GERRY ANDERSON The future was never quite so wonderfully funky as portrayed by marionettes on Thunderbirds or by actress aliens in silver mini-skirts and purple wigs on UFO. Both were the brainchildren of British publisher, producer, writer and director, Gerry Anderson. Space adventure just won't be the same without you, Gerry.
NEIL ARMSTRONG No one who was alive and alert on July 21, 1969 will forget the flickering image of Neil Armstrong stepping from a spaceship ladder to the surface of the Moon. The words that he spoke at that moment left as much of a mark on our collective psyches as his foot made in that lunar dust. His "one small step for a man" was, indeed, "one giant leap for mankind". With gratitude for taking it, we say farewell.
BAZOOKA JOE He wore the eyepatch to give himself an air of mystery, not because it was needed. And apparently, after 59 years of service as the mascot for the bubblegum brand that bears his name, Bazoooka Joe has become equally obsolete. Topps will replace his comic adventures on the gum's inside wrappers with puzzles and brain teasers. Joe's corny jokes and fortunes are gone for good, but we'll never forget you, Joe.
ERNEST BORGNINE His performance as a simple man with limited prospects for love broke our hearts and won him an Oscar for Marty. But his comic turn as the commander of a boatload of WWII misfits in McHale's Navy enlisted the loyalty of our kiddie hearts. We offer a final salute to a gifted actor.
RAY BRADBURY Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury's chilling depiction of a future in which firemen are charged with burning books rather than dousing flames, became a Boom Era parable for the cost of conformity. It, The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles and other tales of suspense and science fiction made Ray one of the most popular writers of the age. And of course we'll always respect the man for his stance on the appearance of prunes.
PETER BRECK His rugged good looks made him a natural choice as guest star on the TV Westerns of the 1950s, but it was his role as Nick Barkley, Barbara Stanwyck's middle son on The Big Valley, that cemented his status as a cowboy star of the 60s.
HELEN GURLEY BROWN Her 1962 book, Sex and the Single Girl was just the beginning. In 1965 she became editor in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine and transformed it into an instruction manual for women who wanted to have it all. If her adage, "Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere." holds true, Brown may not be behind the pearly gates. But she certainly went where females before her feared to tread- and she took a generation of women with her.
DAVE BRUBECK Pianist/composer Brubeck and his quartet brought a touch of refinement and audacity to progressive jazz that drew millions of new listeners to the genre. Need proof? Relax and Take Five.
FRANK CADY A classic character actor who appeared in movies ranging from The Bad Seed to When Worlds Collide, Cady made his most memorable mark as Sam Drucker, the proprietor of Hooterville's general store on Petticoat Junction. He played the part so well that he managed to segue Sam's homespun wisdom and infrequent exasperation into regular appearances on The Beverly Hillbillies and Green Acres.
DICK CLARK During his 30-year tenure as the host of American Bandstand Dick Clark introduced us to the singers and musicians whose sounds filled our parties, bedrooms and dreams. Clark never shied from featuring new forms of pop music as they arose. We can only hope there's a soundtrack in heaven that's "got a good beat and you can dance to it." Thanks for so much, Dick.
DON CORNELIUS The man who created, wrote, directed and hosted Soul Train for its first 22 years, none of us who heard the velvet voice of Don Cornelius will forget it or his impact on the music we chose to listen to and the moves we tried to execute on the dance floor.
HAL DAVID When lyricist, Hal David paired up with composer, Burt Bacharach, a match was made in pop music heaven. The pair collaborated on a roster of hits that filled 1960s and 70s record stores, airwaves and film scores. We miss them both and want them to know that we still believe that What the World Needs Now Is Love.
RICHARD DAWSON Before he became the smarmy, contestant-smooching host of Family Feud Richard Dawson made being a WWII prisoner-of-war look downright fun as the talented wiseass, Corporal Peter Newkirk, on Hogan's Heroes.
PHYLLIS DILLER Her wacky hairdos, over-the-top wardrobe, trademark guffaw and addiction to self-deprecation made her funny. Her perseverance and gumption made her a pioneer. Diller's trademark schtick paved the way for generations of female comediennes. Thanks for breaking those barriers, Phyl and for making us laugh.
CHARLES DURNING A much-decorated WWII G.I. who was among the first wave of soldiers to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day, Durning's acting career spanned comedy, drama, theater, film, television and four decades. To see just how "real" he was as an actor, watch him in this scene from Dog Day Afternoon.
