Thursday, December 28, 2017

Those we lost in 2017, Part 2

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I missed this item from yesterday’s list, the list being done chronologically:

NORMA McCORVEY


Date of death: 19 February 2017
Age at death: 69
Cause of death: Heart failure

Comments:

Norma McCorvey, better known by the legal pseudonym "Jane Roe", was the plaintiff in the landmark American lawsuit Roe v. Wade in 1973 in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that individual state laws banning abortion are unconstitutional. 

From The Guardian:
When McCorvey brought the action, under the pseudonym Jane Roe, in 1970, she was simply looking for the right to end a pregnancy she did not wish to bring to term. Three years later, the supreme court handed down its historic 7-to-2 ruling, establishing the constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy. By the time the ruling was delivered, McCorvey’s baby was two and a half years old and had been given up for adoption. She later claimed that she had been misled by her lawyers, who, she said, used her as a “patsy” to bring about abortion rights.

McCorvey later became a figure­head for both sides of the issue. Initially, she was celebrated by pro-choice campaigners and reviled by anti-abortion activists, and campaigned in the 1980s in support of abortion clinics.

But McCorvey abruptly converted to evangelical Christianity and was baptized in a swimming pool, in front of network TV cameras, by the minister who headed the group Operation Rescue. McCorvey became a fierce opponent of abortion rights, and remained so through her conversion to Catholicism. 
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ERIN MORAN


Date of death: 22 April 2017
Age at death: 56
Cause of death: Complications of stage four squamous cell carcinoma of the throat.

Comments:

Erin Marie Moran-Fleischmann was an American actress, best known for playing Joanie Cunningham on the television sitcom Happy Days and its spin-off Joanie Loves Chachi. Has it been that long, that little Joanie was 56 when she passed on? I remember when I used to watch Happy Days. I confess too that I still see Richie Cunningham whenever Ron Howard appears on stage to accept an award as director. Poor Erin fell on hard times at the end, not being able to obtain acting gigs, having her home foreclosed on and eventually even being kicked out of her trailer home because of her hard partying. Don’t put your daughter on the stage, Mrs Worthington.
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LOU RICHARDS


Date of death: 8 May 2017 
Age at death: 94
Cause of death: I haven’t been able to determine.

Comments:

Another Aussie item. Lew Richards was an Australian Rules (a style of football game) footballer who played 250 games for the Collingwood Football Club in the Victorian Football League (VFL) between 1941 and 1955. He captained the team from 1952-55, including a premiership win in 1953. He later became a hotel manager and a highly prominent sports journalist, in print, radio and television, and was known for his wit and vivacity.
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ROGER MOORE


Date of death: 23 May 2017
Age at death: 89
Cause of death: Cancer that had spread to his liver and lungs.

Comments:

Sir Roger Moore is best known for playing James Bond, portraying him in seven films including Live and Let Die and A View to a Kill. Moore took the character of James Bond in a more humorous direction than his predecessor Sean Connery, making him calm and suave, someone who could easily get out of a difficult situation. Moore also starred in The Saint, The Persuaders and The Alaskans, was a UNICEF ambassador and was knighted for services to charity.

Following his death, an anecdote from Mark Haynes, a scripwriter from London, went viral:
"As a seven-year-old in about 1983, in the days before First Class Lounges at airports, I was with my grandad in Nice Airport and saw Roger Moore sitting at the departure gate, reading a paper. I told my granddad I'd just seen James Bond and asked if we could go over so I could get his autograph. My grandad had no idea who James Bond or Roger Moore were, so we walked over and he popped me in front of Roger Moore, with the words "my grandson says you're famous. Can you sign this?"

As charming as you'd expect, Roger asks my name and duly signs the back of my plane ticket, a fulsome note full of best wishes. I'm ecstatic, but as we head back to our seats, I glance down at the signature. It's hard to decipher it but it definitely doesn't say 'James Bond'. My grandad looks at it, half figures out it says 'Roger Moore' - I have absolutely no idea who that is, and my hearts sinks. I tell my grandad he's signed it wrong, that he's put someone else's name - so my grandad heads back to Roger Moore, holding the ticket which he's only just signed.

