Category: RIP

RIP: Lanny Poffo

Lanny Poffo died today at the age of 68.  No cause of death was given.

Lanny Poffo was the son of Angelo and Judy Poffo,  Angelo was a professional wrestler and promoter.  It was only natural that Lanny follow his father and older brother, Randy aka Randy “The Macho Man” Savage into the sport.

Mr. Poffo began his career in 1974.  He would go on to wrestle professionally for the All-South Wrestling Alliance, National Wrestling Alliance, Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling, International Championship Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling, Continental Wrestling Association and the World Wrestling Federation.  It would have been easy to capitalize on his brother’s fame, but Lanny wanted to make it on his own.  In the WWE he was known as Leaping Lanny and then later, The Genius.  It was as The Genius that Lanny Poffo generated the most heat.

I met Lanny Poffo at a small convention in 2009.  Mr. Poffo was very approachable.  I spoke to him about how when my sons were younger we loved to watch he and his brother wrestle.  I went on to say that when I was a kid I saw Lanny’s dad wrestle many times.  Lanny loved that I remembered his dad.  As we talked about wrestling and his career, Lanny would always steer it back to his brother and father.  What a humble man he was.  Lanny also wanted folks to know that his brother, Randy, was an amazing baseball player and all-around athlete.

Lanny Poffo had written a poetry book about the dangers of smoking.  He autographed a copy and gifted it to me.   Most people, when they think of Lanny Poffo, think of The Genius.  Lanny Poffo made a great heel which attests to his acting ability since he was such a generous kindhearted man outside the ring.  That’s who I think of first.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lanny Poffo’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Cindy Williams

Cindy Williams, best known as Shirley Feeney who first appeared on Happy Days, and then in the popular television series Laverne & Shirley, died on January 25, 2023.  Today her family announced Ms. Williams passing after a short illness.  She was 75.

Cindy Williams wrote and acted in high school.  She attended Los Angles Community College as a theater major.  After graduation Ms. Williams began getting roles in commercials.  In 1970, Cindy Williams won roles in both a feature film and two television series. She would continue to get work in both television and feature films for the rest of her career.

Some of Cindy Williams’ television appearances include: My World and Welcome to It; Nanny and the Professor; Room 222 (3 episodes); Love American Style (2 episodes); Hawaii 5-0; Cannon; Police Story; Laugh-In (2 episodes); Happy Days (5 episodes); Laverne & Shirley (158 episodes); CHiPs (2 episodes); Laverne & Shirley in the Army (13 episodes); Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour; The Magical World of Disney (2 episodes); Just Like Family (5 episodes); Perry Mason: The Case of the Poison Pen; Normal Life (13 episodes); Getting By (31 episodes); Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman; Touched by an Angel; Strip Mall (6 episodes); For Your Love (4 episodes); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; Girlfriends (2 episodes) and Drive (3 episodes).

Some of Cindy Williams’ feature film appearances include: Drive, He Said; Beware! The Blob; American Graffiti; The Conversation; The First Nudie Musical and More American Graffiti.

Although Cindy Williams played Shirley Feeney on Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley (and other places), her career encompassed so much more.  She appeared in so many popular television series before and after getting that role.  Jack Nicholson directed her in Drive, He Said.  She had a featured role in the classic American Graffiti.  The same could be said for Francis Ford Coppola’s The Conversation. While I wasn’t a Laverne & Shirley fan, Cindy Williams always seemed the anchor of it when I watched.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Cindy Williams’ family, friends and fans.

RIP: Lisa Loring

Lisa Loring, best known as Wednesday on The Addams Family, died on January 28, 2023.  Ms. Loring suffered a massive stroke four days earlier and had been on life support.

Lisa Loring began her career as a child model at the age of three.  She appeared on an episode of Dr. Kildare in 1964.  This was the same year that The Addams Family premiered.  The series ran for two years.  Following that Lisa Loring occasionally worked on television and in feature films.

Some of Lisa Loring’s television appearances include: Dr. Kildare; The Addams Family (64 episodes); The Girl from U.N.C.L.E.; Halloween with the New Addams Family; Fantasy Island; Barnaby Jones (2 episodes) and As the World Turns (7 episodes).

Some of Lisa Loring’s feature film appearances include: Blood Frenzy; Savage Harbor and Doctor Spine.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lisa Loring’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Lance Kerwin

Lance Kerwin, one of the most popular children actors of the 1970s, died on January 24, 2023.  He was 62.

