2009 will go down as a year in which we lost a lot of TV giants - Cronkite, McGoohan, Fawcett, McMahon, Montalban, DeLuise, Novak, Hewitt, Bea Arthur. And a lot who may have been giants in other fields, but still had ties to the world of the Toob: John Mortimer, Michael Jackson, Dominick Dunne, Frank McCourt, Philip Jose Farmer, Budd Schulberg, John Hughes, and I'd even add Senator Ted Kennedy in there. Plus so many others.
A few more from the last few days:
ARMY ARCHERD - Hollywood columnist whose work appeared in Daily Variety for fifty years. If there's any one story for which he'll probably be long remembered, it's most likely because he's the one who broke the story about Rock Hudson's illness in 1985.
Army Archerd has long been on the list for eventual induction into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame as he appeared in quite a few dramas and sitcoms, like 'Columbo', as himself. Over the course of this year, I've been thinking that I may just devote 2010 as the Year of the League Of Themselves for the Hall, and Army would definitely, finally make his entrance.
WAYNE TIPPIT - A character actor who'll probably be best remembered by TV audiences for his work on the original 'Melrose Place' as Palmer Woodward. He also is another in a long line of J. Edgar Hoovers in Toobworld. (He played the role twice on 'Dark Skies'.) But for me, it was three episodes of 'The Rockford Files', in which he played FBI Agent Dan Shore, for which I'll always remember him. Perhaps not a giant, but the Citizenry of Toobworld is poorer for his loss......
MIKE BONGIORNO - The name probably means nothing to my American audience, but over in Italy, he was known as that country's "Quiz King". He may have been on the same level as Bob Barker when it comes to the popularity of TV game show hosts.
LARRY GELBART - I can't remember now, what with all of the tributes I've been reading online, where I saw him described as such, but Gelbart was called the Mozart of Comedy Writing. Click off just three credits, and he would be considered a giant - the TV version of 'M*A*S*H', "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum", and "Caesar's Hour". (I'm still unclear if he worked for "Your Show Of Shows" or not. Over the last two days, I've seen conflicting reports.) But there was so much more - I'd love the chance to see "Mastergate" again!
Every so often, someone dies and I feel the task of crafting the appropriate "Hat Squad" tribute to be too daunting. Larry Gelbart is one such legend. So instead, allow me to point you towards the tributes by several of my blogmates:
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.
And one always to be counted on, Mercurie
Ken Levine, who knew Gelbart from the 'MASH' days, will have his remembrance up by Sunday night. I'll post a quick notice of that with the link when it's available......
Good night and may God bless them all.