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updated: 4/13/2013 6:01 PM

Notable deaths last week

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  • Walt Disney studio's star, 16-year-old Annette Funicello, poses with her Shaggy Dog doll.

      Walt Disney studio's star, 16-year-old Annette Funicello, poses with her Shaggy Dog doll.
    Associated Press/March 24, 1959

  • Jonathan Winters at the kick-off of The Last 70mm Film Festival Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.

      Jonathan Winters at the kick-off of The Last 70mm Film Festival Presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.
    Associated Press/July 9, 2012

  • Former California Governor Ronald Reagan presents a silver dollar medallion to Opposition Leader Margaret Thatcher when he visited her office at the House of Commons in London.

      Former California Governor Ronald Reagan presents a silver dollar medallion to Opposition Leader Margaret Thatcher when he visited her office at the House of Commons in London.
    Associated Press/April 9, 1975

 
From Daily Herald wire reports

She was the first crush for a generation of boys, the perfect playmate for a generation of girls.

Annette Funicello, who became a child star as a cute-as-a-button Mouseketeer on "The Mickey Mouse Club" in the 1950s, ruled among baby boomers, who tuned in every weekday afternoon to watch her on their flickering black-and-white television sets.

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Then they shed their mouse ears, as Annette did when she teamed up with Frankie Avalon during the '60s in a string of frothy, fun-in-the-sun movies with titles like "Beach Blanket Bingo" and "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini."

Decades later, she endeared herself to baby boomers all over again after she announced in 1992 that she had multiple sclerosis and began grappling with the slow, degenerative effects with remarkably good cheer and faith.

Funicello died at age 70.

Jonathan Winters was a crowd all by himself, guaranteeing that his multitude of characters, breakneck improvisations and kinetic clownishness kept generations of fans laughing.

Winters, who has died at age 87, was a pioneer of improvisational standup comedy, with an exceptional gift for mimicry, a grab bag of eccentric personalities and a bottomless reservoir of creative energy. Facial contortions, sound effects, tall tales -- all could be summoned in a matter of seconds to get a laugh.

On Jack Paar's television show in 1964, Winters was handed a foot-long stick and he swiftly became a fisherman, violinist, lion tamer, canoeist, U.N. diplomat, bullfighter, flutist, delusional psychiatric patient, British headmaster and Bing Crosby's golf club.

Robin Williams and Jim Carrey are his best-known followers. But he was a devotee of Groucho Marx and Laurel and Hardy whose free-for-all brand of humor inspired Johnny Carson, Billy Crystal, Tracey Ullman and Lily Tomlin, among many others.

Love her or loathe her, one thing's beyond dispute: Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain.

The Iron Lady, who ruled for 11 remarkable years, imposed her will on a fractious, rundown nation -- breaking the unions, triumphing in a far-off war, and selling off state industries at a record pace. She left behind a leaner government and more prosperous nation by the time a political mutiny ousted her from No. 10 Downing Street.

As flags were flown at half-staff at Buckingham Palace, Parliament and Downing Street for the 87-year-old, praise for Thatcher and her leadership poured in from around the world.

Maria Tallchief, one of America's first great prima ballerinas who gave life to such works as "The Nutcracker," "Firebird," and other masterpieces from legendary choreographer George Balanchine, has died. She was 88.

Tallchief danced with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo from 1942 to 1947, but her career was most associated with the New York City Ballet, where she worked from 1948 to 1965. Balanchine, the Russian-born dance genius, was not only the company's director; in 1946, he became Tallchief's husband for some years.

In 1996, Tallchief became one of five artists to receive the Kennedy Center Honors for their lifelong contributions to American culture.

Chicago bluesman Jimmy "Fast Fingers" Dawkins, known for his stellar guitar playing and mellow singing voice, has died. He was 76.

James Henry Dawkins was born in Tchula, Miss. An only child, Dawkins taught himself to play guitar before moving to Chicago in the 1950s.

Marv Harshman, who spent 40 years coaching college basketball in the state of Washington and was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1985, has died at 95.

Grady Hatton, the former major league third baseman who managed the Houston Astros in the 1960s, has died. He was 90.

Mickey Rose, a childhood friend of Woody Allen who co-wrote his movies "Bananas" and "Take the Money and Run," has died at 77.

A sound engineer and producer who worked with Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and the Rolling Stones has died.

Andy Johns' family says he died Sunday in Los Angeles after a brief hospital stay to treat complications from a stomach ulcer. He was 62.

Dave O'Hara, who covered Boston sports greats from Ted Williams to Larry Bird during a 50-year career with The Associated Press, has died at age 86.

Besedka Johnson, who became an actress at age 85 and won praise for last year's movie "Starlet," has died. She was 87.

Robert Edwards, a Nobel laureate from Britain whose pioneering in vitro fertilization research led to the first test tube baby and has since brought millions of people into the world, has died at age 87.

Philip Koch, whose family developed Holiday World and Splashin' Safari and several other Christmas-themed businesses in and around the southern Indiana town of Santa Claus, has died at 47.

The Santa Claus Museum will create an antique historical train room in his honor, the parent company said.

Snowboarder Chelone Miller, the younger brother of Olympic gold medalist Bode Miller, died last Sunday in the area of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. He was 29.

Carmen Weinstein, the leader of Egypt's dwindling and aging Jewish community, known for her tireless work preserving synagogues and a once-sprawling Jewish cemetery, has died at the age of 82.

For nearly three decades, George McArthur was the quintessential foreign correspondent as he reported from the boulevards of Paris to the sands of the Middle East and jungles of Vietnam, for the AP and later the Los Angeles Times. He died this week at age 88.

Sara Montiel, a famed, sultry-voiced Spanish actress who became the first to also achieve Hollywood stardom, has died at age 85.

Les Blank, an acclaimed documentary maker who focused his camera on cultural corners ranging from blues music, to garlic lovers, to shoe-eating artists, has died at age 77.

Elder Eldred G. Smith, the oldest Mormon church general authority and oldest known Utahn, has died at the age of 106.

Peter Workman, the founder of a publishing company known for such best-sellers as "What to Expect When You're Expecting," has died at 74.

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