Long Time Liberal White House Reporter Helen Thomas Dead at 92

Helen Thomas dead at age  92 …

Helen Thomas, the long time liberal White House reporter is dead at the age of 92. She was considered the dean of the White House press corp at the height of her career; however, sadly she became seen as come one who hated and was bitter to conservatives and Jews.   Although she was a trailblazer for female reporters, sadly and more so pathetically her career as a White House legend collapsed in a 2010 interview with a rabbi in which she said Israelis should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home” to Germany and Poland.”

Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas, whose career covering the White House dated back to the Kennedy administration, died on Saturday at the age of 92, the Gridiron Club announced in an email to members on Saturday.

Thomas was the first woman to join the White House Correspondents’ Association, and the first woman to serve as its president. She was also the first female member of the Gridiron Club, Washington’s historic press group. She served for 57 years at United Press International, first as a correspondent then as a White House bureau chief, before becoming a columnist for Hearst Papers.

“Former Gridiron Club president Helen Thomas, our first female member, died Saturday morning at her Washington apartment after a long illness,” Gridiron’s Carl P. Leubsdorf wrote in an email to members. “She would have been 93 next month.”

Helen Thomas Wiki

UPDATE I: Isn’t this special, HAMAS Mourns Helen Thomas’ death.

Not long after the passing of veteran American journalist Helen Thomas yesterday, aged 92, Hamas’ very own “military wing”, the Izzedeene al-Qassam Brigades, posted on its website a heartfelt eulogy.

The post – highlighted by the Elder of Zion blog – was entitled: “Rest in Peace Helen Thomas. We respect you for taking a stand.”

Tony Soprano … Actor James Gandolfini Dies of Massive Heat Attack At 51 in Italy, RIP

Actor James Gandolfini, better known for his role as Tony Soprano, suffered a massive heart attack and is dead at age 51. Gandolfini was in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily. How very sad, Gandolfini was one of my favorite actors. Maybe because for many years I lived in New Jersey and pretty much knew every location where they shot scenes of The Soprano’s. Like the Bada Bing, that was really Satin Dolls in Lodi, NJ. Then there was Beansie’s pizzeria in Paterson, Bates College was Drew University in Madison and last but not least, Tony’s home in North Caldwell, NJ. How I miss the show and will miss James Gandolfini. He rose to stardom in 1999 when he was cast as Tony Soprano and won 3 Emmy awards as the troubled and flawed crime boss during the show’s six season run.

As stated at IMDb, New Jersey-born James Gandolfini began acting in the New York theater. His Broadway debut was in the 1992 revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin. James’ breakthrough role was his portrayal of Virgil the hitman in Tony Scott’s True Romance. James Gandolfini also stared in some of my favorite movies, Crimson Tide, A Civil Action, The Mexican, The Last Castle, but will always be known for his role as Tony Soprano.

More at Deadline Hollywood.

James Gandolfini,  (September 18, 1961 – June 19, 2013) … Rest in Peace

James_Ganfolfini

James Gandolfini, the New Jersey-bred actor who delighted audiences as mob boss Tony Soprano in “The Sopranos” has died following a massive heart attack in Italy, a source told the Daily News.

“Everyone is in tears,” the source close to the 51-year-old TV tough guy said.

A press-shy celeb who got his start as a character actor and became famous relatively late in his career — thanks to his breakout role on “The Sopranos,” Gandolfini has largely avoided the spotlight since the last season of the beloved show aired in 2007.

Entertainment community mourns James Gandolfini.

Wiki:  Gandolfini was born in Westwood, New Jersey. His mother, Santa, a high school lunch lady, was born in the USA, of Italian ancestry, and raised in Naples, Italy. His father, James Joseph Gandolfini, Sr., a native of Borgotaro, Italy, was a bricklayer, cement mason, and later the head custodian at Paramus Catholic High School, New Jersey. James, Sr., also earned a Purple Heart in World War II. His parents were devout Roman Catholics and spoke Italian at home. Due to such influence, Gandolfini had a strong sense of being Italian, and regularly visited Italy.

NY Times Obit.

