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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Victor Mizzy died he was 93

Victor Mizzy died he was 93. Mizzy was an American composer for television and movies whose best-known works are the themes to the 1960s television sitcoms Green Acres and The Addams Family. He also penned top-20 songs from the 1930s to 1940s.

(January 9, 1916 – October 20, 2009)

Vic Mizzy was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended New York University.[1] As a child, he played accordion and piano, and was largely self-taught as a composer.[1] During World War II, he served in the U.S. Navy, where he wrote some of his song hits.[1]

Mizzy had two children with his first wife, gracie Small, who as a 1930s child singer had been known as "The Little Girl With The Big Voice", and who remained popular (especially on radio) through the 1950s.[citation needed] One of her daughters, Patty Keeler, a singer and songwriter, often worked with songwriter Doc Pomus.[citation needed]

In the late 1930s, Mizzy, based in New York City,[1] began composing a string of popular songs. These would include Doris Day's 1945 hit "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time".[1] Other Mizzy compositions included "There's a Faraway Look in Your Eye" and "Three Little Sisters", both co-written with lyricist Irving Taylor and both sung by the Andrews Sisters; "Take It Easy" (also with lyricist Taylor), "Pretty Kitty Blue Eyes", "The Whole World Is Singing My Song", "Choo'n Gum", "The Jones Boy" (a 1953 hit for The Mills Brothers), and "With a Hey and a Hi and a Ho-Ho-Ho".[1]

Mizzy broke into television circa 1959, composing music for Shirley Temple's Storybook and the themes for Moment of Fear, Klondike and Kentucky Jones.[1] During the 1960s, he wrote themes and scores for the hit shows Green Acres, The Addams Family, as well as for other sitcoms including The Pruitts of Southampton, The Double Life of Henry Phyfe, Captain Nice, The Don Rickles Show, and Temperature's Rising.[1] He also wrote the scores for five Don Knotts films including The Ghost and Mr. Chicken and The Reluctant Astronaut,[1] releasing those scores on a CD companion to the two films' DVD releases.[citation needed] Other work includes scores for the William Castle films The Night Walker and The Busy Body, and underscores for the TV series The Richard Boone Show and Quincy. as well as for such TV movies as Terror on the 40th Floor.[1] He also worked with Sam Raimi for the outtake music of Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3.

Mizzy died at his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California on October 17, 2009, aged 93.[2] He was predeceased by a daughter who died in 1995; another daughter survived him.[1]


Don Lane he was 76

Don Lane died he was 76,[1] born Morton Donald Isaacson, was an American-born Australian entertainer, talk show host and singer..(13 November 1933 – 22 October 2009)

Lane was born in New York City to a Jewish father (Jacob) and a Catholic mother (Dolly), who later converted to Judaism. He had two siblings. He was raised in The Bronx, where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School and was classmates with Judd Hirsch and Garry Marshall.

Lane began his working life as a nightclub performer and singer, usually doing a mix of comedy and singing. He appeared at many clubs in Hawaii, Los Angeles and New York. He briefly appeared on one episode of the Ed Sullivan program in the late 1950s as one half of a double act. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in the early 1950s and was commissioned as an officer and served in the artillery. Lane later toured for two years entertaining the troops.

He says that he took his stagename 'Lane' from Frankie Laine. He worked alongside Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis, Jr., Wayne Newton and others. Lane also played Professor Harold Hill in the Las Vegas production of The Music Man.

Irish comedian Dave Allen presented a talk show on Sydney television for TCN-9 in 1965. He was sacked,[1] some say for his trademark anti-Catholic humour. Nine producer John Collins looked for replacement hosts to fill in for the rest of the season, and found Lane working in the well-known nightclub the Copacabana in Hawaii. While in the United States, John Collins asked Las Vegas performer Wayne Newton if there was anybody he should consider as a replacement; Newton's answer was "Don Lane".

Lane was given the host's chair for six weeks. He planned to base his version of the show on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. Lane's run was variously referred to as The Tonight Show, Tonight with Don Lane, and Sydney Tonight. Within a month, Nine settled on Lane as permanent host, with the result that his initial six-week contract was extended to forty weeks.

Work on a coaxial cable linking Melbourne with Sydney had begun in June 1959, and was completed on 5 February 1963. On 7 July 1965 Lane appeared on a then-innovative live split-screen link with Graham Kennedy via the cable.

In March 1968, Lane was charged with importing marijuana into Australia, and was remanded in custody. He strenuously protested his innocence, claiming that the drugs were planted into his jacket pocket by a former business associate who wanted revenge, and was found not guilty, being defended by barrister Marcus Einfeld.

He returned to nightclub work in the United States, including stints at Las Vegas.

