Deaths in Pop-Culture- Jan 2017

2016 was such a hard hitting year of notable actors, authors, musicians, politicians and more that the deaths of 2017 will possibly seem so much less.  Especially in the turmoil of everything happening and when we want to look up the upside of all the fun, exciting good things to come.  Yet, so far alone in the first 25 days of this year we’ve had a share of passings that most of all pop-culture around the world would feel and some in lesser circles but still notable.

In no particular order here are some of them with minor to major details.

Alfonso Wong – A Hong Kong artist born in mainland China, became famous in Asia for the creation Old Master Q.  While not widely known elsewhere it has been translated into English and his work known by fans and inspired creators worldwide.  The BBC did a wonderful covering on his career upon his passing.

Tony Rosato – Comedic Canadian actor who was on SCTV as well as SNL regular for Season 7.  He was also a noted voice actor best known for his role as Luigi in Super Mario cartoons.  He also sadly did a two year stint in prison instead of being given mental health he desperately needed for committing a minor charge of “harassment” against his own wife and slipping through Justice’s cracks

Lynn Phillips – A television writer and journalist.

Babette Cole – British Children’s Author and Artist.

Bill Marshall – Canadian Producer, helped found the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) as well other Canadian film and television mainstays

Phillip Bond – British actor with appearances in Doctor Who (The First), The Avengers, and The Onedin Line

Gorden Kaye – Star of ‘Allo, ‘Allo

Manlio Rocchetti – Italian make-up artist who received the Academy and Emmy award for his work.

Timothy Alan Smith – Professional wrestler who worked under the names Rex King and in the WWE as Timothy Well, 1/2 of the tag team Well Dunn.  (His partner Steve Doll, known as Steve Dunn, passed away in ’09)

Francine York – Beautiful character actress of television and film, notably in Jerry Lewis films.

 Lamar Dupré Calhoun – Rap producer for the group WC and The Madd Circle under the name Crazy Toones.

Buddy Greco –  Recording artist of all genres.  A contemporary of Sinatra and Presley, but never as famous as either.

Pascal Garry – Belgian cartoonist, took over from Peyo on The Smurfs after a two year apprenticeship in Peyo’s studio .

Jimmy Snuka – Fijian professional wrestler known as “Supafly”.  Also a murder suspect and known criminal, passed away without indictment on a reopended trial after being declared mentally unfit.

William Margold – prolific porn actor and director

Butch Trunks – One of the two drummers in The Allman Brothers craziness.

Miguel Ferrer – American actor of film and television including cartoon voice over work.  Major notable roles in Robocop, DC cartoons, Twin Peaks and his final role as Granger, the much loved boss on NCIS: Los Angeles.

Dick Gautier – American actor and voice over actor best known for his work on G.I. Joe and Transformers.

William Peter Blatty – American novelist, screenwriter and director.  Most famous for The Exorcist.  I personally loved John Goldfarb, Please Come Home!

John Watkiss – British Comics and storyboard artist.  Worked for DC Comics, as well as a multitude of movie studios including Disney.  Was working on Surgeon X from Image till his passing.

Harry J. Middleton – best known as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s right hand man.

Yanni Alexis Mardas aka Magic Alex – a guy who somehow convinced The Beatles to let him be part of their entourage and spend lots of Apple Studios money, yet never contributing anything successful other then being that guy who tricked the Beatles.

Shigeru Kōyama – Japanese actor who appeared in many films and television including a Zaotichi, a Godzilla and Ridley’s Scott’s Black Rain.

And as I wrote this entry Mary Tyler Moore, world beloved actress of stage, film and small screen passed away after a long illness.  For many she will be considered the first important death of this year, but I feel all these are as are any I might’ve missed.

In a world of pop-culture with music, television, comics, wrestling, video games, movies and more… there are important figures from agents, to publicists who shall pass.  They all made their mark and all were important so sometimes we must find time to acknowledge them.

