This Day in Death

10.13.12: Actor and Miss America Pageant Host Gary Collins – DEAD!

Filed under: Uncategorized —James @ 8:29 pm October 16, 2012

Probably the best part of hosting the Miss America pageant is getting to help dedicated young women realize their dreams. Probably the second best thing is stealing as many used swimsuits as you can hide under your cummerbund.


Notable television actor Gary Collins died on Saturday, which is the kind of thing that might mean something to you if your television is one of those ones that can receive broadcast signals and isn’t just a refrigerator box with Dr. Pepper caps for knobs. It’s just supposed to be a conversation piece, get off my back.

Oh shit, here comes TMZ, everybody lower your brows:

Collins’ resumé is a mile long … having appeared on episodes of such hit shows as “Fantasy Island,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Alice,” “The Love Boat,” “Police Story” … the list goes on.

Collins was also known for hosting the talk show “Hour Magazine” and from 1980-1988 and hosted the Miss America Pageant from 1985-1989.

He married former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley in 1967 and the couple had one child together. They separated last year.

I imagine some poor editor had to remove at least five hyperbolic uses of the word “literally” just to get that published. Explaining grammar to those troglodytes must be the worst job in the world.  “But chief! His resume really WAS a mile long! I sawr it, I did!”

Anyway, I’m sure it looks good on paper, but be careful marrying beauty pageant winners. For one thing, they get extremely snippy when you use their sash as toilet paper. Listen, your majesty; If I knew this relationship was gonna require me to remember a bunch of arbitrary rules I would’ve just kept picking up chicks at the VD clinic like normal people do.

Source: TMZ

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9.6.12: NFL Team Owner Art Modell – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:40 am September 7, 2012

Ha! That dog’s wearing pants!!


As I’ve said before, we don’t do sports posts too often around here because if I really felt the need to see a bunch of angry rich white guys tell a bunch of black guys what to do I’ll just rewatch “Roots.” But it’s Friday and I don’t feel like looking for anything else today so we’re doing this thing on Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell anyway. You should be lucky I’m even bothering to put up original content; Normally by this point in the week I’m just copying and pasting bits from David Niven’s autobiography and passing them off as my own.

Anyway, Modell was a once-popular and hugely influential team owner who became a pariah to the great (?) state (??) of Ohio when he moved the Browns to Baltimore. My broheims down at Buffalo Wild Wings insist it’s a fascinating story. But I don’t care about any of that so I’m just going to skim this issue of “Cat Fancy” while you read a boring ass block quote.

For 31 years, from 1962 to 1993, he represented National Football League owners in negotiations with television networks that generated $8.4 billion for the league and gave fans at home a coast-to-coast succession of games, turning Sunday afternoons, Monday nights and eventually Sunday nights into lost weekends for the most ardent fans. An innovative, relentless promoter, Mr. Modell even toyed with Friday night football.

Let’s skip ahead to what would be the 35-minute mark if this were an episode of “Behind the Music.” God, I wish this were an episode of “Behind the Music.”

But all that came crashing down in 1995 when Mr. Modell announced that, having lost $21 million in the previous two seasons, he would move the Browns to Baltimore for 1996.

Wounded Cleveland shrieked betrayal. There were street protests, an avalanche of hate mail and death threats against Mr. Modell. Sportswriters reviled him. At the final home game, beer bottles and seats torn from their moorings rained down on the field.

GRRRRR FOOTBAAALL!!! Oh, Cleveland! You truly are Ohio’s Detroit. I dunno, guys… maybe hang your city’s financial future on something other than the stability of roving bands of ‘roided up living Nike billboards and their vamprific handlers. Didn’t you guys used to have a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or have the rat kings pretty much laid their claim by now?

Alright, well, I’m done here for the week. The only thing I’ve got left in the tank is “Fart Modell.” Yup. You stayed til the end for a flatulence joke. Go ahead and ruminate on that until my new shipment of snark arrives for Monday.


Source: The NY Times

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7.27.12: Norman Alden, Allegedly Notable Person – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:06 am August 1, 2012

Pictured: A man who existed [citation needed].


Let’s just… let’s just get right to this.

Norman Alden, an instantly recognizable character actor who recurred on TV series including “My Three Sons” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” and sported more than 200 credits in film and television, died of natural causes in Los Angeles on July 27. He was 87.

Admittedly, that’s quite prolific, but I’m still not putting anything together here. Either this guy was the goddamn invisible ninja master of film or I’ve been huffing too much Rustoleum. Keep ’em coming, Block Quote…

Alden guested on a vast array of series, including “The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show,” “The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin,” “Perry Mason,” “The Untouchables,” “Bonanza,” “The Smothers Brothers Show,” “The Mod Squad,” “Kung Fu,” “Gunsmoke,” “Alice,” “Dallas,” “The Rockford Files,” “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island,” “Falcon Crest” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

His other appearances on the bigscreen included roles in Jerry Lewis films “The Nutty Professor” and “The Patsy,” Sonny and Cher starrer “Good Times,” “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” “Kansas City Bomber” (he had once skated in roller derby), “Semi-Tough” (he was the football coach), “Back to the Future,” “Ed Wood” (he played Woods’ cameraman), “Patch Adams” and “K-PAX.” In “Back to the Future,” he played Lou Carruthers, owner of a diner in 1955 and of an aerobics center in 1985.

