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Post La FloridianaThe Pop Culture Apocalypse of 2012
POSTED BY WILLIAM MORIATY, January 11, 2013    Share

As the year 2012, the worst year of my life (although it had its bright spots and many blessings), was mercifully coming to an end, it started dawning on me what a year of loss and malaise it truly was.

In addition to a world economy still in the grips of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression with no end in sight, the unfathomable extermination of school children on our own shores by a crazed gunman at a Connecticut elementary school, and our country's elected officials seemingly incapable of accomplishing anything, it also started to hit me at what a staggering rate the great artists and actors I had grown up with and had such admiration for had died in that lousy year.

This is a partial list of those people with a very short and general synopsis of their many wonderful innovations and accomplishments. This column is dedicated in their memory. Let's pray that our country will attempt to turn its fortunes around and match or exceed the incredible good influences that these people had an America's popular culture.

Gerry Anderson, 83. British producer of a series of 1960's puppet shows featuring a technique known as "supermarionation". Such shows were of a science-fiction nature and included "Super Car", "Stingray", "Fireball XL-5" and "The Thunderbirds". In the 1970's he produced science fiction shows with live actors such as "U.F.O." and "Space: 1999".
Neil Armstrong, 82. Was an American astronaut and the first man to step onto the surface of the Moon on July 21, 1969. America had indeed won the Space Race against the now defunct Soviet Union.
Ernest Borgnine, 95. Was an American actor best known as a World War 2 PT boat captain in the 1960's ABC TV sit-com series "McHale's Navy", and later in the 1980's CBS TV and USA TV espionage series, "Airwolf".
Ray Bradbury, 91. Was a prolific American writer who specialized in the science fiction genre. His ,ost notable works included "Fahrenheit 451", "The Martian Chronicles" and "The Illustrated Man".
Dave Brubeck, 91. Was an innovative American jazz musician whose career spanned six decades. He was best known for the 1959 song "Take Five", written by fellow Dave Brubeck Quartet member Paul Desmond.
Dick Clark, 82. Dubbed "America's Oldest Teenager", Clark hosted the ABC TV music show "American Bandstand" from 1952 to 1989. In addition, he hosted ABC TV's "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin Eve" from 1974 to 2012.
Frank Cady, 96. Was an American actor most noted for his role as the affable store clerk "Sam Drucker" in the 1960's CBS TV sit-com shows, "Petticoat Junction", "Green Acres" and "The Beverly Hillbillies".
Charles "Chuck" Colson, 80. Famous Watergate scandal character who was a Special Counsel to former U.S. President Richard Nixon was imprisoned as a result of his role in the affair and later became a born-again Christian.
Don Cornelius, 75. From 1971 to 1993 hosted the syndicated American TV show dedicated to Motown and rhythm and blues music, "Soul Train".
Judith Crist, 90. Was a critic for NBC TV's Today Show, TV Guide magazine and many other publications and venues.
Hal David, 91. Was an American musician and lyricist best known for his collaborations with fellow musician Burt Bacharach in the 1960's and early 1970's. His best known compositions include "Do You Know the Way to San Jose?", "Walk on By", "One Less Bell to Answer" and "What the World Needs Now is Love".
Richard Dawson, 79. Was a British actor known best for his role as Corporal Newkirk in the 1960's CBS TV series "Hogan's Heroes"and as a host on ABC TV's game show, "Family Feud", from 1976 to 1985 then revived on CBS TV from 1994 to 1995.
Phyllis Diller, 95. Was an American actress and comedienne whose career spanned 60 years. Having appeared in various movies beginning as early as 1952, her only stab as a star of a major network series was ABC TV's "The Pruitts of Southhampton" which ran in the 1966-67 season. In her stand up routine, she invoked the name of "Fang" for a fictional husband.
Lee Dorman, 70. Was bassist for the San Diego, California acid rock band "Iron Butterfly" who were most famous for the 1968 hit song "In A Gadda Da Vida".
Donald "Duck" Dunn, 70. Was a bassist for the 1960's band "Booker T. and the M.G.'s", famous for the hit song "Green Onions". Dunn went on to star in the 1980 movie "The Blues Brothers".
Charles Durning, 90. A prolific American character actor from the early 1970's to the early half of the 2000 decade.
James T. "Jimmy" Ellis, 74. Was lead vocalist for the American disco band "The Trammps", famous for their 1976 hit song "Disco Inferno".
Nora Ephron, 71. Well-known American essayist
Chad Everett, 75. American actor best known for his starring role on the late 1960's CBS TV drama series "Medical Center".
