Saturday, December 30, 2017

Those we lost in 2017, Part 3



Date of death: 12 September 2017

Age at death: 88

Cause of death: Cause not disclosed


Edith Windsor was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 US supreme court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, giving gay and lesbian couples access to federal benefits and laying the foundation for the landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country in 2015. The case was a watershed moment in the history of the United States’ LGBT rights movement.


Hugh Hefner, 2010

Date of death: 27 September 2017

Age at death: 91

Cause of death: Cardiac arrest, respiratory failure, sepsis and an E. coli infection.


Hugh Hefner created Playboy magazine in 1953 and spun it into a media and entertainment-industry giant, holding himself and Playboy out as emblems of the sexual revolution. Hefner was an advocate of sexual liberation and freedom of expression, as well as a political activist and philanthropist in several other causes and public issues.

He is interred at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles in a crypt beside Marilyn Monroe. "Spending eternity next to Marilyn is an opportunity too sweet to pass up," Hefner had told the Los Angeles Times in 2009.  Monroe featured in the first issue of Playboy as well as being on the cover.



Date of death: 22 October 2017

Age at death: 66

Cause of death: Cardiac arrest


Tom Petty was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. Petty served as the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers formed in 1976. He was also a member and co-founder of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys (I love them), and his early band Mudcrutch. Petty recorded a number of hit singles with the Heartbreakers and as a solo artist. In his career, he sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In 2001, Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Btw #1:
In 1988, Petty joined George Harrison's group, the Traveling Wilburys, which also included Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, and Jeff Lynne. The band's first song, "Handle with Care", was intended as a B-side of one of Harrison's singles, but was judged too good for that purpose and the group decided to record a full album, Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1. A second Wilburys album, mischievously titled Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 and recorded without the recently deceased Orbison, followed in 1990. The album was named Vol. 3 as a response to a series of bootlegged studio sessions being sold as Travelling Wilburys Vol. 2.

Traveling Wilburys: Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, George Harrison and Roy Orbison.

Btw #2:

The term "Wilbury" originated when, in referring to recording errors created by faulty equipment, Harrison jokingly remarked to Lynne, "We'll bury 'em in the mix." Thereafter, they used the term for any small error in performance. Harrison first suggested "the Trembling Wilburys" as the group's name; at Lynne's suggestion, they amended it to "Traveling Wilburys".


Date of death: 22 October 2017

Age at death: 70

Cause of death: Cause of death not reported.


I have previously written about the late George Young, founding member of the bands the Easybeats and Flash and the Pan, and one-half of the songwriting and production duo Vanda & Young with his long-time musical collaborator Harry Vanda. Their song writing hits included "Friday on My Mind" and "Love Is in the Air", the latter recorded by John Paul Young (who is unrelated). Vanda and Young were also the producers of early work by hard rock band AC/DC, formed by his younger brothers Malcolm and Angus Young.

Read the earlier post by clicking on:


Date of death: 24 October 2017

Age at death: 89

Cause of death: Natural causes, according to the coroner's office.


I also previously wrote about Fats Domino having left the building. Read that post by clicking on:

Domino was one of the biggest stars of rock and roll in the 1950s and one of the first R&B artists to gain popularity with white audiences. His biographer Rick Coleman argues that Domino's records and tours with rock-and-roll shows in that decade, bringing together black and white youths in a shared appreciation of his music, was a factor in the breakdown of racial segregation in the United States.[ The artist himself did not define his work as rock and roll, saying, "It wasn't anything but the same rhythm and blues I'd been playin' down in New Orleans." 


Date of death: 9 November 2017

Age at death: 84

Cause of death: Cardiovascular disease


Not a name that comes to mind immediately but those who used to watch Tom Selleck in Magnum PI will remember John Hillerman as the actor who played Jonathan Quayle Higgins III. The show aired from 1980 to 1988. For his role as Higgins, Hillerman earned five Golden Globe nominations, winning in 1981, and four Emmy nominations, winning in 1987. He retired from acting in 1999.


