December 15, 2005

Remembering Those Who Passed in 2005

Thinking back on 2005, I thought I’d compile a list of some of the celebrities who passed away this year. This is by no means a full list, but just a few names and some thoughts about them.

I thank God for giving us this talent and have to understand that God knows what he’s doing by taking them from this earth. Anyhow… here are a few folks I’m thinking about today.

1/23 - Johnny Carson, comedian ("The Tonight Show") age 79 (emphysema)
January 2005 seems so long ago.. I remember reading about Johnny Carson’s death and thinking I was glad he retired in 1992 and was able to maintain a life of semi-privacy for about 13 years. He will always be the host of the Tonight Show in my mind.

2/10 - Arthur Miller, playwright, age 89 (Heart Failure).
When I was in college I directed and played “Biff” in a Laredo Community College version of his “Death of a Salesman.” That said, I saw real actors perform it on stage after that and I knew if I ever met Arthur Miller I’d have to apologize for destroying his play on a small border-town stage.

3/30 - Mitch Hedberg, comedian, age 37 (Heart Failure)
I was completely dissatisfied with the new pool of comedians that could pick up the gauntlet that George Carlin, Bill Cosby, Bill Hicks and Eddie Murphy laid down in the 1980s ad 1990s… until I saw Mitch Hedburg one night on TV. He is a talent that was taken from us before he need to be taken (much like Bill Hicks).

4/29 - Hasil Adkins, Rockabilly One Man Band
While getting into Scott H. Biram.. I was introduced to Hasil Adkins.
His biography says it best: “Hasil (pronounced Hassil ) Adkins has played true lonesome country, hopped up blues, and boogie woogie rockabilly nonstop since 1949. He’s written more than 7,000 songs and can play all of them plus over 2,000 covers from memory! Hasil’s got the rhythm of a speeding freight train, a ready sense of humor, and soul that will find soft spots in even the hardest heart. “ (

8/16 Vassar Carlton Clements
“On August 16th 2005 at 7:20 am Nashville time, the angels in heaven stopped singing for a moment, as they heard the most beautiful music approaching from a distance - the high lonesome sound of Vassar Clements' fiddle.” - (
Vassar Clements is bluegrass music. I had a chance to see him play at The Old Settlers Music Festival a few times… and got to meet him as well. Gentle soul, wonderful musician, and amazing talent. He’s known as the “Father of Hillbilly Jazz.”

10/24 Rosa Parks, "the mother of civil rights" in America, age 92
Fifty years ago (12/1) Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus and therefore made a world of difference. I didn’t witness as much hate as my parents and my daughter won’t witness as much hate as I have because of the act of this brave woman.

11/13 - Eddie Guerrero, WWE wrestler, age 38 (Heart Failure)
The 5’9” 220 lb. Former WWE Champion and Lucha Libre wrestler (he wrestled under a mask as Mascara Magica) died of heart failure in November. He actually published his own Autobiography – “Cheating Death, Stealing Life: The Eddie Guerrero Story” which he talks about his past drug and alcohol addictions and how he arose from the ashes to regain his WWE belt..

11/24 – Pat Morita, actor, age 73 (Natural Causes)…
Mr. Miyagi and Matsuo "Arnold" Takahashi will be missed. Little known fact, he was a stand-up comedian before starting his acting career.

12/10 - Richard Pryor, comedian, age 65
Richard Pryor lived a hard, hard life. He was one of the funniest comedians around… and a damn fine actor. Who else could take trying to commit suicide in a cocaine-induced frenzy (June 1980) and use it in his act…and make it funny? He wrote with Mel Brooks, was The Wizard of Oz in The Wiz and was in David Lynch’s Lost Highway. His 1982 stand-up release Live on the Sunset Strip is legendary. Richard Pryor is legendary.

If you’ve lost a loved one… may God be with you and may your loved one rest in peace knowing that they are remembered.

1 comment:

De Infami said...

Dude, thanks for being the Almighty Bif. This legacy leaves room for us to contemplate your intuitive wisdoms over time.