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Stars that died 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

Makh Daniels. American heavy metal singer (Early Graves), died froma a car accident he was , 28,

Early on Monday, August 2, 2010, vocalist Makh Daniels was killed in a van accident while traveling from Oregon to Reno, Nevada. [5] Daniels was a member of Early Graves a metal band from San Francisco, California[1] that includes aspects of thrash and hardcore in their music.[2] The band formed in 2007 from the ashes of tech metal band Apiary.[3] Ironclad Recordings, who, in June 2010, released Early Graves’ second full-length album titled Goner, has issued the following statement:


Current members

  • Chris Brock – vocals, guitar
  • Dan Sneddon – drums
  • Tyler Jensen – guitar
  • Matt O'Brien – bass

Former members

  • Makh Daniels – vocals (2007 - 8/2/2010) - deceased


Date of release Title Label
2008 We: The Guillotine Ironclad/Metalblade Records
2010 Goner Ironclad/Metalblade Records

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Mitch Jayne, American bluegrass bassist (The Dillards) and actor (The Andy Griffith Show), died of cancer he was , 82

The Dillards are an American bluegrass band from Salem, Missouri, consisting of Douglas "Doug" Dillard (born March 6, 1937, East St. Louis, Illinois) (banjo), Rodney "Rod" Dillard (born May 18, 1942, Salem, Missouri) (guitar, dobro), Dean Webb (born March 28, 1937, Independence, Missouri) (mandolin), and Mitch Jayne (July 5, 1928 – August 2, 2010) (double bass).

Other members of the band have included Dewey Martin (drums), Herb Pedersen (banjo, guitar), Billy Ray Latham (banjo, guitar, electric guitar), Ray Park (fiddle), Paul York (drums), Jeff Gilkinson (bass, cello, harmonica, banjo), Douglas Bounsall (electric guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle), Byron Berline (fiddle), Irv Dugan (bass), Bill Bryson (bass), Glen D. Hardin (keyboards), Seth Papas (drums), Buddy Blackmon (banjo), Rick McEwen (bass), Ric Williams (drums), Joe Villegas (bass), Eddie Ponder (drums), Pete Grand (banjo, steel guitar), Steve Cooley (banjo, guitar, upright bass), Wilbur Pace (banjo, fiddle, and Richard Godfrey (drums).

The Andy Griffith Show

Though The Dillards were a tremendous influence on the main core of musicians who started Southern California's country rock movement in the late 1960s (which further extended from that genre into today's country music), their biggest claim to fame is playing the fictional bluegrass band "The Darlings" on The Andy Griffith Show. This was a recurring role and the Dillards were led by veteran character actor Denver Pyle as their father and jug player, Briscoe Darling. Maggie Peterson played Charlene Darling, their sister and the focus for the attentions of character Ernest T. Bass, played by Howard Morris. The appearances of the Dillards as the Darlings ran between 1963 and 1966. In 1986, the Dillards reprised the role in the reunion show Return to Mayberry.

Pioneering Influences

The Dillards are notable for being among the first bluegrass groups to have electrified their instruments in the mid-1960s.[1] They are considered to be one of the pioneers of the burgeoning southern California folk rock, country rock and so-called progressive bluegrass genres, and are known to have directly or indirectly influenced artists such as The Eagles, The Byrds, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Dan Fogelberg, Linda Ronstadt, Iain Matthews, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Elton John, Fairport Convention, The New Grass Revival, J. D. Crowe and the New South, Ricky Skaggs, The Seldom Scene, The Dixie Bee-Liners, and Joe Bethancourt.[citation needed]

The Dillards' roots sank deep into the mainstream of popular music --- after leaving The Dillards in 1968, Doug Dillard teamed up with Gene Clark who had just left The Byrds to form Phoenix at A&M records with Laramy Smith and led to the formation of Dillard & Clark.[2] This pioneering duo also featured as session players a veritable who's-who of Southern California country rock legends, such as Bernie Leadon, an original member of The Flying Burrito Brothers & later the archetypal country rock group The Eagles; Chris Hillman, who also had left The Byrds and also played in FBB with Leadon; Sneaky Pete Kleinow, another FBB member; Laramy Smith and Michael Clarke, former drummer for The Byrds.[2] This group was one of the blueprints for the country-rock movement.[3]



