Gene Wilder, Star of ‘Willy Wonka’ & ‘Yound Frankenstein’ Dies at 83


Gene Wilder has passed away at the age of 83  from complications from Alzheimer’s and we are a sadder world because of it. He was one of my all-time favorites. Wilder brought us so many laughs from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to Young Frankenstein to Blazing Saddles to Stir Crazy to one of his lesser known buy hysterical hits, The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother. In the 1970′s and 1980′s there was no one any funnier. Put together director Mel Brooks, Gene Wilder, Richard Prior and Marty Feldman and you get comedic genius. Our loss is Heavens gain as Gene Wilder can now be reunited with for Gilda Radner

Gene Wilder, who regularly stole the show in such comedic gems as “The Producers,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “Stir Crazy,” died Monday at his home in Stamford, Conn. His nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said he died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 83.

His nephew said in a statement, “We understand for all the emotional and physical challenges this situation presented we have been among the lucky ones — this illness-pirate, unlike in so many cases, never stole his ability to recognize those that were closest to him, nor took command of his central-gentle-life affirming core personality. The decision to wait until this time to disclose his condition wasn’t vanity, but more so that the countless young children that would smile or call out to him “there’s Willy Wonka,” would not have to be then exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble and causing delight to travel to worry, disappointment or confusion. He simply couldn’t bear the idea of one less smile in the world.

Quotes from Young Frankenstein that i still use to this day:

[Froederick and Igor are exhuming a dead criminal]
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: What a filthy job.
Igor: Could be worse.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: How?
Igor: Could be raining.
[it starts to pour]

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [to Igor] Now that brain that you gave me. Was it Hans Delbruck’s?
Igor: [pause, then] No.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Ah! Very good. Would you mind telling me whose brain I DID put in?
Igor: Then you won’t be angry?
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: I will NOT be angry.
Igor: Abby someone.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby someone. Abby who?
Igor: Abby… Normal.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [pause, then] Abby Normal?
Igor: I’m almost sure that was the name.
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: [chuckles, then] Are you saying that I put an abnormal brain into a seven and a half foot long, fifty-four inch wide GORILLA?
[grabs Igor and starts throttling him]
Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: Is that what you’re telling me?

Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder & Gilda Radner – Reunited again

New York Times Obit: Gene Wilder Dies at 83; Star of ‘Willy Wonka’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’.

 Mr. Wilder’s rule for comedy was simple: Don’t try to make it funny; try to make it real. “I’m an actor, not a clown,” he said more than once.

With his haunted blue eyes and an empathy born of his own history of psychic distress, he aspired to touch audiences much as Charlie Chaplin had. The Chaplin film “City Lights,” he said, had “made the biggest impression on me as an actor; it was funny, then sad, then both at the same time.”

Mr. Wilder was an accomplished stage actor as well as a screenwriter, a novelist and the director of four movies in which he starred. (He directed, he once said, “in order to protect what I wrote, which I wrote in order to act.”) But he was best known for playing roles on the big screen that might have been ripped from the pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

He was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance as the wizardly title character in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (1971). The film was a box-office disappointment, partly because of parental concern that the moral of Roald Dahl’s story — that greedy, gluttonous children should not go unpunished — was too dark in the telling. But it went on to gain a devoted following, and Willy Wonka remains one of the roles with which Mr. Wilder is most closely identified.

In “Blazing Saddles,” a raunchy, no-holds-barred spoof of Hollywood westerns, Mr. Wilder had the relatively quiet role of the Waco Kid, a boozy ex-gunfighter who helps an improbable black sheriff (Cleavon Little) save a town from railroad barons and venal politicians. The film’s once-daring humor may have lost some of its edge over the years, but Mr. Wilder’s next Brooks film, “Young Frankenstein,” has never grown old.

Mr. Wilder himself hatched the idea, envisioning a black-and-white film faithful to the look of the Boris Karloff “Frankenstein,” down to the laboratory equipment, but played for laughs rather than for horror. He would portray an American man of science, the grandson of the infamous Dr. Frankenstein, who tries to turn his back on his heritage (“that’s Frahn-kahn-STEEN”) but finds himself irresistibly drawn to Transylvania to duplicate his grandfather’s creation of a monster in a spooky mountaintop laboratory.

Steven Hill, Who Played DA Adam Schiff on ‘Law & Order’ Has Died at 94


Steven Hill, the original DA Adam Schiff on ‘Law & Order’ has passed away at the age of 94. Hill also had acting roles in the movies, “Billy Bathgate” (1991) and “The Firm” (1993). However, he will be best known for his role as NYC District Attorney Adam Schiff on Law & Order from 1990 to 2000.

