August 3, 2011
Born Charles Aaron Smith, former NFL star
Bubba Smith, who went from feared
defensive end on the field to endearing
giant in his successful second career as an
actor, died Wednesday. He was 66.
Los Angeles County coroner's spokesman
Ed Winter said Smith was found dead at his
Baldwin Hills home. Winter said he didn't
know the circumstances or cause of death.
Police spokesman Richard French added the
death does not appear to be suspicious.
The top overall pick in the 1967 draft after
a sensational career at Michigan State, the
6-foot-7 Smith spent five seasons with the
Baltimore Colts and two seasons each with
Oakland and Houston. He won the 1971
Super Bowl with the Colts.
As an actor his most memorable role was
playing Moses Hightower, the soft-spoken
officer in the "Police Academy" series. He
also appeared in such television series as
"Good Times," "Charlie's Angels," and "Half
Nelson," and was a regular in the
ground-breaking Miller Lite commercials
featuring retired players.
August 6 2011
Ferociously intelligent actor who reigned
supreme in Stoppard and Shakespeare, John
Wood, died in his sleep on at age 81. Wood was
hailed as one of the greatest actors in British
theatre and he became a familiar face in film and
on television, sharing the screen with stars of
the calibre of Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson and
Meryl Streep, although he never intended to
become an actor at all.
Wood was studying law at Oxford when he
discovered he had a passion for Shakespeare,
beginning with the Bard's ill-formed and ill-fated
king Richard III. "It was the perfect part for an
amateur with no experience," he said later. A
versatile actor, with sharp, angular features,
Wood could play a wide range of roles - In the
1990s he played CS Lewis's sarcastic friend Riley
in Shadowlands, he was the scheming Lord
Chancellor in The Madness of King George, and
Harrison Ford's chauffeur and father of the
heroine in the romantic comedy Sabrina. He was
a French villager in Chocolat, with Johnny Depp,
a Scottish lord in the fantasy film The Little
Vampire and the computer expert Professor
Falken in the Matthew Broderick film War Games.
August 3, 2011
Just two months after the death of
Jeff Conaway another star of the
movie "Grease" has passed. Annette
Charles, known for her role as Cha
Cha DiGregorio died Wednesday
after a battle with cancer.
Fans of the movie may remember
that Charles played the dance date
to Conaway's Kenikie in the movie
who ends up winning the dance
contest with John Travolta's Danny
Charles appeared in many television
shows during the '70s and '80s
before becoming a speech professor
at California State University
August 14, 2011
Albert Brown, who survived the Bataan Death
March in the Pacific Theater during World War
II, has died at 105, his biographer said.
Brown, of Pinckneyville, Ill., the oldest
American survivor of the 1942 forced march
that claimed the lives of as many as 11,000
Allied soldiers captured by the Japanese in the
Philippines, died Sunday in Nashville, Ill.
The American War Library in California lists
Brown as the oldest American veteran of
World War II. Brown was an Army captain
when he and about 76,000 captured
Americans and Filipinos were made to march
66 miles on the Bataan peninsula under
horrendous conditions and brutal treatment
by their Japanese captors. Brown witnessed
other prisoners shot to death and was
regularly beaten during his three years in
captivity. When freed after the Japanese
surrender, the 6-footer weighed 90 pounds.
The Nebraska native was later promoted to
major and spent two years in an Army hospital
after the war. He moved to Los Angeles where
he invested in real estate.
August 22, 2011
Nick Ashford, one-half of the legendary
Motown songwriting duo Ashford &
Simpson that penned elegant, soulful
classics for Diana Ross and Marvin
Gaye has died at the age of 70 from
Ashford and his wife Valerie Simpson
wrote Motown classics Ain't No
Mountain High Enough and Reach Out
And Touch Somebody's Hand
(recorded by Ross and You're All I
Need To Get By (made famous by
Gaye and Tammi Terrell) and they also
wrote pop hits such as I'm Every
Woman", which was a hit for Chaka
Khan and, later, Whitney Houston.
They also had success writing for
themselves: Perhaps the biggest
known hit sung by them was the
1980s hit Solid As A Rock.