  • There Is a Time (1963–70) (1991) Vanguard
  • The Best Of The Darlin' Boys (1995) Vanguard
  • Let The Music Flow: The Best of the Dillards 1963-1979 (2005) Raven Records


  • Mountain Rock (2000) Delta Records
  • Roots & Branches/Tribute to the American Duck (2001) BGO Records
  • Wheatstraw Suite (2002) Collector's Choice
  • Copperfields (2002) Collector's Choice
  • Back Porch Bluegrass/Live...Almost!! (2003) WEA International
  • Pickin' & Fiddlin'/Wheatstraw Suite/Copperfields-Original Recordings Remastered (2004) WEA International
  • Pickin' & Fiddlin'/Back Porch Bluegrass (2006) Collector's Choice

[edit] Trivia

  • Doug, Rodney and Byron Berline can be seen in the movie The Rose starring Bette Midler. They played musicians in Harry Dean Stanton's band and their faces can be seen on the screen for around ten minutes.
  • Doug Dillard appears as "Farmer Clem" in Robert Altman's movie Popeye, which starred Robin Williams and features a musical score by Harry Nilsson. A soundtrack album was released on Boardwalk records (SWAL 36880), the basic tracks were recorded on location in Malta by "The Falcons" (Ray Cooper, Doug Dillard, Harry Nilsson, Van Dyke Parks, Klaus Voormann, and The Mysterious Karsten). Nilsson wrote all of the songs except for "I'm Popeye the Sailor Man".
  • Rodney sings the Dillards song "There Is A Time" (written by Rodney and Mitch Jayne) on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band album Will The Circle Be Unbroken - Part 3.
  • Doug joined producers Randall Franks and Alan Autry, who also appeared in "Popeye," for the In the Heat of the Night (TV Series) cast CD “Christmas Time’s A Comin’” performing "Christmas Time's A Comin'" with the cast on the CD released on Sonlite and MGM/UA for one of the most popular Christmas releases of 1991 and 1992 with Southern retailers.
  • Dean Webb now plays in the band called The Missouri Boatride with Justin Sifford, Bob Gideon, and Larry Sifford.

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Robert F. Boyle,, American art director and production designer (North By Northwest, The Birds), died of natural causes he was 100

Robert Francis Boyle [1] was an American art director and production designer died of natural causes he was 100.

(October 10, 1909 – August 1, 2010)

Born in Los Angeles, Boyle trained as an architect, graduating from the University of Southern California (USC). When he lost his job in that field during the Great Depression, Boyle found work in films as an extra. In 1933 he was hired as a draftsman in the Paramount Pictures art department, headed by supervising art director Hans Dreier. Beginning with Cecil B. DeMille's The Plainsman, Boyle went on to work on a variety of pictures as a sketch artist, draftsman and assistant art director before becoming an art director at Universal Studios in the early 1940s.

Boyle collaborated several times with Alfred Hitchcock, first as an associate art director for Saboteur (1942) and later as a full-fledged production designer for North by Northwest (1959), The Birds (1963), and Marnie (1964). Denied permission to shoot footage on Mount Rushmore, Hitchcock turned to Boyle to create realistic replicas of the stone heads. Boyle abseiled down the monument, photographing its contours in detail, before constructing “just enough to put the actors on so we could get down shots, up shots, side shots, whatever we needed.” Almost two decades earlier, Boyle had delivered the Statue of Liberty reproduction that was used in the climactic scene of Saboteur. For The Birds, Boyle was put in charge of the title characters. He later recalled, “We needed to find out which birds we could use best, and finally settled on two types: sea gulls, which were very greedy beasts that would always fly toward the camera if there was a piece of meat, and crows, which had a strange sort of intelligence.” Boyle described his relationship with Hitchcock: “It was a meeting of equals: the director who knew exactly what he wanted, and the art director who knew how to get it done."[2]

When director Norman Jewison failed in his attempts to get the necessary submarine that was at the epicenter of his The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming storyline, Boyle built a working model from styrofoam and fiberglass.[3]

Boyle's other credits include It Came from Outer Space, Cape Fear, In Cold Blood, Fiddler on the Roof, Portnoy's Complaint, Winter Kills, Mame, W.C. Fields and Me, The Shootist, Private Benjamin, Staying Alive, and Troop Beverly Hills.

