Archive for December, 2018

Celebrity Deaths for 2018

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Following are celebrity deaths that occurred in 2018. Obviously, it is not an all-inclusive list and readers favorite celebrity may be missing. If so, please feel free to add their name in the comments sections.

  1. Abroms, Edward (82). Film editor. February 13.
  2. Adonis, Frank (83). Actor; “Goodfellas.’” December 26.
  3. Akiyama, Denis (66). Actor; “Johnny Mnemonic.” June 28.
  4. Allen, Marty (95). Comedian. February 12.
  5. Allen, Paul (65). Microsoft co-founder. October 15.
  6. Anderson, Harry (65). Actor; “Night Court.” April 16.
  7. Anspach, Susan (75). Actress; “Five Easy Pieces.” April 2.
  8. Audran, Stephane (85). French actress; “Babette’s Feast.” March 27.
  9. Avruch, Frank (89). Boston Television personality; “Bozo the Clown.” March 20.
  10. Aznavour, Charles (94). French Armenian singer. October 1.
  11. Balin, Marty (76). Musician; Jefferson Airplane. September 27.
  12. Barber, Ricardo (81). Cuban actor. December 17.
  13. Barlow, John Perry (70). Grateful Dead lyricist. February 7.
  14. Beach, Gary (70). Actor; “The Producers.” July 17.
  15. Bell, Art (72). Radio Host; “Coast to Coast AM.” April 13.
  16. Berry, Ken (85). Actor; “F-Troop,” Mama’s Family.” December 1.
  17. Bertolucci, Bernardo (77). Director; “The Last Emperor.” November 26.
  18. Blank, Mandy (42). Actress; “Spin City.” October 29.
  19. Bluiett, Hamiet (78). Baritone saxophonist. October 4.
  20. Bochco, Steven (74). Producer; “Hill Street Blues.” April 1.
  21. Bomberry, Tina Louise (52). Canadian actress; “North of 60.” February 10.
  22. Bonner, James “L.B.” (30). “My 600 lb Life” star. August 2.
  23. Bonnot, Francoise (78). Film editor; “Z,” “Missing.” June 2.
  24. Bosco, Philip (88). Actor; “Working Girl.” December 3.
  25. Bourdain, Anthony (61). Writer and chef. June 8.
  26. Boyd, Neal (42). Opera singer; “America’s Got Talent.” June 10.
  27. Bregman, Martin (92). Producer; “Scarface,” “Dog Day Afternoon.” June 16.
  28. Brown, Dushon Monique (49). Actress; “Chicago Fire.” March 23.
  29. Brown, Susan (86). Actress; “General Hospital.” August 31.
  30. Bulger, James ‘Whitey’ (89). Organized crime boss. October 30.
  31. Burrous, Chris (43). KTLA news reporter. December 27.
  32. Bush, Barbara (92). First Lady. April 17.
  33. Bush, George (94). 41st President of the United States. November 30.
  34. Butterworth, Donna (62). Child actress. March 6.
  35. Buxton, Frank (87). Writer, director; “The Odd Couple.” January 2.
  36. Campanella, Joseph (93). Actor; “The Bold Ones,” “Mannix.” May 16.
  37. Cappotelli, Matt (38). Wrestler; WWE’s reality show “Tough Enough.” June 29.
  38. Carey, Michele (75). Actress; “El Dorado,” “Live a Little, Love a Little.” November 21.
  39. Carlisle, Mary (104). Actress; “Tip-Off Girls.” August 1.
  40. Carrington, Deborah (58). Actress, stuntwoman; “Men in Black.” March 23.
  41. Cathey, Reg E. (59). Actor; “House of Cards.” February 9.
  42. Chambers, Emma (53). British actress; “Notting Hill.” February 21.
  43. Chow, Raymond (91), Co-founder of Hong Kong’s Golden Harvest. November 2.
  44. Clark, Roy (85). Country & Western singer. November 15.
  45. Clarke, ‘Fast’ Eddie (67). Guitarist; “Motorhead.” January 10.
  46. Clearwater, Eddy (83). Chicago bluesman. June 1.
  47. Cole, Olivia (75). Actress; “Roots.” January 19.
  48. Cosby, Ensa (44). Bill Cosby’s daughter. February 23.
  49. Cullen, Ann (90). Wife of Bill Cullen. July 21.
  50. Daily, Bill (91). Actor; “I Dream of Jeannie.” September 4.
  51. Damone, Vic (89). Singer. February 11.
  52. Dane, Hugh (75). Actor; “The Office.” May 16.
  53. De Givenchy, Hubert (91). French fashion designer; “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” March 10.
  54. Dillman, Bradford (87). Actor; “Sudden Impact.” January 16.
