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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

J.L. Chestnut died he was 77

J.L. Chestnut (1930 - September 30, 2008) was an author, attorney, and a figure in the U.S. Civil Rights Movement. He was the first African-American attorney in Selma, Alabama, and the author of the autobiographical book, Black in Selma, which chronicles the history of the civil rights struggle in Selma, including Bloody Sunday.
Chestnut was born in Selma, and attended law school at Howard University. He returned home to become Selma's first and only black attorney, and represented civil rights demonstrators at trial there when the movement began in the 1960s.

Chestnut brought Sanders and his wife, Faya Rose Toure, both blacks who graduated from Harvard Law School, into his Selma law practice. It became active in civil rights case and defended blacks in major voter fraud prosecutions brought by the Justice Department in west Alabama in the 1980s.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman Dies at 83

Paul Newman Died
January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008

Paul Leonard Newman Newman was born in Shaker Heights, Ohio Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian and auto racing enthusiast.
Newman was married twice. His first marriage was to Jackie Witte[11] and lasted from 1949 to 1958. Together they had a son, Scott (1950), and two daughters, Susan Kendall (1953) and Stephanie.[11] Scott Newman, who died in November 1978 from an accidental drug overdose,[18] appeared in the films Breakheart Pass, The Towering Inferno and the 1977 film Fraternity Row. Newman started the Scott Newman Center for drug abuse prevention in memory of his son.[19] Susan is a documentary filmmaker and philanthropist and has Broadway and screen credits, including a starring role as one of four Beatles fans in 1978's I Wanna Hold Your Hand. She also received an Emmy nomination as co-producer of his telefilm, The Shadow Box. Newman had eight grandchildren, all by his daughters.

Newman married actress Joanne Woodward on January 29, 1958. They had three daughters: Elinor "Nell" Teresa (1959), Melissa "Lissy" Stewart (1961), and Claire "Clea" Olivia (1965). Newman directed Elinor (stage name Nell Potts) in the central role alongside her mother in the film The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.

Newman lived away from the Hollywood environment. He made his home quietly in Westport, Connecticut, took a monogamous stance toward marriage, and was devoted to his wife and family. When asked about infidelity, he quipped, "Why go out for hamburger when you have steak at home?"[20][21][22]

Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent generation. Newman starred in Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977) and The Verdict (1982). He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973).

He appeared with his wife, Joanne Woodward, in the feature films The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Rally 'Round the Flag, Boys!, (1958), From the Terrace (1960), Paris Blues (1961), A New Kind of Love (1963), Winning (1969), WUSA (1970), The Drowning Pool (1975), Harry & Son (1984) and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990). They also both starred in the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but did not have any scenes together.

In addition to starring in and directing Harry & Son, Newman also directed four feature films (in which he did not act) starring Woodward. They were Rachel, Rachel (1968), based on Margaret Laurence's A Jest of God, the screen version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972), the television screen version of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Shadow Box (1980) and a screen version of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie (1987).

25 years after "The Hustler", Newman reprised his role of "Fast" Eddie Felson in the Martin Scorsese directed The Color of Money (1986) for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

In 2003, he appeared in a Broadway theatre revival of Thornton Wilder's Our Town. He received his first Tony Award nomination for his performance. PBS and the cable network Showtime aired a taping of the production, and Newman was nominated for an Emmy Award, for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie.

His last screen appearance was as a conflicted mob boss in the 2002 film Road to Perdition opposite Tom Hanks, although he continued to provide voice work for films. In keeping with his strong interest in car racing, he provided the voice of Doc Hudson, a retired race car in Disney/Pixar's Cars. Similarly, he served as narrator for the 2007 film Dale, about the life of the legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.

Newman announced that he would entirely retire from acting on May 25, 2007. He stated that he didn't feel he could continue acting on the level that he would want to.

Paul Newman at an announcement for a new Hole in the Wall Camp in Carnation, Washington in 2007 With writer A.E. Hotchner, Newman founded Newman's Own, a line of food products, in 1982. The brand started with salad dressing, and has expanded to include pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, and salsa, and wine among other things. Newman donates the proceeds, after taxes, to charity. As of early 2006, the franchise has resulted in excess of $200 million in donations.[3] He co-wrote a memoir about the subject with Hotchner, Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good. Among other awards, Newman co-sponsors the PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award, a $25,000 reward designed to recognize those who protect the first amendment as it applies to the written word.

One beneficiary of his philanthropy is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp for seriously ill children, which is located in Ashford, Connecticut. Newman cofounded the camp in 1988; it was named after the gang in his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Newman's college fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, adopted "Hole in the Wall" as their "national philanthropy" in 1995. One camp has expanded to become several Hole in the Wall Camps in the U.S., Ireland, France and Israel. The camp serves 13,000 children every year, free of charge.[3]

In June 1999 Newman donated $250,000 to the relief of Kosovo refugees.