Ben Gazzara, 81. Starred in TV adventure series in the 1960's such as "Arrest and Trial" and "Run for Your Life" as well numerous highly acclaimed motion pictures.
Robin Gibb, 62. Born in the Isle of Man, Gibb was a musician and songwriter as well as one of the founders of the popular music group "The Bee Gees", famous for a string of hits from the late 60's to late 70's such as "I've Gotta Get a Message to You", "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart", "How Deep is Your Love" and "Stayin Alive".
Sam Gibbons, 92. Well known and respected former Democratic Florida U.S. Congressman from 1962 to 1997. From Tampa, Gibbons was a World War Two hero and in the 1950's was instrumental in establishing the University of South Florida.
Don Grady, 68. Played "Rob Douglas" who would become the oldest of three brothers in the ABC TV then CBS TV sit-com series "My Three Sons" which aired from 1960 to 1972.
Andy Griffith, 86. Beloved American actor best known for his folksy role of Mayberry, North Carolina "Sheriff Andy Taylor" from 1960 to 1968 in the CBS TV sit-com "The Andy Griffith Show". He later starred in the ABC TV law drama "Matlock" from 1986 to 1995.
Larry Hagman, 81. An American actor best known for his portrayal of astronaut and U.S. Air Force "Major Anthony Nelson" in the NBC TV sit-com show "I Dream of Jeannie" from 1965 to 1970 and from 1978 to 1991 he portrayed oil tycoon "J.R. Ewing" in the CBS TV drama "Dallas".
Robert Hegyes, 60. Played Puerto Rican student "Juan Epstein" in the mid 1970's ABC TV sit-com "Welcome Back Kotter".
Levon Helm, 71. Was an American rock musician who was the drummer for group "The Band", known for such hits as "Up on Cripple Creek' and "The Weight". Helm was also an actor and was active in the entertainment field from 1957 to 2012.
Sherman Hemsley, 74. This American actor was best known in his role as the gruff and acerbic "George Jefferson" in the 1970's CBS TV sit-com "The Jeffersons".
Michael Hossack, 65. Was a drummer for the 1970's American popular rock group "The Doobie Brothers', who produced such hits as "Listen to the Music", "China Grove", "Taking it to the Streets" and "Minute by Minute".
Whitney Houston, 48. Was an American recording artist who made such hits as "How Will I Know", "Saving All My Love For You" and "I Will Always Love You". Ms. Houston performed the "Star Spangled Banner" at the 1991 Superbowl in Tampa. She was active from 1977 up to the time of her death in 2012.
Etta James, 73. Was a singer whose career had spanned over six decades. Many credit her with having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll. Her hits included "All I Could Do Was Cry" and "At Last".
Davy Jones, 66. British musician and actor appeared in the popular NBC TV sit-com, "The Monkees" which aired from 1966 to 1970. The group churned out such chart busters as "Last Train to Clarksville", "I'm a Believer" and "Pleasant Valley Sunday". Jones will probably be best remembered for his rendition of the song "Daydream Believer".
Alex Karras, 77. Was a professional wrestler, football player and actor. He played for the NFL's Detroit Lions from 1958 to 1970 and starred in the 1974 movie "Blazing Saddles". He also acted in the ABC TV sit-com "Webster" from 1983 to 1989.
Thomas Kinkade, 54. Was an American artist who mass produced idyllic paintings, typically of winter scenes of homes, small villages, streams and woods with much emphasis on natural and man made lighting. It is estimated that 1 in 20 American homes have a Kinkade painting in one form or another.
Rodney King, 47. Was an American construction worker who was excessively beaten by members of the Los Angeles police force after a high speed car chase on March 3, 1991. The beating was videotaped and resulted in riots in Los Angeles, California in1992. The riots caused 53 deaths, 2,383 injuries, more than 7,000 fires, damage to 3,100 businesses, and nearly $1 billion in financial losses.
Jack Klugman, 90. American actor best known for his role as the slob "Oscar Madison" in the ABC TV sit-com, "The Odd Couple', opposite Tony Randell who played neat nick "Felix Unger". The series ran from 1970 to 1975. Klugman also starred in the late 1970's NBC TV drama "Quincy M.E.", and often appeared as a character actor in the early 1960's CBS TV anthology series "The Twilight Zone".
Sylvia Kristel, 60. Was a Dutch actress who appeared in over 50 movies. Best known for her portrayal in "softcore" films such as "Emmanuel" and "Lady Chatterly's Lover".
Joe Kubert, 85. Well known and respected comic book illustrator, Joe Kubert had worked in the comics industry for over 70 years. He was most noted for his works in the Silver Age (1950's-1960's), particularly DC Comics' "Sgt. Rock" and "Hawkman".
George Lindsay, 83. An American actor, Lindsay portrayed "Goober Pyle" from 1964 to 1968 on the CBS TV sit-com "The Andy Griffith Show" from 1968 to 1971, on the CBS TV sit com "Mayberry R.F.D.", and again in the syndicated TV series "Hee Haw" from 1972 to 1992.
