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In Memoriam: Celebrity Deaths

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The 1972 Miami Dolphins, the NFL's only "perfect" championship team (17-0), may still hold their unbeaten mark, but they suffered a major loss with the passing of Hall of Fame middle-linebacker Nick Buoniconti, at the age of 78.

Buoniconti had struggled with CTE-related dementia recently, and had donated his brain to study of football-related injuries in 2017.  He was a leader in the "Flag Football Under 14" movement, which seeks to ban Pop Warner and other youth football programs that allow strong physical contact.  He'd been personally affected by football-related trauma before this, when his son, Marc, was rendered quadriplegic while making a tackle in a college game in 1985.  The spinal research project that was founded after Marc's injury continues today.

The leader of Miami's "No-Name Defense" (so-called because it lacked "star" players), Buoniconti was the closest to an exception to the rule, having been an AFL all-star 5 times with the Boston (now New England) Patriots before being traded south to the then-new Miami team.  Beginning in 1971, the Dolphins, in only their fourth year of existence, reached the Super Bowl in three straight seasons, winning the latter two.  (Only two other teams have since won three or more consecutive conference championships;  the 1990-1993 Buffalo Bills, who lost all four Super Bowls, and the current Patriots, who benefited from dubious "strategy" by the losing Atlanta Falcons two years ago, lost to Philadelphia last year, and then scored a legitimate victory over the Los Angeles Rams this past February.)  The strength of the Dolphins was their defense, which is how the 1972 team went undefeated despite quarterback Bob Griese missing more than half of the season (and the start of the playoffs) with a broken ankle.  Safeties Dick Anderson and Jake Scott also excelled, but as captain and middle linebacker, Buoniconti was the unquestioned driving force behind the team.

After retiring, Buoniconti did some broadcasting, but found his niche as co-host (with Len Dawson) of HBO's long-running highlight show, Inside the NFL.  He remained with the series through 2001.  (The show has since switched to Showtime.)  Buoniconti and his first wife split in 1997, after 35 years of marriage, but he remarried in 2000 and leaves a widow, as well as his children.

Edited by Halting Hex
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7 hours ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

Don't cry for me, New York City!

You were supposed to have been immortal…

That's all we wanted

Not much to ask for…

21 Antoinette Perry Awards ("Tonys") were too few.  A brilliant visionary.

I was privileged to see the original Broadway Evita (in the round, with Patti LuPone, Bob Gunton and Mandy Patinkin) in 1979.  Sheer brilliance to conjure such spectacle on a tiny, triangular stage.  (Which rotated for "And the Money Came Rolling In", as I recall.)   And that's only a drop in the Prince bucket.  I salute you, sir.

(Ricky Martin played Che in the 2012 Broadway revival.  Ricky Martin????  Sigh.)

ETA:  all the videos I see for the 1979-vintage Evita are on a proscenium stage.  Huh.  I must have seen a previews workshop or something.  It makes sense, since the show opened on September 25 and I saw it (and the long-running A Chorus Line and Annie and the euthanasia drama The Shadow Box) as part of a summer theatre program.  But still a surprise.  I wonder if I have the Playbill anywhere?

Edited by Halting Hex
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Saoirse Kennedy Hill--one of the late Robert F. Kennedy's many grandchildren (Courtney Kennedy Hill's daughter)--has died at the age of 22. The family has not confirmed the cause of death, but there are sources that claim she died of an overdose. She evidently struggled with depression and attempted suicide at least once.

Edited by UYI
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Ian Gibbons, the longest-serving keyboard player for The Kinks, has died of cancer at age 67.

The Kinks were originally a four-piece, featuring brothers Ray (rhythm guitar) and Dave (lead guitar) Davies, with Pete Quaife on bass and Mick Avory on drums.  For their early hit singles, they employed a variety of keyboardists (future Deep Purple founder Jon Lord claimed he played piano on "You Really Got Me", but that was actually Arthur Greenslade, better known as Shirley Bassey's musical director, who did the arranging for "Goldfinger"), even spotlighting the famous side man Nicky Hopkins with a song about him ("Session Man").  

