Category: RIP

RIP: Elliot Silverstein

Elliot Silverstein died on November 24, 2023.  Mr. Silverstein was 96.

Mr. Silverstein’s career began in 1955 when he directed eleven episodes of the tv series Omnibus.  For the next forty years Elliott Silverstein directed television projects and feature films. When Mr. Silverstein retired from directing he taught film at the University of Southern California.

Mr. Silverstein was nominated for a Directors Guild Award in 1965 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Cat Ballou. In 1985, he won the Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award from the Directors Guild of America.  In 1990, the Directors Guild named him a DGA Honorary Life Member Award.

Some of Elliot Silverstein’s television projects include:  Omnibus (11 episodes); The United States Steel Hour (2 episodes); Suspicion (2 episodes); Alcoa Theater (2 episodes); The Westerner; Route 66 (5 episodes); Have Gun – Will Travel; Naked City (8 episodes); Dr. Kildare (14 episodes); Channing (2 episodes); Breaking Point (2 episodes); The Twilight Zone (4 episodes); The Doctors and The Nurses (4 episodes); The Defenders (4 episodes); Kraft Suspense Theater (3 episodes) and Tales from the Crypt (4 episodes).

Some of Elliot Silverstein’s feature films include: Cat Ballou; The Happening; A Man Called Horse and The Car.

I’m not sure the first time I saw something directed by Elliot Silverstein since he directed several shows I watched when I was young.  My favorite project directed by Mr. Silverstein is The Obsolete Man episode of The Twilight Zone.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Elliot Silverstein’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Jean Knight

Jean Knight, born Jean Caliste, November 22, 2023, of natural causes.  Ms. Knight was 80.

Jean Caliste began singing professionally after she graduated high school.  In 1965, Ms. Caliste was signed to Jet Star/Tribe records.  At that point she changed her professional name to Jean Knight.  With Jet Star./Tribe she released four singles.  Although she attracted local attention, the records never took off nationally.  Jean Knight began working as a baker to make ends meet.

In 1970, songwriter Ralph Williams and record producer Wardell Quezergue heard some of Jean Knight’s songs.  They brought her in to Malaco Studios for a recording session where she recorded Mr. Big Stuff.  The song was shopped to several record companies.  It was rejected by everyone.  Then in 1971, King Floyd’s hit Groove Me went to #1 on the R&B charts. It was recorded at Malaco Studios.  At that point the producer at Stax records remembered another song recorded at Malaco Studios.  That song was Mr. Big Stuff,

When Mr. Big Stuff was released it shot to the top of the charts.  It went to #2 on the pop charts and #1 on the R&B charts.  It sold over two-million copies and was awarded gold and platinum status.  The song was also nominated for a Grammy award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female.  Although Ms. Knight never had another major hit, she continued touring for years.

Mr. Big Stuff is one of those songs that everyone knows the words to.  Years after it was popular, I gave my best friend the nickname Big Stuff.  It gradually morphed into Big Time.  He’s sometimes still called that today when friends from our group get together.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jean Knight’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Marty Krofft

Marty Krofft died yesterday at the age of 86, the result of kidney failure.

Marty Krofft was born on April 9, 1937 in Montréal, Québec, Canada.  Marty’s older brother, Sid, was a famous puppeteer.  Sid worked in vaudeville, as a featured player in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and toured with a one-man puppet show.  In the mid-1950s, Marty joined Sid.  They began touring as well as making television appearances with their puppets.  

Marty and Sid became even more famous when they designed characters and sets for the Saturday morning television series H.R. Pufnstuf.  For the remainder of their careers, Marty and Sid would produce series, specials and movies for television.  

Some of the projects produced by Marty and Sid Krofft include: H.R. Pufnstuf (17 episodes); Pufnstuf (feature film); The Bugaloos (17 epsides); Lidsville (17 episodes); The Brady Bunch Meets ABC’s Saturday Superstars; The World of Sid & Marty Krofft at the Hollywood Bowl; The NBC Saturday Morning Review; Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (29 episodes); Far Out Space Nuts (15 episodes); The Lost Saucer (16 episodes); ABC’s Saturday Sneak Peak; Land of the Lost (43 episodes); Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (16 episodes); Dr. Shrinker (16 episodes); Donny & Marie (37 episodes); The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (9 episodes); Wonderbug (22 episodes); Magic Mongo (16 episodes); The Krofft Supershow (32 episodes); The Bay City Rollers Meet the Saturday Superstars; Bobby Vinton’s Rock ‘n Rollers; The Bay City Rollers Show (13 episodes); Bigfoot and Wildboy (20 episodes); Pink Lady (6 episodes); Middle Age Crazy (feature film); Oral Roberts Celebration; Harry Tracy: The Last of the Wild Bunch (feature film); Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters (35 episodes); The CBS Saturday Morning Preview Special; Saturday’s the Place; Pryor’s Place (13 episodes); All Star Rock ‘n’ Wrestling Saturday Spectacular; The Patti LaBelle Show; D.C. Follies (45 episodes); Krofft Late Night; Land of the Lost (9 episodes); Toby Terrier and His Video Pals (8 episodes); Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (2001); Family Affair (2002 – 16 episodes); Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (2016 – 8 episodes); Sigmund and the Sea Monsters (2016 – 7 episodes); Mutt & Stuff (74 episodes); The Bugaloos (2017) and Mondays with Marty (7 episodes).