Jon Lord, 71. British rock musician Jon Lord was a keyboardist for the late 1960's and 1970's heavy metal band "Deep Purple" known for such hits as "Hush", "Highway Star" and "My Woman From Tokyo".
George McGovern, 90. An American politician who unsuccessfully ran for President as a Democrat against Republican in 1972 and was defeated in a landslide. A U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from South Dakota, McGovern was considered an exemplar of the American liberal movement. Much like former Florida Congressman Sam Gibbons, and former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, McGovern was a World War Two hero.
Oscar Niemeyer, 104. Was a Brazilian architect considered to be one of the key figures in modern architecture. His most notable works included the futuristic, Brutalist and LeCorbusier inspired works seen throughout the city of Brasilia.
Joe Paterno, 85. Was a head coach of the Penn State College Nittany Lions from 1966 to 2011 until forced out of that position due to allegations of covered up child sex abuse by assistant Lions coach Jerry Sandusky.
Ron Palillo, 65. Was an American film and television actor best known in the role of "Arnold Horshack" of ABC TV's 1975-1979 sit-com 'Welcome Back Kotter".
Herb Reed, 83. Was the last original survivor of 1950's popular group "The Platters", famous for such hits as "Only You", "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" and "The Great Pretender".
F. Sherwood Rowland, 84. Was an American Nobel laureate and professor of chemistry who first brought the matter of ozone depletion to world attention in 1974.
Vidal Sassoon, 84. Was a famous and legendary British hairstylist known for creating a "Bauhaus-inspired" hairstyle called the "wedge bob".
Earl Scruggs, 88. Earle Scruggs was an American banjo player who rose to fame playing with "Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys" in 1945. In 1948 Scruggs and fellow "Blue Grass Boys" guitarist Lester Flatt formed their own group, "The Foggy Mountain Boys', later simply called "Flatt and Scruggs". In 1962 they recorded "The Ballad of Jed Clampett" for the CBS TV sit com, "The Beverly Hillbillies".
Maurice Sendak, 83. Was an American writer and illustrator best known for his 1963 book, "Where the Wild Things Are". Many of his books were considered children's books although many of their illustrations were often of grotesque fanged creatures.
H. Norman Schwarzkopf, 78. Was an American U.S. General famous for his role in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 where he repelled the forces of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from his invasion of Kuwait.
Carroll Shelby, 89. Was a race car driver and high performance car designer famous for his work in association with the Ford Mustang Cobra.
Ravi Shankar, 92. Was a musician from India whose largest claim to fame was in the late 1960's influencing the musical styles of "The Beatles", particularly that of "Beatles" member George Harrison.
Joe South, 72. Was an American singer-songwriter active from 1958 to 2012. Amongst his numerous hit songs were "Games People Play", "Down in the Boondocks" recorded by Billy Joe Royal, and "Hush", recorded by the British heavy metal band "Deep Purple".
Donna Summer, 63. Was an American singer of the mid 1970's to early 1980's often referred to as "the queen of disco". Among her hit songs were "I Feel Love", "Bad Girls", "MacArthur Park' and "Last Dance".
Gore Vidal, 86. author, essayist and screenplay writer, he is probably best known for his social novel "Myra Breckinridge".
Mike Wallace, 93. Mike Wallace was a journalist with an often fiery, combative yet effective style. He was best known for hosting the CBS TV news series "60 Minutes" from its creation in 1968 until his final appearance in 2008.
Doc Watson, 89. Watson was an American songwriter and musician known his rapid style of "flatpicking" the guitar. Watson played a wide range of music including, folk, bluegrass, gospel, country and blues.
Bob Welch, 65. Welch was an American born musician who played guitar for the British rock group "Fleetwood Mac". His contributions to the group included songs such as "Hypnotized" and "Sentimental Lady" in the early 1970's. By the late 1970's Welch had a solo career with the remake of "Sentimental Lady" which became a major hit, as well as the song "Ebony Eyes".
Andy Williams, 84. Andy Williams was possibly one of America's most beloved and legendary singers. With an incredible voice range, Williams crooned generations from the early 1940's up to his death in 2012. Amongst his many hits were "Moon River", "Canadian Sunset" and "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year". Williams hosted his own weekly variety series "The Andy Williams Show' on NBC TV from 1962 to 1971.

"Post La Floridiana" is ©2013 by William Moriaty. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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