AVERY SCHREIBER (66) January 7, 2002
Just a week into the new year, Avery Schreiber died of a heart attack. Many remember him as the spokesman for Doritos junk food, so this type of death might not be too surprising.
He was a great guy to talk to, and as friendly and amusing off-stage as on. The pleasantly plump round-faced comic with the bushy moustache first gained fame by teaming with the flinty and thinner Jack Burns. Their best routine was a pre-Archie Bunker bit about a bigot encountering a Jewish cabbie. What audiences liked most was not the sharp dialogue, but the two characters. Avery's amiable nature was tested by Jack's comically irritating obtuseness.
When the duo disbanded, the "huh" "yeah" "huh" "yeah" routine didn't die, Jack Burns used it opposite Andy Griffith, playing Don Knotts' replacement. Meanwhile Avery became the comic villain on "My Mother the Car." Jack and Avery reunited and eventually landed their own summer show on ABC in 1973. In later years Jack wrote comedy and favored world travel, while Avery continued to find work as a character actor, and in stage productions of everything from "Hamlet" to "Fiddler on the Roof."
FRANK SHUSTER (85) January 13, 2002
Anyone who watched "The Ed Sullivan Show" could tell you who Ed's favorite comedy duo was. It was "Wayne and Shuster," the Canadian team that appeared on the show an astonishing 67 times, beginning with a Shakespeare parody in May of 1958 about Julius Caesar's assasination.
The formula would get them through various other parodies and sketches, and thirty years later, they were still doing Shakespeare parodies, this time equating MacBeth and McDonald's: "Bubble bubble, toil and trouble, give me a burger and make it a double!"
By then, Sullivan was no longer around, but the team was still doing very well, syndicating their own series around the world. They didn't have much impact in America beyond the Sullivan show; two mild albums on Columbia and a summer show in 1966, and few could recall a catch-phrase from any of their routines, or even who was who (Shuster was the taller one). Still, they managed to be one of the longest running teams in show biz history, and legendary in their native Canada, where they'd graduated from the University of Toronto and in 1941 began broadcasting for CBC radio.
Johnny Wayne died on July 18, 1990. He had three daughters. Frank's daughter Rose wrote for "Saturday Night Live" and at one time was married to the show's producer, Lorne Michaels. Of the Wayne and Shuster style of comedy Frank once said: "Johnny's is very broad and mine is subtle. He overplays and I underplay and we meet halfway..."
STANLEY UNWIN (90) January 14, 2002
In America, many were befuddled by Al Kelly and Norm Crosby...in England, the guy who made a career out of nonsense words and malaprops was Stanley Unwin.
Born in Pretoria, South Africa, and originally hired by the BBC as an engineer, Unwin's peculiar career touched on films (he was the Chancellor in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang") and even rock albums (as narrator of 1968's "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" by The Small Faces).
But most know him through his twisted comic routines, like the one about Goldilocks, or rather, "Goldiloppers...Once apollytito and Goldiloppers set out in the deep dark of the forry. She was carry a basket with buttere-flabe and cheesy flavor....'' His album "Rotary Diskers" was even re-issued on CD. He died at Dantre Hospital in Daventry, survived by a son and two daughters.
SHELDON ALLMAN (77) January 22, 2002
Writing corny lyrics may not have been the main way Sheldon Allman made a living, but it made him a cult figure for thousands, and millions knew his work even if they didn't know his name.
Fans know him through "Sing Along with Drac," his attempt to cash in on the monster-comedy craze that produced "Spike Jones in Hi-Fi" and many Zacherley albums. He parodied popular tunes with ghoulish lyrics, and sang them in a deep semi-Lugosi voice.
Allman's deep voice helped him get cartoon voice work. He was also the singing voice for Mister Ed (writing or co-writing the novelty tunes that Ed sang on a few episodes of the show: "Pretty Little Filly with the Pony Tail" and "Empty Feedbag Blues.")
He wrote the lyrics for several Jay Ward cartoon shows including "Super Chicken" and "George of the Jungle."
Allman was born in Chicago and migrated to Canada. Unlike many who came to Canada to avoid war service, Sheldon was with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War 2, and also sang with the Royal National Guard. He moved to Los Angeles and in 1949 graduated from the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. He wrote straight tunes ("A Quiet Kind of Love") and put out an album called "Folk Songs for the 21st Century," but made more money writing TV themes, mostly for game shows such as "Let's Make a Deal," "Split Second" and "Your First Impression."
