This Day in Death

7.27.12: Crooner Tony Martin – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 11:20 pm July 31, 2012

“He was America’s proto-Trololo Guy of the 1940s!” said a person who was probably me, just now.

Singer and actor Tony Martin is dead today at the age of 98, which is really a shame because once you reach 100 they give you a skeleton key to every executive washroom in the country. It’s true!

Martin made popular such old timey hits as “There’s No Tomorrow,” “I Get Ideas,” and “Let’s Not Make Such a Big Deal About Occasional Spousal Abuse.” Obviously I made one of those up, but you may be surprised to find out which one.

In 1941, in one of the high points of his screen career, he serenaded Judy Garland, Hedy Lamarr and Lana Turner as they floated down a staircase in a number staged by Busby Berkeley in MGM’s “Ziegfeld Girl.”

Helpful note: “Serenaded” was 1940s innuendo for “boned.” People back then also used to call hamburgers “slammers” and any doll who took a powder to go share crop with some ducky shincracker got herself drawn and quartered on the steps of the town hall. Ugh. Sorry for all the lies today. It’s really become a problem lately.

Source: The New York Times

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7.27.12: Don Perry, Chick-fil-A Vice President of PR – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:18 am July 30, 2012

Perry’s final words were something about how Arby’s Corporate Communications VP John Gray was “a little skunk-dicked bitch.” Dude really took his work home with him, I guess.

Between publicizing their controversial stance on gay marriage, losing their Muppet endorsement (Fozzy is into some shit that can generously be described as “anti-Christian”), lying about said lost endorsement and allegedly creating fake Facebook accounts to defend themselves, few companies can claim to be having the kind of banner year that Chick-fil-A has been experiencing. That banner, of course, reads “throw a lawn dart at my scrotum.”

And now their Public Relations VP, Don Perry, has just up and died. Look, here’s the thing: We don’t get into politics or religion here at the TDiD for the simple reason that the things you, the public, say and believe are totally stupid. If you knew the first thing about anything you wouldn’t have dropped out of community college, you wouldn’t have gotten a calve tattoo of a character from a movie, you wouldn’t refer to baseball caps as “lids,” and you damn sure wouldn’t be reading this dodgy blog.

But, despite all of that, and despite my unwillingness to court easy hits by attacking a company that everyone else is already pigpiling onto for doing the kind of ugly shit that most other companies do every day, it has to be said: Have you Chick-fil-A guys entertained the notion that God maybe thinks you’re kinda dicks? It might not even be the gay thing. Maybe it’s the goofy name that defies all laws of grammar and syntax. Or maybe it’s the creepy way that all of your employees say “my pleasure” every time they do something for you, like some kind of dead-eyed Ned Flanders cabal. Point is, this isn’t normal. The solution will either be a lot of soul-searching and hard work, or, and this is just my personal preference here, petty appeasement to the whims of the id-driven masses. For instance, with Perry gone, you’ll need a new spokesperson. How about hiring a sexy young red-head like Wendy’s did? I swear, that firecracker could dump a vial of anthrax into my Berry Almond Chicken Salad right in front of me and I’d still beg for her number. Hell, if anything that would make me *more* inclined to hit on her. I like ’em feisty.

Source: CBS News

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7.24.12: “Medical Center” Star Chad Everett – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:45 pm July 26, 2012

Paging Doctor Irresistible! I think we may need to perform an emergency handsomectomy, stat! *sigh*

So Chad Everett, star of Medical Center, is dead today. He died of cancer because of course cancer. You know, in a way, jumping out of a skyscraper and shooting up at a helicopter full of secret agents as you plummet to your death could also be considered a kind of cancer. That’s not what happened this time, though. I’ll keep you posted.

Mr. Everett said he insisted that all the procedures depicted on Medical Center be performed as authentically as possible.

“I needed to know we were doing things right,” he told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times in 1994. “We always had one, sometimes two or three, technical advisers on the set.”

In the same interview, Mr. Everett pointed out that the show addressed many subjects that were considered controversial at the time.

“We took on unfair insurance and employment practices,” he said, “and we did shows on alcoholism, transsexualism and homosexuality, among others.”

Well la di da, Captain Method Acting. I’m sure that all sounds impressive, until you see the pilot I’m working on: It’s a hard-boiled hospital drama that deals with real life issues, in much the same way that Medical Center did. The social commentary, the complex interrelationships, the moral and ethical ambiguity, all of it fraught with the kind of sexual tension you normally can only find in a Finnish bathhouse. But here’s the twist: The cast? All wild South American Howler Monkeys. You might be asking, “How would a bunch of monkeys manage to hold such esteemed positions in a real world environment, not to mention possess the cognitive abilities to get through medical school in the first place?” Those are the kinds of nuts and bolts I leave for the rewrite room. I’m just the big picture guy here.

Source: Washington Post

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7.24.12: Sherman Hemsley, Television’s George Jefferson – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:05 am July 25, 2012

Tripping. BALLS.


Sherman Hemsley, best known for his portrayal of George Jefferson in “The Jeffersons,” as well as for his groundbreaking work in 90s historical documentary series “Dinosaurs,” has died at the age of 74. I guess you might say he’s finally coming to join Elizabeth, am I right?! Wait, that was Red Foxx. Shit, I’m racist now, aren’t I?