 

Carrie Fisher

81uorsyucvlIf you’ve never read The Best Awful, the amazing insane crazy follow-up to Postcards from the Edge you’ve truly missed out. Carrie’s usage of her real life to create a heart breaking, brutal, visual brilliant word play was IMHO her tour de force. While her multiple memoirs are just as breathtaking as well as her one person show, her ability as a novelist while “NYT Best Selling” needs to be more acknowledged. She came from a crazy childhood, led a crazy life and in spectacular fashion she had what could be considered a crazy death. Died like she lived… A Princess Warrior and General of the Resistance.

R.I.P. Actors Who Meant a Lot to PCS

Between March 30th and April 7th, 2015 the world saw three major character actors of pop-culture and also cult fame leave their mortal coil.  As a child of the 80’s and 90’s these men left an impression of my mind.

Robert Z’dar, he of the huge chin because of his birth defect aka cherubism was part of some of my favorite films, and played a cop, gangster, and more over the years.  Z’dar actually had a pivotal role in my second favorite film TANGO & CASH in which his appearance was very important to the character and made him even more menacing.  Tom Towles, a man who also played killers, cops and more, got his name out to the world in HENRY: Portrait of a Serial Killer, but made the most impact on me in the sci-fi horror THE BORROWER.  Towles also became known better in later years as the cop in Rob Zombie’s horror films.  Finally, James Best who became best known as Roscoe P. Coltrane, one of two antagonists on THE DUKES OF HAZZARD.  Throughout the 50’s and 60s, Best was a regular guest star on many a western and crime drama ranging from The Lone Ranger to Perry Mason.

After Towles passing I envisioned he and Z’Dar meeting up in whatever afterlife may or may not exist for a comedy horror about two bungling cops who shoot first and never ask questions.  I couldn’t get myself to draw it though.  Then Best died and I felt he’d easily work in the fictional film/show and I knew I had to do something as a tribute.  PCS does LOTS of art (most of it wrestling inspired) but rarely posts it here.  I feel in honor of these three men I must share this tribute which is incomplete, but says everything I want it to say.

shootfirstasknoquestions copy

Tribute to the Fallen of 2012: Visual Artists in all fields

Adam Adamowicz (43, cancer): Concept artist at Bethesda Software.  They have provided an excellent and amazing obituary showing his work for Skyrim and Fallout.

Louis Boekhout (92, natural causes): Realist painter

Theophilus Brown (92, natural causes): Figurative painter

Also watch this tour of an exhibit from 2011 conducted by the artist himself

Ralph McQuarrie (82, complications of Parkinson’s): Best known as the concept artist for Star Wars, McQuarrie was an accomplished painter as well and designed for E.T., Indiana Jones, Close Encounters.

James Metcalf (86, natural causes): Metal & Copper sculptor

Rusty Mills (49, colon cancer): Animation Veteran.   As of now his official website still is up.

NEKST (all info undisclosed): All city Graffiti artist
The Houston Press has an amazing obituary on this talented artist.   This is also the one time I can actually use my own images as tribute.

Tribute to the Fallen of 2012 – Directors/Producers/Screenwriters

Gerry Anderson (83, dementia complications): While he will go down for creating THUNDERBIRDS, Gerry Anderson offered television history, cult pop culture history, and science fiction history so much more. He was also able to give us SPACE:1999 and SPACE PRECINCT, as well as produce THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. From marionettes to space epics to education to children’s programming, he was truly a great.

Don Brinkley (91, natural causes): A writer and producer on Television going back to the 50’s and working on shows such as Highway Patrol, Ben Casey and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. His most notable work came from developing the one successful MASH spinoff Trapper John M.D., writing and executive producing all 100+ episodes.

Jim Duffy (74, cancer): One of the most prolific and important animation directors and supervisors of the last 40 years, Duffy worked as animator at Hanna Barbera in the 70’s before moving up to a higher position on titles such as G.I. Joe, Jem and even Captain Planet. He eventually settled in for 20 years at Klasky Csupo, overseeing Rugrats, As Told By Ginger, Rocket Power and more during the animation company’s hey day of success.

