Shazaam, Shazaam, Shazaam … Gomer Pyle Dead at 87

Sylacauga, Alabama’s favorite son has died. The rest of the world mourns with his hometown.

Jim Nabors, fondly remembered for his role as kindly but clumsy Marine Gomer Pyle, will no longer make us laugh with his trademark exclamations of “Surprise,” “Shazaam,” or “Gollllll-ly.”

Jim was a homosexual, but I doubt that even Muslims would want to throw him off a building. He kept his sexual activities to himself and never campaigned for “gay rights.” That’s to his credit. I do recall that in 1967 it was widely rumored that Jim Nabors and Rock Hudson had gotten “married.” Everyone knew, even then.

He leaves behind his “husband” with whom he had lived for 38 years.

CBS News

HONOLULU — Jim Nabors, the shy Alabaman whose down-home comedy made him a TV star as Gomer Pyle and whose surprisingly operatic voice kept him a favorite in Las Vegas and other showplaces, died Thursday. He was 87.

Nabors, who underwent a liver transplant in 1994 after contracting hepatitis B, died peacefully at his home in Hawaii after his health had declined for the past year, said his husband, Stan Cadwallader, who was by his side.

JIM WITH STAN CADWALLADER.

Cadwallader told CBS News that Nabors’ underwent a series of tests on Wednesday, but the decision was made to bring him home from the hospital.

“Everybody knows he was a wonderful man. And that’s all we can say about him. He’s going to be dearly missed,” Cadwallader said.

The coroner has not yet released Nabors’ cause of death, but Cadwallader said it appears to be from natural causes.

The couple married in early 2013 in Washington state, where gay marriage had recently been made legal. Nabors’ friends had known for years that he was gay, but he had never said anything to the media.

“It’s pretty obvious that we had no rights as a couple, yet when you’ve been together 38 years, I think something’s got to happen there, you’ve got to solidify something,” Nabors told Hawaii News Now at the time. “And at my age, it’s probably the best thing to do.”

Nabors became an instant success when he joined “The Andy Griffith Show” in the early 1960s. The character of Gomer Pyle, the unworldly, lovable gas pumper who would exclaim “Gollllll-ly!” proved so popular that in 1964 CBS starred him in “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

In the spinoff, which lasted five seasons, Gomer left his hometown of Mayberry to become a Marine recruit. His innocence confounded his sergeant, the irascible Frank Sutton.

Audiences saw another side of Nabors in appearances in TV variety programs — his booming baritone. The contrast between his homespun humor (“The tornado was so bad a hen laid the same egg twice”) and his full-throated operatic arias was stunning.

For two seasons beginning in 1969, CBS presented “The Jim Nabors Hour” on which he joshed with guest stars, did sketches with Sutton and fellow “Gomer” veteran Ronnie Schell, and sang country and opera.

Offstage, Nabors retained some of the awed innocence of Gomer. At the height of his fame in 1969, he admitted, “For the first four years of the series, I didn’t trust my success. Every weekend and on every vacation, I would take off to play nightclubs and concerts, figuring the whole thing would blow over some day.

“You know somethin’? I still find it difficult to believe this kind of acceptance. I still don’t trust it.”

After the end of his variety show, Nabors continued earning high salaries in Las Vegas showrooms and in concert theaters across the country. He recorded more than two dozen albums and sang with the Dallas and St. Louis symphony orchestras.

During the 1970s he moved to Hawaii, buying a 500-acre macadamia ranch. He still did occasional TV work, and in the late 1970s, he appeared 10 months annually at Hilton hotels in Hawaii. The pace gave him an ulcer.

“I was completely burned out,” he later recalled. “I’d had it with the bright lights.”

In the early 1980s, his longtime friendship with Burt Reynolds led to roles in “Stroker Ace,” ”Cannonball II” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”

He returned to concert and nightclub performances in 1985, though at a less intensive pace.

“It was kind of like ‘The Twilight Zone’ for me, all of us standing there in costumes, the girls in spangles, no tops,” he told The Associated Press during his comeback stint at the Las Vegas Hilton. “I looked around and told the girls, ‘I’m used to being on the back of a tractor, then to be dropped into the midst of this! It’s kind of weird.'”

Among his regular gigs was singing “Back Home Again in Indiana” at the Indianapolis 500 each year, which he first did in 1972. The first time, he wrote the lyrics on his hand so he wouldn’t forget.

“I’ve never thought of (the audience reaction) as relating to me,” Nabors said. “It’s always relating to the song and to the race. It is applauding for the tradition of the race and the excitement.”

