2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

This is a good place to drop general and weird news, entertainment, and general show prep material that might be interesting to air talent or producers. Hot dog threads ALWAYS welcome.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by Scott Reppert » Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:12 pm

His music changed my life and helped shape my career. He, Roy Wood and Ian Hunter comprise my "musical heroes". Bought "Transformer" and "Rock 'n' Roll Animal" at Murphy's in Weston when I was 13. Never been the same since...
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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:14 pm

Sister of Garth Brooks Dies in Oklahoma
Betsy Smittle played bass in Garth’s band.
Tammy Ragusa | Published: Nov 04, 2013


Country Weekly extends its deepest sympathies to Garth Brooks and his
family on the passing of his older sister, Betsy Smittle.

According to Oklahoma's News 9, Betsy was 60 years old when she died on
Saturday, Nov. 2. In addition to playing bass guitar in her superstar
brother's band, she released her own solo album, Rough Around the Edges,
in 1994. She was also a gay rights advocate and participated in gay pride
events around Oklahoma.

No cause of death has been released and funeral arrangements are currently
pending.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by genlock » Sat Nov 09, 2013 3:13 pm

JAMES WARREN HARLESS, 75, of Huntington, husband of Harriet Ann Harless, died Nov. 7 at St. Mary’s Medical Center. He was the retired Director of Admissions for Marshall University. A memorial service will be held at a later date. www.timeformemory.com/hall.

DR. MAUREEN BEVERLY MILICIA, 76, of Leesburg, Fla., formerly of Huntington, W.Va., companion of Bonnie Morrison, died Oct. 28 at home. She was a retired professor in the Theater Department of Marshall University and worked part-time at Universal Studios, Orlando, Fla.
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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:32 am

Veteran film, TV, stage actor Al Ruscio dies
Nov 16, 6:55 PM (ET)


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Veteran character actor Al Ruscio, who appeared in countless film, television and stage productions across half a century, has died at age 89, said his longtime manager, Judy Fox.

Ruscio, who died Nov. 12 at his Encino, Calif., home following declining health, appeared in such films as the "Godfather, Part III" and "Guilty By Suspicion," and on some of the most memorable TV shows of all time, from "Sea Hunt" to "Seinfeld." His stage credits include "A Hatful of Rain" and "A View From the Bridge."

In addition, Ruscio taught college acting classes, wrote a drama text called "So Therefore...A Practical Guide for Actors" and served on the board of directors of the Screen Actors Guild.

Ruscio is survived by his wife, actress Kate Williamson, four children and five grandchildren.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:13 am

Famous Psychic Sylvia Browne Dies at 77
By Mike Krumboltz
Yahoo TV


Internationally known psychic Sylvia Browne passed away at the age of 77 on Wednesday morning in San Jose, Calif., TMZ reports. Her death was also announced on her official Facebook page.

Browne's ability as a psychic and spiritual guide was sometimes called into question. Over the course of her career, Browne attempted to assist in numerous law enforcement investigations, often with questionable results.

Her ability to predict political elections was somewhat dicey. She predicted Bill Bradley would win the presidency in 2000 and claimed that President Obama would not be reelected in 2012.

Earlier this year, Browne's psychic abilities were further questioned after the kidnapped Amanda Berry was found alive in the home of Ariel Castro. Several years prior, Browne had told Berry's mother that her daughter was dead.

While Browne's track record as a psychic was mixed, her believers remained numerous. On Facebook, as news of her death became public, thousands posted comments expressing their sense of loss. Beth Schooley-Garlock wrote, "She has moved to be a spirit guide. God bless you Silvia, you have help many and will greatly be missed." Mary Conklin, another fan, posted, "She has always been a part of my life and given me a lot of good advise [sic]. God will watch over her now." Melody Wasylciw wrote, "I know she is in a very wonderful place. She has helped me through so much loss and grief. That being said, I am very saddened and will miss her tremendously.”

Browne appeared on numerous television shows during her career, including "Unsolved Mysteries," the Montel Williams program, and "Larry King Live." She was married four times and leaves behind a husband, two sons, three grandchildren, and a sister, according to her Facebook page.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Walt Disney's daughter dies, aged 79
AFP
November 20, 2013 5:49 AM


Los Angeles (AFP) - Philanthropist Diane Disney Miller, daughter of Walt Disney, died Tuesday at the age of 79 near San Francisco, the US entertainment giant announced.