Marty Krofft’s award nominations and wins include:

  • 1985: Nominee – Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Series for Pryor’s Place
  • 2003: Winner – Lifetime Achievement Award from Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA
  • 2016: Nominee – Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Series for Mutt & Stuff
  • 2017: Nominee – Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Series for Mutt & Stuff
  • 2018: Winner – Daytime Emmy for Lifetime Achievement
  • 2020 Winner – Star on the Walk of Fame (Television)

I was at the top end of the right age for H.R. Pufnstuf.  I can remember my youngest sister getting my mom to tell me to stop calling her Witcheepoo.  Looking at Marty Krofft’s resume shows an impressive body of work.  Marty and Sid Krofft were called the Kings of Saturday Morning Television, but as you can see they were much more than that. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Marty Krofft’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Joss Ackland

Joss Ackland, the English actor of stage and screen died yesterday.  Mr. Ackland was 95.

Mr. Ackland began his professional career in a stage production of The Hasty Heart after graduating from London’s Central School of Speech and Drama.  He was just 17.  For the next 60 years Joss Ackland would act on stage, television and in feature films.

Some of the television shows Joss Ackland appeared in include: Destination Downing Street; ITV Play of the Week (2 episodes); First Night (2 episodes); The Indian Tales of Rudyard Kipling (25 episodes); David Copperfield (6 episodes); Lord Raingo (3 episodes); Theater 625 (3 episodes); Armchair Theater (2 episodes); The Further Adventures of the Musketeers (16 episodes); The Wednesday Play (2 episodes); Mogul (5 episodes); Mystery and Imagination (2 episodes); Z Cars (42 episodes); The Avengers; Canterbury Tales (7 episodes); BBC Play of the Month (2 episodes); Thirty Minute Theater (2 episodes); Six Faces (2 episodes); Play for Today (3 episodes); Aquarius (2 episodes); The Crezz (12 episodes); Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; A Question of Guilt (8 episodes); BBC2 Playhouse (2 episodes); Shroud for a Nightingale (5 episodes); A Killing on the Exchange (4 episodes); Queenie (2 episodes); Tales of the Unexpected (2 episodes); Codename Kyril (4 episodes); A Quiet Conspiracy (4 episodes); The Justice Game (2 episodes); A Woman Named Jackie (2 episodes); Ashenden (4 episodes); Jackanory (10 episodes); The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles; Screen Two (2 episodes); Testiment: The Bible in Animation (2 episodes); Above and Beyond (2 episodes); Pinocchio (2 episodes) and Crusoe (3 episodes).

Some of the feature films Joss Ackland appeared in include: Landfall; Ghost Ship; Rasputin The Mad Monk; The House That Dripped Blood; The Three Musketeers; S*P*Y*S; Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe; Watership Down; Saint Jack; Rough Cut; The Sicilian; Lethal Weapon 2; The Hunt for Red October; Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; The Mighty Ducks; D3: The Mighty Ducks and K19: The WIdowmaker.

My favorite Joss Ackland role is Arjen Rudd in Lethal Weapon 2.  He was perfect.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Joss Ackland’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Robert Butler

Robert Butler, the award winning director and writer, died on November 3, 2023.  Mr. Butler was 95.

Mr. Butler began his career in entertainment as a CBS usher after graduating from UCLA with a degree in English.  Robert Butler also worked as a production clerk, stage manager, before getting the job as an associate director where he worked with mentor directors such as John Frankenheimer and Arthur Penn.

Mr. Butler’s first directing job was for the television series Hennesey.  Robert Butler would direct television and feature films for the rest of his career.  Mr. Butler became known as the go-to guy for directing television pilots which set the tone for the series.  Some of the pilots that Robert Butler directed include: Hogan’s Heroes (1965), Star Trek (1966), Batman (1966), The Blue Knight (1973, TV’s first mini-series), Hill Street Blues (1978), Moonlighting (1985), Sisters (1991) and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993).

