Here is a list of many of the people who took their final bow this year. Donna "Elly Mae Clampett" Douglas died on January 1st, 2015. She was born on September 26th, 1932. In addition to her role on the long running series "The Beverly Hillbillies, Douglas also appeared on an episode of Night Gallery alongside Bill Bixby and Carol Lynley. Douglas also appeared in the Elvis Presley film "Frank and Johnny.
Rod Taylor, star of "Time Machine" and "The Birds" died on January 7th 2015. On January 11th, 2015 Anita Ekberg died. Ekberg was in the Dean Martin film "Four For Texas" amongst many other roles. Louis Jourdan an actor known for his suave manner, died on February 14th, 2015. Jourdan is perhaps best known as the Bond villain Kamal Khan in the film "Octopussy" in 1983. He played Arcane in 1982's cult classic "Swamp Thing". Leslie Gore, who played Catwoman's sidekick "Pussycat" on the Batman show died on February 16th, 2015 (she was the niece off Howie Horowitz). Gore was primarily a singer. Her first hit was "It's My Party". Gore was only sixteen at the time of the songs success. It was also producer Quincy Jones first musical hit!
Star Trek's Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy passed away on February 27th, 2015. Although Mr. Spock was his most famous role, Nimoy also starred on such hits as "Mission : Impossible ", " In Search Of ..." and "Standby, Lights, Camera, ACTION !!" for the Nickelodeon network. Gregory Walcott, the hero of Ed Wood's "Plan 9 From Outer Space" died on March 20th. 2015. James Best, an actor known for appearing in many western shows, and as guitar payer "Jim Lindsey" on the Andy Griffith Show, died on April 6th, 2015. Best was mostly known as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane on the "Dukes Of Hazzard" TV Series.
Satirist Stan Freberg died on April 7th, 2015. Freberg gained popularity in the early 1950's with his musical send-ups of soap operas, Christmas songs, and the Dragnet TV series. Also, my friend Gordon's father went to school with Stan Freberg in California. Jayne Meadows Allen, wife of Steve Allen, passed on April 26th, 2015 . She was a frequent guest on "I've Got A Secret". She and Steve Allen made their long awaited appearance together on the Dick Van Dyke series "Diagnosis Murder" in 1999. Suzanne Crough, The littlest Partridge Tracy, died on April 7th, 2015. And, Star Trek's Grace Lee Whitney, who played "Yeoman Janice Rand" died on May 1st , 2015. Whitney was only on the show for the first season. Whitney also played King Tut's "Newest Queen of the Nile" on the Batman show.
Anne Meara. wife of Jerry Stiller, and mother of Ben Stiller passed on May 23rd, 2015. She appeared on the Rhoda TV series as Rhoda's close friend "Flight Attendant Sally Gallagher". She played Veronica on "Archie Bunker's Place" for several seasons. Betsy Palmer died on May 29th, 2015. Betsy was in several movies, plus the show "I've Got A Secret". Horror movie fans will always know her as "Pamela Voorhees" the mother of Jason Voorhees of the "Friday The 13th series.
Noted actor Christopher Lee, Dracula, Bond Villain, Star Trek villain and much more died on June 7th, 2015. Dick Van Patton passed on June 23rd, 2015. Patton played Tom Bradford on the show: "Eight Is Enough" as well as appearances in "Sanford & Son", "Happy Days", " Emergency" and a great performance in the classic Mel Brooks film "Spaceballs!" Patrick Macnee from the TV series "The Avengers" played the enigmatic "John Steed" to perfection.
That covers the first half of the year. 'I will conclude the second half of the year in my next column. I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!