Category Archives: Obituaries

Solomon Burke: 1940-2010. ‘It was a great dream for me, in my lifetime, that will never happen again,’ legend said of final album

The King of Rock ‘N’ Soul is gone.

Solomon Burke—who penned such classic tunes as Cry to Me and Everybody Needs Somebody to Love—died of natural causes earlier today at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport after a flight from his hometown of Los Angeles. He was 70 years old.

The legendary soul singer had been due to perform with Dutch rock band De Dijk this Tuesday.

Just six months ago, Solomon dropped by BlogTalkRadio to chat about his then-just-released album, Nothing’s Impossible, which was masterminded by Memphis producer Willie Mitchell—the man behind all of Al Green‘s hits during the ‘70s.

"The spirit that's in those songs is locked in for the people of the world—and me," Solomon told us of his final, Willie Mitchell-produced CD. "I was designated spiritually to sing those songs."

"The spirit that's in those songs is locked in for the people of the world—and me," Solomon told us of his final, Willie Mitchell-produced CD. "I was designated spiritually to sing those songs."

Just 10 days after Solomon and Willie completed Nothing’s Impossible, Willie passed away at age 81.

Interviewed May 4 of this year on Icon Fetch, Solomon chatted for 20 minutes about his storied career and the making of his final album.

“We had a relationship over the phone and through conversations of other people for, like, 30 years-without meeting each other,” Solomon told host Tony Peters of Willie.

“I had been in Memphis several times and Continue reading

Stephen J. Cannell: 1941-2010. I don’t want my kids to become Hollywood brats, the TV titan told us

Yet another major Hollywood talent has left us, this one a rare commodity in that town: A down-to-earth family man who, despite his nine-figure fortune, raised his children to be humble, hard-working people.

Prolific TV writer-producer Stephen J. Cannell passed away at his home in Pasadena, Calif., Thursday from complications associated with melanoma. He was 69 years old.

CAPTION: "They're just cogs in the wheel and working very hard and it's working for them," Stephen (above) told us of his beloved children.

"They're just cogs in the wheel and working very hard and it's working for them," Stephen (above) told us of his three beloved children.

During a career that spanned four decades, Stephen created, produced, wrote and often acted in a slew of popular TV series, including Adam-12, Baretta, The Rockford Files, The A-Team, Wiseguy and 21 Jump Street.

His writing credits exceed 450 TV episodes, while his producing and executive producing credits exceed 1,500.

In 1995, Stephen founded his own studio, and five years later began writing novels. Among his most popular books were those featuring the character of Shane Scully, an LAPD detective.

Most recently, Stephen played himself on the hit ABC series Castle. It was on the occasion of one of those cameos that he chatted with our TV Talk host, Shaun Daily.

During the confab, Shaun Continue reading

Tony Curtis: 1925-2010. A Charmer ‘Til the End (Who Fell in Love with Our Host Live On-Air)

It pains us to report that Tony Curtis, one of the most gifted actors of all time, is gone at age 85.

The screen idol, who suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, passed away at his Nevada home yesterday at the stroke of midnight.

Tony: How we'll always remember him.

Tony: How we'll always remember the silver-screen legend.

A friend of BlogTalkRadio, Tony graced our airwaves twice last year, charming us on both occasions, while making us roar with laughter.

When he dropped in on WordSmitten host Kate Sullivan in March to chat about his memoir, American Prince, Tony began the interview with an admission of his true nature.

“I love life so much that I can’t turn down any of the women that I’ve ever met,” said the Bronx, N.Y.-born actor, who starred in such indelible flicks as Some Like It Hot, Spartacus and (our favorite) The Sweet Smell of Success.

“I’m not being facetious now. I find the company of women Continue reading

Glenn Shadix: 1952-2010. Comic Gem Hoped for Role Opposite Rob Pattinson, He Said in Final Interview

September is shaping up to be a sad month on the comedy front.

Three days ago, we got word that funnyman Robert Schimmel had passed away at age 60.

"Whatever happens happens, but at least they saw my work," Glenn (above) told us of his audition for "Water for Elephants."

"Whatever happens happens, but at least they saw my work," Glenn (above) told us of his "Water for Elephants" audition.

Today it pains us to report that another friend of BlogTalkRadio, Glenn Shadix, is gone at 58.

The master character actor accidentally fell last night in his Birmingham, Ala., home and suffered a head injury.

Fans of Tim Burton‘s Beetle Juice will no doubt remember Glenn’s hilarious portrayal of pretentious interior designer Otho—opposite Alec Baldwin, Michael Keaton and Geena Davis—in the classic 1988 mock-horror flick.

And though Glenn left Tinseltown in 2005, he hoped to return to the silver screen, namely in a role opposite superstar Rob Pattinson.