During the course of his career, Boyle was nominated four times for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction but never won. In 1997 he received the Art Directors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was voted an Honorary Academy Award by the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, "in recognition of one of cinema's great careers in art direction," which he received during the 80th Academy Awards ceremony on February 24, 2008 [4]. At the age of 98, Boyle became the oldest winner ever of an Honorary Award in the history of the Academy Awards. Despite being in ill health and arriving to the ceremony in a wheelchair, Boyle insisted on walking onstage, alongside Nicole Kidman, to receive the honor.

Boyle was the subject of the Academy Award-nominated documentary short The Man on Lincoln's Nose (2000).

Boyle died on August 1, 2010 in Los Angeles from natural causes.[5]

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Clint Formby American radio broadcaster, died of cancer.he was , 86,

John Clinton Formby, known as Clint Formby (December 22, 1923 – July 31, 2010),[1] was a veteran radio broadcaster called the "Old Philosopher" based in the small city of Hereford, Texas, the seat of Deaf Smith County in the Texas Panhandle. His daily broadcast ran continuously on his KPAN AM & FM country-music station since October 10, 1955. Eventually reduced to five minutes in length, Formby's commentary was the oldest continuously-running broadcast by a single host in radio history.[2]

Early life, education, and military

Formby was born in McAdoo in Dickens County, also in West Texas, to John C. Formby (1902-1989), a Rural Free Delivery carrier, and the former Willie Elsby (1903-1994).[3]John and Willie married in 1922, and Clint was their only child. Clint Formby was the paternal grandson of Marshall Clinton Formby, Sr. (1877-1957) and the former Rosa Mae Freeman (1882-1971).[3][4]He attended public schools in Plainview and then Dickens County, where he graduated in 1942 from McAdoo High School. He played basketball, tennis, and was quarterback on the six-man football team at McAdoo. He then began college at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.[5]

However, he soon left college to enlist in the United States Army. He served as a staff sergeant and medic, having been attached to the 235th General Hospital in Marseille, France. He remained in Switzerland after the end of the war in April 1945 and attended the University of Basel in Basel.[5]After the war, he returned to Texas Tech where he met and married the first official Tech beauty queen, the former Margaret Clark (July 12, 1929–April 10, 2003).[3] Margaret, who was reared on a ranch near Van Horn. She founded the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, first in the Hereford library and later in a large modern building in Fort Worth.[6]While a student at Texas Tech, Formby he worked during the summer of 1948 to help his uncle, Marshall Formby, construct KPAN AM in Hereford, having performed as a carpenter and painter. Clint Formby's was the first voice on the new radio station when it went on the air on August 4, 1948, exactly sixty-two years to the date of his own funeral.[5]

Formby was a nephew of Democratic State Senator and state highway commissioner Marshall Formby (1911-1984). He was a cousin of sitting Senator Robert L. Duncan, a Lubbock Republican. Clint Formby practically grew up with Duncan's mother, Mae Robena Duncan (1921-2009), his aunt who was only two years Formby's senior.[7]

Career in radio

Formby and his wife lived for a time in Colorado City, the seat of Mitchell County north of San Angelo, where they rented a garage apartment from attorney and future U.S. Representative George Mahon. Formby established a radio station in Snyder, the seat of Scurry County, and then began working on August 22, 1951, at his Uncle Marshall’s radio station in Hereford[5] for $47.50 per week. He became a partner in the station and eventually bought out his uncle. His persistent broadcasts, called "predictably unpredictable," can touch on nearly any subject.[2] He has urged listeners to tip waiters and waitresses more generously. He refuses to reveal his political party preference, advising listeners that they should be able to tell his inclination from his commentaries.[2]Once Vice President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson contacted Formby to advise him that he would like to hear Formby speak at the First Baptist Church of Hereford, filling in for the absent pastor, but Johnson was unsure if his plane could land in the small Hereford airport.[8] About this time, Marshall Formby, the state highway commissioner, was seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination against Johnson’s presumed favorite and eventual winner, John B. Connally, Jr. Clint Formby served as his uncle's campaign manager in the gubernatorial primary.[5]

Formby in time charted a radio path across Texas including outlets in Floydada, Tulia, Levelland, Andrews, Seminole, Tyler, Seminole, Huntsville, Temple, and Marshall. In the 1950s, Formby went by train from Hereford to Chicago to attend the annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters.[5]