Nora Ephron (71, pneumonia by way of leukemia): The “Queen” of Romantic comedy one could say, she was also just a fabulously fun writer. She’s always be best known for When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, but for me it will always be the Witsec farce My Blue Heaven directed by the under appreciated Herbert Ross and the universally panned media attention/religious farce Michael which she directed herself. Both films take an amazing look at their subject matter and are stronger pieces of humor than her particularly mild mannered looks at romantic foibles. I wish Nora had actually tackled to writing books more, I think she’d been an awesome person to have in the library, even more so than her films.

Robert Fuest (84, undisclosed): This intriguing writer and director gave cult fans the universe that is The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises, as well as adapting Michael Moorcock’s The Final Programme. Yet he also wrote episodes of The Avengers, adapted Wuthering Heights with Timothy Dalton and directed various afterschool specials even. When he retired from film making he turned full time to paintings creating abstract oil landscapes with which were displayed in various galleries.

Ulu Grosbard (83, natural causes): Behind the helm of some of the greatest films of all time (arguably) and the man who launched the career of Dustin Hoffman, he was also one of the best stage directors as well. Grosbard handled Arthur Miller, David Mamet and others. His other films included The Subject Was Roses, Straight Time, True Confessions and The Deep End of the Ocean.

Noburo Ishiguro (73, various complications): Animation director of the shows that became famous in America as Starblazers and Robotech. (AKA Spaceship Battle Yamamoto and Macross).

Zalman King (69, cancer): Truly a kind of the erotic, King is best known for Red Shoe Diaries. Alomg his great career though he also worked on 9 ½ Weeks, and the two Blue Orchid films, not to mention two other TV series of an erotic nature which were well received. Before his writing and directing career he had a fairly successful acting career as well, most notably starring The Young Lawyers which he received a Golden Globe nomination.

Frank Pierson (87, natural causes): Screenwriter and Director, Pierson had his hands in two of the most awesome films of all time. He wrote the screenplays of Cool Hand Luke and Dog Day Afternoon, as well as writing and directing The Looking Glass War and King of the Gypsies (both adaptations of amazing books that I loved… how many writers tackle John le Carre AND Peter Maas)!? Later on he directed a bunch of made for cable films including Truman with Gary Sinese and Conspiracy with Kenneth Brannagh.

John Rich (86, natural causes). Since the 60’s he produced and directed multiple television shows including All in the Family, Benson, and MacGyver. He was also behind a lot of many intelligent and fun, but unfortunately unsuccessful shows such as the Jeffrey Tambor vehicle Mr. Sunshine, one of the many shows that tried to keep McLean Stevenson on TV after MASH, and the Brian Keith/Cloris Leachman sitcom Walter & Emily. This was seriously a man who tried to make TV happen and obviously with being in show runner at All in the Family and MacGyver he was as successful as much as he failed.

Tony Scott (68, suicide): Of all director’s I think Tony Scott might have given me more of my favorite films than any other. He’s the only director to make a truly awesome Quentin Tarrantino flick with True Romance, and despite what anyone says he made Last Boy Scout work, along with Beverly Hills Cop 2 and even The Hunger. All films which he was hired to direct and then had to fight with studios to be films he actually envisioned instead of just being a hired hand. I also really loved Domino. Oh sure, people will always talk about Top Gun, but its the other stuff that excites me. He also developed Numb3rs and The Good Wife with his brother and those shows original creators, helping bring to life some of the best TV ever.

Mel Stuart (83, cancer): He gave the world the film version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the beloved, timeless Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory working closely alongside Gene Wilder , Road Dahl and David Seltzer to bring the legendary musical to life. Before and after that he was the producer and director on many wonderful documentary pieces on an extremely varied amount of subjects from war to literature to actors and in particular political runs as well as the filming of the Watts Summer Festival sponsored by Stax Records in 1972.

