Goodnight Nichelle. Nichelle Nichols – December 28 1932- July 30, 2022

With sadness I report that the magnificent Nichelle Nichols has passed away, she was 89.

I probably cannot add to the hundreds of tributes pouring in around the world as I write this, but I can say, that Nichelle was a singular entertainer, dancer, and trail-blazing inspiration to millions of women of all colors around the world. She was Magic.

I saw Nichelle briefly in 1976 at the Star Trek Bicentennial 10 Convention in NYC. I was 15, and totally entranced by her. She gamely and graciously answered Star Trek question from the hungry fans, even if she had answered them dozens of times already. She loved the fans, and her time on Trek, and she knew that her experience as Lt. Uhura became the key to her amazing post-Trek life. At the end of her talk, she even sung a few bars of “Beyond Antares” in her silky, embracing voice. What a love. I can hear her voice now:

“The skies are green and glowing Where my heart is, where my heart is….”

Today my heart is with Nichelle. Rest in peace and love, dear incredible woman. Your star will shine forever.

To see a great documentary about Nichelle’s remarkable life, be sure to catch “Woman in Motion” now streaming on Paramount Plus. Beautiful and Touching!

And now, some of my favorite pictures of Nichelle <3

Farewells of 2021

(Update 1/31/2021 – I added one more, #151)

As I did last year and as I hope to do every year, here is my collage tribute to all the wonderful actors, entertainers, writers, musicians, and newsmakers who have passed on. So many wonderful lives here; some long, some painfully too short. But all memorable. Sadly we lost several notable Star Trek guest actors too, but I’m thankful I can include them as often they are overlooked. I’ve included as many as I can find, and forgive me if I left some out. But I hope you will find some beloved familiar faces, and discover some new ones! Lots of inspiration here. Gone but not forgotten, Rest in Peace.

I’ve included a Key to all the faces below. Let me know who you remember and enjoyed! <3

To see past annual memorials, press here.

Like this post? Buy me a cup of tea to help support costs! 🙂 Thanks!

Here’s the key to the collage.