Mr. Clark was an award-winning director…

  • 1974 Winner Primetime Emmy Director of the Year – The Blue Knight
  • 1974 Winner Primetime Emmy Best Directing in Drama – A Single Program of a Series with Continuing Characters and/or Theme – The Blue Knight
  • 1981 Winner Primetime Emmy Outstanding Directing in a Drama SeriesHill Street Blues premiere episode
  • 1982 Winner DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series – Hill Street Blues premiere
  • 2001 Winner Robert B. Aldrich Achievement Award
  • 2015 Winner Lifetime Achievement Award – Television Direction

Mr. Butler was also the co-creator of the television series Remington Steele.

Some of the television shows Robert Butler directed include: Hennesey (3 episodes); The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis; The DuPont Show with June Allyson (5 episodes); Peter Loves Mary (2 episodes); Have Gun – Will Travel; Bonanza; The Dick Van Dyke Show (2 episodes); The Gertrude Berg Show (2 episodes); The Rifleman; Follow the Sun (3 episodes); The Detectives (5 episodes); Stoney Burke (2 episodes); The Untouchables (7 episodes); Dr. Kildare (2 episodes); The Greatest Show on Earth (2 episodes); Ben Casey (3 episodes); The Lieutenant (2 episodes); The Twilight Zone (2 episodes); The Defenders (2 episodes); The Virginian; Mister Roberts (4 episodes); Hogan’s Heroes (5 episodes); The Fugitive (6 episodes); Batman (6 episodes); Shane; Star Trek (3 episodes); I Spy (4 episodes); The Invaders (3 episodes); N.Y.P.D. (2 episodes); Judd for the Defense (2 episodes); Ironside; Cimarron Strip (2 episodes); The Felony Squad (3 episodes); Mission Impossible; Then Came Bronson; Lancer (4 episodes); Death Takes a Holiday; Nichols; Gunsmoke (3 episodes); Hawaii 5-0; Kung Fu (4 episodes); The Blue Knight; The Waltons (3 episodes); Columbo (2 episodes); The Magical World of Disney (12 episodes); Insight (4 episodes); Hill Street Blues (6 episodes); Remington Steele (5 episodes); Moonlighting; Out on a Limb (2 episodes); Sisters (2 episodes); Sirens (2 episodes) and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (2 episodes).

Some of the feature films Robert Butler include: Guns in Leather; The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes; The Barefoot Executive; Now You See Him, Now You Don’t; Hot Lead and Cold Feet; Night of the Juggler and Turbulence.

It’s difficult for me to pick my favorite show that Robert Butler directed because he helmed so many that I watched and enjoyed.  My sentimental favorite is probably the premiere of Batman.  That show brings back so many good memories.  We all anticipated the premiere and it was the talk of our elementary school the next day.  Mr. Butler also directed a Twilight Zone episode, The Encounter, that was kept out of syndication in the United States until 2016 for “overt racism and revisionist history”.  It’s a testimony to Robert Butler’s talent and professionalism that he directed so many (and often multiple episodes) of the best television shows in the years he worked.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Robert Butler’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Matthew Perry

Matthew Perry died yesterday, the result of an accidental drowning in his hot tub.  Mr. Perry was 54.

Matthew Perry’s parents divorced before his first birthday.  When Matthew was 15, he moved to L.A. to live with his father, John Perry.  Matthew’s father was an actor and Matthew decided to pursue and acting career.

Matthew Perry began getting guest spots on television. He landed a starring role in the tv series Boys Will Be Boys which ran for one season.  His first feature film appearance was in A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon starring River Phoenix.  In 1994, Matthew Perry appeared in the role that would change his life.  He was cast as Chandler Bing, on the hit series Friends.  This would be Mr. Perry’s signature role and earn him a 2002 Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.  Matthew Perry would go on to work in both television and feature films for the remainder of his career.  Mr. Perry would earn two more Emmy nominations for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (2003 and 2004) for his work on West Wing.

Some of Matthew Perry’s television appearances include: Charles in Charge; Silver Spoons; The Tracey Ullman Show; Boys Will Be Boys (21 episodes); Highway to Heaven; Empty Nest; Growing Pains (3 episodes); Sydney (13 episodes); Who’s the Boss?; Beverly Hills 90210; Dream On; Home Free (13 episodes); Friends (234 episodes); The Simpsons; Ally McBeal (2 episodes); The West Wing (3 episodes); Scrubs; Studio City on Sunset Strip (22 episodes); Mr. Sunshine (13 episodes); The Good Wife (4 episodes); Go On (22 episodes); Web Therapy (2 episodes); The Odd Couple (38 episodes); The Good Fight (3 episodes) and The Kennedys After Camelot (4 episodes).