I remember staying by our seats and my grandad saying "he says you've signed the wrong name. He says your name is James Bond." Roger Moore's face crinkled up with realisation and he beckoned me over. When I was by his knee, he leant over, looked from side to side, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said to me, "I have to sign my name as 'Roger Moore' because otherwise...Blofeld might find out I was here." He asked me not to tell anyone that I'd just seen James Bond, and he thanked me for keeping his secret. I went back to our seats, my nerves absolutely jangling with delight. My grandad asked me if he'd signed 'James Bond.' No, I said. I'd got it wrong. I was working with James Bond now.

Many, many years later, I was working as a scriptwriter on a recording that involved UNICEF, and Roger Moore was doing a piece to camera as an ambassador. He was completely lovely and while the cameramen were setting up, I told him in passing the story of when I met him in Nice Airport. He was happy to hear it, and he had a chuckle and said "Well, I don't remember but I'm glad you got to meet James Bond." So that was lovely.

And then he did something so brilliant. After the filming, he walked past me in the corridor, heading out to his car - but as he got level, he paused, looked both ways, raised an eyebrow and in a hushed voice said, "Of course I remember our meeting in Nice. But I didn't say anything in there, because those cameramen - any one of them could be working for Blofeld."

I was as delighted at 30 as I had been at 7. What a man. What a tremendous man."
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GREG ALLMAN


Date of death: 27 May 2017
Age at death: 69
Cause of death: Complications from liver cancer

Comments:

Greg Allman was an American singer-songwriter and musician, known for performing in the Allman Brothers Band. He also had a successful solo career.

Greg Allman with the wife Cher, in 1975.

Allman and Cher wed in 1975, divorced in 1978 and had one child together, Elijah Blue. The two made a collaborative album titled Two the Hard Way, but it was a massive flop. Allman had a solo album out at the same time, Playin’ Up a Storm, and he and Cher toured Europe to promote both albums. Rreception was mixed. With a combination of Allman Brothers fans and Cher fans, fights often broke out in venues, which led Cher to cancel the tour.
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ADAM WEST


Date of death: 9 June 2017
Age at death: 88
Cause of death: Leukaemia

Comments:

Adam West is best known for his 1960’s portrayal of Batman in the TV series. West struggled to find work after the campy superhero series was canceled, but he did doeover gigs, including one as the mayor of Quahog on 'Family Guy.'
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MARTIN LANDAU


Date of death: 15 July 2017
Age at death: 89
Cause of death: Hypovolemic shock from internal bleeding.

Comments:

Martin Landau was an American actor, acting coach, producer, and editorial cartoonist. Whose career began in the 1950s, with early film appearances including a supporting role in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). He played regular roles in the television series Mission: Impossible (for which he received several Emmy Award nominations and a Golden Globe Award) and Space: 1999. He continued to perform in film and television, and headed the Hollywood branch of the Actors Studio until his death in July 2017.
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GLEN CAMPBELL


Date of death: 8 August 2017
Age at death: 81
Cause of death: According to his family’s release, Glen Campbell died after a battle with Alzheimers.

Comments:

Glen Campbell was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and actor who was best known for a series of hit songs in the 1960s and 1970s, including "Universal Soldier", "Gentle on My Mind", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Wichita Lineman", "Dreams of the Everyday Housewife", "Galveston", "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights". During his 50 years in the music business, Campbell released more than 70 albums. He sold 45 million records worldwide and accumulated 12 gold albums, four platinum albums, and one double-platinum album. Campbell played a supporting role in the film True Grit (1969), which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. He also sang the title song, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
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BETTY CUTHBERT


Date of death: 6 August 2017
Age at death: 79
Cause of death: Multiple sclerosis

Comments:

