MORBID CURIOSITY: Celebrity Tombstones Across America | home
January | February | March | April | May | June | July | August | September | October | November | December
Tuesday, 2 March
Marge Schott, major-league baseball team owner (Cincinnati Reds), of lung
Marge Schott, the tough-talking, chain-smoking owner of the Cincinnati Reds who
won a World Series but was repeatedly suspended for offensive remarks, died
Tuesday, a hospital spokeswoman said. She was 75. Schott was hospitalized about
three weeks ago for breathing difficulties and frequently was hospitalized in
recent years for lung problems. Christ Hospital would not release a cause of
death. Schott had reportedly been on a ventilator during her treatment in the
hospital's intensive care unit
Nancy Deale Greene, 70, a foreign policy consultant and the widow of "Bonanza"
star Lorne Greene, died of cancer March 2 at her home in Marina del Rey.
Greene co-founded the National Women's Political Caucus in Los Angeles, and in
1972 was an advisor to Sen. Hubert Humphrey (D-Minn.) on national defense issues
and women's rights. A year later, she was appointed to the Democratic Party's
National Task Force on U.S.-Soviet Relations, and she later served as an advisor
to Sen. Henry Jackson (D-Wash.).
In the mid-1970s, Greene founded the Women's Institute of International
Relations, a private foundation formed to educate women on military and foreign
policy issues and to support their professional participation in U.S. foreign
She also was a member of the Center for Arms Control and Foreign Policy and
served as vice president of the American Civil Defense Assn.
A former actress who also was an artist and poet, Greene was raised in Long
Island and Toronto.
She married Greene in 1961. He died in 1987 at 72.
LOS ANGELES - Actress Mercedes McCambridge, who won an Oscar for the
1949 film "All the King's Men" and later provided the raspy voice of
the demon-possessed girl in "The Exorcist," has died. She was 85.
McCambridge died from natural causes on March 2, the Rev. Joe
Carroll, a friend and the founder of a San Diego charity for the
homeless, said Tuesday. She had lived in the La Jolla area of San
Diego since the 1980s.
McCambridge's strong, radio-trained voice made her an ideal film
portrayer of hard-driving women. She received the Academy Award as
supporting actress for her screen debut in "All the King's Men,"
playing a reporter who was the nemesis of the populist Southern
governor, Willie Stark.
Broderick Crawford was named best actor for his role as Stark, a
close replica of Louisiana's Huey Long, and the drama was honored
with a best picture Oscar.
During her film career, McCambridge acquired a reputation as a strong-
willed, outspoken woman on and off the screen. When she was hired to
play the enemy of Joan Crawford (news) in a 1954 Western, "Johnny
Guitar," the pair feuded on the set. In her memoir, McCambridge
called Crawford "a mean, tipsy, powerful, rotten-egg lady."
Because of her great vocal skills, McCambridge was hired to portray
The Demon in William Friedkin (news)'s 1973 smash hit "The Exorcist."
After weeks of what she called the hardest work she had done for a
film, she had been promised prominent mention in the credits.
But when she attended the preview, her name was missing. As she left
the theater in tears, Friedkin tried to explain that there had been
no time to insert her credit. The Screen Actors Guild (news - web
sites) intervened and forced her inclusion in the credits.
Despite the celebrity that followed her Academy Award for "All the
King's Men," McCambridge's film career did not flourish. Because she
did not fit the glamour girl image that was prevalent in postwar
films, her movie work was sporadic.
Among the later films: "Giant" (1956 — her second Academy nomination
as supporting actress), "A Farewell to Arms" (1957), "Touch of Evil"
(1958 — with her radio cohort Orson Welles (news)), "Suddenly Last
Summer" (1959), "Cimarron" (1960), "99 Women" (1969), "Thieves"
(1977), "The Concorde — Airport '79" (1979).
In the early 1990s, Neil Simon called with an offer to play the
grandmother in "Lost in Yonkers" on Broadway and on the road.
McCambridge's return to the New York theater proved triumphant, and
she performed the play 560 times.
In her later years, McCambridge also appeared in "Magnum, P.I." and
other television series, but her movie work was sparse.
"I don't think the Hollywood community is interested in what I can
do," she said in a 1981 interview. "That's all right. I've never
looked for a job in my life, and I'm not going to start now. I have
plenty to keep me busy."
McCambridge battled through much of her life, surviving a long siege
of alcoholism, two failed marriages and series of tragedies involving
her only child, John Lawrence Fifield. The son, who later took the
last name of his mother's second husband, Markle, killed his wife and
children and himself in 1987.
