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Archive - 2001

March 17th

John Phillips - Papa John from The Mamas & The Papas

Mamas & papas John Philips Dead Celebrity
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Mamas & Papas

John Phillips, born John Edmund Andrew Phillips (August 30, 1935 – March 18, 2001), was an American singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Known as Papa John, Phillips was a member and leader of the singing group The Mamas & the Papas. He is the father of Jeffrey Phillips, Mackenzie Phillips, Chynna Phillips, Tamerlane Phillips, and Bijou Phillips.

Death of John Phillips
John Phillips died on March 18, 2001, aged 65, in Los Angeles of heart failure.
John Phillips was 65 year old at the time of his death.

He is interred in an outdoor crypt at Forest Lawn Cemetery (Cathedral City) near Palm Springs, California, where he had lived with his fourth wife, Farnaz. He left behind five children and a body of highly acclaimed music. He died just days after completing sessions for a new album. Phillips 66 was released posthumously in August of 2001

The Mamas and The Papas - Monday Monday
John Phillips is the one with the guitar

Mamas & papas John Philips Dead Celebrity
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Early life
Phillips was born in Parris Island, South Carolina. His father was a retired United States Marine Corps officer who won an Oklahoma bar from a fellow Marine in a poker game on the way home from Europe after World War I. His mother was Cherokee Indian and met and married Phillips' father in Oklahoma. According to Phillips' autobiography, Papa John, his father was a heavy drinker who suffered from ill health.

Growing up in Alexandria, Virginia, Phillips was inspired by Marlon Brando and other film stars to be "street tough." He formed a small gang of teenage boys, who also sang doo-wop songs. A poor student but likable kid, he was the star of the basketball team at George Washington High School (Class of 1953), one of the predecessors to today's T. C. Williams High School. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy, but left during his first (plebe) year. He also attended Hampden-Sydney College on a partial athletic scholarship, but dropped out and shortly thereafter married his first of four wives.

Susan Adams was the daughter of a wealthy Virginia family. Together they had a son called Jeffrey and a girl they named (Laura) Mackenzie Phillips.

The Mamas & the Papas
Phillips longed to have success in the music industry and traveled to New York to find a record contract in the early sixties. His first band, The Journeymen, was a folk trio. He developed his craft in Greenwich Village, during the American folk music revival, and met his future The Mamas & the Papas bandmates Denny Doherty and Cass Elliot there. Lyrics of their song "Creeque Alley" describe this period.

While touring California with The Journeymen he met his future second wife, the teenage Michelle Gilliam. Their affair finally forced the dissolution of his first marriage. Phillips was married to Michelle Phillips from 1962 to 1970. They had one child together, Chynna Phillips, the founder of the singing group Wilson Phillips.

Phillips was the primary songwriter and musical arranger of The Mamas & the Papas. Early in the band's history, John and Michelle were responsible for writing most of the band's songs. John would often come up with a melody and some lyrics and Michelle would help him complete the lyrical portion of the song. After being signed to Dunhill Records, they had several Billboard Top Ten hits during the group's short lifetime, including "California Dreamin'"; "Monday, Monday"; "I Saw Her Again"; "Creeque Alley"; and "12:30 (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon)". John Phillips also wrote "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)," the 1967 Scott McKenzie hit that was to become the Summer of Love "anthem." Phillips also wrote the oft-covered "Me and My Uncle," which was the song performed more times than any other over 30 years of Grateful Dead concerts.

The group's popularity rivaled that of The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in the late sixties. Although the band lasted only several short years with five studio albums, the music is recognized today as some of the greatest pop of the 20th century.

The Phillipses became Hollywood celebrities, living in the Hollywood Hills and socializing with stars like Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, and Roman Polanski. The group broke up largely because Cass Elliot wanted to go solo and because of some personal problems between Phillips, Michelle, and Denny Doherty. Michelle had been fired briefly in 1966, for having had affairs with both Denny and Gene Clark, and was replaced for two months by Jill Gibson, their producer Lou Adler's girlfriend. Although Michelle was forgiven and asked to return to the group, the personal problems would continue until the band split up in 1968. Cass Elliot went on to have a successful solo career until her death in 1974.

After: The ups and downs
Phillips released his first solo album Wolfking of L.A. in 1970. The album was not commercially successful, although it did include the minor hit "Mississippi", and Phillips began to withdraw from the limelight as his use of narcotics increased.

Actress Geneviève Waïte became wife number three in 1972. Tamerlane and Bijou Phillips entered the world during this union, which was marked by years of mutual drug abuse, infidelity and failed artistic expression. John produced a Genevieve Waite album, Romance Is On the Rise, that was quickly forgotten. Her acting career fizzled. Phillips persevered by writing music for films and Broadway, creating a musical. It was savagely criticized and closed on Broadway during previews. Phillips moved to London. He began to write new songs in 1973 when Mick Jagger encouraged him to record another solo album. It was to be released on Rolling Stones Records and funded by RSR distributor Atlantic Records. Jagger and Keith Richards would produce and play on the album, as well as former Stone Mick Taylor and future Stone Ronnie Wood. The project was derailed by Phillips' increasing use of cocaine and heroin, substances that he shot into his body, by his own admission, "almost every fifteen minutes for two years". Amazingly, he survived, yet almost everything else in his life, including the new album, was shelved.

