Sunday, January 15, 2017

Death has been busy

Inasmuch as people began complaining about how a lot of famous persons were passing on during the last year, 2017 has started off with more of the same.

Author William Peter Blatty, the man who not only wrote The Exorcist, and shepherded its transition to the big screen in the 70's, passed away earlier this week. So did Tony Rosato (ex-Saturday Night Live), whose career went on a downward spiral after leaving SNL. Buddy Greco was 90 when he was called home more than a week ago.

And the WWE has known loss as well. First, Timothy Smith, who worked as Timothy Well, 1/2 of the 90's team of Well Dunn, and as Rex King in other areas, had passed after a lengthy illness. Now comes word that Hall of Famer Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka has lost his battle with stomach cancer and other illnesses at 73.

Last month, Snuka was declared unfit to stand trial in the death of his ex-girlfriend, which happened in the 80's, during his first go-round with the then-World Wrestling Federation. Today, Jimmy's daughter, Tamina, works for WWE, and is training to return to action after being out with an injury for much of 2016.

As Vince McMahon himself would say, let's take you back to Snuka's debut on Championship Wrestling in the winter of 1982, as a heel managed by fellow Hall of Famer Lou Albano. McMahon & Pat Patterson are at the mic's, and Howard Finkel does a voice-over promo for live cards in Utica & Syracuse, so this may have aired on WKTV.

Back in Hollywood, Dick Gautier, best known as Hymie the Robot on Get Smart before landing the lead in Mel Brooks' 1975 sitcom, When Things Were Rotten, left us at 83. Here's a clip:

Finally, as I'm sure you've heard, there is a different kind of passing, and that is the long running Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus, which is folding its tents due to rising operating costs after the current season, which does not include a visit to Albany this year.

From 1966, here's a highlight reel of that year's tour, hosted by Roy Rogers & Dale Evans:

May our stars and Mr. Blatty rest in peace.

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