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September 20, 2014

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TV Stars Pay Tribute to Patrice O'Neal, Comedy Central to Air Stand-Up Special

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 30th 2011 5:45AM
Patrice O'NealPatrice O'Neal's untimely death at the age of 41 has left the world of comedy in mourning. Since the news broke Tuesday a flood of tributes to the comedian have poured out from TV stars and celebrities including Charlie Sheen, Sarah Silverman, Questlove, Dane Cook, Ricky Gervais and Kevin Nealon.

Plus, a Comedy Central spokesman told TMZ that the network is "broken up" by the news and will pay tribute by re-airing O'Neal's stand-up special 'Elephant in the Room' tonight.

O'Neal's last national TV performance was at the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen, and his mocking of Sheen was considered to be one of the highlights of the show. Last night Sheen took to Twitter to pay tribute: "The entertainment world as well as the world at large lost a brilliant man today. Patrice had that rare 'light' around him and inside of him. I only knew him for the few days leading up the Roast. Yet I will forever be inspired by his nobility, his grace and his epic talent. My tears today are for the tremendous loss to his true friends and loving family."

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'X-Files' Actor John Neville Dies at 86

by Laura Prudom, posted Nov 21st 2011 3:30PM
John NevilleCanadian actor John Neville, perhaps best known for his role as The Well-Manicured Man in 'The X-Files,' has died at the age of 86.

The Canadian Press reports that Neville, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, died Saturday in Toronto, surrounded by family. The veteran actor appeared in dozens of productions over the course of his sixty-year career, but it was his titular role in Terry Gilliam's 'The Adventures of Baron Munchausen' that earned him critical acclaim and public visibility. Though the film was a commercial failure, few could fault Neville's wry performance, and he went on to become a mainstay in films, television and theater.

Though he turned in many memorable on-screen performances, Neville seemed just as comfortable working behind the scenes, serving as artistic director of the Nottingham Playhouse in the 1960s and, after his move to Canada, the Stratford Festival in the 1980s.

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Hip Hop Star Heavy D Has Died, Aged 44

by Catherine Lawson, posted Nov 9th 2011 6:50AM
Heavy DA sad start to the day with the news that hip hop artist and actor Heavy D has died at the age of 44. He was rushed to a Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles Tuesday after collapsing outside his Beverly Hills home.

No cause of death has been released, but police are not treating his death as suspicious. There have been several reports that he may have been suffering from pneumonia. According to TMZ.com Heavy D collapsed with breathing difficulties following a shopping trip. His neighbor Adam Mills found him leaning against a railing, clearly in distress, saying "I can't breathe, I can't breathe."

Only a few hours before his death the Jamaica-born rapper, who grew up in New York, Tweeted a tribute to the late boxing great Joe Frazier -- "SMOKIN JOE FRAZIER..RIP.. truly one of the best heavyweight champs that ever lived.. GODS SPEED,MR FRAZIER!" -- and sent his fans a typically positive message: "BE INSPIRED!"

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Former CBS News Correspondent Robert Pierpoint Dies, Aged 86

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 24th 2011 6:25AM
Robert PierpointIt's been announced that Emmy-winning news correspondent Robert Pierpoint has died, aged 86. His daughter Marta Pierpoint told the Associated Press that he died Saturday, of complications arising from hip surgery at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.

In a career spanning more than four decades Pierpoint covered six presidents, the Korean War, the Kennedy assassination, Watergate and the Iranian hostage crisis. He entered the CBS news room in 1949 as it was shifting from radio to TV under Ed Murrow, and he made his name covering the Korean War.

Pierpoint covered the Korean War from start to finish, and although he reported mostly on radio, his reports focusing on individual soldiers and civilians caught up in the conflict were featured in the landmark CBS 'See it Now' broadcasts including the premiere in November 1951 and 'Christmas in Korea' in December 1953.

His contribution was later honored in the 'M*A*S*H' series finale in 1983 when, in a case of art imitating life, it is Pierpoint's voice heard on the radio announcing the end of the Korean War.

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Doris Belack, Veteran TV Actress, Dead at 85

by Chris Harnick, posted Oct 6th 2011 6:25PM
Doris BelackDoris Belack, a recurring 'Law & Order' judge and the original Anna Wolek on 'One Life to Live,' has died. She was 85.

