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Mike Wallace Passes Away At 93


A legend passes:

CBS News legend Mike Wallace, the “60 Minutes” pit-bull reporter whose probing, brazen style made his name synonymous with the tough interview – a style he practically invented for television more than half a century ago – died last night. He was 93 and passed peacefully surrounded by family members at Waveny Care Center in New Canaan, Conn., where he spent the past few years. He also had a home in Manhattan.

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Betty Ford Passes On At 93


A grand old lady has passed on

Betty Ford, wife of former President Gerald Ford and the founder of the Betty Ford Center for substance abuse and addiction, has died at age 93.

In public, she was one of the most visible and outspoken first ladies in history. In private, she triumphed over serious personal adversity.

She was married to Gerald Ford for 58 years. Shortly after becoming president in 1974, Ford said, “I am indebted to no man and to only one woman, my dear wife.”

[…]

A month after moving into the White House, Betty Ford was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. She became an advocate for breast cancer research and early detection.

Asked about her illness, she said, “I’m very glad that I brought cancer to the forefront.”

She was also outspoken on women’s rights issues. She supported the equal rights amendment and the legalization of abortion.

She became famous for her candor. In an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” she talked about marijuana, equal rights for women, abortion and the possibility of a premarital affair for her daughter, Susan.

After leaving the White House, Betty Ford publicly acknowledged her addiction to alcohol and painkillers.

“This is not a lack of willpower, this is a disease,” she said at the time.

In 1982, she co-founded the Betty Ford Center in California. Her candor in talking about and dealing with substance abuse and treatment helped led to an improvement in how Americans talk about such matters.

Helping others overcome addiction became her chief cause.

“I’m not out to rescue anybody who doesn’t want to be rescued,” she once said. “I just think it’s important to say how easy it is to slip into a dependency on pills or alcohol. And how hard it is to admit that dependency.”

Prayers are going up for her friends and family in their time of grief… Betty, I’m pretty sure, has moved on to a better place.

Lest We Forget


Another Hero


I know we’ve all been busy eulogizing people named Kennedy and Jackson, but personally I think a little-known man named Freeman is more worthy of our praise:

Marine Capt. Matthew Freeman made his last trip across the U.S. Naval Academy in the company of friends the other day.

Yes, there were admirals and generals, colonels and majors, captains of the Navy and the Marines among the hundreds who joined him. But there are moments when the strictures of rank are loosened by the greater bond of brotherhood. This was one of them.

Four thousand and seventy-four days had passed since Matt arrived here as a kid, had his head shaved and was sworn in as a Navy midshipman. Two thousand six hundred and fifty-one days had gone by since he hurled his hat into the air at graduation and became a Marine. It had been 47 days since he married Theresa, his high school sweetheart, and 34 days since he headed to Afghanistan.

And it was just 19 days after he led his men onto a rooftop that provided the only high ground in a nasty firefight with the Taliban in a hamlet in a rugged, desolate northeastern province.

The morning he came back to the Naval Academy was a Wednesday, but it will stick in your memory as the day you heard that Ted Kennedy had died and the week when you learned that someone might have killed Michael Jackson. The politician and the entertainer of their generations, they were lionized by many and scorned by some. One pleaded guilty, the other was found innocent. But they each died with an indelible asterisk, a footnote to their legacies that time will not erase.

Matt Freeman died clean.

[snip]

There were a dozen Marine captains in dress blue in the overflowing pews of the chapel. Marines may blink hard a few times, but they don’t cry. Their mothers and widows cry for them.

In the week when they laid a young Marine captain to rest, the news was dominated by the death of a politician and the echo from an entertainer’s death. The flag-draped coffin on the front page was not his, but if you look carefully in the paper this week you will see a small picture of Matt Freeman among the faces of those who have fallen recently in battle.

He did not live long enough to become an the icon of Kennedy or Jackson, but he died the greater hero.

Sounds to me like this Captain embodied the Marine motto of “Semper Fidelis.”

Legendary Actor Karl Malden Dead At 97


Legendary Oscar and Emmy-winning actor Karl Malden died in his sleep today. He was 97 [Article – Oscar-winning actor Karl Malden dies at 97].

Karl Malden’s acting career spanned over 70 years. Mr. Malden, actor extraordinaire of both stage and screen, became a star in an era when rugged good looks were not looked upon as a qualification for Hollywood actors. In 1951, Malden won a best supporting actor Oscar for his role as Blanche DuBois’ naive suitor, Mitch in “A Streetcar Named Desire”. He also competently and impressively put on performances in many other movies, including “On the Waterfront”, “Patton”, “Nevada Smith”, “Pollyanna”, “Fear Strikes Out”, “The Sting II”, “Bombers B-52”, “Cheyenne Autumn” and “All Fall Down”. One of his most controversial roles was that of a dullard husband whose child bride is exploited by a businessman in the movie “Baby Doll”. The Catholic Legion of Decency condemned the movie for being sexually suggestive.

Mr. Malden became a star of the small screen as well. For five seasons, Malden played alongside a young Michael Douglas as detective lieutenant Mike Stone on “The Streets of San Francisco”. A few years later, Malden won a best supporting actor Emmy for his work in the TV miniseries “Fatal Vision”. Capping his long career, Malden received the Screen Actors Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004. His last acting appearance was in a brief role on the TV series “The West Wing” back in 2000.

Condolences to Mr. Malden’s family. He was a wonderful actor and for those who knew him, a wonderful man and a lover of all that life had to offer. RIP Karl Malden.

Famous TV Pitchman Billy Mays Dead


Famous TV pitchman Billy Mays who promoted products like OxiClean, Mighty Putty and Awesome Auger, died on June 28. He was 50 years old. On the morning of June 28, medical response personnel found Mays unconscious in his Tampa, Florida home. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Mays was declared dead by a fire rescue team [Article – Billy Mays dies at 50; boisterous TV pitchman].

There has been talk that Mr. Mays may have died from a subdural hematoma stemming from a very rough landing Mr. Mays’ USAirways flight experienced on June 27, in which he received a blow to the head from a falling object. “All of a sudden as we hit, you know it was just the hardest hit, all the things from the ceiling started dropping,” said Mr. Mays. “It hit me on the head, but I got a hard head,” Mays joked. Mr. Mays did suffer from heart disease; therefore, if Mr. Mays took anti-coagulants that are used by heart disease patients, those drugs can weaken arteries and veins and can cause intracranial bleeding in those who may receive a blow to the head that does not appear to be serious. The true cause of Mr. Mays’ death will not be determined until after an autopsy has been performed.

Condolences to Mr. Mays’ family. He was certainly a very energetic and enthusiastic man who firmly believed in the products he promoted.

UPDATE

Autopsy analysis is in (though not conclusive, mind you) that Mr. Mays most likely died as a result of advanced arteriosclerosis (atherosclerosis) and not from a blow to the head. In any event, a tragic death amidst a week of tragic deaths. RIP Mr. Mays.

A Hero Passes On


No, not the famous/infamous singer with one glove. I mean a real hero.

CLACKAMAS (AP) — Retired Marine Corps Col. Kenneth L. Reusser, called the most decorated Marine aviator in history and was shot down in three wars, has died at age 89.

Reusser flew 253 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and was shot down in all three, five times in all.

His 59 medals included two Navy Crosses, four Purple Hearts and two Legions of Merit.

–snip–

Reusser died June 20 of natural causes. He is survived by his wife, Trudy; and sons, Richard C. and Kenneth L. Jr. Interment was Friday in Willamette National Cemetery.

Godspeed, Colonel.

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