  55. Dix, Robert (83). Actor; “Forbidden Planet.” August 7.
  56. DJ Avicii [Tim Bergling] (28). Swedish musician and DJ. April 20.
  57. Dodd, Sir Ken (90). British comedian. March 11.
  58. Donat, Peter (90). Actor; “The X-Files.” September 10.
  59. Dorough, Bob (94). Jazz musician; “Schoolhouse Rock.” April 23.
  60. Dowdell, Robert (85). Actor; “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.” January 23.
  61. Dummar, Melvin E. (74). Actor; “Melvin and Howard.” December 9.
  62. Edwards, Dennis (74). Singer; “Temptations.” February 1.
  63. Edwards, Nokie (82). Lead guitarist; The Ventures. March 12.
  64. Ellison, Harlan (84). Science-fiction writer. June 27.
  65. Emerick, Geoff (72), Recording engineer for The Beatles. October 2.
  66. Ermey, R. Lee (74). Actor; “Mississippi Burning.” April 15.
  67. Fabray, Nanette (97). Actress; “Caesar’s Hour.” February 22.
  68. Falkholt, Jessica (29). Australian actress; “Home and Away.” January 17.
  69. Ferro, Paul (83). November 16.
  70. Fleming, Lisa (50). “My 600 lb. Life” star. August 23.
  71. Fontana, D.J. (87). Musician. June 13.
  72. Forman, Milos (86). Director; “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” April 13.
  73. Foy, Eddie III (83). Casting director. November 3.
  74. Frances, Cornelia (77). Australian actress; “Home and Away.” May 29.
  75. Franklin, Aretha (76). Singer; “Queen of Soul.” August 16.
  76. Fudge, Nicholas ‘Duffy’ (28). Reality television show “Wicked Tuna.” July 19.
  77. Gall, France (70). French pop singer. January 7.
  78. Gavin, John (86). Actor; “Spartacus.” February 9.
  79. Gayson, Eunice (90). Actress; First Bond-girl. June 8.
  80. Geisel, Audrey (97). Wife of Dr. Seuss. December 19.
  81. Genest, Rick (32). Model; Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” video. August 2.
  82. Gerron, Peggy Sue (78). Inspired Buddy Holly’s 1957 song “Peggy Sue.” October 1.
  83. Gidley, Pamela (52). Actress; “Twin Peaks.” April 16.
  84. Gilbert, Lewis (97). British film director; “Alfie.” February 23.
  85. Gillis, Ann (90). Child actress; “Tom Sawyer.” February 7.
  86. Gimbel, Norman (91). Lyricist; “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” December 19.
  87. Giuffre, Carlo (89). Italian actor. November 1.
  88. Goldman, William (87). Screenwriter; “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” November 16.
  89. Gordin, Alixe (96). Casting director; “Scarface,” “Klute.” November 28.
  90. Gordon, Lorraine (95). Owner New York’s Village Vanguard jazz club. June 9.
  91. Gradon, Sophie (32). British reality show “Love Island.” June 20.
  92. Graham, Rev. Billy (99). Evangelist. February 21.
  93. Grantham, Leslie (71). British actor; “Eastenders.” June 15.
  94. Hall, Rick (85). Record producer. January 2.
  95. Hargrove, Roy (49). Jazz musician. November 2.
  96. Harmon, Kristin (72). Actress; “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” April 27.
  97. Harris, Barbara (83). Actress; “Nashville,” “Family Plot.” August 21.
  98. Harrison, Richard (77). Patriarch on reality show “Pawn Stars.” June 25.
  99. Harvey, Larry (70). Founder of the Burning Man festival. April 4.
  100. Hawking, Stephen (76). Physicist. March 17.
  101. Hawkins, Edwin (74). Gospel singer; “Oh Happy Day.” January 15.
  102. Herbert, Oli (44). Guitarist; band All That Remains. October 16.
  103. Hillenburg, Stephen (57). Creator of SpongeBob SquarePants. November 26.
  104. Hodges, Chas (74). Musician; Chas & Dave. September 22.
  105. Hof, Dennis (72). Nevada brothel owner; “Cathouse” (HBO). October 16.
  106. Hunter, Tab (86). Actor; “Damn Yankees.” July 8.
  107. Hutchison, Scott (36). Musician; Frightened Rabbit. May 11.
  108. Jackson, Joe (89). Patriarch of the musical Jackson family. June 27.
  109. James, Jon (34). Canadian rapper. October 20.
  110. Janus, Jill (43). Lead singer heavy metal band Huntress. August 14.
  111. Jay, Ricky (70). Master magician. November 24.
