Hail And Farewell To Those We Lost In 2017
They made us laugh. Or think. Or wonder. Most made our world a better place; a few did just the opposite. Still, for better or for worse they touched our lives, and so we say ... HAIL AND FAREWELL, presented by Jane Pauley:
We begin with Mary Tyler Moore -- she first turned the world on with her smile, and her style (how 'bout those capri pants!) on "The Dick Van Dyke Show."
But we really came to love her as career woman Mary Richards -- smart, funny, and vulnerable, too:
"You have no idea how experienced or inexperienced I am. I mean, sure, true, I'm not what you'd call a 'wild woman,' but I'm hardly innocent. I've been around … well, all right, I might not have been around, but I've been nearby."
Making it on her own in what was then very much a man's world. Hats off to you, Mary! You really made it for us all.
Rose Marie stepped into the spotlight in 1929. We came to love her as comedy writer Sally Rogers on "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Cracking wise, and always looking for a husband.
Jerry Lewis made us laugh as an impossibly graceful goofball -- first, as Dean Martin's sidekick, and then on his own. He was brilliantly nutty -- a true king of comedy.
Don Rickles was the "King of Zing." He spent his life perfecting the art of the insult ...
"I came this far in America. Why? 'Cuz I laugh at what the heck we are, that's what we have to laugh at. You're a black man, right? I took a guess!"
… and always maintained that he was really a nice guy.
Jim Nabors really was a nice guy. As Gomer Pyle, that mild-mannered Marine from Mayberry, he wouldn't hurt a fly. But golllllllly, could he sing!
A salute to him … and to all who follow their dreams:
Norman Dyrenfurth died this year. He led his team to the top of Mount Everest in 1963.
Joseph Rogers and Tom Forkner shared a dream -- of waffles, served 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! They both died this year at 97, and 98.
James Rosenquist filled entire rooms with his dreams -- bold images of everyday life, transformed. He was a bright star of '60s pop art.
Morley Safer: "Here we are, with this monster."
Rosenquist: "It's not really a monster; it's a big painting!"
David Cassidy was a 1970s pop idol, a teenage girl's dream. "You just look at him and love him, I dunno," said one lass.
"I'm gonna love you, like nobody's loved you,
come rain or come shine..."
Della Reese was an angel who brought a little bit of heaven down to Earth.
"When life keeps you in the dark, baby, that's when you start looking at the stars."
The telescope lens Jerry Nelson designed let us see those distant stars more clearly. Farewell to him.
Joe Schmitt never rode a rocket to the stars, but he made sure the guys who did were well-suited for it.
Richard Gordon was one of those guys ... a pioneer of the space program.
Bruce McCandless was another, the first to fly untethered among the stars.
Paul Weitz spent 33 days in space, aboard Skylab, and later Challenger, always with a sense of awe. "Some folks got religion. Some folks wrote poetry. I never got tired of looking at the Earth, watching sunrises and sunsets," he said.
A salute to him!
And to Eugene Cernan, the last man to walk on the Moon. "This has got to be one of the most proud moments of my life. I guarantee you!"
While he was up there, Cernan discovered something ... ("I can see from here, it's orange!") Orange? Was it cheese? ('Cause everybody knows the moon's made of cheese.)
Peter Sallis died this year. He gave voice to Wallace, the animated inventor with a passion for cheese and a devoted canine assistant named Gromit. Cheerio!
June Foray was a virtuoso of voices -- where would Saturday morning cartoons be without her Natasha, and of course Rocky the Flying Squirrel?
"Every man in the world does a Bullwinkle impersonation," Foray said, "and they all come up to me and say, 'Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!' And I always say, 'Hokie smoke, but that trick never works!'"
Illustrator Joe Harris pulled the Trix Rabbit out of his hat, and Underdog, a caped crusader who happened to be a dog.
As Gotham City's Caped Crusader, Adam West battled evil-doers of all kinds. We'll keep that bat-signal lit for you, Adam West!
What varied gifts they left us:
Creighton Hale left us a helmet to protect Little League heads from wild pitches ... a blessing to parents everywhere.
