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a lot we didn't know .. R.I.P to our uncelebrated legends.
R&B duo "Damian Dame" (pictured above) consisted of Debra Jean Hurd aka "Deah Dame," and Bruce Edward Brodus aka Damian. They were the first act signed to the "LaFace," label by Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds and Antonio "L.A." Reid. They were famous for the following hits, "Exclusivity," "Right Down To It," and "Gotta Learn My Rhythm." Deah would die in an car accident on June 27, 1994. She was 35 years old. Damian would die on the same day (June 27th) two years later of colon cancer.
Singer Richard "Dimples" Fields (pictured above) was famous for the songs, "If It Ain't One Thing, It's Another," and "She's Got Papers On Me." Fields would die of an massive stroke on Jan. 12th, 2000. He was 58 years old.
Edmund Sylvers (pictured above) was the lead singer of the group "The Sylvers." At age 47, he would succumb to lung cancer in 2004, following a 10-month illness. The Sylvers hits include: "Boogie Fever," and "Hot Line."
Actress Teresa Graves (pictured above) appeared on "Laugh-In," and starred in the television series, "Get Christie Love," she popularized the word "sugar," in the series. Graves died in a house fire four years ago. She was found unconscious in a rear addition to the house where a faulty spare heater sparked the blaze and she was pronounced dead at the scene. It took 50 firefighters, 30 minutes to put the fire out.
Dino Connor, 28, (pictured above) was the lead singer of the group "H-Town." He was killed along with his girlfriend in 2003. They had just left the studio when their vehicle was struck by a SUV that ran a red light. The group rose to prominance 12 years ago with their smash hit, "Knockin The Boots."
Renee Diggs (pictured above) was the lead vocalist for the group "Starpoint." Their big hit was "Object Of My Desire." Diggs died last year of heart-related complications and she also suffered from multiple sclerosis. Miss Diggs was 50.
Singing trio "The Jones Girls," (pictured above) were sisters who sung background for Diana Ross. They rose to fame after Ross got them a record deal to go out on their own. Their hits included, "You're Going To Make Me Love Somebody Else," and "Dance Turned Into Romance." Sadly, member Valorie Jones, 45, died in 2001, cause of death is unknown.
Actress Shirley Hemphill (pictured above) appeared in the 70's sitcom "What's Happening." She died in 1999 from kidney failure. She was 50. It was nearly two weeks before her body was discovered in her home.
Lynn Collins (pictured above) who sung with James Brown and recorded the smash hit "Think" in the early 70's died last year of cardiac arrhythmia. She was 56 years old.
Van McCoy (January 6, 1940-July 6, 1979) was a music producer, musician, songwriter, and orchestra conductor most famous for his massive 1975 disco hit "The Hustle," which is still played on dance floors today, almost 30 years after his death. He is also notable for producing such recording artists as Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Stylistics, Aretha Franklin, Brenda & The Tabulations, David Ruffin (Walk Away From Love) and Peaches & Herb, Melba Moore (Lean On Me) and Stacy Lattisaw. McCoy died of a massive heart attack in 1979.
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Harry Ray (first photo) was the original lead singer of the "Moments," and "Ray Goodman & Brown." Their hits included, "Love On A Two Way Street," "Special Lady," and "Happy Anniversary." Ray would die of a massive stroke in 1992.
Harold Melvin (above, center) formed the group "Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes," with Teddy Pendergrass on lead vocals. The group had numerous hits during the 70's, including "Wake Up Everybody," and "Bad Luck." Pendergrass would leave to pursue a successful solo career. Harold Melvin continued to tour with various lineups of Blue Notes until suffering a massive stroke. Melvin died on March 24, 1997 at the age of fifty-seven.
Singer Gwen Guthrie is best known for her hit, "Ain't Nothing Going On But The Rent," in 1986. Guthrie started her career by moonlighting as a singer of commercial jingles, sometimes with her friend Valerie Simpson (of Ashford & Simpson fame). A songwriting partnership with Patrick Grant resulted in Ben E. King's comeback single, "Supernatural Thing," and "This Time I'll Be Sweeter," covered by numerous artists. She was also the writer of Roberta Flack's "God Don't Like Ugly," and she contributed to the Sister Sledge album, "Circle Of Love." Miss Guthrie died of uterine cancer on February 3, 1999 at the age of 48.
Wylie Draper, the actor who portrayed Michael Jackson in the mini-series, "The Jacksons: An American Dream," died a year after the program aired. Draper died from a rare form of leukemia.
Theodore "Teddy" Wilson (pictured on the bottom half of the above photo with the mustache) was an character actor best known for his recurring role as Sweet Daddy Williams on the CBS sitcom Good Times from 1976 until 1979. Wilson also played the role of Al Dunbar in a popular two-part episode of the 1970s sitcom What's Happening!!. In the conclusion of the two-parter, Wilson's character gets arrested for bootlegging a Doobie Brothers concert. Wilson was married to actress Joan Pringle. He died from AIDS-related complications on July 21, 1991 at the age of 47 in Los Angeles, California.
