Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Five People I Didn't Realize Were Still Alive

In the past week I've seen news items about a couple of people I didn't realize were still walking the planet. I always feel guilty about that, so consider this post a public apology. If you feel the need to apologize to anyone else who isn't dead yet, feel free to do so in the comments section.

1. Manuel Noriega, b. 1934. Military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1990, he was sentenced in 1992 to 40 years in U.S. federal prison, later reduced to 30 years and then cut to 17 years of time served for good behavior. Although his U.S. sentence ended in 2007, he remained in custody pending extradition to France, where he faces money laundering charges. The extradition to France happened earlier this week, and it was startling to see his face on television again. I hadn't thought about Manuel Noriega in at least 15 years.

2. Jerry Lee Lewis, b. 1935. The man has packed enough living for several lifetimes into his 75 years, and he's still touring. He's been a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame since 1986, and Rolling Stone called his box set one of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Well-publicized health and legal problems in the last decade seem to have been resolved, so I haven't seen him in the news for a while — but he is very much alive.

3. Doris Day, b. 1922. She made her last feature film, With Six You Get Eggroll, in 1968; a TV series called "The Doris Day Show" ended in 1973, and she made her last TV special in 1975. Except for a short-lived talk show in 1985, she has been a private citizen since then, working hard for various animal welfare organizations. "The Doris Day Show" is now available on DVD, and Ms. Day recorded an audio commentary for the fifth season in 2006. Divorced three times and widowed once, she lives outside Carmel, California.

4. Noam Chomsky, b. 1928. Linguist, philosopher, political activist and still a professor emeritus at MIT; I just read an interview in which he compared the rise of the far-right in the U.S. to political developments in Weimar Germany. Yes, it sounds far-fetched, but in the light of the new Arizona immigration law, it's hard to disagree with this: "There it was the Jews. Here it will be the illegal immigrants and the blacks. We will be told that white males are a persecuted minority. We will be told we have to defend ourselves and the honor of the nation . . . I have never seen anything like this in my lifetime."

5. Joe Namath, b. 1943. "Broadway Joe" was elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1985, in honor of a spectacular 12-year career with the New York Jets (and one last season with the L.A. Rams). I don't know why I didn't realize he was still with us, but the fact that he got his lifetime achievement award 25 years ago probably has something to do with it. He had short stints in television and sports broadcasting, and was notoriously overserved at a Jets game in 2003, where he propositioned a female sports reporter on live television. He lives in Florida.


Anonymous said...

I would have sworn Jack Klugman was dead until I heard on the radio yesterday that he just turned 88 non-dead years old!

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Hmmm. When I read Jerry Lee Lewis I thought you had written Jerry Lewis, who is still alive I gather. This list did make me think of Keith Richards however. How the hell has he survived this long? Love the man, really. But how does he do it?

studio girl said...

Thank God Doris Day is alive and well!
I share your interest in DORIS DAY! Enjoyed your blog and wanted to tell you and ALL Doris Day fans about the weekly DORIS DAY & FRIENDS radio show from FredNetRadio - this station can be heard world-wide by going to:

Click on Live Streaming

FredNetRadio chose MIKE DeVITA, a long-time friend and fan of Miss Day to host this great radio show - The live show is on Sundays @ 3:00PM (EST) with an encore @ 3:00PM, 8:00PM and Midnight on Wednesdays. Mike gives great commentary about Doris and her music and he plays at least 20+ songs and often more if the show goes way longer than an hour. It is definitely musical history with DORIS DAY all the way! People are listening all over the world and enjoying music the way it should be - the DORIS DAY way. FredNetRadio plays awesome music all day long - the very BEST from the 40s, 50s and 60s - from the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Connie Francis, all the groups in the 60s and of course, DORIS DAY! She is featured at least 4 or more times every hour, and then of course during her special show, she is singing the whole show!

Tell all your friends about FredNetRadio and enjoy radio the way it should be - with great music 24/7.

I used to be Doris Day’s personal secretary in the 70s when she was filming her TV Show at CBS. Have been a fan since age 10 and got to live my dream!

Mary Anne Barothy

Claire said...

Not a person, but the band A-ha just broke up. am I the only one who assumed they'd been broken up for about 20 years?

Richard said...

I just learned on 4/30 that Cloris Leachman is still with us. Today is her birthday