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.