Vocalist/writer/producer David Townsend (pictured above in the hat) from the '80s vocal trio "Surface," known for such lush ballads as "Happy," "Closer Than Friends," "Shower Me With Your Love" and "The First Time," was found dead inside his Northridge, California home by a close friend. The cause of death was unknown. Townsend was 50. Townsend was the son of the late songwriter/producer Ed Townsend, who was responsible for co-writing "Let's Get It On" by the late great Marvin Gayeand had his own solo hit, "For Your Love" back in 1958.
Lead singer, Kenny "G-Love," Greene (pictured in the center) of the 90's group "Intro," died of AIDS complications in 2001.
Actor Steve James (pictured above, on the right) starred mostly in low-budget action films such as the American Ninja series, The Delta Force (1986), The Exterminator (1980), and Enter the Game of Death (1978). James also starred as Kung Fu Joe in the 1988 comedy/spoof "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka." His uncle was James Wall, who played Mr. Baxter on Captain Kangaroo. James was also close friends with actor Michael Dudikoff (above left, the two met while shooting American Ninja) and directorWilliam Friedkin described him as "One of the most nicest, toughest and professional actors I've ever worked with." Steve James died of pancreatic cancer in Burbank, California, at age 41 in 1993. Eulogies at James' funerial service were delivered by Sidney Poitier and director-writer S.C. Dacy.
Kevin Peter Hall (pictured above) was an actor famous for his roles as Dr. Elvin Lincoln in Misfits of Science (1985), the 'monsters' in Prophecy (1979), Harry and the Hendersons (1987), Predator (1987), and Predator 2 (1990). He also had guest spots on shows like Night Court and Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was frequently cast in monster roles due to his extremely tall stature—he stood 7' 2½" (2.20 m). His mother stood a top height of 6'2" and his father stood 6'6." He married 227 actress Alaina Reed in 1989 after appearing on the program. In the fall of 1990, Hall was involved in a car accident in Los Angeles and required a blood transfusion, which was later discovered to be contaminated with HIV. He contracted AIDS and died from complications related to the disease shortly afterwards. He and his wife had two children.
When Cameo first hit the scene, Wayne Cooper (1st, black and white photo) was the lead singer. He sung lead on hits "Why Have I Lost You?" "We're Going Out Tonight," and "Shake Your Pants."
Before joining Cameo, Cooper reportedly was featured on background vocals on Eddie Kendricks' solo albums.
Cooper is considered one of the best falsetto vocalists of all-time, in the same league as Bobby DeBarge and Philip Bailey.
Cooper reportedly left Cameo to pursue a solo career but his career was cut short by his death-that is still shrouded in mystery.
Some reports indicate that Cooper died in a plane crash in 1981 and other reports claim that Cooper allegedly succumbed to AIDS in 1984 at the age of 28.
Depending on who you talk to, 16-year old actress, Tara McMullen (pictured above with Martin Lawrence) was either bi-racial or part Latino. Regardless, we decided to include her in this segment. Tara Correa-McMullen (May 24, 1989–October 21, 2005) is the stage name of Shalvah McMullen, an actress who was well-known for a recurring role playing a gang member, Graciela Reyes, on the CBS TV series, Judging Amy. In 2005, she co-starred in her first movie, "Rebound," with Martin Lawrence. Correa-McMullen was born in Westminster, Vermont to Devra Correa and Thomas McMullen. She moved to Los Angeles, California and sang in the Venice High School choir. McMullen was also known for her temper, she got into scuffles with high school classmates and she threw furniture. She eventually stopped going to school and started hanging out with a older gangbanger. One day, she arrived on the "Judging Amy," set and said, "I don't want to do this anymore," despite making thousands per episode, she simply preferred hanging out on the corners with gang buddies. Before that, she would arrive on the set with black eyes, claiming, she got jumped in during a gang initiation, she also started dressing in all red. On October 21, 2005, Correa-McMullen was shot to death outside an apartment complex in Inglewood, California. Suspected gang memberDamien Watts, 20, was charged with her murder on March 1, 2006. When charged, Watts was already in custody for a separate shooting. While police believe her death was gang-related (mirroring her most well-known role), "she may have just been at the wrong place at the wrong time," claimed Sgt. Steve Overly.
'REAL LIFE DEATHS' OF 3 ACTORS WHO APPEARED IN THE FILM "A SOLDIER'S STORY"
Larry Riley (pictured above on the set of A Soldier's Story) was an actor, best known to screen viewers for his role as C.J. Memphis in the movie "A Soldier's Story," and as Frank Williams in the prime-time soap opera Knots Landing. When Riley wasn't working as an actor, he was a respected craftsman who built Hollywood sets. He died of AIDS in 1992. He was forced to give up his role in "Knots Landing," because of his declining health due to the illness.
