We lost so many this year who were legends, change the world in which we live and left impressions on our hearts and world. There are many I left out and for that I am sorry, as this list is already extensive.
Baseball’s home run king Hank Aaron held 23 major league records including 755 home runs during his long career for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves. Elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, Aaron played in 25 All-Star games and won MVP in 1957 and the National League batting title in 1956. Despite racist hate mail and death threats, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers and then broke Ruth’s RBI record. Aaron died on Jan. 22, at the age of 86.
Ed Asner was a prolific character actor whose career spanned decades. He is most known for his role as Lou Grant, a newspaper editor on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which earned him several Emmys and a spinoff show, “Lou Grant.” Originally from Kansas City, Asner had over 300 acting credits and was no stranger to controversy. In 1982, Asner spoke out about U.S. involvement in Latin America and published a book in 2017 called “The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs.” Asner’s passing was announced on Twitter by his family.
Ned Beatty, a versatile and prolific actor of stage and screen, had countless supporting roles, including his Oscar-nominated appearance in “Network.” Born in Kentucky, his breakthrough role was in the backwoods nightmare film, “Deliverance.” His ability to play a wide range of characters, from Lex Luthor’s bumbling assistant Otis in “Superman” to Florida investigator Martin Dardis in “All the President’s Men,” kept him busy for decades. Beatty, who died on June 13, was also an Emmy-nominated TV actor.
Actor Chadwick Boseman was born in South Carolina in 1976. He studied directing at Howard University before attending a theater program at Oxford. He appeared in a series of television shows before playing Jackie Robinson in the 2013 film, “42.” He portrayed the Marvel character Black Panther in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War,” two years before the release of the blockbuster film “Black Panther,” one of the highest grossing films of all time. His death was announced on Aug. 28. He was 43.
Basketball player Kobe Bryant played his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Considered to be one of the best players of all time, Bryant was drafted into the NBA straight out of high school. He would go on to win five NBA championships.
Wilford Brimley’s first film role was in “True Grit” in 1969. His other movies include “The Natural,” “Cocoon” and “The Firm.” He starred in the television show “Our House” and had a recurring role in “The Waltons.” He was a guest star on “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “Seinfeld.” Brimley was also well known for his work in commercials for Quaker Oats and Liberty Medical. Wilford Brimley died in St. George, Utah, on Aug. 2, 2020, at the age of 85.
Pierre Cardin, revolutionary fashion designer who turned the fashion world upside down, creating for the masses when couture was aimed at the rich. His futuristic, ready-to-wear clothing and product lines were ahead of their time, influenced by geometric shapes and materials that made them more architectural. Born in Italy, but raised in France, his designs were worn all over the world – from Russia to Japan – and by celebrities from Lauren Bacall to the Beatles.
Bulgarian-born artist Christo Vladimirov Yavachev, simply known as Christo, was known internationally for his massive ambitious public arts projects. He died at home in New York City on May 31, 2020. He was 84.
Jazz pianist Chick Corea released his debut album, “Tones For Joan’s Bones,” in 1968. He played with Miles Davis on the groundbreaking work “In A Silent Way.” In 1971, he began his successful solo career. When COVID-19 struck, he started playing and answering questions on Facebook livestreams. An enthusiastic response led him to start an online music school, the Chick Corea Academy, on May 14, 2020. He won 23 Grammy Awards and was nominated 67 times. Corea could posthumously win two more awards at this year’s Grammys. Chick Corea died on Feb. 9, at the age of 79.
Actor Sir Sean Connery, best known for his iconic portrayal of James Bond, died on Oct. 31 at the age of 90. The Scottish actor’s career spanned seven decades and he won an Oscar for his role in the 1987 film, “The Untouchables.” Connery was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 and was named People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” when he was 59 years old.
Actor Robert Conrad, most recognized for his work on the 1960’s television shows “Wild Wild West” and “Hawaiian Eye” continued acting in a career that lasted for over 40 years. He won a People’s Choice Award in 1977 and was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1978 for his work on “Baa Baa Black Sheep.” He died on February 8.
Nick Cordero, from Hamilton, Ontario, made his Broadway debut in 2012 in the show “Rock of Ages.” Two years later, he earned a Tony Award nomination for his work in “Bullets Over Broadway.” He also appeared in such television shows as “Blue Bloods” and “Law And Order: Special Victims Unit.” Most recently, he was performing in the West Coast production of “Rock Of Ages” in Los Angeles. On March 31, he was admitted to the hospital with what was later diagnosed as complications from COVID-19.
Ben Cross, a veteran actor who starred in the 1981 Academy Award-winning film for best picture, “Chariots of Fire,” and “Star Trek,” died after a brief illness on Aug. 18, 2020. He was 72.
Charlie Daniels moved to Nashville in 1967 and worked as a session musician, notably backing Bob Dylan for 1969’s “Nashville Skyline.” A few years later he formed the Charlie Daniels Band and in 1979, the group topped the charts with his song “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” winning three CMA awards and a Grammy for best country vocal. He was nominated for five more Grammy Awards from 1980 to 2005. In 2008, he was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, and in 2016 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame. He passed away in Hermitage, Tenn., on July 6.
Stuart Damon soap opera star Stuart Damon passed away on June 29 at the age of 84. Damon, who played Dr. Alan Quartermaine on “General Hospital,” had suffered from renal failure for several years. He was also the prince in Cinderella opposite Leslie Ann Warren.
Actress Olivia de Havilland is best known for her role as Melanie Hamilton in “Gone With the Wind.” The two-time Academy Award winner appeared in several films opposite Errol Flynn, including “The Adventures of Robin Hood” and “Captain Blood,” as well as appearing in TV shows. De Havilland’s known rivalry with sister Joan Fontaine is something of a Hollywood legend, however the pair are the only siblings to win best actress Academy Awards.
Bobby DeLeon an extraordinary international musical director, arranger, and pianist who played entirely by ear! Bobby conducted shows for some of the most prominent Philippine performers, both in the United States and overseas. He was a frequently sought-after as a pianist for some of New York City’s top fine dining establishments, with Tony Bennett calling him his favorite performer.
Actor Brian Dennehy started his acting career on television in the 1970s, with guest roles on shows like “Kojak,” “M*A*S*H,” and “Dallas,” but he later became famous on the big screen in films like “Tommy Boy,” “Cocoon,” and his breakout role of Sheriff Teasle in the 1982 Rambo film, “First Blood.” In 1999 and 2003 he won Tony awards for his work in Broadway revivals of “Death of a Salesman” and “Long Day’s Journey Into Night.” He died on April 15 at the age of 81.
Joan Didion, the revered author and essayist died at her home in New York City on Dec. 23, 2021 of Parkinson’s disease, according to her publisher. She was 87.
Dustin Diamond was best known for playing the role of Samuel Powers (Screech) in the hit television show “Saved By The Bell.” For 13 years, he acted in the franchise, including four seasons of the original show and several spin-offs. Diamond also appeared in such films as “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star” and “American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.” He died at the age of 44 on Feb. 1.