Lane appeared in the U.S. sketch comedy series Wow, hosted by Ken Berry, which also featured Cheryl Ladd and Steve Martin. He came back to Australia in 1975 to appear at a benefit concert for the victims of Cyclone Tracy.

While in Sydney in 1976, Don Lane was chosen to replace Ernie Sigley as host of the Melbourne-based The Ernie Sigley Show. The night before, after filming for the first show of the season was completed, Sigley had criticized Nine Network boss Kerry Packer. Packer contacted Lane, and the two flew down to Melbourne. Sigley was fired that afternoon and Lane took his place.[2] The show was renamed as The Don Lane Show, and it ran until 1983. In absolute terms, Lane's stint on The Don Lane Show was to make him the most highly paid performer on Australian television, and The Don Lane Show was and still is the highest rated variety program in Australian television history.[3]

Lane's replacement of Ernie Sigley was to result in ongoing resentment, culminating in a stoush where Lane punched Sigley at the Logies ceremony in 1988.[2]

Uri Geller, Doris Stokes and broadcaster Kevin Arnett regularly appeared on The Don Lane Show discussing psychic and paranormal themes. On one occasion, the skeptic and debunker James Randi was invited onto the program. A heated exchange occurred at the end of the interview, which led to Lane saying, "we're going for a commercial break and you can piss off. We'll be back with Diana Trask". Lane then walked off the set, sweeping the props from the small table, to audience applause. The aftermath of the event led to a national and personal apology to Randi, which was televised through the Nine Network.

The Don Lane Show ended on 13 November 1983, his 50th birthday. His final episode ran for two and a half hours and featured such stars as Sammy Davis, Jr., Phyllis Diller, and David Bowie as well as musical appearances by John Farnham and Colleen Hewett. After the conclusion of The Don Lane Show he moved back to the United States for two years, living in Los Angeles.

By 1987 he was back in Australia as a personality for Network Ten, hosting programs like You've Got to Be Joking, Late Night Australia and the 1987 presentation of the TV Week Logie Awards.

In 1993, Lane made a guest appearance on the very last episode and closing segment of the comedy program The Late Show on Australia's ABC network. He also hosted American NFL broadcasts, which included live broadcasts from Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII. Don also covered NCAA basketball for the ABC and was a colour commentator for the NBL on Foxtel.

In 1994, Lane hosted two specials for the Nine Network, The Best of The Don Lane Show. Each special was two hours dedicated to the most memorable moments from The Don Lane Show.

Don Lane was honoured in a 1996 episode of This Is Your Life dedicated to him and his career in television. The episode featured tributes from John Farnham, Billy Connolly, Bert Newton, and Garry Marshall.

He was also involved in a special entitled Don Lane's America, and hosted such programs as The Mad Mad World of Sports and 40 Years of Television.

In 2003 Lane was inducted into the TV Week Logie Awards Hall of Fame.

In 2007 Don Lane released his "tell all" auto-biography entitled Never Argue With a Mug. The book follows Lane's career and explains show-business scandals in detail that he had personally experienced.

In June 2008, it was announced that Don Lane was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and had been living in a care facility. News of Lane's condition was saddening for the entertainment community in Australia who viewed him as a TV legend. The news explained the lack of public appearances Don had made since his induction into the Logie Awards Hall of Fame.

He married Jayne Ambrose, a talent agent, with whom he had a son, PJ Isaacson (also known as PJ Lane). PJ moved to the United States to further his basketball career, although he became an entertainer in his own right. He moved temporarily to Sydney in 2009 to look after his ailing father.

Although Lane and Ambrose divorced later, they remained good friends and Ambrose was his agent for the rest of his life.

Lane forged an enduring partnership with Bert Newton, an Australian comedian and entertainment personality. Newton had hitherto been strongly identified with Australian TV icon Graham Kennedy. Both Lane and Newton maintain that the first time they met was on-air, during the first episode of the Don Lane Show. Each describes that there was instant 'chemistry', and that they never made any deliberate attempt to build the relationship; it just happened.

It is widely believed that Lane christened Newton Moonface. However, Newton later claims that Lane asked writer Mike McColl-Jones for Newton's childhood nickname, and McColl-Jones tipped Newton off about this; Newton and McColl-Jones then made up the nickname and McColl-Jones fed Lane the false information. In any case, the nickname stuck.

Newton took much pleasure in sending up Lane's singing, sometimes by playing his records at half-speed while miming Lane's performance. Lane sometimes responded in kind by "sending up" Newton's own record, The Bert and Patti Family Album.

Logie Awards were made in each state separately during the 1960s and early 70s, since it was technically difficult to broadcast live programming interstate. Don Lane performed in Sydney, while Graham Kennedy held the same timeslot in Melbourne.