Flags at Disney theme parks and the Disney studio lot in Burbank, outside Los Angeles, will be flown at half-mast in her honor, it said, praising her "grace and generosity and tireless work to preserve her father's legacy.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Diane Disney Miller and our thoughts are with her family during this difficult time," said Robert Iger, president of the Walt Disney Company.

"As the beloved daughter of Walt Disney and one of his inspirations for creating Disneyland, she holds a special place in the history of The Walt Disney Company and in the hearts of fans everywhere."

According to the LA Times, Disney Miller died in her house in Napa.

Born in Los Angeles the elder daughter of Walt and Lillian Disney, she married Ron Miller, who was chief executive of the Walt Disney Company from 1980-1984.

She was a renowned philanthropist and crucial in creating the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the home of the LA Philharmonic, donating $50 million to launch the project and staunchly defending the vision of architect Frank Gehry.

"She will be remembered and she will be greatly missed by all who knew her," said the current Disney chief.

Walt Disney died in December 1966, aged 65.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by genlock » Thu Nov 21, 2013 7:23 am

"Internationally known psychic Sylvia Browne passed away at the age of 77 on Wednesday morning in San Jose, Calif., TMZ reports. Her death was also announced on her official Facebook page." On Monday!
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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Fri Nov 29, 2013 4:05 pm

Jane Kean, Honeymooners Actress, Dead at 90
Us Weekly

The honeymoon is over. Jane Kean, who played Trixie on the 1960s revival of The Honeymooners, has died, the Los Angeles Times reports. She was 90 years old.

Kean passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 26, at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, the paper notes. The cause of death, per the Times, was complications from a recent fall.

Born April 10, 1923, in Hartford, Conn., Kean had several starring roles on Broadway in the 1950s. She also performed with her sister, Betty Kean, on The Ed Sullivan Show and appeared in various stage productions with Honeymooners star Jackie Gleason.

In 1966, she joined Gleason for a revival of The Honeymooners, which started as a sketch on The Jackie Gleason Show and then ran for one season from 1955 to 1956. Kean played Trixie, the wife of Ralph Kramden's neighbor Ed Norton (played by Art Carney).

More recently, in the early 1990s, the actress wrote and performed a two-woman musical, We, with Barbara Perry at a theater in Yorba Linda, Calif.

Kean was married twice in her life, to Richard Linkroum and to Joe Hecht. She is survived by her niece, Deidre Wolpert, and Wolpert's husband and two children, as well as a stepson, Joseph Hecht Jr., and his son.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:54 am

'Curb Appeal' co-host dies in San Francisco crash
Dec 3, 4:55 PM (ET)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A co-host of the HGTV show "Curb Appeal" has been killed in a motorcycle accident in San Francisco.

The San Francisco medical examiner identified 38-year-old Bill Beckwith as the victim of a crash near the city's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood Monday night. He was riding a motorcycle that was struck by a car.

Beckwith was one of the three hosts of "Curb Appeal," which features home renovations. He was a carpenter and general contractor who grew up on a farm in Maine and owned his own Bay Area construction business.

HGTV says in a statement that his creativity, adventurous spirit and general love of life will be missed.

Police say Beckwith suffered head trauma and was pronounced dead at a hospital. The 30-year-old driver of the car that struck him is cooperating with the investigation.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:42 pm

Nelson Mandela, 20th century colossus, dies at 95
Dec 5, 5:00 PM (ET)
By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA and MARCUS ELIASON

JOHANNESBURG (AP) - Nelson Mandela, who became one of the world's most beloved statesmen and a colossus of the 20th century when he emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, has died. He was 95.

South African President Jacob Zuma made the announcement at a news conference late Thursday, saying "we've lost our greatest son."

His death closed the final chapter in South Africa's struggle to cast off apartheid, leaving the world with indelible memories of a man of astonishing grace and good humor. Rock concerts celebrated his birthday. Hollywood stars glorified him on screen. And his regal bearing, graying hair and raspy voice made him instantly recognizable across the globe.

Full story at Iwon / AP News.
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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by amayo » Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:52 pm

Acclaimed actor Peter O'Toole has died at the age of 81.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:31 am

"Billy Jack" star Tom Laughlin dies at 82
CBS News

NEW YORK - Actor-writer-director Tom Laughlin, whose production and marketing of "Billy Jack" set a standard for breaking the rules on and off screen, has died.