Tribute to the Fallen of 2012 – Comic Books

Richard Alf (59, cancer): A co-founder of what became Comic-Con International, he also ran a successful comic shop as well as mail order service. His contributions to how the comics industry and well, the entertainment industry as a whole can not be ignored. An article on the San Diego Union Tribute website has a very well written and detailed account on his life and accomplishments.

Josie Decarlo (82, natural causes): A model for a short time in France, she became Dan Decarlo’s wife and the actual inspiration for Josie and The Pussycats. After his passing she kept his legacy and legend going.

Jean Giraud aka Moebius (73, cancer): I probably first discovered Moebius through his work with Jodorowsky. I was a weird kid growing up, so The Incal definitely called to me when Epic published it. I like many people who learn to love Moebius, be it through Heavy Metal, his Silver Surfer comic or even Blueberry would love when they found out he was designing something for a movie. Be it ALIEN, TRON, WILLOW, etc. and of course the failed Jodorowsky version of DUNE.

Joe Kubert (85, cancer): I absolutely and utterly have loved TOR and SGT. ROCK since I probably first started really discovering comics as more than just a kid who read comics. It has amazed me how he just kept doing work that surpassed anything he did beforehand as he got older. Books like Fax from Sarajevo blew me away showing what a true talent the man really was. He can also be thanked for helping train and guide some of my favorite creators ever through his school, including Rick Veitch, Steve Bissette, Tom Mandrake and Adam Warren.

Sheldon Moldoff (91, natural causes): A mainstay of DC Comics from the 40’s through the late 60’s, Sheldon is one of those unsung legends who did multiple classic covers and alongside Bob Kane ghost drew and co-created some of the most major characters of the Batman mythos. His best known work that is credited to him is his run on the 40’s Hawkman feature in Flash Comics.

Keiji Nakazawa (73, cancer): One of the few survivors to have actually been within Hiroshima during the World War II bombing, he went on to take this experience and become the creator of the highly popular and well known BAREFOOT GEN. Adapted into various live action and animes, his work delivered some of the strongest manga to make it stateside and a true legacy of the power of sequential storytelling in how it can capture life in all facets and add a new face unseen without comics.

Al Rio (49, suicide): The only work from Al Rio that I personally have gotten to enjoy was within the one shot comic associated with the video game Unbound Saga. He drew many other great books though and despite being considered a “good girl” artist, he has a linework style that should’ve procured him many more bigger gigs than he had. If he had been given a real run on something that I loved I would not have been upset about it. I probably would’ve ended up calling him one of my favorites, but unfortunately this was not be.

John Severin (90, natural causes): I first discovered the awesomeness of Serverin as a kid with CRACKED. Of course as I got older and “studied” comics I discovered his long history, especially his amazing work in Western comics. One of the best things I ever think he drew was one of the miniseries in the Desperadoes. It amazes me that his sister Marie is just as talented as he was. There’s actually no artist right now who can even come close to capturing John’s style. A true one of a kind artist whose legacy left behind are pages of shootouts, action, war and comedy that are so versatile in their expressionism, it makes you wish he drew every comic ever almost.

Tony de Zuñiga (79, results of stroke): Best known for co creating and drawing Jonah Hex in the 70’s, Tony is accredited with an even more important factor in the history of comics. Being a Filipino born artist and quite talented inspired the head honchos at DC to go to the Phillipines for a talent scout way back when. That search brought us talents like Nestor Redondo and Alex Nino, which in turn allowed folks like Whilce Portacio and others.

Tribute to the Fallen of 2012 – Actors/Comedians

For many of these actors and comedians I found it hard to write something that would be meaningful. Their names and a few of their credits or a quick acknowledgment of who they were will be sufficient I feel especially for someone like me who is an avid film, television and theater lover who could go on and on about many of these people. I have had personal life experience with two of the men listed and neither of these are actually good experiences, so I’ll save the vitriol on a Tribute.

