Obituary

Stan Lee, legendary Marvel superheroes creator, dead at 95

Stan Lee, the comic book mastermind who changed the landscape of the superhero genre by creating countless beloved characters, has died at age 95. An attorney for Lee’s daughter, J.C. Lee, said the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic world by introducing human frailties in superheroes such as Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk, was declared dead Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. J.C. Lee, told TMZ, “My father loved all of his fans. He was the greatest, most decent man.” Lee has experienced several health issues throughout the past year including a battle with pneumonia as well as issues with his vision. As the top writer at Marvel Comics and later as its publisher, he revived the industry in the 1960s by offering the costumes and action craved by younger readers while insisting on sophisticated plots, college-level dialogue, satire, science fiction, even philosophy. Marvel Chief Creator Office Joe Quesada shared his condolences on Twitter. Millions responded to the unlikely mix of realistic fantasy, and many of his characters, including Spider-Man, the Hulk and X-Men went on to become stars of blockbuster films. Recent projects he helped make possible range from the films “Black Panther” and “Doctor Strange” to such TV series as “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” “I think everybody loves things that are bigger than life. … I think of them as fairy tales for grown-ups,” he told The Associated Press in a 2006 interview. “We all grew up with giants and ogres and witches. Well, you get a little bit older and you’re too old to read fairy tales. But I don’t think you ever outgrow your love for those kind of things, things that are bigger than life and magical and very imaginative.” Lee considered the comic-book medium an art form and he was prolific: By some accounts, he came up with a new comic book every day for 10 years. “I wrote so many I don’t even know. I wrote either hundreds or thousands of them,” he told the AP in 2006. He hit his stride in the 1960s when he brought the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and numerous others to life. “It was like there was something in the air. I couldn’t do anything wrong,” he recalled. His heroes, meanwhile, were a far cry from virtuous do-gooders such as rival DC Comics’ Superman. The Fantastic Four fought with each other. Spider-Man was goaded into superhero work by his alter ego, Peter Parker, who suffered from unrequited crushes, money problems and dandruff. The Silver Surfer, an alien doomed to wander Earth’s atmosphere, waxed about the woeful nature of man. The Hulk was marked by self-loathing. Daredevil was blind and Iron Man had a weak heart. “The beauty of Stan Lee’s characters is that they were characters first and superheroes next,” Jeff Kline, executive producer of the “Men in Black” animated television series, told The Blade of Toledo, Ohio, in 1998. Some of Lee’s creations became symbols of social change — the inner turmoil of Spider-Man represented ’60s America, for example, while The Black Panther and The Savage She-Hulk mirrored the travails of minorities and women. Lee scripted most of Marvel’s superhero comics himself during the ’60s, including the Avengers and the X-Men, two of the most enduring. In 1972, he became Marvel’s publisher and editorial director; four years later, 72 million copies of Spider-Man were sold. “He’s become our Mickey Mouse,” he once said of the masked, web-crawling crusader. Lee also published several books, including “The Superhero Women” in 1977 and “How to Draw Comics the Marvel Way” the following year, when he was named publisher of the year by the Periodical and Book Association of America. CBS turned the Hulk into a successful TV series, with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno portraying the doomed scientist from 1978-82. A Spider-Man series ran briefly in 1978. Both characters were featured in animated TV series as well. The first big-budget movie based on Lee’s characters, “X-Men,” was a smash in 2000, earning more than $130 million at North American theaters. “Spider-Man” did even better, taking in more than $400 million in 2002. Lee’s death falls on Veterans Day, which is fitting as he served in World War II with the U.S. Army Signal Corps from 1942 to 1945. Lee reportedly enlisted in the military shortly after hearing about the attack on Pearl Harbor. In his final post to social media, he wished fans a happy Veterans Day while sharing an image of himself from his army days: “Thank you to all of America’s veterans for your service. Fun fact: Stan’s official US Army title during WW2 was ‘Playwright.’ #VeteransDay.” In 2017, Lee’s wife of almost 70 years, Joan, died at age 93.

Those of us who are Marvel fans are devastated by this news.  Stan Lee created heroes for all of us as kids.  And, don’t know about you..  But, I love the current Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) series of movies that have been coming out over the last decade.  Stan had a personal hand in, and executive produced, all of them from Iron Man all the way through Infinity War.  He will definitely be missed, as will his signature cameos.  Thanks for helping us to dream, Stan.  And, on this Veteran’s Day, thank you for your service in WWII.  R. I.P.

