The New Year will bring highs and lows as per norm in our own lives and on a global scale. There will be shocks but also the mundane and we can get through all this from watching funny YouTube animal videos. There will also be people we know well from the media who will pass away and I hope it will not be as many as this past year. I am honouring 10 people that I like and could have gone further but I chose the ten below with a film clip that you watch...or not ( although I hope you do) to represent their work. I chose more the move/tv people than some of the great musicians or sports people because I know this area best. I no diddly squat about sports and surprise myself that I know how baseball works. We have lost some that I won't talk about but mention like Garry Shandling, Michele Morgan, Ken Howard, Gary Marshall, William Schallert, Bernard Fox, Gloria DeHaven and so on.
In memory of some greats, I pay my humble respect...
1. DAVID BOWIE
He is known first as an amazing singer, entertainer but he was so much more..a true advent-Garde artist who kept pushing the boundaries. His final work is true art and I loved watching his videos where one was done in his hospital room. He was also quite good in films and we all remember him whether he was the man in Labyrinth or the androgynous figure from his Ziggy Stardust days. We will never see his style again. I didn't place it here but I would go and check out Lazarus (the video).
2. ALAN RICKMAN
I fell in lust, hubba-hubba, love with this man when I first saw him in the film, Truly, Madly, Deeply. We all know his as Professor Snape from the Harry Potter series but he already did so much in film and theatre that this was just another huge notch on his resume. He first gained recognition in North America when he played the nut terrorist in Die Hard and then the nasty Sheriff of Nottingham in the dreck flick Robin Hood(starring Kevin Costner). He could play so many characters from these nasties to the romantic( Sense and Sensibility) to comedy (Galaxy Quest). He is someone We will all miss, from his great acting to that wonderful voice.
3. GEORGE KENNEDY
This man often played mean brutes early on in his career but he gain prominence and an Oscar playing a convict in Cool Hand Luke. He would play cops as well and other characters who held some position to make changes. He starred in all the Airport films( there were 4 and not to be confused with Airplane) and as the sidekick to Frank Drebin in the Naked Gun series. He made many films, some are great (The Dirty Dozen) and some are horrible ( Bolero) but he was always professional and a genuine nice man.
4. PATTY DUKE
Here is a Young gal who won awards for her amazing performance as the child Helen Keller and gained prominence playing twins on the Patty Duke Show ( with William Schallert as her dad) only to disappear from the public for quite some time. She came back with a book called, "Call Me Anna"' talking about her abusive Guardians and her battle with bi-polar disorder. She was one of the first stars to talk candidly about this disease making it known that it is not something vile but something we should all understand. She is right since we all know someone who has this disorder or we ourselves, suffer from this. I am blessed that I don't but I know people who have and I consider them very brave.
5. GENE WILDER
This man, with his crazy hair, made us laugh and we found him endearing especially when he fell in love and married Gilda Radner. He was our manic genius who not only could act but wrote/co-wrote some of the best films that make me laugh out loud every time I watch them. We find him fun if not a bit sinister in Willy Wonka (not creepy like Johnny Depp) and his work with Mel Brooks is legendary . He also had a great partner in Richard Pryor and they made 4 fun films together. He is another great star that passed surprisingly and made us feel very sad when we heard the news.
6. ROBERT VAUGHN
Now here is a man that we all recognize but had no idea that he had such a long career in film and in TV. He was part of the 7 in The Magnificent 7 and won an Oscar nod for The Young Philadelphians but we also know him as Napoleon Solo in the TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He was even in Coronation Street and loved acting. Whether he played someone sympathetic or a bit slimy, he was memorable.
7. FLORENCE HENDERSON
I watch Dancing With The Stars and she was at the finale since she was in the audience for just about every show and was even one of the stars one year. It was a shock, for me, to hear that, the next day, she suffered a heart attack and died. We all thought Mrs. Brady would always live on and we loved her with that show, The Brady Bunch, plus we would often gasp and giggle when we would see her on Politically Incorrect or in a Weird Al video. She was also an accomplished soprano who played Maria Von Trapp in the Sound of Music as well as other heroines from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical. I know most people think of Carol Brady as I do but I was blown away by her singing in The Song of Norway...not a great movie by any means but loved her voice and the scenery.
8. ZSA ZSA GABOR
Oh Darling, how could I not place her here. I almost didn't since she was more a star for the cameras than a film star but you have to love the Gabor sisters in all the fur, jewels and Hungarian best. She was in some great movies like Gigi but she also played in films like The Queen From Outer Space. She is more known for her 9 marriages, her love of the camera and slapping a cop. She had an over the top marriage with the great George Sanders (who also married her sister Magda) and she considered him her true love although who knows with her. Before the Kardashians, there were the Gabor sisters and they can't be beat.
9. CARRIE FISHER
Talk about a shock! She is Princess Leia and she should not have died! She was coming home from London to spend time with her family at Christmas when she suffered the severe heart attack dying on the 27th. Now, if all we know her for is for Princess Leia, that would be enough, but this lady had brains! She was born into celebrity since her parents were Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. She had to grow up in the limelight and had to deal with all that comes with it. Unfortunately, she got into drugs but she did clean herself up and found out she was bi-polar. Instead of keeping this secret, she became an advocate, like Patty Duke, about the disease and was very frank about her life. Although she had an up and down relationship with her mom at times, later, they were each other's rock, I believe, and she was with her mom often in the last few years making sure her mom was ok in the last year. I used the clip above to showcase her wit and intelligence. If you don't watch any of the others, watch this one.
10. DEBBIE REYNOLDS
One day after her daughter (Carrie Fisher) passed away, Debbie suffered a massive stroke while making funeral arrangements for her beloved daughter. The last thing her son heard her say was "I wish I could be with Carrie". How sad for her son to find his mom 15 minutes later, unresponsive, just after losing his sister. It is a bittersweet ending to 2 great people from the same family. Debbie became most prominent from playing the female lead in Singing in the Rain but her star kept rising from there and she played in a variety of roles from the film Tammy and the Bachelor to the Unsinkable Molly Brown which, I had heard her say, years ago, that this was her favourite role. She was also known to have loved Hollywood and its history and bought up many costumes and props when MGM sold many of their memorabilia. Unfortunately, she had to sell off all she collected years later when she filed for bankruptcy. This lady knew her ups and downs but she was a consummate performer who was loved.
Sad notes but I wish to say, we will see more go this coming year but let's hope we all have a happy and healthy New Year!