Dead Pool Master
I'm not basically a fan of super market tabloids, and it is a rare day when I spend $3.59 for one - but I did just that last week while standing in the checkout line of our local commissary. I bought the most recent issue of the National Examiner because it had a cover story on the death of JFK - a crime that I intend to solve during the early years of my retirement. The story, "Top FBI Agent Reveals: Oswald Didn't Kill JFK!"
The article goes on to to accuse Joseph Milteer, "a radical civil rights terrorist with ties to the Ku Klux Klan and the States Rights Party" of organizing a team of snipers to kill the President. It then blames the cover-up of that "fact" on FBI bureaucratic bumbling and the push to get the matter over and done with quickly. The article is basically supposition based on little more than fragments of record and memory. Disappointing, yes, but not surprising - considering the source.
But, also included in this issue was some quality stuff like a photo of Susan Boyle sucking her thumb, as well as one of those interesting "Dead or Alive" pieces.
The following, mostly taken from that "Dead or Alive" article, are offered as possibilities for all of you still trying to come up with viable names for the 2011 Pa Rock's Dead Pool. They would, of course, all be relatively low scores because points are determined by subtracting the person's age at their time of death from one hundred. Hopefully, each of these celebrities from the past will all make it to one hundred and beyond, and have absolutely no value whatsoever in the next few Dead Pools!
Ernest Borgnine, the former skipper from McHale's Navy, turned 96 yesterday. Did you know that he was once married to Ethel Merman? I'll bet that when she called him to dinner, he came running!
Lauren Bacall, who was a mere child when she was married to Bogie, is a sprightly 86 and still makes occasional appearances on television such as a cameo in The Sopranos. I also remember her doing several stints on The Rockford Files where she displayed great chemistry with James Garner. Garner, age 82, was also well known in the pre-Rockford era as the gambler Bret Maverick in the television show Maverick - one of my Dad's favorite westerns.
Jackie Cooper, a former child star on the Little Rascals, and later a star of multiple television series - and a talented director, is eighty-eight. Do you remember The People's Choice with Cleo the talking basset hound? Or Hennessey? What a great comedic actor!
James Arness, aka Marshall Dillon of Gunsmoke, is eight-seven. If my father would have identified a role model, I am certain that it would have been Arness. Dad watched Gunsmoke reruns up until his final days.
Actress Arlene Dahl, the mother of Lorenzo Lamas, is 82 and still very active. The article that I read said that she is on husband number six.
Eva Marie Saint, best known for winning Best Supporting Actress for her role in On the Waterfront, is eighty-six. She has stayed happily married to producer Jeffrey Hayden for the past 59 years! How's that for a Hollywood marriage! My personal favorite Eva Marie Saint movie was The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! in which she played the calm wife of Carl Reiner during a New England community meltdown. My son Tim, the screenwriter, had the honor of meeting this very fine lady last year at an awards dinner in Hollywood, and she said just the right thing - that she liked the movie script that he had written. So she is obviously a very smart elder cookie!
Sidney Poitier, the classy actor who has starred in many great movies, is eighty-two. He teamed up with two giants of the film business in the 1967 when he played the lead in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner opposite Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. What actor wouldn't love to have that on his resume! My favorite Poitier film was Lilies of the Field, for which her captured the Oscar for Best Actor - the first black actor to do so.
Phyllis Diller, the spastic kook and comedienne who was always slamming her husband, Fang, is still kicking high at ninety-three. One of her running buddies is the eternal Betty White who turned 89 earlier this month! I'm sure that they are both too fast for me!
And finally, there is former child star Mickey Rooney, who grew up on film playing a character named Andy Hardy. Young Andy was always wanting to put on shows with an equally young and enthusiastic Judy Garland. When Rooney finally was allowed to grow up, he married Ava Gardner and a half dozen other beauties. Mickey Rooney is a young ninety!
Again, I truly hope that all of the above are with us for years to come. They have led amazing lives, and have all benefited from their time with us. Bob Hope would have put it this way: Thanks for the memories! Those memories have been great!