In 1975 Phillips, still living in London, was commissioned to create the soundtrack to the Nicolas Roeg film The Man Who Fell to Earth, starring David Bowie. Phillips asked Mick Taylor to help out and the film was released in 1976. Decades later, in 2001, the tracks of the Half Stoned or The Lost Album album were released as Pay Pack & Follow a few months after Phillips death. The record is an interesting collection of vocal harmony, country and rock. Although the album offers a trip back to the 1970s, the record was not noticed by the press and general music buying audience; moreover, Phillips' untimely death prevented any marketing or tour support.

A drug trafficking conviction in 1981 brought the hot glare of public scrutiny. Phillips and his television star daughter Mackenzie made the rounds in the media, instructing kids and their parents how not to become addicts. This public relations campaign helped reduce his prison time; he bargained down to only a month in jail. Upon release, he re-formed The Mamas & the Papas, with his daughter Mackenzie Phillips, Spanky McFarlane (of the group Spanky and Our Gang) and Denny Doherty. Throughout the rest of his life, Phillips toured with various versions of the group.

In 1986, he published a best-seller, his autobiography, Papa John. He was divorced from Waite in 1985. He co-wrote a song for the Beach Boys, "Kokomo" , which became a number one hit in 1988.

In the 1990s, his years of addiction took hold; he had a liver transplant in 1992. Several months later, Phillips was photographed drinking alcohol in a bar in Palm Springs, California, as published in the National Enquirer newspaper. Phillips was questioned about the photo on the Howard Stern radio show, saying "I was just trying to 'break in' the new liver." The Mamas and the Papas were inducted into the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame on Jan 12th, 1998.

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March 11th

Morton Downey, Jr - Talk Show Host

Dead Talk Show HostMorton Downey, Jr. (born Sean Morton Downey; December 9, 1932 - March 12, 2001) was a controversial and influential American television talk show host of the 1980s who pioneered the "trash talk show" format.

Death of Morton Downey, Jr
Morton Downey, Jr was died of lung cancer
Morton Downey, Jr was 67 years old at the time of his death.

Lung cancer of Morton Downey, Jr
In 1996, Downey was diagnosed with lung cancer and had one of his lungs removed. He did a complete about-face on tobacco use, going from a one-time member of the National Smokers Alliance to a staunch anti-smoking activist. He continued to speak against smoking until his death from lung cancer in 2001 at age 67. After being diagnosed with lung cancer, he said, "I had spawned a generation of kids to think it was cool to smoke a cigarette. Kids walked up to me until a matter of weeks ago, they'd have a cigarette in their hand and they'd say, 'Hey, Mort,' or, 'Hey, Mouth, autograph my cigarette.' And I'd do it." He also blamed tobacco companies for lying to consumers about cigarettes.

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Morton Downey Jr - Rock / Metal

Author Adrian Havill later said that Downey's cancer and subsequent anti-smoking commercials, like other celebrity causes for certain diseases, served as a publicity tool

Career
In the 1980s, Downey was working as a talk show host at KFBK-AM in Sacramento, California, where he established his abrasive and much imitated right wing, populist style, relentlessly deriding anyone who disagreed with him or had a liberal point of view. Downey's success, coupled with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, laid the groundwork for more aggressive, opinion-based talk radio. His work led to the "trash talk" genre of Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Ricki Lake and many more. His fight with fellow radio talk show host Wally George (with each charging that the other was not conservative) on George's talk show led to police tackling Downey to the ground.

Downey later headed to Secaucus, New Jersey where his highly controversial television program The Morton Downey Jr. Show was taped for two years before it was canceled for low ratings. (His replacement at KFBK was Rush Limbaugh). The program featured screaming matches among Downey, his guests, and his audience members. He would chainsmoke during the show and blow smoke in his guests' faces. Downey's signature phrases pabulum puker (referring to political liberals) and "zip it!" briefly enjoyed some popularity in the contemporary vernacular. He particularly enjoyed making his guests angry with each other. The Washington Post wrote about him, "Suppose a maniac got hold of a talk show. Or need we suppose?" David Letterman said, "I'm always amazed at what people will fall for. We see this every 10 or 12 years, an attempt at this, and I guess from that standpoint I don't quite understand why everybody's falling over backwards over the guy."

The success of the show made Downey a pop culture celebrity, leading to an appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1988 and later roles in movies such as Predator 2 and Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation. He was also cast in several TV roles, often playing tabloid TV hosts or other obnoxious media types.

