Monday, December 27, 2010

Mostly Small...But Some Big-Screen Personalities I'll Miss...

Robert Culp. The 'I Spy' and 'Greatest American Hero' actor, writer, and director -- he also played Debra's dad on 'Everybody Loves Raymond' -- died in March after suffering a fall outside his home. He was 79, and the best worst actor of all time.

Barbara Billingsley. The woman who played mom June Cleaver on the classic sitcom 'Leave it to Beaver' died in October at age 94. "Ward, come quick...the Beaver has peanuts in his stool..."

Tom Bosley. The star of shows like 'Happy Days' and 'Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home' -- and Glad commercials -- died in October at age 83. "I'm telling you, Richie, that Fonzarelli character is nothing but trouble."

Phil Harris. The 'Deadliest Catch' star passed away after suffering a stroke during filming on Alaska's St. Paul Island. He was 53, and a pearl among crabs.

Peter Graves. The star of 'Mission: Impossible' and 'Biography' died in March at age 83. Sort of the thinking man's Clint Walker.

James MacArthur. MacArthur played Danno on the original version of 'Hawaii Five-0.' He was slated to do a cameo on the new CBS version but passed away in October at the age of 72. I think there's a California park named after him. Richard Harris sang the song in, what was it, '68?

Don Meredith. The former analyst for 'Monday Night Football' football player, actor, and spokesman (Lipton Tea) passed away earlier this month from complications of emphysema and a brain hemorrhage. Next to Merlin the worst football player turned actor ever. He was 72.

Blake Edwards. The man behind such TV shows as 'Peter Gunn' and 'Richard Diamond, Private Eye', and the Pink Panther movies of course.

Fess Parker. The star of 'Daniel Boone' and 'Davy Crockett' passed away in March at the age of 85. Coonskin caps at half mast forever.

Dennis Hopper. Hopper, whose TV credits include regular roles on shows like 'Crash,' '24,' and 'E-Ring,' and the Easiest Rider of all time, died in May from cancer. He was 74.

Tony Curtis. The star of the TV show 'The Persuaders' and a scazillion Hollywood movies from the Golden Age died of cardiac arrest in September at the age of 85. He also gave us Jamie Lee Curtis. Thank you, Tony. Thank you a lot.

Art Linkletter. The host of classic shows like 'People Are Funny' and 'House Party' passed away in May at the age of 97, and yes, kids say the darnedest things.

John Forsythe. The star of 'Bachelor Father,' 'Dynasty' and 'Charlie's Angels' passed away in April at the age of 92. And no; the rumor there was a tape around in which he was reported to say, "Just do-me, Angels," proved to be false. Maybe.

Pernell Roberts. The star of such shows as 'Trapper John, M.D.' and 'Bonanza' passed away from cancer in January. He was 81. Bonanza was never the same after 'Adam' left.

Leslie NielsenLeslie Nielsen. The star of the short-lived but classic comedy 'Police Squad' and alla them 'Airplane' deals died in November at the age of 84. The quintessential Mr. Deadpan.

Merlin Olsen. The star of the family drama 'Father Murphy' - and former football player -- passed away from complications of mesothelioma in March. He was 69. Great football player. Horrific actor.

Robert B. Parker. The man who wrote the novels that served as the basis for 'Spenser: For Hire' and the 'Jesse Stone' movies died in January at the age of 77. Sort of the unthinking man's Elmore Leonard.

Steve Landesberg. The 'Barney Miller' actor (Dietrich) died earlier this week of cancer at the age of 65. Not that anyone could ever replace 'Fish', or 'Nick', but Steve came close.

James Wall. The 'Captain Kangaroo' actor -- he played neighbor Mr. Baxter -- died in October at the age of 92. Bunny Rabbit wept. Thankfully, nobody told Mr. Greenjeans.

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