New South Wales Logies:Milesago

  • 1966: Most Popular Male and Most Popular Live Show (Tonight with Don Lane)
  • 1967: Most Popular Male and Most Popular Live Show (Tonight with Don Lane)
  • 1968: Best Male Personality and Best Show (Tonight with Don Lane)
  • 1969: Best Male Personality and Best Show (Tonight with Don Lane)
  • 1970: Best Male Personality and Best Local Show (Tonight Show with Don Lane)
  • 1974: Most Popular Male and Most Popular Show (The Don Lane Show)

National Logie awards:

  • Gold Logie
  • Most Popular Male Personality
  • Victoria: Most Popular Male
  • Most Popular Show

Lane died from a dementia-related illness caused by Alzheimer's disease on 22 October 2009.[4] where during the last eighteen months of his life, due to his deteriorating health, he was forced from his Sydney apartment into Montefiore Nursing Home in Randwick in Sydney's east.[5] A private Jewish funeral ceremony attended by close family and friends was held at Macquarie Park Cemetery a day after his passing.[6]


Soupy Sales died he was 83

Soupy Sales[2] died he was 83. Sales was an American comedian, actor, radio-TV personality and host, and jazz aficionado.[4] He was best known for his local and network children's television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales; a series of comedy sketches frequently ending with Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark.

From 1968 to 1975, he was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What's My Line? and appeared on several other TV game shows. During the 1980s Sales hosted his own show on WNBC-AM in New York City.

(January 8, 1926 – October 22, 2009)

Sales was born Milton Supman, in Franklinton in Franklin County, North Carolina to Irving and Sadie Supman.[5] His father, a dry goods merchant, had emigrated to America from Hungary in 1894. Sales had two siblings, Leonard Supman (deceased) and Jack Supman (born 1921).[6] His was the only Jewish family in the town.

Sales got his nickname from his family. His older brothers had been nicknamed "Hambone" and "Chicken Bone". Milton was dubbed "Soup Bone," which was later shortened to "Soupy". When he became a disc jockey, he began using the stage name Soupy Hines. After he became established, it was decided that "Hines" was too close to the Heinz soup company, so he chose the Sales, in part after comedian Chic Sale.[1]

Sales graduated from Huntington High School in Huntington, West Virginia in 1944. He then enlisted in the United States Navy and served on the USS Randall (APA-224) in the South Pacific during the latter part of World War II. He sometimes entertained his shipmates by telling jokes and playing crazy characters over the ship's public address system. One of the characters he created was "White Fang," a large dog that played outrageous practical jokes on the seamen. The sounds for "White Fang" came from a recording of "The Hound of the Baskervilles". He took the record with him when he left the Navy.

Sales enrolled in Marshall College, where he earned a Master's Degree in Journalism. While attending Marshall, he performed in nightclubs as a comedian, singer, and dancer. After graduating, he began working as a scriptwriter and disc jockey at radio station WHTN in Huntington. He moved to Cincinnati in 1949, where he worked as a morning radio DJ and performed in nightclubs. He began his television career on WKRC-TV with Soupy's Soda Shop, TV's first teen dance program, and Club Nothing!, a late-night comedy/variety program.

When WKRC canceled his TV shows, Sales moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he hosted another radio and TV series and continued his nightclub act. It was in a skit on his late night comedy/variety TV series Soupy's On! that he got his first pie in the face. Sales claimed he left the Cleveland station "for health reasons: they got sick of me."[citation needed] He moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1953 and worked for WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), ABC's O&O station.

Sales is best known for his daily children's television show, Lunch with Soupy Sales. The show was originally called 12 O'Clock Comics, and was later known as The Soupy Sales Show. Improvised and slapstick in nature, Lunch with Soupy Sales was a rapid-fire stream of comedy sketches, gags, and puns, almost all of which resulted in Sales receiving a pie in the face, which became his trademark. Sales developed pie-throwing into an art form: straight to the face, on top of the head, a pie to both ears from behind, moving into a stationary pie, and countless other variations. He claimed that he and his visitors had been hit by more than 20,000 pies during his career.[1] He recounted a time when a young fan mistakenly threw a frozen pie at his neck and he "dropped like a pile of bricks."[1]

The show originated in 1953 from the studios of WXYZ-TV in Detroit, Michigan. Beginning in October 1959, it was telecast nationally on the ABC television network.

