Jan Berenstain was 88. She co-created the beloved Berenstain Bears book series with her husband Stan Berenstain. Stan passed away in 2005.
When my son was two, we spent many an evening watching The Berenstain Bears. James loved bears.
Gary Carter was 57. The Kid was an 11-time All-Star catcher for the Montreal Expos and the New York Mets and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2003.
Neil Hope was 35. He played Derek “Wheels” Wheeler on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Degrassi Junior High and The Kids of Degrassi Street.
Neil actually passed away on November 25, 2007, but this was only made public
today January 12. I was a big Degrassi fan, and just last year I wrote about School's Out, when Wheels ended up in jail.
I'll prefer to remember him as a vital member of The Zit Remedy. Here's The Zit Remedy performing their smash hit, "Everybody Wants Something".
Whitney Houston was 48. She reigned as pop music's queen until her majestic voice and regal image were ravaged by drug use, erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown.
She is the only artist to chart seven consecutive No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits with "Saving All My Love for You", "How Will I Know", "Greatest Love of All", "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)", "Didn't We Almost Have It All", "So Emotional", and "Where Do Broken Hearts Go". She also starred in the films The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale, The Preacher's Wife and Cinderella."
Then, there was this tune, which was absolutely everywhere back in 1992.
Ben Gazzara was 81. He was an intense actor best known for starring in the John Cassavetes films "Husbands", "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie" and "Opening Night". I remember him best as Jackie Treehorn, the pornography mogul and loan shark in the Coen brother's cult classic, The Big Lewbowski.
Angelo Dundee was 90. He was the brilliant motivator who worked the corner for Muhammad Ali in his greatest fights and willed Sugar Ray Leonard to victory in his biggest bout.
Don Cornelius was 75. He created "Soul Train," a show instrumental in bringing acts like James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson to a larger audience.
Robert Hegyes was 69. He portrayed Epstein in the 1970s television series Welcome Back, Kotter.
Joe Paterno was 85. He was head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions for 46 years from 1966 through 2011, accumulated 409 wins, the most in NCAA Division 1 history.
Etta James was 73. Her powerful, versatile and emotionally direct voice could enliven the raunchiest blues as well as the subtlest love songs, most indelibly in her signature hit, “At Last.”
For my money, nothing beats "I'd Rather Go Blind."
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