David Dinkins was New York City’s first Black mayor in 1990. A barber’s son, Dinkins made his way through city politics and was elected during a period of high crime, unemployment, big budget deficits and racial strife. Facing major problems and criticized for not doing enough, he served only one term. In later years, he received more credit for his accomplishments. He taught at Columbia University and hosted a radio talk show. Dinkins died Nov. 23 at the age of 93.
Richard Donner, director of such films as “The Goonies” and “Superman,” has died. Donner’s breakthrough movie was “The Omen” in 1976. He followed that two years later with the hit movie “Superman.” In 1987 he directed “Lethal Weapon,” the first in a very successful four-movie franchise. In 2017, the Academy held a special tribute in his honor. Donner was also an animal rights advocate, rescuing several dogs and fighting against the captivity of killer whales. Richard Donner died on July 5 in Los Angeles at the age of 91.
In a career that spanned decades, Hollywood legend Kirk Douglas starred in dozens of movies including “Spartacus” and “Lust for Life.” He received an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts, among numerous accolades. No stranger to controversy, Douglas played a key role in dissolving the so-called “Hollywood blacklist” during the McCarthy era in the 1950’s and remained active in humanitarian causes. Douglas died at this home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Feb. 5.
Hugh Downs, a familiar face and voice to American tv viewers for decades, got his start in journalism on radio in Ohio at age 18. After serving in the Army in WWII, he joined NBC. Downs helped launch “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar in 1957, became the host of the game show “Concentration”, co-host of the NBC News “Today” show and then went on to anchor the ABC News magazine 20/20.
Veteran actress Olympia Dukakis won an Oscar in 1988 for her supporting role in the movie “Moonstruck.” Beloved for her comedic warmth in films such as “Steel Magnolias” and “Look Who’s Talking,” Dukakis was also renowned for her support of the LGBTQI community. Her role as transgender character Anna Madrigal was groundbreaking when she originated it in the miniseries “Tale of the City” based on the novels by Armistead Maupin in 1993 and its sequels that continued until 2019. Olympia Dukakis’ death was announced on May 1. She was 89.
Harvey Evans, an actor, singer and dancer who had a knack for landing roles in the original Broadway productions of such classics as “West Side Story,” “Follies,” “Hello, Dolly!” and “Gypsy,” has died. Evans died Christmas Eve at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, New Jersey. He was 80.
Don Everly, of the music duo the Everly Brothers, influenced a generation of rock music from the 1950s to early 1960s with country-infused harmonies. The Everly Brothers, Don and Phil, had 19 top 40 hits in their career, including “Wake Up Little Susie,” “Bye Bye Love” and “Let it Be Me.” They were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. Don Everly died at his home in Nashville, Tenn. on Aug. 22, according to his attorney Linda Edell Howard. He was 84.
Actress Conchata Ferrell’s career spanned decades. She starred in several television shows and movies during the 1980s, and was nominated for her first Emmy for “L.A. Law.” However, her most notable role was as Charlie Sheen’s housekeeper in the sitcom “Two and a Half Men,” a role she played for 12 seasons and which earned her another two Primetime Emmy nominations.
Sitcom veteran Arlene Golonka passed away on May 31 at the age of 85. The Chicago native, known for portraying Millie Swanson in the 1968 to 1971 series “Mayberry R.F.D.,” had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, her niece told Variety.
Willie Garson, who played Stanford Blatch on TV’s “Sex and the City” and its movie sequels, died on Sept. 21, his son announced. He was 57. Garson made hundreds of appearances on TV and in films. He had recurring roles on “Hawaii FIve-O,” “NYPD Blue” and “Supergirl” as well playing Mozzie, a con man on “White Collar.” He was also an adoption advocate and wrote that the day he adopted his son was the “Best day of my life. Always.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice and champion for women’s rights, has died at the age of 87. Ginsburg was appointed to the bench by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She was the second woman to sit on the high court, joining Sandra Day O’Connor, and went on to become its longest-serving woman in history and the first female Jewish justice.
Actor and writer Charles Grodin was best known for his comedy work in films such as “Heaven Can Wait,” “Midnight Run” and the “Beethoven” movies, where he played opposite a large St. Bernard. He also published several plays and a number of memoirs and collections of humorous observations. In 1978 he won an Emmy Award for his writing on a Paul Simon special and in 1994 he won an American Comedy Award for his supporting role in the Ivan Reitman film “Dave.” He died on May 18 at the age of 86.
TV actor Robert Hogan, best known for his roles on “Peyton Place,” “Law & Order” and HBO’s “The Wire,” died on May 27 after complications from pneumonia. Hogan, who was 87 years old at the time of his death, had been diagnosed with vascular Alzheimer’s in 2013.
Actor Hal Holbrook had a long career in movies, TV and onstage, playing a variety of characters including Deep Throat in the movie adaptation of “All the President’s Men.” But it was his portrayal of Mark Twain that earned him a Tony and became his signature role, playing the writer in one-man shows for decades. He earned five Emmys and 12 nominations for his television work and was nominated for an Oscar at age 82 for “Into the Wild.” Holbrook died on Jan. 23, at the age of 95.
Ian Holm, the British actor whose long career included roles in “Chariots of Fire” and “The Lord of the Rings,” has died from a Parkinson’s related illness. He was 88.
Roy Horn was part of the German-American performance duo Siegfried & Roy. The entertainers were known for their use of white lions and tigers in their shows. Their decade-long show in Las Vegas would become one of the most visited shows on the strip. Horn died from complications from COVID-19 in Las Vegas, May 8. He was 75.
Legendary Green Bay Packer Paul Hornung was the NFL MVP in 1961 and played on four championship teams. “The Golden Boy” won the 1956 Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame. Hornung died in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., Nov. 13, 2020, after a long battle with dementia. He was 84.
Entrepreneur Tony Hsieh was the CEO of Zappos from 1999 until he retired in August 2020. He also worked to help revitalize downtown Las Vegas, where Zappos headquarters are located. Hsieh was injured in a house fire in New London, Conn., on Nov. 18, 2020, and succumbed to those injuries on Nov. 27.
Comedian, actor, director, writer and historian Terry Jones is best known for his work with Monty Python. This includes starring in and co-directing “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” with Terry Gilliam and directing “Life of Brian” and “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.”
The death of iconic interviewer and host Larry King was announced on Jan. 23. The award-winning newsman, who famously sat down with presidents, celebrities, and foreign dignitaries, was known for his gravel baritone, signature suspenders and straight-forward questions, a style honed over the course of tens of thousands of interviews on the radio and television.
Pioneering gay rights activist and author, Larry Kramer, spearheaded the HIV/AIDS movement. His outspoken candor, sit-ins and protests in the streets, inspired him to write the screenplay, “The Normal Heart,” which looked at the early years of the AIDS pandemic and his campaign to get politicians to do something for gay men’s rights. The screenplay won a Tony award in 2011 during its revival and was turned into a made-for-TV movie.