Illness forced him to cancel his appearance in 2007, the first one he had missed in more than 20 years. He was back performing at Indy in 2008, saying, “It’s always the main part of my year. It just thrills you to your bones.”

Nabors was an authentic small-town Southern boy, born James Thurston Nabors in Sylacauga, Alabama, in 1930, son of a police officer. Boyhood attacks of asthma required long periods of rest, during which he learned to entertain his playmates with vocal tricks.

After graduating from the University of Alabama, he worked in New York City for a time, and later, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was an assistant film editor and occasional singer at a TV station.

Nabors moved on to Hollywood with hopes of using his voice. While cutting film at NBC in the daytime, he sang at night at a Santa Monica club.

“I was up there on the stage the night that Andy Griffith came in,” Nabors recalled in 1965. “He said to me afterward, ‘You know somethin,’ boy? You’re good. I’m going to bring my manager around to see you.'”

In 1991, Nabors got a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in ceremonies attended by pals Carol Burnett, Loni Anderson, Phyllis Diller and Florence Henderson. His reaction? “Gollll-ly!”

Breaking: David Cassidy Dead at 67

Millions of elderly and near-elderly white women will be crying tonight.

Go ahead. There’s nothing wrong with fondly remembering the boy you had a crush on 40 some odd years ago.

TMZ

David Cassidy, the ‘Partridge Family’ heartthrob who sold millions of records and became the fantasy of millions of girls, is dead.

Cassidy died in a Florida hospital after his organs failed.
TMZ broke the story, David was in need of a kidney transplant but ultimately doctors said it was futile. His liver and other organs shut down and early Sunday his son and ex-wife were summoned to the hospital to say goodbye.

Cassidy was a multi-faceted entertainer … from singing, to acting to Broadway to Vegas. “The Partridge Family” hit like an earthquake and catapulted him to stardom. The show ran from 1970 – 1974 and produced hits like “I Think I Love You,” “Come On Get Happy,” and “Doesn’t Somebody Want to Be Wanted.”

David reluctantly auditioned for the role of the guitar-playing Keith Partridge and producers cast him not even knowing if he could carry a tune.

After “The Partridge Family” ran its course, David recorded a number of solo hits, including the remakes of “Cherish,” “How Can I Be Sure” and “Rock Me Baby.”

He took the starring role on Broadway in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” from 1983 to 1984.

David was the son of actor Jack Cassidy and Broadway performer Evelyn Ward.

David guest starred in a number of TV series, including “The F.B.I.” “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” “Ironside,” “Bonanza” and “Medical Center.”
Cassidy battled alcoholism for most of his adult life.

He’s survived by son Beau, daughter Katie — who stars in “Arrow” — half-brothers Shaun, Patrick and Ryan, step-mother and co-star Shirley Jones and ex-wife Sue Shifrin-Cassidy.

RIP

Charles Manson Dead at 83 After 46 Years in Prison

I’ve pulled together a set of pictures related to Charles Manson and his murders from various sources.

The larger meaning of Manson’s life has been explored in books and other media.

His ability to bring death and ruin lives is the stuff of legends.

What happens now that he’s dead is up to us. I presume his grave site is not going to be revealed to the public lest it become a shrine to his many sick fans.

One more thing. Manson’s victims probably include more people than are mentioned in the NBC story.

NBC “News

Charles Manson, the sinister hippie cult leader who declared himself “the Devil” and dispatched his followers to commit a series of Hollywood murders in 1969 that shocked the country, died Sunday night in a California hospital, state officials told NBC News. He was 83 years old.

Manson died at 8:13 p.m. (11:13 p.m. ET) at a hospital in Kern County, said a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Debra Tate, the sister of one of the Manson family’s victims, the actress Sharon Tate, told NBC News that authorities called her about 8:30 p.m. to inform her that Manson was dead.

“One could say I’ve forgiven them, which is quite different then forgetting what they are capable of,” Tate said. “It is for this reason I fight so hard to make sure that each of these individuals stays in prison until the end of their natural days.”

Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County, said Sunday night: “Today, Manson’s victims are the ones who should be remembered and mourned on the occasion of his death.”

For many Americans, Manson became the living embodiment of evil, and he was once dubbed by Rolling Stone magazine “The Most Dangerous Man Alive.”

Even behind bars, he exerted an almost magnetic influence over other members of the “Manson Family,” and the madness and depravity of his crimes continued to intrigue generations of people who were born long after “Helter Skelter” became part of the vernacular.