But in reconfiguring the band in the early 1970s after Quaife's quitting the group, a change in label (to RCA) and an emphasis on theatrical concept-albums, they hired John Gosling as a permanent keyboardist.  Gosling lasted through 1977 and the Kinks' first album on their next label (Arista), where they returned to greater emphasis on stand-alone tracks, and the group eventually sought out Gibbons for the tour in support of their third album for Arista, 1979's Low Budget, whose harder-rocking sound moved the Kinks away from the ballads that had become their trademark.  Ray Davies played keyboards on the album, but with Gibbons added to the touring lineup (and a new permanent bass player in Jim Rodford, replacing John Dalton), the group had found a tighter, more stable unit that lasted through most of the 1980s.  (There was a change in drummers in 1985, but still…6 musicians for a decade was much tighter than the parade of players in the 1970s.)  Gibbons's background in new-wave groups was thought to be of use in modernizing the group's sound, although they were still very much a guitar-driven unit.  (Understandable, with Dave Davies's work having inspired the likes of Eddie van Halen.)

But Gibbons got to be a full member, out front with the others, and even was occasionally spotlighted, as in this live video of Low Budget's lead single "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman"  (That's Gibbons wearing the necktie.)  Even if it was still Dave Davies getting the solo spots, it was nice work if you could get it.

While many "legacy" acts continue to tour to great success, plans for a Kinks reunion have fizzled, since Ray and Dave Davies really don't like each other.  (Dave once said "An hour with Ray is about all I can stand, so it would be a very brief reunion.")  In recent years, Gibbons had played with other former Kinks (including Rodford, who died in 2018) as part of The Kast-Off Kinks.  Yes, a "Kinks" project without either Davies is about as directionless as that "Creedence Clearwater Revisited" group which lacked either Fogerty brother (Tom having the excuse that he's dead, of course), but it got Gibbons out of the house, so that's good, no doubt.

Here's an oddity to close with:  Dave Davies apparently hasn't bothered to turn up to this 1981 TV programme, so even though "Destroyer" is famously a pastiche of the band's second hit, 1964's "All Day and All of the Night", it's Gibbons that carries the melody line for the most part, Ray sticking to a secondary guitar part and Rodford playing what seems to be a nine-string bass to cover for Dave's absence.  More keys and more face time for Gibbons than normal.  Huh.  Enjoy.

Edited by Halting Hex
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3 hours ago, Halting Hex said:

Ian Gibbons, the longest-serving keyboard player for The Kinks, has died of cancer at age 67.

The Kinks were originally a four-piece, featuring brothers Ray (rhythm guitar) and Dave (lead guitar) Davies, with Pete Quaife on bass and Mick Avory on drums.  For their early hit singles, they employed a variety of keyboardists (future Deep Purple founder Jon Lord claimed he played piano on "You Really Got Me", but that was actually Arthur Greenslade, better known as Shirley Bassey's musical director, who did the arranging for "Goldfinger"), even spotlighting the famous side man Nicky Hopkins with a song about him ("Session Man").  

But in reconfiguring the band in the early 1970s after Quaife's quitting the group, a change in label (to RCA) and an emphasis on theatrical concept-albums, they hired John Gosling as a permanent keyboardist.  Gosling lasted through 1977 and the Kinks' first album on their next label (Arista), where they returned to greater emphasis on stand-alone tracks, and the group eventually sought out Gibbons for the tour in support of their third album for Arista, 1979's Low Budget, whose harder-rocking sound moved the Kinks away from the ballads that had become their trademark.  Ray Davies played keyboards on the album, but with Gibbons added to the touring lineup (and a new permanent bass player in Jim Rodford, replacing John Dalton), the group had found a tighter, more stable unit that lasted through most of the 1980s.  (There was a change in drummers in 1985, but still…6 musicians for a decade was much tighter than the parade of players in the 1970s.)  Gibbons's background in new-wave groups was thought to be of use in modernizing the group's sound, although they were still very much a guitar-driven unit.  (Understandable, with Dave Davies's work having inspired the likes of Eddie van Halen.)

But Gibbons got to be a full member, out front with the others, and even was occasionally spotlighted, as in this live video of Low Budget's lead single "(Wish I Could Fly Like) Superman"  (That's Gibbons wearing the necktie.)  Even if it was still Dave Davies getting the solo spots, it was nice work if you could get it.