Date of death: 18 November 2017

Age at death: 64

Cause of death: Not disclosed. At the conclusion of the Black Ice World Tour, Malcolm was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was treated at an early stage, so surgery was successful and the cancer was removed. He also had an unspecified heart problem and wore a pacemaker. Young also suffered from dementia for the last 3 years of his life.


Malcolm Young was a co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter for the hard rock band AC/DC. Except for a brief absence in 1988, he was with the band from its November 1973 beginning until retiring in 2014 due to health reasons. Young and the other members of AC/DC were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2003. Though his younger brother Angus was the more visible of the brothers, Malcolm was described as the driving force and the leader of the band. In 2014, he stated that despite his retirement from the band, AC/DC was determined to continue making music with his blessing. As the rhythm guitarist, he was responsible for the broad sweep of the band's sound, developing many of their guitar riffs and co-writing the band's material with Angus. 


Date of death: 21 November 2017

Age at death: 67

Cause of death: 
On February 20, 2017, Cassidy announced that he was living with dementia, the condition that his mother suffered from at the end of her life. He retired from performing in early 2017 when the condition became noticeable during a performance in which he forgot lyrics and otherwise struggled. On November 18, 2017, it was announced that Cassidy had been hospitalized suffering from liver and kidney failure, and was critically ill in a medically induced coma. He came out of the coma two days later, remaining in a critical but stable condition. Doctors hoped to keep Cassidy stable until a liver became available for transplant, but he died of liver failure on November 21, 2017, aged 67. According to his daughter Katie, his last words were "So much wasted time".


Cassidy was an American actor, singer, songwriter, and guitarist, best known for his role as Keith Partridge, the son of Shirley Partridge (played by his stepmother Shirley Jones), in the 1970s musical-sitcom The Partridge Family. This led to his becoming one of popular culture's teen idols and pop singers of the 1970s. He later had a career in both acting and music.


Date of death: 30 November 2017

Age at death: 87

Cause of death: Unknown


Best known for his portrayal of US Marine Gomer Pyle in the TV show Gomer Pyle USMC, which aired between 1964 and 1969, He could also sing up a storm as a baritone. Later attempts at a variety show and other acting roles never reached the heights of Gomer Pyle. He thereafter focused on recording and the nightclub circuit. Nabors converted to Catholicism in the mid-’60s and married his partner of 38 years, Stan Cadwallader, in Washington in 2013 a month after gay marriage became legal in that state.

Btw #1:

From Wikipedia:
A longstanding rumor maintains that Nabors "married" Rock Hudson in the early 1970s, shortly before Nabors began his relationship with Cadwallader. Not only was same-sex marriage not yet legal in any U.S. state at the time, at least publicly, the two were never more than friends. According to Hudson, the story originated with a group of "middle-aged homosexuals who live in Huntington Beach", who sent out joke invitations for their annual get-together. One year, the group invited its members to witness "the marriage of Rock Hudson and Jim Nabors", at which Hudson would take the surname of Nabors' most famous character, Gomer Pyle, becoming "Rock Pyle". The rumor was spread by those who failed to get the joke, and because Nabors was still closeted at the time and Hudson never publicly admitted to being gay (despite widespread suspicion that he was), the two never spoke to each other again.
Btw #2:

The United States Marine Corps released a statement on Nabors: "Semper Fi, Gomer Pyle. Rest in peace Jim Nabors, one of the few to ever be named an Honorary Marine."


Date of death: 21 December 2017

Age at death: 78

Cause of death: Not disclosed.


Ken Catchpole was an Australian rugby union footballer who played twenty-seven matches for Australia, thirteen as captain. Catchpole made his debut for New South Wales at age 19 and captained Australia at 21. He is considered one of Australia's greatest rugby scrumhalves. After the win against England in 1966, the President of the English Rugby Union, Duggie Harrison described him as "the greatest halfback of all time". 

Ken Catchpole was forced to retire at age 28 when All Black Colin Meads wishboned his legs while he was pinned under other players in a ruck, tearing his hamstring off the bone and severely rupturing his groin. That was his 27th and last Test for Australia, a sporting history cut short while in his prime.

Meads died on 20 August 2017 of pancreatic cancer.



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