Ian Abercrombie (77, kidney failure): ARMY OF DARKNESS, STAR WARS: CLONE WARS, SEINFIELD

Luke Askew (80, cancer): COOL HAND LUKE, EASY RIDER, PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID, ROLLING THUNDER

R.G. Armstrong (95, natural causes): BONANZA, RAWHIDE, GUNSMOKE, PAT GARRETT & BILLY THE KID, CHILDREN OF THE CORN, PREDATOR

Zina Bethune (66, accident) Noted mostly as a dancer, she also appeared in THE DOCTORS AND THE NURSES and WHO’S THE KNOCKING AT MY DOOR

Peter Bergman (72, leukemia): FIRESIGN THEATER

Ernest Borgnine (95, renal failure): MARTY, AIRWOLF, POSEIDON ADVENTURE, THE GREATEST (coincidentally Angelo Dundee also passed away), THE BLACK HOLE, THE SINGLE GUY, BASEKETBALL

Dennis Bowen (61,undisclosed): WELCOME BACK KOTTER

Gary Collins (74, natural causes): THE SIXTH SENSE, AIRPORT

Richard Dawson (79, cancer): HOGAN’S HEROES, THE RUNNING MAN (oh and he hosted FAMILY FEUD)

Phyllis Diller (95, natural causes): This wacky standup appeared on every variety show, talk show and almost every episode of Hollywood Squares, as well as having her own sitcom in the 60s

Michael Clarke Duncan (54, complications of heart attack): THE GREEN MILE, THE WHOLE NINE YARDS, THE FINDER

Charles Durning (89, unknown): DOG DAY AFTERNOON, THE MUPPET MOVIE, TOOTSIE, V.I. WARSHAWSKI, HUDSUCKER PROXY

James Farentino (73, complications of hip fracture): BEN CASEY, POLICE STORY, DYNASTY, MELROSE PLACE

Ben Gazzara (81, cancer): THE YOUNG DOCTORS, THE KILLING OF A CHINESE BOOKIE, THEY ALL LAUGHED, THE BIG LEBOWSKI,

Andy Griffith (86, Heart Attack): ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW, MATLOCK, A FACE IN THE CROWD

Larry Hagman (81, leukemia): I DREAM OF JEANNIE, DALLAS

Robert Hegyes (60, Heart Attack): WELCOME BACK KOTTER, CAGNEY & LACEY

Sherman Helmsley(74, cancer): THE JEFFERSONS, AMEN

Davy Jones (66, heart attack): OLIVER, THE MONKEES, MY TWO DADS

Lila Kaye (82, natural causes): Longtime British television actress who appeared in film and also had her own American series MAMA MALONE

Alex Karras (77, kidney failure): BLAZING SADLES, PORKY’S, WEBSTER

David Kelly (82. illness): (British series) OH, FATHER!, LAST OF SUMMER, ROBIN’S NEST, also was in WAKING NED DEVINE

Jack Klugman (90, cancer): THE ODD COUPLE TV series, QUINCY M.E.

Elyse Knox (94, natural causes): The JOE PALOOKA series co-starring Joe Kirkwood.

Lance LeGault (77, natural causes): VIVA LAS VEGAS, THE A-TEAM, AIRWOLF

Richard Lynch (72, Heart Attack): DEATHSPORT, GOD TOLD ME TO, BAD DREAMS

Russell Means (72, cancer): Primarily a political activist for Native Americans he had notable acting roles in DANCESA WITH WOLVES, NATURAL BORN KILLERS and DISNEY’S POCAHANTAS, as well as various TV appearances

Jerry Nelson (78, various complications): SESAME STREET, MUPPET SHOW, FRAGGLE ROCK

Lupe Ontiveros (69, cancer): ZOOT SUIT, THE GOONIES, SELENA, CHUCK & BUCK, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES

Ron Palilio (63, Heart Attack): WELCOME BACK KOTTER, FRIDAY THE 13TH VI, also an young adult book illustrator

Hal Roach (84, long illness): Many comedy self titled comedy specials

Sage Stallone (36, heart attack): ROCKY V, DAYLIGHT

Dick Tufeld (85, heart failure): LOST IN SPACE, SPIDERMAN AND HIS AMAZING FRIENDS