Lance Kerwin began his career in 1974 with guest appearances on seven popular television series and two made for tv movies!  Mr. Kerwin stayed busy with roles in feature films throughout his career.  He retired from acting in 1995.  Lance Kerwin is best known for the television series James at 16 and the tv movie Salem’s Lot.

Some of Lance Kerwin’s television appearances include: Emergency!; Shazam; Little House on the Prairie; Police Story; Cannon; Gunsmoke; ABC Afterschool Specials (5 episodes); The Loneliest Runner (tv movie); Wonder Woman; The Bionic Woman; James at 16 (21 episodes); The Boy Who Drank Too Much (tv movie); Hotel; Trapper John; Simon & Simon and Murder She Wrote. 

Some of Lance Kerwin’s feature film appearances include: Enemy Mine and Outbreak.

My favorite Lance Kerwin role was in the made-for-tv adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot.  If Mr. Kerwin was only known for that film, his passing would still be noted due to the impact that movie has on horror movie fans.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lance Kerwin’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Jason Pearson

I was on a road trip to Indiana to attend my father’s funeral when I learned that Jason Pearson had died.  Although he passed on December 19, 2022, his death wasn’t announced until January 16, 2023.  Jason was 52 years old.

Jason Pearson was best known for Body Bags, a comic he created, wrote and drew.  But anything that Jason Pearson drew was worth adding to your collection.  He had a style that was instantly recognizable.  It was dynamic, energetic and brought new life to any character.

I met Jason at Heroescon in 2004.  I was able to get on Jason’s sketch list and asked for his take on Rocky Balboa. Jason was hesitant saying, “I don’t do good likenesses.”  I told him I wasn’t looking for a photo, just his take on the character.  Jason said he’d give it a go.  The result is above with my picture of Jason holding his art. I’m honored to have a Jason Pearson sketch in my collection.  It’s sad that we won’t be getting more Jason Pearson art in the future, but his legacy will live forever.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jason Pearson’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: David Crosby

David Crosby, the two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, died on January 18, 2023, after a long illness.  He was 81.

Mr. Crosby was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash.  His music is on five of Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

David Crosby dropped out of college to pursue a career in music.  Before joining the Byrds, Mr. Crosby performed with  Terry Callier and later with Les Baxter’s Balladeers.

In 1964, David Crosby joined the Byrds and a year later they had their first #1 hit with Mr. Tambourine Man.  This was followed up by Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season) which also peaked at #1,  David Crosby stayed with the Byrds until 1967.  In 1973, he reteamed with them for the album Byrds which he also produced.

In 1968, David Crosby met Stephen Stills and they began playing together informally.  Graham Nash of The Hollies joined the duo and soon they formed Cosby, Stills and Nash.  When the group played at Woodstock, it was only their second live performance!  Their first album, Crosby, Stills & Nash was a hit.  In 1969, Neil Young joined the group which retitled itself as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.  Throughout the rest of his career, David Crosby would play with variations of CSN&Y, perform solo, as well as work as a session musician providing background vocals for folks like Jackson Browne, James Taylor, Carole King, Elton John and Phil Collins (just to name a few). In 1996, Mr. Crosby created CPR, a band consisting of himself, Jeff Pevar, and Crosby’s son, James Raymond.

Some of David Crosby’s hits include: Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season) which peaked at #1 (with the Byrds); Mr. Tambourine Man peaked at #1 (the Byrds); Wasted on the Way reached #9 (CS&N); Just a Song Before I Go hit #7 (CS&N); Woodstock reached #11 (CSN&Y); Southern Cross peaked at #18 (CS&N); Teach Your Children reached #16 (CSN&Y); Suite: Judy Blue Eyes hit #21 (CS&N); Ohio reached #14 (CSN&Y); Marrakesh Express topped at #28 (CS&N).

David Crosby never lost his youthful love of fun.  He always seemed like a younger man in an older man’s body.  Some of my favorite songs by him include Mr. Tambourine Man, Just a Song Before I Go and Teach Your Children.  It’s interesting that I had forgotten the names of some of his songs, but once they started playing I knew the words and enjoyed them all over again.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to David Crosby’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Stephan Bonnar

Stephan Bonnar, the UFC Hall of Fame mixed martial artist, died on December 22, 2022.  He was 45.  No official cause of death was given, but it was believed to be the result of heat complications.

Mr. Bonnar was the first runner-up on Season One of The Ultimate Fighter.  His bout against Forrest Griffin is considered a classic.  As the fight progressed the ratings for the finale continued to climb as viewers called friends to tune in.  The winner of the bout was to get a six-figure contract with the UFC.  Because the fight was so entertaining and competitive, both Griffin and Bonnar received contracts.  Dana White, the President of the UFC said that the Griffin/Bonnar fight saved the promotion (which is now a multi-billion dollar business).