Charles Krauthammer, conservative commentator and Pulitzer Prize winner, dead at 68

Charles Krauthammer, a longtime Fox News contributor, Pulitzer Prize winner, Harvard-trained psychiatrist and best-selling author who came to be known as the dean of conservative commentators, died Thursday. He was 68. His death had been expected after he wrote a heartbreaking letter to colleagues, friends and viewers on June 8 that said in part “I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me… “Recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.” The letter continued, “I leave this life with no regrets. It was a wonderful life — full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living.” In recent years, Krauthammer was best known for his nightly appearance as a panelist on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier” and as a commentator on various Fox news shows. Following the news of the death of his “good friend,” Baier posted on Twitter, “I am sure you will be owning the panel discussion in heaven as well. And we’ll make sure your wise words and thoughts – your legacy – will live on here.” Brit Hume, senior political analyst on Fox News, also tweeted about the “terribly sad news.” “The great Charles Krauthammer has died,” he said. But Krauthammer was arguably a Renaissance man, achieving mastery in such disparate fields as psychiatry, speech-writing, print journalism and television. He won the Edwin Dunlop Prize for excellence in psychiatric research and clinical medicine. Journalism honors included the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his Washington Post columns in 1987 and the National Magazine Award for his work at The New Republic in 1984. His book, “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics,” instantly became a New York Times bestseller, remaining in the number one slot for 10 weeks, and on the coveted list for nearly 40. Krauthammer delivered his views in a mild-mannered yet steady and almost philosophical style, befitting his background in psychiatry and detailed analysis of human behavior. Borrowing from that background, Krauthammer said in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, that the post-Cold War world had gone from bipolar to “unipolar,” with the United States as the sole superpower. He also coined the term “The Reagan Doctrine,” among others. He also showed an unabashed love of baseball. Nationals Park held a moment of silence before his beloved Washington Nationals played a home game there Thursday night. Krauthammer harbored no compunction about calling out those in power, whether they were Democrats or Republicans or conservatives. During the Democratic National Convention, he assailed lack of substance in the build-up to nominating Hillary Clinton. “As for the chaos abroad, the Democrats are in see-no-evil denial. The first night in Philadelphia, there were 61 speeches. Not one mentioned the Islamic State or even terrorism.” “In this crazy election year, there are no straight-line projections,” he noted, adding presciently, “As Clinton leaves Philadelphia, her lifelong drive for the ultimate prize is perilously close to a coin flip.” At the same time, Krauthammer was quick to express disagreement with President Donald Trump in no uncertain terms.
Indeed…  We all knew this day was coming.   But, that doesn’t lessen the sorrow we all feel for the loss of Charles.  He was man who didn’t demean others with whom he disagreed.  Charles was a class act, and a national treasure.  He is missed terribly.  There will be a special tomorrow night on the Fox News channel about Charles.  Check your local listings..  And for more on this article, click on the text above.  Thanks for all your wisdom and counsel, Charles.  You’ve been a personal inspiration to me for decades, and a friend I never met.  R.I.P.

 

AC/DC co-founder Malcolm Young dead at 64

Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitar player and founding member of heavy metal legends AC/DC, has died, the group announced Saturday. He was 64. Known for the powerhouse riffs and rhythm guitar that propelled the group from Sydney, Australia, to superstardom, Young had been suffering from dementia for the past three years, the Australian Associated Press reported. He died peacefully on Saturday with his family by his bedside, the news agency reported. Young started the band with his brother Angus Young in 1973. “As a guitarist, songwriter and visionary he was a perfectionist and a unique man,” Angus Young said on the AC/DC website. “He always stuck to his guns and did and said exactly what he wanted. He took great pride in all that he endeavored. His loyalty to the fans was unsurpassed. “As his brother it is hard to express in words what he has meant to me during my life, the bond we had was unique and very special. “He leaves behind an enormous legacy that will live on forever. Malcolm, job well done.” Other musicians have taken to social media to honor the rock star’s legacy. Ozzy Osbourne wrote on Twitter, “So sad to learn of the passing of yet another friend, Malcolm Young. He will be sadly missed. God Bless.” “A very sad loss for rock,” Nikki Sixx wrote. “Rest in Peace Malcolm Young and Thank You.” Eddie Van Halen said it was “a sad day in rock and roll.” “Young was my friend and the heart and soul of AC/DC,” he said on Twitter. “He will be missed and my deepest condolences to his family, bandmates and friends.” Joe Elliot of Def Leppard said on band’s Twitter page, “I’m sad to hear of the passing of Malcolm Young.” “He was an incrdible guitar player & the glue for that band onstage & off,” he wrote. The Young brothers lost their older brother George Young, the Easybeats guitarist and AC/DC’s longtime producer, in October at the age of 70, Rolling Stone reported. Malcolm was replaced by nephew Stevie for the band’s last tour promoting the 2014 album Rock Or Bust. “Renowned for his musical prowess, Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many,” AC/DC said in a statement. “From the outset, he knew what he wanted to achieve and, along with his younger brother, took to the world stage giving their all at every show. Nothing less would do for their fans.” He is survived by his wife O’Linda and two children.