Mr. Gandolfini’s death was confirmed by HBO. He was traveling in Rome, where he was on vacation and was scheduled to attend the Taormina Film Festival. A cause of death was not immediately announced; a press representative for HBO said that Mr. Gandolfini may have died from a heart attack, though other news reports said he died from a stroke.

Mr. Gandolfini, who grew up in Park Ridge, in Bergen County, N.J., came to embody the resilience of the Garden State on “The Sopranos,” a television drama that made its debut in 1999 and ran for six seasons on HBO.

In its pilot episode, viewers were introduced to the richly complicated life of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob kingpin who is suffering from panic attacks and begins seeing a therapist. Over 86 episodes, audiences followed Mr. Gandolfini in the role as he was tormented by his mother (played by Nancy Marchand), his wife (Edie Falco), rival mobsters, the occasional surreal dream sequence and, in 2007, a famously ambiguous series finale which left millions of viewers wondering whether or not Tony Soprano had met his fate at the table of a diner.

Sadly, it appears that there will be no Soprano’s movie now. I was kind of hoping that the cast would get back together as the show ended far too soon. We are only left with the final scene of The Soprano’s.

Final Scene of HBO’s The Soprano’s

‘All in the Family’s’ Edith Bunker … Jean Stapleton Dies at Age 90 … Edith and Archie Bunker Reunited in Heaven, Rest in Peace

Edith Bunker dead at age 90.

Emmy award winning actress Jean Stapleton, who is best known for her role as Archie Bunker’s wife Edith in the long-running 1970′s television series “All in the Family,” died Friday at her New York City home at the age of  90. According to reports she died of natural causes. She is survived by her son, John Putch, and her daughter, television producer Pamela Putch. Her husband, William Putch, died in 1983.

How very, very sad. How I loved ‘All in the Family’. Carol O’Conner and Jean Stapleton were a perfect match. Stapleton appeared in “All In The Family,” one of the greatest comedy shows of all time, from 1971 to 1979.  Although Jean Stapleton, Edith Bunker, played the submission wife to Archie who was constantly told to “stifle” and called a “ding-bat,” her heart was huge and her submissive, not so bright nature was only to a point. Her rye sense of humor was fantastic. However, there was an unselfish love between Edith and Archie, where she could see more in him than just a loud mouth bigot. The Normal Lear comedy was ground breaking an spun off other great shows like ‘The Jefferson’s’ and ‘Maud”. Carol O’Conner passed away on June 21, 2001.

Those were the days … they certainly were.

All in the Family Theme song - the late Carol O’Conner and Jean Stapleton

From the LA Times:

She had been a veteran of stage, film and television when she was cast in the CBS sitcom opposite Carroll O’Connor’s loud-mouthed, bigoted Archie Bunker, who often addressed her as “dingbat.” She won three Emmys for the role.

“The benign, compassionate presence she developed made my egregious churl bearable,” O’Connor wrote of Stapleton in his 1998 autobiography. He died in 2001.

Born in New York City on Jan. 19, 1923, Stapleton was the daughter of a billboard advertising salesman and an opera singer.

All_In_the_Family

Source: IMDb

NY Times Obit:

Jeanne Murray was born in Manhattan on Jan. 19, 1923. Her father, Joseph, was an advertising salesman; her mother, Marie Stapleton, was a concert and opera singer, and music was very much a part of her young life. Young Jeanne was a singer as well, which might be surprising to those who knew Ms. Stapleton only from “All in the Family,” which opened every week with Edith and Archie singing the song “Those Were the Days.” Ms. Stapleton’s screechy half of the duet was all Edith; the actress herself had a long history of charming musical performances. She was in the original casts of “Bells Are Ringing” and “Damn Yankees” on Broadway in the 1950s, and “Funny Girl,” with Barbra Streisand, in the 1960s, in which she sang “If a Girl Isn’t Pretty” and “Find Yourself a Man.” Off Broadway in 1991, she played Julia Child, singing the recipe for chocolate cake in the mini-musical “Bon Appétit.” On television, she sang with the Muppets.

