The end of the year always seem to bring the death of some of the most important people in the sport, entertainment, and political venues of our lives. Personally, it can be a sad time in happy days, but I always try to put a good spin on those that have had some influence on my life.
The passing of actress Debbie Reynolds was a big time death. Growing up in a family that attended movies, lots of movies, at the theater, Debbie Reynolds was a favorite even for a young boy back in the late 1950’s and 1960’s. “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” was an all-time favorite as I viewed it when it opened at the Tower Theater on Northwest 23rd Street in Oklahoma City. My Mom and Sister never missed Ms. Reynold’s movies and I usually tagged along. “Molly Brown” was a special production and was excellent. I will always remember Harve Presnell, Ms. Reynolds love interest in the movie and was happy to see Mr. Presnell later in a great movie, Steven Speilbergs’s “Saving Private Ryan”, one of the best movies ever. Debbie Reynolds was a fine actress but a better performer…..that is, she could sing and dance with the best. And from reports, a wonderful person.
Knowing that Ms. Reynolds death was one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed was in truth sad, but as Ms. Reynolds son said, she is now with her daughter. Fisher was not a great actor, had many personal problems, and not considered an “A” star in pictures unlike her mon. But Fisher was a first class writer, in books and screenplays, and was even a better icon than her mother, being the first lady in the “Star Wars” world. Fisher was, in truth, a good person and lived a life that should be celebrated in her accomplishments as much as her mother. Fisher was a “real” human being, flawed, but like her mom, a person that influenced others. No phoney person here. The real deal just like her mother.
George Michael, 53, was a significant singer of the past thirty years. He was talented as any. And like most, was a man with problems. But after reading about him the past few days I can say that his generosity with charities was nothing to take a pass on. He made people’s lives better through his donations. A man that lived a hard life, as we all can name those that allow drugs take them down. But I will not rag on him.
Zsa Zsa Gabor was 99 when she passed a few days before Christmas. I think she had more personality than her sister Eva Gabor, yet I liked “Green Acres” because of the sister and the pig Arnold. And Mr. Haney was the best. Zsa Zsa was better on the talk shows as I grew up, always classy and beautiful, even if she was somewhat older than I liked at ten years old…..yes, it is true that I cried when Marilyn Monroe died and I was eight. She was my first “woman” that I had “feelings” for, other than my Mother. And feelings come in different shades. The Gabor sisters were like Monroe, special and they snapped necks when when they walked in a room.
We lost LaVell Edwards today, the Hall-of-Fame football coach of the Brigham Young University Cougars. Edwards was always a favorite coach of mine and his death at 86 tells me time is ticking. Hell, he was only 23 years older than I am. He could have been my Daddy. No, I am not Mormon and I have only one wife and my Mother was not a Mormon either. Edwards, you were a great coach.
Jimbo Elrod passed a in a car accident a few days ago. Mr. Elrod was a personal fan favorite for most Oklahoma Sooners fans as the All-American linebacker and All-American college wrestler was like a Russell Westbrook on the field and the mat. He never gave up and always hit the hardest this side of Rod Shoat. I remember an interview that Elrod gave to a reporter the Sunday after OU had pulled out a close win at Iowa State. The Cyclones has gone up on the Sooners very late in the close fought game and as the ‘Clones lined up for the extra point Elrod asked the Iowa State player across the line of scrimmage why he looked dejected even after taking the lead. The Iowa State player told Jimbo, “it really does not matter, you ‘all will beat us anyway. You always beat us.” Elrod told the reporter that he too knew they would win and that was why OU was OU and other teams would most always lose to them. Their opponents were already beat before the first snap of the ball. Elrod’s statement was true.
Hopefully the New Year will get here sooner than later. I do not like hearing about another death in 2016.