Adolph Caesar is best remembered for his role in director Norman Jewison's film, "A Soldier's Story," for which he received a nomination for "Best Actor in a Supporting Role" from both the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. He also played the role of "Old Mister," opposite Whoopi Goldberg and Danny Glover, in Steven Spielberg's film, "The Color Purple." Adolph Caesar was working on the Los Angeles set of the 1986 film, "Tough Guys," when he suffered a heart attack and died a short time later.
Howard Rollins was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Daytime Drama Series for his role on Another World. Rollins was also nominated for the 1981 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the motion picture, Ragtime. In 1984, he starred in director Norman Jewison's film, A Soldier's Story which led to his role as "Virgil Tibbs" on the In the Heat of the Night television series based on Jewison's acclaimed motion picture of the same name. In 1993, Rollins spent about a month in jail for driving under the influence and reckless driving. Because of continued legal problems, Rollins was ultimately dropped from In the Heat of the Night and was replaced by Carl Weathers. Rollins was invited back as a guest star on several episodes in the seventh season, but further legal problems led to his being totally banned from the county where the series was filmed. During this time, Rollins changed his appearance and appeared on a talk show in feminine looking clothes. Rollins died in 1996 after complications from AIDS-related lymphoma and was interred in the Woodlawn Cemetery in his native Baltimore. He had been diagnosed with the condition approximately six weeks earlier.
In 1993, Earth, Wind & Fire saxophonist Don Myrick was fatally shot by LAPD in a case of mistaken identity.
Roger Troutman November 29, 1951 - April 25, 1999 was the lead singer of the band Zapp. Born in Hamilton, Ohio, Roger was the fourth of nine children. On a Sunday morning, April 25, 1999, Roger Troutman was found shot and critically wounded outside his northwest Dayton recording studio around 7 a.m. According to doctors, the 47-year-old had been shot several times in the torso and was in critical condition; he died during surgery at the local hospital "Good Samaritan Hospital and Health Center." Roger's brother Larry was discovered dead in a car a few blocks away with a single gunshot wound to the head. A pistol was found inside the vehicle, which matched the description of a car leaving the scene of Roger Troutman's shooting according to witnesses. Police concluded it to be an apparent murder-suicide, but family members could not offer any reason or motive. It is likely that a personal dispute had developed between the two brothers; as far as can be determined, Larry shot Roger, then shot himself. Roger Troutman is known for popularizing the talk box within the rap community. He was very popular with bay area rappers such as Tupac Shakur and Spice 1. He collaborated with Tupac and Dr. Dre on "California Love," which made the top 10 on the charts and was nominated for a Grammy for best rap performance by a duo or group in 1997.
Grover Washington, Jr. (December 12, 1943 – December 17, 1999) was a jazz-funk musician born in Buffalo, New York. Along with George Benson, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chuck Mangione, Herb Alpert, and Spyro Gyra, he is considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of the smooth jazz genre. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Washington made some of the genre's most memorable hits, including "Mr. Magic,""Black Frost," and "The Best is Yet to Come." In addition, he performed very frequently with other artists, including Bill Withers on "Just the Two of Us" (still in regular rotation on radio today) andPhyllis Hyman on "A Sacred Kind of Love." He is also remembered for his take on a Dave Brubeck classic, called "Take Another Five", and for his hit "Soulful Strut." On December 17th, 1999, while waiting in the green room after taping four songs for the The Early Show, at CBS Studios in New York City, Washington collapsed. He was taken to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 7:30 p.m. His doctors determined that he had suffered a massive heart attack. He was 56 when he died.
Chic was one of the top selling groups of the late 70's with hits "Good Times," Le Freak," etc., and members, Nile Rodgers & Bernard Edwards (bassist) were a top-notch in demand production team for Diana Ross (Upside Down, I'm Coming Out), Sister Sledge (We Are Family, The Greatest Dancer), Blondie (Rapture), etc. Sadly, at the age of 43, Bernard Edwards (pictured above, 3rd from the left) died of pneumonia while touring with the group “Power Station,” in Tokyo in 1996. Edwards left behind a wife and five kids. Chic drummer Tony Thompson (pictured above, on the end) would die of kidney cancer in November of 2003.
Renaldo "Obie" Benson (2nd photo, left) a member of Motown singing group the Four Tops, died two years ago at age 69. The singer died in a Detroit hospital from lung cancer. He was diagnosed after having a leg amputated due to circulation problems. The Four Tops sold 50 million records and had hits including Reach Out (I'll be There) and I Can't Help Myself. The only surviving original members are Levi Stubbs and Abdul "Duke" Fakir. Lawrence Payton (2nd photo with glasses) died in 1997 of liver cancer. Levi Stubbs, lead singer of the Four Tops has cancer and suffered a stroke and is sometimes confined to a wheelchair.
Paul Edward Winfield (May 22, 1939–March 7, 2004) was an Academy Award-nominated television and film actor. Winfield was openly gay in his private life, but remained discreet about it in the public eye. He was best known for his portrayal of a Louisiana sharecropper who struggles to support his family during the Great Depression in the landmark film "Sounder," and as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the television miniseries "King." Winfield also narrated the show "City Confidential," on the A&E channel. Winfield died of a heart attack in 2004; he was 64. His long-time partner of 30 years, architect Charles Gillan Jr., preceded him in death in 2002.
