Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Stars We Lost in 2017

As is usually the case at the end of the year, one's thoughts tend to look back at those who will not be joining us in the New Year. We lost some major Television and Movie Stars this year as well as the beloved Robert Osborne, everyone's favorite Film Historian and adopted uncle. Please join me in this small tribute to them all.
Jan. 25 - The year started with one of the two biggest blows to me personally of the year when we lost the trailblazing Mary Tyler Moore. I wrote about how she has impacted my life on my TV Blog.
Jan. 26 - The very next day Classic Television was dealt another blow with the passing of Barbara Hale, the ever faithful Della Street from Perry Mason.
March 6 - The death of Robert Osborne, beloved TCM Host and friend to all Classic Movie lovers, was an especially painful event that I had hoped wouldn't happen for many years to come. He's truly irreplaceable and I'm getting choked up just writing this.
 March 23 - Lola Albright found more success as a guest star on television than she did in movies. Her most notable film performance was opposite Kirk Douglas in Champion (1949). She appears as one of Frank Sinatra's many girlfriends in The Tender Trap (1955) and as Edie Hart, a nightclub singer, in Peter Gunn (1958-61). She was 92 when she died.

April 6 - Another memorable personality we lost this past year was Don Rickles, who wasn't afraid to poke fun at anything or anybody. Prolific in both film and television, he's made people laugh for years and years.

May 22 - The sophisticated Dina Merrill, who brought class to such films as Desk Set (1957), Operation Petticoat (1959), and The Courtship of Eddie's Father (1963), was 93 when she died. She was the second wife of Cliff Robertson and was one of the founders of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation as well as a director of Project Orbis, a flying ophthalmological hospital that teaches advanced eye care and performs surgical techniques around the world.

May 23 - Sir Roger Moore, best known as the second James Bond (which he played successfully seven times), also had several famous television characters, most notably as the title character in The Saint (1962-69) and as Beau Maverick in Maverick.

June 9 - Everyone's favorite Batman (or at least mine) was another big loss when Adam West passed away at the age of 88. A few days later, the Bat-Signal was beamed onto City Hall in LA as a tribute.

July 15 - Martin Landau, famous for his role in Alfred Hitchcock's North By Northwest (1959), was 89 when he died. He guest starred in many television shows and played Rollin Hand in Mission: Impossible (1966-69).

July 16 - June Foray was best known for her voice work as both Rocky and Natasha Fatale in "Rocky & Bullwinkle," Granny in the Warner Bros. Cartoons, and Little Cindy Lou Who from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. She was 99.

July 31 - Jeanne Moreau, the face of the French New Wave and an icon, died at the age of 89 in Paris. She is most famous for Jules and Jim (1962).

Aug. 20 - Jerry Lewis, nicknamed "The King of Comedy" and the other half of the Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis duo, was known for his crazy facial expressions and slapstick roles, most famously The Nutty Professor (1963). Other famous films are At War with the Army (1950) and, my personal favorite, The Bellboy (1960). He was 91 and was still working.

Aug. 31 - Richard Anderson, best remembered for his role of Oscar Goldman in The Six Million Dollar Man and The Bionic Woman television series, both which ran in the early to late 1970s. He also appeared in such films as Escape From Fort Bravo (1953), Forbidden Planet (1956) and The Long, Hot Summer (1958).

Oct. 17 - Another icon of French cinema, Danielle Darrieux, also passed away last year. She had just turned 100 and had one of the longest film careers in history spanning eight decades. She is best known for The Earrings of Madame De... (1953) and The Rage of Paris (1938).

Dec. 24 - Last year, Charmian Carr was the first of the on-screen Von Trapp family to pass away. This year Heather Menzies, who played the second daughter Louisa in The Sound of Music (1965), died at the age of 68 of brain cancer.
 Dec. 28 - The final blow of the year was the sudden death of Rose Marie, best known for her role as Sally on The Dick Van Dyke Show. A fun and diverting presence on Facebook and Twitter, her last tweet was a mere 40 minutes before her passing. This year was a big one for her as a documentary of her 94 year life, Wait For Your Laugh, was recently released to huge successes. It's still making it's way around the country and will soon be released on DVD with Special Features including one of the hour long Q&A sessions Rose Marie attended after one of the screenings. The biggest condolence is knowing that she is now in heaven with her beloved husband, whom she lost during The Dick Van Dyke Show years.

Dec. 29 - I spoke to soon. Peggy Cummins became the final loss of 2017 when she died at the age of 92 in London. With only 28 credits to her name, she is best remembered for her femme fatale role in Gun Crazy (1950). I have only seen her in The Late George Apley (1947).

May they rest in peace.


  1. Robert Osborne's passing away was a shock. I was very sad. For every film I've seen on TCM I still think of him. A very nice memorial, Phyl.

  2. This gets harder every year. We grew up in an era where strangers become as close as family, in some cases even closer. We still have the work, which is all we really ever had, but losses are keenly felt.

    1. It's amazing how they can touch a person's life. Losing Robert Osborne and MTM was tough.