We are saddened to report the passing of Malcolm.  My first rock concert was AC/DC…back in 1981 for the “For Those About to Rock” tour…and have seen them many many times over the years.  The most recent being in 2009; probably the last tour with that classic 1980 “Back in Black” lineup with the Young, Young, Johnson, Rudd, and Williams.  Lot’s of great memories..and great shows.  Thanks for the tunes, Malcolm.  R.I.P.

Jerry Lewis, comedy icon and philanthropist, dead at 91

Jerry Lewis, the rubber-faced, squeaky-voiced comedy legend who starred in movies and musicals and also was known for his unflagging work on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, died on Sunday, his publicist confirmed. He was 91 years old. Lewis’ publicist confirmed the news to The Associated Press. The Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes first reported Lewis’ death. Lewis “passed peacefully at home this morning of natural causes at the age of 91 with his loving family by his side,” manager Mark Rozzano said. Lewis had gone through a series of health problems and scares in recent years. In June 2012 he was hospitalized for two nights in New York after collapsing with what was reported to be a low blood sugar problem. He was forced to cancel a fund-raising show in Australia due to poor health in June 2011. Lewis had been touring Australia to raise money for the country’s Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, which is separate from the American Muscular Dystrophy Association, where he served as president. He announced in 2011 he was retiring as host of the association’s Labor Day Telethon, which he began hosting in 1966. “MDA would not be the organization it is today if it were not for Jerry’s tireless efforts on behalf of ‘his kids.’ His enthusiasm for finding cures for neuromuscular disease was matched only by his unyielding commitment to see the fight through to the end. Jerry’s efforts on the annual MDA Telethon transformed the broadcast into an American tradition each Labor Day weekend for 45 years,” the organization said in a statement. “Though we will miss him beyond measure, we suspect that somewhere in heaven, he’s already urging the angels to give ‘just one dollar more for my kids.’” In recent years, Lewis also suffered from a back condition linked to a comedic pratfall from a piano, as well as heart problems. He reportedly had at least two heart attacks. The comedian who first gained fame as part of a duo with singer Dean Martin was born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926 in Newark, New Jersey. His parents were entertainers and young Jerry made his debut at age five on New York’s Catskill Mountains entertainment circuit. He began using the professional name Joey Lewis, but later changed it to Jerry, reportedly to avoid confusion with comedian Joe E. Lewis. In the summer of 1946, Lewis teamed up with Martin – first with a nightclub act, then radio and television appearances. Martin was the suave, debonair singer while Lewis was the zany, boyish sidekick with the huge grin and squeaky voice. They went on to make a series of movies together before the partnership ended in 1956 and both launched successful solo careers. Lewis became a major comedy star with his first solo film, 1957’s “The Delicate Delinquent,” followed by “Rock-A-Bye Baby” and “The Geisha Boy.” His later films included “The Bellboy,” “Cinderfella,” “The Nutty Professor” and “The King of Comedy.” He also appeared in stage musicals and in 1994 made his Broadway debut as the Devil in a revival of “Damn Yankees.”

And that’s just for starters..  To read the rest of this tribute to Jerry, click on the text above.  What an icon he was!  Thanks for the laughs Jerry!  R.I.P.