Stephan Bonnar ended his professional MMA career with a 15 -9 record.

I watched the first season of The Ultimate Fighter.  I was also one of the people that called friends during the finale. The Bonnar/Griffin fight truly saved the UFC.  It was because of that fight that the UFC television contract was extended.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Stephan Bonnar’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Mike Hodges

Mike Hodges, the British writer, director and producer died on December 17, 2022.  Mr. Hodges was 90.

Mike Hodges began his career as a teleprompter operator for British television.  In his down time, Mr. Hodges began writing scripts. His writing was good enough to get him noticed. Mike Hodges directing career began with episodes of British television shows.  He continued writing screenplays.

Suspect (1969) and Rumour (1970) were two scripts that he wrote and directed for Thames Television.  The strength of his work on those two films led to him getting to adapt Ted Lewis’ novel Jack’s Return Home.  Mr. Hodges directed his adaptation which was retitled, Get Carter.  If he never made another film, Mike Hodges would be remembered for this crime classic.

Mike Hodges continued directing, but he also branched out to write stage plays, radio plays and novellas.

Some of Mr. Hodges’ feature films include: Get Carter; The Terminal Man; Damien: The Omen II; Flash Gordon; A Prayer for the Dying; Croupier and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike Hodges’ family, friends and fans.

RIP: Stuart Margolin

Stuart Margolin died yesterday from natural causes.  He was 82. Although best known for his re-occurring role as Angel on The Rockford Files, Stuart Margolin was also a writer, director and singer/songwriter!

Mr. Margolin’s professional acting career began with a re-occurring role in 1961’s The Gertrude Berg Show.  After that role Stuart Margolin continued acting on television and in feature films for the rest of his career.  He earned  two Emmy Awards (1979 and 1980) for playing Angel Martin opposite James Garner on The Rockford Files.

Some of Stuart Margolin’s feature film appearances include: Women of the Prehistoric Planet; Kelly’s Heroes; The Stone Killer; Death Wish; Futureworld; Days of Heaven and SOB.

Some of Stuart Margolin’s television appearances include: The Gertrude Berg Show (3 episodes); Ensign O’Toole (4 episodes); Burkes’ Law; The Fugitive; Ben Casey; The Alfred Hitchcock Hour; Branded; Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats; Ironside; Occasional Wife (3 episodes); The Virginian; The Monkees; Bewitched; The F.B.I.; Judd for the Defense; That Girl (3 episodes), It Takes a Thief (3 episodes); Land of the Giants; My World and Welcome To It (2 episodes); Nichols (24 episodes); The Partridge Family (2 episodes); Love American Style (29 episodes); The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Cannon; Gunsmoke (3 episodes); MASH (2 episodes); Rhoda (2 episodes); The Rockford Files (37 episodes); Bret Maverick (8 episodes); The Fall Guy; Magnum PI; Hill Street Blues (2 episodes); Vendetta: Secrets of a Mafia Bride (3 episodes); Matlock (2 episodes); The Rockford Files: I Still Love L.A.; The Rockford Files: A Blessing in Disguise; The Rockford Files: If the Frame Fits…; The Rockford Files: Godfather Knows Best; The Rockford Files: Friends and Foul Play; The Rockford Files: Punishment and Crime; The Rockford Files: Shoot-Out at the Golden Pagoda; The Rockford Files: If It Bleeds… It Leads; Touched By An Angel (2 episodes); Beggars and Choosers (4 episodes); These Arms of Mine (3 episodes); Tom Stone (26 episodes); Intelligence (3 episodes); Saturday Night Live; 30 Rock; NCIS and The X-Files.

Stuart Margolin was also writer.  Some of his credits include: The Ballad of Andy Crocker; A Man, a Woman and a Bank; an episode of the mini-series Vendetta: Secrets of a Mafia Bride and What the Night Can Do.

Mr. Margolin was also an accomplished director.  Some of his credits include: Love American Style; The Mary Tyler Moore Show; Phyllis; Wonder Woman (2 episodes); The Rockford Files (2 episodes); The Love Boat (7 episodes); Bret Maverick (2 episodes); Hart to Hart; Magnum PI; The Glitter Dome (tv movie); Crazy Like a Fox (3 episodes); Vendetta: Secrets of a Mafia Bride (6 episode mini-series); Quantum Leap; North of 60 (4 episodes); Lonesome Dove: The Series; The Rockford Files: Friends and Foul Play; The Rockford Files: If It Bleeds… It Leads; Promised Land (8 episodes); Beggars and Choosers (5 episodes); These Arms of Mine (3 episodes); Touched by an Angel (11 episodes); Tom Stone (6 episodes) and Intelligence (3 episodes).