Ginny Tyler (86, unknown): DAVEY & GOLIATH, GUMBY, SPACE GHOST

Tribute to the Fallen of 2012 – Literature

Jan Berenstain (88, stroke): Growing up with The Berenstains was an experience in of itself. When Stan died in 2005 it was really tragic, as he was taken by cancer. Luckily Jan and her son took the reigns of the bears for a few years and they even found their way into the modern world. I can remember when I was young the book always made me wish I had a sibling while at the same time grateful I didn’t. I don’t remember the bears having any friends though. They probably did, but I don’t recall them. There was a cartoon too, which I remember not to vividly but it did exist. There was this PC thing as well, which I still own. I was way too old for the Bears at that point actually, but the point and click style and nostalgia for my childhood grabbed me.

Maeve Binchy (72, illness): I must honestly admit I have never read a Maeve Binchy book, but my mother has read all of them. She was a true fan and I’m sure if I took extra time to get her to write a little bit about her it would be sweet and heartwarming and reassuring that at least someone in this family got affected by this writer who I’m sure was wonderful. I did see Circle of Friends, but it was nigh impossible to not notice all the hype and clamor for this brand new discovery Minnie Driver and how wonderful she was.

Ray Bradbury (91, illness): I absolutely love The Toynbee Convector. Sure it’s the Martian Chronicles that put Ray on the map and Farenheit 451 that cemented him, but he was so much more than that. Something Wicked This Way Comes and it subsequent stories as well as Death Is A Lonely Business made me more than just someone who really enjoyed his work, but a serious fan. It’s amazing how much of his work has actually been adapted as well for both the small screen, stage and film. Twilight Zone used his shorts as basis (Bradbury also created a few original scripts for TZ as well), then of course there was even his own TV series, The Ray Bradbury Theater, which he wrote all the episodes for and actually was in the introduction as a host. A search on Youtube of Ray Bradbury Theater should bring you all the episodes, choosing one specifically to recommend seems a bit much, so really just go to to Youtube and see what catches your eye, you can’t go wrong.

Helen Gurly Brown (90, undisclosed): For over 40 years the editor in chief at Cosmopolitan, she will always for me be “The Single Girl”. I’ve never actually read “Sex and the Single Girl” and I probably never will, but it and she inspired the film of the same name in which Natalie Wood shined. The movie itself isn’t good. Everyone knows that. But it made so much money it’s a freaking classic nonetheless. Also, it helped DOWN WITH LOVE happen so many years later. So here’s to Helen Brown, fucking up dating for people worldwide for years. Thank you Helen.

Harry Crews (76, neuropathy): As a journalist I have read a share of his work in Esquire and Playboy. He covered some crazy stuff that you’d swear was fiction. I never read his fiction, so I’m not sure if it was ever crazier than what he found in the real world or if he just used the real world to inspire fiction of things he couldn’t properly convey in journalistic articles in the way he wanted. I should explore that, but there’s so much to explore.

Gene DeWeese (78, Dementia with Lewy bodies): I’m familiar with DeWeese because of the few Star Trek: The Next Generation books he wrote. I use to devour those things like comics. It was a pretty bad habit, as most of those books were essentially hackneyed fan fiction put into a pretty package, but I was an addict, addicts know when something is bunk and still take it and look for more.

John Sargent, Sr. (87, health complications): Executive at Doubleday as President and Chairman. Amazingly he started working at the company long beforebefore he dated and then married the founders grand daughter and kept it after their divorce because of his incredible success into turning Doubleday into the Powerhouse it remans today. Later he got married to Liz Kelly, top editor in charge formerly at William Morrow, Harper Collins and Cosmo.