“All in the Family” was Ms. Stapleton’s first television series, but before that she appeared as a guest on several shows, including “Dr. Kildare,” with Richard Chamberlain, “My Three Sons,” “Car 54, Where Are You?” and the courtroom drama “The Defenders,” starring E.G. Marshall, in which she played the owner of a boarding house who accused one of her tenants — played by Mr. O’Connor — of murder.

UPDATE I: Ann Althouse has a fantastic, must see VIDEO of an interview with Jean Stapleton from 2000. Stapleton talks about her entire career, including the first time she met Carol O’Conner and her later role as Edith Bunker providing zingers at  Archie. that broke his “hot air” and “burst his bubble”.

Retired NASCAR Driver Dick Trickle dead at 71 of Apparant Suicide, Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound … RIP

Former NASCAR drive Dick Trickle died Thursday at the age of 71 form an apparent suicide.  According to Lincoln County, NC, sheriff’s department, the incident occurred at 12:02 p.m. ET at Forest Lawn Cemetery off Highway 150 in Boger City, NC where Trickle died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Prior to his death, he called the Lincoln County Communications Center and stated that “there would be a dead body and it would be his.” How tragically sad. Trickle was a throw back of days gone by in NASCAR racing and frankly one I wish still existed rather the over-commercialized one of today.

 

Dick_Trickle

Richard “Dick” Trickle (October 27, 1941 – May 16, 2013) … RIP

Retired stock-car driver Dick Trickle, known for his colorful name and short-track prowess, died on Thursday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was 71.

According to the Lincoln County, N.C., sheriff’s department, the incident occurred at 12:02 p.m. ET at Forest Lawn Cemetery off Highway 150 in Boger City.

The Lincoln County Communications Center received a call, apparently from Trickle, that “there would be a dead body and it would be his.” Center workers tried to place a return call to the number but did not get an answer.

Emergency units found Trickle’s body lying near his pickup truck when they arrived.

Lt. Tim Johnson, who heads the Lincoln County detective department, said that at the family’s request, no additional information would be released at this time.

Fantastic VIDEO of Dick Trickle smoking a cigarette during the race in a NASCAR world that was so much more different than the sanitized one of today … When it used to be called ”Winston” Cup racing

Dick Trickle Wiki

More on the life of Richard “Dick” Trickle and his legendary short tack racing from CNN.

Richard “Dick” Trickle — who parlayed a legendary reputation as a short-track driver into a full-time career on stock car racing’s biggest stages in the 1990s — died Thursday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, a North Carolina sheriff’s office said. He was 71.

The Wisconsin-born Trickle raced during the 1970s and 1980s, then broke through as a full-time and widely recognized NASCAR driver in 1989. By that time, according to a Sports Illustrated article, the 48-year-old grandfather of two had won some 1,200 stock car competitions in 31 years of racing.

Legendary Comic and Impersonator Jonathan Winters Dies at Age 87 … RIP

The death of true comedy …

Legendary comic and impersonator Jonathan Winters has passed away at his home in Montecito, California at age 87. The world just got a little less funny with his passing. Jonathan Winters was simply hysterical. Remember an era of comedy that was not mean spirited, laced with profanity and witty, neither do I. But during Winters’ era it was.  Winters was a comic genius who could switch in and out of character impersonations like we switch a light switch or today’s generations change their Facebook status, tweet or text. Winters inspired generations of improve comics, probably none better than Robbin Williams. And as fate would have it, Winters would later have a role on Williams’ popular TV show ‘Mork & Mindy’ VIDEO) as his son Merth. However,  I remember Winters best for his role in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Just priceless comedy. The gas station scene (VIDEO) with Winters and Fred Silver … just too funny. This movie just never gets old. And who can forget when Jonathon Winters was a special guest crime solving with the Scooby Doo gang (VIDEO) where he played himself, Jonathan Winters, the not so famous comedian, hahaha. We shall miss you.

Jonathan Winters, November 11, 1925 – April 11, 2013 - RIP

VIDEO: CNN 

 NY Times Obit.