Some of Matthew Perry’s film appearances include: A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon; She’s Out of Control; Fools Rush In; The Whole Nine Yards; The Whole Ten Yards and 17 Again.

Of course when I think of Matthew Perry, his role of Chandler Bing first comes to mind.  Friends made him a super star.  My favorite Matthew Perry appearances came on West Wing.  He appeared in just three episodes, but earned two Emmy nominations for them.

Matthew Perry didn’t hide the struggles that he faced with substance abuse throughout his life.  In 2011, Mr. Perry served as a celebrity spokesperson for the National Association of Drug Court Professionals in support of funding for drug courts.  Matthew Perry opened The Perry House, a rehab center in his former mansion in Malibu, California.  I was a fan of Matthew Perry’s acting, but an even bigger fan of his efforts to combat drugs both for himself and others.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Matthew Perry’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Richard Moll

Richard Moll, born Charles Richard Moll died yesterday. No cause of death was given.  Mr. Moll was 81.

Richard Moll was best known for playing the hulking bailiff Aristotle Nostradamus “Bull” Shannon on the NBC sitcom Night Court.  Mr. Moll had been working professionally for seven years in both television and film roles before getting his breakout role. Once Night Court ended, Richard Moll continued to act on television, in feature films and provide voice work for the rest of his career.

Some of Richard Moll’s television appearances include: Welcome Back Kotter; The Rockford Files; How the West Was Won; Happy Days (2 episodes); The Jericho Mile; B.J. and the Bear; The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo (3 episodes); Buck Rogers in the 25th Century; The Bad News Bears; Laverne & Shirley (2 episodes); Code Red (2 episodes); Bret Maverick (2 episodes); Mork & Mindy; The Fall Guy; T.J. Hooker; Remington Steele; Fantasy Island; Alice; The Dukes of Hazard (2 episodes); The A-Team (2 episodes); Santa Barbara (2 episodes); The Facts of Life (2 episodes); Sledge Hammer; My Two Dads; 227; The Munsters Today; Night Court (193 episodes); Highlander; Martin; Batman: The Animated Series (14 episodes); Mighty Max (40 episodes); Babylon 5; Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman (3 episodes); Baywatch; Weird Science; Married…with Children (2 episodes); Superman: The Animated Series; The Legend of Calamity Jane (13 episodes); The Incredible Hulk (2 episodes); Spider-Man: The Animated Series (6 episodes); The New Batman Adventures (2 episodes); 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd (25 episodes); Justice League (2 episodes); Smallville; Cold Case; Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Scooby Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster.

Some of Richard Moll’s film appearances include: Brigham; American Pop; Caveman; Hard Country; House; Loaded Weapon 1; The Flintstones; Jingle All the Way and Scary Movie 2.

When I think of Richard Moll, I first think of Bull Shannon.  What I love about Richard Moll is that he was able to do comedy, or drama with equal ease.  You might think that because of his size he would always play the heavy but looking at his resume, it is clear that isn’t the case.  I also love that Mr. Moll was able to transition to voice work as he got older.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Richard Moll’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Richard Roundtree

Richard Rountree died yesterday from pancreatic cancer.  Mr. Roundtree was 81.

Richard Roundtree began his professional career as a fashion and ad model.  He appeared in off-Broadway plays.  His big break came in 1971, when he starred in Shaft.  The film made Mr. Roundtree famous.  He would go to appear in feature films and television roles for the rest of his career.

Some of Richard Roundtree’s television appearances include: Shaft (7 episodes); Roots; The Love Boat (2 episodes); CHiPs; Magnum P.I.: A.D. (5 episodes); Outlaws (12 episodes); Murder, She Wrote; A Different World (2 episodes); Amen (2 episodes); Beauty and the Beast (3 episodes); 21 Jump Street; MacGyver; Generations (61 episodes); Beverly Hills, 90210; L.A. Law; Roc (4 episodes); Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper (2 episodes); Buddies (6 episodes); The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (2 episodes); Profiler; 413 Hope Street (10 episodes); Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; Soul Food (6 episodes); Alias (2 episodes); Desperate Housewives (5 episodes); Blade: The Series; Grey’s Anatomy; Heroes (6 episodes); Knight Rider; Lincoln Heights (3 episodes); The Mentalist; Diary of a Single Mom (18 episodes); Chicago Fire (4 episodes); Star (5 episodes); Lethal Weapon; Being Mary Jane (33 episodes); Family Reunion (22 episodes) and Cherish the Day (8 episodes).