Robert Blakeley made the familiar sign designed to lead us to safety in the event of nuclear disaster. Luckily, we never had to go there.
Michael Bond spotted a lonely-looking bear on a department store shelf one Christmas Eve, and took it home. His Paddington Bear has found a home in children's hearts the world over.
Michael Bond, author of Paddington bear series, dead at 91
Stan Weston thought little boys might like a military doll. G.I. Joe was an "action figure," not a doll -- but with just as many accessories. Kids have been playing with G.I. Joes (and G.I. Janes) ever since.
Thomas Hudner was a real war hero. In 1950, behind enemy lines in Korea, Hudner crashed his plane to save a fellow pilot who'd been shot down. Hudner couldn't save Jesse Brown, the Navy's first black aviator, but his actions that day set a shining example of hope for our newly-integrated armed forces.
Jesse Brown's widow, Daisy, was there when President Harry Truman awarded Thomas Hudner the Medal of Honor, and their families remain close to this day.
And we say "Thank you" to all our service men and women who left us this year.
We lost all kinds of heroes. Chris Rosati battled his ALS diagnosis with kindness, generosity and humor -- and a bus full of donuts! ("If I have enough time, I'll change the world," he said.) He died this year at 46, but not before showing us all how to give ... and how to live.
Gilbert Baker gave us the Rainbow Flag...
... Which Edie Windsor carried proudly. When Edie's wife, Thea, died in 2009, Edie had to pay more than $360,000 in taxes because the federal government didn't recognize their marriage. ("If Thea's name had been Theo, I would have paid no tax," she said.) Her Supreme Court victory set the stage for other rulings granting equal rights to same-sex couples.
Edith Windsor, plaintiff in landmark same-sex marriage case, dead at 88, lawyer says
Judge Joseph Wapner settled all kinds of disputes in his television courtroom. Farewell to him!
And farewell to Chuck Barris, hyper-kinetic creator of "The Gong Show." ("I loved your act, but then, I like trichinosis.") "On my tombstone," Barris said, "it's just gonna say, 'Gonged at last.'"
And a fond farewell to Dorothy Mengering, David Letterman's Mom. She was always a good sport.
Dave: "Number one little known fact about me, Mom's son?"
Dorothy Mengering: "His date for the senior prom? You're looking at her!"
Gary DeCarlo's hit song in 1969, "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye," has taken on a life of its own. Goodbye to him!
And to Don Baylor, a great hitter -- and even better at getting hit ... 267 times!
Don Baylor, MVP who became manager of the year, dead at 68
Goodbye to Jim Bunning ... intimidating on the mound, and later in Congress.
Jim Bunning, Hall of Fame pitcher and U.S. senator, dead at 85
Milt Schmidt led his Boston Bruins to two Stanley Cup Championships.
Y.A. Tittle broke all kinds of passing records in his 17 seasons. So long, tough guy!
Boxer Jake La Motta was so famous for taking punches from the likes of Sugar Ray Robinson, they made a movie about him, "Raging Bull." He never went down. ("I remember one night, they were punching the heck out of me. And all of a sudden I saw an opening, it was in my head!")
And goodbye to Tom Petty, who gave us a tough, gritty song about carrying on, and broke our hearts when he died this year, at 66.
Dennis Banks never backed down. He stood his ground in Custer, South Dakota, and Wounded Knee, and Standing Rock, and died this year at 80, still fighting to improve the lives of the country's oldest minority.
Gregg Allman ... his driving rhythms and soulful twang came to define a new sound: Southern rock.
Gregg Allman, pioneering singer for The Allman Brothers, dies at 69
Chuck Berry started rocking in the '50s, and kept right on rocking ... and duck walking.
Charles Osgood: "How did you happen to start doing it?"
Chuck Berry: "I slipped and fell and I rolled over and put it in the act and got back up. Ever sincethey I got such a big ovation, when I don't do it, they'll give me this … ya' know? That means, get down with it."
It's fair to say there would be no rock 'n' roll without Chuck Berry.
Farewell to Joni Sledge, one of the sisters who gave us that catchy tribute to the power of family, "We Are Family."