Laughlin's daughter told The Associated Press that he died Thursday at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Laughlin was 82 and Teresa Laughlin, who acted in the Billy Jack movies, said the cause of death was complications from pneumonia.

"Billy Jack" was released in 1971 after a long struggle by Laughlin to gain control of the low-budget, self-financed movie, a model for guerrilla filmmaking.

He wrote, directed and produced "Billy Jack" and starred as the ex-Green Beret who defends a progressive school against the racists of a conservative Western community. The film became a counterculture favorite and the theme song, "One Tin Soldier," was a hit single for the rock group Coven.

Laughlin was in his mid-30s when he created Billy Jack with his wife and collaborator, Delores Taylor. Billy Jack was half-white, half Native American, a Vietnam veteran and practitioner of martial arts who had come to hate war. Billy Jack was first seen in the 1968 biker movie "Born Losers," but became widely known after "Billy Jack," the second of four films Laughlin made about him (only three made it to theaters).

"Billy Jack" initially flopped at the box office, but generated an underground following and became a substantial commercial success and inspiration to independent filmmakers. The title character has been cited as a forerunner for such screen avengers as Rambo.

Laughlin was born in 1931 and grew up in Milwaukee. He played football for the University of South Dakota (where he met his future wife) and Marquette University, but decided he wanted to become an actor after seeing a stage production of "A Streetcar Named Desire."

His early film credits included "South Pacific," ''Gidget" and Robert Altman's "The Delinquents." Laughlin also was interested in directing and writing and by 1960 had directed, written and starred in "The Young Sinner."

Laughlin wasn't only a filmmaker. He ran for president as both a Republican and Democrat and founded a Montessori school in California. He was an opponent of nuclear energy and a longtime advocate for Native Americans and bonded with another actor-activist, Marlon Brando.

In recent years, he wrote books and attempted to make another Billy Jack movie.

He is survived by his wife, a sister, three children and five grandchildren.

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Joan Fontaine, Oscar-winner for 'Suspicion,' dies
Dec 15, 11:01 PM (ET)
By HILLEL ITALIE and BOB THOMAS

CARMEL, Calif. (AP) - Academy Award-winning actress Joan Fontaine, who found stardom playing naive wives in Alfred Hitchcock's "Suspicion" and "Rebecca" and also was featured in films by Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang and Nicholas Ray, died Sunday. She was 96.

Fontaine, the sister of fellow Oscar winner Olivia de Havilland, died in her sleep in her Carmel, Calif., home Sunday morning, said longtime friend Noel Beutel. Fontaine had been fading in recent days and died "peacefully," Beutel said.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:43 am

Influential country singer Ray Price dead at 87
Associated Press
By CHRIS TALBOTT and JAMIE STENGLE


DALLAS (AP) — Good friends like Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard got more credit for their contrary ways and trend-setting ideas, but it was Ray Price who set the precedent for change in country music more than a decade earlier.

Price passed away Monday at his Texas home, having long outlasted most of his country music contemporaries and the prognosis doctors gave him when they discovered his pancreatic cancer in 2011. He was 87.

The way the Country Music Hall of Fame member fought cancer was an apt metaphor for the way he lived his life, always fiercely charting a path few others might have the fortitude to follow.

Along the way he changed the sound of country music, collaborated with and inspired the genre's biggest stars and remained relevant for more than half a century.

"Ray Price was a giant in Texas and country western music. Besides one of the greatest voices that ever sang a note, Ray's career spanned over 65 years in a business where 25 years would be amazing," said Ray Benson of the country music group Asleep at the Wheel.

Price, one of country music's most popular and influential singers and bandleaders, had more than 100 hits and was one of the last living connections to Hank Williams.

Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum historian Michael McCall said Price "was one of his generation's most important musical innovators," popularizing the bedrock 4/4 shuffle beat that can still be heard on every honky-tonk jukebox and most country radio stations in the world.

"His emphasis on the shuffle rhythm influenced every generation to follow and remains a staple of country dance floors everywhere, especially in the Southwest," said McCall.

Price died Monday afternoon at his ranch outside Mount Pleasant, Texas, said Billy Mack Jr., who was acting as a family spokesman. Billie Perryman, the wife of family friend and spokesman Tom Perryman, a DJ with KKUS-FM in Tyler, also confirmed his death.

Price's cancer had recently spread to his liver, intestines and lungs, according East Texas Medical Center in Tyler. He stopped aggressive treatments and left the hospital last Thursday to receive hospice care at home.