On June 1, 2007, Kenyon College announced that Newman had donated $10 million to the school to establish a scholarship fund as part of the college's current $230 million fund-raising campaign. Newman and Woodward were honorary co-chairs of a previous

Newman was scheduled to make his professional directorial stage debut with the Westport Country Playhouse's 2008 production of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, but he stepped down on May 23, 2008, citing health issues.[28]

In June 2008 it was widely reported that Newman, a former chain smoker, had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was receiving treatment at Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York City.[29] In August, Newman reportedly had finished chemotherapy and had told his family he wished to die at home. His daughter, Nell Newman, is poised to take over Newman's Own.[33]Paul Newman died of lung cancer on September 26, 2008 aged 83 at his long-time home in Westport, Connecticut. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.[34]

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Jim McKay died he was 86

James Kenneth McManus better known by his professional name of Jim McKay, McKay was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and raised in the Overbrook section of the city in an Irish Catholic family. He attended Our Lady of Lourdes Grade School and Saint Joseph's Preparatory School.[1] At the age of 14 his family moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he attended Loyola Blakefield high school. He received a bachelor's degree from Loyola College in Maryland in 1943.[2] During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy as the captain of a minesweeper.[3]He was an American television sports journalist.
McKay is best known for hosting ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961–1998). His "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition... This is "ABC's Wide World of Sports!" introduction for that program has passed into American pop culture. He is also known for television coverage of twelve Olympic Games, and for his reporting on the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

McKay covered a wide variety of special events, including horse races such as the Kentucky Derby, golf events such as the British Open, and the Indianapolis 500. McKay's son, Sean McManus, a protege of Roone Arledge, is president of CBS' Sports and News divisions.

Later he gave up his job as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun newspapers to join that organization's new TV station WMAR-TV in 1947. He was the first voice ever heard on television in Baltimore, and he remained with the station until joining CBS in New York in 1950 as host of a variety show, called The Real McKay, which necessitated the changing of his on-air surname. Through the 1950s, sports commentary became more and more his primary assignment for CBS. He had a six-episode stint as host of the game show Make the Connection on NBC in 1955.
He moved on to ABC and was the host of ABC's influential Wide World of Sports for more than 40 years.
While covering the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics for ABC, McKay took on the job of reporting the events live on his only scheduled day off during the Games, substituting for Chris Schenkel.[3] He was on air for fourteen hours without a break,[3] during a sixteen hour broadcast.[4] After an unsuccessful rescue attempt of the athletes held hostage, at 3:24 AM German Time, McKay came on the air with this statement:

When I was a kid my father used to say 'Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized.' Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were eleven hostages; two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone."[4][5][6]

Although McKay received numerous accolades for his reporting of the Munich hostage crisis (including two Emmys, one for sports and one for news reporting), he stated (in a 2003 HBO documentary about his life and career) that he was most proud of a telegram praising his work he received the day after the massacre - from Walter Cronkite.
In 1994, he was the studio host for the FIFA World Cup coverage, the first ever held on American soil. McKay also covered the 2006 FIFA World Cup for ABC.
In 2002, ABC "loaned" McKay to NBC to serve as a special correspondent during the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
In 2003, HBO released a documentary by McKay called Jim McKay: My World In My Words, tracing his career. This film outlines McKay's personal and professional accomplishments.

McKay died on June 7, 2008 from natural causes.[2][7]

McKay won numerous awards for journalism and auto racing. McKay won the George Polk Award for his sports and news coverage of the 1972 Munich Olympics.
McKay won over twelve Emmy Awards in his lifetime.[8][9].
In 1988, McKay was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame.
McKay was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame during its 11th induction.[10]
He was selected as the inaugural Dick Schaap Award for Outstanding Journalism recipient in 2002.
The NBC broadcast of the 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was dedicated to McKay, per a message at the closing of the broadcast.

McManus, McKay’s survivors include his wife, Margaret, and his daughter, Mary.

Jim McKay (September 24, 1921 – June 7, 2008),

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Richard Wright, founder member of Pink Floyd, died he was 65

Richard Wright died he was 65. He was a pianist and keyboardist best known for his career with Pink Floyd.[1] Wright's richly textured keyboard layers were a vital ingredient and a distinctive characteristic of Pink Floyd's sound. In addition, Wright frequently sang background and occasionally lead vocals onstage and in the studio with Pink Floyd (most notably on the songs "Time", "Echoes", and on the Syd Barrett composition "Astronomy Domine").
Though not as prolific a songwriter as his bandmates Roger Waters and David Gilmour, he wrote significant parts of the music for classic albums such as Meddle, The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, as well as for Pink Floyd's final studio album The Division Bell. He married his first wife, Juliette Gale, in 1964. They had two children, Jamie and Gala, and divorced in 1982. He married his second wife Franka in 1984. They divorced in 1994. Wright married his third wife Millie (to whom he dedicated his second solo album Broken China) in 1996. Their only child is named Ben. In 1996 Wright's daughter Gala married Guy Pratt, a session musician who has played bass for Pink Floyd since Roger Waters' exit. In his latter years Wright lived in France and spent time on a yacht he owned in the Virgin Islands.

Rick Wright died of an undisclosed form of cancer in his home in Britain on 15 September 2008 at age 65. At the time of his death, he had been working on a new solo album, which was thought to comprise a series of instrumental pieces.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Norman Jesse Whitfield died. He was 67

Norman Whitfield (May 12, 1940 – September 16, 2008)

Norman Jesse Whitfield was one of the most prolific songwriters and record producers of our time. Whitfield was a longtime Motown producer who during the 1960s and '70s injected rock and psychedelic touches into soul music.