Charlotte Mercedes Agnes McCambridge was born to Irish parents on
March 17, 1918, on the family farm at Joliet, Ill.
After graduation from Mundelein College in Chicago, she acted in
Chicago radio, which then produced several network soap operas and
nighttime shows. She married her first husband, William Fifield, at
They eventually wound up in Hollywood, where she resumed her career
as a radio actress. Her vocal versatility brought her jobs on shows
ranging from "I Love a Mystery" to "Red Ryder."
McCambridge returned to New York for the title role in a radio
adaptation of the play "Abie's Irish Rose." She later found steady
work in the radio dramas of Welles, who called her "the world's
greatest living radio actress."
From 1950 to 1962, McCambridge was married to Canadian-born Fletcher
Markle, a radio director who became well-known in the U.S. during the
years of live television drama. During the marriage and afterward,
she was sometimes hospitalized after episodes of heavy drinking.
After years with Alcoholics Anonymous, she achieved sobriety.
Wedensday, 3 March
Cecily Adams, actress (Ishka on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), of lung cancer,
39. She was actor Don Adams' daughter.
Thursday, 4 March
Marlin Maddoux, radio talk host ("Point of View"), of complications from heart
bypass surgery, 70.
Mike O'Callaghan, governor of Nevada (D, 1971-79), of an apparent heart
Friday, 5 March
Anna Carter Gordon Davis, country & gospel singer (The Chuck Wagon Gang), of
injuries from a fall, 86 or 87. She was the widow of the late governor Jimmie
Priscilla Paris, singer ("I Love How You Love Me"), age and cause not reported
(This obit just came in minutes ago.)
Saturday, 6 March
Remember the Alamo
Raymond Fernandez, aka "Hercules Hernandez", pro wrestler, of an apparent
heart attack, age not reported.
Frances Dee, actress ("Wells Fargo"), 94.
Ray Fernandez, aka Hercules Hernandez, pro wrestler, of heart disease, 47.
(Announced in last week's roundup with no age or cause reported.)
Jack Leaman, college basketball coach (Univ. of Massachusetts), of a heart
Sunday, 7 March
Spalding Gray, actor ("The Killing Fields"), 62. His body was discovered
in the East River in New York on 7 March. He has been missing since 10 January
and is believed to have committed suicide.
Paul Winfield, actor ("King"), of a heart attack, 62.
LOS ANGELES - Paul Winfield, an Academy Award-nominated actor who was known for
his versatility in stage, film and television roles, including a highly praised
1978 depiction of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has died. He was 62.
Winfield died Sunday, March 7, 2004 of a heart attack, said his agent Michael
In 1968, Winfield played the boyfriend of Diahann Carroll in her situation
comedy "Julia" — a role that some suggest helped open television to other black
Four years later Winfield's portrayal of the father in "Sounder" earned him an
Academy Award nomination for best actor.
He was Emmy-nominated for best actor in the title role of the 1978 miniseries
"King," and nominated the next year in the best supporting actor category for
playing a college chancellor willing to sing Negro spirituals to get donations
for his school in "Roots: The Next Generation."
He finally won an Emmy in 1995 for a guest appearance on "Picket Fences." He
played a federal judge whose rulings on busing inner-city children are
challenged by a local resident.
Despite acclaim, Winfield was often relegated to supporting roles, including
playing Jim in a 1974 remake of "Huckleberry Finn."
Sidney Poitier hired Winfield for his first movie role in "The Lost Man" in
1969. Other significant roles included an appearance in the Broadway play
"Checkmates" with Denzel Washington, and his portrayal of Don King in a 1995 HBO
A Los Angeles native, Winfield was born May 22, 1941. Until he was 8, he was
raised by union organizer Lois Edwards, who later married Winfield's stepfather.
He was bused to the predominantly white Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles
and was named best actor for three years in a row in an annual Southern
California high school drama competition.
He later studied drama at four colleges before leaving the University of
California at Los Angeles six credits short of a bachelor's degree.
He is survived by his sister, Patricia Wilson, of Las Vegas.
Monday, 8 March
Abul Abbas, Palestinian militant (Achille Lauro hijacking), of natural causes,
Rust Epique, rock guitarist [Pre)thing], of an apparent heart attack, 35.
Robert Pastorelli, actor (Eldon on "Murphy Brown"), of an apparent drug
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Robert Pastorelli, the boxer-turned-actor best known to
television audiences as the house painter Eldin on long-running CBS comedy
"Murphy Brown," has died, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said on
Pastorelli, 49, was found dead in the bathroom of his Hollywood Hills home on
Monday afternoon, a coroner's spokesman said. Drug paraphernalia was found on
the scene, he added, and an autopsy was to be conducted on Tuesday.
