Friday, October 16, 2009

Famous Deaths of 1966

*Feb. 1 – Buster Keaton, 70 – Legendary filmmaker and silent-era comedy icon. You should absolutely see The General if you haven’t.

Here’s a video mash-up that I made a while back mixing an old Buster Keaton classic with one of the best songs of 1966, The Blues Magoos’ “Gotta Get Away”. I hope you like it.

*Feb. 9 – Sophie Tucker, 82 – Popular American entertainer. One of the great vaudevillian singers and comedians.

*Feb. 18 – Robert Rossen, 57 – Oscar nominated director. A victim of McCarthyism, he directed the classics All the King’s Men & The Hustler.

*Feb. 20 – Chester W. Nimitz, 80 – Fleet Admiral of the U.S. Navy and Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet during World War II.

*Mar. 3 – William Frawley, 79 – Vaudevillian who appeared in over 100 films before finding his greatest success as Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy.

*Jun. 19 – Ed Wynn, 79 – Vaudeville headliner who became one of America’s biggest radio stars in the 30s with his Perfect Fool character. He successfully transitioned to TV in both comic and dramatic roles.

Hey, it’s Ed Wynn and Buster Keaton together. Is that what they call synchronicity?

*Jul. 18 – Bobby Fuller, 23 – Singer and guitarist for The Bobby Fuller Four. He was most well known for the song, “I Fought the Law.” Some believe his mysterious death was caused by foul play.

*Jul. 23 – Montgomery Clift, 45 – Four time Oscar nominated actor. He was one of the best actors of his generation. I recommend A Place in the Sun and From Here to Eternity.

*Aug. 3 – Lenny Bruce, 40 – Legendary stand-up comedian. He was one of the most important and influential comedians of all time.

*Aug. 23 – Francis X. Bushman, 83 – Great silent film star. He was most famous for playing Messala in the 1925 version of Ben-Hur.

*Sep. 6 – Margaret Sanger, 86 – Birth control activist and founder of the group that would become Planned Parenthood. She was an incredibly brave woman who put herself at odds with the law in order to help people and create positive change. She was one of the saints of the sexual revolution and one of my personal heroes.

*Sep. 26 – Helen Kane, 62 – Beautiful vaudevillian, singer & actress and the inspiration for Betty Boop. She was one of the original flappers of the roaring twenties.

*Dec. 15 – Walt Disney, 65 – Great filmmaker, animator, studio head, and theme park creator. He holds the records for most Oscar nominations (59) and most Oscar wins (26).

Television is coming up.....

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