Maurice Sendak (83, stroke): The thing I loved the most about Maurice was that he always stated that he was not a children’s book author. You have to love that a man who created one of the greatest and most loved children’s books of all time refuses to accept what they called him or that he continued to create Children’s illustrations for others as well as develop Children’s TV… he wasn’t making stuff FOR kids, he was making stuff for everyone, it just so happened that the target market in publishing and TV was kids, but he wanted everyone to love it and… well I think they did. I also loved that he was a crotchety gay Jewish Atheist (one can be Jewish and Atheist… he identified with the plight, if not the beliefs). I mean seriously… how awesome is that? He was never quiet about it either. He was always crotchety, he was always Jewish and he was always gay, even if the last part never actually came out in his personality or publicly till 2008. I could probably go on forever of my love of the man and his work and what he offered, but I think I’ve said too much.

Derick Thomson (90, natural causes): Master of Gaelic poetry and literature, as well as many books teaching and explaining the Gaelic language, Professor Macthomas has been in my periphery and part of my base of knowledge for a long time. He would’ve been a great man to have gotten to meet had I given myself chance to ever visit the isle… but alas it was not to be.

Gore Vidal (86, pneumonia): I’ve never read a word Gore Vidal has written, but I know I’ve definitely seen his work on screen, butchered, uncredited or officially. I’ve always wanted to read thing like Lincoln, Myron, Empire, etc… just never got around to it. Maybe one day I will, I owe it to myself.

Sam Youd (89, natural causes): AKA Chris Youd, Hilary Ford, Peter Graaf, Stanley Winchester and most notably John Christopher. As John he wrote The Tripods, which if you’re an American, were a teenager or a kid in the 80’s, liked stuff, had a TV and intelligent parents you saw on PBS (if you didn’t, well, too bad, it was on and it was awesome, but if you really must see it, here’s a link to part 1 of episode 1 on Youtube. I believe the show is also on DVD, but only in PAL). The Tripods was not the only work of John Christopher to be adapted either, he was truly a science fiction great and with his pseudonyms surely a great writer period.

Tribute to the Fallen of 2012 – Professional Wrestlers

Doug Furnas (52, heart disease): With his tag team partner Phillip Lafon (aka Dan Kroffat), Doug was one of the most under appreciated and under utilized talents in sports entertainment. While they had seriously success in Japan and were given respect in ECW, once in the WWE that respect went out the window and they were turned into boring and bland. That was really unfortunate as they could’ve easily been used to be major stars, but were looked over for flashier talents. Luckily footage of them in Japan against what are considered one of the greatest tag teams of all time The British Bulldogs does exist and here it is.

Pablo Fuentes Reyna aka MS-1 (55, car accident): Most popular in the 80’s as a part of Los Infernales with Pirata Morgan and others. I personally was never really privy to his work but it seems interesting to me which Luchadores names are public knowledge and which are not but either way I think they die with their mask on (although MS-1 did not wear a mask).

Here is the one match I could find on Youtube with Los Infernales taking on The Guerreros (Mando, Hector and Chavo, Sr.)

Aristóteles Radamés Coccó Flores AKA MS-2, Maskare and later as as Yeti (57, cancer): Aristóteles Radamés Coccó Flores AKA Maskare and later as and most well known as Yeti (57, cancer): Another luchadorian h actually dressed like a Sasquatch/Yeti and worked in AAA in the 80s when it we got it on Galavision. His existence is actually a sight to behold. Before all that though he was a regular team partner of MS-1 and was even brought into Los Infernales for a short time. Despite years passing since the two worked together, fate took them both in the same year. Curious. Here’s a match where he teamed with Tinieblas Jr. and Sr, as well as La Calaca against Pierroth Jr, Heavy Metal and Latin Lover (oh and midgets too). This match isn’t the best example that shows Yeti’s size though as the Tinieblas were freakishly tall as well was La Calaca. The only average sized lucha here actually is Heavy Metal.

Joe Scarpa (87, results of a fall): The man known as Chief Jay Strongbow was never in the main event, but he was truly a wrestling superstar. Four tag team championships, a household name, a member of the Hall of Fame, and the co-star of the second most brutal strap match in mainstream history with the man who was the co-star of the most vicious Greg “The Hammer” Valentine. The best thing about how Strongbow was not actually a Native American, but he was still respected and Chris Chavis aka Tatanka who was a true native never had a problem with it. Scarpa was also trained by Don Eagle, so that gave him a pass. Here’s that Indian Strap match.