Steven Hill, Rest in Peace, thank you Adam.

Steven Hill, who originated imposing lead roles on two notable television series, “Mission: Impossible” in the 1960s and “Law & Order” in the 1990s, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. He was 94.

His daughter Sarah Gobioff confirmed his death. He lived in Monsey, N.Y., a hamlet in Rockland County.

Mr. Hill was 44 and a veteran stage and television actor in 1966 when he was cast as Daniel Briggs, the leader of an elite covert-operations unit, in the new series “Mission: Impossible.” But he left after the first season, paving the way for Peter Graves’s six-season run as the show’s lead.

Even decades later, Mr. Hill declined to discuss his reasons for leaving the series, other than to say that the first season had been a bad experience. Other sources, including Patrick J. White, author of a book on the series, “The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier,” said Mr. Hill was dismissed and learned the news only when he read a Daily Variety announcement that Mr. Graves was being hired.

According to Mr. White, Mr. Hill had developed a reputation for being difficult. His refusal to work late on Fridays, because of his observance of the Jewish sabbath, was also reported to be a problem. In Mr. White’s book, Mr. Hill’s co-star Martin Landau is quoted as saying, “I felt he was digging his own grave.”

Almost a quarter-century after that experience, Mr. Hill took on the role of the stern, seemingly imperturbable district attorney on a new cops-and-lawyers series based in New York, “Law & Order.” He played the role, said to be modeled on the long-serving Manhattan district attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, from 1990 to 2000.

Steven Hill was born Solomon Krakowsky on Feb. 24, 1922, in Seattle, the son of a furniture-store owner. He graduated from the University of Washington and at first moved to Chicago to work in radio.

He soon moved to New York and did frequent stage work in his early years there, making his Broadway debut in a small role in “A Flag Is Born” (1946), a pageantlike production written by Ben Hecht, with music by Kurt Weill, that starred Paul Muni and advocated the creation of the state of Israel.

Garry Marshall, Director of ‘Pretty Woman’ and Creator of ‘Happy Days’ and ‘Laverne & Shirley’ Dies at Age 81


Garry Marshall, the man who created such amazing and iconic sitcoms like “Happy Days,” “The Odd Couple,” “Laverne and Shirley” and “Mork and Mindy” has passed away at the age of 81. Marshall, who  also directed the hit movie “Pretty Woman” died Tuesday in Burbank, California of complications from pneumonia following a stroke. What a loss. Marshall also created the lesser known ABC sitcom “Angie” and Happy Days spinoff “Joanie Loves Chachi.” Marshall also directed such movies like “Beaches,” “Overboard,” “The Flamingo Kid,” among the too numerous to mention. What an amazing talent.

Garry Marshall

Garry Marshall, who created some of the 1970s’ most iconic sitcoms including “Happy Days,” “The Odd Couple,” “Laverne and Shirley” and “Mork and Mindy” and went on to direct hit movies including “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries,” died Tuesday in Burbank, Calif. of complications from pneumonia following a stroke. He was 81.

Marshall went from being TV writer to creating sitcoms that touched the funny bones of the 1970s generation and directing films that were watched over and over: “Happy Days” helped start a nostalgia craze that has arguably never abated, while “Mork and Mindy” had a psychedelically goofy quality that catapulted Robin Williams to fame and made rainbow suspenders an icon of their era. “Pretty Woman” likewise cemented Julia Roberts’ stardom, while “The Princess Diaries” made Anne Hathaway a teen favorite

Tribute to Television Great Garry Marshall (and the making of Happy Days)

Marshall had one of his first substantial hits when he developed and exec produced an adaptation of Neil Simon’s play “The Odd Couple” in 1970 for ABC. The show drew several Emmy nominations for outstanding comedy series and wins for stars Jack Klugman and Tony Randall over the course of its five-season run. (In 2015 Marshall served as a consultant on a CBS remake of the series that starred Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon.)

Marshall penned the 1971 pilot for “Happy Days,” which was recycled in 1972 as a segment of ABC’s comedy anthology series “Love, American Style” called “Love and the Happy Days.” George Lucas asked to view the pilot before deciding to cast Ron Howard, who starred in it, in “American Graffiti,” released in 1973. “Happy Days” debuted as a series on the network in 1974, riding high on the wave of 1950s nostalgia generated in part by the success of “American Graffiti.”

A star and one of the greatest sitcoms ever is born, how Happy Days became a reality.

Marshall penned the 1971 pilot for “Happy Days,” which was recycled in 1972 as a segment of ABC’s comedy anthology series “Love, American Style” called “Love and the Happy Days.” George Lucas asked to view the pilot before deciding to cast Ron Howard, who starred in it, in “American Graffiti,” released in 1973.

