Tuesday, July 17, 2012

One of those days.

Having a morbid obsession with obituaries might seem a sign of advancing age, but I've followed the obituaries since I was a teen. For me, it's a chance to think about someone I might not have considered in a very long time and to considered how times change. On Sunday, the wonderful actress Celeste Holm died. On Monday, there were six obituaries published of people whose claims to fame I knew.

There were three notable obituaries in popular music. Jon Lord, the keyboard player for Deep Purple, died at the age of 71. Bob Babbitt, one of the bass players in the Motown back-up band The Funk Brothers, died at 74. (Babbitt would not have quibbled that he wasn't quite as influential as James Jamerson, the original bassist for Motown.)

But the biggest name of the musical obituaries is certainly Kitty Wells, the first female superstar of country music with 1952 hit, It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels. It's hard to believe, but no female artist in country had a number one recording before that tune. While I am not the biggest fan of country music in the world, I love the respect the genre shows the pioneers. On Monday, Loretta Lynn posted a tweet calling Wells "the queen of country music" and as great as Loretta and Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton became, Miss Kitty is the queen and she always will be.

A couple of very different writers also had obits published on Monday. Donald J. Sobol wrote the juvenile mystery series starring Encyclopedia Brown and his obit was published Monday, though he died a few days before. Steven R. Covey wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and he died Monday from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident.

William Asher is not best known as a writer, but instead as a director and producer of TV shows.  He directed 100 episodes of I Love Lucy, and then was producer on two big 1960s sitcom hits, The Patty Duke Show and Bewitched, starring his wife Elizabeth Montgomery.

That's a lot of famous people for a 24 hour stretch.

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