MORBID CURIOSITY: Celebrity Tombstones Across America      |   home
Those Who Have Left Us in 2003
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October 1, 2003

Robert Kardashian - LOS ANGELES, a lawyer who was an important figure in the
O.J. Simpson saga, has died. He was 59.

Kardashian died Tuesday night at his Encino home eight weeks after being
diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus, said his ex-wife, Kris Jenner, who is
married to Olympic champion Bruce Jenner.

Simpson, a former football star the University of Southern California and in
the National Football League, camped out at Kardashian's house in the days
after Simpson's ex-wife and her friend were stabbed to death in 1994. The
infamous televised chase involving Simpson in a white Ford Bronco that
transfixed the country began after he fled Kardashian's home.

Kardashian was surrounded by his family, including his four children, when he
died, said Kris Jenner, the mother of his children.

"I will always remember him as the world's greatest father, whose first
priority in his life was his kids," she said Wednesday. "He will be lovingly
missed by his children and friends."

Kardashian married Ellen Pierson about six weeks ago, his former wife said.

Kardashian, a member of Simpson's defense team, said in a 1996 interview on
ABC's "20-20" that he questioned Simpson's innocence.

"I have doubts. The blood evidence is the biggest thorn in my side; that causes
me the greatest problems. So I - I struggle with the blood evidence."

Kardashian, who knew Simpson for 25 years, also described him in the interview
as a spoiled athlete and confirmed earlier reports that Simpson badly failed a
lie detector test shortly after the slayings.

Simpson was acquitted in the slaying of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and
her friend, Ronald Goldman, but was found liable for the killings in a later
civil trial and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages.

Kardashian is survived by his wife and daughters, Kourtney, 24, Kimberly, 22,
Khloe, 19, and a son, Robert, 16.

October 3, 2003

Wesley Tuttle - LOS ANGELES - a country singer, whose hits in the 1940s and '50s
included "With Tears in My Eyes," has died. He was 85.

Tuttle, who helped popularize country and western music in Southern California
and appeared on television and in B-westerns, died of heart failure Monday at a
nursing home in the Sylmar area. He lived in San Fernando.

Tuttle was a versatile musician, recording smooth vocals and harder "hillbilly"
tunes. His other popular songs included "I Wish I Had Never Met Sunshine and
"Tho' I Tried."

He yodeled as one of the dwarfs in the 1937 Walt Disney classic "Snow White and
the Seven Dwarfs," and appeared as a regular on Los Angeles television shows
including "Town Hall Party" and "Hometown Jamboree."

Tuttle was inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame in 1997.

Born in Lamar, Colo., Tuttle moved to San Fernando with his family in 1922.
After a childhood accident took three fingers off one hand, he learned to play
the guitar without them. He began performing at age 13.

Tuttle became a minister in 1957 and toured the country preaching and singing
at concerts and revivals. He retired in the mid-1970s.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Marilyn, two sons and seven

A memorial service is planned for Sunday in San Fernando.

October 7, 2003

Wally George -FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. - The conservative talk show host, who sparred
with liberal guests for two decades on "Hot Seat," has died. He was 71.

George, the father of actress Rebecca De Mornay, died of pneumonia on Sunday at
Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center. He had been at the
hospital for three months due to complications from cancer.

George's combative television show, broadcast on KDOC-TV in Anaheim, rose to
popularity in the 1980s. He called his approach "combat TV" and was known for
interrupting guests by shouting insults at them.

George told the Los Angeles Times in 1984 that fans saw him as a "down-to-earth
guy who's speaking not so much from a highly intelligent brain but who's
speaking from his heart and gut."

"They say that I'm a lunatic, that I'm a maniac," he told the newspaper. "But
why do you have to smile at your guests and be nice and let them say what they
want to say?"

Born George Walter Pearch in Oakland to a former vaudeville actress and the
owner of a shipping company, George moved to Hollywood with his mother and at
age 14 became a disc jockey with KIEV-AM in Glendale.

He hosted "The Wally George Show" on Inglewood radio and was a producer and
co-host of "The Sam Yorty Show" before "Hot Seat" premiered in 1983.

KDOC has been airing reruns of the show since George underwent surgery in June
to remove a bone near his spine that had disintegrated due to cancer. He said
at the time the problem was discovered by doctors after a fall in his Garden
Grove home.

Also, KDOC is working on a tribute show for George scheduled to air this Saturday,
the spokeswoman said, adding that no decision has been made
about airing reruns of the show beyond that

In addition to De Mornay, George is survived by two other children.
October 12
Hall of Fame Jockey Bill Shoemaker die on Sunday, he was 72. In his lifetie he rode four Kentucky Derby winners and was a prominant presence in Thoroughbred Horse racing for over 30 years. Although paralyzed from the neck down since a car accident in 1991, he died in his sleep at his suburban home near Santa Anita racetrack, according to his longitme friend and trainer Paddy Gallagher.

Despite his 4 foot 11 inch stature he was a monumental athlete known simply as "The Shoe" throughout his career. He raced mostly in Southern California.

Shoemaker broke his neck when he veered off the hightway in his Ford Bronco in Los Angeles and tumbled down an embankment and rolled. The accident was caused by his being under the influence of alcohol after day drinking while playing golf. Police said his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit. He sucessfully sued Ford and won a multimillion dollar settlement.