  112. Jean, Gloria (92). Actress; “Never Give a Sucker an Even Break.” August 31.
  113. Johannsson, Johann (48). Composer; “The Theory of Everything.” February 9.
  114. Johnson, Georgann (91). “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” June 4.
  115. Jones, Mickey (76). Actor; “Home Improvement.” February 7.
  116. Kapoor, Sridevi (54). Bollywood star. February 24.
  117. Karen, James (94). Actor; “Poltergeist.” October 23.
  118. Ketchum, Jack [Dallas Mayr] (71). Novelist; “The Girl Next Door.” January 24.
  119. Kidder, Margot (69). Actress; “Superman.” May 13.
  120. Kiki, Kirin (75). Japanese actress. September 15.
  121. King, Ed (68). Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist. August 22.
  122. King, Morgana (87). Actress, Jazz stylist; “The Godfather.” March 22.
  123. King, Wright (95). Actor; “Planet of the Apes.” November 25.
  124. Kirwan, Danny (68). Musician; guitarist Fleetwood Mac. June 8.
  125. Knox, Nick (60). Drummer for psychobilly band “The Cramps.” June 15.
  126. Kopelson, Arnold (83). Producer; “Platoon.” October 9.
  127. Krauthammer, Charles (68). Pulitzer-Prize-winning columnist. June 21.
  128. Kuma (16). Dog actor; “An American Crime.” November 21.
  129. Kurtz, Gary (78). Producer; “Star Wars.” September 23.
  130. Landsberg, David (73). Actor, screenwriter; “CPO Sharkey.” August 5.
  131. Lane, Joy (90). Actress; “Our Gang Follies of 1936.” February 25.
  132. Lantree, Honey (75). Musician; The Honeycombs. December 23.
  133. Lanzmann, Claude (92). French director; “Shoah.” July 5.
  134. Lasalle, Denise (78). Singer and songwriter; “Trappe by a Thing Called Love.” January 8.
  135. Latham, Louise (95). Actress; “Marnie.” February 12.
  136. Lawford, Christopher (63). Actor, author; son of Peter Lawford. September 4.
  137. Le Guin, Ursula (88). Author; “The Left Hand of Darkness.” January 22.
  138. Leach, Robin (76). Entertainment news columnist. August 20.
  139. Lee, Stan (95). Creator of Spider-Man, Daredevil and X-Men. November 12.
  140. Lima, Devin (41). Singer; 90s band LFO. November 21.
  141. Locke, Sondra (74). Actress; “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.” November 3.
  142. Lockwood, Didier (62). French jazz violinist. February 17.
  143. Longmuir, Alan (70). Founding member of the Bay City Rollers. June 20.
  144. Lopez Jr., Carlos (35). Reality star on “Operation Repo.” June 24.
  145. Loud, William (97). Patriarch of first reality TV families “The Louds.” July 26.
  146. Lund, Deanna (81). Actress; “Land of the Giants.” June 22.
  147. Lynne, Dame Gillian (92). Ballerina. July 1.
  148. MacDermot, Galt (89). Composer; “Hair.” December 17.
  149. MacDonald, Mike (63). Canadian stand-up comedian. March 17.
  150. MacGregor, Katherine (93). Actress; “Little House on the Prairie.” November 13.
  151. Mahoney, John (77). Actor; “Frasier.” February 4.
  152. Malone, Dorothy (92). Actress; “Written on the Wind.” January 19.
  153. Mandan, Robert (86). Television actor; “Soap.” April 29.
  154. Mandela, Winnie (81). Wife of Nelson Mandela. April 2.
  155. Maren, Jerry (98). Actor; “The Wizard of Oz.” May 24.
  156. Marquez, Vanessa (49). Actress; “ER.” August 31.
  157. Marshall, Penny (75). Actress, director; “Laverne and Shirley.” December 18.
  158. Masekela, Hugh (78). South African jazz musician. January 23.
  159. Masterson, Peter (84). Writer; “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” December 18.
  160. Matthews, Al (75). Actor; “Aliens.” September 22.
  161. Maxwell, Jan (61). Actress. February 11.
  162. Maynard, Bill (89). British actor; “Heartbeat.” March 30.
  163. Mazzie, Marin (57). Broadway actress; “Ragtime.” September 13.
  164. McCain, John (81). U.S. Senator from Arizona. August 25.
  165. McCann, Chuck (83). Children’s Television Host, comedian. April 8.
  166. McCay, Peggy (90). Actress; “Days of Our Lives.” October 7.