During the time that Lunch with Soupy aired in Detroit, Sales hosted a nighttime show, Soupy's On, to compete with 11 O'Clock News programs.[7] The guest star was always a musician, and frequently a jazz performer, at a time when jazz was popular in Detroit and the city was home to twenty-four jazz clubs.[7] Sales believed that his show helped sustain jazz in Detroit, as artists would regularly sell out their nightclub shows after appearing on Soupy's On.[7] Coleman Hawkins, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker, and Stan Getz were among the artists who appeared on the show; Miles Davis made six appearances.[4][7] Clifford Brown's appearance on Soupy's On, according to Sales, may be the only extant footage of Brown, and has been included in Ken Burns' Jazz and an A&E Network biography about Sales.[7]

In 1960, Soupy moved to the ABC-TV Studios in Los Angeles, California. ABC dropped the show from the network schedule in March 1961, but it continued as a local program until January 1962. The show briefly went back on the ABC network as a late night fill-in for the Steve Allen Show in 1962 but was canceled after three months. All of the puppets on the show during its Los Angeles run were also operated by Clyde Adler.

In 1964, Sales found a new weekday home at WNEW-TV in New York City. This version was seen locally until September 1966, and 260 episodes were syndicated by Screen Gems to local stations outside the New York market during the 1965–1966 season. This show marked the height of Sales' popularity. It featured guest appearances by stars such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Jerry Lewis[1], Judy Garland[8] and Sammy Davis, Jr.[9], as well as musical groups like the Shangri-Las and The Supremes.

As with his earlier shows, Sales performed musical numbers on the show and his extensive jazz record collection was used in his TV work. "Mumbles" by Oscar Peterson with Clark Terry was Pookie's theme. "Comin' Home Baby" by Herbie Mann was the theme for Sales' "Gunninger the Mentalist" character (a parody of Dunninger the Mentalist).

This was also the period when Sales starred in the movie comedy Birds Do It. During the run of the New York show, actor Frank Nastasi played White Fang, Black Tooth, Pookie, and all the "guy at the door" characters.

The New Soupy Sales Show appeared in 1978 with the same format, and ran for one season. 65 episodes were briefly syndicated, through Air Time International, to local stations in early 1979. It was taped in Los Angeles at KTLA, with Clyde Adler returning to work as a puppeteer with Sales.all puppets on Sales' show in Detroit in the 1950s and in Los Angeles from 1959 to 1962 and in 1978. Actor Frank Nastasi assumed the role of straight man and puppeteer when Sales took the show to New York from 1964 to 1966. Nastasi was originally from Detroit and had worked with Sales at WXYZ. Appearing on the show were both puppets and live performers.

The puppets were:

  • White Fang, "The Biggest and Meanest Dog in the USA," who appeared only as a giant white shaggy paw with black triangular felt "claws" jutting out from the corner of the screen. Fang spoke with unintelligible short grunts and growls, which Soupy repeated back in English, for comic effect. White Fang was often the pie thrower when Soupy's jokes bombed.
  • Black Tooth, "The Biggest and Sweetest Dog in the USA", also seen only as a giant black paw with white triangular felt (just the opposite of White Fang), and with more feminine, but similarly unintelligible, dialogue. Black Tooth's trademark was pulling Soupy off-camera to give loud and noisy kisses.
  • Pookie the Lion, a lion puppet appearing in a large window behind Soupy (1950s), was a hipster with a rapier wit. For example: Soupy: "Do you know why my life is so miserable?" Pookie: "You got me!" Soupy: "That's why!" One of Pookie's favorite lines when greeting Soupy was, "Hey bubby... want a kiss?". In the Detroit shows, Pookie never spoke but communicated in whistles. That puppet also was used to mouth the words while pantomiming novelty records on the show.
  • Hippy the Hippo, a minor character who occasionally appeared with Pookie the Lion and never spoke. Frank Nastasi gave Hippy a voice for the New York shows.

Regular live characters included:

  • Peaches, Soupy's girlfriend, visually played by footage of Sales in drag.
  • Philo Kvetch, a private detective played by Sales in a long-running comedy skit during the show's New York run (a parody of early 20th century fictional detective Philo Vance).
  • The Mask, evil nemesis of Philo Kvetch, revealed in the last episode to be Nikita Khrushchev, who had been deposed about a year earlier.
  • "Onions" Oregano, henchman of The Mask, played by Frank Nastasi, who ate loads of onions. Every time Oregano would breathe in Philo's direction, Philo would make all sorts of comic choking faces, pull out a can of air freshener, and say "Get those onions out of here!"
  • Hobart and Reba, a husband and wife who lived in the potbelly stove on the New York set.
  • Willie the Worm was a 35-cent toy Sales got from Woolworth's, according to WXYZ art director Jack Flechsig. With animated squeezings of his rubber air bulb, the latex accordion worm flexed in and out of a little apple. Willy was "The Sickest Worm in all of Dee-troit" and suffered from a perennial cold and comically-explosive sneeze. He helped read birthday greetings to Detroit-area kids while the show was on WXYZ. Willie didn't survive the show's move to the Big Apple.

