Category Archives: Celebrity/musician deaths

RIP: Hal Ketchum 1953 – 2020

In the early 90’s, Hal Ketchum a Greenwich native in my hometown was a country star who was commercially successful in the mainstream of country music. Thanks to his hit song “Small Town Saturday Night” which is one of the biggest country songs of all time and made Hal a superstar. The album “Past the Point of Rescue” became one of the biggest selling albums of all time because of that song.

When I was a kid in high school, I was a huge fan of Hal’s music. Owned three of his records on CD which I still have sitting on my CD shelf: “Past the Point of Rescue”, “Sure Love” and “Every Little Word”. He was a mainstream star then with those three albums. After those three albums, though, people started losing interest in his music and people totally forgot who he was over the years. Despite all that, he kept releasing records and touring so it wasn’t about the fame and money for him at all. It was about the music for him.

Admittedly, I stopped buying Hal’s albums after “Every Little Word” but I’ve always respected him and admired him. I try to follow his career to see what he’s up to and even though he no longer had the superstar status like he had in the 90’s, he continued to play live up until dementia hit him. He never gave it up. Kept playing and touring until he couldn’t do it anymore. He no longer play those huge arena shows anymore and went back down to playing smaller venues but that didn’t matter. It was about the music for him. He loved performing live. When he perform live before dementia hit him, he was still playing all the hits that was all over country radio. He continued to play live with his longtime guitar player and collaborator, Kenny Grimes.

If you want to listen to real country music, listen to Hal Ketchum. This is what real country is supposed to sound like. Too bad country music doesn’t sound like this anymore.

I got to meet the man briefly myself at a show backstage at the Washington County Fairgrounds back in the 90’s, I think. It was just a “Hello” and a handshake and he signed my CD too which I still have. I’ll never forget that show, though.

We lost another good one. A hometown hero in my hometown of Greenwich, N.Y. Hal had a helluva a voice and his songs were awesome. Definitely an inspiration with my own music as well.

RIP Hal and thanks for the great music.

Kev

RIP Alex Trebek: 1940 – 2020…

I usually don’t get into game shows on TV much over the years… used to watch game shows when I was young. Some of the game shows I used to watch were “Family Feud”, “The Price is Right” w/ Bob Barker as host, “Wheel of Fortune” and of course, there’s “Jeopardy”. Alex Trebek was one game show host that I had the most respect for, though. The guy is legend… one game show host who is iconic.

Alex been hosting “Jeopardy” for over 30 years, started in 1984, I think. Ever since then he remained “Jeopardy” host until he couldn’t do it anymore. He definitely did stayed as host until he died. Last year when he went on national TV and told the whole world he was sick with cancer, that was ballsy and it made me respect him even more. Usually famous people keep these things private but Alex was never afraid to be publicly open about this stuff. Even though he was sick with pancreatic cancer, he continued to host “Jeopardy” for a little while but they were tapings due to the pandemic.

He definitely loved hosting the show “Jeopardy”… it was his passion and you can clearly tell that it wasn’t just for the money for him. He definitely loved the supporters and viewers of “Jeopardy”, that was why he went on the show to talk about his cancer publicly ’cause he didn’t want to leave his viewers wondering.

I definitely watched “Jeopardy” a lot over the years. I’m sure we all did. Now that Alex is gone, I don’t see how the show is gonna survive without him, though. Show is probably gonna go on but I predict the ratings will go down and no one will watch… simply because Alex is irreplaceable, ya know? I think they should just cancel the show but they probably won’t.

2020 took another good one. RIP Alex and thanks.

Kev

RIP: Sean Connery 1930 – 2020…

Yes, Sean Connery was mostly known as the original Bond… he played in 6 Bond films in his career. Some of you probably know by now that Sean Connery passed away yesterday on Halloween day. Predictably, when the news came of Sean’s passing… all people are going to be talking about is mostly his famous role as James Bond. He was the first actor to play Bond, the 007 movies.