At the time, his wife, Janie Price, relayed what she called her husband's "final message" to his fans: "I love my fans and have devoted my life to reaching out to them. I appreciate their support all these years, and I hope I haven't let them down. I am at peace. I love Jesus. I'm going to be just fine. Don't worry about me. I'll see you again one day."

Perhaps best known for his version of the Kris Kristofferson song "For the Good Times," a pop hit in 1970, the velvet-voiced Price was a giant among traditional country performers in the 1950s, '60s and '70s, as likely to defy a trend as he was to defend one. He helped invent the genre's honky-tonk sound early in his career, then took it in a more polished direction.

He reached the Billboard Hot 100 eight times from 1958-73 and had seven No. 1 hits and more than 100 titles on the Billboard country chart from 1952 to 1989. "For the Good Times" was his biggest crossover hit, reaching No. 11 on the Billboard pop music singles chart. His other country hits included "Crazy Arms," ''Release Me," ''The Same Old Me," ''Heartaches by the Number," ''City Lights" and "Too Young to Die."

Price was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996, long after he had become dissatisfied with Nashville and returned to his home state of Texas.

His importance went well beyond hit singles. He was among the pioneers who popularized electric instruments and drums in country music. After helping establish the 4/4 shuffle in country music, Price angered traditionalists by breaking away from country. He gave early breaks to Nelson, Roger Miller and other major performers.

His "Danny Boy" in the late 1960s was a heavily orchestrated version that crossed over to the pop charts. He then started touring with a string-laden 20-piece band that outraged his dancehall fans.

In the 1970s he sang often with symphony orchestras — in a tuxedo and cowboy boots.

Like Nelson, his good friend and contemporary, Price simply didn't care what others thought and pursued the chance to make his music the way he wanted to.

"I have fought prejudice since I got in country music and I will continue to fight it," he told The Associated Press in 1981. "A lot of people want to keep country music in the minority of people. But it belongs to the world. It's art."

In the same 1981 interview, he credited the cowboy for the popularity of country music.

"Everyone loves the cowboy. He's nice, humble and straightforward. And country music is the same thing. The kids have discovered what mom and pop told 'em."

Price continued performing and recording well into his 70s.

"I have to be in the business at least five or 10 more years," Price said in 2000, when he and his band were doing 100 shows a year.

"Two or three years ago, we did 182," he said. "Fans come to the shows, bless their hearts, they always come."

In 2007, he joined Haggard and Nelson on a double-CD set, "Last of the Breed." The trio performed on tour with the Texas swing band Asleep at the Wheel.

"I'll be surprised if we don't all get locked up somewhere," Price joked at the time.

Over the years, Price came in and out of vogue as traditional country music waxed and waned on the radio. He was a constant advocate for the old days and ways of country music, and more recently re-entered the news when he took offense to comments Blake Shelton made about classic country music that included the words "old farts." The dustup drew attention on the Internet and introduced Price to a new generation of country fans.

"You should be so lucky as us old-timers," Price said in a happily cantankerous post in all capital letters. "Check back in 63 years (the year 2075) and let us know how your name and your music will be remembered."

Price earned his long-standing fame honestly, weaving himself into the story of modern country music in several ways.

As a young man, Price became friends with Williams, toured with the country legend and shared a house with him in Nashville. Williams even let Price use his band, the Drifting Cowboys, and the two wrote a song together, the modest Price hit "Weary Blues (From Waiting)".

By 1952 Price was a regular member of the Grand Ole Opry.

The singer had one of country music's great bands, the Cherokee Cowboys, early in his career. His lineup included at times Nelson, Miller and Johnny Paycheck.

His 1956 version of "Crazy Arms" became a landmark song for both Price and country music. His first No. 1 country hit, the song rode a propulsive beat into the pop top 100 as well. Using a drummer and bassist to create a country shuffle rhythm, he eventually established a sound that would become a trademark.

"It was strictly country and it went pop," Price said of the song. "I never have figured that one out yet."

Price was born near Perryville, Texas, in 1926 and was raised in Dallas. He joined the Marines for World War II and then studied to be a veterinarian at North Texas Agricultural College before he decided on music as a career.

Soft-spoken and urbane, Price told the AP in 1976: "I'm my own worst critic. I don't like to hear myself sing or see myself on television. I see too many mistakes."