His cult favorite monster album led him to connect with "Monster Mash" singer Bobby "Boris" Pickett for a musical comedy, "Dracula ... Sorry the Bridge Is Out, You'll Have to Spend the Night." Some considered it in league with "Rocky Horror Show," and it ultimately was made into the 1995 direct-to-video quickie "Monster Mash: The Movie."
Allman's journeyman acting career included an estimated 120 TV show appearances including the brief continuing role of Norm Miller in 1964's "Harris Against the World" (starring Jack Klugman). He starred and supplied voices for dozens of commercials, and was in 20 films. He was a veterinarian in "Hud," Judge Harry Evers in "The Sons of Katie Elder," a sheriff in "Nevada Smith," and the prison chaplain in "In Cold Blood."
He was married for 35 years and had a daughter, Lorraine.
SPIKE MILLIGAN (83) February 27, 2002
What a God of comedy. What a brilliant, sensitive and hilarious fight he gave the world, tickling us, pointing out absurdity, bludgeoning with puns, making faces, and being desperately wonderful and insane in the face of, well, people whose motivations in life were insidious and insane.
Often called the "Father of Modern British Comedy" (for his influence on Monty Python and a generation of absurdist and anarchistic comedy), Milligan, aka Milligna, aka Milligoon, created "The Goon Show," the radio series that launched the career of Peter Sellers. He also wrote dozens of eccentric books of nonsense and cartoons, as well as serious poetry, "erratic" novels brimming with odd characters and grand humor, and his best-selling series of war memoirs.
What made Spike a legend was the man's personal life. Every fan knew of his painfully sensitive nature and the manic-depression and other mental illnesses that sometimes hindered him or even confined him to near solitude. His outspoken views on ecology and vegetarianism also pointed up the very serious side of this very "loony" man.
Terence Alan Milligan was born in India, on April 16, 1918. His father was a sergeant-major in the British army. Schooled in Roman Catholic convents, he was 16 when he and his family finally returned to England. The next time he would travel the world, it was in service to Her Majesty the Queen. Gunner Milligan's war stories would later surface in "Adolf Hitler, My Part in his Downfall," and many subsequent volumes.
After the war, he tried to make it in show business, as a musician and as a comedian. At one performance, he cried out, "You hate me, don't you?" The audience howled, and Milligan threw his trumpet to the stage floor and stomped it flat.
Spike needed psychiatric treatment after the war, and struggled with his demons even when he finally did gain a measure of show business success via "The Goon Show." As hilarious as the show was for listeners, it was often hell for Milligan, who had the pressure of having to write new shows every week.
"The war started the gradual deterioration of my mental stability, but 'The Goon Show' finished the process," he recalled. The show premiered on May 28, 1951, and it made stars out of all three full-time cast members, but to varying degrees. After the show ended with the decade, Harry Secombe enjoyed fame as a TV and radio personality and singer. Peter Sellers became a film superstar. And Milligan, to the chagrin of many including himself, remained a cult figure and eccentric icon, careening through occasional radio and TV shows, stage appearances, solo record efforts, concerts, and various forms of literature.
Considering the stress and pressure he remained under, living by his wits, he did a remarkable job of being as prolific and visible as he was. For all the canceled interviews and periods of rest, he produced a voluminous amount of comic material. And "The Goon Show" remained legendary, with episodes turning up on record and tape. Many of the people he influenced tried to pay Milligan back in some small way. Spike had bit parts in "Magic Christian," "Life of Brian," and Mel Brooks' "History of the World." The Muppets even had Spike on as a guest, despite his virtual anonymity in America.
Prince Charles, patron of the Goon Show Preservation Society, and even a target of Spike's wit, described Spike's passing as "the end of a great era of British comedy, exemplified by Spike's extraordinary genius for the play on words and for the art of the nonsensical unexpected."
Many mourned "the last of the Goons." Peter Sellers died in 1980. Early "Goon" member Michael Bentine died in 1996, and Sir Harry Secombe passed on last year.
Spike's marriage to the punnishly-named Ann Howe, ended in divorce. They had three children. He had a fourth child via his second wife, Patricia. She died of cancer in 1978. In 1983 he married Shelagh Sinclair.
Typically, he commented in 1987, "You'd have to be a total idiot to be happy today. I would never have had four children if I'd known what I know now."
Seeking the quiet a noise-polluted world rarely supplied, Spike lived in Rye, bemoaning the occasional sounds of planes and lawn mowers in the distance. He died of kidney failure, survived by the four children he momentarily wished were never born, and by the many, many people all over the world who loved him dearly even if they never met him.