  167. McClellan, Beverly (49). Contestant “The Voice.” October 30.
  168. McEveety, Vincent (88). Director; “The Untouchables.” May 19.
  169. McHenry, Lyric (26). Realty star; “EJNYC.” August 14.
  170. McLerie, Allyn Ann (91). Actress; “Where’s Charley.” May 21.
  171. Miller, Mac (26). Rapper and producer. September 7.
  172. Miller, Warren (93). Filmmaker. January 24.
  173. Mitchell, Arthur (84). Ballet dancer; Dance Theatre of Harlem. September 19.
  174. Mitchell, Laurie (90). Actress; “Queen of Outer Space.” September 20.
  175. Moffat, Donald (87). Actor; “The Thing.” December 20.
  176. Morison, Patricia (103). Actress; “Dressed to Kill.” May 20.
  177. Murphy, Geoff (80). Director; “The Quiet Earth.” December 3.
  178. Murphy, Matt ‘Guitar’ (88). Musician; “Blues Brothers Band.” June 15.
  179. Neilson, Annabelle (49). Star of Bravo realty show “Ladies of London.” July 12.
  180. Nelson, Miriam (98). Actress; “Duffy’s Tavern.” August 12.
  181. Neville, Charles (79). Saxophone player; Neville Bros. Band. April 26.
  182. Norden, Denis (96). TV host and comedy writer. September 19.
  183. Nuriddin, Jalal Mansur (74). “Grandfather of Rap.” June 4.
  184. O’Connor, Derrick (77). Actor; “Lethal Weapon 2.” June 29.
  185. O’Connor, Tim (90). Actor; “Peyton Place.” April 5.
  186. O’Neil, Kitty (72). Stuntwoman. November 2.
  187. O’Neill, Alan (47). Actor; “Sons of Anarchy.” June 6.
  188. O’Riordan, Dolores (46). Musician; The Cranberries. January 15.
  189. Odell, Jackson (20). Actor; “The Goldbergs.” June 8.
  190. Oh, Soon-Tek (85). Actor; “Mulan.” April 4.
  191. Olmi, Ermanno. Italian director; “The Tree of Wooden Clogs.” May 7.
  192. Osato, Sono (99). Ballet dancer: “On the Town.” December 26.
  193. Ouedraogo, Idrissa (64). African actor. February 18.
  194. Oz, Amos (79). Israeli writer. December 28.
  195. Painter, Blake (38). Reality show star “Deadliest Catch.” May 25.
  196. Parker, Frank (79). Actor; “Days of Our Lives.” September 16.
  197. Parton, Floyd (61). Songwriter; Dolly Parton’s brother. December 6.
  198. Paul, Vinnie (54). Drummer for heavy metal band “Pantera.” June 22.
  199. Pavone, Kyle (28). Singer; We Came as Romans. August 25.
  200. Perry, Roger (85). Actor; “Star Trek.” July 12.
  201. Phipps, William (96). Actor; “The War of the Worlds.” June 1.
  202. Pilon, Daniel (77). Canadian actor; “Dallas.” June 26.
  203. Porter, Jean (95). Actress; “Sweet Genevieve.” January 13.
  204. Porter, Kim (47). Model. November 15.
  205. Prophet, Ronnie (80). Country music singer. March 2.
  206. Quintana, Charlie (56). Punk drummer. March 15.
  207. Rae, Charlotte (92). Actress; “The Facts of Life.” August 5.
  208. Rain, Douglas (90). Voice of HAL- “2001: A Space Odyssey.” November 11.
  209. Rauch, Siegried (85). German actor; “Le Mans.” March 11.
  210. Reynolds, Burt (82). Actor; “Deliverance,” “The Longest Yard.” September 6.
  211. Rhodes, Donnelly (80). Canadian actor; “Battlestar Galactica.” January 8.
  212. Rissien, Pierre (81). French producer. May 6.
  213. Rodford, Jim (76). Bass guitarist; Zombies. January 20.
  214. Rodriguez, Kyrzayda (40). Style blogger. September 9.
  215. Roeg, Nicolas (90). Director; “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” November 23.
  216. Roth, Philip (85). Novelist; “Portnoy’s Complaint.” May 22.
  217. Rowland, Dave (74). Singer (Dave & Sugar). November 1.
  218. Rubenstein, Arthur (80). Composer; “War Games.” April 23.
  219. Russell, Barbara (85). Actress; “Day of the Dead.” August 25.
  220. Salling, Mark (35). Actor; “Glee.” January 30.
  221. Santana, Fredo (27). Rapper. January 19.
  222. Sawyer, Connie (105). Actress; “Oh God!” January 22.
  223. Schnepp, Jon (51). Director; “Metalocalypse.” July 19.
  224. Schultz, Ed (64). Political commentator. July 5.
  225. Scruggs, Randy (64). Musician. April 17.
  226. Shange, Ntozake (70). Poet and playwright. October 28.