David L. Lander brought the character of Andrew “Squiggy” Squiggman to life through all 8 seasons of “Laverne & Shirley,” a character he developed with his longtime comedic partner Michael McKean, whom he met at Carnegie Melon University. Once the show ended Landers made several guest appearances and movies before being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. On Dec. 3, 2020, Landers lost his decades-long battle with MS surrounded by family. He was 73.
fficer with the British Foreign Service. Inspired by his work with spies behind the Iron Curtain, he began writing Cold War spy novels and developed the iconic character George Smiley. His post-Cold War novels included “The Night Manager” and “The Constant Gardener.” Many of his stories were adapted for TV and movies. Le Carre, died on Dec. 12 of pneumonia.
Revered actress Cloris Leachman displayed incredible versatility in her decades-long career, with roles on stage, on television and in films. Leachman’s iconic turns in “Young Frankenstein” and “The Last Picture Show” on the big screen, as well as roles on the groundbreaking series “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spin-off “Phyllis.”Her roles garnered her eight Emmy Awards — tied for the most all-time with Julia Louis-Dreyfus — and a Daytime Emmy Award. She died at age 94 in her Encinitas, California, home on Jan. 27.
TV personality James Lipton’s career in the entertainment industry spanned multiple decades and fields, having a stint as a writer, actor and producer, before earning recognition as the longtime host of “Inside the Actors Studio.” During the show’s 22 seasons Lipton interviewed high-profile, A-list actors, posing questions about their career, roles and method. He was known for his existential ending question: “If Heaven exists, what would you like God to say when you arrive at the pearly gates?”
Little Richard. The self-proclaimed “architect ” of rock and roll whose piercing wail, pounding piano and towering pompadour irrevocably altered popular music while introducing black R&B to white America, died on May 9, 2020. He was 87. He sold more than 30 million records and influenced the Prince, The Beatles, Otis Redding and David Bowie among others.
Trini Lopez was best known for his rendition of the song “If I Had A Hammer,” which reached No. 1 in 36 different countries and rose to No. 3 on the U.S. charts in 1963. Lopez received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1963. He opened for The Beatles during a concert series in Paris in 1964. The Gibson guitar company designed a line of guitars named after him. In 1969, NBC aired “The Trini Lopez Show.” He continued to perform until 1981. His music appeared in both television and movie productions. Trini Lopez died on Aug. 11, 2020, at the age of 83, after contracting COVID-19.
Diego Maradona 1986 World Cup Championship team. In the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England, he scored Argentina’s two winning goals: one known as the “Hand of God” and the other as the “Goal of the Century.” Though considered one of the game’s greatest players, his career was marred by a cocaine addiction. He went on to coach the Argentinean national team. Maradona died of cardiac arrest on Nov. 25, while recovering from brain surgery. He was 60.
Ellis Marsalis Jr. was a prominent jazz pianist and teacher in New Orleans. His melodic style, with running improvisations in the right hand, has been described variously as romantic, contemporary or simply “Louisiana jazz.” While teaching jazz in New Orleans, several of his students would later become well-known jazz musicians, citing Marsalis as an influence, including Harry Connick Jr., Victor Goines and Terence Blanchard.
Jackie Mason Iconic Borscht Belt comedian Jackie Mason died on July 24 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan surrounded by his wife, Jyll, and a few friends. He was 93 years old.
Fashion designer Jessica McClintock started her clothing line, Gunne Sax, in 1969. Her lacey dresses in the 1970s and her silk taffeta dresses in the 1980s were hugely popular. She helped make formal wear more affordable. Her brand expanded in the 1990s to include perfumes and accessories. She died at her San Francisco home on Feb. 16, at the age of 90.
Emmy winner Ray MacDonnell, best known for playing Dr. Joe Martin on the ABC soap opera “All My Children” for more than four decades, died of natural causes at his Chappaqua, NY, home on June 10. He was 93 years old. His daughter Sarah has carried on the acting bug.
“The Love Boat” star Gavin MacLeod, who played Captain Stubing on the famed series after roles on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and “McHale’s Navy,” died on May 29. He was 90 years old.
Playwright Terrence McNally won a remarkable four Tony awards over just six years in the 1990s for “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!,” “Master Class” and “Ragtime.” In 1991 his play “Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune” was adapted into a movie starring Michelle Preiffer and Al Pacino. He was awarded an Emmy award for the TV adaptation of his play, “Andre’s Mother.” He died on March 24 at the age of 81.
Johnny Nash, a singer-songwriter, actor and producer who rose from pop crooner to early reggae star to the creator and performer of the million-selling anthem, “I Can See Clearly Now,” died at the age of 80 on Oct. 6.
Musician Michael Nesmith played guitar and sang in the 1960s pop group The Monkees. In 1966, “The Monkees” TV show debuted and ran for two years. The band had several No. 1 albums and hit singles. The band broke up in 1969 and Nesmith went on to form a successful country rock group called First National Band. Nesmith won a Grammy in 1982 for a music video collection. He reunited with The Monkees in 1996 for their album “Justus.” This year, he and Monkees bandmate Micky Dolenz did a farewell tour. Michael Nesmith died on Dec. 10, at the age of 78.
Actor Ken Osmond was best known for playing the obnoxious Eddie Haskell on “Leave It to Beaver.” Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons,” told the New York Times in 1993, “Bart is like what would happen if Eddie Haskell got his own show.” Osmond made guest appearances on TV after “Leave It to Beaver,” but eventually left show business to become a police officer. In 2014, he co-authored the biography, “Eddie: The Life and Times of America’s Preeminent Bad Boy.” His death was reported on May 18. He was 76.
Renowned film director Sir Alan Parker helmed such movies as “Fame,” “Midnight Express,” “Evita,” “The Commitments” and “Mississippi Burning.” He was a founding member of the Directors Guild of Britain and was the first chairman of the UK Film Council. He directed 14 movies, six of which he wrote. He was adept at many genres, excelling in musicals as well as comedies and dramas. His films have won multiple awards, including 19 BAFTAS, 10 Golden Globes and 10 Academy Awards. He was awarded a CBE in 1995, and was knighted in 2002. Sir Alan Parker died on July 31, 2020, at the age of 76.
Regis Philbin became a household name in the 1980s cohosting “Live! with Regis and Kathie Lee” and later padded an impressive resume by hosting “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Philbin died at age 88 on July 25, 2020.
Oscar winner Christopher Plummer, known for roles including Captain von Trapp in the “Sound of Music” and Leo Tolstoy in “The Last Station,” also was a premier Shakespearean actor. The classically trained Canadian won Tony Awards for “Cyrano” and “Barrymore.” Despite a long and accomplished career, Plummer didn’t win his first Oscar until he was 82. Accepting the statue, he looked at it and said, “You’re only two years older than me, darling. Where have you been all of my life?” Plummer died on Feb. 5 at his home in Connecticut. He was 91.
Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh, married Queen Elizabeth in 1947, when she was still a princess, and fulfilled thousands of royal duties over decades of service. Born in Greece, the son of Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Alice of Battenberg, he fled with his family after a coup and settled in Paris, later attending prep school in England and the Royal Naval Academy. He served in World War II and was introduced to Princess Elizabeth by his uncle, Earl Mountbatten. Outspoken, the prince was known for his royal gaffes as well as his devotion to his wife and his support of the royal family.
