celebrity obituaries

Who Died Today: Pigmeat Markham

Pigmeat Markham

DOB: April 18, 1904

Passed Away: December 13, 1981

You probably haven’t heard of him. Dewey “Pigmeat” Markham was a comedian who started off on the vaudeville circuit, known mostly for his appearances on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. He played quite often at the famous Apollo Theatre, sometimes - believe it or not - in blackface make-up - which while common at the time - was not common for a black comedian (which was the whole point). The thing he’s most famous for is his “Heyeah comes the judge” routine, which you’ve heard at some point in your lives. The main reason you should know him, he asked people to refer to him as Pigmeat, that has to earn him some kind of weird respect.

Who Died Today: Eva Gabor

Eva Gabor

DOB: February 11, 1919

Passed Away: July 4, 1995

She was also known as “the good Gabor sister” (of the three sisters) and was the star of films and broadway. Her best known role, was a staple of the Golden Age of television, co-starring with Eddie Alberts as his socialite wife turned farm wife of TV classic Green Acres.

Who Died Today: Zip the Pinhead

Zip the Pinhead (real name: William Henry Johnson)

DOB: 1842 (best estimate)

Passed Away: April 9, 1926

Famous American freak show performer, often dubbed the “Dean of the Freaks”, entertained more than a million people during his 67 year career. It was believed that he was a real-life “pinhead” (medically known as a microcephalic) due to pinhead shaped head and apparent mental retardation (which true microcephalics tend to suffer from), but the real truth is - he fooled them all, he was just a guy with a weird shaped head, made to look even weirder by his shaping his hair to a tiny point. As for Zip acting “slow” and a bit “off”, turns out that was probably just an act as well. His last words on his deathbed to his sister were reportedly “Well, we fooled ‘em for a long time, didn’t we?”

Who Died Today: Mako Iwamatsu

Mako Iwamatsu

DOB: December 10, 1933

Passed Away: July 21, 2006

Japanese born, grew up in the US, Mako developed a passion for acting while he was enrolled in the US Army. From there he studied acting and ended up doing a lot of roles in theater, TV and movies. He ended up getting nominated for an Oscar for a role he did in The Sand Pebbles. He worked steadily in film and TV since then.

Happy Birthday Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

DOB: March 25, 1942

Arguably one of the greatest singers of all time.

Won 18 Grammy’s, 2 honorary Grammy’s, 20 #1 singles on the Billboard R&B charts, 45 Top 40 Hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and 10 #1 R&B albums.

She made Otis Redding’s Respect into her own, and turned it into an anthem for women everywhere.

She’s the Queen of Soul.

And her singing I Say A Little Prayer, a song that Burt Bacharach and Hal David originally penned for Dionne Warwick, is still a song that overtakes me every time I hear it.

Who Died On This Date: Gene Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry

DOB: August 19, 1921

Passed Away: October 24, 1991

Creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry was a visionary. Forget about the fact that his show was about outer space exploration, encountering alien races, transporters and tribbles - what made Roddenberry such a visionary - is that he imagined a future where mankind had put aside all their differences, that we were equal regardless of race,sex, religion or where you were born - at the end of the day, we were all equals banding together to be stronger, that this is hos we were meant to be.

Happy Birthday Mayam Bialik !!

Mayam Bialik

DOB: December 12, 1975

She was a child star, having had success early on in Bette Midler’s Beaches (playing a young Bette) and then starring in hit comedy Blossom. After that run, instead of descending into drinking and drugs like a lot of other former child stars, she studied and earned a PhD in NEUROSCIENCE and had a few kids. Since then, she’s continued acting, most recently joining the cast of The Big Bang Theory.

Who Died Today: Jeffrey Dahmer

Jeffrey Dahmer

DOB: May 21, 1960

Killed: November 28, 1994

Jeffrey Dahmer was one of the most notorious serial killers ever caught and was known to have cannibalized his victims. He was serving 15 life sentences, when a fellow inmate brutally beat him to death. The inmate claimed that God told him to kill Jeffrey Dahmer.

Who Died Today: Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens

DOB: February 7, 1812

Passed Away: June 9, 1870

According to my high school English teacher, he was one of the greatest novelists ever. This was the guy who wrote A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, The Pickwick Papers and Great Expectations after all, how could he not be great? At the time we were force-fed Great Expectations, which was analyzed and critiqued, and then re-analyzed and re-critiqued several times over. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t an enjoyable experience, unlike watching the David Lean b&w film adaption, which was utterly brilliant! Dickens, like Shakespeare, had never intended for his works to be read as “great works” and to be held up as “art” - they were commercial works for mass audiences, much as TV and movies are today, it was meant to entertain people. Great Expectations, like a lot of Dickens’ works, were serialized in weekly/monthly installments. Doing it this way, allowed Dickens to tailor his stories to how his readers reacted to his stories. He’s gauge their response and tailor his tales based on how they reacted to what he did so far. He meant for his stories to be read and enjoyed, not analyzed like dry parchments recovered from ruins. Do yourself a favor, pick up one of those books you were forced to read as a kid in school, and see how great some of those books are when you’re not forced to read them.

Who Died Today: N!xau

N!xau

DOB: December 6, 1944

Passed Away: July 5, 2003

He was discovered by director James Ulys and given the lead role in The Gods Must Be Crazy, a film that became a huge hit worldwide. He was just a simple man, part of the San - an indigenous group of people of South Africa and Namibia. For the film, he made a few hundred dollars, an amount he had no idea the value of. By the time they needed him for a sequel, he knew enough to ask for an amount over half a million dollars. After filming, he resumed the simple life of a famer. He died of tuberculosis.

Who Died Today: Estelle Getty

Estelle Getty

DOB: July 25, 1923

Passed Away: July 22, 2008

She became an “overnight” success at the age of 62 when she won audiences over with the role of Sophia Petrillo on the classic show The Golden Girls. She potrayed Bea Arthur’s character Dorothy’s mother on the show, despite being in reality 14 months younger than her, thanks to a wig, some make-up and acting skills learned through over 50 years of stage work, She won us over, thank you for being a friend Estelle

Andy Griffith, RIP - Aged 86

Andy Griffith

DOB: June 1, 1926

Passed Away: July 3, 2012

Andy Griffith died earlier today at the age of 86. He was a well known actor, mostly known for his portrayal of Sheriff Andy Taylor on the classic tv show The Andy Griffith Show. He had started off his career as a stand-up comedian and singer, he later won several grammy’s for gospel music. He also starred in the long-running series Matlock. He was not a selfish actor, a trait that tended to underplay how talented he really was. He played the everyman, the straight man - around whom craziness revolved, made all the crazier by the straight narrowed soul he’d portray, the easy going guy who ground everything to reality, making it funnier in comparison. If you watch him in Elia Kazan’s A Face In The Crowd, you see a totally different guy, a scene chewer of a character with the best of them, you see how talented Griffith really was. In acting, simplicity is hard - and Griffith was the type of actor - that made everything look simple, he was that good.