Tuesday, December 31, 2013


With every passing year there are great talents that sadly have to leave us. Their passing remind of how quick life goes, and even though their deaths are sad to us fans, their memories live on in their wonderful bodies of work. Here are some of the entertainers of classic Hollywood that left us in 2013...

Patty Andrews

Patty Andrews, the last surviving member of the singing Andrews Sisters trio whose hits such as the rollicking "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B" and the poignant "I Can Dream, Can't I?" captured the home-front spirit of World War II, died in January. She was 94. Patty was the Andrews in the middle, the lead singer and chief clown, whose raucous jitterbugging delighted American servicemen abroad and audiences at home. She could also deliver sentimental ballads like "I'll Be with You in Apple Blossom Time" with a sincerity that caused hardened GIs far from home to weep.

Peter O'Toole achieved stardom playing T. E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) for which he received his first Academy Award nomination. He received seven further Oscar nominations – for Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006) – and holds the record for the most Academy Award acting nominations without a win. He died on December 14 at the age of 81.

Best known for his improv work and characters like Mearth on Mork & Mindy, Winters died on April 11 of natural causes. He was 87. He is survived by two children and five grandchildren. He never made many films, but he had a memorable role in the 1963 comedy classic, It's A Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World. His last role was as the voice of Papa Smurf in the cartoon film
Smurfs 2.

Marta Eggerth was a singer/actress from "The Silver Age of  Operetta". Many of the 20th century's most famous operetta composers, including Oscar Straus composed works especially for her. She made two movies at MGM, appearing opposite Judy Garland in For Me And My Gal (1942) and Presenting Lily Mars (1943). She died on December 26 at the age of 101.

The famed movie critic died in Chicago on April 4, just two days after announcing on his website that he was taking a "leave of presence" from his career. His death, at age 70, followed years of health problems, including a thyroid cancer diagnosis in 2002 that led to the loss of his voice.

Julie Harris was a famed icon of the American stage. She won five Tony Awards, three Emmy Awards and a Grammy Award. She also appeared in such films as East of Eden (1955) with James Dean, whom she became friends with, and Requiem For A Heavyweight (1962) with Paul Newman. She remained active despite failing health. She died on August 24 of heart failure.

Soap opera fans were devastated on May 8 when Cooper, who played Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless for nearly four decades, died after a brief, unspecified illness. Her son was actor Corbin Bernsen.

Jean Stapleton

The Emmy-winning All in the Family actress, who played Archie Bunker's wife on the series, died of natural causes on May 31. She was 90 years old. Survived by her two children, John and Pamela, she was described by Roseanne Barr as "a great actor whose range was unbelievable, deep, and majestic."

The beloved former Mouseketeer passed away at age 70 in early April, after more than two decades of living with multiple sclerosis. She is survived by her second husband, Glen Holt, and kids Gina, Jack Jr., and Jason, her children with first husband Jack Gilardi.

The "He Stopped Loving Her Today" singer died on April 26 at age 81 after a brief hospitalization in Nashville. "My friend, the greatest singer of all time, has passed," country star Brad Paisley said of Jones, survived by his wife and four grown children. "To those who knew him, our lives were full. To those of you who don't: discover him now."

One of the most famous child stars of her time, Durbin died at age 91 in late April. Known for box office smashes like Three Smart Girls, First Love, and Spring Parade, she is survived by her son, Peter David, and daughter Jessica.

The One Day at a Time star died on March 1 at age 69 after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer. A veteran theater actress and two-time Golden Globe nominee, Franklin is survived by her mother, Claire, and stepchildren Jed and Julie Minoff.

The Sopranos star died of an apparent heart attack while vacationing with his son Michael in Rome on June 19. Though he was rushed to the emergency room, efforts to resuscitate him failed. Gandolfini is also survived by his wife, Deborah, and their daughter, Liliana. "He was a special man, a great talent, but more importantly a gentle and loving person.

Eleanor Parker

The stunning Eleanor Parker was an actress of patrician beauty nicknamed “the woman of a thousand faces” for the range of parts she played, from a terrified prisoner in “Caged” to the icy baroness in “The Sound of Music. She died on December 9 at the age of 91. On a personal note, my Grandfather always said my Grandmother looked like Eleanor Parker.