Some of Richard Roundtree’s film appearances include: Shaft; Embassy; Shaft’s Big Score; Shaft in Africa; Earthquake; Escape to Athena; Inchon; An Eye for an Eye; Q: The Winged Serpent; City Heat; Maniac Cop; Se7en; George of the Jungle; Steel; Shaft (2000) and Shaft (2019).

Like most everyone, when I think of Richard Rountree, I think of Shaft.  Looking over Mr. Rountree’s extensive resume, it is clear that he was much more than the man who’d risk his neck for his brother man.  I’m not just talkin’ ’bout Shaft.  I appreciated any time Richard Rountree’s name appeared in a production.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Richard Roundtree’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Burt Young

Burt Young, born Gerald Tommaso DeLouise, died October 8th.  No cause of death was given.  Mr. Young was 83.

Burt Young, best known for his Academy Award nominated role as Rocky Balboa’s brother-in-law Paulie, was actually a boxer himself.  While in the United State Marines, Mr. Young compiled a 32 -2 record!

Burt Young trained at the Actor’s Studio under Lee Strasberg.  During the course of his career Burt Young compiled 170 acting credits in films and television. Mr. Young wrote and starred in the feature film Uncle Joe Shannon, wrote and starred in the television movie Daddy, I Don’t Like It Like This, and an episode of Baretta (The Big Hand’s On Trouble) which he guest starred in.  Burt Young also wrote the historical novel ENDINGS, as well as two stage plays (SOS and A Letter to Alicia and the New York City Government from a Man With a Bullet in His Head).  Mr. Young was also an accomplished painter with gallery showings throughout the world.  Some of his paintings appeared in Rocky Balboa when we learned that Paulie also liked to paint.

Some of Burt Young’s television appearances include: The Doctors; MASH; Little House on the Prairie; Baretta (3 episodes); The Rockford Files; Daddy, I Don’t Like It Like This; Miami Vice; The Equalizer; Vendetta: Secrets of a Mafia Bride (6 episodes); Tales from the Crypt; Law & Order; The Last Don (2 episodes); Walker, Texas Ranger (2 episodes); The Sopranos and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

Some of Burt Young’s feature film appearances include: Carnival of Blood; The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight; Across 110th Street; Cinderella Liberty; Chinatown; The Killer Elite; Rocky; Twilight’s Last Gleaming; The Choirboys; Convoy; Uncle Joe Shannon; Rocky II; All the Marbles; Rocky III; Once Upon a Time in America; The Pope of Greenwich Village; Rocky IV; Back to School; Rocky V; Mickey Blue Eyes and Rocky Balboa.

I probably saw Burt Young first on MASH, Baretta or The Rockford Files, but it was his role in Rocky that I always think of first.  From all accounts Burt Young was a kind and gentle soul.  He was a true renaissance man – an actor, author and painter.  He made every production he was in better.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Burt Young’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Lara Parker

Lara Parker, born Mary Lamar Rickey, died October 12th, the result of cancer.  Ms. Parker was 84.

Lara Parker was an actress and author.  After appearing in local plays, Lara decided to go to auditions in New York.  In just her second audition she was cast in the daytime serial Dark Shadows.  Ms. Parker became an instant hit.  Her character was killed off, but her popularity was so great, she was brought back to play different roles.

Lara Parker continued acting on stage, in feature films and on television until 1991.  She then retired and became a teacher.  Ms. Parker also authored four Dark Shadows novels.  In 2012, Lara Parker returned to acting for a role in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie. That led to more acting roles until she again retired in 2016.

Some of Lara Parker’s television appearances include: Dark Shadows (269 episodes); One Life to Live; N.Y.P.D.; Kung Fu; The F.B.I.; Medical Center;  Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law; Police Woman; The Rockford Files; Kolchak, The Night Stalker; S.W.A.T.; Emergency; The Six Million Dollar Man (2 episodes); Kojak (2 episodes); Alice; Washington Behind Closed Doors (6 episodes); The Incredible Hulk; Switch (3 episodes); Baretta; Quincy (2 episodes); Barnaby Jones; Hawaii 5-0 (2 episodes); Mrs. Columbo; Galactica 1980 (2 episodes); The Fall Guy; Manimal; Remington Steele and Highway to Heaven.

Some of Suzanne Somer’s feature film appearances include: Hi, Mom!; Night of Dark Shadows; Save the Tiger; Airport 1975; Race with the Devil; Dark Shadows and Doctor Mabuse.