While many "legacy" acts continue to tour to great success, plans for a Kinks reunion have fizzled, since Ray and Dave Davies really don't like each other.  (Dave once said "An hour with Ray is about all I can stand, so it would be a very brief reunion.")  In recent years, Gibbons had played with other former Kinks (including Rodford, who died in 2018) as part of The Kast-Off Kinks.  Yes, a "Kinks" project without either Davies is about as directionless as that "Creedence Clearwater Revisited" group which lacked either Fogerty brother (Tom having the excuse that he's dead, of course), but it got Gibbons out of the house, so that's good, no doubt.

Here's an oddity to close with:  Dave Davies apparently hasn't bothered to turn up to this 1981 TV programme, so even though "Destroyer" is famously a pastiche of the band's second hit, 1964's "All Day and All of the Night", it's Gibbons that carries the melody line for the most part, Ray sticking to a secondary guitar part and Rodford playing what seems to be a nine-string bass to cover for Dave's absence.  More keys and more face time for Gibbons than normal.  Huh.  Enjoy.

He was suffering from bladder cancer.

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Retired professional wrestler Harley Race died earlier this week. Sportswriter Don Banks died in his sleep after attending the NFL Hall of Fame Ceremony. He had writer for many publications including Sports Illustrated.

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2 hours ago, BetterButter said:

Oh, damn!  While I am glad she had 88 years and only suffered a short illness before her death, the loss of this voice in the world is tremendous. 

I had the pleasure of meeting her once, talking with her for maybe five minutes, and I can still remember the sensation of feeling mesmerized by her for every bit of that short time.  As President Obama said, she was as "captivating" in person as she was with her writing.

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The Bluest Eyes was my favorite Toni Morrison book. I remember having a passionate argument with one of my college lit professors about the book. 

Toni Morrision had a life well live. Rest in peace, Toni.

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4 hours ago, Bastet said:

Oh, damn!  While I am glad she had 88 years and only suffered a short illness before her death, the loss of this voice in the world is tremendous. 

I had the pleasure of meeting her once, talking with her for maybe five minutes, and I can still remember the sensation of feeling mesmerized by her for every bit of that short time.  As President Obama said, she was as "captivating" in person as she was with her writing.

She died from complications due to pneumonia.

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I didn't know about this until just earlier, but legendary Oakland/L.A. Raider receiver Cliff Branch passed on recently (Aug. 3) at 71; he was a huge part of the Raiders SBXV title win over Philly in 1981, among other things.

(Screenshots from WB Raiders 3 Greatest Games Super Bowl DVD)

L.A. Times obit:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=13&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwiCpKv_0PDjAhXjw1kKHfBIDn8QFjAMegQIARAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.latimes.com%2Fobituaries%2Fstory%2F2019-08-04%2Fcliff-branch-raiders-nfl-super-bowls-obit-dies&usg=AOvVaw0gCBWh0gcpsYLvCAQRkuL-

nbcsuperbowlxv1981.jpg

nbcsuperbowlxvcliffbranch1.jpg

nbcsuperbowlxvcliffbranch2.jpg

Edited by bmasters9
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From NBC News: Rosie Ruiz, Boston Marathon Course-Cutter, Dead at 66

If you don’t know her, or the headline’s too vague, in 1980 she was declared the Women’s Division winner of the Boston Marathon. Then her title was rescinded 8 days later, after it was learned she actually only ran a certain portion of the end of the race. She subsequently said she would run the race again, in full, to prove she could really do it but she never did.

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41 minutes ago, BW Manilowe said:

From NBC News: Rosie Ruiz, Boston Marathon Course-Cutter, Dead at 66

If you don’t know her, or the headline’s too vague, in 1980 she was declared the Women’s Division winner of the Boston Marathon. Then her title was rescinded 8 days later, after it was learned she actually only ran a certain portion of the end of the race. She subsequently said she would run the race again, in full, to prove she could really do it but she never did.

Sad that Miss Ruiz's ONLY claim to fame was being infamous for evidently not running the entire course- AND that the actual official winner of that year (the Canadian Jacequeline Gareau) has been comparatively obscure. Even though Miss Ruiz never admitted her likely culpability, I hope she somehow found her peace off the course in the last 29 years and is resting in peace now! 

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It's breaking news that Jeffrey Epstein has died suddenly of what is being termed a suicide.  That's ALL I am saying here at this time! 

