Remembrances 2007

Here are some of the entertainment celebrities we lost this year:

Yvonne De Carlo (b. 1922) (actress)

Most famous as Lily on the classic sitcom The Munsters (1964-66), but also had notable roles in Salome Where She Danced (1945) and The Ten Commandments (1956). A beauty who was Miss Venice Beach in 1938.

Anna Nicole Smith (b. 1967) (actress/model)

Noted Playboy and GUESS jeans model. Infamous for marrying oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II, 62 years her senior, in 1994. Had unmemorable acting roles in movies such as Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult, and had her life chronicled in the short-lived The Anna Nicole Show (2002-03). Eventually became more famous for being famous, with her death setting off a lengthy saga to determine the real father of her baby, Dannielynn Hope.

Don Ho (b. 1930) (singer)

Famed Hawaiian singer whose island music and ukulele playing reached a peak in the minds of many with his hit song “Tiny Bubbles.” Made a memorable cameo as himself in the famed “Hawaii Bound” episode of The Brady Bunch in 1972, as well as other appearances through ’70s television. Named by Maxim magazine as one of the 50 Coolest Guys Ever.

Kitty Carlisle Hart (b. 1910) (actress/singer)

A multitalented woman who appeared in film, television, on Broadway and in operas. Best film appearance was in the Marx Brothers classic A Night at the Opera (1935). Married to playwright Moss Hart until his death, and appeared in his classic The Man Who Came to Dinner (1949). A regular panelist on quiz shows in the 1950s, most notably on To Tell the Truth, and was the only panelist to appear on every incarnation of that program: 1956-68; 1969-78; 1980-81; 1990-91; 2000-02.

Jack Valenti (b. 1921) (businessman)

Longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America (1966-2004). In 1968, created the MPAA film rating system, which initially comprised ratings G, M, R and X. M was replaced by GP, which became PG; PG-13 rating came in 1984, and NC-17 rating was introduced in 1990, as an “artsy” alternative to X, which had been co-opted by the adult film industry.

Tom Poston (b. 1921) (actor)

Comedic actor famous for working with Bob Newhart in the latter’s classic sitcoms. Poston guest-starred as Cliff Murdock (a.k.a. “The Peeper”) on The Bob Newhart Show in five episodes from 1975-77, and was an Emmy-nominated regular on Newhart (1982-90), playing handyman George Utley. Early in his career became famous as a regular actor playing various characters on The Steve Allen Show, and he won an Emmy in 1959. Also remembered as Mr. Bickley on Mork & Mindy from 1979-82, and as the voice of the Capital City Goofball on The Simpsons in 1990. Later in life married The Bob Newhart Show costar Suzanne Pleshette.


Charles Nelson Reilly (b. 1931) (actor)

Broadway and TV actor probably best known for his numerous hilarious appearances on game shows like The Match Game and Hollywood Squares throughout the 1970s. But Reilly was also recognized for his acting, receiving Emmy nominations for his regular role in The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (1968-70), as well as guest roles on Millennium in 1998 and The Drew Carey Show in 1999. On Broadway, won a Tony in 1962 for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and received a nomination in 1964 for Hello, Dolly! Appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show over 90 times.

Don Herbert (b. 1917) (actor/writer)

After getting degrees in English and science, Herbert worked briefly as an actor and radio writer before embarking on his most famous role as Mr. Wizard, the man who taught many a baby boomer about the wonders of science. Watch Mr. Wizard ran from 1951-72, was nominated for two Emmys, and won a Peabody award.

Liz Claiborne (b. 1929) (fashion designer)

Born Anne Elisabeth Jane Claiborne. Designer and entrepreneur who founded Liz Claiborne Inc. in 1976 after her frustration over the lack of companies that provided clothes for working women. In 1985, it became the first company founded by a woman to make the Fortune 500. Later in life became involved in numerous environmental causes.

Joel Siegel (b. 1943) (writer/film critic)

Noted film critic who was entertainment editor for Good Morning America from 1981 to his death. Received a Tony nomination for his 1982 play The First. Very involved in social causes; in the 1960s, he worked to get black voters registered in Georgia, and in recent years was outspoken on the subject of cancer.

Beverly Sills (b. 1929) (singer)

“Americas Queen of Opera,” according to Time magazine, acclaimed soprano Sills ruled the opera world during the 1960s and ’70s. She did this without the customary pattern of a performance at the Metropolitan Opera establishing a singer as a star. When she finally made her debut at the Met in 1975, she received an 18-minute ovation. Not afraid of mixing high culture with pop culture, Sills made TV appearances on The Tonight Show and even The Muppet Show. Retired from singing in 1980, and was actively involved in charity work for the prevention and treatment of birth defects.