Mr. Winters was at his best when winging it, confounding television hosts and luckless straight men with his rapid-fire delivery of bizarre observations uttered by characters like Elwood P. Suggins, a Midwestern Everyman, or one-off creations like the woodland sprite who bounded onto Jack Paar’s late-night show and simperingly proclaimed: “I’m the voice of spring. I bring you little goodies from the forest.”

A one-man sketch factory, Mr. Winters could re-enact Hollywood movies, complete with sound effects, or create sublime comic nonsense with simple props like a pen-and-pencil set.

The unpredictable, often surreal quality of his humor had a powerful influence on later comedians like Robin Williams but made him hard to package as an entertainer. His brilliant turns as a guest on programs like “The Steve Allen Show” and “The Tonight Show” — in both the Jack Paar and Johnny Carson eras — kept him in constant demand. But a successful television series eluded him, as did a Hollywood career, despite memorable performances in films like “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “The Loved One” and “The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming.”

Jonathan Winters roasts Johnny Carson

Jonathan Winters on the Jack Paar Show from 1964

Annette Funicello, One of the Original and Most Beloved Mouseketeers, Dies at Age 70 … Rest in Peace

One of America’s original Mouskeeteer sweethearts has passed …

Annette Funicello, one of the original and most beloved ‘Mousketeers’ from the 1950′s Mickey Mouse Club has died at the age of 70. According to a Disney statement,  Funicello “died peacefully from complications due to multiple sclerosis, a disease she battled for over 25 years” at a Mercy Southwest Hospital in Bakersfield, CA. Annette Funicello went on from a Mouseketeer to one of America’s sweethearts acting in numerous movies, including those memorable beach party movies in the early 1960′s with Frankie Avalon like “Bikini Beach” and ”Beach Blanket Bingo”. She also recorded more than 30 albums. Annette Funicello represents a time and innocence in America long since past and a movie star that with such incredible fame, always remained humble. Doctors diagnosed Funicello with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative neurological disease, in 1987. She kept the illness a secret until 1992, the year she established The Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases.

Annette Funicello: October 22, 1942 – April 8, 2013 … RIP

“We are so sorry to lose Mother,” her three children said in a statement. “She is no longer suffering anymore and is now dancing in heaven. We love and will miss her terribly.”

Funicello was just 13 when she was selected by Walt Disney himself to be one of the original Mouseketeers of the “Mickey Mouse Club,” the 1950s television variety show aimed at children.

Funicello, who had a background in dance, quickly became one of the most popular Mouseketeers.

She “was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mouseketeer, and a true Disney Legend,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said.

She remained with Disney after leaving the “Mickey Mouse Club,” appearing in TV shows including “Zorro” (1957), “The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca” (1958) and starring in the Disney feature films “The Shaggy Dog” (1959), “Babes in Toyland” (1961), “The Misadventures of Merlin Jones” (1964) and “The Monkey’s Uncle” (1965).

The most enduring images of Funicello, though, may be of her in a swimsuit, her primary wardrobe when she co-starred with teen idol Frankie Avalon in beach party movies in the early 1960s. These included “Beach Party” (1963), “Muscle Beach Party” (1964), “Bikini Beach” (1964), “Beach Blanket Bingo” (1965), and “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini” (1965).

NY Times Obit.

Annette Joanne Funicello was born on Oct. 22, 1942, in Utica, N.Y., and as the first grandchild on either side of the family was indulged to the point of being, in her own words, a “spoiled brat.” At age 2, she learned the words to every song on the hit parade, her favorite being “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive.”

In 1946, her parents decided to move to Southern California in the hope of doing better economically. They lived in a trailer park until her father, a mechanic, found work. They settled in Studio City and later moved to Encino.

Disney: Beloved Disney Mouseketeer and Iconic Teen Star Annette Funicello Dies at Age 70.

“Annette was and always will be a cherished member of the Disney family, synonymous with the word Mousketeer, and a true Disney Legend. She will forever hold a place in our hearts as one of Walt Disney’s brightest stars, delighting an entire generation of baby boomers with her jubilant personality and endless talent. Annette was well known for being as beautiful inside as she was on the outside, and she faced her physical challenges with dignity, bravery and grace. All of us at Disney join with family, friends, and fans around the world in celebrating her extraordinary life.”

- Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

Beach Blanket Bingo … Annette Funicello & Frankie Avalon

One thing is for certain, this is truly a sad day.

Long Time Movie Critic Roger Ebert Dead at 70 after Battle with Cancer … RIP

Roger Ebert, the long time movie critic has died at the age of 70 after his battle with cancer. Ebert had previously battled cancer in his thyroid and salivary glands, losing the ability to speak and eat on his own. Ebert co-hosted the weekly TV series ‘At the Movies’ with Gene Siskel, his fellow Chicago based movie critic, who himself had passed away in 1999. The man was brilliant in the critique of movies and I can remember watching ‘At the Movies’ all of the time to hear both Siskel and Ebert’s opinions and critiques. However, as much as he was knowledgeable about movies, his liberal politics was quite something different. But that is another story for another day. As stated at Ann Althouse,  on Tuesday, Mr. Ebert blogged that he had suffered a recurrence of cancer following a hip fracture suffered in December, and would be taking ‘a leave of presence.’ Who would have known that is all would have ended so quickly?

To both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, thank you both for your fine movie critiques over the years and we will see you both, ‘At the Movies’.

Roger Ebert: June 18, 1942 – April 4, 2013, RIP

For a film with a daring director, a talented cast, a captivating plot or, ideally, all three, there could be no better advocate than Roger Ebert, who passionately celebrated and promoted excellence in film while deflating the awful, the derivative or the merely mediocre with an observant eye, a sharp wit and a depth of knowledge that delighted his millions of readers and viewers.

“No good film is too long,” he once wrote, a sentiment he felt strongly enough about to have engraved on pens. “No bad movie is short enough.”

Ebert, 70, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago.

“We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away,” said his wife, Chaz Ebert. “No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.”

Siskel & Ebert on Film Criticism and Political Correctness

GENE SISKEL: You have to summon up the courage to say what you honestly feel. And it’s not easy. There’s a whole new world called political correctness that’s going on, and that is death to a critic to participate in that.

EBERT: Political correctness is the fascism of the ‘90s. It’s kind of this rigid feeling that you have to keep your ideas and your ways of looking at things within very narrow boundaries, or you’ll offend someone. Certainly one of the purposes of journalism is to challenge just that kind of thinking. And certainly one of the purposes of criticism is to break boundaries; it’s also one of the purposes of art. So that if a young journalist, 18, 19, 20, 21, an undergraduate tries to write politically correctly, what they’re really doing is ventriloquism.

NY Times Obit

‘One Day at a Time’ TV Mom Bonnie Franklin dies at Age 69, Rest in Peace

‘One Day at a Time’ mom Anne Romano dies …

Bonnie Franklin, better known to many as Ann Romano, the divorced working mother with two teen daughters, in Norman Lear’s groundbreaking sitcom ‘One Day at a Time’ has passed away at the age of 69 from complications of pancreatic cancer. In September 2012 it was made public that Bonnie has been diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic cancer. Sadly, she lost that battle Friday night.  Bonnie Franklin played a divorced woman in her 30′s who was raising two teenagers and building a new life for herself in her hometown of Indianapolis. Probably at the time I never realized the sitcoms ground breaking role because I was too busy having a crush on Valerie Bertinelli, Barbara Cooper. However, the show tackled many of the day to day issues of a divorced mom that was happening all too often in the 70′s. On a personal note, I actually had the opportunity to meet Bonnie Franklin as I knew an individual in New Jersey that was close friends with her. She came across and an extremely nice person. Sadly, cancer has taken another life.

Rest in Peace 

Bonnie Franklin, Valerie Bertinelli, Mackenzie Phillips and Pat Harrington Jr. of ‘One Day At a Time.’ CBS

Bonnie Franklin, the actress who created an indelible television character playing a divorced, working mother of two headstrong daughters on the long-running series “One Day at a Time,” died Friday at her Los Angeles home. She was 69.

The cause was complications from pancreatic cancer, her family announced.

By the mid-1970s, Franklin was a theater veteran who had earned a Tony nomination for her performance in the Broadway musical “Applause” when she was offered a different kind of role, one that was not then the usual fare on network television.

