Ron Santo was 70. He was a legend in Chicago as a former Cubs third baseman-turned-wildly popular announcer. He finished his major league career with a .277 average over 15 major league seasons, with 342 home runs and 1,331 RBIs.
Jim Kelley was 61. He was a longtime sports writer and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame who recently worked alongside Bob McCown co-hosting Prime Time Sports on The Fan 590.
Leslie Nielsen was 84. He experienced success as a serious actor in the films Forbidden Planet and The Poseidon Adventure before achieving his greatest successes in the comedy films Airplane! and The Naked Gun.
I absolutely adored Leslie Nielsen in Airplane! and The Naked Gun. Here's a little something I wrote about the latter.
Laurie 'Bambi' Bembenek was 52. She was the former Playboy Club bunny whose escape from prison and flee to Canada popularized the phrase "Run Bambi Run."
Pat Burns was 58. He is the only Maple Leafs coach to win the Jack Adams Trophy as NHL Coach of the Year by leading the club to a 44-29-11 record in 1992-93 in his first season behind the Toronto bench. He remains the only NHL bench boss in history to earn the award three times, winning it with Montreal in 1989 and with Boston in 1998. The Leafs’ resurgence in 1992-93, with Burns at the helm, marked the first time that the Original Six franchise advanced to the Conference Final since the 1977-78 campaign. The team would repeat their playoff success the following season in 1994 under his leadership.
With the Leafs, Burns posted a coaching record of 133-107-41 (.546%) in 281 games behind the bench. On the Leafs’ All-Time Coaching List, Burns is tied with Red Kelly for fifth place in victories.
Overall, he coached in 1,019 NHL games in 15 seasons from 1988 to 2005 and compiled a record of 501-353-165. He coached the Devils to a Stanley Cup title in 2003.
I'll never forget Pat Burns and his Leafs teams of the early 90s. They truly were the best.
Jill Clayburgh was 66. She was the sophisticated Hollywood and Broadway actress known for portrayals of empowered women in a career spanning five decades, highlighted by her Oscar-nominated role of a divorcee exploring life after marriage in the 1978 film "An Unmarried Woman."
Sparky Anderson was 76. He was the first major league manager to win a World Series in both the American and National Leagues. He managed the Cincinnati Reds to World Series victories in 1975 and 1976 and the Detroit Tigers to a World Series victory in 1984.
Gregory Isaacs was 59. He was the Jamaican reggae singer whose smooth style earned him the nickname "Cool Ruler."
Denis Simpson was 59. He was the original bass vocalist for The Nylons, but I knew him best as host of Polka Dot Door.
Bob Guccione was 79. He was the founder and publisher of Penthouse magazine.
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