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In Memoriam: Celebrity Deaths Of 2012

This year the world said goodbye to many famous public figures and celebrities. We can’t cover them all here in a blog but I will cover those who made contributions to the CBS Television Network that has made it the most successful television network in the history of mankind:

Dick Clark. Passed away April 18, 2012. While he was predominately on ABC with American Bandstand and the Rockin New Year’s Eve show, Clark hosted the $25,000 Pyramid on CBS Daytime. He was not only a terrific host who knew what was on the minds of teenagers, but also a prolific producer of TV specials such as the Academy Of Country Music Awards, Daytime Emmy Awards show, and the Golden Globe Awards. I had the good fortune to meet Dick Clark in Las Vegas at the annual convention of the National Association of Television Programming Executives. He couldn’t have been nicer to a perfect stranger! Of course, I was about to be his client!

Richard Dawson. Passed away June 2, 2012. While most people remember him as the host the ABC daytime series “Family Feud”, he was a co-star on CBS’s “Hogan’s Heroes”, a sitcom about a bunch of World World II allies in a German prison camp, Stalag 17, with Bob Crane as the star of the show and head prisoner, having fun beating the Germans and making the commandant, Col. Klink (Werner Klemperer) look like an idiot. A very successful show on CBS that ran from 1965-1971. He was also a game show panelist on CBS’s The Match Game that aired in the 1970’s, hosted by the late Gene Rayburn.

Andy Griffith. Passed away July 3, 2012. People remember him best in two roles: as Sheriff Andy Taylor in CBS’s The Andy Griffith Show and as attorney Ben Matlock on NBC’s Matlock. The Griffith show was a spinoff from CBS’s The Danny Thomas Show, a/k/a Make Room For Daddy. It was producer Sheldon Leonard who is credited for creating the TV “spinoff”. The Griffith Show ran from 1960-1968, at which time Griffith left the series and it spun in a short lived series called Mayberry RFD, starring Ken Berry.

Sherman Hemsley. Passed away July 24, 2012. Best known for his role as the loud mouth talking George Jefferson, the man who was “moving on up to the East side” of New York with his cleaning business. His TV wife was Isabel Sanford who I had lunch with some 20 years ago at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles at the INTV convention. The Jeffersons was a huge hit for CBS from 1975-1985 and was a spinoff from another CBS social comedy, “All In The Family” since the Jeffersons were neighbors of Archie Bunker. He also starred as Deacon Ernest Frye in the NBC series “Amen” who had the reserved parking space with the sign, “Don’t Even THINK About Parking Here!”

Chad Everett Passed away July 24, 2012. Everett starred in a number of memorable TV series: Medical Center On CBS from 1969-1976 and made several guest star appearances on CBS’s Murder She Wrote.

Neil Armstrong. Passed away August 25, 2012. First man on the moon. While not a actor on a CBS series, he was definitely prominent on CBS News’ coverage of the moon landing with one of his biggest fans being CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, who, when hearing that the spaceship landed successfully, just went “whew!!” . Cronkite was speechless!

Larry Hagman. Passed away November 23, 2012. Born in Fort Worth on September 21, 1931 to actress Mary Martin, Hagman first became famous on TV as Major Tony Nelson on the NBC sitcom, I Dream Of Jeannie, with the starring role going to Barbara Eden. The series ran from 1965-1970. But it was his role as Texas oil mogul J.R. Ewing, the man audiences loved to hate. This series was a big blockbuster for CBS from 1978-1991. In an interview with CBS News correspondent Dan Rather, the late CBS founder and chairman William S. Paley said, “If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it’s that the success of a TV show is dependant on how likeable the characters are, whether they are a good guy or a villain. You have to like them.” And we liked J.R. Ewing even though he was evil and perverted!

Gentlemen, thank you for your incalculable contributions to CBS, the entertainment industry, and to the people you entertained for some many years. God bless you and keep you.

See you next time.

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