I wrote to him once, sending him a copy of his entry in "Who's Who in Comedy." He didn't write back about himself. He wrote back hoping that I was all right...because he had seen on the telly news of a storm that blanketed my city with eight inches of snow. A kind man. Of course, he was also the fellow who once turned away a person asking for an autograph by insisting, "You only want it because you happened to recognize me. If you REALLY wanted it, you would've written to me!"
Red Skelton used to say "a clown is a warrior who fights gloom." Spike fought more than that. He fought in World War II. He fought the insanity of the world and even used insane comedy to do it. He was a poet, and, to quote a description penned by Edgar A. Poe a century ago in describing a poet: "he had the ordinary temperament of genius, and was a compound of misanthropy, sensibility, and enthusiasm. To these qualities he united the warmest and truest heart which ever beat in a human bosom."
DUDLEY MOORE (66) March 27, 2002
Forever remembered as the spriteful, spiteful little satirist teamed with the tall and dour Peter Cook, and best known to American audiences for "10" and "Arthur," Dudley Moore was both a comedian and a musician.
It was the music that was his great love. In the years that he suffered the hell of an incurable and debilitating disease, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, he was aware that death could come within months, within years...and that every day would be a struggle to just stand upright. But though he never lost a grimly wry sense of humor about his dilemma, he tearfully told Barbara Walters of his greatest disappointment; not being able to play the piano. Her interview was a heartbreak to all fans, as "cuddly Dudley," the once efervescent and rakish screen comedian, was slowed to crawling speech and difficulty in walking.
"It's totally mysterious the way this illness attacks, and eats you up, and then spits you out," he told the BBC in an interview a few years after the Barbara Walters TV appearance. He had first experienced problems during concert performances, when the pieces didn't flow and critics accused him of being drunk on stage.
After his retirement, he said, "There's not much point feeling angry. There's always this feeling of 'Why did it hit me?' and I cannot make peace with it because I know I am going to die from it. To be reduced to this insignificant version of myself is overpowering."
Moore was born in Dagenham, and schooled in the piano from the age of six. By his teens he was an accomplished church organist and won a scholarship at Magdalen College at Oxford University. His classical organ studies were soon eclipsed by a fondness for jazz, and then there was a completely different interest: comedy.
He earned his first fame in the London and Broadway stage hit, "Beyond the Fringe," as part of a foursome that included Peter Cook. Dudley's highlight was musical parody in the show, but he soon began working with Cook on both icy satire, and what proved to be the dawning of the "cruel" humor that Monty Python would excell at. One of the classic Cook & Moore sketches was "One Leg Too Few," with Dudley as an inanely upbeat one-legged auditioner for the part of Tarzan. Peter Cook's caustic remarks aimed at this cheerful "uni-dexter" gave the sketch its bite.
Ironically Dudley was well-used to taunts about physical problems; he was born with a club foot and "the stain" of it haunted him for years, as did the problem of his height, or lack of it. He was merely five feet two.
Cook and Moore continued their teamwork on television and on Broadway, and appeared in several films, including "Bedazzled." They also created alter egos Derek and Clive for sketches that were brawlingly vulgar.
Moore's solo career blazed in 1978 when he starred in the comedy "10" opposite Bo Derek. Now a cuddly comic ladies man, the unlikely Moore won an Oscar nomination for the 1981 hit "Arthur," opposite Liza Minelli. A 1988 sequel, "Arthur 2" didn't fare as well, and by that time the public had become smitten with other comic leading men.
Dudley was still known as a ladies man off-screen, having married a succession of tall ladies: Suzy Kendall, Tuesday Weld, Borgan Lane, and Nicole Rothschild. He is survived by two sons, one from the marriage to Weld, the other from the marriage to Rothschild. They wed in 1994 and were divorced in 1998.
By then, Dudley was suffering with his intense physical problems, ultimately relying on the good graces of a devoted fan in New Jersey who made it her duty to help take care of him. The torture of Dudley Moore continued, with open-heart surgery in 1999, and a series of four strokes that only worsened the problems of equilibrium and speech that the fatal disease had forced him to deal with.
It would be difficult to find in the history of comedy a star who gave so much youthful and vital laughter to the world, only to be victimized in his later years by such a grim and suffering fate.
MILTON BERLE (93) March 27, 2002
One of the most versatile comedians, Milton Berle starred in vaudeville, on Broadway, in films, on radio, and of course became "Uncle Miltie," the first major star of television.