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26 minutes ago, Blergh said:

It's breaking news that Jeffrey Epstein has died suddenly of what is being termed a suicide.  That's ALL I am saying here at this time! 

Because of what made Epstein famous (at least most recently) & caused him to end up being held in jail in NYC without bail at the time of his death, this is also being discussed in the Harvey Weinstein-related thread.

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5 hours ago, Blergh said:

It's breaking news that Jeffrey Epstein has died suddenly of what is being termed a suicide.  That's ALL I am saying here at this time! 

Suicide, yeah, that's the ticket.

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2 hours ago, cynicat said:

Suicide, yeah, that's the ticket.

They’re saying on social media that he was on suicide watch & being evaluated daily after the original incident; then somebody decided, after I don’t know how long, he didn’t need the suicide watch anymore. So he was taken off of it. That led us to what happened this morning, whether he died of his own hand or somebody else did it & framed him for the deed.

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I hope somehow Mr. Fonda was able to make his peace with his late father Henry's faults (and they were admittedly many despite his great talents and good intentions) before his own passing and that he's reunited with his tragic mother Frances Seymour Brokaw Fonda. RIP, Mr. Fonda.

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This makes me so sad.  Here's a statement from his sister Jane:
 

Quote

Jane Fonda, sister of Peter Fonda, has released a statement following his death today at the age of 79.

“I am very sad. He was my sweet-hearted baby brother,” Fonda said in the statement provided to Deadline. The talker of the family. I have had beautiful alone time with him these last days. He went out laughing.”

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5 minutes ago, Domestic Assassin said:

This makes me so sad.  Here's a statement from his sister Jane:
 

Mr. Fonda needed the laughs, that's for sure and it's good that those siblings who both went through SO much in their childhoods and in their respective adult years DID have a warm bond in the end! 

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His hey-day was a little before my time, I only really saw him in the late autumn of his career (The extremely sad titular character in Ulee's Gold and the befuddled object of Terrence Stamp's revenge in The Limey.) And of course I knew him as Bridget Fonda's dad. Hmm, as usual Nicholson's the last one standing.  Condolences to his family. R.I.P.

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3 hours ago, Blergh said:

Mr. Fonda needed the laughs, that's for sure and it's good that those siblings who both went through SO much in their childhoods and in their respective adult years DID have a warm bond in the end! 

And if you followed him on Twitter as I did, you saw that he was as much of an outspoken activist right up to the end as his sister was 50 years ago. It most definitely ran in the family!

RIP, Peter!

Edited by legaleagle53
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It's not the end of an Era since Nicholson is still alive - but it makes me feel both nostalgic and sad when somebody like Peter Fonda passes.  The counter culture figures are going rapidly.

I am younger than that generation and they are not my cultural reference but they are the generation very much associated with cultural change and rebellion.  It feels disconcerting having them age and die.  If that makes any sense.

RIP.

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1 hour ago, Browncoat said:
1 hour ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

I wonder how he died.

Perhaps he laughed himself to death?   (Too soon?)

I don't know him, but may they say the same about me, and, no doubt, many would like to be remembered this way.

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3 hours ago, Browncoat said:

Perhaps he laughed himself to death?   (Too soon?)

Not to me.  It's a way of showing respect for the work he put on the screen.  R.I.P. Mr. Williams.  

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6 hours ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

Aww the article says he was on "Don Kirshner's Rock Concerts" and "The Dr. Demento" show. When I was really little I used to beg my oldest brother to wake me up if Abba or Elton John were on the rock concert show and listened to Dr. Dementio religiously in high school. He was also in "The Larry Sanders Show" his obit is really like a trip through memory lane. R.I.P. sir.

Edited by badhaggis · Reason: Tablet changing words!
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18 hours ago, MikaelaArsenault said:

Richard Williams died from either unknown causes or cancer.

According to an obit/article I read about his death, he died of cancer.

Edited by BW Manilowe · Reason: To add wording.
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OtterMommy

This thread is not meant to be a collection of obituaries, but rather a place for us to pay respect (or not) to the recently departed celebrities*.  If you're leaving a link to an obituary, please also provide some sort of personal context about the deceased.  (* For this thread, a celebrity is an entertainment or widely recognized figure.)

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