NORA EPHRON While most of us knew her as a successful screenwriter, Ephron began her career as a journalist who in 1966 broke the news that Bob Dylan had married Sarah Lownds. As a columnist for Esquire in the 1960s she took Betty Friedan to task for feuding with Gloria Steinem and accused her alma mater, Wellesley College, of turning out a generation of "docile women." Ah, Nora, we'll miss you, Sister.
CHAD EVERETT After hitting the silver screen in a number of lightweight films in the early 60s, Everett landed the role of Dr. Joe Gannon on TV's Medical Center. Though his career would ultimately end with the series, during its run he became the heartthrob of many would-be female patients.
JAMES FARENTINO Farentino appeared in over 100 movie, film and theater productions over the course of his career. We knew him best as attorney Neil Darrell on The Bold Ones: The Lawyers and as the husband of Michelle Lee.
JONATHAN FRID Long before the Twilight Saga made vampires seem sexy, Jonathan Frid portrayed the softer side of blood-sucking as Barnabas Collins on the 1966-1971 daytime soap Dark Shadows. A surprise hit that generated games, comic books and toys, the show made Frid about as unlikely a sex symbol as could have been imagined at the time.
BEN GAZZARA He created the role of Brick in the original Broadway production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starred in Otto Preminger's Anatomy of a Murder, and made a number of films with good friends Peter Falk and John Cassavetes. But Gazzara's broadest exposure came from playing a dying man determined to check off the items on his bucket list in TV's Run for Your Life .
ROBIN GIBB In 1958 singer/songwriter Gibb co-founded the Bee Gees with twin brother, Maurice and older brother, Barry. The trio went on to write and record single hits in the late 60s and early 70s only to progress to superstardom with the release of their soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever.
DON GRADY One of the original Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeers, Grady began playing the role of Robbie Douglas, the second oldest of TV's My Three Sons at age 16. Don also sang and played the drums for a 1960s group called The Yellow Balloon.
ANDY GRIFFITH As Mayberry's Sheriff Andy Taylor he was the voice of reason in a town filled with more than its share of offbeat characters. But before he warmed our cockles on the small screen Griffith gave a brilliant performance as the egomaniacal drifter, "Lonesome" Rhodes in Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd and earned a Tony nomination for No Time for Sergeants. His acting talents were great and varied, but we'll remember him most on his way to the fishin' hole with Opie. Farewell, "Ainge."
LARRY HAGMAN Neil Armstrong may have been the first man to set foot on the moon, but his popularity as an astronaut had to have been rivaled by Larry Hagman as Major Tony Nelson on I Dream of Jeannie. Never has a spaceman seemed more sexy or surprised to find a fancy bottle on the beach. We wish we could "blink" you back, Larry.
MARVIN HAMLISCH One of only eleven people to have won an Oscar, Grammy, Tony and Emmy, Hamlisch composed music that became the scores for movies and plays and even TV theme songs. His adaptations of Scott Joplin's tunes for the soundtrack of The Sting made ragtime popular all over again, and his score and title song forThe Way We Were has provided the background music for countless breakups. Happily, the affection for his creations seems to be everlasting.
ROBERT HEGYES Hegyes made Juan Luis Pedro Felipo de Huevos Epstein an unforgettable "sweat hog" on TV's Welcome Back Kotter. He continued to guest star on a number of shows through the 1980s and taught acting, film and television-related classes at his alma mater, Rowan University until his death.
LEVON HELM His soulful voice and country-boy charm made Levon Helm a favorite of anyone with ears and a heart. He and his colleagues in The Band managed to meld country and rock music in a way that fit the times. Also a gifted actor who played the character of Loretta Lynn's father in Coal Miner's Daughter we fear that The Weight of his loss with be felt for a long. long time.
SHERMAN HEMSLEY An accomplished theater actor, Hemsley was reluctant to leave the stage when Norman Lear approached him to play the role of Archie Bunker's feisty African-American neighbor, George Jefferson on All in the Family. But once Hemsley put his mark on the character the rest became history and a successful spinoff show of his own in The Jeffersons.
CELESTE HOLM She saw Bette Davis through that famously bumpy night as Karen in All About Eve and found it impossible to refuse a feller as Ado Annie in the Broadway production of Oklahoma. She won an Oscar for her performance in Gentleman's Agreement, but many Boomers will remember the magic Holm worked as the Fairy Godmother in the 1965 TV production of Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella.
HOSTESS BAKERY Though what led to the action is being debated, Hostess Brands declared bankruptcy on November 16, 2012. Individual products, such as the Twinkie, may make a comeback under the aegis of other backers, but the company whose Wonder Bread built stronger Boom bodies eight ways, and whose fruit pies filled so many 50s and 60s lunch boxes is a thing of the past. And so we wave a fond farewell as the Twinkie Kid rides off into the corporate sunset.
