Gone in threes: 2012

They say celebrities and prominent people go in threes. Here again is proof.

Gone in 2012 …

Badasses: Tom Davis (“Saturday Night Live” writer), Willard Metscher (my 6th-grade teacher), Mike Wallace (“60 Minutes”).

Bad guys: Charles Colson (Watergate), Henry Hill (mob informant whose story became “Goodfellas”), Richard Lynch (he only played them).

Bass players: Bob Babbitt (Funk Brothers), Lee Dorman (Iron Butterfly), Donald “Duck” Dunn (Booker T. and the M.G.’s).

Can we all get along? Rodney King (L.A. police beating victim), George McGovern (antiwar presidential candidate), Russell Means (American Indian activist).

Chicago writers: Lacy J. Banks (sports), Bill Jauss (sports and “The Sportswriters” TV show, the guy in the rainbow suspenders), Lynn Van Matre (music).

Comics legends: Jean Giraud (Moebius), Joe Kubert (Sgt. Rock), Sheldon Moldoff (Batman, though long uncredited).

Country legends: Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Kitty Wells.

Divas: Fontella Bass, Whitney Houston, Donna Summer.

Drive, he said: “Broadway Bob” Metzler (Great Lakes Dragaway … Union Grove, Wisconsin!!!), Ferdinand Alexander Porsche (911), Carroll Shelby (Daytona, Cobra).

Drummers: Tom Ardolino (NRBQ), Ed Cassidy (Spirit), Levon Helm (The Band).

Familiar faces: Charles Durning, Ben Gazzara, William Windom.

Farewell, Kotter: Dennis Bowen (Todd Ludlow), Robert Hegyes (Epstein), Ron Palillo (Horshack).

Farewell, Mayberry: Doug Dillard, Andy Griffith, George Lindsey.

Guitar slingers: Ronnie Montrose (Montrose), Skip Pitts (“Theme From Shaft” and more), Billy Strange (L.A. session legend).

Inventive: Jim Marshall (Marshall amps), William Staub (in-home treadmills), Norman Joseph Woodland (bar codes).

John Wayne’s co-stars: R.G. Armstrong (“El Dorado”), Harry Carey Jr. (11 films from “Red River” to “Cahill U.S. Marshal”), Larry Hagman (“In Harm’s Way”).

Keyboard players: Dave Brubeck, Jon Lord (Deep Purple), Mike Melvoin (L.A. session legend).

Larger than life: Ben Davidson (Oakland Raiders and Miller Lite ads), Alex Karras (Detroit Lions and “Blazing Saddles”), Rick Majerus (Wisconsin basketball icon).

Life in a song: Hal David, Marvin Hamlisch, Robert B. Sherman (“The Jungle Book”).

MC 3: Dick Clark (“American Bandstand”), Don Cornelius (“Soul Train”), Richard Dawson (“Family Feud”).

Monkee business: Dee Caruso (writer), Norm Grabowski (played a biker in a 1967 “Monkees” episode; also built Kookie’s hot rod for “77 Sunset Strip”) and of course, Davy Jones.

Mystery men: R.B. Greaves, Joe South, Bob Welch.

Sax players: Jimmy Castor (Jimmy Castor Bunch), Greg Ham (Men At Work), Andrew Love (Memphis Horns).

Seventies TV icons: Chad Everett (“Medical Center”), Sherman Hemsley (“The Jeffersons”), Jack Klugman (“The Odd Couple”).

Sex appeal: Helen Gurley Brown (Cosmopolitan), Phyllis Diller (comedy icon), Sylvia Kristel (“Emmanuelle”).

Showstoppers: Richard Adler (“Pajama Game,” “Damn Yankees” and produced the 1962 bash at which Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday” to JFK), Bob Anderson (“Star Wars” light saber fight choreographer), Eugene Polley (Zenith Flash-Matic, first wireless TV remote).

Sixties TV icons: Ernest Borgnine (“McHale’s Navy”), Don Grady (“My Three Sons”), Andy Williams.

Soul brothers: Chuck Brown (the Godfather of Go-Go), Jimmy Ellis (Trammps), Major Harris (Delfonics).

Soul sisters: Etta James, Kathi McDonald (backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner, Betty Davis), Marva Whitney.

Sports as art: LeRoy Neiman (painter), Steve Sabol (NFL Films, with music by the great Sam Spence), Norman Sas (invented electric football),

Stylin’: Bernard Lansky (Memphis clothier who dressed Elvis in the ’50s), Nolan Miller (long before “Dynasty,” he put Tina Louise into Ginger’s gown), Vidal Sassoon.

The Bucks stop here: “Bullet” Bob Boozer, Pat “The Roadblock” Cummings, Jim Fitzgerald (no nickname; he owned the team).

That voice: Dick Beals (Speedy Alka-Seltzer), Chris Economaki (ABC racing announcer), Jim Irwin (Wisconsin sportscasting icon).

The final frontier, imagined: Ray Bradbury, Ralph McQuarrie (“Star Wars” designer), Carlo Rambaldi (“Alien,” “E.T.” special effects).

The final frontier, lived: Neil Armstrong, Roger Boisjoly (engineer who warned of shuttle O-ring problem), Sally Ride.

Trailblazers: Johnny Otis (R&B), Ravi Shankar (Indian music), Adam Yauch (hip hop).

Trivia bonus: Already mentioned in other contexts, but what makes this a group of three? Ernest Borgnine, Dick Clark, Skip Pitts.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.


Filed under January 2013

3 responses to “Gone in threes: 2012

  1. Anne

    Where they all born the same year or all from the same town?

  2. Ravel

    And Patti Page.

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