Fred "Rerun" Berry was an actor best known for the role of Fred "Rerun" Stubbs on the popular 1970s television show What's Happening!! During the 1980s, Berry battled drug addiction and alcoholism. He revived the character of Rerun in the seriesWhat's Happening Now!!, but would only be on that show for 1 year. During the 1990s he became a Baptist minister and lost 100 pounds after being diagnosed with diabetes. He was married six times to four different women. Berry came off as jovial and humorous but over the years I have heard numerous stories of brutal domestic abuse towards his ex-wives. Allegedly, that's why none of his six marriages lasted. At one time, he was rumored to be involved with singer Toni Basil (Mickey). Berry died in 2003 at his Los Angeles home where he was recovering from a stroke. He was 52.
I had the opportunity to meet Katherine Dunham in the late 90's. This woman was a 'national treasure' and a renowned superstar in the world of dance. Although she was confined to a wheelchair when I met her, she had fascinating stories to tell and she was full of wisdom. This is for you Mrs. Dunham.
Katherine Mary Dunham was an African-American dancer, choreographer, songwriter, author, educator and activist who was a highly trained and respected anthropologist. She has been called the "Matriarch" and "Queen Mother of Black Dance," and had one of the most successful dance careers in American and European theater of the 20th century. During her heyday in the 1940s, 50s and 60s she was renowned throughout Europe and Latin America as La Grande Katherine, and the Washington Post called her "Dance's Katherine the Great." The Katherine Dunham troupe (which included Eartha Kitt at one time) also appeared in numerous Hollywood films.
For more than 30 years she maintained the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, the only permanent, self-subsidized American black dance troupe at that time, and over her long career she choreographed more than 90 individual dances. In 1989, Dunham was awarded the most prestigious artistic award, "The National Medal Of Arts" at a White House ceremony. Sadly, last year, Katherine Dunham died in her sleep in New York City on May 21, 2006, she was 97.
Willi Smith (February 29, 1948-April 17, 1987) was one of the most successful African-American fashion designers in fashion history. At its peak, his company WilliWear Ltd. sold $25 million worth of clothing a year. Although the company bared his name and he was the public figurehead, the majority of the revenue generated-went to white investors. Smith was also the brother of model Tookie Smith. Tookie had a long-term relationship with actor Robert DeNiro and is the mother of his twins. Willie designed the wedding dress worn by Mary Jane Watson when she married Peter Parker in the Spider-Man comic book and comic strip in 1987 and the suits for Edwin Schlossberg and his groomsmen when he married Caroline Kennedy in 1986. Smith also designed clothes for Spike Lee 's 1987 film School Daze. Smith died unexpectedly at the relatively young age of 39 after contracting pneumonia while on a trip to India, apparently as a result of AIDS. It is suspected that Smith, himself, didn't know he had the disease although those around him knew he was fragile in his last days.
Max Robinson (May 1, 1939 – December 20, 1988) was a television journalist and was the Chicago based co-anchor of ABC News "World News Tonight" from 1978-1983 in the United States, and is best known for being the only (as of 2006) African American broadcast network news anchor in the United States. He was also a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists. Robinson's ABC tenure was marked by conflicts between him and the management of ABC News over viewpoints and the portrayal of Black America in the news. In addition, he was known by his co-workers to show up late for work or sometimes not show up at all, along with his moods, and his use of alcohol escalated. In addition, Robinson was known to fight racism at any turn and often felt unworthy of the admiration he received and was not pleased with what he had accomplished. He was often considered a mentor to young black broadcast journalists. Robinson found out he had AIDS while he was hospitalized for pneumonia in an Illinois hospital, but he kept it a secret. In the fall of 1988, Robinson was in Washington to deliver a speech at Howard University's School of Journalism when he became increasingly ill. Robinson checked himself into Howard University Hospital, where he died of AIDS on December 20, 1988. Robinson never knew how he contracted the disease since he didn’t engage in high-risk behavior. Robinson was survived by-three ex-wives and four children.
Raymond St. Jacques (March 1, 1930 – August 27, 1990) was an African-American actor. Born in Hartford, Connecticut, he was known for playing the roles of Coffin Ed in the 1970 blaxploitation classic Cotton Comes to Harlem, Rawhide and a two year stint as Judge Clayton C. Thomas on the well-forgotten Syndicated TV show Superior Court from 1988 to 1990. He died from AIDS related lymphoma in Los Angeles, California at age 60. He was the father of Sterling St. Jacques (who died in 1984 from AIDS). St. Jacques and actor Paul Winfield were common fixtures at gay clubs in the Castro district of San Francisco when they were in town in the 70’s and 80’s.
