Wednesday, December 28, 2011

R.I.P. Boomer Heroes

Boomer Heroes who died in 2011 included these four exemplars.  Two are a little too old to be technically in the boomer generation, but they represent their spirit.

 Clarence Clemons was born about four years too soon to boom, but the Big Man was the soul of Bruce Springsteen's  E Street Band.  I saw them early on, when Clemons came out in a Santa suit for the band's version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.

  Kara Kennedy was born in 1960.  She is pictured receiving the Medal of Freedom award from President Obama on behalf of her father, Senator Ted Kennedy.  Kara herself worked in politics, the media and for causes.  She battled lung cancer until her premature death.

Steve Jobs was born in 1955, a middle-boomer visionary of the computer age.  His influence on this rapidly changing present and on the future is hard to overestimate.

Wangari Maathai was born in Kenya in 1940.  She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her environmental justice activism, as the founder of the Green Belt Movement.   She also is a link from boomer aspirations to the future.  May all their best work live on and grow.  And may they rest in peace.

R.I. P. 1950s Pop Culture

Among those we lost in 2011 are these pop culture figures from the 1950s: actor Delores Fuller (Ed Wood films), Elliott Handler (who named the Barbie Doll for Mattel, Joe Morello (drummer for the Dave Brubeck Quartet), actor James Arness (Gunsmoke), actor and icon Elizabeth Taylor, Carl Gardner (lead singer of the Coasters.)

R.I.P. More 50s

R.I.P. in 2011 from the 50s: Sid Melton, Captain Midnight's sidekick; Anne Francis in Forbidden Planet, Dana Wynter in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Yvette Vickers as the original Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, David Nelson of the Nelson family, and Cliff Robertson, whose first starring role was in 50s sf Saturday morning TV as Rod Brown, Rocket Ranger.

Yet More 1950s

Also lost in 2011 from the 50s: Randy Woods, impressario of Dot Records (Pat Boone, Fabian, etc.); actor Jane Russell; songwriter Jerry Leiber of Leiber & Stoller; tv writer Madelyn Pugh Davis, who concocted some of the most famous I Love Lucy scenes, including the wine stomping scene; Gladys Horton, lead singer of the Marvelletes.

R.I.P. 1960s

Among those lost in 2011 from the 1960s: Suze Rotolo, artist and Bob Dylan companion on the famous Freewheelin' album cover; student activist Carl Ogelsby; Owlsley Stanley, famed LSD and Grateful Dead impressario; Cliff Robertson, who played JFK in PT-109;  director Sidney Lumet (Fail-Safe); Sargent Shriver, first Peace Corps director; Fred Shuttlesworth, Civil Rights activist (far left with Martin Luther King); actor Susannah York; filmmaker Ken Russell( The Who's Tommy).

Not pictured: filmmaker Richard Leacock (Montery Pop); musician Bert Jansch (Pentangle); musician and poet Gil Scott-Heron; Barry Feinstein (album cover photographer, The Times They Are A'Changin), rock impressario Don Kirschner, journalists Tom Wicker, Andy Rooney and Robert Pierpoint. 

R.I.P. 70s

Lost in 2011 from the 1970s: Elisabeth Sladen, beloved companion Sarah Jane Smith on Doctor Who; First Lady Betty Ford; Henry Morgan, Col. Potter on M*A*S*H; Ellen Stewart, founder of New York theatre's La Mama; actor Michael Sarrazin; Nixon impressionist David Frye; Peter Falk, who was Columbo.

Not pictured:  filmmaker Peter Yates (Breaking Away); singer Phoebe Snow, guitarist and record producer Don DeVito (Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.)