  227. Shelley, Pete (63). Singer; punk rock band Buzzcocks. December 6.
  228. Shore, Mitzi (87). Comic; owner of the Comedy Store. April 11.
  229. Shreve, Anita (71). Novelist; “The Pilot’s Wife.” March 29.
  230. Simon, Neil (91). Playwright; “The Odd Couple.” August 26.
  231. Sinatra, Nancy (101). First wife of Frank Sinatra. July 13.
  232. Singletary, Daryle (46). Country music singer. February 12.
  233. Smith, Bob (59). Gay comedian. January 20.
  234. Smith, Chelsi (45). Miss Universe. September 8.
  235. Smith, Mark E. (60). Punk musician; The Fall. January 24.
  236. Smoke Dawg (21). Canadian rapper. June 30.
  237. Solomon, Russ (92). Founder Tower Records. March 4.
  238. Soto, Steve (54). Singer; founding member of the Adolescents. June 27.
  239. Sowle, Diana (88). Actress; “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” October 19.
  240. Spade, Kate (55). Iconic Designer. June 5.
  241. Staples, Yvonne (80). Singer; Staples Singers. April 10.
  242. Stefansson, Stefan Karl (43). Icelandic actor; “Lazy Town.” August 21.
  243. Steuer, Jon Paul (33). Actor, musician; “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” January 1.
  244. Stiers, David Ogden (75). Actor; “M*A*S*H.” March 3.
  245. Strauss, Jael (34). “America’s Next Top Model” contestant. December 4.
  246. Sung, Elizabeth (63). Actress; “The Young and the Restless.” May 22.
  247. Swift, Richard (41). Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter. July 3.
  248. Swofford, Ken (85). Actor; “Annie.” November 1.
  249. Takahata, Isao (82). Anime visionary; founder Studio Ghibli. April 5.
  250. Taylor, Cecil (89). Jazz pianist. April 5.
  251. Taylor, Delores (85). Actress; “Billy Jack.” March 23.
  252. Taylor, Joel (38). Meteorologist; “Storm Chasers.” January 23.
  253. Theilade, Nini (102). Ballet dancer; “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” February 13.
  254. Thomas, Ray (76). Musician; “Moody Blues.” January 4.
  255. Thorpe, Jerry (92). Producer; “Kung Fu.” September 25.
  256. Thyssen, Greta (90). Double for Marilyn Monroe. January 6.
  257. Tracey, Doreen (74). Actress; “Mouseketeers.” January 10.
  258. Troyer, Verne (49). Actor; “Austin Powers.” April 21.
  259. Vader [Leon White] (63). WWE and WCW legend. June 18.
  260. Van Dyke, Jerry (86). Actor; “Coach.” January 5.
  261. Varro, Micki (75). Actress, jazz singer; “The Champ.” January 16.
  262. Vasquez, Paul John (48). Actor; “Sons of Anarchy.” September 25.
  263. Vinton, Will (70). Master of Claymation (coined the term). October 4.
  264. Vogel, Jessica (34). “Hell’s Kitchen” contestant. July 30.
  265. Walker, Clint (90). Actor; “Cheyenne.” May 21.
  266. Walker, Mort (94). Comic strip writer; “Beetle Bailey.” January 27.
  267. Wells, Audrey (58). Director, screenwriter; “Under the Tuscan Sun.” October 4.
  268. Wendel, Elmarie (78). Actress; “3rd Rock from the Sun.” July 21.
  269. White, Lari (52). Singer-songwriter. January 23.
  270. Williams, Sammy (69). Actor; “A Chorus Line.” March 17.
  271. Willis, Eddie (82). Motown guitarist. August 20.
  272. Wilson, Nancy (81). Torch singer. December 13.
  273. Wilson, Scott (76). Actor; “The Walking Dead.” October 6.
  274. Witt, Paul Junger (77). Television producer; “The Golden Girls.” April 27.
  275. Wolders, Robert (81). Actor; “Laredo.” July 12.
  276. Wolfe, Tom (88). Author and journalist. May 14.
  277. Wyngarde, Peter (90). British actor; “Department S.” January 15.
  278. XXXTentacion [Jahseh Onfroy] (20). Rapper. June 18.
  279. Yarnall, Celeste (74). Actress; “Live a Little, Love a Little,” Star Trek.” October 7.
  280. Yong, Jin (94), Chinese martial arts novel grandmaster. October 30.
  281. Zadan, Craig (69). Producer; Academy Awards telecasts. August 20.
  282. Zarin, Bobby (71). Realty star; “Real Housewives of New York.” January 13.
  283. Zorich, Louis (93). Actor; “Mad About You.” January 30.