Like most who were at the right age, I first saw Lara Parker on Dark Shadows. Not many actors/actresses get a huge hit for their first professional work.  My favorite Lara Parker role was in the movie Race with the Devil.  I love that when Lara Parker decided to retire from acting she turned to teaching and writing.  What a multitalented person she was.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Lara Parker’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Suzanne Somers

Suzanne Somers, born Suzanne Mahoney, died today the result of cancer.  Ms. Somers was 76. Suzanne Somers was a model, actress, singer, author and business woman.

When Suzanne Mahoney was 19, she married Bruce Somers.  They had one child and the couple divorced three years later. Suzanne Somers’ career began with her getting modeling gigs and small, often uncredited parts in television shows and movies.  Her big break came when she landed the role of Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company.  The show was an instant hit and made Suzanne Somers a household name.  Ms. Somers stayed with the series through four seasons.

For the rest of her career Suzanne Somers would act in movies and television.  She became a commercial spokesperson for the exercise product Thighmaster.  Suzanne Somers also authored two autobiographies, a book of poetry as well as four diet books.  In 2001, Ms. Somers was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She elected to have a lumpectomy and radiation.  She declined chemotherapy and instead used alternative cancer treatments.  Although criticized by the American Cancer Society and many doctors, Suzanne Somers became a proponent of alternative treatments to chemotherapy.

Some of Suzanne Somer’s television appearances include: The Rockford Files; Sky Heist; One Day at a Time; The Love Boat; Starsky & Hutch (3 episodes); The Six Million Dollar Man; Zuma Beach; Three’s Company (100 episodes); The Ropers; Hollywood Wives (3 episodes); She’s the Sheriff (44 episodes); Sisters; The Larry Sanders Show; The Simpsons and Step-By-Step (160 episodes).

Some of Suzanne Somer’s feature film appearances include: Bullit; Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting; American Graffiti; Magnum Force; Billy Jack Goes to Washington; Nothing Personal and The Nutty Professor.

I first remember seeing Suzanne Somers in a magazine ad.  She was a hot babe on a beach.  Of course I remember her best from Three’s Company.  Although I didn’t regularly watch the show, her fame brought her magazine covers, feature stories and appearances on other shows.  For a while Suzanne Somers was everywhere!  It’s funny because I probably saw her on The Rockford Files, Starsky & Hutch or The Six Million Dollar Man before Three’s Company ever hit the air waves.  But it’s Chrissy Snow that first comes to mind when I think of Suzanne Somers.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Suzanne Somers family, friends and fans.

RIP: Piper Laurie

Piper Laurie, born Rosetta Jacobs, died today.  Ms. Laurie was 91.

In 1949, Piper Laurie was awarded a contract with Universal Studios.  She changed her name to Piper Laurie and used it from then on.  Throughout her career Piper Laurie acted on television, feature films and on stage.

Ms. Laurie was nominated for three Academy Awards: 1962 – Best Actress in a Leading Role for The Hustler; 1976 – Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Carrie; 1987 – Best Actress in a Supporting Role – Children of a Lesser God.

Piper Laurie was nominated for nine Primetime Emmy Awards, winning in 1987 for her role in Promise.

Some of Piper Laurie’s television appearances include: The Best of Broadway; Studio One; Playhouse 90 (2 episodes); Play of the Week; General Electric Theater (3 episodes); Naked City; The United States Steel Hour (2 episodes); Ben Casey; Skag (6 episodes); The Thorn Birds (3 episodes); St. Elsewhere (3 episodes); Hotel; Murder She Wrote; The Twilight Zone (2 episodes); Matlock; Beauty and the Beast; Twin Peaks (27 episodes); ER (2 episodes); Diagnosis Murder; Touched by an Angel; Frasier (2 episodes); Will & Grace; Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and MacGuyver.

Some of Piper Laurie’s feature film appearances include: Louisa; Francis Goes to the Races; Has Anybody Seen My Gal; Ain’t Misbehavin’; The Hustler; Carrie; Ruby; Children of a Lesser God; The Crossing Guard; The Faculty and White Boy Rick.

I first became aware of Piper Laurie in Carrie. For that role she earned a well deserved Academy Award nomination. A few years later I saw her in another Academy Award nominated performance in The Hustler.  That’s probably my favorite Piper Laurie performance, but I always enjoyed seeing her name in the credits for any production.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Piper Laurie’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Mark Goddard

It has been announced that Mark Goddard (born Charles Harvey Goddard) died from pulmonary fibrosis on October 10, 2023.  Mr. Goddard was 87.