Singer Bonnie Pointer was a member of the Grammy Award–winning vocal group, The Pointer Sisters. Pointer formed the group with her three sisters and they released their debut album in 1973. Pointer left the group to pursue a solo career in 1977.
Actress Markie Post was best known for role as public defender Christine Sullivan on “Night Court.” However, her decades-long career on television saw her in roles on shows from “Cheers” to “Scrubs” and the recent “The Kids are Alright.” Post started her lengthy tenure in television working behind the camera as production crew on game shows before landing her first series regular role on “The Fall Guy,” alongside Lee Majors. On Aug. 8 Post lost her years-long battle to cancer. She was 70.
Jane Powell was born in 1928 and began singing at a local radio station at the age of 5. She had a 2.5 octave vocal range and was considered a singing prodigy. Her movie career began in 1944 when she starred in “Song of the Open Road.” She sang at the inauguration of President Harry S. Truman in 1949. She danced with Fred Astaire in the 1951 movie “Royal Wedding” and starred in the movie “Seven Brides For Seven Brothers” in 1954. She performed on Broadway and appeared in a variety of television shows. Jane Powell died on Sept. 16 at the age of 92.
Actress Kelly Preston appeared in over 60 productions including “Jerry McGuire,” “Twins,” and “Mischief.” She met her husband, actor John Travolta, on the set of the “The Experts” and the couple had three children together. Their eldest son, Jett, 16, died after a seizure in 2009. Preston died on July 12, 2020, at the age of 57 after a 2-year battle with breast cancer.
Charley Pride, pioneered Black country music legend who topped the charts with dozens of songs, has died at 86 due to complications from COVID-19 in Dallas. Born in Sledge, Miss., Pride took to music early, but was also a talented baseball player. He played in the Negro Leagues for the Memphis Red Sox as a pitcher, stepping away from the sport to serve in the Army. He signed with RCA in 1965 – the same label as Elvis Presley – and became the label’s top-selling country music artist.
British actor David Prowse was best known for his role as the iconic movie villain Darth Vader in “Star Wars,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” In the U.K., he was also known for his portrayal of the Green Cross Code Man, appearing in television commercials to warn children of the dangers of crossing the street. For this public service he earned an MBE, a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 2000. Prowse died on Nov. 28, at the age of 85.
Pat Quinn, co-creator of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, died at the age of 37 following his battle with the degenerative disease. Quinn and Pete Frates launched the viral video campaign to raise awareness and fund research for ALS. Celebrities and everyday people posted videos of themselves pouring an ice-cold bucket of water over their head and then nominating others to do the same. Quinn was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 30. The campaign raised $220 million and sparked studies to find new treatments. He died in New York.
Grammy-winning artist Helen Reddy became a feminist icon thanks to her hit, “I Am Woman,” which appeared on the Australian singer’s debut album, “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.” The song reflected Reddy’s interest in female empowerment and furthering the fight to equality. Re-released in 1972, “I Am Woman” became a No. 1 hit and an anthem for the movement. She was the first Australian-born artist to have a U.S. No. 1 hit and the first to win a Grammy. Reddy also had a TV and movie career, even hosting her own variety show. Helen Reddy died Sept. 29, 2020, in Los Angeles, at the age of 78.
Sumner Redstone was a media titan who made his family drive-in theater business into a global conglomerate. He served in the armed forces during World War II, and went on to receive a law degree from Harvard. In the 1950s he took over the family business and in 1967 became president of the theater and media company National Amusements. He grew the business, started investing, and became a billionaire by the 1980s. In 1987, he started a takeover of Viacom, in 1993 he acquired Paramount and in 2000 he acquired CBS. Sumner Redstone died in Los Angeles on Aug. 11, 2020, at the age of 97.
Carl Reiner, one of the original kings of comedy, worked alongside Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks through his early years on TV before turning his attention to writing. Creating “The Dick Van Dyke Show” made him a household name and ultimately earned him five Emmy Awards. Reiner also received several Grammy nominations for his comedy work and spoken word albums.
Ann Reinking danced for almost three decades. She was known for playing Roxie Hart in the musical “Chicago,” a role which earned her a Tony in 1997. Reinking collaborated with Bob Fosse for 15 years. She was described by Fosse as “one of the finest dancers in the jazz-modern idiom. Reinking died Dec. 12, 2020, in Seattle, according to her manager. She was 71.
Acclaimed author Anne Rice wrote more than 30 books and sold more than 150 million copies in her career that spanned over five decades. Her “The Vampire Chronicles” series made her famous. The first book of the series, “Interview with a Vampire,” was published in 1976 and adapted into a movie in 1994. In 2003, she won the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement, and in 2014 she won GoodReads Choice Awards – Best Horror for her book “Prince Lestat.” Anne Rice died on Dec. 11, at the age of 80.
Actress Diana Rigg starred as Emma Peel in the TV series “The Avengers” from 1965 through 1967. She co-starred in the James Bond movie “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” in 1969. In 1994, she won a Tony for her role in “Medea” on Broadway and that same year she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for her contributions to drama. She won an Emmy for her role as Mrs. Danvers in “Rebecca” in 1997. More recently, Rigg played Olenna Tyrell on the TV series “Game of Thrones.” Rigg died Sept. 10, 2020, at the age of 82.
Actress and singer Naya Rivera rose to fame on the hit TV musical comedy “Glee.” She began acting at age 4, appearing in such series as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Family Matters” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” Rivera’s body was found after she disappeared on Lake Piru in Southern California on July, 8. She was 33.
Actress Tanya Roberts is best known for playing a Bond girl in “A View to a Kill” and Midge Pinciotti on “That ’70’s Show.” She landed her first big TV role in 1980 on ABC’s “Charlie’s Angels,” playing Julie Rogers for the show’s fifth and final season. Roberts died on Jan. 3, in Los Angeles. She was 65.
Actor-singer Kenny Rogers produced such hits as “Lucille,” “Lady,” and “Islands in the Stream.” Rogers died at his home in Sandy Springs, GA, on March 20, 2020. He was 81. The Grammy-winning balladeer’s music sold tens of millions of records, won three Grammys, and was the star of TV movies based on the “The Gambler” and other songs.
Retired U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes was known for legislation curbing fraudulent accounting practices. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which he co-sponsored, created federal oversight for the industry. Representing Maryland for 30 years, Sarbanes headed the Senate Banking Committee and served on the Foreign Relations Committee. He died Dec. 6, 2020, according to his son, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes.
Gale Sayers, a running back for the Chicago Bears, became the youngest player ever to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 1977 at the age of 34. Sayers played seven seasons in the NFL, from 1965 to 1971. In his rookie year, he scored six touchdowns in one game. Sayers wrote an autobiography, “I Am Third,” which spawned the Emmy Award-winning TV movie “Brian’s Song.” After his football career, he worked as a businessman and philanthropist. Sayers died on Sept. 23, 2020, at the age of 77.
Tom Seaver was one of the greatest pitchers to wear a New York Mets uniform. While only winning one World Series with the team, he captured three Cy Young awards given annually to the best pitcher in the National and American Leagues and became a household name following his unforgettable 1969 season, leading the Mets to their first World Series championship in team history. Seaver finished his career with 311 wins, 3,640 strikeouts and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992. He died after a battle with dementia surround by family. He was 75.