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Jeanette Loff, the Hollywood Christmas Parade’s first guest star

Monday, December 24th, 2018

The Hollywood Christmas Parade, which takes place on Sunday evening in Hollywood, is its 89th year (except for three years during World War II) with Grand Marshall Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. and other celebrities, marching bands and of course, Santa Claus.

The ‘Santa Claus Lane,’ formerly Hollywood Boulevard during the Christmas season of 1928 at Highland Avenue.

The first parade, held on December 5, 1928, was known as “Santa Claus Lane” and featured Santa and Jeanette Loff (a last-minute replacement for Lili Damita), a Hollywood starlet. That evening, crowds thronged Christmas-tree lined Hollywood Boulevard (rechristened Santa Claus Lane) from Vine Street to La Brea Avenue. With Jeanette Loff, Santa Claus drove his reindeer-drawn sleigh east on the brilliantly illuminated course to La Brea, and returned over the same route.

The “parade” continued every evening during the Christmas season with a different prominent film player (Lili Damita showed up the following evening) each night.

Jeanette Loff poses on Santa’s sleigh for the first “Santa Claus Lane” parade in 1928

However, Jeanette Loff, the first starlet of what is known today as the Hollywood Christmas Parade, is probably little known today. At the time of the first Santa Clause Lane, Loff had appeared in twelve films since 1926, working her way up to costarring parts in Hold ‘Em Yale (1928) with Rod La Rocque, Annapolis (1928) with Johnny Mack Brown and Love Over Night (1928), again with La Roque.

Jeanette Loff was born on October 9, 1905 (most records claim 1906), in Orofino, Idaho to Marius and Inga (Loseth) Loff. Studio publicity claimed that her father was a famous Danish violinist, but he was in fact a barber and later a farmer.

Photo from Lewiston High School, Idaho in 1922. Arrow points to Loff.

Attempts by Pathe to make Loff a star.

After living for a time in Wadena, Canada, the Luff’s relocated to Lewiston, Idaho. After her high school graduation, the family moved to Portland, Oregon, where Jeanette enrolled at the Ellison & White Conservatory of Music where she learned to play the pipe-organ. When a local theater needed a pipe-organ player, Jeanette got the position. She worked her way up to playing at bigger and better Portland theaters.

Loff’s nude photograph by Edwin Bower Hesser.

Loff’s discovery in Hollywood is open to several versions. Whatever her introduction to films, in 1926, with her extremely wholesome looks, she earned a bit part in Universal’s The Collegian series followed by another extra part in Young April (1926) a film for Cecil B. DeMille’s company at Pathé, where she was put under contract.

DeMille cast her in two Westerns, followed by leading roles in the two films with Rod La Rocque. Over the next few years, she costarred in several good, but not outstanding films. At some point during her early career, she also posed for nude photographs.

Scene from The King of Jazz (1930).

Shortly after appearing as the first actress to ride in Hollywood’s premier Santa Claus Lane, Loff was brought to Universal to audition for The King of Jazz (1930), a possible million-dollar film they were producing. Executives were doubting their original choice for an important leading female role when producer Paul Bern arranged for her to audition. In the audition, she sang the number, “The Bridal Veil,” in a clear lyric soprano that impressed producers to give her the part.

In 1929, Loff’s parents had divorced, and her mother Inga and two sisters, Myrtle and Irene, moved to Los Angeles (her father, Marius, remained in Oregon until his death). That same year, Jeanette was also divorced from her first husband, traveling jewelry salesman Harry Roseboom whom she had secretly married in 1927. She reportedly had affairs with Gilbert Roland, Paul Bern–who tried unsuccessfully to cast her in a film–and lyricist Walter O’Keefe.

After making three more films over the next year, she grew tired of Hollywood and moved to New York, struggling to find stage roles, appearing only in the short-lived Broadway musical, Free for All, which closed after twelve days.

St. Louis Woman (1934), Jeanette Loff’s failed attempt at comeback.

In 1933, she returned to Hollywood when she heard that Universal was planning to re-release The King of Jazz. Thinking it would revive her career, she accepted the leading role in St. Louis Woman (1934) with Johnny Mack Brown (she also worked with Brown in Annapolis) for a poverty row studio. The film did poorly, but she made two shorts and three more films that same year, none of them money-makers. Her last film was Million Dollar Baby (1934) for Monogram Pictures.

From then on, she retired from films. In 1935, she married liquor salesman, Bertram “Bert” Friedlob. The following year, Friedlob produced Bert Wheeler’s Hollywood Stars in Person revue and included Loff in the cast.

Her marriage to Friedlob was rocky; he was a womanizer who had affairs with Lana Turner and many others.

702 North Crescent Drive, Beverly Hills where Jeanette Loff ingested ammonia. (PLEASE NOTE: This is a private home. DO NOT disturb the residents)

On August 1, 1942, Loff ingested ammonia at her Beverly Hills home at 702 North Crescent Drive; she was treated for mouth and throat burns at Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital where she died three days later. Loff was only 35.