He was one of the few who saw them.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by genlock » Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:58 am

Larry Lujack, legendary Chicago DJ, dies at 73


Larry Lujack, the legendary Chicago radio personality known as “Superjock” and “Uncle Lar,” died Wednesday in New Mexico, his wife said. He was 73.

Judith “Jude” Lujack told the Tribune her husband had been in hospice care for three days and died of esophageal cancer.

Lujack was known for his gravelly voice, sometimes surly disposition and larger-than-life personality. His radio celebrity paved the way for such shock jocks as Howard Stern, said Bruce DuMont, founder and president of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.

He worked for rock ‘n’ roll stations in Chicago from the 1960s until 1987.
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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:39 pm

Al Goldstein, publisher of Screw magazine, dies in NY
Dec 19, 12:33 PM (ET)
By HILLEL ITALIE

NEW YORK (AP) - Al Goldstein, the bearded, bird-flipping publisher of Screw magazine who smashed down legal barriers against pornography and raged against politicians, organized religion and anything that even suggested good taste, died Thursday, according to a friend. He was 77.

Goldstein died at a Brooklyn hospice after a long illness, said the friend, attorney Charles C. DeStefano.

Full story at Iwon / AP News.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:42 pm

Rifle designer Mikhail Kalashnikov dead at 94
Associated Press
By JIM HEINTZ


MOSCOW (AP) — Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose work as a weapons designer for the Soviet Union is immortalized in the name of the world's most popular firearm, died Monday at the age of 94.

Kalashnikov once aspired to design farm equipment. But even though his most famous invention — the AK-47 assault rifle — sowed havoc instead of crops, he often said he felt personally untroubled by his contribution to bloodshed.

"I sleep well. It's the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence," he said in 2007.

Kalashnikov died in a hospital in Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurtia republic where he lived, said Viktor Chulkov, a spokesman for the republic's president. He did not give a cause of death. Kalashnikov had been hospitalized for the past month with unspecified health problems.

Full story at Yahoo News.

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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by genlock » Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:56 am

Andy Granatelli, a colorful entrepreneur who turned STP oil treatment into a national institution and built racecars that won the Indianapolis 500 in 1969 and in 1973, died on Sunday in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 90.


Mr. Granatelli appeared in commercials for STP oil treatment, and the company's decals were everywhere.

The cause was congestive heart failure, his son Vince told The Associated Press.

In 1961, the Studebaker Packard Corporation acquired Chemical Compounds, a company with seven employees and only one product: STP (for scientifically treated petroleum). Mr. Granatelli was named the president and changed the company name to STP.

Within a decade, the company had 2,000 employees and was selling more than 100 million cans a year, and its annual sales of
$2 million had grown to $100 million. STP decals, with the slogan “The Racer’s Edge,” were everywhere, both at racetracks and on the bumpers of family station wagons. Mr. Granatelli appeared in commercials for the product
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Re: 2013 Obits: R.I.P. and Remembrance thread

Post by David Paleg » Tue Dec 31, 2013 2:55 pm

Remembering Prolific Trek Guest Joseph Ruskin, 1924-2013
By StarTrek.com Staff - December 31, 2013

StarTrek.com is saddened to report the passing of Joseph Ruskin, who died of natural causes on December 28 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California. Ruskin was 89 years old. The prolific film, television and stage actor's career spanned from 1955 to 2013 and encompassed such memorable credits as The Honeymooners, The Twilight Zone, The Untouchables, The Outer Limits, Mission: Impossible, The Six Million Dollar Man, Charlie's Angels, Hill Street Blues, Prizzi's Honor, ER, The Scorpion King, Alias, Smokin' Aces and Bones, not to mention numerous appearances across the Star Trek franchise. As recently as this past summer he co-starred in The Antaeus Company's production of The Crucible, directed by Deep Space Nine's Armin Shimerman.

As noted, Ruskin was something of a go-to Star Trek guest. He played Galt in The Original Series episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion," the Klingon Tumek in the DS9 episodes "The House of Quark" and "Looking for par'Mach in All the Wrong Places," a Cardassian informant in DS9's "Improbable Cause," a Vulcan master in the Voyager hour "Gravity" and a Suliban doctor in the Enterprise series opener, "Broken Bow." Ruskin also played a Son'a officer in Star Trek: Insurrection and provided voices for the Star Trek video games Hidden Evil and Away Team. In what turned out to be his final feature, Smokin' Aces, Ruskin shared scenes with Star Trek's future Captain Kirk, Chris Pine.