2021 Celebrity Passings KEY

1. Senator Harry Reid, 82, Senate Majority Leader under POTUS Obama 2. Colin Powell, 84, Former Secretary of State, General under POTUS G.W.Bush 3.Walter Mondale, 93, Senator of Minnesota, Presidential Candidate 1984. 4. Mort Sahl, 94, Political Comedian, In Love and War, Don’t Make Waves 5. Captain Sir Tom Moore, 100, Beloved British WWII Army Captain who walked 100 laps around his garden leading up to his 100th birthday, to raise money for Covid.  He raised millions of pounds. Sadly later passed from Covid,but not before he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. 6. Bell Hooks, 69, Writer, Professor, Activist, Ain’t I A Woman? 7. Jackie Mason, 93, Borscht Belt Comedy Legend 8. Janet Malcolm, 86, Writer and journalist The Silent Woman, Nobody’s Looking at You 9. Desmond Mpilo Tutu, 90, Archbishop of South Africa, Anti-Apartheid Activist and Peacemaker.10. Joan Didion, 87, Writer, Slouching Toward Bethlehem, The Year of Magical Thinking 11. Ned Beatty, 83, Actor, Deliverance, Superman, Network, The Big Easy.12. Michael Constantine, 94, Actor, Room 222, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 13. Cicely Tyson, 96, Beloved Actress Sounder, Roots, The Biography of Miss Jane Pittman 14. Norm MacDonald, 61, comedian and actor, Saturday Night Live 15. Jean Paul Belmondo, 88, Actor and Director, Breathless, L’Homme de Rio, Le Professionnel 16. Michael K. Williams, 54, Actor, Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave, Assassin’s Creed 17. Tanya Roberts, 65, Actress A View to a Kill, Sheena, The Beastmaster 18. Granville Adams, 58, Actor, Oz, Homicide: Life on the Street, Empire 19. Dustin Diamond, 44, Actor Saved by the Bell, Pee Wee’s Big Top 20. Dean Stockwell, 85, Actor, The Boy with the Green Hair, Quantum Leap 21. Dilip Kumar, 98, Beloved Bollywood Actor Devdas, Madhumati, Ram, Aur, Shyam 22. Arlene Golonka, 85, Actress, Mayberry RFD, Hang ‘Em High, Penelope 23. Willard Scott, 87, original Ronald McDonald, beloved weatherman of The Today Show 24.Charles Grodin 86, Actor, Heaven Can Wait, Seems Like Old Times 25. Claus Evans, 85, Beloved local repertory actor of The Cider Mill Playhouse and more, Fiddler on the Roof, A Christmas Carol, 1776. 26. John Arndt, 93, Actor, as various crew-members in 5 Star Trek TOS episodes. 27. Fran Bennett, 84, Actress, Star Trek TNG: Redemption I, The Manor.28. Henry Darrow, 88, Actor, Manito Montoya on High Chaparral, Kolopak on Star Trek Voyager 29.Mimi Cozzens, 86, Actress, The Master, Question of Honor, and ST:TNG- Reunification Part I (Romulan Soup Woman) 30. Gregory Sierra, 83, Actor, Sanford & Son, Barney Miller, Star Trek DS9 31. Beverly Cleary, 104, Magical Children’s Author, Ramona series 32. Eric Carle, 91, Children’s Author The Hungry Hungry Caterpillar 33. Sarah Weddington, 76, Attorney, Law Professor, won Roe V. Wade 34. Cloris Leachman, 94, Beloved Actress The Last Picture Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Raising Hope 35. Peter Scolari, 66, Actor, Bosom Buddies, Newhart, That Thing You Do! 36. Brayden Smith 24, Young 5-time Champion of Jeopardy! 37. Sally Ann Howes, 91, Actress, Singer, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Mission Impossible 38 .Don Everly, 84, Musician, writer, with brother Phil, half of The Everly Brothers, All I have to Do is Dream, Wake Up Little Susie 39.Walter Olkewicz, 72, Actor, Twin Peaks, Seinfeld, Cheers 40. Lionel Blair, 92, British Dancer Give Us a Clue, The Real Marigold Hotel 41. Haya Harareet, 89, Beautiful Actress, Last surviving cast member of Ben-Hur (1959) where she played Esther. 42.Jane Withers 95, actress, Affairs of Geraldine, Giant, and in Comet commercials Josephine the plumber 43. Jane Powell, 92 Actress, Singer, Dancer, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Royal Wedding 44. Betty Lynn, 95 Actress, Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show 45. George Gerdes, 72, Singer, Composer, Character Actor Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, NCIS 46. Sophie 34, musician and activist, It’s Okay to Cry 47.James Hormel, 88, American philanthropist, LGBT activist, diplomat, and heir to the Hormel meatpacking fortune 48. Tom LeGarde, 90, Musician and actor, along with brother Ted, one of The LeGarde Twins, a