Norman Whitfield was a native of Harlem, New York, Whitfield spent most of his teen years in local pool halls. In his late teens, he and his family moved to Detroit, Michigan so that his father could join his sister and work in her husband's chain of drug stores, Barthwell Drugs. At 19, Whitfield began hanging around at Motown's Hitsville U.S.A. offices, trying to get a chance at working for the growing label. Gordy recognized Whitfield's persistence and hired him in the quality control department that determined which songs would or would not be released by the label. Whitfield eventually joined Motown's in-house songwriting staff. Whitfield had a few successes including co-composing Marvin Gaye's early hits including "Pride & Joy", The Marvelettes' "Too Many Fish in the Sea" and The Velvelettes' "Needle in a Haystack", but he found his place at Motown when he began producing the recordings of his songs. His big break came when he took over Smokey Robinson's role as the main producer for The Temptations in 1966, after his "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" performed better than Robinson's "Get Ready" on the pop charts.
From 1966 until 1974, Whitfield produced virtually all of the material for The Temptations, experimenting with sound effects and other production techniques on the earliest of his records for them.[1] He found a songwriting collaborator in lyricist Barrett Strong, the performer on Motown's first hit record, "Money (That's What I Want)", and wrote material for the Tempts and for other Motown artists such as Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips, both of whom recorded Whitfield-produced hit versions of the Whitfield/Strong composition "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." The Gladys Knight & the Pips version was the best-selling Motown single ever to that point, but it was replaced a year later by Marvin Gaye's version.
After Temptations lead singer David Ruffin was replaced with Dennis Edwards in 1968, Whitfield moved the group into a harder, darker sound that featured a blend of psychedelic rock and funk heavily inspired by the work of Sly & the Family Stone and Funkadelic, and also began changing the subject matter of the songs, moving away from the trademark poetic romance to the social issues of the time, such as war, poverty, politics, etc. The first Temptations single to feature this new "psychedelic soul" style was "Cloud Nine" in late 1968, which earned Motown its first Grammy award (for Best Rhythm & Blues Performance by a Duo or Group). A second Best R&B Group Performance Grammy for Whitfield and the Tempts came in 1973 with "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone." The instrumental B-side to "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" earned Whitfield a Grammy with arranger Paul Riser for Best R&B Instrumental Performance, and Whitfield and Barrett Strong shared the songwriters' award for Best R&B Song.
The psychedelic soul records Whitfield produced for the Temptations and other artists such as Edwin Starr and The Undisputed Truth experimented with and updated the Motown sound for the late-1960s.[1] Longer song durations, distorted guitars, multitracked drums, and unusual vocal arrangements became trademarks of Whitfield's productions, and later of records produced by Motown staffers he coached, including Frank Wilson. But friction and antagonism continued to grow between Whitfield and the Temptations during this time because the group disliked how Whitfield put more emphasis on instrumentation instead of their vocals and the group disliked that he would not write romantic ballads for them. By this time Whitfield was producing hit records for Edwin Starr, the Undisputed Truth and Rare Earth (band).[1]

Many of Whitfield biggest hits were co-written with Barrett Strong, with whom he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004. He and Strong won the Grammy in 1972 for best R&B song for the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rolling Stone."

Many of Whitfield's songs from late '60s and early '70s have a strong political tone, including the Temptations' 1970 "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)," and Edwin Starr's 1970 "War."

In his only No. 1 hit, Starr sings in an anguished voice that war is "a heartbreaker, friend only to the undertaker. ... What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!" Whitfield produced as well as co-wrote the song.

Among Whitfield's other songs were "Cloud Nine," "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" and "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)," all hits for the Temptations; and "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby," a 1969 hit for Marvin Gaye.

The group Undisputed Truth had a top five hit in 1971 with Whitfield and Strong's "Smiling Faces Sometimes."

Whitfield "was able to go beyond R&B cliches with punchy melodies and arrangements and topical lyrics," Joe McEwen and Jim Miller wrote in "The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll."

Whitfield won another Grammy in 1976 for best original TV or motion picture score for "Car Wash." The movie's theme song was a No. 1 hit for Rose Royce and a Golden Globe nominee for best original song.

Just last week, Gaye's version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," from 1968, was ranked at No. 65 in Billboard magazine's compilation of the top singles of the past 50 years. It was also a hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips, in 1967.

Of the hit singles Whitfield produced in his 25-year career included "I Heard It through the Grapevine", "Ain't Too Proud to Beg", "Cloud Nine", "War", "Papa Was a Rolling Stone", "Smiling Faces Sometimes" and "Car Wash". Alongside his Motown lyrical collaborator Barrett Strong, he was inducted to the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 2004.[2]

In the early 1980s, Whitfield began working producing for Motown again, helming The Temptations' 1983 hit single "Sail Away" and the soundtrack to The Last Dragon.[1]

On January 18, 2005, Whitfield pleaded guilty for failing to report royalty income he earned from 1995 to 1999 to the Internal Revenue Service. Facing charges of tax evasion on over $2 million worth of income, he was sentenced to six months of house arrest and a $25,000 fine. The producer was not imprisoned because of health problems such as diabetes.

During his last months alive, Whitfield stayed bedded at Los Angeles' Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he underwent treatment for his bout with diabetes and other ailments. Within a few weeks before his death, Whitfield fell into a coma, which he eventually recovered from[3]. According to The Undisputed Truth leader Joe Harris, Whitfield died on September 16, 2008 at approximately 3:30 pm.