Filmmaker Joel Schumacher, originally from New York, had a career in fashion before making the move to Hollywood to pursue a film career in his early 30s. He found work in costume design before switching roles to direct films that include “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “The Lost Boys,” “Flatliners,” and “Dying Young.” His last film was 2011’s “Trespass,” with Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage. He died on June 22 at the age of 80.
Versatile actor Peter Scolari who had television roles on shows including “Newhart” and “Girls,” died on Oct. 22 after a battle with cancer. He was 66. Scolari began his career starring on ’80s sitcom “Bosom Buddies” with Tom Hanks. He also performed on Broadway in “Wicked,” “Hairspray” and 2014’s “Bronx Bombers,” in which he played baseball’s Yogi Berra.
George Segal was best known as a comic actor, but his biggest role was in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” His performance earned him an Oscar nomination in 29166. Segal died in Santa Rosa, California due to complications from bypass surgery on March 23, according to his wife Sonia Segal. He was 87. Segal starred opposite Barbra Steisand in the film “The Owl and the Pussycat” and opposite Glenda Jackson in “A Touch of Class.” In his later years, Segal appeared in the TV sitcoms “Just Shoot Me!” and “The Goldbergs.”
Songwriter Jim Steinman, pictured in 1978, was best known for writing Meat Loaf’s 1977 debut, “Bat Out of Hell,” considered one of the top-selling albums of all time. Having started his career in musical theater, Steinman wrote the album based on his science-fiction stage musical, which was inspired by elements of “Peter Pan.” He later won a Grammy for his collaboration with Celine Dion on her album “Falling into You” and penned Bonnie Tyler’s chart-topping hit, “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012. He died April 19 at the age of 73.
Model and restaurateur B. Smith began her career as a model in the 1960’s. In 1986, she opened her first restaurant and would go on to publish several cookbooks and host her own cooking and lifestyle show. Smith died on Feb. 22 at the age of 70.
Stephen Sondheim, the songwriter who reshaped the American musical theater in the second half of the 20th century with his intelligent, intricately rhymed lyrics, his use of evocative melodies and his willingness to tackle unusual subjects, he was 91.
Jerry Stiller was best known for his television roles as Arthur in “The King Of Queens” and Frank Constanza in “Seinfeld.” He starred in such movies as “Hairspray” and “The Taking Of Pelham One, Two, Three.” He often performed as part of a comedy duo with his wife of 62 years, Anne Meara. He was the father of actor/director Ben Stiller. Jerry Stiller died on May 11, 2020, at the age of 92.
Actor Robert Dean Stockwell was born in North Hollywood in 1936 and his career spanned more than 70 years. He started acting at age 7, and appeared in three best picture Oscar nominated films: “Anchors Aweigh” (1945), “Gentlemen’s Agreement” (1947) and “Sons and Lovers” (1960.) Stockwell is best known for his role as Admiral Al Calavicci in the TV series “Quantum Leap” opposite Scott Bakula, receiving four Emmy nominations for his role. Stockwell died at home on Nov. 7. He was 85.
Grammy winner B.J. Thomas died in May at the age of 78. The singer, known for hits such as “Hooked on a Feeling” and “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head,” announced in March that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
Alex Trebek, the quick-witted and debonair television host who won over generations of fans at the helm of the popular quiz show “Jeopardy!,” died on Nov. 8, 2020, at age 80 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Born in Ontario, Canada, his career stretched back to 1966 and included “High Rollers,” “Double Dare” and “The $128,000 Question.” But it was “Jeopardy!” that made him a pop culture icon, earning him six Daytime Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award. Trebek also created the Alex Trebek Forum for Dialogue at the University of Ottawa.
South Africa’s Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was a champion for equality and racial justice. Tutu rose to prominence as a leader of the anti-apartheid movement. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 after working to end apartheid while giving sermons calling for non-violent action. Tutu died in Cape Town, South Africa, on Dec. 26. He was 90.
Groundbreaking actress Cicely Tyson began her career in the early 1970s when Black women were finally beginning to get starring roles. She was nominated for an Oscar for her role in the 1976 film “Sounder,” and received an Honorary Oscar in 2018. Tyson won two Emmys for playing the 110-year-old former slave in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” She also won a Tony Award in 2013 for “The Trip to Bountiful.” Tyson died on Jan, 28. She was 96.
Jean-Marc Vallee, the acclaimed director of the Oscar-winning film “Dallas Buyers Club” and HBO series “Big Little Lies,” got his start making music videos before breaking into film. The Canadian director, producer and editor was known for his naturalist style, using hand-held cameras, natural light and allowing for improvisation. Other notable works by Vallee include the movies “The Young Victoria,” “Wild,” “C.R.A.Z.Y” and the series “Sharp Objects.” Vallee died suddenly at his cabin outside Quebec City over the Christmas weekend.
Legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen was the main songwriter and founder of the American rock band “Van Halen,” which dominated the hard rock scene in the 1970s and 1980s. The popular band was known for hits such as “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love,” “Jamie’s Cryin’,” “Dance the Night Away,” “Unchained,” “Panama” and the No. 1 hit, “Jump.” Eddie Van Halen died Oct. 6, 2020, in Santa Monica, Calif., at the age of 65 after battling cancer.
Iconic filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles, known for his films including “Watermelon Man” (1970) and “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” (1971), has died. He was known for paving the way for the blaxploitation film genre. Van Peebles died on Sept. 21. He was 89.
Max von Sydow had a decades-long acting career and was best known for his roles in such films as “The Seventh Seal” in 1957 and “The Exorcist” in 1973. He was also known for playing the Three Eyed Raven on the hit television show, “Game of Thrones.” He was twice nominated for an Academy Award – for “Pelle the Conqueror” in 1988 and for “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” in 2012. He died on March 8, 2020. He was 90.
Jessica Walter, an actress with a six-decadelong career, was best known for her performance in the role of Lucille Bluth in the television show “Arrested Development.” She also voiced the character of Malory Archer in “Archer.” Walter earned an Emmy for “Amy Prentiss” in 1975 and starred in Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut, “Play Misty for Me.” Jessica Walter died March 24 at the age of 80.
Charlie Watts was born in London in 1941. He became a jazz fan early in life and started playing drums at 14. He cut his teeth in jazz and blues bands before playing his first show with the Rolling Stones in January 1963. His drumming helped propel the English rock group into the stratosphere of popularity, with multiple albums landing on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of greatest albums of all time. He married Shirley Ann Shepherd in 1964 and continued playing and recording jazz with various groups later in life. He died Aug. 24 at the age of 80.
Dawn Wells, Mary Ann Summers on the hit TV show “Gilligan’s Island,” died in Los Angeles at the age of 82 due to complications from COVID-19. She won the 1959 Miss Nevada crown and represented the state at the Miss America pageant. She appeared in episodes of TV shows such as “Maverick” and “Bonanza,” before landing the role of Mary Ann in “Gilligan’s Island” from 1964 to 1967. For the 50th anniversary of the show in 2014, she wrote a book, “What Would Mary Ann Do?: A Guide To Life.” Wells starred in a spinoff series, “Rescue From Gilligan’s Island,” in 1978.