pioneering Australian Country Duo. Also with his brother, one of the Herman Series in I, Mudd, Star Trek TOS 49. Gavin O’Herlihy, 70, Actor, Happy Days, Willow, and as Maje Jabin in Star Trek Voyager (Caretaker) 50. Nathan Jung, 74 Actor, Genghis Khan on Star Trek TOS, Big Trouble in Little China, Darkman .51. Jan Shutan 88, Actress, lovely and determined Lt. Mira Romaine TOS The Lights of Zetar  52. Eddie Paskey, 81 Actor and stuntman, beloved Mister Leslie, and several other crew members on Star Trek TOS 53. Alex Cord, 88, Actor, Dylan Hunt in (Gene Roddenberry’s) Genesis II, Archangel in Airwolf  54. Sharon Begley 64, Science Journalist, The Plastic Brain, Can’t Just Stop 55. Willie Garson,57, Actor, 57 Sex and the City 56. Ed Asner, 91, Actor, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Lou Grant, Up 57.Betty White, 99, beloved pioneering Television actress and Comedienne, Password, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Golden Girls 58.Prince Philip 99, Husband and Consort of Queen Elizabeth II 59. Deshayla Harris 29, Singer/rapper Bad Girls Club 60. Chick Corea 79, Jazz Legend & composer, keyboardist, bandleader, Light as a Feather 61. Marion Ramsey 73, Actress, Officer Laverne Hooks in Police Academy movies. 62. Arlene Dahl, 96, Hollywood Actress, Journey to the Center of the Earth, My Wild Irish Rose 63. Anne Buydens Douglas, 102, Producer, Deep River, Widow of Kirk Douglas. 64. Mary Wilson 76, Beloved Singer, Co-Founding Member of The Supremes 65. Joanne Rogers 92, Puppeteer, writer, and wife of Mister Rogers, Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. 66. Neville ‘Bunny’ Wailer, 73, Founding Member of The Wailers 67. Nick Kamen,59, Model and Singer, I Promised Myself, Each Time 68. Joseph Siravo 64, Actor, Carlito’s Way, The Sopranos 69. Robert Herron 97, Actor Stuntman, “Sam” in Charlie X Star Trek TOS 70. Christopher Plummer 91, Shakespearian Actor, Oedipus Rex, The Sound of Music, and General Chang in Star Trek VI 71. Joanne Linville, 93. Actress, Twilight Zone, Star Trek TOS as the Romulan Commander.  Author, Seven Steps to an Acting Craft. 72. Mary-Linda Rapelye, 76, Actress, In Cold Blood, As the World Turns, and Irina in Star Trek’s The Way to Eden 73. Camille Saviola, 71, Broadway Actress, Nine, The Heights, Chicago, and Kai Opaka in DS9 74. Michael McKenzie, 74, My dear oldest Brother, Scuptor, Writer, Author, loving Dad,  Major Toad. 75. John McKenzie, 70, My dear second oldest Brother, hard working, loving artist, helper, and every-man .76. Joe Lara 58, Actor, Tarzan, Hologram Man. 77. George Segal 87, Actor, The Goldbergs, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? 78.Gavin MacLeod 90, Actor, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Love Boat  79. Markie Post, 70, Actress, The Fall Guy, Night Court, and Hearts Afire 80. Deezer D (Dearon) Thompson 55, Actor, ER, Rapper It’s Goin’ Down Tonight, Stop-I love Hip Hop. 81. DMX,(Earl Simmons),50, Rapper Party Up, Where the Hood At? 82. Jay Pickett 60, Actor, General Hospital, Port Charles. 83. Olympia, Dukakis 89,Oscar Award winning Actress  Moonstruck. Steel Magnolias,Mr. Holland’s Opus. 84. Dusty Hill 78, Musician, member of ZZ Top, Legs 85.Melvin Van Peebles 89, Actor, filmmaker, playwright, novelist, and composer.  Father of actor Mario. 86. Gerry Marsden 78, Gerry and the Pacemakers Ferry Cross the Mersey 87. Charlie Watts 80, Beloved drummer of The Rolling Stones 88.Carlos Marin, 53, Beloved baritone singer of Il Divo 89.Trisha Noble 76, Singer Actress, Carry On Series, Columbo, Star Wars Episodes II and III as Jobal Naberrie 90. Inge Ginsberg, 99, Holocaust Survivor and Heavy Metal singer. Inge & the Tritone Kings 91. Dennis “Dee Tee Thomas, 70, Saxophonist, Kool & the Gang, 92.  Harry Brandt, 24, Model, Socialite 93. Art Lafleur, 78, Actor The Sandlot, Field of Dreams 94. Peter Mark Richman 93, Actor, Santa Barbara, Dynasty, Ralph Offenhouse in Star Trek TNG93. 