Manson was sentenced to death in 1970 for directing the brutal murders of Tate and six other people, but he was spared two years later and was sentenced to life behind bars when California did away with the death penalty.

Later, Manson survived being severely burned by another inmate who poured paint thinner on him and set him ablaze. But in the end, the incorrigible inmate who repeatedly ran afoul prison officials for drugs and other offenses.

“Why did the Manson legend live on? It’s because Manson lived on,” pop culture expert Robert Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television & Popular Culture at Syracuse University, told NBC News before Manson died.

Manson just fascinated Americans, many of whom first laid eyes on him when he was on trial and had carved an X into his forehead, which that he later turned into a swastika, Thompson said.

“With those eyes and that tattoo, Manson just seemed to be the dictionary definition of crazy,” he said. “That photo of Manson really captured so much of the dark side of the American id.”

Born Charles Miller Maddox on Nov. 12, 1934, in Cincinnati, Manson was the son of an unmarried 16-year-old girl and wound up taking the last name of a man his mother later married. He had a miserable childhood, and by time he was 9 years old, he was already stealing cars and committing other crimes.

After spending his teenage years in various juvenile detention facilities, a newly released and 19-year-old Manson married a waitress and fathered a son he named Charles Manson Jr.

By 1956, Manson was divorced and doing time in a California prison for stealing cars. Released two years later, he married for a second time and fathered a second son, whom he named Charles Luther Manson. That union also ended in divorce when Manson was dispatched again to prison, this time for pimping and conning women out of money.

During his second stint, Manson befriended Alvin “Creepy” Karpis — a former member of Ma Barker’s infamous gang — who taught him how to play steel guitar and planted in him the notion that he could one day be a famous musician.

So when Manson was released in 1967, he headed north to San Francisco and then back Los Angeles, where he tried to launch a musical career. He wrote music and hung out with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, who recorded one of his songs on the band’s “20/20” album as “Never Learn Not to Love.”

Through Wilson, Manson met the record producer Terry Melcher, son of the actress Doris Day, who he hoped would help him launch his musical career. But that went nowhere.

In the meantime, Manson began gathering followers, and they decamped in November 1968 for the Spahn Ranch, a spot northwest of the San Fernando Valley, where they westerns were filmed back in the 1940s and the 1950s. There, they spent a lot of time tripping on LSD and swapping sexual partners.

It was here that Manson got it into his head that the Beatles song “Helter Skelter” and the Bible’s Book of Revelation were predicting a race war. It was also here that he hatched an evil plan to commit a series of murders that he believed would spark a final confrontation between blacks and whites in America.

“Now is the time for Helter Skelter,” Manson declared on Aug. 8, 1969.

Manson told four of his female followers — Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkle and Linda Kasabian — to grab their knives and head over to what he believed was Melcher’s home at 10050 Cielo Drive. His orders were to kill everybody inside.

But Melcher no longer lived there. Instead, they found a pregnant Tate — the wife of the Polish director Roman Polanski — and four other people: Wojtek Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent and Abigail Folger. And when it was over, they were all dead.

Police reported that four of the victims had been stabbed a total of 102 times and that the fifth had been shot to death.

The next day, Manson’s followers butchered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their home. The words “Death to Pigs” and “Helter Skelter” (misspelled) were found printed on a wall and a refrigerator door.

Arrested several months later, Manson showed up in court in June 1970 with an X carved into his forehead. Soon, the women on trial with him — Atkins, Van Houten and Krenwinkle — branded themselves with Xs in a sick show of solidarity.

Manson turned his trial into a circus, at one point leaping across the defense table in an attempt to attack the judge. His co-defendants, along with family members not on trial, tried to intimidate and prevent witnesses from testifying.

“The music is telling the youth to rise up against the establishment,” Manson declared when he took the stand.

Manson and three co-defendants were found guilty. When it was over, Manson spoke directly to America.

“Mr. and Mrs. America — you are wrong,” he said. “I am not the King of the Jews, nor am I a hippie cult leader. I am what you have made me, and the mad dog devil killer fiend leper is a reflection of your society. … Whatever the outcome of this madness that you call a fair trial or Christian justice, you can know this: In my mind’s eye, my thoughts light fires in your cities.”

During the penalty phase of his trial, Manson showed up in court with a new look — a shaved head — and a sick new boast.

“I am the devil, and the devil always has a bald head,” Manson declared.

