2010 was an amazing year.  The Chinese metal Year of the Tiger…….brought forth the loss of some great ones.  Those that passed away held some similar things in common:  They were all unique, one of kind, over achievers.

Dino De Laurentis, actor, film producer (Aug 8, 1919 to Nov. 11, 2010) – His “Clash of the Titans” was amazing, his “Hurricane” filmed in Bora Bora, Tahiti and was secretly directed by Roman Polanski….even though Jan Troell was given the film credit – Lorenzo Semple Jr. was one of the great scriptwriters. Dennis Hopper, actor (May 17, 1936 to May 29, 2010)….got our motor running……Born to be Wild in  “Easy Rider”…..with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson – as well as in “Apocalypse Now” with Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen.  Dennis Hopper was the American version of Michael Caine….”acting everywhere in everything!”
J.D. Salinger, writer (Jan. 1, 1919 to Jan. 27, 2010) wrote “Catcher in the Rye”….and our pod will never be the same.  Merlin Olsen, Hall of Fame football player/announcer/actor (Sept. 15, 1940 to March 11, 2010) was the biggest man we ever saw.  He played for Utah State and the Rams and for “Little House on the Prarie”.  Merlin and Dick Enberg were great together! Gen. Alexander Haig, U.S. Army general (Dec. 2, 1924 to Feb. 20, 2010) was a pal of Cap Weinberger and Ronald Reagan.  General Haig had his own unique ideas on stuff and when Reagan got shot he said:  “The Vice-President is on Airforce 2 and I am hear – in charge…..”  Leslie Nielsen, actor/comedian (Feb. 11, 1926 to Nov. 28, 2010)  was our favorite Flight Operations Director in “Airplane”….just don’t call him Shirley!
John Wooden, basketball coach (Oct. 14, 1910 to June 4, 2010)  We met Coach Wooden at a USC-UCLA Tennis Competition in Fullerton in 1989….he sat and talked to us for over an hour….about his old players and his philosophy of life.  The famous Wooden Pyramid!  God Bless you Coach.  Fess Parker, actor/winemaker/resort owner-operator (Aug. 16, 1924 to March 18, 2010) We were very honored to interview Mr. Parker  back in 2003 and became bigger fans than we were – before we met him.  An truly honest and genuine person.
Robert Byrd, Senator-politician (Nov. 20, 1917 to June 28, 2010)  The good Senator carried the power of the office in his heart and  thoughts, his desires and in his abilty to mold his presentations to the holy truth of the U.S. Constitution.  Richard Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary of State/diplomat/magazine editor/investment banker (April 24, 1941 to Dec. 13, 2010) We didn’t always agree with Secretary Holbrooke – especially on Kosovo….but he carried his office with a great dignity and veracity.  He will be missed by many.
Edwin Newman, newscaster (Jan. 25, 1919 to Aug.13, 2010) – Had the voice of truth.  A virtuous and caring directness.  Daniel Schorr, journalist (July 23, 2010 at 93 years old) – Hardly ever agreed with him…..but he seemed genuine in his beliefs.
Jill Clayburgh, actress (April 30, 1944 to Nov. 5, 2010) – being a good friend of Woody Allen never hurt, but Jill was a good actress.  Jimmy Dean, singer/actor/businessman (August 10, 1928 to June 13, 2010)  – Jimmy made some great sausage, made some fun cowboy flicks and sang with that guitar. His most unforgiving part was in “Diamonds are Forever”.  Never really bought that character. Robert Culp, actor/scriptwriter/director (Aug.16, 1930 to March 24, 2010) –  “I Spy” was OK, “Great American Hero”….never saw it…..but Culp was a great working actor that was a willing to work anywhere there was a camera.  Culp was an adventurer being one of the first to work with a black actor – Bill Cosby!  Today it is “De Pase”…but in those days he was very brave! Teddy Pendergrass, singer/songwriter/composer (March 26, 1950 to Jan. 13, 2010) – Made some beautiful music.  Solomon Burke, preacher/singer (March 21, 1940 to Oct. 10, 2010) – Loved his work…..