95. Lisa Banes 65, Actress, Gone Girl, Cocktail, Star Trek DS9, (Dr. Renhol) 96. Patrick Horgan, 92, Actor, Zelig, The Doctors, Ryans Hope, and Eneg in Patterns of Force (TOS) 97. JoAnna Cameron 70, Actress, The Secrets of Isis, Shazaam!. B.S. I Love You. 98. Reuben B. Klamer, 99, Engineer and creator of the Phaser Rifle used in the first pilot episodes of Star Trek 99. Tom. O‘Conner, 80, British Television host 100. Mira Furlan, 65, beloved Actress of Babylon 5 and Lost 101. Stuart Damon, 84, Actor, Prince Charming in Cinderella and Dr. Alan Quartermaine on General Hospital.102. Larry King 87, Talk Show Host, Larry King Live 103. Jahmil French, 29, Actor Degrassi: The Next Generation 104.Hal Holbrook 95, Beloved Actor, All the Presidents Men, Mark Twain Tonight 105. Clarence Williams III, 81, Actor, The Mod Squad, Tales from the Hood 106. Al Harrington, 85 Actor, Hawaii Five-0 107. Leon Spinks 67, Heavyweight Boxing Champion. 108. Paddy Moloney 83, Lead singer with tin whistle with The Cheiftans 109. Michael Nesmith,78, Musician and Composer, Beloved Member of The Monkees, instrumental in creating MTV. 110. Hilton Valentine, 77, Musician, guitarist for The Animals 111. Quindon Traver 38, Singer, Everybody’s Free, When Doves Cry (cover) 112. Astro, (Terence) Wilson,64, Founding Member of UB40 Red Red Wine, Kingston Town 113. Brian Travers,80, Founding Member UB40 114.Sylvain (Mizrahi) Sylvain 69, Musician, New York Dolls. 117. Tawny Kitaen 59, Actress, Model in Whitesnake video, Here I Go Again, Bachelor Party, 115. Mark Eden, 92, Actor, Coronation Street 116. Johnny Briggs, 85, Actor Coronation Street 117. Tawny Kitaen 59, Actress, Model in Whitesnake video, Here I Go Again, Bachelor Party 118.Ron Popiel ,86 Creator of the Pocket Fisherman, the Veg-O-Matic and Master of all the other gadgets you thought you couldn’t live without. 119. Peter Ackroyd 65, Actor and writer, Saturday Night Live, brother of actor/comedian Dan Ackroyd. 120. Helen McCrory 52, Actress Harry Potter Movies, Skyfall, Peaky Blinders, wife of actor Damian Lewis. 121.Jackie Lane 79, Actress, Singer, Dr Who, Compact 122. Una Stubbs, 84, Actor, Dancer, Til Death Us Do Part, Worzel Gummidge, Sherlock 123. John Paragon, 66 Comedian and Actor, Jambi on Pee Wee’s Playhouse.124.Felix Silla 84, Beloved character actor, Buck Rogers (Twikki) , Cousin Itt, and even a background Talosian! 125. Barbara Shelly 86, Queen of Horror Movies Dracula Prince of Darkness, Village of the Damned, Five Million Years to Earth 126. Elbaz Alber, 59, fashion designer, Creative Director of Lanvin, Paris 127. Anne Rice 80, Gothic Novelist, Interview with the Vampire 128. Paul Ritter 54, Character Actor, Harry Potter, Chernobyl. 129. Shin’ichi ‘Sonny’ Chiba, 82, Actor,  Kill Bill I & II, The Street Fighter. 130. Siegfried Fischbacher, 81, Tiger Trainer, partner of the late Roy Horn. 131.Yaphet Kotto 85 Actor, Live and Let Die, Alien 132. Jessica Walter 80, Actress, Play Misty for Me, Arrested Development, Archer 133. (Henry) ‘Hank’ Aaron 86, Baseball Legend, #44, Milwaukee Braves and Milwaukee Brewers, who broke Babe Ruth’s hitting record in 1974. (715 hits) 134. Biz Markie, 57 rapper, actor, producer, Just a Friend, Let Go My Eggo 135. Graeme Edge 80, Drummer for the Moody Blues Nights in White Satin 136. Tommy Lasorda 93, Manager of the LA Dodgers 1976-1996. 137. Vincent Jackson, 38, Football Player, San Diego Chargers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.138. Michael Apted, 75, British Film Director, SEVEN Up! 63 Up, The World is not Enough 139. Sondheim Stephen, 91, Genius Lyricist, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music 140. John Madden, 85, Beloved American Football Coach and Broadcaster, 141. James Michael Tyler, 59, Actor, Friends 142. Halna Hutchens, 42, Ukrainian Cinematographer, Archenemy, Rust 143. Robert Downey Sr, 85 Actor, Director Father of Robert Downey Jr. 144. Mike Mitchell,77, Musician with The Kingsmen Louie, Louie 145. Virgil Abloh, 41, American Fashion designer and Entrepreneur. Artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear 146. Richard Gilliland,76, Actor,Designing Women, The Waltons (husband of actress Jean Smart) 147. John Reilly, 86, Actor, General Hospital, Sunset Beach, and Passions 148. Jean-Marc Vallee,58, Canadian filmmaker, film editor, and screenwriter. Dallas Buyers Club, Young Victoria 149. Richard Donner, 91, Director, Superman (1978) The Goonies.  150. James Hampton, 84, Actor, F Troop, (Dobbs) Teen Wolf, Sling Blade 151. Tommy Kirk, 79, beloved Disney Actor, Old Yeller, The Swiss Family Robinson, The Shaggy Dog. Fired from Disney for being openly gay.