The New Jersey-born Pastorelli got into stage acting in the 1970s in productions
like "Rebel Without A Cause" but found his greatest fame on "Murphy Brown,"
painting the house of the title character played by Candice Bergen but never
quite finishing his ambitious artistic projects on her walls.
He briefly had his own series, "Double Rush," about the manager of a bicycle
messenger service. Most recently, he was cast in the film "Be Cool," a sequel to
Syndicated TV entertainment show Access Hollywood, which first reported the
actor's death, said his girlfriend died in the same home in early 1999. The two
had a daughter.
Tuesday, 9 March
Marshall Frady, TV news reporter (ABC), of cancer, 64.
Wednesday, 10 March
Robert D. Orr, governor of Indiana (R, 1981-97), 86.
James Parrish, NFL football player (Dallas Cowboys), of cancer, 35.
Dave Schulthise, aka Dave Blood, punk rock bassist (The Dead Milkmen), of an
apparent suicide (method not reported), 47.
Thursday, 11 March
Fred Anthony, radio broadcaster (Akron, OH), of an apparent heart attack, 61.
LONDON (AP) — Alf Bicknell, chauffeur to the Beatles at the height of their fame
and inspiration for the song, "Baby You Can Drive My Car," died Tuesday, the
band's former promoter said Thursday. He was 75.
Sam Leach said Bicknell died at his home in Oxford, England.
Leach said the chauffeur started working for the Beatles in 1964 during the
filming of "Help."
In his autobiography, written with Garry Marshall, Bicknell said he became very
close to the band. He described how John Lennon once stole his chauffeur's hat
and flung it out of the band's car with the words, "You don't need that anymore
Alf, you are one of us now."
At first, he drove the band in an Austin Princess with blacked-out windows;
later, the group traveled in Lennon's Rolls Royce Phantom V.
Bicknell stayed with the Beatles until they decided to stop touring in 1966.
He retired from driving in 1980 after injuring his right arm and made a new
career talking about his experiences — but rejected all financial offers to
"dish the dirt."
Saturday, 13 March
Syndey Carter, songwriter ("Lord of the Dance"), 88.
Franz Koenig, Roman Catholic cardinal (Austria), 98.
Wednesday, 17 March
LOS ANGELES - John 'J.J.' Jackson, who in the 1980s helped usher in the music
video era as one of the first MTV on-air personalities, has died. He was 62.
Jackson, a longtime radio station disc jockey, died of an apparent heart attack
Wednesday while driving home from dinner in Los Angeles, friends and radio
industry colleagues said Thursday.
"I talked to him like two days ago. J.J. was in a great place," said Mark
Goodman, a longtime friend who also worked with Jackson as a 'VJ' when MTV
launched in 1981. "It's incredible, so incredibly sad it happened like this."
In a statement, MTV said Jackson's love of music and good humor helped set the
tone for the cable music network in its formative years.
"He was a big part of the channel's success and we are sure he is in the music
section of heaven, with lots of his friends and heroes," the statement said. "He
will be greatly missed."
Jackson's career in broadcasting began in radio. He first gained prominence
while working at WBCN in Boston in the late 1960s, then moved in 1971 to Los
Angeles where he took on the afternoon radio slot at KLOS.
In the late '70s, he worked as a music reporter for KABC-TV, then it was off to
New York and MTV, where his musical knowledge, hewn over years in radio, helped
ease his transition to a new format for music, Goodman said.
"It was a great experience for him. He came in already knowing and being
successful," Goodman said. "We were all thrust into the spotlight and he was
able to take the things that happened at MTV with stride."
After five years at MTV, Jackson returned to radio in Los Angeles, including a
stint hosting a nationally syndicated show on the Westwood One Radio Network.
Most recently, he was hosting an afternoon slot at Los Angeles' KTWV.
"All of us at The Wave (KTWV) are saddened by the news about J.J.," said
Samantha Wiedmann, assistant program director for KTWV. "He was a warm, kind
person whose track record in the industry speaks for itself."
Goodman said Jackson had been divorced for some time. He had a daughter and two
grandchildren in the Bahamas, Goodman said.
Friday, March 26th
Jan & Dean Singer Berry Dies at 62
By ROBERT JABLON, Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES - Jan Berry, a member of the duo Jan & Dean that had the 1960s
surf-music hits "Deadman's Curve" and "Little Old Lady from Pasadena," has died.
He was 62.
Berry had a seizure and stopped breathing Friday at his home. He was pronounced
dead that evening at a hospital, said his wife, Gertie Berry.