Ruskin was a World War II veteran, having served in the Navy, and he served on the board of the Screen Actors Guild from 1976 to 1999. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Ruskin is survived by his wife, Barbara Greene Ruskin; daughter, Alicia Ruskin, and son-in-law, Larry Bucklan; step-daughters Rachel Greene, Martha Greene and Liza Page. StarTrek.com offers our condolences to Ruskin's family, friends and many fans.

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2013 Obits: Last Call

Post by unchoopfan » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:17 am

Andy Granatelli, race car driver/entrepreneur (STP), 90

(LA Times) - Andy Granatelli, a flamboyant race-car driver-turned-businessman who became a household name because of commercials for his STP fuel and oil additives, died Sunday (Dec. 29) at a hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 90.

He had congestive heart failure, his wife, Dolly Granatelli, said.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Granatelli was inducted into 19 engineering and motor-sports halls of fame, including, in 2002, the one at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A natural promoter, he designed and owned cutting-edge cars raced at Indy and marketed his achievements with flair, decking himself and his crew out in pajama-like white suits covered with red STP stickers.

The globally broadcast image of the attention-grabbing outfits was “the best thing that ever happened to STP or the speedway,” Mr. Granatelli said in a recent interview. “To this day, it makes the covers of magazines.”

Over the years, Mr. Granatelli held many positions in the racing world. He was vice chairman of NASCAR and head of the Hurricane Racing Association. As chief driver and engineer for Studebaker Racing, he set 400 speed records, according to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in Talladega, Ala., which inducted him in 1992.

When he was 62, he drove a street-legal 1982 Camaro more than 241 mph at a test track in California. He said it was the car he used to commute to work every day.

Cars he sponsored twice won the Indianapolis 500, and his drivers included some of racing’s biggest names: Richard Petty, Gordon Johncock, Al and Bobby Unser.

After Union Carbide acquired STP in 1985, Mr. Granatelli started Tuneup Masters, a chain of low-cost garages.

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Johnny Orr, college basketball coach, 86

DES MOINES (AP) — Johnny Orr, the fist-pumping basketball coach who led Iowa State into national prominence and Michigan to the national title game, has died. He was 86.

His death was confirmed Tuesday (Dec. 31) by Iowa State, where Orr led the Cyclones to a school-record 218 wins from 1980 until 1994.

Orr spent 29 seasons as a Division I coach. Twelve were at Michigan, where he guided the Wolverines to four NCAA tournament berths, the national title game in 1976 and 209 wins, the most in the school history.

Orr also spent three seasons at Massachusetts. The energetic and charismatic Orr finished with a career record of 466-346 and 10 NCAA tournament appearances.

“He was my hero,” said Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, who grew up in Ames and played for three years under Orr.

Orr left UMass for Michigan and spent one season as an assistant before taking over as head coach in 1968.

Orr was twice named the Big Ten’s coach of the year. In 1976, Orr was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) as its national coach of the year, and the Wolverines won the league title the following season.

Orr made the jump to Iowa State, then a struggling program, before the 1980-81 season and guided the program to its first NCAA tournament berth in 41 years in 1985.

A year later, Orr led the Cyclones into the Sweet Sixteen by beating Michigan. Iowa State would go on to reach the NCAA tournament four more times under Orr, whose up-tempo style and outgoing personality is viewed as the catalyst for the program’s fervent following.

Orr would enter Hilton Coliseum to the “Tonight Show” theme with his trademark fist pump, helping cultivate a tremendous home-court advantage for the Cyclones, later dubbed “Hilton Magic.” Iowa State beat 20 ranked opponents at home under Orr, who was honored with a statue inside the arena in 2011.

Orr coached 18 players who went on to the NBA, including Hoiberg and Jeff Hornacek.

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James Avery, actor (Fresh Prince of Bel Air), 68

(TODAY.com) James Avery, the actor best known for playing Uncle Phil on the '90s sitcom "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," has died at the age of 68 his publicist confirmed to TODAY.

Avery passed away Tuesday night (Dec. 31) in Glendale, Calif., due to complications from open heart surgery.

Avery was mourned Wednesday by co-star Alfonso Ribeiro, who played Carlton on the hit show.

"The world has lost a truly special man," Ribeiro wrote on Facebook. I am very saddened to say that James Avery has passed. Even though he played my father on TV, he was a wonderful father figure to me in life. He will be deeply missed."

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