He Produced and help write these song
1963: "Pride & Joy" - Marvin Gaye
1964: "Too Many Fish in the Sea" - The Marvelettes
1964: "Needle in a Haystack" - The Velvelettes
1964: "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'" - The Velvelettes
1964: "Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)" - The Temptations
1966: "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" - The Temptations
1966: "Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" - The Temptations
1966: "(I Know) I'm Losing You" - The Temptations
1967: "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" - Gladys Knight & the Pips, also recorded by Marvin Gaye and Creedence Clearwater Revival
1967: "You're My Everything" - The Temptations
1967: "I Wish It Would Rain" - The Temptations
1968: "I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)" - The Temptations
1968: "The End of Our Road" - Gladys Knight & The Pips
1968: "Cloud Nine" - The Temptations
1968: "Ain't No Sun Since You've Been Gone" Diana Ross & The Supremes
1969: "Friendship Train" - Gladys Knight & the Pips
1969: "Runaway Child, Running Wild" - The Temptations
1969: "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" - Marvin Gaye
1969: "I Can't Get Next to You" - The Temptations
1969: "Don't Let The Joneses Get You Down" - The Temptations
1970: "You Need Love Like I Do (Don't You)" - Gladys Knight & The Pips, also recorded by The Temptations
1970: "Psychedelic Shack" - The Temptations
1970: "Hum Along and Dance" - The Temptations (later covered by Rare Earth and The Jackson 5)
1970: "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)" - The Temptations
1970: "War" - Edwin Starr
1971: "Smiling Faces Sometimes" - The Undisputed Truth, originally recorded by The Temptations
1971: "Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)" - The Temptations
1972: "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" - The Temptations
1973: "Masterpiece" - The Temptations
1973: "Let Your Hair Down" - The Temptations
1976: "Car Wash" - Rose Royce
1976: "I'm Going Down" - Rose Royce
1976: "I Wanna Get Next to You" - Rose Royce
1977: "Ooh Boy" - Rose Royce
1977: "Wishing on a Star" - Rose Royce
1978: "Love Don't Live Here Anymore" - Rose Royce

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Timothy John Russert Died at aged 58

Timothy John Russert was born May 7, 1950 in Buffalo, New York to Irish American Catholic parents Elizabeth (Betty), a homemaker, and Timothy Joseph "Big Russ" Russert, a sanitation worker and newspaper truck driver,[3][4] who were married for 30 years and separated in 1976.[5] He was the second of four children; his sisters are Betty Ann (B.A.), Kathleen (Kathy) and Patricia (Trish).[5] He received a Jesuit education[6] from Canisius High School in Buffalo.

He received his B.A. in 1972 from John Carroll University and a Juris Doctor with honors from the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in 1976.[3] Russert commented on Meet the Press that he went to Woodstock, "in a Buffalo Bills jersey with a case of beer." While in law school, an official from his alma mater, John Carroll University, called Russert to ask if he could book some concerts for the school as he had done while a student. He agreed, but said he would need to be paid because he was running out of money to pay for law school. One concert that Russert booked was headlined by a then-unknown singer, Bruce Springsteen, who charged $2,500 for the concert appearance. Russert told this story to Jay Leno when he was a guest on the The Tonight Show on NBC on June 6, 2006.[7]

Russert assumed the job of host of the Sunday morning program Meet the Press in 1991, and would become the longest serving host of the program. Its name was changed to Meet the Press with Tim Russert, and, at his suggestion, went to an hour-long format in 1992. The show also shifted to a greater focus on in-depth interviews with high profile guests, where Russert was known especially for his extensive preparatory research. One approach he developed was to find old quotes or video clips that were inconsistent with guests' more recent statements, present them on-air to his guests and then ask them to clarify their positions. With Russert as host the show became increasingly popular, receiving more than 4 million viewers per week, and was recognized as one of the most important sources of political news. Time Magazine named Russert one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008, and Russert often moderated political campaign debates.[8]

He was an American television journalist and lawyer who appeared for more than 16 years as the longest-serving moderator of NBC's Meet the Press. He was an NBC News' Senior Vice President, Washington bureau chief and also hosted the eponymous CNBC/MSNBC weekend interview program Tim Russert. He was a frequent correspondent and guest on NBC's The Today Show and Hardball. Russert covered several presidential elections, and he presented the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey on the NBC Nightly News during the 2008 U.S. presidential election. Time Magazine included Russert in its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008.[1] Russert was posthumously revealed as a thirty-year source of columnist Robert Novak.[2]

During his career, Russert received 48 honorary doctorates and won several awards for excellence in journalism,
including the Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association, the John Peter Zenger Freedom of the Press Award, the American Legion Journalism Award, the Veterans of Foreign Wars News Media Award, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Journalism Award, the Allen H. Neuharth Award for Excellence in Journalism, the David Brinkley Award for Excellence in Communication and the Catholic Academy for Communication's Gabriel Award. Russert also received an Emmy Award in 2005 for his coverage of the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan.[27]

Career timeline

Political career

1977–1982 — Chief of Staff to Daniel Patrick Moynihan

1983–1984 — Counselor to Mario Cuomo Broadcast career

1984–1988 — Senior vice-President of NBC News' Washington operations

1988–2008 — Washington Bureau Chief of NBC News

1991–2008 — Moderator of Meet the Press 1992–2006 — Co-anchor of NBC News' Election

Russert, was a devout Catholic, said many times he had made a promise to God to never miss Sunday Mass if his son were born healthy. In his writing and in his news reporting, Russert spoke openly and fondly of his Catholic school education and of the role of the Catholic Church in his life. He was an outspoken supporter of Catholic education on all levels.[31] He said that his father, a sanitation worker who never finished high school, "worked two jobs all his life so his four kids could go to Catholic school, and those schools changed my life." He also spoke warmly of Catholic nuns who taught him. "Sister Mary Lucille founded a school newspaper and appointed me editor and changed my life," he said. Teachers in Catholic schools "taught me to read and write, but also how to tell right from wrong."[31]