On January 1, 1965, miffed at having to work on the holiday, Sales ended his live broadcast by encouraging his young viewers to tiptoe into their still-sleeping parents' bedrooms and remove those "funny green pieces of paper with pictures of U.S. Presidents" from their pants and pocketbooks. "Put them in an envelope and mail them to me," Soupy instructed the children. "And I'll send you a postcard from Puerto Rico!" He was then hit with a pie.[10] Several days later, a chagrined Soupy announced that money (mostly Monopoly money[11]) was unexpectedly being received in the mail. He explained that he had been joking and announced that the contributions would be donated to charity. As parents' complaints increased, WNEW's management felt compelled to suspend Sales for two weeks. Young viewers picketed Channel 5. The uproar surrounding Sales' suspension increased his popularity.

Sales described the incident in his 2001 autobiography Soupy Sez! My Life and Zany Times.[12]

An urban legend claimed Sales sneaked off-color humor onto his show for the amusement of his huge adult audience. This has been disproven repeatedly, including by For many years, Sales had a standing offer of $10,000 to anyone who could prove he worked "blue" on his kids' shows. Nobody ever took the offer, although the rumor persisted. Sales states in his autobiography:

After many years, I think I finally figured out how these ridiculous stories got started. Kids would come home and they'd tell a dirty joke, you know, grade school humor, and the parents would say, "Where'd you hear that?" And they'd say "The Soupy Sales Show," because I happened to have the biggest show in town. And they'd call another person and say, "Gladys, did you hear the joke that Soupy Sales was telling on his show?" and the word of mouth goes on and on, until people start to believe you actually said things like that.[12]

The show's set included a door in the background. During the show, Sales would answer a knock at the door and interact with an actor seen only as an arm. Occasionally, the person at the door was a celebrity, such as Burt Lancaster, Fess Parker or Alice Cooper. Once, while the show was being broadcast live from Detroit, Sales' studio crew pulled a prank on him: when he opened the door, he saw a topless dancer partially covered with a balloon. Some reports say the gag was furthered by the crew switching the studio monitors so that Soupy would think the stripper image was going out over the air.[13]

A second, nonbroadcasting, camera captured the uncensored version, while a stagehand moved a balloon back and forth in the doorway, giving at least some indication to the home viewers what was supposed to be behind the door. Sales was forced to try to keep the show going without revealing the risque scene backstage.

One of the fans of the Soupy Sales show was Frank Sinatra. When Sinatra started his own record label, Reprise Records, he signed Sales to a recording contract. Two albums were produced with Reprise, "The Soupy Sales Show" in 1961 and "Up In The Air" in 1962.[14]

Sales' novelty dance record, The Mouse, dates from the mid-1960s period of his career, when his show was based in New York. Sales performed The Mouse on the Ed Sullivan Show in September 1965. He appeared on the Sullivan show several times, once with The Beatles.

Sales signed with Motown Records in the late 1960s, releasing a single, "Muck-Arty Park" (a play on the 1968 hit "MacArthur Park"), as well as the album "A Bag of Soup".

From 1968 to 1975, Sales was a regular panelist on the syndicated revival of What's My Line? He usually was the first panelist introduced and occupied the chair on the far left side (facing the camera), opposite Arlene Francis. In 2001, indie duo They Might Be Giants marveled to one interviewer that "Soupy Sales always knew all the jazz guys, and they all knew him. That was impressive." In 1976, Sales was the host of Junior Almost Anything Goes, ABC's Saturday morning version of their team-based physical stunt program. Sales was also a panelist on the 1980 revival of To Tell the Truth; he had appeared as a guest on the show during the mid- to late 1970s. Other game show appearances included over a dozen episodes of the original "Match Game" from 1966 to 1969, a week of shows on the 1970s edition of Match Game, a few guest spots on Hollywood Squares (December 12, 1977 & April 4, 1978) as well as a few appearances on the combined version on (The Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour) in 1983–84 and a recurring role in all versions of Pyramid from 1973 to 1988 and 1991. In one episode, he repeatedly uttered the word "bacon" in an attempt to get a befuddled contestant to say "greasy things." He also made an appearance on Pictionary in 1997.