In one of his broadcasts, Clint Formby advocated dropping trade restrictions with Communist Cuba on the grounds that the Fidel Castro government is the only communist regime that has yet to kill an American citizen. He also visited Cuba. On another occasion, he scolded Hereford residents for parking their vehicles in their front yards. A widower, Formby each week advises his married male listeners to kiss their wives goodnight. KPAN calls itself the "only radio station in the world that gives a hoot about Hereford, Texas." Local sports are carried live on the Internet by KPAN. Otherwise, listeners must connect through regular AM or FM radio.[9]Formby traveled widely across the United States and the world and reported on his varied trips to his listeners.[5]

In 2010, Formby's Monday-Saturday program marked its 60th year on the air. Officially known as the "Day-By-Day Philosopher", the program ran for fifteen minutes from 7:45 to 8 a.m. for the first ten years and during the peak of radio drive time. In later years, Formby reduced the time to five minutes, saying that listeners now have too short of an attention span to justify a longer broadcast. It was the longest-running daily radio broadcast by an individual in America. "The Old Philosopher", as he was usually known, was featured on NBC's The Today Show on December 29, 2007.[8]Formby claimed to have not missed a broadcast in more than 16,000 consecutive mornings.[8]His "Most Beautiful Alley" contest raised $89,000 in scholarship money for students attending the Hereford campus of the two-year Amarillo College in Amarillo.[8]

In 1984, Formby was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Texas Broadcasters Association.[10]Governor George W. Bush named Formby to the board of the Texas Telecommunication Infrastructure Fund. In addition to KPAN, Formby’s other remaining radio stations include KSAM/KHUN in Huntsville and KTEM in Temple, Texas.[11]. Formby was a former board member of Broadcast Music, Inc.[12]

Civic matters

Formby was involved over the years in civic affairs in Hereford, first as a member of the Junior Chamber. He was a past president of the Kiwanis Club as well as district lieutenant governor and was involved in chartering two new clubs in West Texas. He served as president of Deaf Smith County Chamber of Commerce and in 1964 received the "Citizen of the Year" award from that group. He also won the "Good Neighbor Award" from the West Texas Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of First Baptist Church, where he taught the boys' high school Sunday school class for several years. He and Margaret were later charter members of Fellowship of Believers Church. He received the Texas Communicator of the Year from the Southern Baptist Convention. He worked to bring cable television to Hereford as the managing partner of Hereford Cablevision from 1975-2006.[5]

Formby was the only person thus far to have appeared on the cover of Texas Highways magazine. He was also the only individual thus far to have served Texas Tech as president of the student body, the regents president, and the ex-students association.[5]

Family and death

The marriage of Clint and Margaret Formby produced five children, Larry C. "Chip" Formby (born 1953), who works with his father at the station, along with Chip's two sons by his wife Lisa, Jonathan and Lane Formby. The other sons are Marshall Clark Formby and wife Betty of San Antonio and Ben Formby and Scott C. Formby (born 1961) and wife Kathy, all of New York City.[6]A daughter, Linda Kay Formby, predeceased her parents.

Formby died of cancer at the age of eighty-six. Services were held at First Baptist Church of Hereford on August 4, 2010, with pastor Kyle Streun officiating. He is interred beside his wife and daughter at West Park Cemetery north of Hereford.

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Tom Mankiewicz American screenwriter (James Bond, Superman), died from cancer he was 68,

Thomas Frank Mankiewicz was a screenwriter/director/producer of motion pictures and television, perhaps best known for his work on the James Bond films and his contributions to Superman: The Movie and the television series, Hart to Hart died from cancer he was 68,
(June 1, 1942 – July 31, 2010)

Early life and career

Mankiewicz was born in Los Angeles on June 1, 1942.[1] His parents were Austrian-born actress Rosa Stradner and the celebrated screenwriter/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz. In 1950, his father, after winning four Oscars in two years for the screenplays and direction of A Letter to Three Wives and All About Eve, decided to move his family back to New York City where he had been raised, the son of a German immigrant language professor.

Mankiewicz was a graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy (1955–59) and Yale University (1959–63). He majored in drama at Yale, completing the first two years of the Yale Drama School while still an undergraduate.

During vacations he worked at the Williamstown Summer Theater in Massachusetts both in production and as an actor. In 1960, he was hired as a third Assistant Director on The Comancheros, a film starring John Wayne and Lee Marvin, which was shot in the Monument Valley of Utah, the last film directed by the legendary Michael Curtiz.