Tim Russert, NBC News "Meet the Press" moderator dies at age 58Shortly after 1:30 p.m. on the afternoon of June 13, 2008, Russert collapsed at the offices of WRC-TV, which houses the Washington, D.C. bureau of NBC News where he was bureau chief. He was recording voiceovers for the Sunday edition of Meet the Press. According to Brian Williams during his speech at the Kennedy Center on June 18, Russert's last words were, "What's happening?" spoken as a greeting to NBC Washington bureau editing supervisor Candace Harrington.[33] He then collapsed. A co-worker began rescue breathing on him, although Russert needed CPR. The District of Columbia Fire and Rescue service received a call from NBC at 1:40 p.m. and dispatched an EMS unit which arrived at 1:44 p.m. Paramedics attempted to defibrillate Russert's heart three times, but he did not respond. Russert was then transported to Sibley Memorial Hospital, arriving at 2:23 p.m., where he was pronounced dead.[34]

Russert had just returned from a family vacation in Italy, where he went to celebrate his son's graduation from Boston College.[37] While his wife and son remained in Italy, Russert had returned to prepare for his Sunday television show.[38]

Russert's longtime friend and physician, Dr. Michael Newman, said that his asymptomatic coronary artery disease had been controlled with medication and exercise, and that he had performed well on a stress test in late April. An autopsy performed on the day of his death determined that his history of coronary artery disease led to a myocardial infarction (heart attack) with the immediate cause being an occlusive coronary thrombus in the left anterior descending artery resulting from a ruptured cholesterol plaque.[39]

Russert is buried at Rock Creek Cemetery, next to the historic Soldiers' Home, in Washington.[40]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cyd Charisse, Actress, Dancer Dead At 86

Cyd Charisse, the long-legged Texas beauty who danced with the Ballet Russe as a teenager and starred in MGM musicals with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, died Tuesday. She was 86. Charisse was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on Monday after suffering an apparent heart attack, said her publicist, Gene Schwam. She appeared in dramatic films, but her fame came from the Technicolor musicals of the 1940s and 1950s.

Classically trained, she could dance anything, from a pas de deux in 1946's "Ziegfeld Follies" to the lowdown Mickey Spillane satire of 1956's "The Band Wagon" (with Astaire). She also forged a popular song-and-dance partnership on television and in nightclub appearances with her husband, singer Tony Martin. Her height was 5 feet, 6 inches, but in high heels and full-length stockings, she seemed serenely tall, and she moved with extraordinary grace

Monday, September 8, 2008

Comedian George Carlin Died at 71

George Carlin, 71, the much-honored American stand-up comedian whose long career was distinguished by pointed social commentary that placed him on the cultural cutting edge, died last night in Santa Monica, Calif.

His death was reported by the Reuters news agency and on the Los Angeles Times Web site. He had long struggled with health problems and a heart condition dating to the 1970s.

Carlin was selected last week by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to receive this year's Mark Twain Prize, a lifetime achievement award presented to an outstanding comedian.

Over a career of half a century, Carlin placed himself in the forefront of comic commentators on the American scene. He was particularly known for an album that referred to what he described as the seven words that could not be used on television.

The playing of the album on a radio station led to a case that went to the Supreme Court, and the material was judged indecent but not obscene. The legal controversy brought about the enunciation of a rule permitting a ban on certain material when children are most likely to be in the audience.

The case was one of the highlights of a career that included TV and radio performances, including HBO specials and many comic albums.

The New York-born performer, who also was an Air Force veteran, once summed up his approach:

"I think it is the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."

Carlin's entertainment career began in 1956 at a radio station in Shreveport, La. while he was in the service.

In the early 1960s, he began his one-man act, and his live appearances and the albums he recorded proved highly popular.

His wife Brenda, predeceased him. They had a daughter, Kelly. A second wife survives him.

Dody Goodman died at 93

Dody Goodman, the delightfully daffy comedian known for her television appearances on Jack Paar's late-night talk show and as the mother on the soap-opera parody "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," has died at 93.
Goodman died Sunday at Englewood (N.J.) Hospital and Medical Center, said Joan Adams, a close family friend. The actress had been ill for some time and had lived in the Actors Fund Home in Englewood since October, Adams said.
Goodman, with her pixyish appearance and Southern-tinged, quavery voice, had an eclectic show-business career. She moved easily from stage to television to movies, where she appeared in such popular films as "Grease" and "Grease 2," playing Blanche, the principal's assistant, and in "Splash."
It was on "The Tonight Show" when Paar was the late night TV program's second host in the late 1950s that Goodman first received national attention. Her quirky, off-kilter remarks inevitably got laughs and endeared audiences.
"I was just thrown into the talking," Goodman said in a 1994 interview with The Associated Press. "I had no idea how to do that. In fact, they just called me up and asked me if I wanted to be on 'The Jack Paar Show.' I didn't know who Jack Paar was. They said, 'We just want you to sit and talk."'