Interviewed in April of this year on BlogTalkRadio’s Flashback—which would be his last-ever known interview—he Continue reading

Robert Schimmel: 1950-2010. ‘What I went through wasn’t for nothing,’ the cancer-stricken funnyman told us in 2008

Tragically, comedian Robert Schimmel—who had been battling cancer for a decade—died last night from injuries sustained in a car crash in Phoenix eight days earlier, after his daughter Aliyah swerved to avoid an accident in her lane.

We here at BlogTalkRadio will always remember the Howard Stern Show regular for his numerous appearances on Mr. Media Interviews.

CAPTION: "Time is the greatest gift anyone can give you," Robert (above) told us. "The time you gave me today, that's mine now."

"Time is the greatest gift anyone can give you," Robert (above) told us. "The time you gave me today, that's MINE now."

“I chose the title—Cancer on $5 a Day* *(chemo not included)—because I wanted people to know right up front that I’m not Deepak Chopra or Dr. Phil, and that I am a comedian this is about cancer. But there are lighthearted moments in it,” he told host Bob Andelman in April 2008 of his new book.

“The only other choice I had for a title—[the publisher] wanted something like My Unplanned Journey, which—that’s not me. The other title was, When Bad Things Happen to Seemingly Good People.

“But I like Cancer on $5 a Day. That grabs you and you look at it…and I’m very proud of it.

“First of all, it’s dedicated to my son Continue reading

Harvey Pekar: 1939-2010. In Final Interview, Icon Spoke of Financial Fears: ‘These are the last stages of my life, man! I don’t wanna go out in a huge depression’

America has lost a literary master of graphic despair. Harvey Pekar— whose American Splendor comic-book series turned the stark, often depressing realities of his life into art—was found dead yesterday, at age 70, in his Cleveland home.

Police were called to Harvey’s residence by his wife about 1 a.m. “His body was found on the floor between a bed and dresser,” the Associated Press reports. Though the cause of death is unclear, and an autopsy is under way, authorities say.

CAPTION: "I gotta go to sleep early," Harvey (above) signed off in his final interview. "So if it's OK with you guys, I'm gonna cop some Z's now."

"I gotta go to sleep early," Harvey (above) signed off in his final interview. "So if it's OK with you guys, I'm gonna cop some Z's now."

Harvey, who had prostate cancer, high blood pressure, asthma and depression—and whose life was immortalized by Paul Giamatti in the 2003 feature film American Splendor— had gone to bed around 4:30 p.m. Sunday in good spirits, his wife told police.

Just 26 days earlier, in a live interview with BlogTalkRadio’s Justin Paine and Kenneth Rodriquez, hosts of Milk of Minutia, Harvey spoke for one hour and 13 minutes, touching on his financial fears, his health, his state of mind, his art form, his favorite illustrators, his love of jazz, his family, his religion and his notoriety.

“It’s been a while since [American Splendor] came out. In the years since the movie, can you give the listeners an update on your well-being, how you’re feeling lately and what’s been happening?” Ken asked.

“The movie really saved my life, because Continue reading

Rue McClanahan: 1934-2010. Still Witty (and Randy) in Her Final Years

Sadly, yet another Golden Girl is gone.

Rue McClanahan passed away early this morning at age 76 after suffering a massive stroke.

CAPTION: "I really like digging for different jewels to play," Rue (above) told us. "I've loved looking for Easter eggs all my life. So I like solving puzzles," Rue (above) told us.

"I really like digging for different jewels to play," Rue (above) told us. "I've loved looking for Easter eggs all my life. So I like solving puzzles."

Her death follows those of fellow Golden Girls stars Bea Arthur, who died last year at age 86, and Estelle Getty, who died in 2008 at age 84 .

But we’ll always remember Rue for her wicked wit, which often revolved around her characters’ overactive libidos.

Case in point, while chatting with our TV Talk host, Shaun Daily, last year about a role on NBC’s Law & Order, Rue said:

“I had to play a woman who had an affair with a United States president—or hadn’t.

“That’s the question: did she or didn’t she?

“Because her son Continue reading

Dennis Hopper: 1936-2010. Farewell, Film Rebel

Hollywood has lost one of its greatest screen icons. Dennis Hopper, who starred in such classic films as Speed, Rebel Without a Cause and Easy Rider—which he also wrote and directed—died yesterday at his Los Angeles home after a long battle with prostate cancer.

But less that two years ago, he was upbeat as could be about his greatest love—acting.

Dennis: Respected fellow scribes.

Dennis: Respected fellow scribes.

“This is a cable show, so we don’t have the censorship that other people have,” he told our TV Talk host, Shaun Daily, of Crash—the Starz series spun off from the 2004 Paul Haggis-directed flick of the same name.

“And it’s really so well written. Bobby Moresco and the guys who wrote the original that won the Academy Award are writing it.

“I just started Continue reading