In 1963, two young producers, Stuart Millar and Lawrence Turman, took Mankiewicz on as their assistant while making The Best Man, the 1964 film version of Gore Vidal’s Broadway play starring Henry Fonda. He was involved in virtually every aspect of the film, receiving his first on-screen credit as “Production Associate.”

He began to write, finishing an original screenplay, Please, about the last ninety minutes in the life of a suicidal young actress. It was optioned at times by three different studios, never made, but served as an example of his talent and was responsible for his first writing assignment, a Bob Hope Chrysler Theater directed by Stuart Rosenberg. He received a credit as “Thomas F. Mankiewicz,” but thought it looked so pretentious on the screen he became “Tom” Mankiewicz for the rest of his career.

In 1967, Mankiewicz joined forces with a friend, Jack Haley Jr. to come up with a musical television special tailored for the then hugely popular Nancy Sinatra: Movin' with Nancy, co-starring Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Lee Hazelwood. Mankiewicz was the sole writer and Haley won the Emmy for directing. This was followed by The Beat of the Brass, starring Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass in 1968.

Simultaneously, 20th Century Fox had optioned his original screenplay and after reading it, producer Joe Pasternak hired him to write The Sweet Ride about the California surfing community, starring Anthony Franciosa, Bob Denver, and introducing Jacqueline Bisset.

The combination of that screenplay and the TV specials led Broadway producer Fred Coe to ask Mankiewicz to write the book for the musical version of the film Georgy Girl. It opened at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1970, was nominated for three Tony Awards, but closed after four performances.

Attending one of the four performances of Georgy was United Artists production head David Picker who admired Mankiewicz’s book for the musical. Picker and James Bond producer Albert Broccoli were looking for a writer to do a major reworking of Diamonds Are Forever in hopes of luring Sean Connery back to play Bond. Picker suggested that Broccoli add Mankiewicz to his list of possibles. He was hired on a two-week guarantee, stayed on the film for six months and received shared screenplay credit with the original writer, Richard Maibaum.

This began a long relationship with the Bond films. Mankiewicz received sole writing credit on the next, Live and Let Die, shared credit with Maibaum on The Man with the Golden Gun, did an uncredited rewrite on The Spy Who Loved Me, and helped Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert get Moonraker off the ground.

In 1975, Mankiewicz wrote the screenplay for Mother, Jugs and Speed, a dark comedy about ambulance drivers starring Bill Cosby, Raquel Welch and Harvey Keitel. He co-produced the film with director Peter Yates who later asked Mankiewicz to come to the British Virgin Islands to do a major rewrite on Yates’ next film, The Deep, with Robert Shaw and Jacqueline Bisset. The film was a huge box office success and cemented Mankiewicz’s reputation as a “script doctor.”

He next performed a similar function on The Cassandra Crossing, starring Richard Harris, Sophia Loren, Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner, receiving shared screenplay credit. This was followed by his screenplay for The Eagle Has Landed, a World War II thriller with Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland and Robert Duvall.

During this time actor Peter Falk asked Universal Studios to hire Mankiewicz to read the scripts for his hit television series, Columbo, and make plot suggestions. He was paid a consulting fee on each episode for an entire season while performing no actual writing services.

In 1977, director Richard Donner was hired to direct Superman: The Movie and Superman II. At the time the script drafts combined were more than four hundred pages long (an impossible length to shoot) and Donner felt they were much too campy as well. He brought Mankiewicz aboard to do a complete overhaul in terms of length, dialogue and tone. Mankiewicz stayed on the production for more than a year, assisting Donner in other departments as well. Donner gave Mankiewicz a separate credit in the main title: “Creative Consultant.” The Writer’s Guild strenuously objected on two grounds; first, that the traditional script arbitration process was being bypassed and second, that Mankiewicz’s credit came after the original screenwriters and not before them, implying that his contribution was more important. The dispute went to a legal hearing. Mankiewicz won. His credit remained where it was on Superman: The Movie, but he agreed to have it come just before the listed screenwriters on Superman II. In the 2006 documentary "Look, Up in the Sky: the Amazing Story of Superman", Mankiewicz accurately describes "Superman: the Movie" as a three-act play exploring Superman's three separate worlds, describing the film's depictions of Krypton as "Shakespearean", Smallville as comparable to the works of Andrew Wyeth and Metropolis as a place where sarcasm flies.