After a falling out with Paar, other chat shows took up the slack, including "The Merv Griffin Show" and "Girl Talk." And there were roles on TV series, too, most notably her appearances as Martha Shumway (Louise Lasser's mother) on "Mary Hartman,
Mary Hartman," starting in 1976, and guest shots on such shows as "Diff'rent Strokes," "St. Elsewhere" and "Murder, She Wrote."
In later years, Goodman was a regular in "Nunsense" and its various sequels, appearing off-Broadway and on tour in Dan Goggin's comic musical celebration of the Little Sisters of Hoboken. She started out playing Sister Mary Amnesia, later graduating to the role of Mother Superior.
"Dody had the most impeccable comic timing," Goggin said. "When we had her in the show, she was the only person on Earth who could walk on stage, say, 'Are you ready to start?' and bring the house down. Within seconds, the audience was eating out of her hand."

The actress was born Dolores Goodman on Oct. 28, 1914, in Columbus, Ohio, where her father ran a small cigar factory. She arrived in New York in the late 1930s to study dance at the School of American Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School, and later graduated to Broadway musicals.
The actress performed regularly on stage in the 1940s and early '50s as a chorus member in such musicals as "Something for the Boys," "One Touch of Venus," "Laffing Room Only," "Miss Liberty," "Call Me Madam," "My Darlin' Aida" and "Wonderful Town," in which she originated the role of Violet, the streetwalker.
"I had to make so many transitions into other things," Goodman said in the AP interview. "When I first came out of dancing, I did revues."
It was the early to mid-'50s, when small, topical nightclub revues flourished. Goodman, a natural comedian, thrived in them. She performed in shows by Ben Bagley and Julius Monk, and in Jerry Herman's first effort, a revue called "Parade."
In more recent times, she appeared on David Letterman's late-night talk show.
"He understands my sense of humor. I will do a dumb thing for fun. That's how I got the reputation for being dopey and dumb. I don't like dumb jokes but I will do dumb things for a laugh," she said in the AP interview.
Goodman, who never married, is survived by seven nieces and nephews, 11 great nieces and nephews and 15 great-great nieces and nephews, Adams said.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Don Haskins dies at 78

The greatest triumph was mostly a memory when Disney decided to take another look. Then came the movie "Glory Road" and a whole new generation learned what Bob Knight already knew about his old friend's career — and legacy.

"Don got more out of his teams and players than any coach who has ever coached college basketball," Knight said.

Haskins, the Hall of Fame coach credited with helping break color barriers in college sports in 1966 when he used five black starters to win a national basketball title for Texas Western, died Sunday. He was 78.

Dr. Dwayne Aboud, Haskins' physician, told reporters Sunday that Haskins had been suffering from congestive heart failure and died at home about 4:30 p.m. He was surrounded by friends and relatives, Aboud said.

"As many of you know, Coach Haskins has had some cardiac problems. He opted not to go back to the hospital but to remain at home," Aboud said, standing outside the UTEP basketball arena named for Haskins.

As word of Haskins' death spread Sunday afternoon, those who knew him were quick to sing his praises.

"The word unique does not begin to describe Don Haskins," Knight, the winningest men's coach in the sport's history, said Sunday. "There is no one who has ever coached that I respected and admired more than Don Haskins. I've had no better friend that I enjoyed more than Don Haskins."

"The myth that surrounds Don Haskins in the movie 'Glory Road' and what he did for black players is better said that he cared like that for all his players," Knight added. "To me that tells me more about the man than anything. ... There was never anyone like him before and there will never be one like him again."

Haskins, who was white, was an old-time coach who believed in hard work and was known for his gruff demeanor. That attitude was portrayed in the 2006 movie that chronicled Haskins' improbable rise to national fame in the 1966 championship game against an all-white, heavily favored Kentucky team coached by Adolph Rupp.

Nolan Richardson, who coached Arkansas to a national title, played for two years under Haskins.

"I think one of the truest legacies that he could ever leave was what happened in 1966. He was never political. Those were the times and the days the black kids didn't play at other schools, but he started five and was able to win with them without worrying about what color they were," Richardson said.

Haskins retired in 1999 after 38 seasons at the school. He had a 719-353 record and won seven Western Athletic Conference titles. He took UTEP to 14 NCAA tournaments and to the NIT seven times and briefly worked as an adviser with the Chicago Bulls.

Haskins, 19th on the Division I men's victory list, turned down several more lucrative offers, including one with the now-defunct American Basketball Association, to remain at UTEP as one of the lowest paid coaches in the WAC.

Former coach Eddie Sutton said Haskins "had a tremendous impact on the college game. Anybody who's been around college basketball dating back to those days, they've seen how it changed after Texas Western won the national championship."

Sutton said he hadn't talked to Haskins for at least six weeks.

"Don had not been in good health and was having a hard time," Sutton said. "He'll be dearly missed. He was a great basketball coach."

Haskins, born in Enid, Okla., played for Hall of Fame coach Henry "Hank" Iba at Oklahoma State, back when the school was still Oklahoma A&M. Haskins was later an assistant under Iba for the 1972 U.S. Olympic team in Munich.

As a coach, Haskins became a star early in his career by leading his Miners to the 1966 NCAA championship game, then making the controversial decision to start five blacks against Kentucky. The Miners won 72-65, and shortly after that many schools began recruiting black players.

"He took a school that had no reason to be a basketball giant and made it into one," Knight said.

Haskins said he wasn't trying to make a social statement with his lineup; he was simply starting his best players. The move, however, raised the ire of some who sent Haskins hate mail and even death threats during the racially charged era.

"When they won the national championship against the University of Kentucky, that changed college basketball," Sutton said. "At that time, there weren't many teams in the South or Southwest that had African-Americans playing. There was a change in the recruiting of the black athlete. It really changed after that. They've had a great impact on the game."