So Shines a Good Man in a Weary World — Gene Wilder-1933-2016

169139004Another sad page added  to the list of farewells  to pieces of my youth that gave me joy.

I loved this guy.  The most wondrous, funny, brilliant Gene Wilder has passed away.   It was a even sadder and shocking to see that his passing was from Alzheimer’s disease.  But when I read the statement from Wilder’s nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman  in regards to why Gene kept his diagnosis a secret, it  made perfect sense. The statement read:

“We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him “there’s Willy Wonka,” would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.”

How beautiful is that? Gene’s heart was bigger than Alzheimer’s.  It didn’t deprave him of his family recognition, and he wouldn’t let deprive his admirers of their joy.

And what joy he brought! Willy Wonka, Dr. Fredrick Fronk-en-Steen, and The Waco Kid. One moment he was a screaming neurotic, the next a gentle loving soul.  Whether he was the drunken gunslinger or a magical candy man, you believed every moment, even it his character was untrustworthy.

There’s a famous scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Wonka makes his first entrance.  Gene would only do the movie if he could act this scene a certain way:  Wonka limps down to the gate with his cane, which gets stuck in the cobblestones just before the entrance.  Wonka starts to fall forward but it evolves into a perfect forward somersault, from which he springs up triumphant.   This was important for the character, for as Wilder noted “You’d never know if he’s lying or telling the truth.”

Gene understood his characters and always let their humanity shine through.  Again in Wonka, when he first has to chastise Charlie to see if Charlie will return his Everlasting Gobstopper, he is a frightening, livid firestorm. When Charlie gives back the candy, his joy cannot be contained.  Both of these traits are the real Wilder, who took his stage name from playwright Thornton Wilder (Born Jerome Silberman) but he was much more the gentle soul in real life than the volcano he’d portray.  Growing up with a mother who ailed from a heart condition, Wilder make her laugh to ease her worries.  He considered this his greatest gift, although he didn’t think of himself as funny.  “I make my wife laugh” he said,  and that was good enough.

I cannot add much to love and accolades I’ve seen everywhere, but I’m just glad we were fortunate enough to enjoy his talents in our lifetime. To paraphrase his line in Wonka:  “So shines a good Man in a weary world.”  He’ll be greatly missed and forever loved. Good Night Herr Doctor. <3

Gene with Teri Garr and Marty Feldman in 'Young Frankenstein'

Gene with Teri Garr and Marty Feldman in ‘Young Frankenstein’

Gene with Leonard Nimoy – Nimoy directed Gene in ‘Funny About Love’. They were good friends.

Gene with beloved  wife, comedian Gilda Radner. She passed from ovarian cancer in 1989

Happiness with wife Karen Boyer in 2007 – together 25 years until the end.

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Gene in later years.

 

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With Cleavon Little in ‘Blazing Saddles’

Gene with Peter Ostrum (Charlie) in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Doves are Crying: Prince – 1958-2016

prince-purple-rain-ws-710Sigh.   Between David Bowie and now Prince, it’s turning into a rotten year for lovers of incredible pop music. So sorry to hear of the sudden passing of pop legend Prince today.   I had heard he was sick recently and was treated and released from a hospital, so hearing that he had passed was a sad shock.