Lina Wertmuller is one of Italy’s most poignant and controversial filmmakers. Best known for the films “Swept Away” and “Seven Beauties,” Wertmuller got her start by assisting Federico Fellini on his film “8 ½.” She later gained notoriety for her use of political and sexual themes, as well as, social commentary, in most of her films. While she never won an Academy Award, she was the first female director to be nominated, and was given the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.
Mary Wilson, a founding member of The Supremes, died Feb. 8, at her home in Las Vegas. She was 76 years old. Wilson, along with Diana Ross and Florence Ballard, were the original members of The Supremes. The group hit the charts with five consecutive No. 1 songs, including “Baby Love,” and “Stop, In the Name of Love” in the 1960s. They helped Motown Records play an influential role in the music industry.
Fred Willard, the beloved comedic actor best known for his roles in such films as “Best in Show,” “Anchorman” and “This is Spinal Tap,” died in his sleep May 15, 2020, his daughter confirmed. Willard was 86. WIllard was a sketch-comedy master. His career spanned 50 years, including the tv series “Modern Family” and “Fernwood 2 Night.”
Acclaimed actor Michael K. Williams, best known for his roles as Omar on “The Wire” and Albert “Chalky” White on “Boardwalk Empire,” was found dead at his Brooklyn apartment, Sept. 6. He was 54. He most recently appeared in “Lovecraft County” as Montrose Freeman, the father to Jonathan Majors’ Atticus Freeman, for which he earned an Emmy nomination.
Clarence Williams III, who broke new ground as “hippie” Detective Linc Hayes on “The Mod Squad” from 1968 to 1973, died in his home in Los Angeles on June 4 after a battle with colon cancer. He was 81.
Singer and songwriter Bill Withers was born the youngest of six children in West Virginia. After a stint in the Navy, he went to Los Angeles in 1967 and started a music career that earned him three Grammy awards for the songs “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Just the Two of Us,” and “Lean on Me.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015. According to a statement that his family sent the AP, he died in Los Angeles on March 30. He was 81.
Photographer Baron Wolman was the first chief photographer for Rolling Stone. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Wolman published his first story on the newly built Berlin Wall while stationed with the U.S. Army. He moved to California after his discharge where he met Jann Wenner in 1967, and was invited to join his new publication. During his time with Rolling Stone, Wolman photographed the Woodstock Music Festival in 1969, along with some of the most celebrated musicians of the time. Wolman died on Nov. 2. He was 83.
Singer Betty Wright is best known for R&B hits such as “Clean Up Woman” and “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do.” In 1975 she won a Grammy for best R&B song for “Where Is the Love.” She was nominated for a total of six Grammys, including album of the year in 2008 for her contribution to Lil Wayne’s “Tha Carter III.” Wright died from cancer in Miami on May 10. She was 66.
TV actor Robert Hogan, best known for his roles on “Peyton Place,” “Law & Order” and HBO’s “The Wire,” died on May 27 after complications from pneumonia. Hogan, who was 87 years old at the time of his death, had been diagnosed with vascular Alzheimer’s in 2013.
Charles “Chuck” Yeager American aviation legend was the first pilot to break the sound barrier in 1947. Yeager flew for more than 60 years, including piloting an X-15 to near 1,000 mph (1,609 kph) at Edwards Air Base in October 2002 at age 79. His exploits were told in Tom Wolfe’s book “The Right Stuff,” and the 1983 film it inspired. The retired Air Force brigadier general died Dec. 7, 2020, according to his wife Victoria Yeager. He was 97.
We’d like to acknowledge ABC, US Weekly, The New York Post
Theatre News: Wicked, Kimberly Akimbo, Alice in Neverland and Ballad of Dreams, The Night of the Iguana and Ode To The Wasp Woman
On Monday, October 30th, the blockbuster musical Wicked will celebrate its 20th Anniversary on Broadway, a milestone achieved by only three other Broadway productions in history. To commemorate this landmark, Wicked is partnering with several national organizations to celebrate all things Oz.
Additional Wicked celebrations, including cast appearances, New York City food and drink collaborations, and special events throughout the month of October, will be announced in the coming weeks.
A KIND OF RECIPE BOOK. FOR CHANGE…
In celebration of Wicked’s 20th Anniversary on Broadway, Moleskine has created a beautiful Wicked-inspired 20th Anniversary notebook that can be purchased in theatre, Moleskine Direct channels, and with several Moleskine wholesale partners, beginning October 23rd. This limited-edition notebook will inspire Wicked fans to put pen to paper (following in the footsteps of Wicked novelist Gregory Maguire and book writer Winnie Holzman) to bring their own stories to life.
PINK GOES GOOD WITH GREEN…
Hill House Home, a New York-based fashion brand founded by Nell Diamond, worked closely with Wicked’s Tony Award-winning costume designer, Susan Hilferty, to create a Wicked-inspired Nap Dress™ collection in honor of the show’s 20th anniversary. The collection will include two adult dresses and two children’s dresses inspired by the characters Glinda and Elphaba. The styles will be available for purchase online and in Hill House’s store at Rockefeller Center toward the end of the year.
LIKE A HANDPRINT ON MY HEART…
Little Words Project, which started in 2013 in founder Adriana Carrig’s parents’ basement, creates handcrafted word bracelets with messages of kindness and love that aim to support women and to remind us to be kind to one another. In the past ten years, the company has become a worldwide brand with an extremely engaged and loyal community of fans. This fall, Little Words Project is partnering with Wicked to create four exclusive bracelets inspired by the unique friendship between Elphaba and Glinda. The collection will be featured in all nine Little Words retail stores across the country. To honor 20 years on Broadway, Little Words Project has designed Wicked-inspired bracelets. Little Words Project creates handcrafted bracelets, each with an inspirational word displayed on the beads. The bracelets – in the spirit of the “pay it forward” movement – are meant to uplift the wearer, and then be passed on to someone else who needs them more. The Wicked bracelets are inspired by Glinda and Elphaba, who helped uplift one another through their friendship; they will feature the words “Wicked,” “Unlimited,” “Defy Gravity,” and “For Good.”
WHAT’S THE MOST SWANKIFIED PLACE IN TOWN?
Beginning October 6th, WICKED fans can indulge in the elegance of The Plaza Hotel’s Wicked–themed Afternoon Tea at The Plaza’s famed Palm Court Restaurant. The “Defying Gravi-tea” will feature special sweet and savory delights, like the “Look To The Brest’ern Sky” pate a choux, or the “Flying Monkey” Macaron. Under the Palm Court’s iconic dome, which will be lit Emerald Green, guests can also enjoy The Palm Court’s mixologists’ most Wicked cocktails in high Plaza fashion. The venue will be adorned with emerald-green accents, glittering with hints of emerald and black, paying homage to Wicked’s beloved story.