According to Variety, the actress died of natural causes in New York City.

Besides her time on the judges' bench for both 'Law & Order' and 'Law & Order: SVU,' Belack is known for her film work, including memorable roles in 'Tootsie' and 'What About Bob?'

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A.C. Nielsen, Jr. of Nielsen Ratings Fame, Dies Aged 92

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 5th 2011 7:30AM
A.C. Nielsen, Jr.It's been announced that Arthur Charles Nielsen, Jr. of the eponymous ratings firm, has died at the age of 92. He had been suffering from Parkinson's disease.

After serving in the Army Corps. of Engineers during World War II, Nielsen joined his father's research firm, A.C. Nielsen, in 1945. He stayed with the firm for the rest of his adult life, becoming President in 1957 and Chairman in 1975.

Nielsen ratings are now synonymous with TV ratings, thanks largely to his use of cutting-edge technology -- he had the first general-purpose computer, the Univac, built back in 1948 -- which revolutionized the nascent business of market research.

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Bob Hope's Widow Dolores Dies, Aged 102

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 20th 2011 5:00AM
Dolores HopeIt feels like the end of an era as we hear that Dolores Hope, singer, vaudevillian and wife of comic and actor Bob Hope, has died at the age of 102.

Hope family spokesman Harlan Boll said Dolores died Monday of natural causes at her home in the Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles.

Born Dolores DeFina in The Bronx, New York in 1909, Dolores had a successful nightclub singing career under the name Dolores Reade.

She met Hope in 1933 when he saw her perform in the Vogue Club in New York City and they married in 1934. Dolores then joined Hope's vaudeville act before putting her career on hold so they could concentrate on his movie and TV career.

Dolores accompanied Hope on his U.S.O. Christmas tours to entertain the troops from the late 1940s onward, and she performed on his numerous NBC television specials.

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'Spartacus' Star Andy Whitfield Has Died at 39

by Maureen Ryan, posted Sep 11th 2011 10:25PM

Andy Whitfield, who played the title role in the first season of Starz's 'Spartacus,' passed away Sunday. The actor was 39.

"No words to express the depth of such a loss," 'Spartacus' creator Steven DeKnight said Sunday evening on Twitter. "You will be deeply missed, my brother."

According to a statement released to the AP by Whitfield's family, he died at home," on a sunny Sydney morning, in the "arms of his loving wife." His wife Vashti called him a "beautiful young warrior."

"He passed peacefully surrounded by love," said the statement from Vashti Whitfield. "Thank you to all his fans whose love and support have help carry him to this point. He will be remembered as the inspiring, courageous and gentle man, father and husband he was."

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Actor Cliff Robertson Dies at 88

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 11th 2011 4:00AM
Cliff RobertsonIt's been announced that Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson has died, one day after his 88th birthday.

According to Evelyn Christel, his secretary of 53 years, Robertson died of natural causes Saturday afternoon in Stony Brook, New York.

Born in Los Angeles in 1923, Robertson became famous with roles on TV dramas in the 1950s and early 60s, including 'Hallmark Hall of Fame,' 'Robert Montgomery Presents,' 'Wagon Train,' 'Playhouse 90,' 'Outlaws' and 'The Twilight Zone.'

He shot to movie stardom playing Lt. John F. Kennedy in the 1963 biographical war drama 'PT 109,' won an Oscar for 'Charly' in 1969, and went on to garner a new generation of fans with his appearance as kindly Uncle Ben in the 'Spider-Man' movies.

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Actor Francesco Quinn Dies, Aged 48

by Catherine Lawson, posted Aug 8th 2011 5:30AM
Francesco QuinnA sad start to the week as it's been announced that Francesco Quinn, son of acting legend Anthony Quinn, has died at the age of 48.

'The Los Angeles Times' reports that Quinn died near his home in Malibu, California on Friday evening of a suspected heart attack.

Lt. James Royal of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Malibu/Lost Hills station told the 'Times' that Quinn collapsed on the street where he lived while walking home from a nearby store with one of his sons. He was pronounced dead at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.