I remember being mildly intrigued by Prince when he first appeared on the scene in the 80’s.   He was a bit odd, and had a defiant but flirtatious sensuality in his music. I wasn’t much into the casual and sometimes dirty sex references in his songs, but his psychedelic/blues/rock style of playing and his metallic Beau Brummel style and James Brown moves were so alluring.  In time he drew me in more and more. And the guitar shredding!!  Jimi Hendrix was surely smiling down from heaven when Prince first tore the opening chords of When Doves Cry? And who could resist a fine young, slightly androgynous man seductively crawling out of a bathtub to invite you in?

Prince was a prolific writer; not only songs for himself, but for many others. Remember “Love, Thy Will Be Done” by Martika, or Stand Back by Stevie Nicks? Just a small sample.   A  brilliant musician, Prince could play 27 instruments,  and in his genius he knew precisely which ones to use and combine to make a perfect melody.  But in the cloud of his techno-funk, one forgets that all he needed was a guitar.  You’ll love this simple unplugged acoustic set he did for MTV; I love how he plays off the audience.

Prince was a private person, not out of arrogance or pride, but just because he felt (and rightly so) it was his music that mattered.  When  asked if it was okay for him to sing in the pouring rain at Super Bowl LXI, he  said “Can you make it rain more?”    This is an astonishing performance, and couldn’t have been better if the rain has been specially ordered.

You might have noticed there that Prince riffed some Jimi Hendrix there, for he was an apostle of all types of music; funk, r& b, soul, rock, reggae, pop, jazz, everything.  When he played, he was the instrument.  And here, he made a surprising and blistering solo for While My Guitar Gently Weeps at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame ( It starts at  3:33)  Look at Dhani grin!

He is gone way too soon.  His catalog of music is unfinished; there are purported over 100 unfinished songs).  In the next few days you’ll hear many of his songs from nearly 4 decades of musical genius.  It may make you sad now to know that there will be no more.  But there’s no better way to honor his memory than to crank up the following and dance, dance, dance!

Good Night Sweet Prince. <3   I hope you’re jamming with Jimi.

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David Bowie -Farewell Major Tom (And So Much More)

David-BowieShocked. Another hero ascends to heaven.  David Bowie.  Major Tom has escaped the bonds of Earth.

I first became aware of David Bowie in the early 70’s when, as a young teen I was just getting acquainted with music outside the realm of The Beatles and The Monkees.  Bowie was surely an oddity, and I didn’t know what to make of him.  He was a man, but why did he wear make up? Did he want to be a woman?

When I reached high school, I began to appreciate how unique he was as a performer and artist.  When he sang, he had a quavering, aching voice that could sink to a husky bass or rise to a silky high tenor.  Those eyes. One was bright blue, one was greenish brown and permanently dilated, adding to his other-worldliness.  He was strange, but mesmerizing, massively cool and undeniably sexy.

My passing interest in him was solidified in 1977, when he appeared, on all things, a Bing Crosby Christmas Special.  He and Bing duet-ed on ‘Little Drummer Boy/ Peace On Earth.  Nice to know this hipster was appealing to old guys like Bing too.  https://youtu.be/wjNToRlUen8

Later on the show, when he performed ‘Heroes’, I was hooked.

I didn’t get to buy any of his albums until the early 80’s, and I got an 8-Track of Young Americans.  On the cover he stares out from a smoky haze, with his best Marlene Deitrich gaze, inviting you in.   It was one of the first albums I bought cold, not knowing if I’d like it, but I knew he had collaborated with John Lennon on “Fame” and he made John’s Across the Universe uniquely his own.  Well, I wore that tape out, especially listening to the funky nirvana of Fame, imagining him walking away singing “Fame…” then snapping back toward you  demanding “What’s your name, what’s your name, what’s your name?” and walking away again, as a friend told me he did in concert.  So damn cool. I loved Modern Love and China Girl.  Later I took the invitation when he sang  Let’s Dance.

But aside from his glamour and flash, you could always hear his soul.