The Plaza is also offering “The Emerald City Experience,” which includes a stay at The Plaza, as well as tickets to the special 20th anniversary “Green Performance” of Wicked on October 29th, the Wicked-themed Afternoon Tea, a Playbill signed by the full company, and house car transportation to the Gershwin Theatre. For details, pls visit The Emerald City Experience | The Plaza (theplazany.com)
ONE SHORT DAY, FULL OF SO MUCH TO DO…
Capital One became Wicked’s official Credit Card Partner in May of this year, marking the first time the company has partnered with a Broadway musical. Eligible Capital One cardholders had pre-sale access to tickets for the anniversary performances on October 29th and 30th. Cardholders were also able to gain entry to exclusive events taking place at the Museum of Broadway during Wicked’s Anniversary weekend, featuring alumnae Brittney Johnson and Kara Lindsay, available only on Capital One Entertainment.
TWO BEST FRIENDS…
American Girl, known for helping girls grow up with courage, confidence, and strength of character, has teamed up with Wicked to celebrate their 2023 Girl of the Year™, Kavi Sharma™. Kavi is an Indian American girl growing up in New Jersey who loves singing, dancing, and performing with her friends. Her favorite Broadway show is Wicked and American Girl has designed special Wicked costumes for Kavi to celebrate her love of the musical.
Hear Your Song – a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young people with serious illnesses and complex health needs through collaborative songwriting – continues its partnership with Broadway’s Tony-award winning show Kimberly Akimbo with a special concert at Green Room 42 on November 12th at 7 pm. You can find tickets to the in-person concert and livestream alongside more details here.
In this evening of songs and performances from both Kimberly Akimbo and Hear Your Song, Broadway company members sing alongside youth songwriters to showcase the score of Kimberly Akimbo and a treasure trove of songs written by kids who, in a lot of ways, have a lot in common with Kimberly. There will be performances by Kimberly Akimbo company members, such as Tony nominee Justin Cooley, Alli Mauzey, Betsy Morgan, Miguel Gil and Alex Vinh, as well as children and teens from Hear Your Song.
Within this partnership, Hear Your Song participants had the opportunity to develop their own songs and gain a deeper understanding of the songwriting process through a songwriting masterclass led by Kimberly Akimbo’s creators, composer Jeanine Tesori and lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire. 16-year-old Hannah, who will be performing at the concert, is an accomplished youth songwriter living with Crohn’s Disease. She shared her songs with Tesori and Lindsay-Abaire in a virtual masterclass in March.
Hear Your Song’s mission is to provide a platform for youth to share their experiences and perspectives through the art of songwriting. By partnering with members of the Kimberly Akimbo team, Hear Your Song is able to offer a unique opportunity for young people living with serious illnesses to be heard by a wide audience as they learn from professionals in the industry and gain valuable skills and experience.
All of Hear Your Song’s programming is free of charge for youth and families. Please visit www.hearyoursong.org to learn more about how to get involved and donate to support hundreds of youth songwriters like Hannah.
A sequel to one of the most beloved stories of all time, Lewis Carrol’s “Alice in Wonderland,” and a prequel to J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan,” the new musical Alice in Neverland took place. The cast was led by Allie Seibold, Heath Saunders (Company), Kyle Selig (Mean Girls), Grace McLean (Bad Cinderella), Courtnee Carter (Parade) and Rob Colletti (Almost Famous).
Growing older and obsessed with her memories of Wonderland, Alice embarks on the daring journey to recapture youth – including the sacrifices that might be required to never grow up.
Alice in Neverland features book, music and lyrics by Phil Kenny and Reston Williams, director Catie Davis (Beetlejuice, Moulin Rouge), music director Kris Kukul(Beetlejuice), and general manager Joey Monda (Sing Out, Louise! Productions). The reading is being presented by six-time Tony Award® winning production team 42nd.club (& Juliet, Hadestown, Moulin Rouge).
Rounding out the reading cast are Travis Artz, Bobby Daye (Moulin Rouge), LaVon Fisher-Wilson (Chicago), Mia Gerachis, Stephanie Gibson (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Donnie Hammond, Benjamin Henderson, Eddie Korbich (The Music Man), Garth Kravits (Gettin’ the Band Back Together), Elliott Mattox (Beetlejuice), Tiffany Mann (Be More Chill), Adelina Mitchell, Chase Petersen, Honor Blue Savage, and Emmet Smith.
Inspired by a true story, a love letter to New York City, Ballad of Dreams illuminates the struggle of two resilient women fighting for their place in the glittering world of 1940’s theater, chasing the dream of being a performer and being a mother. Against insurmountable odds they must confront the universal question faced by women of every era: can we truly have it all?
Audrey McKenna, a vibrant grandmother and mother of thirteen, is confronted with the unfulfilled dreams of her youth to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City, circa WW2. With the help of her best friend Rose, they each journey in discovering love, their own identities, and independence as women in a time when society tried to define that for them.
The cast includes Hunter Parrish (Broadway: To Kill a Mockingbird, Showtime’s “Weeds”), Erin Davie (Broadway: Diana, The Musical, Sunday in the Park with George), Nicholas Rodriguez (Broadway: Company), Allyson Hernandez (Off-Broadway: If This Hat Could Talk), Robb Sapp (Broadway: The Lion King, Wicked), Alan H. Green (Broadway: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Sharon Wheatley (Broadway: Come From Away), Neal Mayer (Broadway: Les Misérables), Emily Walton (Broadway: Come From Away), Elizabeth Bedley (Regional: A Chorus Line), Noah Wolfe (Regional: A Little Night Music), Laura Sky Herman (National Tour: Hello, Dolly!), Emily Jewel Hoder (Broadway: The Music Man) and Charlie Carroccio (Film:The 12 Days of Christmas Eve), with Harmony Harris (Associate Director), Jamibeth Margolis, CSA (Casting) LDK Productions (General Manager).
For more information on Ballad of Dreams, please visit www.BalladofDreams.comLa Femme Theatre Productions (Jean Lichty, Executive Director), renowned for its dedication to showcasing the diverse female experience, is set to illuminate the Off-Broadway stage this season with an evocative 21st century production of Tennessee Williams’s timeless masterpiece, The Night of the Iguana. Under the direction of Tony Award nominee, Emily Mann , this production will star Emmy Nominee Tim Daly (Broadway: The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial. TV: “The Sopranos,” “Madam Secretary,” “Wings’), Tony Award – Winner Daphne Rubin-Vega (Broadway: Rent, Anna in the Tropics), Drama Desk nominee Lea DeLaria(Netflix “Orange Is the New Black.” Broadway: POTUS) , Tony nominee Austin Pendleton (Broadway: Between Riverside and Crazy, The Minutes) , and Jean Lichty(Off-Broadway: La Femme’s A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur, The Traveling Lady ). It will begin performances on December 6 in advance of its opening on December 17. It will run through February 25, 2024 at The Irene Diamond Stage at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street, Jim Houghton Way) . The Night of the Iguana is not a production of Signature Theatre.
Sean Young (Blade Runner, Fatal Instinct) in Ode To The Wasp Woman, a new play by Rider McDowell (The Mercy Man, Wimbledon). The limited 13-week Off-Broadway engagement will play October 30, 2023 through January 31, 2023, at The Actors Temple Theatre (339 W. 47th St, NYC). Opening night is Thursday, November 9 at 7:30PM. Tickets are now on sale at Telecharge.com.