Whether it was glib ad-libs, remembered schtick, or silly faces and drag costumes, Milton got the job done. Very few comedians can break down any type of audience and Berle was one of them. He'd find a way of getting the laughs, verbally or physically or both.
Milton (Mendel Berlinger) was born in Harlem, and had a stage mother who pushed him toward the footlights. He could sing, write music, act, tell jokes, and clown with the best of them. He was not exactly a huge star in the 30's or 40's, but he was well known and respected. And off stage, whispers of his prowess as a ladies man overshadowed his show business achievements.
Ultimately television, which burned out many more famous stars (such as Ed Wynn and Eddie Cantor) kept Berle in the spotlight. He had the drive and the versatility to keep people coming back every week, and in this early era, thousands of TV sets were bought specifically because people wanted to see "Uncle Miltie."
NBC signed Berle to one of the most amazing contracts in history: $200,000 a year for 30 years. Ironically, Berle's show which began in 1948 ebbed in popularity by 1956, and despite a brief comeback try on ABC in the mid 60's, he ended up far behind Lucille Ball, Red Skelton and many other comics in terms of longevity.
But he was never forgotten. He was a fine dramatic actor and starred in Broadway's "The Goodbye People," which is where I first met him. While some found him pretty abrasive in private life, I thankfully never saw that side of him.
Berle enjoyed many dramatic roles in TV and films in the later decades, but the aging comedian was finally slowed in the 1990's. He would turn up mostly on documentaries, as one of the few surviving vaudevillians who could comment on the legends of his time. He managed to make it to his 93rd birthday party, a gala event. Though frail, he waved to his fans and clearly was enjoying the moment. A few months later, and he was wheelchair bound, losing weight, but still cracking jokes. And yes, I'd print my favorite Berle quip about the white and gooey tonic he had to drink to keep his weight up, but it's just a little too crude for an obituary.
His wife and his relatives were by his side at the end. He died in his sleep. The next day, his death was front page news. After all those years, the legendary Berle stayed a headliner.
BILLY WILDER (95) March 27, 2002
The director of over 50 movies, Billy Wilder received 6 Oscars (out of 20 nominations). His philosophy on film making: "I just always think,'Do I like it?' And if I like it maybe other people will come and like it too."
After spending his youth in Vienna and Berlin, Wilder fled Nazi Germany and arrived in Hollywood where he began working on thrillers such as "Double Indemnity" and dramas including "The Lost Weekend." But comedy fans know him for two Marilyn Monroe vehicles, "Seven Year Itch" (in which Marilyn's billowing skirt was a lot more interesting than Tom Ewell's comic takes) and "Some Like It Hot" which did have enough comedy from Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis and Joe E. Brown to match Marilyn's charms. Wilder worked on many more Jack Lemmon projects over the years.
BARRY TOOK (73) March 31, 2002
In his native England, Barry Took was well known as both a comedy writer and comedian/presenter ("presenter" being the Brit term for host or game show moderator)
Took was a stand-up comic in his youth but first gained fame as a radio comedy writer, creating scripts for "Round the Horne," starring Kenneth Horne and Kenneth Williams. He later worked on the series "Bootsie and Snudge" with Alfie Bass and Clive Dunn, and on various TV projects with Monty Feldman. He and Feldman often wrote scripts together.
He later hosted the TV show "Points of View" and the radio game show "The News Quiz." He also wrote several books about comedians. Last December he was diagnosed with cancer, and it was early on Easter Sunday that he died in his sleep.
CLIFF GORMAN (65) September 5, 2002
My last contact with Cliff was probably a few years ago. He was always gracious and thoughtful. His portrayal of Lenny Bruce remains, so many years later, as one of the greatest perforances I've seen on Broadway. His Tony-award winning work in the play "Lenny" did a lot to revitalize interest in Bruce, and it proved to be the highlight in Gorman's career.
Clive Barnes in the New York Times wrote: "The play has a virtuoso performance of fevered energy and measured distinction by Cliff Gorman....the audience gave him a standing ovation such as is rarely heard in a theatre, and he deserved every last, hoarse hurrah..."
Dustin Hoffman appeared in the movie version, offering a completely different (and more realistic) take on Lenny. Gorman's Lenny suited the stage: it was bombastic, angry, as if Lenny was not a comic at all but a fervent evangelist for the truth. The play was in fact an avenging document to Lenny's ideals and to the misguided harassment that caused his demise. Following the play, several posthumous records appeared on Lenny. For the movie, a few years later, Bob Fosse was able to present a more realistic look; Lenny's fame was now assured and it was "the man" that people were interested in
Gorman, cast aside by Bob Fosse for the film, later worked for Fosse in "All That Jazz." But in films, Cliff is best remembered for his flamboyant role in "The Boys in the Band" (he was the Obie-award winning original in the stage version, too).