Just to remind you all that Sean Connery is way more than just James Bond and most people don’t even know he starred in many other great films over the years. His other well known roles which people probably forgotten were Henry Jones Sr. in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”. Sean only played Henry Jones Sr. once but it was one of his best roles for sure and he was also famous for the role of Captain Ramius in “The Hunt For the Red October” in which he starred alongside Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan. Sean had many other great roles too, though such as “Highlander I and II”, “The Rock” (an action movie that he starred with Nicolas Cage), “Rising Sun”, “Just Cause”, “Entrapment”, “The Untouchables”, etc.

Sean has done movies in pretty much every genre and he wasn’t afraid to star in violent action movies either. I grew up watching Sean Connery movies and every role he has done was enjoyable and entertaining as hell. Not once did he disappoint us with his acting. He killed it in everything he did really. Sean was acting since the 1950’s and retired in early 2000’s with his final film being “The League of the Extraordinary Gentleman”. He never did a live action film ever again after that.

Sean was a genius and he has always been one of my favorites. Loved him in the Highlander movies too which were underrated movies, in my opinion.

2020 took another good one. RIP Sean and thanks for the great films.

Kev

RIP: Eddie Van Halen 1955 – 2020…

Today is a sad day in the rock music world and 2020 did it again. Eddie Van Halen, guitar virtuoso was known to starting the band Van Halen with his brother, Alex. At the start, Eddie and Alex began on the piano at first when they were little kids. Then Eddie got interested in the drums for a little bit until he got interested in the guitar inspired by his brother, Alex. Eddie would learn and practice guitar for hours when growing up. Eddie would even walk around in his home as a teen with his guitar strapped on. Yes, Eddie loved the guitar that much.

Eddie and Alex formed Van Halen in 1972 w/ bassist Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth on the lead vocals. The band released their first record in 1978 which included their hits, “Ain’t Talking About Love”, “You Really Got Me” (the Kinks cover) and their iconic instrumental “Eruption” which became their anthem of some sort.

The band became a commercially successful band in the late 70’s and early 80’s… the Roth era were hit makers and had a string of hits that everyone loves. The band went through some lineup changes over the years and had a few singers come and go. Sammy Hagar joined the band in the late 80’s and stuck with them through the late 90’s. Gary Cherone joined the band as a singer but only made one album with them, “Van Halen III”. Then David Lee Roth re-joined and released their 12th and probably gonna be their last album, “A Different Kind of Truth” released in 2012.

Eddie is one of the most respected guitarists in the history of music. If you play the guitar yourself, you were probably inspired by him. People of all ages loved Eddie’s guitar playing, even little children looked up to him. When you listen to Eddie play, you can’t help but listen and be mesmerized by him. While Eddie was known for his shredding and his two handed-tapping technique, he was also a great rhythm player too which not many people talk about. He wrote some pretty great riffs.

I’ve always been a fan of Van Halen myself. I don’t have all their records but I’ve heard a lot of ’em. I only have a very few Van Halen records in my collection but planning to get more.

Eddie was more than just a guitar genius, he was also a genius at guitar tone and sound. He always knew what he wanted his guitar and amp to sound like. He was definitely a tech genius when it comes to that guitar stuff. I’m sure he played all brands of guitars but one thing no one wants to talk about are his custom signatures that he’s known for… of course, everybody knows his custom Frankenstein guitar with those weird colors but he had other custom guitars too. He also had a few custom guitar amps most notably the 5150. Eddie worked with guitar companies to make him his own guitar signatures. Eddie definitely had a good ear when it comes to sound and tone. He took guitar sound very seriously and was a perfectionist.

Eddie was one of the reasons I play guitar myself, he helped inspired me of course. He’s definitely one of my top 10 favorite guitarists.

Eddie passed today at 65 years old after a long battle with throat cancer. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and his bandmates.

Remember when David Lee Roth said that “Van Halen is finished” and everybody thought he was crazy and never believed him? Well this is a good time for David to say, “I toldyaso”. David wouldn’t talk about Eddie’s health and wouldn’t go any further ’cause he respected Eddie’s privacy. Eddie was a very private man. Everybody knew he had throat cancer but no one knew how he was since he was so private about it. Eddie was one to never talk about his private life publicly and I respect that. He was all about the music.