Joni Sledge, member of Sister Sledge, dies at 60
And to Barbara Hale, who we knew as Della Street, Perry Mason's secretary.
And Erin Moran ... we knew her as Joanie Cunningham on "Happy Days."
And to Robert Guillaume, the urbane, distinguished butler Benson DuBois. They were all part of our television family.
Robert Guillaume, Emmy Award-winning actor, dead at 89
David Rockefeller was a towering figure, from a wealthy and philanthropic family. He died this year, at 101.
Eugene Lang invested his money in sixth graders at his Harlem elementary school, promising to pay for their college educations. ("The success of any one of you, just one of you, make everything worthwhile," he said.)
Sister Frances Carr was one of just three Shakers living a simple, spiritual life in Sabbathday Lake, Maine. ("Every single one of us owned nothing, and yet every one of us owned everything.") She died this year, leaving only two Shakers to carry on.
A cook in her own writer, book editor Judith Jones discovered Julia Child, and she rescued the manuscript of Anne Frank's diary from the publisher's reject pile. Our thanks to her.
Sue Grafton died just last week at 77. She us use nearly an entire alphabet of mystery novels, starting with "A Is for Alibi" and ending with "Y Is for Yesterday."
Donald Bain wrote more than 125 books, most of which don't bear his name. He was a ghostwriter, and proud of it. "Murder, She Wrote" was really murder HE wrote! And "Coffee, Tea or Me?," a bestseller in the '60s, was really a flight of fancy by Donald Bain.
Robert Persig wrote "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance." He launched many journeys of self-discovery.
Kate Millett's book, "Sexual Politics," challenged our assumptions about gender roles. She inspired generations of women.
Clare Hollingworth defied expectations all her life, beginning in 1939, when she got the scoop of the century: the news that World War II had begun. She died this year, at 105.
Farewell to Martin Landau, whose "monstrous" talent earned him an Oscar as Bela Lugosi. ("If you want to make out with a young lady, take her to 'Dracula'! He he he.")
Director George A. Romero gave birth to a whole new genre of horror. He loved zombies. Farewell to him!
And Farewell to Haruo Nakajima. He really enjoyed playing Godzilla -- and he was good at it!
Roger Moore brought an unruffled air of elegance to his agent 007. He had a light touch with the ladies, too!
"My dreams have come true tenfold," said Hugh Hefner, who reveled in his playboy persona -- and his Playboy Mansion -- unabashedly and unapologetically. ("What is this outrageous and terrible thing about sex that we can't cope with as an adult society?")
Hef died this year at 91. He arranged to be buried next to Marilyn Monroe, his first Playboy cover girl.
Dick Gregory agitated for civil rights all of his life, with passion and humor. ("The next time you put your underwear in the washing machine, take the agitator out. And all you're going to end up with is some dirty, wet drawers.")
He even ran for president in 1968, on the Freedom and Peace Party ticket. ("The first thing I would do as President of the United States is paint the White House black.")
John Anderson ran for president as an Independent in 1980. Farewell to Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former National Security Advisor, and San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee -- they served their country well.
Charles Manson died this year at 83. The murder and mayhem he masterminded in 1969 occupies a dark place in the American psyche.
As head of the Fox News network, Roger Ailes transformed our political landscape, before being brought down by scandal. He died this year, at 77.
Farewell to those who left us gifts of great jazz: Jon Hendricks ... Grady Tate ... Al Jarreau.
Jon Hendricks, 96, Who Brought a New Dimension to Jazz Singing, Dies
Glen Campbell was the son of an Arkansas sharecropper, whose easy-going style, gentle voice, and guitar-picking genius brought him to the pinnacle of country music.
But his last act was his bravest: a farewell tour after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, with his kids to back him up when the river of his memory went dry.
"I've been walking these streets so long,
singing the same old song..."
We will never forget him.
Robert Osborne loved movies ... and movie stars.
What a company of men and women they were. They made us laugh, and cry, and think about the world in new ways ... and left us this year wanting more. What lives they lived!
Hail, and farewell.