Jean Simmons, actress (Jan 31, 1929 to Jan. 22, 2010) – Made all those great biblical costume flicks.  Was the girl to take home to mom.  Kathryn Grayson, actress/singer (Feb. 9, 1922 to Feb. 17, 2010)  – Married Bing Crosby – after that she became a great stay at home mom. Art Linkletter, radio/TV personality (July 17, 1912 to May 26, 2010) –  Had an indomitable will.  Stubborn to the extreme.  A real icon.  Arthur Penn, film director and producer (Sept. 27, 1922 to Sept. 28, 2010)  – Had an indomitable will.  Stubborn to the extreme.  A real American icon. Mosi Tatupu, football player (April 26, 1955 to Feb. 23, 2010)  – A truly great football player….who died too young.  George Steinbrenner, owner of New York Yankees (July 4, 1930 to July 13, 2010) – Always did it his way….each and every time!
George Blanda, football player (Sept. 17, 1927 to Sept. 27, 2010) – The Raider of old….that was the first of the over 40 guys to kick a field goal.  Don Meredith, football player (April 10, 1939 to Dec. 5, 2010) – Arguably, the greatest sportcaster of all time.  We also loved his acting on “Police Story”….he kicked it there too! Bob Feller, baseball player (Nov. 3, 1918 to Dec. 15, 2010) – When you are the greatest…what do you do for an encore?  Eddie Fisher, singer (Aug. 10, 1928 to Sept. 22, 2010) – When you are the greatest…what do you do for an encore?  After Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds….what next?
Elizabeth Edwards, attorney, author, activist (July 3, 1949 to Dec. 7, 2010) – The only one on the planet that could put John Edwards in his place.  A great lady who we felt the greatest sorrow for…..during and now.  Blake Edwards, film director, screenwriter, producer (July 26, 1922 to Dec. 15, 2010) – Married Julie Andrews and had a boat called the Tempest with a stateroom called “The Mary Poppins Room”. Oh, Inspector Clouseau….where are you? Tony Curtis, actor (June 3, 1925 to Sept. 29, 2010) – We loved him in the Vikings with Kirk Douglas!  Jamie Lee…sorry he didn’t appreciate everything you wanted him to.  He was so stubborn.  Tom Bosley, actor (Oct. 1, 1927 to Oct. 19, 2010) –  Mr. Cunningham….we will miss your wisdom, kindness and caring for others. Sparky Anderson, MLB manager (Feb 22, 1934 to Nov. 4, 2010) – One tough baseball manager!  Gary Coleman, actor (Feb. 8, 1968 to May 28, 2010) – Had some tough times.  Didn’t make it when he ran for Governor.  Lynn Redgrave, actress (March 8, 1943 to May 2, 2010) – One of the wonderous Redgrave people….sorely missed on stage and everywhere else.  Stephen J. Cannell, writer/producer  (February 5, 1941 to Sept. 30, 2010) – When we interviewed him a few years back….he looked great.  He was writing faster than a speeding bullet and we were just honored to chat with him.  We miss you Steven J.  – we miss you!  “Leave a message and I’ll get back to you!”  The Rockford Files too! Lena Horne – Died May 9, 2010 – A voice with love, guts and glory!  A most beautiful person.  John Forsythe – Died April 2, 2010 – the voice of Charlie on “Charlie’s Angels” – the original series.  A steady classical actor….who truly brought more to the party than he took.  Peter Graves – Died March 14, 2010 – The brother of James Arness (Marshall Dillion) – No Peter Graves was Mr. Phelps on “Mission Impossible” the TV Series.  He was also the Pilot in “Airplane”.  “Johnny….have you ever seen a grown man naked?”

The magic that these wonderful people brought to our lives…..have literally created who we are.  Sometimes we forget that great people along with our own parents, friends and loved ones are the ones that have created us – part and parcel.  We all would be empty vessels without their input, our appreciation and most importantly – what they have taught us about life and love and the world.  As Ronald Reagan said:  “They have slipped the surly bonds of this earth……to be somewhere far greater!


About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk show...is the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.