notification of family members.
*Lt. Gil Carrillo of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said Monday that until an autopsy has been performed that determines the incident was a suicide, detectives will continue investigating.