Cliff, long married (his wife Gayle survives hiim) was born in New York, graduated from N.Y.U. and lived here all his life. He always favored stage work over films, and was nominated for a Tony for the 1977 Neil Simon hit "Chapter Two." He followed it with a role opposite Jill Clayburgh in "An Unmarried Woman." More recently he appeared in "Hoffa" (1992) "Ghost Dog; The Way Of The Samurai" (1999); and " King Of The Jungle" (2001).
LAWANDA PAGE (81) September 14, 2002
Fred Sanford was a salty and cantankerous cuss, but he had his hands full with "Aunt Esther," the most memorable supporting character on the "Sanford and Son" series.
Redd Foxx knew he had to have Lawanda Page for the role, and with every squint, glower and santimonious huff, she had audiences laughing. Born in Cleveland, October 19, 1920, she began her career as a dancer and then was known as the "Bronze Goddess of Fire" with a scorching novelty act. She later worked with Skillet & Leroy and performed stand-up with some gags that even Foxx might've found a little raw.
"Sanford and Son" ran from 1973 to 1977, and Lawanda issued comedy albums several years earlier (some simply as "Lawanda") and later. In 1977 after Foxx had exhausted the patience of NBC, Page was one of the main stars of "Sanford Arms," the spin-off series. Page kept busy over the years, and was even tabbed as the spokesperson for a company manufacturing chitlins. A truly nice lady, if you asked for an autograph, she might do more than personalize it. She'd add her famous catch-phrase. I treasure my little souvenir of Lawanda Page: "To Ronald...you fish-eyed fool..."
JAMES GREGORY (90) September 16, 2002
A rumpled character actor with a metallic edge to his voice, James Gregory often played caustic wiseguys, small town bullies and political weasels (including the senator in "The Manchurian Candidate.") But late in life, he achieved sitcom fame as the swaggering but clueless Inspector Lugar for eight seasons of "Barney Miller." He died in Sedona, Arizona.
DOUG CLARK September 16, 2002 (66)
He had the Hot Nuts...and he was a frat house legend, booked into colleges around the country in the late 50's and early 60's, as well as the funkiest and most obscure clubs you could imagine
Clark, who was raised in Chapel Hill, and died there at the age of 66, popularized classic dirty ditties like "Bang Bang LuLu" and "Bang Your Box," selling thousands of copies of his albums on the Gross record label. Up until Clark, few knew these songs, which had been circulated by anonymous soul singers mostly on private label 78's.
Growing up with segregation in North Carolina, Clark attended the all-black Lincoln High School, where he was busy in sports (football, basketball and baseball) as well as playing music and managing the theater club. Clark and his band played local colleges and were soon specializing in funky versions of mildly risque tunes like "Hot Nuts (you get them from the peanut man)" and amassing a huge catalog of double entendre tunes. He and his band also recited dirty jokes and dippy limericks.
When fans of sexy humor albums from Pearl Williams or Rusty Warren wanted something just a little bit stronger, they found the Doug Clark records, which were distributed by Rusty's Jubilee label. Along with Redd Foxx, Clark was a pioneer, paving away for the soulful but much more raw work of Richard Pryor and Blowfly.
The easygoing Doug Clark toured for 40 years, but never strayed far from home; Crest Street, in the house he'd lived in ever since childhood.
RON LANDRY Sep 16, 2002 (70)
Ron Landry is well remembered for both his comedy teamwork on the radio, and his many, many years as a solo disc jockey. Born in Louisiana and raised in Washington, D.C., Landry was a local Virginia DJ before beginning his legendary stint with WDRC in Hartford, where he was known to interview himself by taping one voice ahead of time, and then playing it back while doing a well-timed live voice. His cast of characters included Hemingway Monroe, Dan Press, Doug Weedwell, and the beatnik favorite Geets Romo. In 1969 he moved on to WBZ in Boston, and then headed west, working with Bob Hudson in 1969.