Developed by Norman Lear, the new CBS series would tell the story of Ann Romano, a divorced woman in her 30s who was raising two teenagers and building a new life for herself in her hometown of Indianapolis. Franklin’s character wasn’t the first divorced woman on network television; but the role, like those of other characters in Lear’s groundbreaking sitcoms, was infused with a new level of social realism.

One Day at a Time – ‘Pressure’ (1 of 3)

I was an avid fan of the show that ran from 1975 to 1984. What made the show great was not that it delved into social issues of the day like teen sex, divorce and birth control. The show and the ’One Day at a Time’s’ producer  Normal Lear never forgot one important fact, it was a comedy.

“One Day at a Time” ran from December 1975 to May 1984, and its ratings ranked in the top 20 in eight of those seasons and in the top 10 in four. Ms. Franklin was nominated for an Emmy Award and twice for a Golden Globe.

The show’s topicality fell squarely in the tradition of its developer, Norman Lear, who had gained renown for introducing political and social commentary to situation comedy with “All in the Family” and other shows. Its co-creator was Whitney Blake, a former sitcom star who, as a single mother, had reared the future actress Meredith Baxter.

Like Archie and Edith Bunker in “All in the Family,” Ann and her daughters, Julie and Barbara Cooper (Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli), used comedy in the service of grappling with serious and thorny real-world matters.

Franklin’s TV daughters Valerie Bertinelli and Mackenzie Phillips react to her death.

Bonnie Franklin is survived by her mother, Claire Franklin; stepchildren Jed Minoff and Julie Minoff; two grandchildren; her brothers, Dr. Bernard Franklin and Richard Franklin; and sisters, Victoria Kupetz and Judith Bush.

It is so very sad that cancer, especially pancreatic cancer, is so unforgiving. Unfortunately, pancreatic cancer spreads quickly and is often diagnosed too late, when it’s already begun spreading in the body. The following is a list of other actors and celebrities who have recently passed away from pancreatic cancer:

  • Patrick Swayze, star of “Ghost” and “Dirty Dancing” died after a battle with pancreatic cancer in September 2009, at the age of 57.
  • Steve Jobs, the founder and CEO of Apple battled the disease for an estimated seven years before succumbing to pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.
  • Donna Reed was first admitted to the hospital with bleeding ulcers, but screening tests revealed that she was suffering from a tumor in her pancreas. She died of the cancer within six weeks of diagnosis.
  • Ben Gazzara, a long-time dramatic actor, died in early 2012 from pancreatic cancer
  • Fred Gwynne, The actor probably best known as the patriarch on the 1960s television series “The Munsters,” Gwynne died from pancreatic cancer at age 66,
  • Michael Landon, famous for his roles in period Western dramas, like” “Bonanza” and “Little House on the Prairie,” but the actor was also well-known for his battle with pancreatic cancer.

Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop Dead at the Age of 96, R.I.P

C.  Everett Koop, the former surgeon general who served from 1982 to 1989, has died at the age of 96 at his home in Hanover, NH. Coop served under both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.  C. Everett Coop was probably one of the most recognizable and influential US surgeon generals ever. During his tenure as Surgeon General, Koop was an effective communicator best known for raising awareness on the dangers of smoking and AIDS. He once described himself as the “health conscience” of America. Who can forget the surgeons general warning on cigarettes packages that became as popular as Nancy Regan’s “Just Say No” drug campaign and his call for a smoke free nation.  In 1984 he wrote that nicotine has an addictiveness similar to that of heroin or cocaine.

C. Everett Koop, the former surgeon general who brought frank talk about AIDS into U.S. homes, has died at his home in Hanover, N.H., officials at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth said Monday. He was 96.

Koop, a pediatric surgeon with a conservative reputation and a distinctive beard, served from 1982 to 1989 during the Reagan administration and the early months of the administration of George H.W. Bush.

“He was a historic figure,” who became surgeon general the year the AIDS pandemic began and played a pivotal role in educating Americans about it, says Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

The life and times of C. Everett Koop.