In the years that followed, Manson — inmate B-33920 — gave several interviews, including one in 1987 at San Quentin State Prison, parts of which MSNBC aired 20 years later. Then, in 2014, it was revealed that Manson and Afton Elaine “Star” Burton, 26, who had been visiting him in prison for at least nine years, were engaged. But the wedding license expired a year later without a marriage ceremony’s having taken place.

By law, Manson was required to have a parole hearing every seven years. But it was such a given that Manson would never be allowed to leave prison that he stopped attending them

CHARLES MANSON, AGE 5.

Fats Domino: Black Singer Greatly Respected by Southern Whites has Died at 89

THE HOME THAT FATS BUILT IN NEW ORLEANS LOWER NINTH WARD.

That’s Fats Domino’s old lower ninth ward home in New Orleans that you see above. It was underwater during the post Katrina flooding that covered the lower ninth.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven by that home as a kid and young adult.

Everyone in New Orleans knew that was Fats’ home on Caffin Avenue, about a block off St. Claude and behind the big (for its day) Puglia’s supermarket.

You couldn’t miss it. I recall it having a purple tile roof back in the day. He had it built the way he wanted it in the neighborhood he always called home.

Fats could have lived in a fancy house in a white area, but that wasn’t what he wanted. The lower ninth was always run down and poverty stricken and all black. Those were his people and the streets that he knew best.

Southern white people liked his music. I never heard anyone run him down or even acknowledge his race. He transcended race.

Fats died on Tuesday at age 89.

You can read the reporting by the big local news site, published at NOLA.com.

Here’s just two of many of the hits that Fats had when he topped the charts. RIP, Fats.

Rich Piana, “Racist” Bodybuilding Champion Dies

Rich Piana admits taking steroids. Still want to be a bodybuilder kiddies?

Sky News

Celebrity bodybuilding champion Rich Piana has died two weeks after he was placed in a medically induced coma.

The 46-year-old’s death was confirmed on Friday morning in a Facebook post by his estranged wife Sara Piana.

She wrote: “I’m in tears writing this that @1dayumay has just passed away.

“I can barely believe this… I am so saddened & heartbroken that he didn’t make it.”

I'm in tears writing this that @1dayumay has just passed away. I can barely believe this… I am so saddened & heartbroken that he didn't make it. I just want to say THANK YOU Rich for teaching me so much about life, whether it was the easy or the hard way. We had our ups and downs but we sure had an awesome time in each other's presence along with us fighting through some dark times together. You truly touched many people's heart and helped so many!!! It inspired me in many ways to see the huge impact you had on people all over the world. Not many people know that me and him are STILL legally married till this day despite all rumors. I have NOTHING to gain by saying that but want everyone to know the truth. I know that people say stuff on social media but I truly am not the "bad" person people think I am. I actually saved Rich's life 1 time before, glad I was there for him at that time. Rich, I hope you feel better now in heaven and that you're up there healthy, smiling & telling everyone "how it is, being REAL & doing your thing". Rest In Peace my dear husband. #GoneButNeverForgotten #RichPiana #RIP 😢 🙏🏼❤️. P.S. I want to wish my deepest condolence to Chanel @c_no5 and thanking her for being there for him, loving him & showing him support. You're an angel. We will all miss him so much, may his soul & spirit Rest In Peace Forever🙏🏼. 1970 – 2017. XOXO Sara Piana. . . . #Repost @1dayumay (@get_repost) ・・・ Great weekend together @sara.piana and I had some nice time together since we didn't film the Bigger By The Day videos over the weekend!! It was some much needed quality time together!! Your time is everything and make sure you spend it right it's something you can't get back! #welcometoourworld #whateverittakes #livinthedream #loveitkillit #1dayumay #richpiana #queenofbeautykingofbeast #love #whateverittakes

A post shared by Sara Heimis 👑 (@sara.ice.queen) on

Piana, a former Mr California, collapsed at his home on 10 August while having a haircut, TMZ reported.

He was rushed to hospital and placed in a medically induced coma.

His girlfriend, Chanel Jansen, shared an update on 17 August.

She wrote: “The worldwide outpouring to send Rich voicemails and messages to have played or read to him is overwhelming! We can’t thank you all enough for your continued support during this time.

“The only update I’m permitted to give at this time is that he is alive, he is okay, and the excellent medical professionals here as well as myself and his close loved ones are doing all we can to get him back to a full recovery.”

Piana had more than 1.2 million followers on his Instagram page and posted images of his physique as well as bodybuilding advice on social media.

Last year, he admitted using anabolic steroids over long periods to help him gain muscle mass.