Betty Cuthbert was an Australian athlete and a fourfold Olympic champion. She was dubbed the "golden girl" by the media after her performance at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics — where as an 18-year-old she won the 100 and 200-metre sprints. She was also a member of the victorious 4x100-metre relay team and became Australia's first triple gold medallist, achieving the feat just ahead of Murray Rose at the same Olympics. Cuthbert suffered a hamstring injury at the 1960 Olympics and announced her retirement from sport, but had a change of heart two years later. She came back to win a fourth gold medal in the 400-metre event at the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. During her career, she set world records for 60 metres, 100 yards, 200 metres, 220 yards and 440 yards and contributed to Australian relay teams completing a win in the 4 × 100 metres, 4 × 110 yards, 4 × 200 metres and 4 × 220 yards. Cuthbert had a distinctive running style, with a high knee lift and mouth wide open. In 1998 she was named an Australian National Treasure. 
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DICK GREGORY


Date of death: 19 August 2017
Age at death: 84
Cause of death: Heart failure

Comments:

Dick Gregory was an African-American comedian, civil rights activist, social critic, writer, entrepreneur, conspiracy theorist, and occasional actor. During the 1960s, Gregory became a pioneer in stand-up comedy for his "no-holds-barred" sets, in which he mocked bigotry and racism, performing primarily to black audiences at segregated clubs until 1961, when he became the first black comedian to successfully cross over to white audiences, appearing on television and putting out comedy record albums. He was at the forefront of political activism in the 1960s, when he protested the Vietnam War and racial injustice, was arrested multiple times and participated in numerous hunger strikes. He later became a speaker and author, primarily promoting spirituality.
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GARY O’CALLAGHAN


Date of death: 19 August 2017
Age at death: 83
Cause of death: Not known

Comments:

Another person who will not be known outside Sydney. Gary O'Callaghan was an Australian radio announcer based in Sydney, known for his on-air character, "Sammy Sparrow", who dominated Sydney radio from the 1960s to the 1980s. O’Callaghan joined 2UE in 1956 And remained there until his retirement in 2003.
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JERRY LEWIS


Date of death: 20 August 2017
Age at death: 91
Cause of death: End-stage cardiac disease and peripheral artery disease.

Comments:

From The Washington Post:
Jerry Lewis, who died Sunday at the age of 91, delighted millions with his slapstick antics, earning a devoted following and propelling him to dizzying heights of fame at a young age. He influenced the likes of Richard Pryor, trail-blazed moviemaking techniques and raised more than a billion dollars for charitable causes. He also became a polarizing figure, one who was notoriously difficult during interviews and with audiences, made disparaging comments about women and gays, and faced criticism about his approach to fundraising. Few entertainment figures were as divisive as Lewis, who enjoyed such public adoration but also endured scorn.
I must say, however, that I could never get into Jerry Lewis, never enjoyed the slapstick, never liked the persona in his movies and didn’t enjoy watching his films. Does anyone else feel the same?
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DEAN MERCER


Date of death: 28 August 2017
Age at death: 47
Cause of death: Cardiac arrest

Comments:

Another Aussie who won’t be known to the overseas readers. Dean Mercer was an Australian sportsman who became a professional ironman at 15 and competed from 1987 to 2010. He won the Australian open ironman titles in 1989 and 1995 and five New South Wales championships. In 1997 he won the World Oceanman series. 

Mercer’s death prompted public questioning as to why a former endurance athlete would sustain a cardiac arrest whilst driving home after a training session. However Gold Coast cardiologist Dr Ross Sharpe has a different take. “It’s less of a surprise for me. We know high-end, long-term endurance is absolutely a risk factor to death … anyone in that 40-plus age bracket is a (cardiac) risk but being an endurance athlete for many years does expose you to a number of cardiac conditions that can increase your chances of death. As a profession, we see and hear of it not infrequently.”


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