At the 9/11 concert, he opened the show.  No glitz or glamour. Just sitting cross legged on the stage with nothing but a tiny keyboard, he began playing a carousel waltz, and sang Simon & Garfunkel’s “America” It’s a beautiful moment of raw love for the city he made his own.

And on top of commanding a concert stage, he was an actor too!  His television performance as The Elephant Man was so poignant.  Wonderful, wonderful actor, and again, his soul was laid bare.

As he identified with the alienated, the misfits of the world like me felt a kinship with him. He was known for his ever changing appearance, a true chameleon who channeled everything from Ziggy Stardust to Kabuki.  Some may have thought this was to hide who he really was, but really it just proved that he was so comfortable in his own skin, that he was willing to explore any possibility.  He was truly every-man (or woman if he preferred).  If more people explored their inner selves as Bowie did, it would probably be a happier world.

That being said, he was naturally private.  Which is why the news of his cancer and death came as such a shock.   But he never quit working, creating, and just being David Bowie, achieving his final dream of a Jazz fusion album just before he passed.  If we can all strive to complete our creative pursuits as he did, it will be a life well spent.

Enjoy the music and immense talent of Mr. Bowie. There will never be another.   Rest in Peace Major Tom.

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James Horner – Master Composer – 1953-2015

james-horner_vert-1f1ea932844a5195c9646df8875061b3850596d3-s400-c85So very sad to report the tragic passing of Master Composer James Horner, who was killed in a single engine plane crash in California.

Known for many iconic scores of Hollywood films, Trek fans remember and admire his seafaring, strong and touching score for Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan, and its follow up themes in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

 https://youtu.be/KWf4M-F5SvQ

The theme for Kirk and Spock is particularly poignant, (especially when Spock dies) and now sounds all the more sad knowing that we’ll never have another score by Mr. Horner.

James explains the score of Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan here, and the themes of Khan, the Enterprise, and the bond between Kirk and Spock:

Mr. Horner also composed soaring themes for so many memorable movies, among them  Titanic, Avatar, Field of Dreams, Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Braveheart, Glory, and countless others.

The movies have lost a great maestro.  I add my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.  May the magnificence of his music bring you comfort at this sad time.  I invite you take a little time today and listen to the work and empathy that are so magical here. Here are several of his memorable soundtracks:

Kaliedescope of  Mathmatics from A Beautiful Mind totally sounds like my  butterfly brain:   https://youtu.be/mZI3VWSu0nM

The beautiful theme to Cocoon                                                                  https://youtu.be/AmpLx6UcynY

The soaring theme to Glory (hearing this now makes me very sad)

Rest in Peace, Mr. Horner.   Your music belongs to the ages.

Davy Jones – Gone Too Soon.

I heard today the very sad news that singer, actor,jockey, and former Monkee Davy Jones passed away from a heart attack in his home today, he was only 66.  Long before Davy was a Monkee, he was a child actor on British soap operas and played The Artful Dodger in Oliver! on Broadway.  Ironically, the night that The Beatles performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, Davy was backstage with the cast of  Oliver! waiting to perform; little did he or the screaming hordes in the theater know that he’d become as idolized as Paul McCartney in just two years.

I had the great pleasure of seeing Davy perform with Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz  when they  did a Monkee reunion in 1996. It was a great show and you could see that Davy LOVED performing.   My sister and I had 7th row seats and at one point, Davy  walked up and down the side aisles, touching hands with fans. I found myself calling “Come here Davy!”  (just like a tween again).  Alas we were too far in the aisle, but man, what a fun show!  I recall it once said of Davy that “..if a fridge door opened, he’d do five minutes!” and I could just see him performing for the milk and mayonnaise.  He had one of the most unique, warm, yet seductive voices I’ve ever heard. Behold several of my favorites:

And here’s the funny scene from The Brady Bunch Movie (1995) where Davy sings  Girl at the school dance –looking a bit confused at the grunge influence,but so fun! The teachers are turned on and the students eventually realize that this guy was cool! (not the best quality, but the only copy I could find)

A commenter on YouTube wrote today: “A part of my childhood passed away today.”   I think many American women in my generation (1960’s) would sadly agree. Farewell Davy. Thanks for the joy.