Melvin Lindsey (1955-1992) was an African American radio and television personality in the Washington, D.C. area widely known for originating the "Quiet Storm" late-night music programming format. Lindsey began his broadcast career as an intern at Howard University radio station WHUR-FM. In 1976, he brought "The Quiet Storm" to the station's late-night lineup, titled after a romantic hit single by tenor crooner Smokey Robinson. The show's soulfully melodic, moody musical fare made it a phenomenal success, and "The Quiet Storm" spawned scores of imitations in stations across the country serving a black, adult, urban demographic. Lindsey's show also gave rise to a category of music of the same name. After a nine-year run onWHUR, Lindsey took his format to another local radio station, WKYS-FM, for five more years and later hosted Screen Scene (with Suzette Charles) for Black Entertainment Television (BET). Lindsey also worked for Washington, D.C. television stationsWTTG-TV and WFTY-TV and for WJZ-TV in Baltimore, Maryland. Melvin Lindsey died of AIDS in 1992, but the Quiet Storm format he originated remains a staple in radio programming today, three decades after its inception.
Luther Ingram (November 30, 1937—March 19, 2007) was an R&B soul singer and songwriter. Born in Jackson, Tennessee, his songs appeared in the pop and R & B charts, even though he worked for a small label, Koko Records, owned by his manager and producer, Johnny Baylor. Koko and Baylor were closely associated with the Memphis-based Stax Records label during the height of its commercial success. Ingram is best known for his hit, "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Want to Be Right)", written by Homer Banks, Carl Hampton and Raymond Jackson. The song placed number one on Billboard magazine's R&B chart, and peaked at number three on that publication's Hot 100 chart in 1972 (later successfully covered by Millie Jackson and Barbara Mandrell).
Other popular tracks include "Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One)" and "I'll Be Your Shelter." He also co-wrote the Staples Singers hit, "Respect Yourself." Ingram died on March 19 2007, after years of kidney problems, in St. Louis, Missouri, he was 69.
Carl M. Brashear, 75 —First African-American Navy master diver whose inspirational story was the basis for the film "Men of Honor," died in 2006.
Claydes Charles Smith, 57 — Co-founder of "Kool and the Gang" who played lead guitar and wrote hits like "Celebration" and "Hollywood Swinging," died in 2006 after a lengthy illness.
Lloyd Richards, 87 —The first black director on Broadway, he was the one who discovered the playwright August Wilson and then collaborated with him over two decades died in 2006.
Franklyn Seales (pictured above, far left, back row) was born in St. Vincent, Caribbean Islands. His movie appearances include "The Onion Field," and "Star Trek."
TV appearances for Mr. Seales include three 1982 episodes of "Hill Street Blues," one episode of "Wiseguy," one "Growing Pains" episode, and the TV sitcom Amen as Lorenzo Hollingsworth during the 1986-1987 season. He also had a role in the mini-series Beulah Land.
Seales is most famous for his role on "Silver Spoons." He played Dexter Stuffins, business manager and family friend of the Strattons, starting in Season 2. He also did some artwork as a painter. He died in Brooklyn, New York of AIDS in 1990.
Frankie "Hollywood" Crocker (December 18, 1937, Buffalo, New York - October 21, 2000, North Miami Beach, Florida) was a famous New York radio DJ. (Coined "Hollywood" for his keen sense of showmanship and self-marketing tactics.) According to popeducation.org, Frankie began his career in Buffalo, then moved to Soul station WWRL New York before being hired by top-40 WMCA in 1969. He later worked for WBLS-FM as program director, taking that station to the top of the ratings during the late 1970's. He sometimes called himself the "Chief Rocker," and he was as well known for his boastful on-air patter as for his off-air flamboyance.
When Studio 54 was at the height of its popularity, Crocker rode in through the front entrance on a white stallion. In the studio, before he left for the day, Crocker would light a candle and invite female listeners to enjoy a candlelight bath with him. Crocker was once linked to actress Jayne Kennedy after she divorced first husband Leon Issac Kennedy. At his peak, Crocker was the most famous black DJ in the world and the first to command and receive a six figure annual salary. His popularity was so immense, he worked in NY six months and worked the remaining six months in Los Angeles for a short time. Crocker died of pancreatic cancer in 2000.
Sadly, actor Calvin Lockhart (pictured above) died from complications of a stroke in the Bahamas, recently. He was 72. When I was a child, I remember meeting Lockhart at a celebrity function I was attending with my parents. He is one of the most beautiful men I've ever seen. Flawless skin, snow white teeth, naturally curly hair, beautiful black eyes and long lashes. Every woman in the place was trying to get at Lockhart. Our condolences go out to his family. In January, Lockhart made his last movie "Rain," which was filmed in The Bahamas and not yet released. He is survived by his mother, Minerva Cooper; his wife, Jennifer Miles-Lockhart; sons Michael Lockhart and Julien Lockhart Miles; brothers Carney, Eric and Phillip Cooper; sisters, Melba and Delores. R.I.P. Mr. Lockhart.
Doreen Waddell, a former vocalist with the groups Soul II Soul and KLF, died in a traffic accident, apparently after running from a store where she had been accused of shoplifting, police said. She was 36.
Waddell died March 1, 2002 after she was hit by cars on a highway in Shoreham in southern England, Sussex police said. It took several days to identify her body.