From March 1985 to March 1987, Sales hosted a midday radio show on WNBC radio in New York; Howard Stern had an afternoon show on the same station. Sales and Stern did not get along. There was an incident of Stern's cutting the strings in Sales' in-studio piano at 4:05 p.m. on May 1, 1985. On December 21, 2007, Stern revealed this was a stunt staged for "theater of the mind" and to torture Sales; in truth, the piano was never harmed.[15]

Sales was taken off the air in the middle of his show. He had begun to complain to the audience that his contract had not been renewed and that his sidekick Ray D'Ariano had been given the time slot, so he urged listeners to complain to the station. When the show went to commercial, Sales was replaced by the station's program director, who played music for the rest of the allotted time.


Josh Howard Died he was 22

The Connecticut program was stunned and saddened recently by the tragic death of cornerback Jasper Howard, who was stabbed near the campus student union, but the effects of this tragedy have rippled throughout college football, including the ACC.

Clemson starting cornerback Chris Chancellor will wear No. 6 during Saturday’s game at Miami in honor of Howard. Chancellor and Howard were teammates at Miami Edison Senior High School in Miami.

Boston College junior cornerback DeLeon Gause will also wear Howard’s No. 6 when the Eagles face Notre Dame in South Bend this Saturday.

Gause, a Miami native, played against Howard in high school and later became friends with him.

“We played against each other in high school and at the Kickoff Classic,” Gause said. “All I remember is that he was talking about me before the game. He kept saying, ‘tell (Gause) that it’s going to be a big game.’ And he came out there to play. We kept going back and forth.”

Believing that he needed to show his support for Howard, Gause searched for some way to keep his spirit close by when the Eagles play on Saturday.

“I talked with another guy who played with (Jasper), a cornerback at Clemson, Chris Chancellor. It was on his heart to (wear Jasper’s No. 6) and I thought of anything that I could do. I felt like I had to do something.”

Gause asked for and received permission to wear No. 6 from the BC coaching staff. Running back Jeff Smith will continue to wear No. 6 as well in Saturday’s game (the two play on opposite sides of the ball).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Al Martino died he was 82

Al Martino (he was born Alfred Cini), was an American singer and actor. Allmusic journalist Steve Huey states, "Martino was one of the great Italian American pop crooners, boasting a string of hit singles and albums that stretched from the early 1950s all the way into the mid 1970s. However, he was perhaps even better known for his role in The Godfather as singer Johnny Fontane, a character supposedly based on Frank Sinatra, but with eerie similarities to Martino's own career."[1]
(born October 7, 1927 – October 13, 2009)

His Italian immigrant parents ran a masonry business, and he worked alongside his brothers as a bricklayer while growing up.[1] However, he was more interested in music, and was inspired by Al Jolson and Perry Como to try his own hand at singing.[1] When his boyhood friend Alfredo Cocozza changed his name to Mario Lanza and became an international opera star, the possibility of a career in music suddenly seemed plausible.[1]

After service with the United States Navy in World War II, including being a part of the Iwo Jima invasion where he was wounded, he commenced his singing career. Adopting the stage name Al Martino (after his maternal grandfather's last name), he performed in local nightclubs for a time, and moved to New York in 1948 with Lanza's encouragement.[1] He went on to win first place on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts television program, thanks to a rendition of Como's "If," and that exposure helped him land a recording contract with the Philadelphia based independent label, BBS.[1]

His single "Here in My Heart" was number one in the first UK Singles Chart, published by the New Musical Express on November 14, 1952, putting him into the Guinness Book of World Records.[2] "Here in My Heart" remained in the top position for nine weeks in the United Kingdom, setting up a record for the longest consecutive run at number one, which over half a century on, has only been beaten by four other tracks ("I Believe" (11 weeks), "Cara Mia" (10), "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" (16) and "Love Is All Around" (15)).[3] Martino has stated that Mario Lanza dropped his plans to record this song after he called Lanza in Los Angeles, California and explained that his own recording would be neglected if he did so.[1]

A transatlantic chart-topper, "Here in My Heart" earned Martino a gold disc.[4] Its success secured Martino a record label deal with Capitol Records, and he released three more singles — "Take My Heart," "Rachel," and "When You're Mine" — through 1953, all of which hit the U.S. Top 40.[1] However, Martino's contract was taken over by a Mafia connected management team, which ordered Martino to pay $75,000, as a safeguard for their investment.[1] Martino made a down payment to ensure his family's safety, then fled to the United Kingdom where his popularity allowed him to perform successfully for a time, headlining at the London Palladium.[1] He continued to record in the UK with moderate success, but his work received no exposure back in the U.S.[1] In 1958, thanks to the intervention of a family friend, Martino was allowed to return home and resume his recording career.[1]