Well, okay. The Back to the Future thing, maybe… I’ll be honest, that entire resume looks like stuff I *should* recognize but absolutely do not. I feel like I pissed off an elderly indian shaman and woke up in some parallel universe where everything is mostly the same but just a bit off. I half expect to see fish flying through the sky and then learn that our holiest tradition is getting together with our families to watch Bicentennial Man every Christmas. Is there something, anything at all that I can definitively place this man in?

A celebration of the life of Norman Alden, voice of Aquaman, will be held in Los Angeles in August and another in Fort Worth, Texas in September.


A celebration of the life of Norman Alden, voice of Aquaman


voice of Aquaman



Oh thank God. Thus concludes the least notable entry I’ve ever written. No offense to Skippy Jeffers or whatever his name was, I’m sure he was the perfect blank template for “ruggedly handsome actor,” but I’d probably get more hits from writing about that horse at the fair that plays Tic Tac Toe. Believe you me, that horse is gonna be HUGE one day.

Sources: Variety and The Inquisitr

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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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7.24.12: 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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5.21.12: Polka Icon Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr. – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:30 am May 28, 2012

Weird Al could not be reached for comment, presumably because he was busy writing a song about eating a lot. That’s gonna be a good one.


If you’re a big fan of polka music you’re most likely just a hipster doing it ironically and I hate you for that. But I kinda have to pretend I don’t, because you’re the only ones who would know who Eddie Blazonczyk, Sr. is, and this whole post really hinges on that. So, I dunno, man, maybe let’s go have a couple PBRs down at the Empty Bottle some time.

Anyway, now that we’re cool, it’s time to report that Blazoncyzk died last week of natural causes. The Chicago Tribune actually has a surprisingly interesting write-up, which opens with a line that made me laugh for reasons I can’t quite explain:

To anyone who followed polka music in Chicago and across America…

…I’m listening…

…Eddie Blazonczyk Sr. was the king.

As a Grammy-winning recording artist, radio broadcaster, record-label owner and perpetually traveling performer, Blazonczyk served as self-made nexus for all things polka.

That’s right: He was the Nexus of Polka. You know, like how Friar Ludvik Wenceslas of Olomouc is known as the Black Hole of Gregorian Chanting. And if that joke holds together under scrutiny it’s officially more cohesive than anything I wrote in my 400 level East European Studies course.

“He had his own publishing company, started his label, he had a music school and he was constantly touring with the Versatones,” added Blazonczyk Jr., referencing a band that flourished from the early 1960s until last December.

“He was a one-man enterprise for this music.”

In addition to the 1986 Grammy Blazonczyk won for “Another Polka Celebration,” he received more than a dozen Grammy nominations as well as one of this country’s most prestigious cultural honors, a National Heritage Fellowship, presented by then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1998.

“Polka was his life,” said Sturr. “People look down on our music … because they don’t know one thing about it. The only think they know is that their parents and their grandparents liked it, so they don’t like it.”

That’s true. I also don’t like tuxedo cats. If an animal without opposable thumbs can dress nicer than me without even trying I take it as a threat. But this isn’t about what animals do or do not make me uncomfortable. This is about finally showing some respect for a genre of music that’s been unfairly maligned for years, which is totally something I would take the time to do if it weren’t for Kohl’s Memorial Day Outerwear Sale, going on RIGHT NOW! Hey, you want me to post on a holiday, this is what happens.

Source: The Chicago Tribune

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5.20.12: Eugene Polly, Inventor of the Television Remote – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:25 am May 24, 2012

Despite being almost 60 years old, the original “Flash-Matic” bears an uncanny resemblance to the new “Flesh-Matic” I just ordered. (That’s the first of two masturbation jokes contained in this post, as required by state law.)


Zenith engineer Eugene Polly is dead today at the age of 96. In 1955 Polly created the first ever television remote control, the invention that’s enabled the lifestyles of diabetic cat ladies, morbidly obese shut-ins, and 12-year-old me’s who were able to watch unscrambled porn for just a second by rapidly flipping channels back and forth. God, masturbation used to be such a hassle. I can hardly believe there was a time before we had simple closed-circuit cameras hidden in our neighbors’ bedrooms. We really take our luxuries for granted, is my point.

John Taylor says the former Zenith engineer died of natural causes Sunday at a suburban Chicago hospital. He was 96.

Couch potatoes everywhere have Polley to thank for hours of feet-up, channel surfing. His invention began as a luxury, but has become a necessity in an era of hundreds of TV channels and home theaters. Just ask anyone who’s lost a remote.Polley’s 1955 Flash-Matic pointed a beam of light at photo cells in the corners of the screen. This activated the picture and sound and changed channels.

Polley and fellow Zenith engineer Robert Adler were honored in 1997 with an Emmy for their work in pioneering TV remotes.

That’s all pretty impressive until you find out that he was actually trying to create a death ray. To use on minorities, one could logically assume. What a monster!