In a YouTube video in April 2016, he said: “If you have the choice to stay natural or do steroids, stay natural. There’s no reason to do steroids, you’re only hurting your body, you’re hurting yourself.

“If you want to become a professional bodybuilder, guess what – you’re probably going to have to f****** do ’em. You’re not going to have a choice.”

Bottles of testosterone were found by police at his home, according to TMZ.

It was unclear what caused his collapse.

“Unclear?” An autopsy report should make it clear that illegal drugs have claimed another life. From women doing lip surgery, boob jobs, and butt implants to men and their muscle building drugs, America is the most narcissistic, foolish culture in the history of the world.

Deadspin’s obituary provides an in-depth look at the big man who was in terms of muscle larger than life. Here’s an excerpt.

Piana was outsized in every way. His death makes sense from a logical standpoint: He was a leviathan of a man whose heart strained just from waking up in the morning. His organs were bloated and fatigued from his unusually heavy steroid cycles, which he famously posted for all to see. Bodybuilders, even ones much smaller than Piana, don’t typically make it long enough to become AARP members.

His passing is shocking anyway. Maybe it’s because Keith Richards types—people who defy the odds of their lifestyle to outlive those who do boring stuff like jog and eat boiled chicken breast—are so lionized. The few pickled humans who roll lucky on the longevity odds get so much attention that the mean outcome can be shocking.

He was far from a perfect man. Months before his death, a decade-old recording of a virulently racist rage-filled tirade to an ex-girlfriend surfaced. In the year before, he slap-boxed a learning-disabled Youtuber who had ordered a massive harassment campaign on Piana and his then-wife. In short, he had done some things you may expect from a SoCal guy who looked like he did.

Rich Piana apologizes for a racist outburst that was on audio tape. He blames an ex-girlfriend for the scandal. Every other word in the video is the F-word.

Comedian Joseph Levitch Has Died

In general, I’ve stopped doing celebrity obituaries. However, who could not feel a little of his or her childhood melt away today when it was announced that Jerry Lewis (born Joseph Levitch) had died at age 91.

NBC News has run a photo essay tribute to the man who acted like a child.

Here’s four more from the 26 photo tribute.

Insofar as I am aware Jerry never went into the dirty type of so-called humor that characterizes comedy today. The last I heard a couple of months ago I think he was defending President Trump in an interview. Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but I never heard any animosity toward white people from him.

Here are a few selected quotes from Jerry:

Link to Wikipedia page on Jerry Lewis

Depressed Youtube & VH1 Celebrity Stevie Ryan Commits Suicide by Hanging

For those of us who do not watch TV nor follow Internet youth celebrities, the suicide of Stevie Ryan is pretty much just a news item easily skipped over.

I saw the headlines and a picture of her last night on several sites I comb through for news and the thought that maybe she was a tranny flashed through my mind. It seems that there’s usually a social justice warrior angle to most youth stories today and the name “Stevie Ryan” suggests some sort of gender issue celebrity.

It turns out that I was wrong and that her angst of the moment was not gender bending, but depression. The Western media promotes mental problems by glorifying those who have them. The ghouls prefer a zombie population unable to work who spend their days on social media boosting the count of eyeballs to help sell advertising.

Fox News

Viral video star Stevie Ryan is dead at the age of 33 years old. She died by hanging inside her home on July 1, according to the Los Angeles Coroner’s office’s website.

Her last tweet was in remembrance of her grandfather on June 30.

“The man of my dreams will now only be in my dreams. I’ll miss you everyday, forever. I love you my Pa.”

Beneath the message, followers flooded the departed TV personality’s page with shock of her death.

“Just saw the horrible news. Sorry you were having a rough time Stevie. RIP beautiful girl.”

“Goodbye sweetheart. I’m sorry it came to this. Rest in heaven.”

Ryan was outspoken about her struggle with depression on social media, and created and co-hosted a podcast about depression called “Mentally Ch(ill)” with Kristen Carney.

The Californian native gained fame on YouTube with her impersonations of celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Amy Winehouse and Justin Bieber. She then got her own sketch comedy show on VH1, “Stevie TV,” and co-hosted a relationship talk show with Brody Jenner.

The “fans” (short for fanatics) of these so-called celebrities honestly think they’re in a relationship with them by following their Twitter pages, their youtube channels, and so forth.

While the Internet has its positive side, this sort of fake intimacy is a huge downer.

I have nothing against this woman or her fans. I’m just a cultural analyst trying to make sense of an insane world.

RIP.