Quinn made his big-screen acting debut in 1986 with the role of drug-dealing soldier Rhah in Oliver Stone's 'Platoon,' and went on to appear in more than a dozen movies.

He also carved out an impressive TV resume, starring in 'The Young and the Restless' and landing recurring roles in primetime dramas like '24' and 'JAG.'

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'Police Academy' and NFL Star Charles 'Bubba' Smith Dies, Aged 66

by Catherine Lawson, posted Aug 4th 2011 4:00AM
Charles 'Bubba' SmithR.I.P. Hightower. It's been announced that Charles 'Bubba' Smith, an NFL lineman who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Colts and had a second career acting on TV and in several 'Police Academy' films, has died. He was 66.

Smith's body was found Wednesday at his home in the Baldwin Hills suburb of Los Angeles, said Los Angeles police spokesman Officer Gregory Baek.

He is believed to have died of natural causes, but the coroner's office has not made a final determination, police said.

After a successful NFL career with the Colts, Oilers and Raiders Smith carved out a successful TV career with a series of memorable Miller Lite ads and roles on series like 'Good Times,' 'Blue Thunder' and 'McGyver.'

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'Dukes of Hazzard' and 'Santa Barbara' Star Christopher Mayer Dies, Aged 57

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jul 29th 2011 6:30AM
Christopher MayerIt's been announced that actor Christopher "Chip" Mayer died July 24 in Sherman Oaks, Calif., of natural causes. He was 57.

Born George Charles Mayer, III, he was raised in Ridgewood, New Jersey and attended Colgate University.

He made his TV debut in the 1980 ABC pilot 'Stunts Unlimited,' in which he starred as one of a group of stuntmen recruited for espionage work.

Mayer's first major TV role was in the top-rated CBS series, 'The Dukes of Hazzard.' He and Byron Cherry were brought in as Vance and Coy Duke for the 1982-3 season after stars Tom Wopat and John Schneider walked out in a contract dispute.

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Veteran TV and Movie Star G.D. Spradlin Dies, Aged 90

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jul 26th 2011 9:00AM
G.D. SpradlinGervase Duan "G.D." Spradlin, a character actor best known for playing authority figures in television and films, including 'The Godfather: Part II' and 'Apocalypse Now,' has died. He was 90.

The 'Los Angeles Times' reports that Spradlin died of natural causes at his cattle ranch in San Luis Obispo on Sunday.

Born in Oklahoma in 1920, Spradlin served in the Army Air Forces in China during World War II and worked as a lawyer before becoming rich as an independent oil producer.

He turned to acting in his 40s and used his real-life experience as an attorney, oilman and rancher to play men in charge.

Spradlin also directed John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign in Oklahoma and ran for mayor of Oklahoma City, unsuccessfully, in 1965.

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'Wheel of Fortune' Wheel Designer, Ed Flesh, Dies Aged 79

by Catherine Lawson, posted Jul 20th 2011 7:20AM
'Wheel of Fortune' wheelThe man who created the iconic horizontally spinning wheel on 'Wheel of Fortune' has died.

According to 'The Hollywood Reporter,' art director Ed Flesh died in California on Friday of congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 79 and is survived by his partner of 44 years, David Powers.

The prolific designer shaped the look of dozens of TV game shows including 'The $25,000 Pyramid,' 'Jeopardy!,' 'Name That Tune' and 'The Newlywed Game.'

Paying tribute to Flesh, Bob Eubanks, original host of 'The New Newlywed Game,' said "He truly was a master of his craft."

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John Dye of 'Touched By An Angel' Dead at 47

by Bob Sassone, posted Jan 13th 2011 11:30AM
John DyeJohn Dye, who played angel Andrew on 'Touched By An Angel' for nine seasons, has died.

The actor passed away from heart failure in California on Monday. He was 47.

The Mississippi-born actor co-starred with Roma Downey and Della Reese on the hit CBS show from 1994 to 2003, and was a regular on shows including 'Tour of Duty,' 'Jack's Place' and 'Hotel Malibu.'

He also appeared on 'Murder, She Wrote,' 'Promised Land,' and ''The Young & The Restless,' as well as the TV movies 'The Billionaire Boys Club,' 'Once Upon A Christmas,' and its sequel, 'Twice Upon A Christmas.'

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