During this time, television producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg had five successful series on the ABC Network simultaneously. They also had a potential “pilot” script by Sidney Sheldon called Double Twist which they were unable to sell. Goldberg knew Mankiewicz wanted to direct and told him if he rewrote the two-hour script successfully he could direct it. Mankiewicz agreed and turned it into Hart to Hart. It sold. He co-wrote and directed the pilot, starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers. The hit series ran for five years and later was the subject of eight two-hour network and cable movies. Mankiewicz received his “Creative Consultant” credit on each episode, while directing seven of them. He also directed the final cable movie, Till Death Do Us Hart, in Munich, Germany, coming full circle on the show.

Following Superman: The Movie, Warner Bros. signed Mankiewicz to an exclusive deal and kept him busy “fixing” films. He wrote scenes for Steven Spielberg’s Gremlins, Spielberg and Richard Donner’s The Goonies and John Badham’s WarGames. He next wrote the first draft of Batman, the opening film for that successful series. Then Richard Donner brought him onto Ladyhawke, the medieval romantic fantasy starring Matthew Broderick, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Rutger Hauer. He received shared screenplay credit and a separate credit as “Creative Consultant.”

Mankiewicz next co-executive produced the film Hot Pursuit with John Cusack and Ben Stiller. He left Warner Bros., moving to Universal Studios where he co-wrote (with Dan Aykroyd and Alan Zweibel) and directed the film Dragnet, starring Aykroyd and Tom Hanks. It was one of the top grossers of 1987, and marked his feature debut as director.

Mankiewicz next did an uncredited rewrite on Legal Eagles, a romantic comedy with Robert Redford and Debra Winger. He then directed the film Delirious, starring John Candy and Mariel Hemingway. Next he directed the season’s opening episode of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt. This was followed by his directing the Showtime movie, Taking the Heat, with Alan Arkin, Peter Boyle, George Segal and Tony Goldwyn.

Later, Mankiewicz helped Richard Donner reconstruct Donner’s version of Superman II, restoring all of the original footage he had shot which had been altered or replaced by the producers, including multiple sequences with Marlon Brando which were seen by the public for the first time. Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut came out in 2006 and won the Saturn Award as the best DVD of the year.

[edit] Other pursuits

In 2006, The Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University invited Mankiewicz to be their “Film Maker in Residence.” He stayed on as a Trustee Professor, teaching a course in film making to their graduate students.

Mankiewicz had a home in Kenya, East Africa, for eight years. He served on the Board of Directors of the William Holden Wildlife Foundation, based there. For the past decade he had been closely involved with the Los Angeles Zoo, and was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association.

He was an owner of thoroughbred race horses, having first partnered with actor Robert Wagner, then with A&M Records co-founder Jerry Moss, and later racing under his own silks. He was a past member of the Board of Directors of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.

Mankiewicz remained active in the Writer’s and Director’s Guilds and was a former member of the Board of Governors of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.

He died at his home in Los Angeles after a bout with pancreatic cancer on July 31, 2010.[2]

[edit] Films

[edit] Television

  • Cleopatra: The Film That Changed Hollywood (TV documentary) – Himself, Acknowledgment (still photographs provided by) (2001)
  • Hart to Hart: Till Death Do Us Hart (TV movie) – Director (1996)
  • Taking the Heat (TV movie) – Director (1993)
  • Tales from the Crypt (TV series) – Director (1 episode) (1991)
  • Loved to Death – Director (1991)
  • Hart to Hart (TV series) – Creative Consultant, Director, Writer
  • Mother, Juggs and Speed (TV short) – Writer (writer) (1978)
  • The Beat of the Brass (TV movie) – Writer (writer) (1968)
  • Movin' With Nancy (TV special) – Writer (writer) (1967)
  • Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (TV series) – Writer (1 episode, 1966)
  • Runaway Boy – Writer (adaptation) (as Thomas F. Mankiewicz) (1966)

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Mitchell William "Mitch" Miller was an American musician, singer, conductor, record producer, A&R man and record, died he was 99

Mitchell William "Mitch" Miller [1][2] was an American musician, singer, conductor, record producer, A&R man and record company executive died he was 99. Miller was one of the most influential figures in American popular music during the 1950s and early 1960s, both as the head of Artists and Repertoire at Columbia Records and as a best-selling recording artist with an NBC television series, Sing Along with Mitch. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester in the early 1930s, Miller began his musical career as an accomplished player of the oboe and English horn, and recorded several highly regarded classical albums featuring his instrumental work, but he is best remembered as a conductor, choral director, television performer and recording executive.
(July 4, 1911 – July 31, 2010)