Legendary Tennessee Lady Vols Coach Pat Summitt Dies at age 64, Rest in Peace

A sad day for basketball … the one and only Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt has died at age 64.

Pat Summitt – Rest in Peace

Pat Summitt

I awoke this morning to the sad but not unexpected news that the legendary Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt had passed away. Summitt was truly an original and one in a million as she won eight NCAA titles and went 1,098-208 in 38 seasons as coach at Tennessee. She began coaching at the age of 22 and single-highhandedly brought woman’s college basketball to the forefront. Sadly had to step down down in 2012 due to early onset dementia and Alzheimer’s. Pat Summitt is probably the greatest woman’s basketball coach ever. This is high praise from me, one who has been a lifetime UCONN woman’s basketball fan. However, without Pat, there would never have been a Geno. What I will miss most about Pat Summitt is the glare. The woman could pierce a hole through you with that stare and she never had to apologize in this ridiculous PC world we live in for getting on her players with fiery half-time and time out speeches to get the best out of her players that she knew they had in them.

On a personal note, I can remember being at Rocky Top in Knoxville, Tennessee in the late 90′s attending a Vols football game. Prior to the game some friends and I went into the Thompson–Boling Arena and noticed that the Lady Vols were practicing. To my surprise they Lady Vols were practicing against guys and schooling them. Pat Summitt was coaching the practice like she coached a game with the same intensity. I just sat and watched in amazement as Pat lit into those girls like I had only seen a coach previously rip guys. You could tell she was a master motivator as she would then praise them when they did something amazing and trust me it was. The funny was that as my friends left to go to the UT game, I stayed. I sat in the stands and kept creeping farther down to get a better view. Anyone can attend a UT football game, I was witnessing greatness. Little did I realize how great, I was watching the preseason practice of the 1997-1998 Lady Vols, what is considered to be one of the greatest teams in the history of U.S. women’s college basketball, who went on to go 39-0.

God bless you Pat Summitt, may you now rest in eternal peace.

Former Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt has died, her son and her website said on Tuesday morning — shortly after her family publicly asked for prayers and acknowledged her health had taken a bad turn.

She was 64 years old.

Summitt announced in August 2011 that she had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer retired at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season after coaching at Tennessee for 38 years. She won 1,098 games and eight national championships. The court at Thompson-Boling Arena — “The Summitt” — is named in her honor.

Summitt had been living in a retirement center since January. Around 20 former Lady Vols — including WNBA stars Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings — reportedly flew to Knoxville over the weekend to see Summitt one last time. Former Tennessee assistant Mickie DeMos was also reportedly in Knoxville.

Pat Summitt Gives Half-time speech to Lady Vols

ESPN: There will never be anyone like Tennessee legend Pat Summitt.

She was born on Flag Day, June 14, 1952, and personified the American Dream. Like most iconic figures, she inspired an almost mythical kind of devotion. But how could someone be so larger-than-life magnificent and yet so humbly warm and real?

That was the essence of Pat Summitt, the longtime Tennessee women’s basketball coach who died Tuesday morning at age 64, nearly five years after making public her diagnosis of early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.

To say there will never be anyone else like Summitt is not hyperbole. On the contrary, it seems inadequate. She won eight NCAA titles and went 1,098-208 in 38 seasons as coach at Tennessee. She was one of the most accomplished and influential figures in the history of women’s sports, but also was universally respected and beloved.

A Tribute to Pat Summitt

Michu Meszaros, the Actor Who Played “ALF” Dead at 76


Michu Meszaros, the actor who played “ALF” in the popular ’80s sitcom, died Sunday night at the age of 76. According to his manager, Dennis Varga, Meszaros had a stroke on June 2, and was in a coma and suffering from pneumonia since. The TV sitcom ALF  aired on NBC from September 22, 1986 to March 24, 1990. Note that  Michu Meszaros was the actor who wore the ALF suit, not the voice of ALF. The voice of ALF was actor, Paul Fusco. Meszaros died 8:20 p.m. Sunday, said Varga, who lived with Meszaros at a home in Hawthorne, California.

Meszaros, who stood only 33 inches tall, had a stroke last Thursday and had been hospitalized since. Varga says the 76-year-old actor died Sunday night.

Meszaros wore a full-body suit to portray the alien wiseguy “ALF,” which was sometimes portrayed by a puppet. The character was voiced by another actor, Paul Fusco. The NBC series ran four seasons.

Meszaros was born in Hungary and joined Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus in 1973. He performed for U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and became friends with Michael Jackson after Jackson saw him performing, said Varga.

Posted June 14, 2016 by
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