C. Everett Coop takes on smoking and AIDS from the NY Times.

Dr. Koop issued emphatic warnings about the dangers of smoking, and he almost single-handedly pushed the government into taking a more aggressive stand against AIDS. And despite his steadfast moral opposition to abortion, he refused to use his office as a pulpit from which to preach against it.

These stands led many liberals who had bitterly opposed his nomination to praise him, and many conservatives who had supported his appointment to vilify him. Conservative politicians representing tobacco-growing states were among his harshest critics, and many Americans, for moral or religious reasons, were upset by his public programs to fight AIDS and felt betrayed by his relative silence on abortion.

As much as anyone, it was Dr. Koop who took the lead in trying to wean Americans off smoking, and he did so in imposing fashion. At a sturdy 6-foot-1, with his bushy gray biblical beard, Dr. Koop would appear before television cameras in the gold-braided dark-blue uniform of a vice admiral — the surgeon general’s official uniform, which he revived — and sternly warn of the terrible consequences of smoking.

“Smoking kills 300,000 Americans a year,” he said in one talk. “Smokers are 10 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers, two times more likely to develop heart disease. Smoking a pack a day takes six years off a person’s life.”

Posted February 26, 2013 by
Deceased, Obituary | no comments

Ed Koch, Former Mayor of NYC Dead at the Age of 88, December 12, 1924 – February 1, 2013 … Rest in Peace

Ed Koch, the former New York City mayor from January 1, 1978 to December 31, 1989 died Friday morning at the ager of 88. Koch died at 2 a.m. from congestive heart failure at the New York-Presbyterian Columbia Hospital. What a tremendous loss, Ed Koch was one in a million. For anyone who followed politics and lived in the NYC area at the time, you knew Koch for his huge personality, tenacity, humor, ability to take on the tough issues and get them done. Koch is forever known for asking the public with his trademark saying, “How’m I doin?” Maybe today’s politicians should take the time and care enough today to do the same. Koch was a liberal Democrat, but he was never afraid to speak his mind and let people how he felt, right or wrong. His unbridled candor was stuff that today’s 24-7-365 news and social media would have loved to have been a part of. For that, I may not have always agreed to his policies or his politics, but I did respect him. Koch was a politician who did not hide behind lies, spin or political correctness, how refreshing.

December 12, 1924 – February 1, 2013

Edward I. Koch, the master showman of City Hall, who parlayed shrewd political instincts and plenty of chutzpah into three tumultuous terms as mayor of New York with all the tenacity, zest and combativeness that personified his city of golden dreams, died Friday morning at age 88.

Mr. Koch’s spokesman, George Arzt, said the former mayor died at 2 a.m. from congestive heart failure. He was being treated at New York-Presbyterian Columbia Hospital.

Mr. Koch had experienced coronary and other medical problems since leaving office in 1989. But he had been in relatively good health despite — or perhaps because of — his whirlwind life as a television judge, radio talk-show host, author, law partner, newspaper columnist, movie reviewer, professor, commercial pitchman and political gadfly.

Barack Obama could learn a lot from Democrat Ed Koch’s handling of the economy. It is too bad that Ed Koch was not the president today, unlike Bill Clinton who said at the 2012 Democrat that even he could not have turned around the US economy, which paved the way for Obama’s reelection. Back in his day, Koch turned around NYC’s economy and brought it back from the brink of bankruptcy. However, one of NY City’s biggest mistakes was in 1989 when Koch ran for a fourth term as Mayor but lost the Democratic primary to David Dinkins, who was an epic one term failure.

Most important, he is credited with leading the city government back from near bankruptcy in the 1970s to prosperity in the 1980s. He also began one of the city’s most ambitious housing programs, which continued after he left office and eventually built or rehabilitated more than 200,000 housing units, revitalizing once-forlorn neighborhoods.

 NYC Mayor Bloomberg released the following statement:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who released a statement this morning, said, ” He was a great mayor, a great man, and a great friend. In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader. Through his tough, determined leadership and responsible fiscal stewardship, Ed helped lift the city out of its darkest days and set it on course for an incredible comeback. We will miss him dearly.”

Ed Koch, Rest in Peace.

 

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