Tom Snyder (b. 1936) (newscaster)

This Emmy-winning host with the distinctive laugh helmed The Tomorrow Show (1975-81). Snyder’s show featured John Lennon’s final televised interview in 1975, and U2’s first American TV appearance in 1981, as well as still-infamous appearances by Johnny Rotten and KISS.

Ingmar Bergman (b. 1918) (director/writer)

Famed Swedish film director behind classics like The Seventh Seal (1957), Wild Strawberries (1957), The Virgin Spring (1960), Cries and Whispers (1972), and Fanny and Alexander (1982). Nominated for nine Oscars, and received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1971. Bergman has had a major influence on Woody Allen.

Michelangelo Antonioni (b. 1912) (director/writer)

Italian director perhaps best known for 1966’s Blow-Up, which was nominated for two Oscars and inspired the 1981 Brian De Palma film Blow Out. Zabriskie Point (1970) is another highlight of his career.

Merv Griffin (b. 1925) (producer/writer)

Prolific television producer and creator of the classic game shows Jeopardy! (1964-75; 1984-present) and Wheel of Fortune (1975-present), and composer of both of their legendary theme songs. Won three Daytime Emmys for the long-running The Merv Griffin Show (1962-86).

Luciano Pavarotti (b. 1935) (singer)

Perhaps the most famous opera singer ever, Pavarotti was part of the famed “Three Tenors” but was a major success in his own right. He had many legendary performances, including one in 1966 where he became the first opera tenor to hit all nine high Cs of an aria with his full voice. Won one Emmy and received several other nominations for television specials throughout the 1970s through ’90s. Like Beverly Sills, not afraid to delve into pop culture, with appearances on Saturday Night Live, Late Show With David Letterman and VH1’s Behind the Music.

Jane Wyman

Jane Wyman (b. 1917) (actress)

Won Best Actress Oscar for Johnny Belinda (1948). Also nominated for The Yearling (1946); The Blue Veil (1951); and Magnificent Obsession (1954). First wife of Ronald Reagan. Holds the record, with Regis Toomey, for the longest screen kiss — three minutes and five seconds — in the film You’re in the Army Now (1941).

Alice Ghostley (b. 1926) (actress)

Appeared frequently on television from the 1960s through the ’90s, most famously as Aunt Esmeralda in Bewitched (1966-72), and as Bernice Clifton on Designing Women (1986-93), for which she received an Emmy nomination.

Marcel Marceau (b. 1923) (actor)

Famed mime artist who never spoke a word onstage, and whose appearances on TV variety shows earned him a 1956 Emmy for Best Specialty Act. In two ironic instances, he co-presented the 1974 Oscar for Best Sound, and had the only speaking part in Silent Movie (1976).

Lois Maxwell (b. 1927) (actress)

Best known for playing Miss Moneypenny in the first 14 James Bond films. Also gave notable performances in Lolita (1962) and The Haunting (1963).

Deborah Kerr (b. 1921) (actress)

Nominated six times for a Best Actress Oscar: Edward, My Son (1949); From Here to Eternity (1953); The King and I (1956); Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957); Separate Tables (1958); The Sundowners (1960). Received an honorary Oscar in 1994, which read: “An artist of impeccable grace and beauty, a dedicated actress whose motion picture career has always stood for perfection, discipline and elegance.”

Joey Bishop (b. 1918) (actor/comedian)

Last of the “Rat Pack” to pass on. Frank Sinatra referred to Bishop as the “hub of the big wheel.” Bishop appeared with the rest of the Pack in the only two movies they made together, Ocean’s Eleven (1960) and Sergeants 3 (1962), and appeared in two TV series called The Joey Bishop Show — a sitcom that aired from 1961-65, and a 1967-69 talk show that he hosted along with other notables such as Regis Philbin and Don Rickles. Guest-hosted The Tonight Show 177 times, more than anyone else.

Sidney Sheldon (b. 1917) (writer/producer)

Most famous as a novelist, but also a prolific television writer. Wrote for The Patty Duke Show from 1964-65, created I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70) and created Hart to Hart (1979-84). Several of his novels have been made into TV miniseries.

Dick Wilson (b. 1916) (actor)

Appearing in hundreds of commercials, Wilson is by far best remembered as Mr. Whipple, the uptight grocer who continually warned shoppers, “Please, don’t squeeze the Charmin.” Wilson played this character from 1965-89. He also made numerous guest appearances on TV shows from the 1960s through ’80s.

© 2007 by Mike Valdez

Robert Goulet (b. 1933) (singer, actor)

The acclaimed singer launched his award-winning stage and recording career with his role as Lancelot in Broadway’s Camelot. He made numerous film appearances, ranging from the animated Gay Purr-ee (1962) to 1991’s wild comedy The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear. Goulet was able to poke fun at himself, as seen in guest appearances on The Simpsons and in recent commercials from Emerald Nuts.