Glen Campbell dead at 81

Country music icon Glen Campbell has died at the age of 81. His family announced, “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.” The star’s publicist confirmed that he died Tuesday morning in Nashville. The legend behind hits including “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” recently released his final studio album. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six years ago. He won five Grammys, sold more than 45 million records, had 12 gold albums and 75 chart hits, including No. 1 songs with “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights.” His performance of the title song from “True Grit,” a 1969 release in which he played a Texas Ranger alongside Oscar winner John Wayne, received an Academy Award nomination. He twice won album of the year awards from the Academy of Country Music and was voted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Seven years later, he received a Grammy for lifetime achievement. He released more than 70 of his own albums, and in the 1990s recorded a series of gospel CDs. A 2011 farewell album, “Ghost On the Canvas,” included contributions from Jacob Dylan, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins. “Glen’s abilities to play, sing and remember songs began to rapidly decline after his diagnosis in 2011,” the singer’s wife Kim Campbell said in a press release in April. “A feeling of urgency grew to get him into the studio one last time to capture what magic was left. It was now or never.” Campbell revealed he had Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, but he went on to record two albums and play more than 150 concerts. At the time, Kim Campbell said the tour was a way to help her husband combat the brain-ravaging disease and spend time with family members who made up his band and traveled with him. He also starred in a documentary about life with Alzheimer’s, “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.” He won a Grammy for his song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” which plays at the conclusion of the documentary. The song also was nominated for a 2015 Oscar. His wife revealed in March that the singer could no longer play guitar or sing.

We’re very sorry to hear about Glen’s passing.  He was truly a legend and an iconic part of American pop culture.  To read the rest of this article, click on the text above.  Thanks for the tunes, Glen.  R.I.P.

Joan Lee, wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee, dies at age 93

The wife of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee died Thursday at age 93. Lee and his family released a statement saying Joan Lee died peacefully Thursday morning. The couple had been married 69 years. Lee’s longtime publicist Dawn Miller confirmed the statement’s authenticity when contacted by The Associated Press. No additional details were provided, and the statement requested privacy. Stan Lee co-created numerous Marvel Comics superheroes including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. The Hollywood Reporter, which first reported Joan Lee’s death, recounted the couple’s first meeting in a story last year. It said Lee met his future wife while trying to meet another woman for a date in New York. The couple was married in December 1947 and had two daughters, one of whom died days after being born. The 94-year-old Lee has credited his wife with supporting him early in his career, when he was trying to create superheroes that he and others could care about.

Was sorry to hear this the other day..  Joan certainly lived a full and long life.  We send our prayers to Stan and the rest of the Lee family.  R.I.P., Joan.

Adam West, TV’s ‘Batman,’ dies at 88 after battle with leukemia, family says

Actor Adam West, famous for his straight-faced portrayal of the Caped Crusader in the 1960s “Batman” TV series, has died at 88, his family said Saturday on social media. West died Friday night “after a short but brave battle with leukemia,” the family statement on Facebook said. “It’s with great sadness that we are sharing this news,” the family said. “He was a beloved father, husband, grandfather, and great-grandfather. There are no words to describe how much we’ll miss him.” West played the superhero straight for kids and funny for adults. He initially chaffed at being typecast after “Batman” went off the air after three seasons, but in later years admitted he was pleased to have had a role in kicking off a big-budget film franchise by showing the character’s wide appeal. I’m delighted because my character became iconic and has opened a lot of doors in other ways, too,” he told The Associated Press in 2014. “He was bright, witty and fun to work with,” Julie Newmar, who played Catwoman to West’s Batman, said in a statement Saturday. “I will miss him in the physical world and savor him always in the world of imagination and creativity.” Born William West Anderson in Walla Walla, Washington, he moved to Seattle at age 15 with his mother after his parents divorced. He graduated from Whitman College, a private liberal arts school, in Walla Walla. After serving in the Army, he went to Hollywood and changed his name to Adam West, and began appearing on a number of television series, including “Bonanza,” “Perry Mason” and “Bewitched.” In April 2012, West received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Most recently he did the voice of nutty Mayor Adam West in the long-running “Family Guy” series. And in February 2016, West made an appearance on the CBS sitcom “The Big Bang Theory’s” 200th episode, which marked the 50th anniversary of “Batman.” West was married three times, and had six children. He had homes in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, but he and his wife, Marcelle, spent most of their time at their ranch near Sun Valley, Idaho.

So very sad to hear about this earlier today!!  As a kid I grew up watching re-runs of Batman.  For more of this story, click on the text above.  Thanks for the wonderful, fun memories, Adam!  R.I.P.