Dancing instructor and mother of Patrick Swayze, Patsy Swayze died in September at the age of 87. Patsy taught dance for decades, and her students included Tommy Tune and Debbie Allen.

Country singer Slim Whitman, the high-pitched yodeler who sold millions of records through ever-present TV ads in the 1980s and 1990s and whose song saved the world in the film comedy "Mars Attacks!," died in June at a Florida hospital. He was 90.

Fran Warren, whose 1947 recording of "A Sunday Kind of Love" was one of the classic hits of the big band era died on March 4 of natural causes. She was 87. Warren's career spanned more than 50 years with hits that included the Tony Martin duet "I Said My Pajamas (and Put On My Prayers)," the Lisa Kirk duet "Dearie" and "It's Anybody's Heart." Her films roles included "Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd."

John Kerr, the stage and film actor whose credits include the movie "South Pacific," the thriller "The Pit and the Pendulum" and a Tony Award-winning turn in "Tea and Sympathy," died in February. He was 81. He was perhaps best known for playing a sensitive prep school student who is bullied for being a suspected homosexual in Elia Kazan's 1953 Broadway production of "Tea and Sympathy." He went on to reprise the role in a 1956 film version.

Unforgettable songs like "Tennessee Waltz" and "(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window?" made Patti Page the best-selling female singer of the 1950s and a star who would spend much of the rest of her life traveling the world. That singing rage Miss Patti Page died on New Year's Day in Encinitas, Calif., according to publicist Schatzi Hageman, ending one of pop music's most diverse careers. She was 85 and just five weeks away from being honored at the Grammy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy.

Conrad Bain

One of the most popular sitcoms of the early 1980s was Different Strokes. Actor Conrad Bain played the wonderful role of Mr. Drummand for the series entire run. He was 89. With the exception of a one-off appearance on the TV series Unforgettable in 2011, Bain has not acted since 1996, when he parodied his Diff'rent Strokes character on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Bain was also a starring player on Norman Lear's 1970s sitcom Maude, playing the uptight Dr. Harmon, a foil to Bea Arthur's title character.

Jane Harvey, who recorded with the Benny Goodman orchestra in the 1940’s and later sang with Desi Arnaz, died at her home in Los Angeles Aug. 15. The cause was cancer. She was 88. She did not stay with the Goodman band long, but one of her most enduring hits with them was "Close As Pages In A Book".

Concert and recording superstar Eydie GormĂ©, who – performing everything from ballads to bossa nova with singing partner and husband Steve Lawrence – made an indelible impression on American audiences during the swingin' '60s, died August 10. She was 84.

Dennis Farina, a Chicago native and police officer who turned to acting, died in July at the age of 69 in Arizona. Farina, best known as detective Joe Fontana on the long-running TV series "Law & Order," suffered a blood clot in his lung, publicist Lori De Waal said.

Joan Fontaine was a true legend of classic Hollywood.  In 1941, she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her role in Rebecca directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The following year, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress for Hitchcock's Suspicion (1941) making Fontaine the only actress to ever win an Academy Award in a film directed by Hitchcock. Her sister is equally good actress Olivia DeHavilland, with whom she had a lifelong feud with. Fontaine made her last movie in 1994. She died on December 15 at the age of 96.

Paul Tanner, a trombonist with the Glenn Miller Orchestra who later played a space-age instrument on the Beach Boys hit "Good Vibrations," died at the age of 95 in February. Tanner performed with Miller from 1938 to 1942. During his long career he also worked as a movie studio and ABC musician in California, and performed with stars that included Tex Beneke, Henry Mancini and Arturo Toscanini.

Esther Williams

Her talent was more than just her swimming ability. Her beauty and her screen prescene made her a favorite of a generation of film goers. Esther Williams was one of MGM's greatest stars. She was 91.  Williams's died in June in her sleep, according to her longtime publicist Harlan Boll. Following in the footsteps of Sonja Henie, who went from skating champion to movie star, Williams became one of Hollywood's biggest moneymakers, appearing in spectacular swimsuit numbers that capitalized on her wholesome beauty and perfect figure" in such films as "Easy to Wed," "Neptune's Daughter" and "Dangerous When Wet".

Rest in peace...


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