Jeanette Loff’s death certificate (click on image to enlarge)

 

The coroner was unable to determine if her death was accidental or a suicide. Reportedly at the time, she was suffering from a stomach ailment and accidently took the wrong bottle of medication.

However, wouldn’t she have noticed the ammonia smell? In any event, her death certificate called her death a “probable suicide.” Surprising, some in her family maintained that she had been murdered, but never publicly offered proof.

Jeanette Loff’s niche at Forest Lawn’s Great Mausoleum. Her sister Myrtle is interred with her. (Find-a-Grave)

 

Jeanette Loff, the Hollywood Christmas Parade’s first hostess, was cremated and interred at Glendale’s Forest Lawn in the Great Mausoleum (Protection Columbarium).

Bert Friedlob later produced several films including The Star (1952) with Bette Davis and Tyrone Power’s Untamed (1955). Friedlob died in 1956.

 

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History of the Hollywood Sign

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

  

The Hollywood Sign, which was officially completed on December 8, 1923, celebrates its 95th anniversary today. It has had a remarkable and turbulent history and has endured its share of problems, including a suicide leap from the H, squabbles over who should maintain it, markings from mountain-climbing spray painters, hassles among community groups about its worth, battles with local residents to keep hikers from it, and threats over the years to tear it down.

The sign has been a part of the local scenery for 95 years, longer than many city landmarks such as Grauman’s Chinese, City Hall, the Shrine Auditorium and UCLA. It even predates Mulholland Drive and is decades older than any freeway.

As many know, the Hollywood sign is the remnant of an advertisement for a 640-acre real-estate development. When it was erected in 1923, the sign spelled HOLLYWOODLAND, the name of the housing development on the slope below it. The sign, however, was an afterthought.

As with many Hollywood origins, the sign’s beginnings have more than one version. The one chosen for this article goes as follows:

In the spring of 1923, John Roche, a 26-year-old advertising and promotional man, was working on a brochure for the Hollywoodland subdivision. He had drawn in proposed home sites, streets and equestrian trails. Behind them, on the side of Mt. Lee, he had penciled in HOLLYWOODLAND.

Harry Chandler, then publisher of the Los Angeles Times, was one of the project’s developers. When Roche arrived at his office with the drawing, Chandler liked the idea and wanted to know if a sign could be erected that could be seen all over Los Angeles.

For a good perspective, Roche drove to Wilshire Boulevard, then a little, partially asphalted road, to see if he could see the mountain from there. Roche took photographs and made drawings of the Hollywood hills. Roche calculated that each letter would have to be 50 feet high to be visible from that distance. When he reported to Chandler that such a sign would be seen, the project began.

“I made a sketch almost that big,” Roche explained in 1977. “I took it to Mr. Chandler’s office about 11 one night – he sat in his office until midnight every night and would talk to anybody – and he said, ‘Go ahead and do it.’ We didn’t have engineers or anything. We just put it up.”

As Roche had determined, each individual letter was built 50-feet high and 30-feet wide. They were assembled on metal panels, each three-by-nine-feet, and painted white. The next step was attaching the panels to a framework that consisted of wires, scaffolding and telephone poles, which were brought up the steep hillside by mules.

Fifty to one-hundred laborers dug the holes with pick axes and shovels. An access road was completed so the enormous sheet metal letters could be brought in. The sign was completed in about 60 days at a cost of $21,000. Years later, Roche said: “I think we built it faster than you could today (1984).” Roche recalled the sign being lighted, but insisted there were no lights on the original HOLLYWOODLAND. “That came sometime later,” he said.

At some point, the sign was illuminated at night by 4,000, 20-watt bulbs, evenly spaced around the outside edge of each letter. This required a caretaker (Albert Kothe, who lived in a cabin behind the first “L”), who maintained the sign and its lighting system. To replace burned out bulbs, Kothe would climb onto the framework behind each letter, the new light bulbs tucked in his shirt.

Since it was planned to promote real-estate, it was not designed to survive the sale of the last lot. Public sentiment, however, led to keeping the sign long after its commercial function was over.

During the sign’s heyday, many stars bought homes in Hollywoodland. The highest lot above the sign was sold to comedy producer Mack Sennett, but he never built there. Sennett did use the sign, though, to pose bathing beauties between the O’s for publicity stills.

There have been rumors of several suicides from the sign, especially during the Depression years, but the only acknowledged death occurred in 1932, when Peg Entwistle, a young actress who came to Hollywood from the Broadway stage, jumped to her death from the letter “H.”