Ode To The Wasp Woman chronicles the last 48 hours in the lives of four 1950’s B movie stars; Susan Cabot, leading lady of the Roger Corman’s cult classic The Wasp Woman; George Reeves, the man who brought Superman to life on TV screens across America; Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer of the beloved “Our Gang” comedies; B-movie queen Barbara Payton. The desperate and sensational events that lead to the demise of these four fallen stars are told in four one acts with music, a veritable homage to film noir and true crime.
Rider McDowell directs Sean Young as Susan Cabot, leading a company of actors, To be announced, portraying George ‘Superman’ Reeves, Carl ‘Alfalfa’ Switzer, and B-movie queen Barbara Payton.
Ossie Davis’s Purlie Victorious Is A Satire On Fire
The cast of Ossie Davis’s 961 satire Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch, is helmed by Leslie Odom Jr. as a conniving preacher with a conscience and made into comic genius by Kara Young. This revival brings humor against a prejudice South whose injustices were a crime against humanity. They say that all good comedy is bore out of pain and this show aims to fight historic injustice with laughter.
The play tells the fictional story of Reverend Purlie Victorious Judson (Leslie Odom, Jr.), a dynamic traveling preacher who has returned to his hometown in rural Georgia, to save his small hometown church Big Bethel. He left due to a brutal whipping by the land owner Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee (Jay O. Sanders) twenty years, but has come back to save his church, and emancipate the cotton pickers who work on oppressive Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee’s plantation. He has brought with him Lutiebelle Gussie Mae Jenkins (the adorable Kara Young), to impersonate his long-lost cousin, Bee, and trick Ol’ Cap’n into handing over a five-hundred-dollar inheritance that he owes the family.
To pull off this scheme he needs the help of his sister-in-law Missy (Heather Alicia Simms) and his brother, Gitlow (Billy Eugene Jones) who is the Cap’n’s main singing and shuffling work hand.
However thanks to another Black member of Ol’ Cap’n’s household Idella (Vanessa Bell Calloway), who raised Ol’ Cap’n’s son, Charlie (Noah Robbins), as if he were her own, does the church and Purlie get saved with a brave act of defiance.
Davis wrote and performed this play at the height of the Civil Rights Era, when Martin Luther King, Jr. words were having an impact. He even attended the show.
Kenny Leon keeps this show at a fast pace, with wit and sarcastic humor abounding. He brings his exceptional cast to peak performances. Odom, Jr. (Hamilton’s original Aaron Burr), inhabits this preacher with conviction, fighting for justice and the rights of his people. Jones (Fat Ham and On Sugarland), brings a charm to Gitlow as he embodies those who had to bow low just to survive. Simms and Calloway ground the show with warmth and maternal longing. O. Sanders plays the Cap’n looking like a Tall Colonel Sanders, but sounding like Foghorn Leghorn. He is as amusing, as frightening as it is to look at the past. Playing his son, Robbins offers the hope of seeing and righting the wrongs. But it is Young (Cost of Living, Clyde’s) who walks away with her remarkable performance. Completely and utterly in love with Purlie, Young is a whirlwind of emotions and physical comedy. She is big and broad, all in one petite compact body. When she comes to tell of the misjustice done to her by the Cap’n she has us in the palms of her hands.
Purlie in a word is victorious.
Purlie Victorious: A Non-Confederate Romp Through the Cotton Patch, Music Box Theatre, 239 West 45th Street, until January 7th.
Barry Manilow’s and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Meets The Press Part 3
We told you how the cast and creative’s met the press. Then we played you some of the songs from the show. Today we’ll introduce you to the cast.
First up The Harmonists; Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey
The vocally winning Sierra Boggess was next on our list.
Chip Zien and director/choreographer Warren Carlyle shared insights.
Finally Julie Benko, Allison Semmes and Andrew O’Shanick.
Harmony begins previews at the Barrymore Theatre on Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night.
Melissa Etheridge My Window A Rock Goddess Spiritual Journey
Oscar and Grammy winner Melissa Etheridge’s autobiographical musical My Window is an informative, riveting, raw, intimate and musically thrilling alsmost 3 hours of entertainment. With 22 albums to her name, Etheridge is a female rock goddess and is on par with Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Ann Wilson, Grace Slick, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, Debbie Harry and the incomparable Janis Joplin.
I originally saw this show when it opened at New World Stages almost a year ago and Etheridge’s theatrical solo show has only gotten better and tighter. She invites theatergoers into an exhilarating evening of storytelling and music. Starting with her birth, we learn about her childhood in Kansas, groundbreaking career highlights, coming out, her lovers, the drugs she has taken, her spiritual journey, her wives, her kids, cancer and what makes Melissa who she is. She is charming, revealing, illuminating as she bares her heart & soul to all who attend.
In between learning about this bluesy warrior are her confessional lyrics, the raspy, smoky vocals and classics numbers like “Like The Way I Do,” “Twisted Off To Paradise,”“I’m the Only One,” “Come to My Window,” “I Want to Come Over”.
Winning a tiny trophy gave way to winning a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocalist in 1998 and again in 1995. Before that in 1993 Etheridge came out publicly, early on in her career. In 2005 Etheridge took the Grammy stage after having cancer to join in a tribute to Janis Joplin. She appeared hairless. Etheridge also won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2007 for “I Need To Wake Up” for the film “An Inconvenient Truth.”
It turns out Etheridge has always loved musical theatre, as she treated us to a wonderful rendition of “On Broadway.” She did make her Broadway debut in a weeklong stint as St. Jimmy in Green Day’s American Idiot in 2011, but she doesn’t talk about that.
Melissa Etheridge My Window, is wonderfully is written by Etheridge with additional material by Linda Wallem-Etheridge (“Nurse Jackie” showrunner, “That ’70s Show”). The direction by Amy Tinkham is succent and well done.
Everything about this production is well done from the scenic design by Bruce Rodgers, lighting design by Abigail Rosen Holmes, fabulous projection design by Olivia Sebesky and the sound design by Shannon Salmon, which keeps this show clear and clean.
This is a must see show for anyone LGBTQIA. The message is positive and life affirming. This is a women who owns her talent, charisma and choices, which makes this a joy to watch.
Melissa Etheridge My Window: Circle In The Square, 235 West 50th Street. Closes November 19th.
Barry Manilow’s and Bruce Sussman’s Harmony Meets The Press Part 2
In today’s edition hear director Warren Carlyle, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman describe their show.
Then it was a treat as the cast sang 5 songs from the show. Including “Harmony,” Hungarian Rhapsody,” “Where You Go’ and “Stars in the Night.”
Hear The Harmonists Sean Bell, Danny Kornfeld, Zal Owen, Eric Peters, Blake Roman and Steven Telsey, along with Chip Zien, Sierra Boggess and Julie Benko.
The hit song of the show will be the gorgeous ballad “Every Single Day” sung by Danny Kornfeld.
Harmony begins previews at the Barrymore Theatre on Wednesday, October 18, ahead of a Monday, November 13 official opening night.
Photo’s by Genevieve Rafter Keddy
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