Rip Hawk (82, heart issues): A multiple WCCW World Tag Champion, Rip Hawk’s biggest claim to fame in professional wrestling is when he teamed up with a young Ric Flair. Hawk was a stocky man who could throw a good punch and if anything at leats make you belive he’ll beat you up. He definitely missed a certain charisma and look to be more than a talent that helped others and a consummate ring grappler bit those are admirable things to have been. Here’s an old match with him teaming with regular partner Swede against some guys.

Brad Armstrong (50, medical distress): The most charismatic, physically talented and exciting of the Armstrongs (sorry Road Dogg, but he was) was also the one who struggled the most career wise. While brother Scott has always had a referee gig and brother Jesse James is mixed in deep with wrestling history, Brad never made the impact he deserved the chance to make (although he did do better than third brother Steve). More underrated than Doug Furnas it could say… not as an inring performer, but all around, definitely. Although he was part of some awesome moments, including when he made two run-in appearances in one match as different personas, as his masked persona was not supposed to actually be him. He was also at one point one half of the greatest tag teams ever in The Lightning Express, but their push got halted as Tim Horner became a jobber. One of the greatest matches he should be remembered for is against Dean Malenko, he doesn’t win… not even close, but he holds his own and proves how good he was in this one.

Buddy “Jack” Roberts (67, pneumonia) : Any true real wrestling fan with an actual history know The Fabulous Freebirds, even if all they know is current WWE road agent Michael Hayes. The Freebirds were so much more though. While many would say it was Hayes, Gordy and Garvin, it was Buddy Roberts who made them totally awesome and he was there before Garvin… he was The Freebirds. His nickname “Jack” was because he was always drunk on Jack Daniel’s. He made it work though, it wasn’t just a drunk dude barely able to walk, but a drunk dude being really entertaining and good worker. Hayes was the looks, Gordy was the muscle and Buddy “Jack” was well Buddy “Jack”. The Freebirds were just cool before cool was even a concept. Well, you know what I mean. Buddy also had the craziest voice. He eventually got lung cancer and you could see it happening, he talked like he smoked 22 packs a day. He retired way back when, but I’ll never forget him or The Freebirds. Guys like Hayes, Jack and Gordy paved the way for so many folks, it’s a shame nobody ever says something for them. DDP, CM Punk, Edge, guys like that would’ve never even been given a chance (and they STILL had to earn it) without guys like those three to at least take a shovel to the groundwork. Finding the best of Buddy isn’t easy, but here’s a clip where he cuts a promo with Terry, as well as “Iceman” King Parsons. Followed by a longer clip in which the Freebirds confronted Mike Graham directly after the passing of his father.

That second clip brings us to:
Mike Graham (61, suicide): The son of legendary promotor Eddie, Mike seriously was never really that good in the ring, but he had a true love and passion for the industry. That in of itself truly shined and hey, even got to be a champion a couple of times. Sure it was AWA Light Heavyweight champion as the “biggest” title in terms of indutsry clout, but he owned Florida. Sure, he also OWNED Florida, but he never actually really used that card. I think that may be what finally after all these years may have brought him down. Despite his passion, dedication, respect for others, he was still the son of Eddie Graham and once he sold off the entire FCW library to WWE/Titan he had nothing more to live for. Love, children, it should be enough, but for many… it’s just not enough and depression is a horrible disease and sometimes it takes us, especially in a family with the disease strong. Eddie killed himself 20 years ago and Mike’s son killed himself two years ago… that Mike found the strength to last is a testament to his dedication.

Tributes to the Fallen 2011 Collected Post

As promised in Part 1 here is a post quickly linking you to each section so you can easily find them till well the next time I create an entry which should be soon.

Part 1 (Comic Books and Artists)

Part 2 (Wrestlers, MMA, Boxing)

Part 3 (Musicians)

Part 4 (Video Games, Authors, Personalities)

Part 5 (Actors, Directors, Composers, Crew)