In 1939, the lights were extinguished when the maintenance fund was discontinued by the realtors. It’s rumored that soon after, all 4,000 bulbs were stolen.

In 1945, the development company that owned it donated the sign and the land surrounding it to the city’s Recreation and Parks Commission as an adjunct parcel to Griffith Park. The sign, by this point, had been neglected and vandalized for several years.

In January 1949, the “H” blew down in a windstorm, and nearby residents complained that the sign was a hazard and an eyesore. On January 6, the Recreation and Parks Commission announced that the sign would be torn down. They denied a request of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to alter and repair the sign to read HOLLYWOOD.

Several days later, Councilman Lloyd G. Davies (who represented Hollywood) introduced a resolution before the City Council that the Chamber of Commerce would repair the sign, at an estimated cost of $5,000, furnish bond to guarantee its maintenance and provide the city with proper liability coverage, if the parks commission would consent. Davies said his district was sensitive about becoming known as “’OLLYWOOD.”

The parks commission later reversed its decision and allowed the first nine letters to be repaired, and removed the last four letters to read “HOLLYWOOD,” therefore transforming it from a commercial display into a community one.


By the early 1960s, weather again had taken a strong toll on the sign’s condition. At a cost of $4,500, it was restored by the Kiwanis. At irregular intervals, several civic groups had the metal facing repainted, but little structural maintenance was done.

In 1973, the city once again threatened to tear down the sign. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and local radio station KABC, began a “Save the Sign” campaign hoping to solicit $15,000 from the public to finance structural repairs, replace fallen facing panels, and give it a fresh coat of paint. That same year, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board designated it a monument, thus giving it dignity but no money.

One woman sent the repair fund a large check with a note: “My little girl in 1925 learned to spell from the sign.” Another recalled a proposal of marriage made to her in 1944 near the sign; she “foolishly” rejected it, but wondered how many accepted proposals were made there. A third woman calculated that if “All the couples who parked up there sent in $1, there would be more than enough.” Fortunately, the campaign was successful and the sign received a facelift and a reprieve–but it wouldn’t last for long.

On January 1, 1976, several young men, to mark the change in the marijuana law in California, masked the OOs with EEs made from white sheets. It read HOLLYWEED for a day.

A year later, the “D” became wobbly because of recent rainstorms and there was concern about how long it would stay in place. Up close, the sign creaked and rattled, even in a light wind. Its timbers were rotting. Sheet metal, rusted and corroded, fell from its face and loose securing cables dangled from some of the 50-foot high letters.

It was estimated that a replacement sign would go as high as $120,000. To generate interest in preserving the sign, a press conference was held at the base of the sign with invitations sent out accompanied by a snake bite kit.

CLICK HERE to watch the opening credits (3 minutes) of Savage Intruder (1970), the last film of actress Miriam Hopkins. It has creepy, close-up, footage of the deteriorating Hollywood Sign before it’s restoration. 

The chamber hoped to use money that was raised in 1975 by KIIS radio station to do cosmetic work on the landmark. “But the sign is in such bad shape, it will do us no good to raise small amounts of money,” said Michael Sims, executive director of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “We’re either going to lose it or take care of it. That’s going to be up to Hollywood. What we really need now is a guardian angel.”

A few months later, in April 1977, the sign was altered to read HOLYWOOD for Easter Sunrise service, viewable from the Hollywood Bowl.

The following winter, the final blow came as wind and heavy rainstorms once again took a toll on the sign. The top of the first O fell off, the Y buckled inward toward the hillside, and the last O collapsed completely.

A campaign was established once again to “Save the Sign.” Eventually, after several efforts to raise money was not sufficient, nine donors came forward; each chose a letter and contributed $27,777.

The donors who paid for each letter included: (H) newspaper publisher, Terrance Donnelly; (O) Italian movie producer, Giovanni Mazza; (L) Les Kelly (Kelly Blue Book); (L) Gene Autry; (Y) Hugh Heffner; (W) Andy Williams; (O) Warner Bros. Records; (O) Alice Cooper, in memory of Groucho Marx; (D) Dennis Lidtke.

The new letters, made of steel, were unveiled on Hollywood’s (so-called) 75th anniversary, November 14, 1978.

Over the following years, unauthorized alterations have been made to the sign. In July 1987, it was changed to OLLYWOOD, (Ollie North) during the Iran-Contra hearings. During the Gulf War it read OIL WAR and in 1993, 20 members of UCLA’s Theta-Chi fraternity changed it to GO UCLA. The students were charged with trespassing, prompting the installation of a security system featuring video surveillance and motion detection. However, it didn’t prevent another institution of learning to alter it to CALTECH ten years later.

In any event, here’s hoping the Hollywood Sign will continue to look out over the Hollywood community for 95 more years and more.


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