Personal life

Mitch Miller was born in Rochester, New York, on July 4, 1911, to a Jewish family. His mother was Hinda Rosenblum Miller, a former seamstress, and his father, Abram Calmen Miller, a Russian immigrant wrought-iron worker. He had four siblings, two of whom, Leon and Joseph, survived him.[2]

He was married for sixty-five years to the former Frances Alexander, who died in 2000.[2] They had two daughters; Andrea Miller, and Margaret Miller Reuther; and a son, Mitchell "Mike" Miller; and two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Mitch lived in New York City for many years and died there on July 31, 2010, after a short illness.[2]


Miller took up the oboe at first as a teenager, because it was the only instrument available when he went to audition for his junior high school orchestra.[2] A talented oboist, at age fifteen he played with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra and after graduating from high school he attended the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. He graduated in 1932 with honors.[2]

After graduating from Eastman, Miller played with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and then moved to New York City where he performed with David Mannes, Andre Kostelanetz, Percy Faith, George Gershwin and Charlie Parker.[2]

Miller played the prominent English horn part in the largo movement of Dvorak's New World Symphony in a famous 1947 recording conducted by Leopold Stokowski. [3]

As part of the CBS Symphony, Miller participated in the musical accompaniment in the infamous radio broadcast of Orson Welles's The War of the Worlds.[4]

A&R man

Miller joined Mercury Records as a classical music producer and served as the head of Artists and Repertoire (A&R) at Mercury in the late 1940s, and then joined Columbia Records in the same capacity in 1950. This was a pivotal position in a recording company, because the A&R executive decided which musicians and songs would be recorded and promoted by that particular record label.

He defined the Columbia style through the early 1960s, signing and producing many important pop standards artists for Columbia, including Patti Page, Frankie Laine, Johnnie Ray, Ray Conniff, Percy Faith, Jimmy Boyd, Johnny Mathis, Tony Bennett, and Guy Mitchell (whose pseudonym was based on Miller's first name), and helped direct the careers of artists who were already signed to the label, like Doris Day, Dinah Shore and Jo Stafford, to just name a few. Miller also discovered Aretha Franklin and signed her to her first major recording contract. She left Columbia after a few years when Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records promised her artistic freedom to create records outside the pop mainstream in a more rhythm-and-blues-driven direction.

Miller also was responsible for not pursuing certain artists and tunes: he disapproved of rock 'n' roll, and passed on Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly, who became stars on other labels. (He had offered Presley a contract, but balked at the amount Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was asking.) The one time that Miller was vetoed over his dislike for rock and roll was when Bill Paley ordered him to sign the inter-racial Mexican rock group "Los Nómadas" since they could record rock records in both English and Spanish. Producer Bob Stanley had found the group during a series of early 1954 'Mexican civil rights concerts" in East Los Angeles. Their lead guitarist Bill Aken (adopted son of Mexican actress Lupe Mayorga) was the only Caucasian in the Latino band. Although Mitch had once referred to the group as just "Four Arrogant Little Bastards," Miller softened his position regarding the group when Paley's estimate of their record sales in Mexico proved to be highly accurate. Despite his distaste for rock 'n' roll, Miller often produced records for Columbia artists that were rockish in nature. Songs like "A White Sport Coat (and a Pink Carnation)" by Marty Robbins, and "Rock-a-Billy" by Guy Mitchell are just two examples.

Record producer

As a record producer, Miller gained a reputation for both innovation and gimmickry. Although he oversaw dozens of chart hits, his relentlessly cheery arrangements and his penchant for novelty material (for example, "Come on-a My House" (Rosemary Clooney), "Mama Will Bark") has drawn heavy criticism from some admirers of traditional pop music. Music historian Will Friedwald wrote in his book Jazz Singing (Da Capo Press, 1996) that "Miller exemplified the worst in American pop. He first aroused the ire of intelligent listeners by trying to turn — and darn near succeeding in turning — great artists like Sinatra, Clooney, and Tony Bennett into hacks. Miller chose the worst songs and put together the worst backings imaginable — not with the hit-or-miss attitude that bad musicians ... traditionally used, but with insight, forethought, careful planning, and perverted brilliance."[5]

At the same time, Friedwald acknowledges Miller's seminal influence on later popular music production:

