Two of my favorite entertainers gone in two days, Bernie Mac and now Isaac Hayes. They say this stuff happens in threes. I hope not.
From the Associated Press:
Isaac Hayes, the baldheaded, baritone-voiced soul crooner who laid the groundwork for disco and whose “Theme From Shaft” won both Academy and Grammy awards, died Sunday afternoon after he collapsed near a treadmill, authorities said. He was 65.
Bernie Mac was a funny guy. Who couldn’t laugh at his prickly TV character. From the Associated Press in Chicago:
CHICAGO (AP) – A publicist says Emmy and Golden Globe nominated actor and comedian Bernie Mac has died at age 50.
Publicist Danica Smith says Mac died early Saturday at a hospital in the Chicago area of complications due to pneumonia.
The comedian suffered from sarcoidosis, an inflammatory lung disease that produces tiny lumps of cells in the body’s organs, but he had said the condition went into remission in 2005. He recently had been hospitalized and treated for pneumonia.
Mac had starring roles in “Ocean’s Eleven,”"Bad Santa,”"Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Transformers.”
The comedian drew critical and popular acclaim with his Fox television series “The Bernie Mac Show,” which aired more than 100 episodes from 2001 to 2006.
Somewhere on my desk I have a frayed, faded and much abused copy of the 1993 edition of Police Call.
I learned today from LA Observed that Gene Hughes, publisher of the magazine, died recently at age 80.
Police Call was a collection of radio frequencies used by police, fire and other government agencies. Hughes, a scanner junkie, put them together and made the gibberish understandable to the lay person.
As much as anything I have Hughes (real name Gene Costin) to thank for my ability to tell the difference between real news and real noise.
Here’s a bit from the LAO post:
Costin was 13 and living in a Los Angeles foster home in 1940 when he discovered that he could listen in on the LAPD’s radios. The rest is history.
Here’s a link to Wired’s obit. The photo is from Wired also.
From the Associated Press:
Larry Harmon, who turned the character Bozo the Clown into a show business staple that delighted children for more than a half-century, died Thursday at his home of congestive heart failure, his publicist told The Associated Press. He was 83.
Although not the original Bozo, Harmon portrayed the popular frizzy-haired clown in countless appearances and, as an entrepreneur, he licensed the character to others, particularly dozens of television stations around the country. The stations in turn hired actors to be their local Bozos.
Bozo participated in the 1996 Rose Parade.
Comedian Dick Martin, of Laugh-in fame, has died. This from Associated Press:
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dick Martin, the zany half of the comedy team whose “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” took television by storm in the 1960s, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and creating such national catch-phrases as “Sock it to me!” has died. He was 86.
Martin, who went on to become one of television’s busiest directors after splitting with Dan Rowan in the late 1970s, died Saturday night of respiratory complications at a hospital in Santa Monica, family spokesman Barry Greenberg said.
“He had had some pretty severe respiratory problems for many years, and he had pretty much stopped breathing a week ago,” Greenberg said.
Martin had lost the use of one of his lungs as a teenager, and needed supplemental oxygen for most of the day in his later years.
He was surrounded by family and friends when he died just after 6 p.m., Greenberg said.
“Laugh-in,” which debuted in January 1968, was unlike any comedy-variety show before it. Rather than relying on a series of tightly scripted song-and-dance segments, it offered up a steady, almost stream-of-consciousness run of non-sequitur jokes, political satire and madhouse antics from a cast of talented young actors and comedians that also included Ruth Buzzi, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, Jo Anne Worley and announcer Gary Owens.
As for the photo caption:
** FILE ** This Oct. 1968 file photo shows comedians Dan Rowan, left, and Dick Martin, hosts of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” flanking then Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon during a rally at Burbank Calif. Richard Nixon, running for president in 1968, dropped in on the show to shout a befuddled sounding, “Sock it to me!” His opponent, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, was offered equal time but declined because his handlers thought it would appear undignified. Dick Martin, the zany half of the comedy team whose “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” took television by storm in the 1960s, making stars of Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin and creating such national catch-phrases as “Sock it to me!” has died. He was 86. (AP Photo, File)
KTLA is reporting that longtime anchor Hal Fishman has died. Fishman, long a fixture at the station, had been ill for several days. He was 75.
This from a KTLA biography:
Hal was been the bearer of good news and bad news to the television viewers of Los Angeles, including the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, the visit of Pope John Paul II, and the Sylmar and Northridge earthquakes. Hal also helped to break the Rodney King beating story, among many others.
Simpson’s character Kent Brockman may have been partly modeled on Fishman. Not sure about any similarity. You be the judge.
He was easy to make fun of, and Dan Akroyd did it best, but Tom Snyder was a great interviewer. In his own way, he was an innovator, perfecting talk television with an eclectic variety of guests including Charles Manson, John Lennon and Ayn Rand.
About the only personal note I can add is that Snyder was great entertainment when pulling a midterm all nighter.
Aram has a nice tribute to the genius on his blog this a.m. I’m a Vince Lombardi guy. But, having lived in the Bay Area at the beginning of the 49ers great run in the 1980s. I’m old enough to remember where I was when Dwight Clark made the catch, and I’ll never forget how Walsh took a team that was the laughingstock of the NFL and turned it into one of the premier franchises in all professional sports.