Monday, October 28, 2013

Rant #1,072: Newly Departed

Three personalities passed away over the past couple of days.

They say these things happen in threes, but with Noel Harrison passing last week, this makes four significant deaths, so that theory is thrown out the window.

All of these people had their days in the spotlight, faded, came back, faded again, but they all will be well remembered.

You might not know the name Bill Mazer if you live outside of the New York metropolitan area, but he was a major star in these parts.

He was a sports broadcaster, but more importantly, he was the "Maven," a guy who knew his sports inside and out, trivia about those sports, and he was a trailblazer of sorts.

Mazer probably had one of the first call-in sports radio shows in the country, if not the first one, and he also hosted probably the first sports clip show on television, "Sports Extra."

He had an encyclopedic knowledge of not just the four major sports, but many, many other sports.

Mazer was on New York television and radio for years, and his influence is still being felt today by sports radio and outlets like ESPN.

Marcia Wallace looked like your next door neighbor, spoke like your next door neighbor, and carried that through an acting career that lasted about five decades.

She is probably best known as the wacky receptionist on "The Bob Newhart Show," in need of a couch as much as many of his patients on the show.

Wallace, who had had many physical and financial setbacks during her life, came back strong on "The Simpsons," winning an Emmy for her voice portrayal of the teacher on that show.

Almost forgotten, but not by me, was that she played a very small role on probably the most popular episode in sitcom history, as the teacher on the "Getting Davy Jones" episode of "The Brady Bunch."

Lou Reed may not have had many hit records, but his influence on the world of pop and rock music was pretty substantial.

Growing up as a Jewish kid in Freeport, Long Island, Reed gravitated to Manhattan and the wild and wooly New York pop scene in the mid to late 1960s, with all the sex, drugs, and more sex and drugs that that scene popularized.

He was the leader of the Velvet Underground, an amalgam of fellow disenchanted artists who were directly linked to Andy Warhol. Their music celebrated that scene, as evidenced by one of their most popular songs, "Heroin."

He later went solo, had his first and only hit record, "Walk on the Wild Side," and he had been a ubiquitous figure for decades, even without a hit record.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, who lived a hard life, had had liver problems in recent years, and went through a recent liver transplant.

A lot of people probably don't know about a single one of these people, but they all had incredible popularity during their runs, kind of faded into the woodwork, and all came back to one degree or another.

May they all rest in peace.

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