The actor, who first played the role in All in the Family – going head to bigoted head with Carroll O’Connor’s Archie Bunker – went on to embody a softer character, Deacon Ernest Frye on TV’s Amen.

Less than two years after Hemsley made his television debut, he and All in the Family costar Isabel Sanford were given their own spin-off in The Jeffersons. The series earned Hemsley Emmy and Golden Globe nominations in 1984 and 1985 respectively.

Interesting fun facts: Hemsley had no children, no wife, dropped out of high school to join the Air Force, played jazz keyboards, and was a huge fan of 70s prog rock. Basically, he was way cooler than you ever assumed, which is why I don’t find the life-sized poster of Hemsley hanging over my bed to be weird at all. Sometimes I just like to imagine him laying down a 14-minute improvisational Moog solo in the middle of “I’ve Seen All Good People.” Do I find it somewhat sexual? That’s really not relevant either way. Now get the hell off of my blog.

Source: People

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7.23.12: Sally Ride, the First American Woman in Space – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 4:57 pm July 24, 2012

Ride, seen here hanging out with Oscar the Grouch’s girlfriend Grundgetta shortly before what must’ve been the freakiest threesome ever.


You know, ever since the beginning of this paragraph, I’ve wanted to be an astronaut. Unfortunately I failed the written exam, because apparently NASA is only interested in the kind of intellectual elitists who own bookshelves that aren’t just painted onto the wall. The kind of freaks who actually read the informational plaques at the zoo. Stop trying to show off, Einstein. I just came here to assert my dominance by throwing rocks at caged animals, not get my zoology master’s.

Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space, died on Monday at her home in San Diego. She was 61.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, her company, Sally Ride Science, announced on its Web site.

Dr. Ride, a physicist who was accepted into the space program in 1978 after she answered a newspaper ad for astronauts, flew on the shuttle Challenger on June 18, 1983, and on a second mission in 1984.

Hang on, what was that?

…after she answered a newspaper ad for astronauts…

1978 must have been a very VERY different time, because if I saw that ad today I would be 10,000% certain that it had something to do with covertly recruiting people to run a meth lab. I like that NASA in the 70s pretty much took the same approach to sending people into outer space that I used for selling my futon.

Anyway, it’s worth noting that Ride was not only the first American woman in space, but, at 32, also the youngest. She was not, however, the first woman in space. That honor goes to Valentina Tereshkova. Also, contrary to some misinformation floating around out there, she was not the first breakdancer in space. That was, of course, Carlos “Laser Legs” Lopez. That may seem trivial, but keep in mind: Space is fucking boring. In fact, some history books claim that Lopez’s anti-gravity pop and lock was the only thing that kept our brave men and women from dying of space ennui.


Source: New York Times

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7.19.12: “SNL” Writer Jim Davis – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:35 am July 23, 2012

Well, next to that livewire Franken who *wouldn’t* look bland?


Comedic writer Jim Davis is dead today, and, nope, it’s still not the “Garfield” guy. I guess you’ll be leaving now, huh? Alright, we’ll try again tomorrow, I suppose. I’m going to continue anyway, mostly because this blog has become the source of a bizarre strain of self-esteem for me.

This Jim Davis was actually the comedy partner of Al Franken. Together the duo helped define the tone of “Saturday Night Live” during its nascent years. To add some context, without Davis we may never have seen the likes of “Stuart Saves His Family” or the “Coneheads” movie, and that’s a bleak world none of us want to live in. Hmm. You know, sometimes even *I* can’t tell if I’m being sarcastic or not.

Longtime SNL writer Jim Downey praised Davis’ unique sense of humor.

“His ideas, unlike most ideas you hear, seemed to come out of nowhere, impossible either to predict, or to reverse-engineer,” Downey said in a statement. “He was a loyal friend, a generous and supportive collaborator and utterly unthreatened by the success or talent of those around him. His old pals have known for some time that this day was coming, but still it’s hard to accept that he’s now no longer out there, somewhere, thinking those crazy thoughts that no one else would think.”

All in all, things worked out respectably for the Davis and Franken team. Davis never received widespread acclaim, but he lived a life of quiet dignity and played a pivotal role in the formation of one of America’s premier comedy institutions while Al Franken is currently a Minnesota senator. In a related story, I’m pretty sure Melanie Hutsell made my sausage and egg breakfast sandwich at Dunkin’ Donuts this morning. Ha! That course in spiteful juxtapositions at the adult education center just paid for itself.


Source: Hollywood Reporter

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7.17.12: Columnist William Raspberry – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:34 am July 20, 2012

His was the most delicious-sounding byline of them all, even moreso than senior political analyst Joseph H. Boysenberry, who was a total dick anyway.


William Raspberry, social columnists for the Washington Post, is dead today at the age of 76. Raspberry was a thoughtful and reasoned thinker who rarely let ideologies determine the trajectory of his beliefs, and that’s why I hated him. It really throws the kind of work I’m doing here into sharp relief. Take it back to North Korea, comrade!