Miller established the primacy of the producer, proving that even more than the artist, the accompaniment, or the material, it was the responsibility of the man in the recording booth whether a record flew or flopped. Miller also conceived of the idea of the pop record "sound" per se: not so much an arrangement or a tune, but an aural texture (usually replete with extramusical gimmicks) that could be created in the studio and then replicated in live performance, instead of the other way around. Miller was hardly a rock 'n' roller, yet without these ideas there could never have been rock 'n' roll. "Mule Train", Miller's first major hit (for Frankie Laine) and the foundation of his career, set the pattern for virtually the entire first decade of rock. The similarities between it and, say, "Leader of the Pack", need hardly be outlined here.[6]

While Miller's methods were resented by some of Columbia's performers, including Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney,[7] the label maintained a high hit-to-release ratio during the 1950s. Sinatra, in particular, would speak harshly of Miller and blamed him for his (Sinatra's) temporary fall from popularity while at Columbia, having been forced to record material like "Mama Will Bark" and "The Hucklebuck." Miller countered that Sinatra's contract gave him the right to refuse any song.

Recording artist

Mitch Miller's single for his 1957 recording of The River Kwai March and the Colonel Bogey March

In the early 1950s Miller recorded with Columbia's house band as "Mitchell Miller and His Orchestra". He also recorded a string of successful albums and singles, featuring a male chorale and his own distinctive arrangements, under the name "Mitch Miller and the Gang" starting in 1950. The ensemble's hits included "The Children's Marching Song" (more commonly known as "This Old Man"), "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena", "The Yellow Rose of Texas", and the two marches from The Bridge on the River Kwai: "The River Kwai March" and "Colonel Bogey March". In 1961 Miller also provided two choral tracks set to Dimitri Tiomkin's title music on the soundtrack to The Guns of Navarone. In 1962 they sang the theme of The Longest Day over the end credits. In 1965 they sang the "Major Dundee March", the theme song to Sam Peckinpah's Major Dundee. Though the film was a box-office bomb, paradoxically the song remained popular for years. In 1987, Miller conducted the London Symphony Orchestra with pianist David Golub in a well-received[8] recording of Gershwin's "An American in Paris," "Rhapsody in Blue," and "Concerto in F."

Sing Along with Mitch

In the 1960s, Miller became a household name with his 1961–1966 NBC television show Sing Along with Mitch, a community-sing program featuring him and a male chorale (an extension of his highly successful series of Columbia record albums of the same name). During the second season of Sing Along with Mitch, Miller himself coined the catchphrase "all smiles."

Singer Leslie Uggams, pianist Dick Hyman, and the singing Quinto Sisters were featured on Sing Along with Mitch. One of the singers in Miller's chorale, Bob McGrath, went on to a long career as one of the hosts of the PBS children's television show Sesame Street.

Sing Along with Mitch ran on television from 1961 until it was canceled in 1964, a victim of changing musical tastes. Selected repeats aired briefly on NBC during the spring of 1966. The demographics of the show's audience ran too much toward mature viewers to attract advertisers more interested in targeting the youth market. The show's format remained popular in England, where comedian Max Bygraves hosted his own version, Sing Along with Max.

In later years, Miller would carry on the sing-along tradition, leading crowds in song in personal appearances. For several years, Miller was featured in a popular series of Christmas festivities in New Bedford, Massachusetts, leading large crowds singing carols. Miller appeared as host of two PBS television specials, "Keep America Singing" (1994) and "Voices In Harmony" (1996), featuring champion quartets and choruses of SPEBSQSA and Sweet Adelines International. He also appeared conducting regional orchestras and filled in many times as guest conductor of The Boston Pops Orchestra.


Steve Allen once performed a pointed satire of Sing Along with Mitch that spoofed the show's production values, including cameras panning among the vocalists, going out of control and knocking them over, then chasing Allen, made up as Miller, out of the studio and onto the roof. Stan Freberg, who had previously recorded "Wunnerful! Wunnerful!", a scathing satire of The Lawrence Welk Show, presented an equally brutal satire of the show, "Sing Along With Freeb", on his February 1962 ABC special, The Chun King Chow Mein Hour. Jonathan and Darlene Edwards (Paul Weston and Jo Stafford) produced an entire album of sing-along in the Miller style, which supposedly greatly angered him.

Years later, Internet shopping giant referenced Sing Along with Mitch in their Christmas commercials, featuring a male choral group singing subtitled songs about the company's various offerings.

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