Hudson had also been a solo DJ, the replacement for morning favorite Bob Eubanks at KRLA. While Eubanks had his quiz host success on TV, "Emperor" Bob Hudson reigned on local radio. The powerhouse combo of Hudson and Landry boosted ratings at KGBS, and led to a single, "Ajax Liquor Store," which was nominated for a Grammy and led to their best selling "Hanging in There" album for the tiny Dore label. After the team split in the late 70's, there was Hudson and Pickett, Hudson and Judson, and Landry and Biener. Landry and Biener were also a script-writing team, working on episodes of "Benson," "Gimme a Break," and "Flo," notably "Happy Birthday Mama," which aired in 1980. Bob Hudson retired from radio work in 1988, and he died in 1997 at the age of 66. Landry retired a few years ago, and spent the past year fighting his battle with cancer.
JAY R. SMITH (87) Oct 5, 2002
He was a "Little Rascal" many years ago. At 87, he became a homicide victim.
Jay R. Smith didn't grow much beyond what he looked like as a freckle-faced kid. He stood about 5'2" and weighed just 110 pounds. He was no match for the drifter who attached himself to Smith but then got greedy.
A widower, Smith was still grieving for his wife of 46 years, Florine, who had died last February. He wore her wedding ring around his neck, along with his own. "Kuuipo" was inscribed on each; the Hawaiian word for "sweetheart." The lonely man apparently befriended Charles Crombie, allowing him to stay in a studio room of his home in exchange for handyman work.
When a decomposed body was found on October 5th, nobody was sure who it was. Smith's distraught step-daughter offered a description, mentioning that he was missing parts of two figners on his left hand. In the meantime, Smith's credit card had been a lot more lively.
Crombie had been withdrawing money and gambling it away at a casino not far from Smith's Nevada home. He had also taken possession of Smith's 1998 Buick.
Police believe that Smith was killed at home, and his body dragged out into the desert to rot
From 1925 to 1929, during the era where "Fat" Joe Cobb was the leader, Jay was "Freckles" (aka "Specks" one of the "Little Rascals." He helped support his family with his earnings.In private life, the fair-haired boy was nicknamed "Pinky" for his easily sunburned complexion.
After World War II, he moved to Hawaii where he worked as a paint salesman and as the owner of a picture framing service. In his mid 70's he retired and moved to Nevada. He would sometimes turn up at memorabilia events, being one of the few remaining "Rascals." After his wife's death, Crombie would help get Smith to these events, no doubt watching with great interest as fans slapped down eays money for autographs.
Although he seemed shady, Crombie was there to "help" Smith, and that's what Smith told people who were concerned about his companion. There is speculation that Smith finally had enough of Crombie and had asked him to leave. The response was to bludgeon the ex-child star, stab him, and then go on a spending spree with his money.
AL LOHMAN (69) Oct 13, 2002
Al Lohman was half of radio's Lohman and Barkley, a team that was active from the 60's to 1986 over KLAC, KFWB and finally KFI in Los Angeles. The morning men did what comical DJ's usually do; parodies, fake commercials and put-on interviews, and a long running spoof of soap operas. They had a TV show over local KNBC between 1967-1970 that included some of L.A.'s sharpest character comics including Rudy DeLuca, McLean Stevenson and Art Metrano. The show never went national, and around the country few were aware of the audio cassettes and one album that they made. The team did have their own star on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame," an honor bestowed around 1985, a year before they broke up.
Roger Barkley had been a radio executive and newsman at KLAC when he hired Lohman. They informally goofed around on the air circa 1961, and officially "teamed" the following year. They officially broke up in a very public way, with Barkley storming out during a commercial break and never returning. They never spoke to each other again. Lohman teamed briefly with Gary Owens, and even with Bob Hudson. Barkley tried Ken Minyard. But for L.A. fans, it was Lohman and Barkley or nothing. Barkley died of cancer in 1997 at the age of 61, and Lohman, struggling with stomach and bladder cancer, would pass on five years later. He lived in Rancho Mirage, and had worked as a morning host for KCMJ-AM in Palm Springs through the 90's.
BASHFUL BROTHER OSWALD (90) Oct 17, 2002
Fans of the Grand Ole Opry laughed at "Bashful Brother Oswald," the creation of Beecher Ray Kirby. The bashful one was a regular on the show, even into his 80's.
Fans of Mr. Kirby, himself, will tell you that he had an equally important career as a guitar player and master of the dobro. Kirby was with the Smoky Mountain Boys as they backed the legendary Roy Acuff starting in 1939. In fact Kirby never stopped working with Acuff, and added the Hawaiian-sounding dobro to such classics as "The Wreck on the Highway" and "The Precious Jewel." After Acuff's death in 1992, "Bashful Brother Oswald" joined the Opry for solo performances. Kirby also released music albums and lent his unique touch to "Will