Being bound to a wheelchair did not keep him away from the racetrack. He operated the chair by turning his head and breathing in to a tube to control his chair as he trained horses.  
Wednesday, 15 October
  Frank Zela aka Boris Volkoff, pro wrestler, of congestive heart
failure, 76.
Friday, 17 October
  Janice Rule, actress ("3 Women"), cause not reported, 72.
  Bernard Schwartz, film producer ("Coal Miner's Daughter"), of
complications from a stroke, 85.
Saturday, 18 October
  William C. Cramer, U.S. Congressman (R-FL, 1955-71), 81.
  Margaret "Mardy" Murie, conservationist, 101.
  John O'Brien, crime reporter & author ("Getting Away With Murder"),
of cancer, 66.
Sunday, 19 October
  Michael Hegstrand, aka Road Warrior Hawk, pro wrestler, cause not
reported, 46.
  Lynn Mathis, actor, of cardiovascular disease, 49.  (Found dead on 19
Oct; DOD not reported.)
  Guy Rolfe, actor ("Puppetmaster"), 91.
Monday, 20 October
  Ernie Calverley, college basketball player (University of Rhode
Island), after a brief illness, 79.
  Maxine Daniels, singer (British), 72.
  Jack Elam, actor ("Support Your Local Sheriff"), 84.
  Harold "Hal" Lahar, NFL football player (Chicago Bears), 84.
October 21
Fred Berry, who played "Rerun" on the 1970's TV sitcom "What's Happening!" died  at his home on Tuesday of appparent natural causes, Police Officer Jason Lee said. The county coroner was investigating the exact nature of the death, but friends said Berry had been in ill health due to a recent stroke.
In real life he wore his trademark red beret and suspenders and because of this it is unclear whether he originally brought his own style to the "Rerun" character.
Unfortunately, like most actors, his success on the show was eclipsed by his heavy drug use. After the end of "What's Happening!" opportunities for jobs dried up. He went through millions of dollars and was forced to live off his fame by charging to appear at shopping malls. Most recently he made a living on
charging about $30 for a 30 second call to a fan.
His last appearence in any kind of movie or TV show was a cameo role on the David Spade comedy film, "Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star."

Tuesday, 21 October
  Luis A. Ferre, governor of Puerto Rico (1969-72), 99.
  Elliott Smith, singer-songwriter ("Miss Misery"), stabbed (suicide),
Wednesday, 22 October
  Dee Andros, college footall coach (Oregon State), after a lengthy
illness, 79.
  Tony Renna, auto racer, in a crash during a test run, 26.
Thursday, 23 October
  Tony Capstick, guitarist (British), from a lengthy illness, 59.
  Louise Day Hicks, U.S. Congresswoman (D-MA, 1971-73), 87.
  Earl Peyroux, TV host and cook ("Gourmet Cooking"), after a lengthy
illness, 78.
  Mei-Ling Soong aka Madame Chiang, Chinese first lady, 105.
Friday, 24 October
  Gilbert McDowell, United Anglican archbishop, probably of natural
causes, 66.
Monday, October 27
 Rod Roddy, the flashy-dressed announcer on "The Price is Right" whose booming, jovial voice invited lucky audience members to "Come on down!" for nearly 20 years, died Monday. He was believed to be 66. Roddy, who suffered from colon and breast cancer, died at Century City Hospital, according to his longtime agent, Don Pitts. He had been hospitalized for two months. "He had such a strong spirit. He just wouldn't give up," Pitts said Monday. Roddy had been ill for more than two years but continued to work as much as possible and for as long as he could, said Bob Barker, host of "The Price is Right." Roddy had been with the game show for 17 years. "We all admired his courage," Barker said last week. "He was always upbeat and hopeful."

Tuesday, October 28
Franco Corelli, whose large, ringing voice and matinee-idol looks made him one of the greatest tenors of the 20th century, has died, the ANSA news agency said. He was 82. Corelli, whose career took him from La Scala to New York's Metropolitan Opera (news - web sites) and other great stages in between, had been hospitalized in August following what was believed to be a stroke, and ANSA said Corelli died in the same Milan hospital where he was being treated. Born April 8, 1921, Corelli made his opera debut in 1951 at Spoleto as Don Jose in "Carmen." He inaugurated the opera season at Milan's Teatro alla Scala three years later with Maria Callas, singing in Spontini's "La Vestale." He made his debut at The Royal Opera in London in 1957 as Cavaradossi in Puccini's "Tosca," becoming one of the world's finest spinto tenors. He appeared frequently at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, which was for many years his favorite venue. In all, Corelli sang 368 performances at the Met, where he made his debut on Jan. 27, 1961, as Manrico in Verdi's "Il Trovatore" opposite soprano Leontyne Price, who also made her house debut that night. His final performance with the Met was on tour in Puccini's "La Boheme" on June 28, 1975. He made his Vienna State Opera debut in 1963. Corelli was a perfect romantic lead: a lyric tenor with great versitality, he also had a strapping and muscular build. As he developed his upper register, he took on and scored successes in all the great tenor roles, performing in Verdi's "Don Carlo," "La Forza del Destino," "Aida" and "Ernani," Puccini's "Turandot," and Giordano's "Andrea Chenier." He appeared in opera houses around the globe with such greats as Callas, with whom he had a special partnership for many years, Renata Tebaldi, Birgit Nilsson and Joan Sutherland. The mayor of Corelli's hometown of Ancona, Fabio Sturani, sent a message of condolence to Corelli's family, calling Corelli one of the most "refined" tenors in Italian lyric opera. As his voice aged, Corelli sang fewer operas and concentrated more on concerts. He retired in 1976, although he was present as a special guest in October 2002 at a Milan awards ceremony where he received a standing ovation. He is survived by his wife, the singer Loretta Di Lelio, ANSA said.