As each year passes by, we sadly say good-bye to many icons who influenced our youth. Every teenage girl wanted to believe that DAVID CASSIDY was singing only to her when he feverishly repeated “I Think I Love You” — and with his adorable pop/bubblegum charm, one look at him made it easy to “C’mon Get Happy.” We sadly mourned his passing at the young age of 64, as well as others like CHUCK BERRY, whose highly charged music and famous “duck walk” in the 50’s helped shape the future of rock and roll. Defiant of authority, his blues, boogie and rock had everybody shakin’ on the floor (and more)!
GLEN CAMPBELL: We also lost our “Rhinestone Cowboy,” who stayed true to form up until the very end. He was “Gentle on our Minds” and haunted us with wailing, heartbreaking songs like “Galveston” and “Wichita Lineman”.
ROGER MOORE: A Double Whammy – we not only lost The Saint, but one of the James Bond men when Moore passed away at 89. Who could ever replace his exceptional good looks, incredible charm and his versatility? He was the son of a London policeman and began performing on screen in his teens. What a long career ride for this suave gentleman.
JERRY LEWIS: Comedy will never be the same without funny guy Jerry Lewis whose slapstick antics in the Martin and Lewis movies still withstand the test of time. Born Jerome Levitch on March 16, 1926 in Newark, he was the son of Jewish vaudevillians who performed in the New York area.
ADAM WEST: Holy batwings, another super hero bites the dust as West leaves us at 88 years of age. Will we ever be safe again from The Joker, The Penquin, Catwoman and so many other diabolical arch villains without Batman cruising around with Robin in their Batmobile?
Here are some other “not so high-profile” folks who also left us in 2017 that you may have missed and I wanted to list a few of them that might just have slipped past you. Let us bid a fond farewell to these other icons who shared our world as we grew up:
MARTIN LANDAU was a master in disguise as he took on every impossible mission and then later starred in the sci-fi English drama, Space 1999. Landau actually turned down the role of Spock in the original Star Trek, so the part, of course, landed with Leonard Nimoy. Throughout his seven decade career he starred in movies and TV shows showcasing his diversity allowing him to slip into any role.
ROSE MARIE (age 94) was funny lady, wisecracking writer, Sally Rogers, on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Her career began as a child star in vaudeville and she continued her career into theater, radio, TV and movies.
BILL DANA was another blow to comedy: One of the most popular comics of the 60’s, Dana was best known for his character Jose Jimenez, a bumbling immigrant and sometimes, wannabe astronaut. He got his start in 1959 on the Steve Allen Show and later appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show sporting space gear, entertaining audiences with his plans for his trip to Mars.
ERIN MORAN played schoolgirl Joanie Cunningham on Happy Days and later in the spinoff, Joanie Loves Chachi. She passed away from cancer at only 56.
THOMAS FORKNER, a name you probably don’t recognize, but I wanted to include him because he co-founded the 50’s Waffle House chain. He passed on less than two months after his business partner, Joe Rogers. Together they launched this wonderful breakfast chain that is still around. Forkner was 98.
TY HARDIN first got his start on the ABC Cheyenne series featuring Clint Walker playing the lead. The series later spunoff Bronco, where leading man Ty played gentle TV gunslinger Bronco Layne.
GEORGE ROMERO scared the crap out of me with the ’68 cult classic, Night of the Living Dead. Born in Bronx, NY in 1940, he grew up being a fan of horror and comic books. He made other movies too numerous to list, but nothing made my skin crawl more than the Night of the Living Dead.
ROBERT GUILLAUME was best known as the faithful, sarcastic butler on the both series Soap and Benson. He also performed in the first all-black version of Guys and Dolls, earning him a Tony nomination in 1977.
MONTY HALL: Will we ever be able to make a good deal again? 2017 had us losing Monty Hall, the fun-loving host and co-creator of game show Let’s Make a Deal. The show debuted in 1963 and became a TV staple, lasting through four decades! Let’s face it – we all wanted to know what was behind all those doors! We rooted for cars, lavish trips, brand new kitchens and mountains of brand new washers, dryers and other appliances – but sometimes, contestants wound up with 100 cans of tuna or worse!
THE MUSIC WORLD CONTINUED TO TAKE A BEATING, WITH THESE LOSSES:
MALCOLM YOUNG: AC/DC co-founder and guitarist whose band let loose hard rock chords that shook AC/DC fans all night long and then put them onto the “Highway to Hell,” took a journey to rock and roll heaven. Dissed for years by critics, the band finally won a belated Grammy Award in 2009.
CHRIS CORNELL, rock vocalist, songwriter and frontman for Soundgarden, a Seattle based grunge band died at age 52 shortly after a sold out performance in Detroit with his group. Soundgarden developed an influential sound in the ‘90s.
ANITA PALLENBERG, international model and actress notorious for hanging out with the Rolling Stones and having affairs with three of the band members, passed away at age 75. She was also part of Andy Warhol’s eclectic group of artists at the Factory in NY.
SUNNY BURGESS a boisterous rockabilly singer and guitarist who sometimes toured with Johnny Cash, also checked out in 2017. His 1956 debut record, “Red Headed Woman” and the flip side “We Wanna Boogie” became known as one of the rawest singles of the early rock era.
FATS DOMINO: “Ain’t That A Shame” that we lost Fats Domino, the jovial New Orleans entertainer whose bluesy singing and boogie woogie piano helped form early rock and roll in the 50’s. He dominated Billboard magazine’s pop and rhythm-and-blues charts from 1955 to l963. “Blueberry Hill” will just never be the same without him.
WALTER BECKER, co-founder of Steely Dan, along with his partner, Donald Fagen were “Reelin’ In The Years” (particularly the 70’s) and filled our world with their musical and lyrical talent. BECKER passed away last year also, but we’ll never forget some of their biggest hits like “Hey Nineteen” and “Deacon Blues.”
Too many to name all who left us in 2017, may they rest in peace –they will be forever be in our memories.