RIP Eddie and thanks for the great music.

Kev

RIP: Chadwick Boseman 1976 – 2020…

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A young film actor by the name of Chadwick Boseman just passed away of cancer this week. Like most people, I’m shocked and saddened too. While Chadwick was mostly well-known as Black Panther in Marvel, he got well-known for a few other roles such as “42” in which he played baseball hero Jackie Robinson and in “Get on Up” in which he played the godfather of soul, James Brown for that biopic film.

As for his iconic role as Black Panther, he played that character 4 times. The Black Panther character first got its introduction in “Captain America: Civil War” and then the character appeared in the solo film, “Black Panther” and after that two Avengers films.

I wasn’t that crazy about the “Black Panther” solo film but I liked the Black Panther character in “Civil War” and the two Avengers movies “Infinity War” and “Endgame”. I have seen Chadwick in a few other roles such as “42”, “Get On Up” and “Message From the King”. I thought “Message From the King” was a great movie and it’s a Netflix exclusive too. I haven’t seen “Marshall” yet but I should check it out sometime.

Chadwick was a great talent and was too young to go. He died at 43, he was just my age. A big loss in Hollywood and I never saw this one coming like most. RIP Chadwick and thanks for the entertainment. I should give “Black Panther” another look, though and it’s streamable on Disney Plus which I have.

Kev

RIP: Wilford Brimley… 1934 – 2020

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Wilford Brimley was a well known commercial actor… that guy was such a star in commercials like Quaker Oats and commercials about diabetes that he earned a pretty successful film career out of it. He didn’t become a film actor over night, though, as it took him a long road to get there. In the beginning, he had no formal training as an actor and was pretty much self-taught. Like most actors, he got his start in acting through theater on the stage. Then he got casted for “The Waltons” TV show… him starring in those commercials I remember was later in the years.

While Wilford was mostly known as a commercial actor, he had some pretty huge roles in the movie industry though… like he was the leading actor for Ron Howard’s “Cocoon 1 & 2” and I remember watching those two movies a lot when I was young. Loved those two movies but haven’t seen them in a long time. He also had a big role in John Carpenter’s “The Thing” in which he starred alongside Kurt Russell. He also had a big role in the action movie “Hard Target” alongside Jean Claude Van Damme. Yeah, he was definitely in some pretty big movies over the years.

Brimley was also a Mormon as a member of the Later Day Saints and he was also a big Republican voter and conservative.

The year 2020 lost another good talent. The man was a great actor. I definitely remember watching him on TV a lot. “The Thing” is one of my favorite movies, though and he played a great character in it too. Wilford was the best part about that movie.

Kev

 

RIP: Naya Rivera 1987 – 2020…

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I don’t know much about the show “Glee” and never seen it and don’t plan to but the death of Naya Rivera is definitely hearbreaking. She was too young and she’s got a 4 year old son who is going to grow up without a mother.

This could be a big time wake-up call to all you swimmers out there. It doesn’t matter the skill level of a swimmer you are. Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or expert swimmer… something like this could happen to anyone.

The reports aren’t saying anything about what happened out there. She was probably a good deep swimmer which was why she didn’t wear a life-vest… she probably didn’t think she would need one but reading about Lake Piru, it definitely looks dangerous out there. Lake Piru had many deaths and accidents there in the past. Being way out in the lake is very deep, you can’t touch anything… she was probably struggling and went out of breath. Even at lakes can have really strong waves due to strong wind. Not sure how windy it was when that happened to her. Doing a little reading on Lake Piru, it’s a very dangerous lake and from the pictures I’ve seen, looks kind of scary out there too. I can see how it took the police forever to find her…. glad they did, though and now her family can give her proper burial real soon.

I feel bad for her kid, though. He’s only 4 and think what he went through being alone on that boat.

It’s always sad when a young talent dies. My heart goes out to her family and her 4 year old.