He had been in poor health recently from the lingering effects of brain damage
from a 1966 car crash.
Jan & Dean had a string of hits and 10 gold records in the 1960s with their
tales of Southern California. Among them were 1964's "The Little Old Lady from
Pasadena," about a hotrod racing grandma, and "Surf City," with its lines about
taking the station wagon to a place where there are "two girls for every boy."
With Brian Wilson (news) of the Beach Boys, William Jan Berry co-wrote the
lyrics for "Surf City" and "Deadman's Curve," which featured the driving guitar
licks and falsetto crooning of the wildly popular surf music.
Berry's hit-making career with high school friend Dean Torrence was cut short in
1966 when Berry's speeding Corvette hit a parked truck and he suffered severe
brain damage that left him partially paralyzed and unable to talk.
His recovery was slow, but eventually he was able to resume singing and writing
In addition to his wife, Berry is survived by his parents, William and Clara
Berry of Camarillo; three brothers and three sisters.
Sunday March 28th
Oscar-winning actor Sir Peter Ustinov has died in Switzerland. He was 82.
A close friend said Ustinov died last night. The British-born actor had
lived in Switzerland for decades.
A person who answered the telephone at Ustinov's home in a mountain village
overlooking Lake Geneva confirmed he had died but declined to give further
Born in London on April 16, 1921, the only son of a Russian artist mother
and a journalist father, Ustinov claimed also to have Swiss, Ethiopian, Italian
and French blood - everything except English.
Ustinov was educated at the prestigious Westminster School, but hated it and
left at 16. He appeared in his first revue and had his first stage play
presented in London in 1940, when he was 19.
In a career lasting some 60 years, Ustinov appeared in roles ranging from
Emperor Nero to Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.
He won Academy Awards for supporting actor in the films Spartacus and
Topkapi in the 1960s.
More recently he was the voice of Babar the Elephant, played the role of a
doctor in the film Lorenzo'sOil, and in 1999 appeared as the Walrus to Pete
Postlethwaite's Carpenter in a multimillion-dollar TV movie version of Alice in
Ustinov faced criticism in the early 1990s for his controversial views on
the emergence of Russia from Communist rule, and for his unstinting support for
Mikhail Gorbachev, but his long service as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF
led UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to joke that Ustinov was the man to take
over from him.
No immediate details of funeral arrangements were available.
Tuesday March 30th
Veteran Broadcaster Alistair Cooke Dies at 95
By Kate Kelland
LONDON (Reuters) - Legendary broadcaster Alistair Cooke, best known for his
long-running radio series "Letter from America," has died at the age of 95.
A spokesman for the BBC said Tuesday that Cooke, who was credited with improving
transatlantic understanding for more than half a century, died at his home in
British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) paid warm tribute to Cooke.
"He was really one of the greatest broadcasters of all time," he said.
"I was a big fan. I thought they were extraordinary essays. They brought an
enormous amount of insight and understanding to world. We shall feel his loss
very, very keenly indeed."
Cooke retired from the BBC in March after 58 years of Letter from America.
He said he had decided to quit the show -- the world's longest-running speech
radio program -- due to ill-health and on advice from his doctors.
In a statement when he left, Cooke said he had thoroughly enjoyed his 58 years
on the airwaves and hoped some of the enjoyment had passed over to the listeners
"to all of whom I now say thank you for your loyalty and goodbye."
Cooke -- a Briton who became an American citizen in 1941 -- first went to the
United States in 1932 to study drama at Yale University on a Commonwealth Fund
He was best known to many Americans for his show "Omnibus," which changed the
face of U.S. television in the 1950s and for presenting "Masterpiece Theater" on
He was even gently spoofed on the famous children's show "Sesame Street" as
Cooke joined the BBC in 1934 as a film critic and began reporting three years
Letter from America began in 1946, when Cooke was asked to give a weekly
snapshot of life in America. During the following six decades, he provided
listeners with insightful reports of the country's cultural and political
As a result of the program's huge success, he became known in America as the man
who explained all things British, and in Britain as the man who explained all
Born in Salford, northern England, in 1908, Cooke spent his last years living
with his second wife in New York.
In presenting 2,869 shows, he had missed only three broadcasts. He wrote his
letter every week on a typewriter in his flat overlooking New York City's
Acting director general of the BBC, Mark Byford, described Cooke as "the
outstanding commentator of the 20th century."
"Alistair Cooke was one of the greatest broadcasters ever in the history of the
BBC," he said in a statement.
"(His) insight, wisdom and unique ability to craft words enabled millions of
listeners in the UK and around the world to understand the texture of the United
States and its people."