Stuart Margolin was also a singer/songwriter.  Mr. Margolin often co-wrote with singer/songwriter Jerry Riopelle.  Songs co-written by Stuart Margolin appeared on albums by Jerry Riopelle, Gary Lewis and the Playboys and R.B. Greaves.

I don’t know when I first saw Stuart Margolin’s acting.  It’s hard to pinpoint because he appeared on so many shows that I watched as a kid.  I knew his face before I knew his name.  Stuart Margolin and James Garner must have loved working together.  I sure enjoyed their interactions which began on the tv series Nichols.  It only lasted one season but paved the way for The Rockford Files.

I knew that Stuart Margolin was a prolific actor, but didn’t realize until today how many wonderful shows/movies he directed.  And who knew he was a singer/songwriter?  What a brilliant career!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Stuart Margolin’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Pedro Miguel Arce

Pedro Miguel Arce died on December 9, 2022 after a short battle with cancer.  Pedro Arce played football and college.  After graduating college Mr. Arce was working as a bouncer when he was discovered by an agent.  Throughout his career Pedro Arce acted in both television and feature films.

Some of Pedro Arce’s feature film appearances include: Fall: The Price of Silence; Land of the Dead; Step Brothers and Polar.

Some of Pedro Arce’s television appearances include: Street Time (3 episodes); CSI: Miami; How I Met Your Mother; Las Vegas; The Transporter; The Strain (4 episodes); True Detective (2 episodes); Gangland Undercover (2 episodes); The Ballad of Hugo Sánchez (4 episodes); Warigami (2 episodes); Coroner (3 episodes) and Diggstown (3 episodes).

I first saw Pedro Miguel Arce in George Romero’s Land of the Dead.  My favorite role that he appeared in was as Felix on The Strain.  Pedro Arce always made an impression no matter the size of his role.  It’s sad that he was taken at such a young age.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Pedro Miguel Arce’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Kirstie Alley

Kirstie Alley, the actress best known for her award-winning role as Rebecca Howe on Cheers, died yesterday at the age of 71.  The cause of death was cancer.

Ms. Alley was born in Wichita, Kansas.  She attended Kansas State University, before dropping out in her sophomore year.  Kirstie Alley then moved to Los Angeles to further her studies in Scientology.  At that time she planned on a career as an interior designer.  After appearing as a contestant on two game shows (Match Game, Password Plus) she considered a career change.

Kirstie Alley’s first two roles were small.  She appeared uncredited as a handmaiden on the short-lived television series Quark.  This was followed by a co-starring role in One More Chance, a student film that was expanded into a feature length film.  Ms. Alley’s big break came when she was cast in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  Although Kirstie Alley declined to return for Star Trek sequels, she continued acting on television and feature films for the rest of her career.

Some of Kirstie Alley’s television appearances include: The Love Boat; Masquerade (13 episodes); A Bunny’s Tale; North and South: Book 1 (6 spisodes); North and South: Book 2 (6 episodes); The Hitchhiker (2 episodes); Cheers (148 episodes); Wings; The Last Don (3 episodes); The Last Don II (2 episodes); Veronica’s Closet (67 episodes); Fat Actress (7 episodes); The King of Queens; Dancing with the Stars (34 episodes) and Kirstie (12 episodes).

Some of Kirstie Alley’s feature film appearances include: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Runaway; Shoot to Kill; Look Who’s Talking; Look Who’s Talking Too; Look Who’s Talking Now and Village of the Damned; 

Awards won: 1991 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical; 1991 People’s Choice for Favorite Female Television Performer; 1998 People’s Choice for Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series; 1991 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series; 1994 Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Special.

When I think of Kirstie Alley, I always first remember her role on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  She came out of nowhere (or so it seemed) to land a co-starring role in a huge feature film.  Of course most know her from her long award-winning run on Cheers.  Look at her resume and you’ll see she did so much more.  What an amazing career she had.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kirstie Alley’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Brad William Henke

Brad William Henke, the professional football player turned actor died on November 29, 2022 at the age of 56. No cause of death was given.

.Mr. Henke played for the Denver Broncos from 1989 – 1994 when he retired due to repeated injuries.  Brad Henke then decided to give acting a try.  His first roles were in commercials which led to roles on television and in feature films.

