James Best was 88. He played Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in The Dukes of Hazzard.
I loved The Dukes of Hazzard so much as a kid my bed was adorned with The Dukes of Hazzard sheets and covers. Daisy Duke was my very first crush.
Sam Simon was 59. He developed “The Simpsons” with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, and he subsequently co-wrote nearly a dozen “Simpsons” episodes during his tenure on the animated comedy, also serving as co-showrunner, character designer, creative consultant, creative supervisor, developer, and writer.
He was the longtime Toronto radio personality best known for his seven years at CFNY from 1985 to 1992 and his many years as Dr. Trance, Godfather of the Toronto rave scene.
I was hoping to have Don Berns on my podcast, and when he came in, I was going to play him this vintage CFNY clip.
Leonard Nimoy was 83. He was the actor, film director, poet, singer, and photographer best known for his role as Spock in Star Trek. He lived long and prospered.
Lesley Gore was 68. She was the singer who topped the charts in 1963 with her epic song of teenage angst, "It's My Party," and followed it up with the hits "Judy's Turn to Cry" and "You Don't Own Me."
And who could forget her "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows" bellowing from Ruth Powers's car in The Simpsons episode "Marge on the Lam."
Alison Gordon covered the Blue Jays’ beat for the Toronto Star from 1979 to 1984. At the time, women sportswriters were so rare that her membership card in the Baseball Writers Association of America identified her as Mr. Alison Gordon. They literally couldn't produce a card that was gender-neutral or female-specific.
Alison Gordon died the other day at 72. In addition to being a trailblazer for women sportswriters, she was a great writer. Mark Hebscher has shared his memories of working alongside Alison on his blog.
Once I had done my interviews and sent the tape back to Toronto (via alligator clips over the phone line) and once Alison had written her stories for the Star (on a portable manual typewriter) we would often meet up for dinner and then a long session of backgammon. She didn't hang around the other writers, and, being a fellow rookie, I didn't pal around with the electronic media much. I forget the name of the restaurant that was attached to the hotel (It changed every year) but we used to play so much backgammon there, they had to kick us out around midnight because we took up a prime table near the bar. I lost to her more often than not, and always seemed to be paying for breakfast the next morning to settle our bet. Had we played for real money, I would've ended up losing my shirt. She was a good player. She also knew that the players would test her every chance they got to see if she would crack under the pressure. Once, she told me about a Bluejays pitcher who had offered her 200 dollars for sex, in order to win a bet. We laughed about it together, but she knew there would be many more occasions where the players would show their true sexist colours.
Many owe Alison a debt of gratitude.
Jerry Tarkanian was 84. He was the head coach of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Runnin' Rebels from 1973-1992 winning the national championship in 1990 with one of the most dominant college teams ever.
Dean Smith was 83. He was the head coach of the North Carolina Tar Heels from 1961 to 1997 winning two national championships, including the 1982 title with a squad led by Michael Jordan.
Toller Cranston was 65. He was the Canadian senior men’s figure skating champion from 1971 to 1976 winning the free-skate segment of the world championship four times and the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
Ernie Banks was 83. He was the shortstop known simply as "Mr. Cub" after hitting 512 home runs over a 19-year career spent entirely in Chicago.
Playing double headers with my slo-pitch team, I'd often remark "let's play two" in honour of Ernie.
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