Martino faced an uphill battle re-establishing himself, especially with the counteracting arrival of rock and roll.[1] He recorded for 20th Century Fox during the late 1950s, but the label ended up dropping him.[1] A new album, The Exciting Voice of Al Martino (1962) secured a new deal with Capitol, and was followed by a mostly Italian language album, The Italian Voice of Al Martino.[1] He also made several high-profile television appearances to re-establish his visibility.[1]

He scored a major comeback hit with 1963's "I Love You Because."[1] Arranged by Belford Hendricks, Martino's cover version went to number three on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and number one on the corresponding Easy Listening chart.[1] The accompanying album of the same name went Top 10 in the Billboard 200, and Martino remained a regular visitor to the charts for over a decade afterwards, with hits including "Painted, Tainted Rose" (1963) plus "Always Together," "I Love You More and More Every Day", "Tears and Roses" and "We Could" (all 1964).[1]

One of the most successful Martino hits was "Spanish Eyes", achieving several gold and platinum discs for sales.[5] Recorded in 1965, the song reached number 5 on the UK Singles Chart when re-issued in 1973.[3] Even today, this classic by composer Bert Kaempfert (his original title for the song was "Moon Over Naples") is among the 50 most-played songs worldwide. Another hit was a disco version of "Volare", (also known as "Nel blu, Dipinto di Blu"). In 1976, it reached number one on the Italian and Flemish charts, and was in the Top Ten in Spain, The Netherlands and France, as well as in many other European countries.

In the U.S., Martino had eleven Top 40 hits in the Billboard pop singles chart in the 1960s and 1970s, with 1963's "I Love You Because" (#3) and 1964's "I Love You More and More Every Day" (#9) both reaching the Top Ten. He also sang the title song for the film, Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964).

Apart from singing, Martino played the role of Johnny Fontane in the 1972 film The Godfather, as well as singing the film's theme, Speak Softly Love (Love Theme from The Godfather).[6] He played the same role in The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Part III, as well as The Godfather Trilogy: 1901-1980. Martino toured the nightclub circuit extensively during the 1970s, and managed one more easy listening hit in 1978's "The Next Hundred Years."[1] Faced with diminishing returns, he and Capitol finally parted ways in 1982, but Martino continued to perform in clubs, lounges, and casinos for some time afterward, and returned to recording in 2000 with the album, Style.[1]

He returned to acting in 2006, when he played an aging crooner, Sal Stevens, in the short film Cutout, and appeared in film festivals around the world.

Martino died on October 13, 2009 at his childhood home in Springfield, Pennsylvania, 6 days after his 82nd birthday. Martino was survived by his wife Judi and two children.

Captain Lou Albano died he was 76

Captain Louis Vincent Albano[4] died he was 76. Albano was an Italian American professional wrestler, manager and actor. With an over-the-top personality and a penchant for boisterous declarations, "Captain" Lou Albano was the epitome of the antagonistic manager that raised the ire of wrestlers and incited the anger of spectators. Throughout his 42-year career, Albano guided 15 different tag teams and four singles competitors to championship gold.[4] A unique showman, with an elongated beard, rubber band facial piercings, and loud outfits, he was the forefather of the 1980s Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection. Collaborating with Cyndi Lauper, Albano helped usher in wrestling's crossover success with a mainstream audience. Capitalizing on his success, he later ventured into Hollywood with various television, film, and music projects.
(July 29, 1933 – October 14, 2009)

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Albano was born on July 29, 1933 in Rome, Italy.[5] His family moved to the United States and settled in Mount Vernon, New York. He played football at and graduated from Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York.[6] After briefly attending the University of Tennessee on a football scholarship, Albano left school to join the Army.[4][7] During his tour, Albano became interested in professional wrestling when he was working at a bar as a bouncer and met two wrestlers.[4] Albano made his professional wrestling debut by beating Bob Lazaro in Montreal, Quebec Canada in 1953.[4]

Albano achieved moderate success as a tag team performer with partner Tony Altimore.[8] Dubbed The Sicilians, Altimore and Albano competing as a stereotypical Italian gangster combo.[4] Their realistic depiction of their characters caught the attention of actual mafiosi.[4] In 1967, they won the United States Tag Team Championship from Arnold Skaaland and Spiros Arion.[4][8]

Following the encouragement of fellow wrestler Bruno Sammartino, Albano transitioned from wrestling to announcing.[4] He transformed himself into the brash, bombastic manager Captain Lou Albano. With a quick wit and a grating personality, Albano delivered memorable promos that made him wrestling's most villainous manager. He earned the scorn of the wrestling audience as he attempted to dethrone World Wide Wrestling Federation superstar and WWF champion Bruno Sammartino. In 1971, Albano achieved his objective when "Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff ended Sammartino's seven year reign as champion.[4] For the remainder of the 1970s, Albano's cadre of loyal henchmen were unable to resecure the championship once Sammartino won it back.[4]

Albano guided singles wrestlers Pat Patterson, Don Muraco and Greg 'The Hammer' Valentine to the Intercontinental Championship.[4] Furthermore, Albano guided fifteen teams to the WWF World Tag Team Championships, including The Valiant Brothers, The Wild Samoans, The Blackjacks, The Moondogs and The Executioners.[4][9] By the end of his career, Albano managed over 50 different wrestlers who won two dozen championships.