The coach always was focused on the game of basketball. He had a reputation for working his players hard.

"Our practices wore us out so much that we'd have to rest up before the games," said Harry Flournoy, a starter in the 1966 championship. "If you work hard all the time and if you go after every loose ball, you see things like that (championship) happen."

Haskins helped Nate Archibald, Tim Hardaway and Antonio Davis, among others, make it to the NBA.

In November 2000, Haskins was awarded the John Thompson Foundation's Outstanding Achievement Award during a tournament hosted by Arkansas.

"We couldn't think of anyone that deserves this recognition more than coach Haskins," Richardson said. "He opened the door for African-American players to play basketball."

Former UTEP and current Kentucky coach Billy Gillespie said every conversation he had with Haskins left an impression.

"I looked forward to the phone calls after each and every game. He was watching almost every game of our team," Gillespie said. "It was just like having another coach on the bench present at every single practice. I took every single thing he said to heart. I knew he didn't have any agenda, he was just trying to help one of his friends win a game."

Doc Sadler, also a former UTEP coach and now head coach at Nebraska, said Haskins called frequently last season just to discuss strategy and outcome.

"If you were one of his guys, you were one of his guys," Sadler said. "He was bigger than life. The word I was told was that he was the John Wayne of college basketball. He had that much respect."

Haskins was hired in 1961 as a virtual unknown. Ben Collins, the school's athletic director at the time, said he consulted people who knew more about basketball than he did. And from the beginning, Collins said Sunday, he never had a second thought.

"He was a success almost from his first year," Collins said. "That in itself speaks a lot about his ability as a basketball coach."

Haskins' health had been an issue for several years, stretching back to his final season at UTEP when he was often forced to remain seated during games. The program that Haskins built struggled after twice being slapped with NCAA sanctions. Serious health concerns continued in his retirement. In the midst of a series of book signings and other appearances Haskins was hospitalized with various woes.

In recent weeks his health had declined rapidly, prompting friends and some former players to make special visits to see the ailing coach.

"It was a blessing ... for us to go by and visit with Coach Haskins," said Togo Railey, a guard/forward for Haskins' 1966 team.

"He was still just full of life, as sick as he was. We talked about of our old friends. Don, as sick as he was, had a little smirk on his face and was telling jokes and fibbing on one and another. It was just a blessing."

After his retirement, Haskins kept close ties with the Miners. The school's most recent hire, Tony Barbee, said he even met with Haskins just after accepting the job.

"We are losing a national treasure," Barbee said. "I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know him over the last two years. The information he shared with me was invaluable to a first-time head coach. He is a Hall of Fame coach and a Hall of Fame person."

UTEP athletic director Bob Stull called Haskins an "icon."

"He has had a huge impact on the city and the University of Texas at El Paso," Stull said. "He remains one of the most revered and honored coaches in basketball history. His decision to start five black players in the 1966 national championship game ... changed college basketball and the sports world. He will always be remembered for that."

Haskins is survived by wife Mary and son Brent, David and Steve. A fourth son, Mark, died in 1994.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bill Melendez died he was 91.

Bill Melendez, best known for bringing the Peanuts characters to life with such classics as "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," died Tuesday at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica. He was 91.

Melendez, the only animator permitted by Charles M. Schulz to work with the Peanuts characters, earned eight Emmy Awards, 17 Emmy nominations, one Oscar nomination and two Peabody Awards. He began his career at Disney and Warner Bros., working on classic characters at those studios, and spent more than 70 years in the entertainment industry.

In 1948, the Mexican native left Warner Bros. and for more than a decade served as a director and producer on more than 1,000 commercials and films for United Productions of America, Playhouse Pictures and John Sutherland Prods.

It was at UPA that Melendez started doing work for the New York-based J. Walter Thompson ad agency, whose client included Ford. The carmaker expressed interest in using the Peanuts characters to sell its cars on TV, and in 1959 Melendez prepared his animation work and showed it to Peanuts creator Schulz.

Melendez went on to bring Charlie Brown and his pals to the screen in more than 63 half-hour specials, five one-hour specials, four feature films and more than 372 commercials. In addition to perennial favorites "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965) and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (1966), Melendez produced the Oscar-nominated "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" (1971), "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (1973), "She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown" (1980) and "You're a Good Sport, Charlie Brown" (1975). He also provided the voices for Snoopy and Woodstock through the years.

Melendez also animated TV specials "Garfield on the Town," "Cathy," "Babar Comes to America" and "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," among others. He shared an Emmy in 1987 for outstanding animated program with three others for "Cathy."

His last credit was as a producer for 2006 TV special "He's A Bully, Charlie Brown."

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lucky Dube died at 43

Lucky Dube was born in Ermelo, then in the Eastern Transvaal, near the house now Mpumalanga, on 3 August 1964. His parents separated before his birth and he was raised by his mother, Sarah, who named him because she considered his birth fortunate after a number of failed pregnancies. [6] Along with his two siblings, Thandi and Patrick, Dube spent much of his childhood with his grandmother, while his mother relocated to work. In a 1999 interview he described his grandmother as "his greatest love" who "multiplied many things to bring up this responsible individual that I am today."As a child Dube worked as a gardener but, realizing that he wasn't earning enough to feed his family, he began to attend school. There he joined a choir and, with some friends, formed his first musical ensemble, called The Skyway Band.[8] While at school he discovered the Rastafari movement. At the age of 18 Dube joined his cousin's band, The Love Brothers, playing Zulu pop music known as mbaqanga. The band signed with Teal Record Company, under Richard Siluma (Teal was later incorporated into Gallo Record Company). Though Dube was still at school, the band recorded material in Johannesburg during his school holidays. The resultant album was released under the name Lucky Dube and the Supersoul. The second album was released soon afterwards, and this time Dube wrote some of the lyrics in addition to singing. Around this time he also began to learn English.