Mark Goddard played on state championship baseball and basketball teams in high school.  Mr. Goddard thought he might have a career as a professional basketball player.  While in college he turned to acting.  After moving to Los Angeles he quickly got the co-starring role on the television series Johnny Ringo.  It was at this time he changed his name to Mark Goddard.  Mr. Goddard would continue to work on television and feature films for the rest of his acting career.  After 30 years, Mark Goddard returned to college to get his degree.  He then worked as a special education teacher while occasionally taking on acting roles.

Some of Mark Goddard’s television appearances include: Johnny Ringo (38 episodes); The Rebel; The Detectives (64 episodes); The Rifleman (2 episodes); Burke’s Law; The Beverly Hillbillies; The Virginian; Gunsmoke; Perry Mason (2 episodes); The Fugitive; Many Happy Returns (26 episodes); Lost in Space (84 episodes); Mod Squad (2 episodes); Adam 12; Switch; Petrocelli (2 episodes); The Streets of San Francisco; Quincy; Benson; B.J. and the Bear; Barnaby Jones (4 episodes); One Life to Live (10 episodes); The Doctors (6 episodes); The Fall Guy; General Hospital (11 episodes) and Jake and the Fatman.

Some of Mark Goddard’s feature film appearances include: The Monkey’s Uncle; A Rage to Live; Play It Again, Sam; Roller Boogie; Strange Invaders and Lost in Space.

The first role that comes to mind when I think of Mark Goddard is that of Major Don West on Lost in Space.  I watched that show from the premiere episode.  I was six years old and loved it.  I also think it’s cool that Mr. Goddard became a special education teacher.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mark Goddard’s family, friends and fans.

RIP: Dick Butkus

Dick Butkus died yesterday in his sleep.  Mr. Butkus was 80.

Dick Butkus was born in Chicago.  He played his entire football career in Illinois.

Dick Butkus attended Chicago Vocational High School.  On the football team he played fullback, linebacker, punter, and placekicker.  He averaged 5 yards per carry as a fullback, but preferred to play defense.  He became the first junior to earn the Chicago Sun-Time’s high school player of the year award.

Mr. Butkus attended the University of Illinois, where he played center and linebacker.  He had a stellar college career.  In his freshman year, he made the 1962 All-Big Ten Conference football team.  The following year, he was named the team’s most valuable player. Dick Butkus also earned the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the Big Ten’s most valuable player.  He was also a unanimous choice as center for the 1963 College Football All-America Team,  In 1964, Dick Butkus was named Co-Captain of the team.  UPI named him college football’s Lineman of the Year.  Mr. Butkus was named the Player of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association and The Sporting News. He was also named his college’s most valuable player for the second year in a row. Dick Butkus also earned a spot on the 1964 All-America team.  Although he didn’t win, he was in the running for the Heisman Trophy (as the best college football player) which is extremely rare for a defensive player.

Dick Butkus was the third overall pick in the 1965 NFL draft.  He played his entire 9 year career with the Chicago Bears.  Mr. Butkus was named the AP’s NFL Defensive Player of the Week four times in his career.  He came in 3rd place for the NFL’s Rookie of the Year Award (again, rare for a defensive player).  His rookie year he made the AP’s first-team All-Pro as well as a spot in the Pro Bowl (the first of eight straight).  Dick Butkus was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1969 and 1970.

Dick Butkus’ pro career was cut short due to knee injuries.  He is credited for redefining the middle linebacker position. Some of his honors include:

  • His college jersey number, 50, was retired by the Illinois Fighting Illini.
  • ESPN named Dick Butkus the 70th greatest athlete of the 20th century
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame voters named Dick Butkus to the NFL’s 1960s All-Decade Team
  • Pro Football Hall of Fame voters named Dick Butkus to the NFL’s 1970s All-Decade Team
  • In his first year of eligibility he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979
  • He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1983.
  • The Bears retired Dick Butkus’s No. 51 jersey in 1994
  • NFL Officials & media personnel named Dick Butkus to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1994
  • Named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation’s All-Century Team in 1999
  • The Sporting News named Dick Butkus the 9th Best Player Ever in the NFL in 1999
  • A sculpture of Dick Butkus premiered at Soldier Field among other Chicago Bear greats in 2004
  • Mr. Butkus was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2008
  • Dick Butkus was named the 10th best player ever by the NFL Network in 2010
  • The NY Daily News named Dick Butkus the 8th best NFL player ever in 2014
  • Mr. Butkus was inducted to the Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016
  • Mr. Butkus was named a laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois in 2018
  • Mr. Butkus was awarded the Order of Lincoln, the state’s highest honor, by the Governor of Illinois in 2018
  • NFL Officials & media personnel named Dick Butkus to the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team in 2019

Dick Butkus created the Butkus Foundation to support charitable causes.