Albano could also help elevate wrestlers by splitting from them. In 1982, despite being managed by the villainous Albano, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka was becoming a fan favorite due to his high-flying ring style. An interview segment revealed that Snuka had no legal contract with Albano, and thus was able to leave his manager.[10] Shortly thereafter, a bloody beatdown by Albano, Fred Blassie and Ray Stevens, helped transform Snuka into a sympathetic figure, and triggered the most successful period of his career.[11]

During the 1980s, Albano appeared in Cyndi Lauper's music videos for her hit songs "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", "She Bop", and "The Goonies 'R' Good Enough" Parlaying the venture, new WWF owner Vince McMahon devised the Rock 'n' Wrestling storyline, a collaboration and cross-promotion between the newly renamed WWF and elements of the music industry.[12] During a public appearance at Madison Square Garden, Albano made sexist comments that outraged the singer and non-wrestling fans.[7] Furthermore, on WWF television, Albano made the audacious claims that he was Lauper's manager, that he had secretly written her songs, and that he was the architect of her success. The two settled their differences on the MTV/WWF special The War to Settle the Score. Following Lauper's victory at the event, Albano apologized to Lauper and instantly became a fan favorite and the voice of Rock 'n' Wrestling. It was also explained that Albano had undergone surgery to remove "calcium deposits" on his medulla oblongata, and that the operation had removed his evil tendencies.[13]

The crossover storyline, coupled with the Hulkamania phenomenon surrounding then-WWF champion Hulk Hogan and the first WrestleMania, triggered a period of unprecedented success for not only the WWF, but for the professional wrestling industry as a whole.[1] Moreover, Albano helped cement wrestling's place within pop culture. Following the colossal success of the Rock 'n' Wrestling Connection, Albano left the WWF in 1986 to focus on various projects. Except for a brief return in 1994 to co-manage The Headshrinkers, Albano was retired from the wrestling industry.

Capitalizing on his new found celebrity, Albano began appearing in a vast array of television and film projects. Throughout the late 1980s, Albano appeared in Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling, 227, Miami Vice, Hey Dude, Brian De Palma's Wiseguys, "Complex World" and the 1987 wrestling movie Body Slam. Expanding into music, Albano managed and performed with rockers NRBQ. He was immortalized in the song "Captain Lou" on their Lou and the Q album. Albano also periodically appeared on the John Davidson version of Hollywood Squares.

In March 1989, on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee, Albano had his trademark beard shaved on the air in order to star as the iconic video game character Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!. Along with Danny Wells, he co-starred in live action segments during interludes of the Mario cartoon, as well as providing the voice of his animated counterpart.

In 1992, Albano appeared in the John Ritter film Stay Tuned as the ring announcer for a wrestling match of the "Underworld Wrestling Federation" pitting Ritter and Pam Dawber's characters against two demonic wrestlers.

In 1996, Albano was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame.[1] Two years later, he co-authored the book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pro-Wrestling along with Bert Sugar.[14] In his final years, Albano was semi-active in the wrestling industry with appearances at reunion events, conventions, and WWE programming.[15][16]

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Albano could often be found on local cable television promoting small businesses in Putnam, Westchester, and Dutchess counties, NY, employing the same over the top style that characterized his 1980s stardom.

During the 1990s, Albano shed 150 pounds (70 kg) following a health scare. In May 2005, Albano suffered a heart attack, but later recovered. He lived in Carmel, New York (Putnam County).

In 2008 he released his autobiography, "Often Imitated, Never Duplicated"[17] with the foreword written by Cyndi Lauper.

Albano was one of five children born to Dr. Carmen Louis and Eleanor Albano, both deceased. The other Albano siblings are Vincent, George, Eleanor, and Carl.[18]

Albano's brother, Carl, taught health for 32 years at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and was head of the Ridgewood High health department from 1974 until 2001.[18] Carl Albano's students have noted that he used his brother Lou as an example of the difference between crazy and unique.

Albano died of natural causes on October 14, 2009, aged 76, while under hospice care at his home.[19] He is survived by his wife Geri, four children and 14 grandchildren.

Championships and accomplishments

  • Other honoree (1995)

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Stars that died video of 2010 updated

Stars That Died 2008