Police said it appeared she had been running from a supermarket after being confronted about shoplifting. She was struck by three cars on the nearby A27 highway and was pronounced dead at a local hospital. Goods from the store were found scattered across the road.
Waddell, who used the stage name Do'reen, sang on the influential British dance band's best-selling 1989 album "Club Classics Volume I'' and was lead vocalist on the songs "Feel Free'' and "Happiness.''
By the time the Force M.D's made a record deal, signing with Tommy Boy Records in 1984, they had already developed into a pure quiet storm/urban R&B group, with their top-ten R&B hit "Tears" from the Love Letters album, signified by their street attitude. They produced a collection of R&B hits throughout the '80s, but their sole pop hit was the Top Ten Jimmy Jam- and Terry Lewis-penned love song "Tender Love" from both their second album Chillin’ (1986) and the 1985 feature film and soundtrack Krush Groove. With the exception of their first album, the group was also the first act on Tommy Boy to have major-label distribution through its then-parent Warner Bros. Records. Tragedy struck the group three times with the passing of three of its members: Charles "Mercury" Nelson suffered a fatal heart attack in 1995, Antoine "TCD" Lundy died of Lou Gehrig's disease in 1998 and DJ Dr. Rock died under unknown circumstances.
Johnnie Wilder, Jr. (July 3, 1949 – May 13, 2006), was the co-founder and lead vocalist, of the international R&B/funk group Heatwave. Heatwave was a popular group during the late-1970s, with hits such as "Boogie Nights," "Always and Forever" and "The Groove Line" on which Wilder sang co-lead vocals.
In February 1979, a van struck Wilder's car, paralyzing him from the neck down and hospitalizing him for a year. During the 1980s and 1990s, Wilder went on to record other albums with the group and later began a gospel career, singing a cappella on albums My Goal and One More Day.
He died in his sleep on May 13, 2006 at his home in Clayton, Ohio, at age 56. The cause of his death is unknown.
Michael Jonas Evans (November 3, 1949 – December 14, 2006) (usually credited as Mike Evans), was an actor and co-creator of the show "Good Times," with Eric Monte (Ralph Carter's character Michael Evans was named after him).
Evans was born in Salisbury, North Carolina. His father, Theodore Evans Sr., was a dentist, and his mother, Annie Sue Evans, was a school teacher. His family later moved to Los Angeles, where he graduated from Los Angeles High School. He later studied acting at Los Angeles City College.
Evans is most famous for creating the recurring role of Lionel Jefferson on All in the Family and was the first (and eventually final) actor to play Lionel on the spin-off The Jeffersons. He played Lionel on The Jeffersons for much of its 11-year run, with the majority of his appearances occurring from 1979-1983. Opera singer/actor Damon Evans played the role for a few years of The Jeffersons, as Michael was occupied in the production of Good Times. He returned after Good Times was cancelled in 1979.
His last TV role was in 2000, on an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger. Evans was also a real estate investor and owned properties in California's Inland Empire.
As the original Lionel, his absence was noticed at a Sherman Hemsley TV Land special, which aired in July 2006. Most of the other surviving Jeffersons cast members were present, as well as Sally Struthers and the cast of "Amen."
Evans died of throat cancer at his mother's home in Twentynine Palms, California at the age of 57. The announcement of his death was not released until a week later.
Ohio Player members: Clarence "Satch" Satchell died in January 1996 after suffering a brain aneurysm. Ralph Middlebrooksdied in November 1997.
During her early years as an actress, Rosalind Cash moonlighted as a hospital aide, waitress, salesgirl, and nightclub singer. Cash made her Broadway bow in the 1966 production The Wayward Stork. Her film career began when Charlton Hestonpersonally selected her to co-star in his 1971 sci-fi vehicle "The Omega Man."
Daytime-drama devotees know Cash best as the matriarchal Mary Mae Ward on “General Hospital,” but she has made many appearances on television in series, telepics, and miniseries. One thing that set Cash apart from other African-American actresses was her refusal to play stereotypical roles. Though she rarely had the opportunity to demonstrate the full extent of her range and ability, Cash's characters were intelligent, independent, and sexy. In 1987, Cash was given the Phoenix Award by the Black American Cinema Society in honor of her achievements. In 1992, her name was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame.
Cash died of cancer in the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 56.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Hi-Five lead singer Tony Thompson was found dead yesterday (June 1) in his hometown of Waco, Texas.
Thompson's body was found outside of an apartment complex around 10:00 pm. He allegedly died of drug overdose, but the cause of death has yet to be confirmed. Thompson and Hi-Five hit #1 with 1990's "I Like The Way (The Kissing Game)," which was produced by R&B/Hip-Hop producer Teddy Riley and taken from the group's debut, Hi-Five.The album also produced singles like "I Can't Wait Another Minute" and "I Just Can't Handle It." Hi-Five broke up around 1994 but reunited and released a new album The Return in 2006 on Thompson's record label N'Depth.Thompson also collaborated with Port Arthur, Texas rapper Bun-B on his 2006 single "Rock Ya Body," which was produced by Play-N-Skillz. Thompson, was working on new material for an upcoming album as well.