Controversies
In 1989, as fascination with Downey's show began to wane, he was involved in an incident in a San Francisco International Airport restroom in which he claimed to have been attacked by neo-Nazis who painted a swastika on his face and attempted to shave his head. Some inconsistencies in Downey's account (e.g., the swastika was painted in reverse, suggesting that Downey had drawn it himself in a mirror), and the failure of the police to find supportive evidence, led many to suspect that the incident was a hoax and a plea for attention. A few months later, the show was canceled.

Downey was sued for allegedly appropriating the words and music to his theme song from two songwriters. He was sued for $40 million after bringing a stripper onto the show and calling her a "slut," a "pig," a "hooker," and a "tramp," saying that she had diseases, and banging his pelvis against hers. At one point, he was arraigned on criminal charges for attacking a gay guest on his show, in a never-aired segment. In another lawsuit, he was accused of slandering a newscaster (a former colleague), and of indecently exposing himself to her and slapping her.

Downey infamously hit Stuttering John with a chair on The Howard Stern Show and punched him.

In interviews, he expressed regret for some of the extreme theatrics of his TV show, saying he had taken things too far. He added that he had been a "bastard." However, he also claimed that his show was of a higher quality and not as "sleazy" as Jerry Springer's.

Attempted comeback
In 1993, Downey attempted a comeback in talk radio on Dallas radio station KGBS, where he would scream insults at his callers. He was also hired as the station's VP of Operations. The following year he had a short-lived television show, Downey, that was similar in theme to his earlier, more popular show. In one episode, Downey claimed to have had a psychic communication with OJ Simpson's murdered ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.

Like his father, Downey pursued music as a career, recording in both pop and country styles. One song, "Green Eyed Girl" scraped the bottom reaches of the Billboard Magazine Country chart, peaking at #95 in 1981. After the success of his talk show, Downey returned to the recording studio to cut an album of songs based on his show, Morton Downey Jr. Sings. The album's only single, "Zip It!" (a catch-phrase from the TV show, used to quiet an irate guest), became a surprise hit on some college radio stations. Following his death, news reports and obituaries incorrectly (according to the Orange County Register) credited him as the composer of "Wipe Out." As of 2007, Downey's official website (and others) continue to make this claim.

Personal life
His parents were also in show business; his father Morton Downey was a popular singer, and his mother Barbara Bennett was a singer and dancer. His aunts included Hollywood film stars Constance and Joan Bennett, from whom he was estranged, and his maternal grandfather was the celebrated matinée idol Richard Bennett. Born into a life of luxury, he was raised next door to the Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

Downey was married four times and had four children from three of those marriages. With wife Helen he had Melissa, with Joan he had daughters Tracey and Kelli, and with fourth wife and widow Lori he had Seanna. He and Lori met when she appeared as a dancer in a show he attended in Atlantic City.

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February 17th

Dale Earnhardt - NASCAR Legend - Race car driver

Nasca driver memorabilia Dale Earnhardt Movie
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Dale Earnhardt NASCAR driverRalph Dale Earnhardt, Sr. (April 29, 1951 – February 18, 2001) was an American race car driver, best known for his career driving stock cars in NASCAR's top division. Earnhardt had four children, Kerry, Kelley Earnhardt Elledge, Dale Jr., and Taylor Earnhardt. His widow, Teresa Earnhardt (whom he married in 1982) is the owner of Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the race team and merchandising corporation Earnhardt founded with her in February of 1980.

Death of Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt died in a last-lap crash during the 2001 Daytona 500.
Dale Earnhardt was 49 years old at the time of his death.

Earnhardt is known for his success in the Winston Cup Series, now known as the Sprint Cup Series. He won seventy-six races (including his only Daytona 500 victory in 1998), and his seven championships are tied for most all-time with Richard Petty. His highly aggressive driving style made him a fan favorite and earned him the nicknames "Ironhead", "Mr. Restrictor Plate", "The Man in Black" and most famously, "The Intimidator."

Dale Earnhardt Crash, 2001

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January 3rd

Les Brown - Big Band Leader who brought Doris Day

Hollywood Walk of Famer 

Death Big band leader Les Brown Famous dead people
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Les Brown Band LeaderLes Brown, Sr. (March 14, 1912 – January 4, 2001) and the Band of Renown are a big band that began in the big band era of the late 1930s and now performs under the direction of his son Les Brown, Jr.

Death of Les Brown
Les Brown's cause of death was not specified to public.
Les Brown was 91 years old at the time of his death. Les Brown Sr. is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.

Biography
"Les Brown and the Band of Renown" brought Doris Day into prominence with their recording of "Sentimental Journey" in 1945. The release of "Sentimental Journey" coincided with the end of WWII in Europe and was the homecoming theme for many veterans. They had nine other number-one hit songs, including "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm."

Les Brown with Doris Day - Lost Horizon