Kev

RIP Kelly Preston: 1962 – 2020…

John Travolta is going through another tragedy in his life. The actor himself announced the sad news that his longtime wife and actress, Kelly Preston died after two long years of breast cancer. The couple married in 1991… they had three children together but one of his kids Jett Travolta died at 16. John’s first wife, Diana Hyland also died of breast cancer in 1977.

Kelly is best known for starring as one of the female leads alongside Tom Cruise in “Jerry Maguire”.

Sad news. John may be devastated and hurt but at the same time, she’s no longer suffering. My heart goes out to him and his surviving kids.

Kev

 

 

RIP: Charlie Daniels… 1936 – 2020…

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The country music world just lost one of its biggest legends today. Singer/songwriter, guitarist and filldle/violin player Charlie Daniels passed away of a hemorrhagic stroke in Nashville.

Charlie wrote a lot of big hits in his career over the years but he is obviously “most” well known for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” which was always considered his anthem. You can find that song on his 1979 album, “Million Mile Reflections” and I’m sure you can find that song on any Charlie Daniels greatest hits album, of course. Ever since Charlie wrote that song, it became so big, you heard it on radio everywhere and you continue to hear that song everywhere even to this day. Charlie wrote the song in the late 70’s… the song is so big that I’m sure he played it on every show he played on his tours.

Before Charlie passed, he continued to make music and toured pretty heavily even if he was in his 80’s. His last album was “Night Hawk” released in 2016 but he continued to tour after that.

Charlie was also not afraid to speak out about his politics ’cause as you all know, he had very strong conservative beliefs. His twitter presence was pretty huge in the conservative world. He had a lot of conservative fans ’cause they all admired him for fighting back at liberalism over the years.

There are a lot of liberal music fans… the most die-hard leftists but some of them support Charlie ’cause they can’t deny the musical talent that he had. A lot of leftists just loved him for the music and not his politics and there is nothing wrong with that, though.

I’ve always been a fan of Charlie’s music myself. Used to listen to him all the time back in high school ’cause I had a Greatest Hits album on CD that I used to own but don’t have it anymore, though.

RIP Charlie and thanks for the excellent music and thanks for helping us to fight against liberalism. I’m gonna miss his twitter for sure.

Kev

RIP: Joel Schumacher 1939 – 2020…

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Joel Schumacher movies aren’t for everyone. He’s another one of those directors who you either loved or hated. His movies over the years either got mostly positive or negative reviews. I’m sure a lot of you forgotten that he gave us a lot of movies that we all loved especially the classics, “The Lost Boys” and “St. Elmo’s Fire” those two movies which are part of the Brat Pack in the 80’s.

“The Lost Boys” a cult classic 80’s vampire film that starred Corey Feldman and Corey Haim in the leading roles… the film also starred Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric and a young Alex Winter. The film was a smash hit in the box office when it first came out and it is still the most loved horror/comedy type of film even to this day. The DVD/BluRay sales of that film sold pretty well over the years. If you’re a huge horror fan and don’t like “The Lost Boys” then what’s wrong with you? It’s definitely one of Joel’s best films in his career.

Joel was also responsible for taking over the Batman franchise as he directed “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin”. He took over the franchise after Tim Burton and Michael Keaton no longer involved. I thought “Batman Forever” was pretty good but hated “Batman & Robin” like everyone else.

Joel gave us other great movies too like “Falling Down” with Michael Douglas, “8MM” with Nicolas Cage, “Phone Booth” w/ Colin Farrell and he did another classic “Flatliners” with Kevin Bacon. He also did a few films based on John Grisham books. He also did the 2004 remake of “Phantom of the Opera” which was also pretty cool.

Schumacher was a great talent and he was one of those who wasn’t afraid to make the movies he wanted. I thought his best films, in my opinion were probably “The Lost Boys”, “Falling Down” and “8MM”. I’d like to add those three films to my BluRay collection at some point.

Another sad loss in Hollywood. Schumacher was great.

Kev