Artimus Lamont Bentley (October 25, 1973 – January 18, 2005) was an American television and film actor. He is known for his role as Hakeem Campbell on Moesha, and Crazy K in Tales from the Hood.
Bentley was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and moved to Los Angeles with his mother Loyce, who wished to ignite her career as a singer. Bentley was befriended by author and hotel magnate Christopher Spencer, who was his personal manager during his career on Moesha.
He worked on the film Buffalo Soldiers with Danny Glover. He was involved in a lawsuit with a security guard at Sunset/Gower Studios in Hollywood in which the guard accused Bentley and his friends of beating him.
On January 18, 2005, he was killed in a single-car accident in southern California's Ventura County. He was driving on Highway 118 near Simi Valley (which is 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles) when his vehicle went over an embankment, ejecting him (the sole occupant) from the vehicle and into traffic where five cars struck him. He was 31 and the father of two young daughters.
Merlin Santana (March 14, 1976 - November 9, 2002), was a Dominican American television and film actor best known for his role as teenager Romeo on The Steve Harvey Show. He also played Rudy's boyfriend Stanley on The Cosby Show.
Merlin Santana was born in Washington Heights, Manhattan, New York, United States to parents from the Dominican Republic. He attended Acenscion Catholic School in New York. His career in show business began with a push from his mother, who recognized her son's talent and wanted to keep him off the tough streets of New York. He began his career at the age of three as an advertising model for a fast food chain. His first screen appearance was as an extra in the Woody Allen film The Purple Rose of Cairo.
He later landed the recurring role of Stanley, the faithful admirer of young Rudy Huxtable (and romantic rival of Rudy's friend Kenny), on the hit comedy series "The Cosby Show." Santana was then cast as a sharp-tongued 15-year-old in the comedy series Getting By, starring Cindy Williams and Telma Hopkins. His brother was portrayed by Deon Richmond, who played Kenny on The Cosby Show.
He chose to keep his last name of Santana to represent his Afro-Latino heritage. One episode of The Steve Harvey Show marked the first time when Afro-Latinos communicated in Spanish on a commercial network. The episode was about Romeo being taken out of school by his father.
He played Romeo Santana on The Steve Harvey Show for the WB. This is probably around the same time that he got a tattoo on his chest. He proudly represented the small number of Latino actors in the television industry.
He appeared in the VH1 movie Play'd with Toni Braxton and Rashaan Nall as a rapper and had a role in Eddie Murphy's Showtime. His last television acting role was on Half & Half as a singer.
His last film role was Carlos in The Blues with his former television brother, Deon Richmond. It was filmed months before his death.
On November 9, 2002, Santana died after being shot in the head while sitting in the passenger seat of a friend’s car. He was 26 years old.
At 2:30 AM that day, Merlin was sitting in a parked car and a person approached the car and shot him (six times, according to one source). He died before any help could arrive. The public did not find out about the shooting until Monday morning. A woman was arrested early on Monday for possible connections to the murder. She was later charged. He was buried on November 18, 2002, and left behind a now 11 year old daughter.
Damien Andre Gates was convicted of the first-degree murder of Santana and the attempted murder of another man in the car, and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences plus 70 years in prison. Brandon Douglas Bynes received 23 years' imprisonment after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. An officer involved in the case testified that Monique King, reportedly the girlfriend of Gates and aged 15 at the time of Santana's death, falsely claimed that Santana had tried to rape her, which prompted Gates and Bynes to attack the car. King received eight years in juvenile custody.
Ronald Winans (June 30, 1956 - June 17, 2005), also known as Ron Winans, was born the second of 10 children to David and Delores Winans. He was part of "The Winans," which consisted of Ron and his brothers Marvin, Carvin and Michael. The Winans were discovered by contemporary gospel pioneer, Andrae Crouch. They released their first album in 1981, entitled Introducing The Winans; with this release the world would become familiar with the name "Winans," which is now synonymous with contemporary gospel. Ronald also had a thriving career as a solo artist, recording a series of CDs called "Ron Winans Family & Friends," and numbered I-V, each of which contained at least one song that became a smash hit, such as the extremely popular and encouraging "Stand," which featured Donnie McClurkin on lead vocals, and "But God," on which Ron's younger brother BeBe Winans (Benjamin) did an impassioned and deeply moving job on lead vocals.
In 1997, Ronald, who had always had weight problems, suffered a massive heart attack, and experienced a miraculous recovery after the doctors had all but given him up on him. In May and June 2005, Ronald was admitted to Harper Hospital for observation after the doctors discovered that he was retaining an abnormal amount of fluid in his body. This time, however, things did not go as well, and on June 16, 2005, the doctors announced that they did not feel Ron would make it through the night. He did make it past midnight, but Ron Winans died peacefully early the next morning (June 17) due to heart complications, just two weeks shy of his 49th birthday. The entire family had gathered at Harper Hospital in Detroit to be with Ronald during his final moments.