Some of Brad Henke’s television appearances include: Chicago Hope; Nash Bridges; ER; The Pretender; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation; Dexter (4 episodes); October Road (19 episodes); Law & Order; Life on Mars; CSI: Miami; Lost (6 episodes); Criminal Minds; Justified (7 episodes); The Office; Longmire; The Bridge (4 episodes); Hawaii 5-0; Orange is the New Black (26 episodes); The Stand (6 episodes) and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

Some of Brad Henke’s feature film appearances include: The Fan; Space Jam; Star Trek (2009); Pacific Rim; Fury; Split and Arkansas.

Brad Henke successfully transitioned from pro football to an acting career.  He always made an imposing presence and he appeared in many television shows and movies that I enjoyed.  It’s sad that Mr. Henke died at such a young age, but what a life he led!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Brad William Henke’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Christine McVie

Christine McVie, the singer-songwriter, died today at the age of 79.  No cause of death was given.

Christine McVie began to study music at the age of 11.  She actually went to college with the thought of becoming an art teacher.  While in college she began performing professionally and her career path changed.  Christine McVie recorded two albums with a band called Chicken Shack and a solo album before joining Fleetwood Mac.  While with the band, they recorded 14 albums, 4 of which went to #1 on the US charts. When Fleetwood Mac released their Greatest Hits, she wrote or co-wrote eight of the sixteen songs on the album!  Ms. McVie also released four solo albums over the course of her career.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Christine McVie’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Clarence Gilyard

Clarence Gilyard died yesterday after a long illness at the age of 66.  Although best known as an actor, Clarence Gilyard was also an athlete, director and University Professor.  After high school Clarence Gilyard received a scholarship to play tennis.  He also played football in college.  He attended Sterling college before transferring to California State University where he majored in acting and received a bachelor’s degree.

In 1979, Mr. Gilyard moved to Los Angeles to find work.  In 1981, Clarence Gilyard appeared in two episodes of Diff’rent Strokes.  Mr. Gilyard’s big break came the following year with a co-starring role on the final season of CHiPs.  Clarence Gilyard’s career continued with roles on television and in feature films.

Television appearances include: Diff’rent Strokes, CHiPs (20 episodes), The Duck Factory (13 episodes), Riptide, Simon & Simon, The Facts of Life, Matlock (85 episodes), Walker, Texas Ranger (196 episodes),Walker Texas Ranger 3: Deadly Reunion and Walker Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire.

Feature film appearances include: Top Gun, The Karate Kid Part II, Die Hard and The Beast.

Clarence Gilyard was also an associate professor in the College of Fine Arts – Department of Theatre at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

When I think of Clarence Gilyard I think of his performance in Die Hard.  He was young, cocky and came off as the brightest person in the movie.  Mr. Gilyard’s long runs on CHiPs, Matlock and Walker, Texas Ranger are evidence of his professionalism and ability as an actor.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Clarence Gilyard’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Albert Pyun

Albert Pyun died yesterday at the age of 69.  Mr. Pyun had been in failing health for some time dealing with multiple sclerosis and dementia for the last few years.  Albert Pyun was a writer, director and producer of low-budget genre films.

Mr. Pyun’s first film The Sword and the Sorcerer was a surprise hit.  Made for just $4 million, The Sword and the Sorcerer made back it’s investment during the first week of release.  It would go on to gross nearly $37 million.  The success of The Sword and the Sorcerer set the pattern for most of Albert Pyun’s career.  He would write/co-write and direct low-budget films which gave him creative control to tell the stories he wanted to tell.

Some of Mr. Pyun’s best known films include: The Sword and the Sorcerer, Cyborg, Captain America (1990), Bloodmatch, Nemesis, Mean Guns and Road to Hell.

Some of the actors that appeared in Albert Pyun films include: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Christopher Lambert, Tom Sizemore, Dennis Hopper, Steven Seagal, Steven Bauer Natasha Henstridge, Ronny Cox, Ned Beatty, Kris Kristofferson, Lance Henriksen, Robert Patrick, Ice-T, Michael Paré, Brion James and Tim Thomerson.

My favorite Albert Pyun film is Cyborg starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.  It contains a cool fight scene in the rain that always comes to mind first when I think of that movie.  I still need to see Mr. Pyun’s Road to Hell starring Michael Paré and Deborah Van Valkenburgh in an un-official spin-off of Streets of Fire.  I applaud Albert Pyun finding his niche in Hollywood.  He was able to make the films he wanted the way he wanted.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Albert Pyun’s family, friends and fans.