Source: NY Daily News

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5.11.12: Local Strip-Club Patron/Pervert – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:55 am May 23, 2012

Eyewitness reports that the man once scored four touchdowns in a single game remain unconfirmed.


Well, nobody famous that I care about died today, so that means it’s time to mock a private citizen. It’s a little something called journalistic integrity.

A 67-year-old man died after enjoying a number of lap dances at a strip club.

Robert Gene White, from El Paso County, Texas, was at the Red Parrot strip club on Friday night.

Manager of the club said the elderly man had been getting lap dances, but when it came to paying the dancers, he was unresponsive.

Employees tried to perform CPR on White and when that didn’t work they called emergency responders.

He was take to a local hospital where he was declared dead from natural causes.

I’m doing pretty well for myself nowadays, if this construction paper top hat is any indication. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to save money wherever you can, and White had a pretty solid situation going here. I mean, not the dying thing. Or the living in Texas thing, for that matter. Lord no. I’m still hoping that somehow the entire state is just an insanely intricate set for some unfinished Kurosawa film about cows.

No, I’m talking about faking your death and having a couple of fun-loving buddies haul you out of the club, Weekend at Bernie’s style, when the issue of payment comes up. It may not work, but I’ve gotta try something. I used to write strip clubs off as a medical expense but I think my CPA is dangerously close to discovering that “chronic bonerrhaging” has a spotty history in the healthcare community.


Source: Mail Online

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5.4.12: Game Show Producer Bob Stewart – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:54 am May 11, 2012

“To Tell the Truth, this smells like Mark Goodson’s wife! Haha! I have serious sociological issues!”


Television game show producer Bob Stewart, the man behind To Tell the Truth, Password (the boring, SFW version) and The Price is Right has died at the age of 91. He actually died last Friday, so I probably should’ve reported on this earlier, but there’s been a glut of deaths over the last week. Putting any more effort into this blog would have been dangerously similar to having a real job, and if I wanted that I never would’ve slashed the tires of my shift manager at Quizno’s. I’M NOT WEARING A HAIRNET, DEBRA! IT’S HOW I EXPRESS MYSELF!

In 1964, Stewart started his own production entity and during the next 28 years created and produced 15 network series, highlighted by the Pyramid franchise. Hosted by Dick Clark, The $10,000Pyramid and its various bigger-money incarnations collected nine Emmys for best game show.

A native of Brooklyn who entered the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 2009, Stewart landed his first show business job after World War II as a writer for WNEW-AM New York. He entered television in the early 1950s, writing, producing and directing for several New York broadcasters.

Stewart’s big career break came during a 1956 meeting with Goodson, during which he pitched the concepts for Price Is Right and To Tell the Truth. He created Password five years later.

Good times, good times. The 50s were truly the golden age of crooked game shows. How the hell are today’s coked-up producers supposed to rig concepts like  ‘Howie Mandel lets high school dropouts arbitrarily choose suitcases from random skanks’? That shit is chaos theory. Wait, is that show still on the air? I don’t think it is. That’s sad, all those people out of work. It’s always the skanks that suffer.


Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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5.9.12: Hair Stylist Vidal Sassoon – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:10 am May 10, 2012

Apparently when you’re an eccentric fashionsta you can show up to a photo shoot dressed like a character from A Clockwork Orange and nobody says a goddamn thing.


Famed hair stylist and inventor of the “bob” hairstyle Vidal Sassoon has died at the age of 84. Sassoon suffered from leukemia, so his official cause of death is being reported as natural causes. Obviously. And while I want to be sympathetic about this, here’s the first line of the article:

HE WAS a rock star, an artist, a man who changed the world with a pair of scissors.

Firstly, none of those things are true. I don’t even think that last part is possible. But more importantly, I have a little rule around these parts: Any time you refer to a person as a “rock star” who isn’t an actual rock star, I mouthfart through your entire obituary. Set the timer, Block Quote!


He opened his own Bond Street salon in 1958, and there created his trademark geometric, “Bauhaus-inspired” hair style – the bob. He went on to turn hairstyling into a multi-million-dollar industry.

“I gave myself five years. If I couldn’t change anything, I was out of there,” he once told the LA Times.

“When I first came into hair, women were coming in and you’d place a hat on their hair and you’d dress their hair around it. We learned to put discipline in the haircuts by using actual geometry, actual architectural shapes and bone structure. The cut had to be perfect and layered beautifully, so that when a woman shook it, it just fell back in.”

His many famous clients during the Sixties included model Jean Shrimpton, actors Terence Stamp and Mia Farrow and the Duchess of Bedford, model Jean Shrimpton, actor Terence Stamp and fashion designer Mary Quant, who called him the “Chanel of hair”.


That may’ve been a record. And now, here is a list of things I have, at one time or another, assumed “Vidal Sassoon” was:

  • A loveable Dr. Seuss character
  • German for “the bassoon”
  • Some kind of exotic species of reptile
  • An efficiently-designed office chair from IKEA
  • The phrase you have to say to send Mister Mxyzptlk back to his home dimension
  • A less than stellar French wine


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