Ronald L. "Ron" Townson of the "Fifth Dimension," ( died 2 August 2001, of kidney failure, in Las Vegas, Nevada).
Milan Williams, a founding member of the Commodores, died at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston after a bout with cancer in July of 2006. He was 58.
Tamara Dobson (May 14, 1947 or 1944 - October 2, 2006) was an actress and fashion model. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland and received her degree in fashion illustration from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Dobson, who stood 6 feet 2 inches, eventually became a fashion model for Vogue Magazine. She made a few films in Hollywood but is best known for her roles in the Blaxploitation films, Cleopatra Jones (1973) and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold (1975).
According to published reports, Dobson died on October 2, 2006 in Baltimore, Maryland of complications from pneumonia and multiple sclerosis, her brother, Peter Dobson, said. She was 62.
*Sonji Clay-Glover, the first wife of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, was found dead in 2005 in her Hyde Park home on Chicago's South Side, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. She was 59.
The office on Wednesday said her death was reported to them as being of natural causes so no autopsy would be performed. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Clay-Glover’s nephew believes she may have suffered a heart attack.
Clay first met Ali through his manager, Herbert Muhammad, back when the champ was still going by his birth name, Cassius Marcellus Clay. They married just 41 days later, on Aug. 14, 1964. But the couple divorced by January 1966 amid conflict over Ali's increasing devotion to the Nation of Islam.
"She was an independent-minded woman and she wanted to be herself," H.D. "Doc" White, Clay's friend and record producer, told the Sun-Times. "She was kind, but she just wasn't a very submissive woman. She was a very, very spirited woman."
After the divorce, Clay – portrayed in the 2001 film by actress Jada Pinkett Smith – returned to Chicago from Miami, where the couple had made their home. An aspiring singer, she recorded a couple of singles for Aries Record Productions, including "I Can't Wait (Until I See My Baby's Face)," and the ballad "Here I Am and Here I'll Stay."
*Vivian Malone Jones, (pictured above with former Governor George Wallace) is one of two black students whose effort to enroll at the University of Alabama led to George Wallace's infamous “stand in the schoolhouse door” in 1963, died in 2005. She was 63.
Jones, who eventually became the school’s first black graduate, died at Atlanta Medical Center, where she had been admitted Tuesday after suffering a stroke, said her sister, Sharon Malone.
At an appearance, before her death, she recalled meeting with Wallace in 1996, when the former governor was in frail health. He died in 1998.
"I asked him why did he do it," she said. "He said he did what he felt needed to be done at that point in time, but he would not do that today. At that point, we spoke — I spoke — of forgiveness."
According to Wireimage, Anderson Jones, a former critic for E! online, CNN Headline News and TNT's "Roughcut," suffered a major coronary during a press screening of "A Mighty Heart" Thursday at the ArcLight Theatre in Los Angeles, and died shortly thereafter. Jones, also known as Andy, was 38 and had been struggling with health issues in recent years. Source: Juicy News
A talented teen singer who won the hearts of millions on British TV show 'Stars In their Eyes' was found bludgeoned to death in her home yesterday. Police say Kesha Wizzart, 18, her mother Beverley Samuels, 35, and her brother Fred, 13, were beaten to death sometime Wednesday or early Thursday at their home in Manchester, England.
A neighbor made the grim discovery yesterday when he climbed a ladder and peered in a window of the home. The neighbor became suspicious after a family member was unable to get an answer at the front door.
Police quiz triple murder suspect:
Pierre Williams (above) turned himself in to police.
A 32-year-old man is being questioned about the murder of a mother and her two children.
Beverley Samuels, 36, her daughter Kesha Wizzart, 18, and son Fred Junior, 13, were found beaten to death at their house in Fallowfield in Manchester.
Pierre Williams was arrested in the early hours on suspicion of murder after he telephoned police.
*If you found this feature interesting, eye opening, and informative, continue reading our Breaking News column (updated Mon-Fri.)
On August 12, 1978, in a pre-season game against the Oakland Raiders, Darryl Stingley (New England Patriots) was the victim of a hit by the Raiders' defensive back Jack Tatum. As Stingley leapt to make a catch, Tatum used his forearm in a head-on collision that knocked Stingley out cold. The hit compressed Stingley's spinal cord, breaking his fourth and fifth vertebrae.
Stingley eventually regained limited movement in his right arm, but spent the rest of his life as a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair.
Adding the proverbial insult to injury, Stingley had just finished negotiating a contract extension that would have made him one of the highest paid receivers in the NFL. The new contract was to be announced when the Patriots returned from the West Coast. Instead, it was never signed.
Although controversial, the hit was not a violation of NFL rules at the time. No penalty was called on the play.
On April 5, 2007, Stingley died at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago after being discovered unresponsive in his home. His death was attributed to heart disease and pneumonia complicated by quadriplegia. The Cook County Medical Examiner listed Stingley's cause of death as an accident.