Whitney Houston, February 12
Her death was attributed to the effects of taking a combination of prescription drugs, cocaine and alcohol, she was 48. It was surmised that she was so high when she decided to take a bath that she didn't feel the effects of the scalding hot water, which could have been as high as 155 degrees; swathes of skin was burned from her back. The official cause of death is accidental drowning with heart disease and cocaine use as contributing factors. Whitney's incredible voice is what will be remembered. I will always think of her as a young, beautiful woman with great talent but fragile. My favorite Whitney Houston song is "I Want to Dance with Somebody", but I thought that her song "Didn't We Almost Have it All" and her performance at the 1987 Grammy's was poignant.
Davy Jones, Februrary 29
Davy Jones of The Monkees singing group and TV show fame died from a heart attack, he was 66. It was very sudden but he was my favorite Monkee because he was so cute and the lead singer in Daydream Believer, my favorite Monkee song. You noticed Davy was different from his fellow mates because of his accent, he was the only Englishman among three Americans. Thanks Davy, you provided me with some good tunes and fun times watching reruns of The Monkees when I was a kid.
Andrew Breitbart, March 1
If you like politics you would have heard of Andrew Breitbart, he was a conservative political pundit and responsible for making sure that the conservative point of view was heard through the three internet sites that he created: Big Government, Big Hollywood, and Breitbart TV. He helped create DrudgeReport and Huffington Post. He died suddenly while walking his dog, he was 43. From most accounts, he believed his greatest achievement was that he married a great lady and had a wonderful family. He is a lucky man.
Dick Clark, April 18
I thought Dick Clark would live forever because he never seemed to age. He was dubbed, America's Oldest Teenager and I thought a nice guy. In actuality, Clark was one of the most well known hosts of the era because of two very popular shows, American Bandstand and Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve. Many people know him as the guy who introduced their favorite bands in their teen years and who helped us rocked the night away as the old year came to a close and a new year ushered in. What most people didn't realize was that he built an entertainment empire from shows that many of us watched. Mr. Clark died from a massive heart attack at 82 years old.
He started off his career by working at his family-owned radio station as a weatherman and announcer. Clark then became a disc jockey and finally spun records on his own show, Dick Clark's Caravan of Music, which led to his hosting of American Bandstand. From Bandstand, Clark formed Dick Clark Productions; if you watched an episode of The $10,000 Pyramid, Bloopers and Practical Jokes or American Music Awards, you watched one of his shows.
Of course, even the oldest teenager has to have health problems. In 2004, Clark suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and his speech impaired; he was unable to host the 2005 new year's eve celebration. Clark gamely overcame much of his condition but viewers could see that he had become more frail and fragile.
I will mostly remember his as the nice guy who got everyone to dance to some great music and introduced us to our favorite pop stars.
Maurice Sendak, May 8
Best know as the author and illustrator of the children's book, "Where the Wild Things Are", Sendak died from the complications of a recent stroke at the age of 83. When I was younger, I thought that his book was odd with kooky-but-creepy-looking monsters. It wasn't like any children's book I read and I wasn't sure if I liked it. As an adult, i can appreciate his creativity more.
Vidal Sassoon, May 9
Okay, what girl who wanted to do stuff with her hair does not know of Vidal Sassoon? I know that he's mostly well known for his bob cuts. I know him more for his line of hair products. It was reported that Mr. Sassoon died at age 84 from natural causes but he was known to suffer form leukemia.
Donna Summer, May 17
Donna Summer was known as the Queen of Disco but her career lasted longer than the Disco era. Her first song, "Love to Love You Baby", didn't have a lot of lyrics but was full of orgasmic sounds and heralded the raunchy sexuality of the genre. Summer said, during interviews, that her first hit song had taken her by surprise because she was living in Europe at the time and it didn't do well in that market. My favorite songs were "Last Dance" and "MacArthur Park". I was amazed that someone could make a dance song about a cake that was left out in the rain and how upset she was because it took so long to bake it and she forgot the recipe. Yeah, who'd have thunk it? Her other hits were "Hot Stuff" and "Bad Girls". In the 80s she had another hit with her song "She works hard for the Money" and a dance version of "Time to Say Goodbye", a song made famous by Andrea Bocelli. Miss Summer's passing was due to lung cancer. She was 63.
Robin Gibb, May 20
Robin Gibb, one of the brothers that made the trio group, The Bee Gees, died from cancer at age 62. Barry Gibb is now the only living member of the group. As a kid who was too young to go to any disco clubs at the time, I liked their music because it was lively. Everyone knew them from the movie, Saturday Night Fever. Honestly, I've never noticed Robin or his twin brother, Maurice, because their older brother Barry was so cute.
Ray Bradbury, June 6
Who hasn't read Fahrenheit 451? That's how I was first introduced to the work of author, Ray Bradbury. It was a a slim volume but the novel was dense with detail about a world full of censorship, conformity, and a big government that controls every aspect of people's life and what happens to people and society that live in that kind of world. The ending was inspiring and attesting that the human spirit will survive attempts to extinguish individuality. His other well known work are The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He has written 27 novels and over 600 short stories. That is an impressive body of work. They all seem to be in the realm of science fiction. According to his family, he died from a long illness. He was 91.
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