In another column, Mr. Raspberry appeared, at first glance, to deliver a rant about hip-hop music. But he made an unexpected turn, showing how tastes in music reflected the changing realities of young people’s lives.

“My children . . . easily tick off four, five, six friends who have died in the past few years,” he wrote. “Three were homicides — shot down either over drugs or over some offense that would have cost a member of my generation a bloody nose at most.

“ . . . And we worry about song lyrics?”

Provocative columns like that, often centering around a largely apolitical view of modern society, earned him the nickname of Black Andy Rooney. Alright, I’m the only one who called him that. Now I’m just scrounging for fodder here. You might be wondering, did I start writing this post under the assumption that it was going to be about the inventor of the mouth fart, and then realize I was wrong but didn’t feel like looking for a different topic because Futurama is on right now and I’d rather go pay attention to that instead? Well, if you’re gonna hurl wild accusations like that at me then I’ll just end this post right now. There. You brought this on yourselves, you know.

Source: The Washington Post

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7.16.12: Deep Purple Founder Jon Lord – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:50 am July 19, 2012

Well, sure, I’d assume keyboard players *would* “do it with their organs,” but I hardly think that’s the kind of information that needs to be on a bumper sticker.


Break out your most solemn bull shirt, because Deep Purple founder and keyboardist Jon Lord is dead today of pancreatic cancer. Lord’s best-known composition is Deep Purple’s stoner rock anthem “Smoke on the Water,” and if you’re currently in your late 30s it’s probably the song you were conceived to. And I bet it was nasty as all hell that night. Just a disgusting buffet of damp, stringy hair, sallow skin, buttplugs drenched in bongwater, all taking place under the watchful eye of a PBR-stained grim reaper black light poster. Good luck keeping that little mental time capsule from forcing its way back into your frontal lobe while you’re trying to watch “The Dark Knight Rises” this weekend.

Lord also worked with Whitesnake, who— and this is just coming down the line right now— were terrible. That news again: Whitesnake, 80s rockers and drifters who were born to walk alone— just an awful, awful band. Rest assured, I’ll be up all night chasing down the details of this exciting and controversial development!

Source: LA Times

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7.16.12: Country Music Icon Kitty Wells – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:59 am July 18, 2012

Well, that’s a funny looking vacuum cleaner, baby.


Long before music went to hell and Gwen Stefani got away with murdering Adam Yauch, there were brassy dames like Kitty Wells. In the 1950s Wells became the first female country star following the success of her hit, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.”

Wells laid a template for female singers in country music that started a shift in traditional male-female roles in rural America with “Honky Tonk Angels,” a strikingly assertive response to Hank Thompson’s masive 1952 hit “The Wild Side of Life,”…

“And it was totally written by a dude,” added the Mayor of Irony.

Alright, that’s not fair. Writing and performing your own hits wasn’t common for anyone at the time, so the most a performer could hope to do was to use their voice (literally and metaphorically) to help make a song relatable, which Wells more than managed to do. That’s the real reason she became known as the “Queen of Country,” and despite the fact that my classmates gave me that same nickname after my 8th grade talent show performance of “Stand By Your Man,” I don’t even think they knew who Kitty Wells was. So, really, that just made THEM look stupid, not me.

The stern resolution Wells gave voice to would be echoed in subsequent recordings by Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and still ripples today in assertive songs by Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood.

It’s a legacy that you can still feel in the air every time Taylor Swift awkwardly swings her strangely angular shoulders into the studio to record another 12 songs about getting to kiss a boy. I think country music might actually be evolving backwards. By 2015 I expect most country songs to be about how women should learn to move less while sleeping so as not to disturb their husbands while they’re trying to focus on banging underage Korean prostitutes.

Source: LA Times

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7.16.12: “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” Author Stephen R. Covey – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:30 am July 17, 2012

Contrary to my initial skimming, Habit #4 is not “Start a novelty blog.”


Author Stephen R. Covey is dead today as a result of complications suffered from a bicycle accident last year. No word yet on whether or not it was one of those joke bikes with an ejector seat, but it was totally one of those.

Covey is best known as the man behind the self-help book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” And now he’s dead, so you see where that gets you. You buy this book and 50 years later you still end up dead, like Covey or Hitler or that dog from the Taco Bell commercials. That’s the big secret those fat cats at Simon & Schuster are trying to hide. I’ve cracked your sleazy little game, riding high on the hog from all of those “Alice in Blunderland” royalties and selling us false hope from your diamond-encrusted mansions with not one but *two* functional bathrooms and few to no silverfish infestations. You’ve strayed from your roots, malevolent publishing executive I just imagined!

Covey was “one of the world’s foremost leadership authorities, organizational experts and thought leaders,” according to a biography posted on the website of his 2011 book, “The 3rd Alternative.”

Other best-sellers by Covey include “First Things First,” “Principle-Centered Leadership,” and “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness,” according to the biography.

In a slightly creepy bit of cross-pollination, Covey’s son authored a spin-off entitled, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” which is basically just filled with subtle variations of “Get two chicks to mash their boobs together in front of you.” Man, that’d be so hot.

Source: CNN

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