ETTA JAMES Her voice could handle R&B, jazz, rock, gospel and more, and it garnered her six Grammys. All we know is that when we first heard her sing, our soul said At Last. Oh, Etta. How we will miss you.
ALEX KARRAS Long before he became the adoptive father of cuddly Emmanuel Lewis on Webster, Alex Karras was a bruiser on the gridiron as a Detroit Lion. A formidable defensive tackle yes, but his football glory paled in comparison to his feats of physical, if not mental, prowess as Mongo in Blazing Saddles.
JACK KLUGMAN He played a juror open to considering all the evidence in Twelve Angry Men and went on to evaluate evidence as a medical examiner on Quincy. But no one was quite as lovable a slob as Klugman's Oscar Madison on TV's The Odd Couple.
GEORGE LINDSEY One of the cheerful knuckleheads that populated Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show, Lindsey managed to give the bumbling mechanic, Goober Pyle, a sweetness that transcended his perpetual dimness. But let us not forget that Goober was a gifted mimic. See for yourself in this clip in which he gives us a spot-on Cary Grant.
HERBERT LOM Lom played the King of Siam in the original London production of The King and I and shared the screen with Alec Guinnes in The Ladykillers before landing the part of Inspector Clouseau's exasperated superior, Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus, in The Pink Panther films. No one played the verge of madness better.
RUSSELL MEANS An Oglala Sioux who became active in the American Indian Movement [AIM], Means participated in a number of Native American protests including the 1969 occupation of Alcatraz Island and the 1971 takeover the Mt. Rushmore. He also acted as a spokesperson for those who occupied Wounded Knee in 1973. (Print at left by Andy Warhol)
NEWSWEEK Although it will continue to exist in an online format, the Newsweek magazine that landed on our front steps as kids has gone the way of so many newspapers and publications in the age of the internet. The final print version, dated December 31, 2012 will end a run that included these memorable issues.
RON PALILLO As another denizen of the Welcome Back Kotter classroom, Palillo managed to make Horshak more than an annoying nerd. That laugh will echo through the hallways of TV history. So long, Arnold.
VIDAL SASSOON The clean, geometric shapes that he sculpted from the tresses of Twiggy, Mia Farrow, Nancy Kwan and so many others made him the unrivaled king of Boom Era coiffure. His hairstyling empire remains strong to this day. We, personally, loved our 1967 version of the "wedge bob," Vidal.
MAURICE SENDAK From his endearing illustrations for the Else Holmelund Minarik series of Little Bear books to his own unforgettable Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak's glorious imagination shone through in his words and most especially, his illustrations. The childhood world he populated was filled with wonder. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Sendak.
RAVI SHANKAR He brought the stunning sounds of the East to Western pop music and influenced a generation of performers and songwriters. His relationship with the Beatles' George Harrison was loving, lifelong and seemed to touch us all.
GORE VIDAL His politics made him the darling of Liberal cafe society. His novels, screenplays, essays and theater writing made hiim one of the most identifiable members of the Boom Era literati. Whether you loved him or hated him, Gore was unapologetically, fabulously one of a kind.
MIKE WALLACE A radio announcer and game show host before he segued in to television journalism, Wallace was a hard hitter as the lead reporter on 60 Minutes. He didn't always hit the mark with his perspective or interview style, but he's credited with keeping the country's most popular news program percolating for decades.
SIMON WARD A rising British theater actor, Ward won positive reviews and international attention as Churchill in 1972's Young Winston.
DOC WATSON His mastery of bluegrass, folk, country, gospel and blues music, along with his wicked flatpicking guitar technique earned Doc seven Grammys as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. We hope he's still playing and Sittin' On Top of the World.
KITTY WELLS Her 1952 recording of It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels made her the first female singer to top the Country Music charts. As Dolly Parton put it simply, "[She] was the first and only Queen of Country Music, no matter what they say about the rest of us."
ANDY WILLIAMS Audrey Hepburn may have sung it in the movie, but to millions there was no other version of Henry Mancini's Moon River than the one sung by Andy Williams. His variety show and yearly Christmas specials were staples of 60s TV fare.
WILLIAM WINDOM Katy Holstrum wasn't the only one to fall in love with William Windom as Senator Morley on The Farmer's Daughter. Windom appeared in several films, including To Kill A Mockingbird, and won an Emmy for his portrayal of John Monroe, a character based on James Thurber, in the quirky My World and Welcome to It.