Take a moment to remember the entertainment stars, musicians, politicians, athletes, newspeople and literary giants that we lost in 2019.
“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND, 76 (Died Jan. 2): One of the most iconic voices in the world of wrestling, Gene Okerlund began calling matches with the Midwest-based American Wrestling Association in the 1970s. Eventually, Okerlund would join Vince McMahon’s WWF, and he gained national fame as the league grew throughout the ’80s. He eventually earned his “Mean” moniker from world-class performer and future governor of Minnesota Jesse “The Body’ Ventura. Okerlund was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006
BOB EINSTEIN, 76 (Died Jan. 2): Known for his wacky characters and booming barritoned voice, Bob Einstein got his start in the entertainment industry writing for the The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. But he was best known for his character “Super” Dave Osburne, a “stuntman” that became a staple on late-night talk shows. Einstein eventually parlayed the character into a series of TV shows and specials. Later in life, Einstein was known for playing Marty Funkhouser, a “friend” of Larry David on the crticially acclaimed show “Curb Your Enthusiam.” Einstein succumbed to cancer in January.
DARYL DRAGON, 76 (Died: Jan. 2): Better known as “Captain” from the husband and wife musical duo “Captain & Tennille,” Dragon was born to a musical family in Los Angeles in 1942. It was Mike Love of the Beach Boys who gave him the nickname “Captain Keyboard” while playing for the band in the early ’70s, and the nickname stuck. Dragon teamed up with Toni Tennille in 1972, and the two won Grammys for Record of the Year and Album of the Year in 1975. They married that same year. Dragon died of renal failure in Arizona in January.
CAROL CHANNING, 97 (Died Jan. 15): A Tony award-winning actress, Carol Channing grew up on the west coast before moving to New York and taking up acting. She became know for her stage work after landing the lead in a Broadway musical “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” in 1949 and took the country by storm when she won a Tony as the lead in “Hello Dolly!” in 1964. She was also nominated for an Academy Award and later became a staple on televsion in her later years.
Singer and songwriter James Ingram died at age 66 after battling brain cancer. He was best known for several chart-topping duets he sang or wrote in the 1980s. He also worked a lot with Quincy Jones and co-wrote “PYT”, which was performed by Michael Jackson. Ingram’s death was announced Jan. 29, 2019.
Actor Kristoff St. John was found dead in his California home on Feb. 3, 2019. The actor was 52 years old and played Neil Winters on “The Young and the Restless.” He was the winner of 10 NAACP Image Awards and had nine Daytime Emmy Award nominations throughout his career.
Celebrities we’ve lost in 2019.
Actor Luke Perry died Monday, March 4, 2019 at age 52. He suffered a stroke on Feb. 27. Perry leaves behind two children. At the time of his death, he had a starring role on “Riverdale.” He was best known for playing Dylan on “Bevery Hills 90210.”
Actress Tania Mallet played Tilly Masterson in “Goldfinger”, a James Bond movie, in 1964. Mallet died at the end of March 2019 at age 77, according to the official 007 Twitter account.
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