Patrick Swayze. Never took himself too seriously, immortalized in Road House and Red Dawn. I still haven’t seen Dirty Dancing – despite growing up among a gaggle of girls, and having seen Grease and Xanadu more times than I care to admit – but you left your mark. Thanks for making the women of my generation want to dance dirty.
Johnny Ramone. That rare right-wing punk rocker, he didn’t let political differences get in the way of rocking his brains out and leading the punk revolution without advertising for some wanker’s bondage clothing store. Lost him to the “Big C” as well, and he kept it private. Your guitar helped save rock ‘n roll.
Henry Gibson. Character actor extraordinaire. Everyone’s favorite Illinois Nazi from The Blues Brothers, he helped revolutionize TV comedy on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. He played the bad guy a lot in comedies like The ‘Burbs, but got his start singing in Altman’s Nashville– which I need to see again now. We’ll miss you.
Mary Travers. Mary of Peter, Paul & Mary, her music is simply part of American culture now. One of the most easily recognizable folk groups of the ’60s, their songs have a timeless quality. Who doesn’t know “Puff, the Magic Dragon”?