His desire to learn about the rest of the world and South Africa's controversial history had him immediately immersed in the world of literature. It was here that he became acquainted with the Rastafarian religion, discovering it in an Encyclopedia. He also read about the music which is synonymous with Rastafarianism - REGGAE. His interest grew the more he read and found out, and soon he was working and earning enough money to buy Peter Tosh albums (which were the only Reggae albums available in South Africa at the time). Whilst he was at school he founded his first band - THE SKYWAY BAND - and raised enough money to buy his first guitar from a stage play he produced. His talents soon came to the attention of Richard Siluma, who was a distant relative and a record producer, and it was clearly evident to Richard that Lucky had a huge talent and a wonderful potential as a mbaqanga singer.

In 1979 Lucky launched his career as a mbaqanga singer and along with future slave members Thutukani Cele and Chris Dlamini recorded an album in 1982 as a member of the band THE LOVE BROTHERS entitled MBAQANGA. In the next 3 years Lucky went on to release his debut solo album entitled LENGANE NGEYETHA which spawned his first hit single and went gold. His next album KUKUWE also went gold. He subsequently released another two Zulu traditional albums.

On the release of his fifth Mbaqanga album, Dave Segal (who became Dube's sound engineer) encouraged him to drop the "Supersoul" element of the name. All subsequent albums were recorded as Lucky Dube. At this time Dube began to note fans were responding positively to some reggae songs he played during live concerts. Drawing inspiration from Jimmy Cliff [9] and Peter Tosh,[7] he felt the socio-political messages associated with Jamaican reggae were relevant to a South African audience in an institutionally racist society. [9]During 1985 and without the knowledge of his record company, Teal Records, Lucky and Richard went into the studio and recorded "Rastas Never Die" - the first ever reggae album to be recorded in South Africa. The record sold poorly - around 4000 units - in comparison to the 30000 units his mbaqanga records would sell. Keen to suppress anti-apartheid activism, the apartheid regime banned the album in 1985. [10] However, he was not discouraged and continued to perform the reggae tracks live and wrote and produced a second reggae album. Think About The Children (1985). It achieved platinum sales status and established Dube as a popular reggae artist in South Africa, in addition to attracting attention outside his homeland.[8]

Because of the political situation and censorship in the government controlled media it did not reach the airwaves and was banned immediately. The album gained awareness but did not sell well. Record company executives demanded a return back to traditional Zulu pop music.

Dube continued to release commercially successful albums. In 1989 he won four OKTV Awards for Prisoner, won another for Captured Live the following year and yet another two for House Of Exile the year after.[11] His 1993 album, Victims sold over one million copies worldwide.[2] In 1995 he earned a worldwide recording contract with Motown. His album Trinity was the first release on Tabu Records after Motown's acquisition of the label.[11]In 1996 he released a compilation album, Serious Reggae Business, which led to him being named the "Best Selling African Recording Artist" at the World Music Awards and the "International Artist Of The Year" at the Ghana Music Awards. His next three albums each won South African Music Awards.[11] His most recent album, Respect, earned a European release through a deal with Warner Music. [2] Dube toured internationally, sharing stages with artists such as Sinéad O'Connor, Peter Gabriel and Sting. [9] He appeared at the 1991 Reggae Sunsplash (uniquely that year, was invited back on stage for a 25 minute long encore) and the 2005 Live 8 event in Johannesburg. [9]In addition to performing music Dube was a sometime actor, appearing in the feature films Voice In The Dark, Getting Lucky and Lucky Strikes Back. [12]

Lucky established himself as a truely international artist, and got rave reviews at every show.

On October 18, 2007, Lucky Dube was killed in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosettenville shortly after dropping two of his seven children off at their uncle's house. Dube was driving his Chrysler 300C which the assailants were apparently after. Police reports suggest he was shot dead by carjackers. Five men have been arrested in connection with the murder[13]. He is survived by his wife, Zanele, and his seven children.

"It signifies yet again how much criminals disregard human life. I learned about Lucky in 1998, and have been hooked every since. Words cannot explain the pains i bear in my heart when I hear of a great music superstat that has been gun down and we loose our legacy of music. The man was not doing anything bad, just being a good dad!


MbaqangaLengane Ngeyethu (1981)

Kudala Ngikuncenga (1982)

Kukuwe (1983)

Abathakathi (1984)

Ngikwethembe Na?

(1985) Umadakeni (1987)

AfrikaansHelp My Krap (1986)

ReggaeRastas Never Die (1984)

Think About The Children (1985)

Slave (1987)

Together As One (1988)

Prisoner (1989)

Captured Live (1990)

House of Exile (1991)

Victims (1993)

Trinity (1995)

Serious Reggae Business (1996)

Tax man (1997)

The Way It Is (1999)

The Rough Guide To Lucky Dube (compilation) (2001)

Soul Taker (2001)

The Other Side (2003)

Respect (2007)

CompilationThe Best of Lucky Dube (2008)

Look Who Just Got Busted In Memphis

Stars that died video of 2010 updated

Stars That Died 2008