July 7, 2011
Hall of Fame manager Dick Williams died at
his home in Las Vegas. He was 82.
Williams was widely regarded as one of
the very best managers in baseball in
the 1960s, '70s and '80s. He is the only
manager to take three teams (the Red
Sox, the Oakland A's and the San Diego
Padres) to the World Series. In the 21
years of his active managerial service
(1967-88), he managed each year except
for 1969, despite the fact of moving from
team to team, such was the demand for
After taking the Red Sox to the World
Series in 1967 (the "Impossible Dream"
pennant) in his rookie year, he then won
three divisional titles and two World Series
with the Oakland A's before quitting after
the 1973 World Series due to the
interference of A's owner Charlie Finley. He
then managed the California Angels, the
Montreal Expos, the San Diego Padres
(winner of the National League pennant in
1984) and the Seattle Mariners.
July 8, 2011
Roberts Blossom, a veteran character
actor who played the old, white-bearded
next-door neighbor who befriends young
Macaulay Culkin in the hit movie "Home
Alone," has died. He was 87.
Blossom died Friday of natural causes at a
nursing home in Santa Monica, said his
The winner of three Obie Awards for his
performances in off-Broadway
productions during the 1950s, '60s and
'70s, Blossom also appeared in such
Hollywood hits as "Doc Hollywood", "The
Quick & the Dead" and "Always"
July 8, 2011
Former First Lady Betty Ford, who
captivated the nation with her
unabashed candor and forthright
discussion of her personal battles
with breast cancer, prescription drug
addiction and alcoholism, has died.
She was 93.
Ford died Friday at the Eisenhower
Medical Center in Rancho Mirage,
according to Barbara Lewandrowski,
a family representative. The cause
was not given.
July 12, 2011
Sherwood Schwartz, who created Gilligan’s Island and
The Brady Bunch, two of the most affectionately
ridiculed and enduring television sitcoms of the 1960s
and ’70s, died early Tuesday morning in his Los Angeles
home. He was 94.
Schwartz, well known for his prolific writing ability, had
admitted that his entertainment career came “by
accident,” as he originally had plans to pursue a
master’s degree in biology, but upon needing
employment to pay his way through school, he took a
gig writing jokes for Bob Hope’s radio program.
“I was faced with a major decision — writing comedy or
starving to death while I cured those diseases. I made a
quick career change,” Schwartz was quoted as saying.
When Hope saw Sherwood’s jokes, he loved them and
began using them frequently, much to the delight of his
audiences. Eventually Mr. Hope offered Schwartz a full-
time job writing and the rest, as they say, is history.
Schwartz, who died peacefully in his sleep of natural
causes, is survived by his wife of 69 years, Mildred
Schwartz, and their four children.
July 23, 2011
Troubled, Grammy-winning singer Amy Winehouse was
found dead in her North London home. In a
statement, the London Metropolitan Police said, "Police
were called by London Ambulance Service to an
address in Camden Square NW1 shortly before
16.05hrs today, Saturday 23 July, following reports of
a woman found deceased. On arrival officers found the
body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced
dead at the scene.
Police say the preliminary autopsy has failed to
determine a cause of death. Further toxicology tests
are required, with the results expected in two to four
It was sudden. It was shocking. And it was tragic. But
it wasn't suspicious.
So says a coroner's official out of London today, who
announced that there appeared to be no foul play or
suspicious circumstances in Amy Winehouse's death
July 24, 2011
Dan Peek, a founding member of the popular
1970s band America and singer of high
harmonies on hits that included "A Horse With
No Name" and "Ventura Highway," has died, his
father said. He was 60.
Peek's wife, Catherine, found him dead Sunday
in bed in his home in Farmington, Mo., about 60
miles southwest of St. Louis, Milton Peek said.
The cause of death was not known, and an
autopsy was planned. Dan Peek suffered from
arthritis, but it wasn't known if that was a
July 21, 2011
Elliot Handler, who with his wife helped Mattel Inc. grow
from a small, home-based picture-frame business into the
largest US toy maker and created the Hot Wheels brand,
died Thursday. He was 95.
The company first produced picture frames, but Mr.
Handler started making dollhouse furniture and other
wooden toys on the side from scraps. Mattel’s first hit
product was a “Uke-A-Doodle,’’ a child-size ukulele, and
the Burp gun, a cap pistol.
Mr. Handler’s wife, Ruth, created the Barbie doll in 1959,
naming it after their daughter. The doll quickly became an
American icon and a touchstone of cultural politics. Today
it is one of Mattel’s best-performing brands. Ruth died in
2002 at the age of 85. Ken was named after their son
In the 1960s, trying to create a toy that would be as big
a success with boys as Barbie was with girls, Mr. Handler
hit upon an idea for miniature die-cast vehicles with sleek
designs. Hot Wheels were introduced in 1968 and became
a big hit.
Ruth and Elliot Handler with their children Ken & Barbie
July 24, 2011
Gervase Duan “G.D.’’ Spradlin, a former
lawyer and oil producer who found a
second act as a prolific character actor,
playing authority figures in such films as
“Apocalypse Now’’ and “The Godfather:
Part II,’’ has died. He was 90.
Mr. Spradlin died of natural causes
Sunday at his San Luis Obispo ranch in
Central California, his grandson, Justin
Demko, told the Los Angeles Times on
Born in 1920, in Pauls Valley, Okla., Mr.
Spradlin turned to acting in his 40s
G.D. Spradlin with John Lithgow (left) in “Resting Place."
July 25, 2011
Michael Cacoyannis, the Cyprus-born
filmmaker and screenwriter who directed the
1964 film classic “Zorba the Greek,’’ starring
Anthony Quinn, has died at an Athens
hospital. He was 89.
Officials at a state-run hospital said Mr.
Cacoyannis died early Monday, July 25 of
complications of a heart attack and chronic
Mr. Cacoyannis won multiple awards and
worked with such well-known actors as
Melina Mercouri, Irene Papas, Katharine
Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, and Candice
Bergen. But he was best known
internationally for the Academy Award-
winning “Zorba the Greek,’’ the 1964
adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel,
joining with composer Mikis Theodorakis,
whose score for the movie remains an
enduring Greek anthem.
July 27, 2011
Polly Platt, who was nominated for an Oscar
for art direction for "Terms of Endearment"
and went on to produce several successful
films, has died. She was 72.
Platt was born in Fort Sheridan, Ill., in 1939.
She studied art at Carnegie Mellon and
starting working in movies with her husband,
writer-director Peter Bogdanovich.
She continued in film after the couple
divorced in 1971 and went on to produce
such films as "Pretty Baby", "Broadcast
News", "War of the Roses", and "Say
Anything" through a long collaboration with
James L. Brooks and Gracie Films.