After retiring from professional football, Dick Butkus became a broadcaster, actor and was in demand by advertisers to endorse many products.

Some of Dick Butkus’ television appearances include: Brian’s Song; Emergency!; McMillan & Wife; Police Story (2 episodes); The Six Million Dollar Man; The Rockford Files; Rich Man, Poor Man; Wonder Woman; Taxi; Fantasy Island (2 episodes); Vegas; Magnum PI; Matt Houston; The Greatest American Hero; Simon & Simon; Blue Thunder (11 episodes); The Love Boat; Murder She Wrote; Half Nelson (7 episodes); Night Court (2 episodes); Matlock; Growing Pains; My Two Dads (27 episodes); MacGuyver (3 episodes); Coach (2 episodes); Hang Time (52 episodes) and The Bernie Mac Show.

Some of Dick Butkus’ feature film appearances include: Mother, Jugs & Speed; Gus; Johnny Dangerously; Gremlins 2; Necessary Roughness; The Last Boy Scout and Any Given Sunday.

Dick Butkus was my favorite football player when I was a kid.  I was a Chicago Bears fan and Mr. Butkus is a big reason for that.  I loved his style of play.  When he retired, I enjoyed seeing him in the broadcast booth or popping up in a movie, television show or commercial.  You can imagine the smile I had when I watched ROCKY for the first time and saw that his dog was named Butkus.  I also appreciate that Mr. Butkus backed several charitable causes.  What a life he lived.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dick Butkus’ family, friends and fans.

RIP: David McCallum

David McCallum died yesterday at the age of 90.

David McCallum’s parents were professional musicians. For a while it appeared that David might follow in their footsteps.  He studied music for a short time.  After serving in the British Army’s 3rd Battalion (he was born in Glasgow, Scotland), Mr. McCallum attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

David McCallum had been getting roles in both television and feature films when his breakout role came. He was cast as Russian agent Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Although the show was conceived as a showcase for Robert Vaughn to play a James Bond-like spy, the audience loved the chemistry between Vaughn and McCallum.  David McCallum was elevated from occasional guest to the show’s co-star.  Critics also loved Mr. McCallum in this role.  He was nominated for two Emmy awards during the series four year run.  The Man from U.N.C.L.E remained so popular that in 1983, David McCallum returned to the role for a television movie titled, The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E..

David McCallum’s popularity was such that he released four record albums during the run of The Man from U.N.C.L.E..  Unlike many stars of the era, Mr. McCallum did not sing on his records.  Instead he wrote some of the compositions, conducted their arrangements and played various instruments as well.

After The Man from U.N.C.L.E ended Mr. McCallum continued to act on television and in feature films.  In 2003, he earned the role of Dr. Donald “Ducky” Mallard on the popular series NCIS.  He was a cast member until his death.

Some of David McCallum’s television appearances include: The Rose and the Ring (3 episodes); Our Mutual Friend (10 episodes); The Eustace Diamonds (6 episodes); Emma (5 episodes); Armchair Theater (2 episodes); The Travels of Jamie McPheeters; Perry Mason; The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (105 episodes); The Outer Limits (2 episodes); Please Don’t Eat the Daises; Night Gallery; Marcus Welby; The Six Million Dollar Man; Frankenstein: The True Story; Colditz (26 episodes); The Invisible Man (13 episodes); Kidnapped (13 episodes); Sapphire & Steel (34 episodes); Hart to Hart; The Return of the Man from U.N.C.L.E.; As the World Turns; The A-Team; Matlock; Alfred Hitchcock Presents; The Return of Sam McCloud; Murder, She Wrote (2 episodes); Masterpiece Mysteries (3 episodes); Cluedo (6 episodes); Trainer (23 episodes); Law & Order; The Outer Limits; Sex and the City; The Education of Max Bickford (9 episodes); JAG (2 episodes); The Replacements (67 episodes); NCIS: New Orleans (2 episodes) and NCIS (457 episodes).

Some of David McCallum’s feature film appearances include: Hell Drivers; A Night to Remember; Billy Budd; The Great Escape; The Greatest Story Ever Told; The Spy with My Face; The Spy in the Green Hat and The Watcher in the Woods.

My favorite David McCallum role is on The Man from U.N.C.L.E..  Like all the kids my age, we thought he was the coolest.  The fact that Mr. McCallum was so popular playing a Russian spy at the height of the cold war is amazing.  I am also in awe of the fact that David McCallum was able to stay a working actor for decades. That is a testament to his acting ability.

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