Category Archives: Dead or Alive

Dead or Alive: Rodney Dangerfield

Comedy legend Rodney Dangerfield is…Dead. Hey, I had to pick somebody that was dead! If I only picked celebrities that were alive, this would be a “Where Are They Now” segment instead of a “Dead or Alive” Segment. But I will give Rodney some “Respect”.

Rodney Dangerfield (November 22, 1921 – October 5, 2004), was actually born Jacob Cohen. As a teenager, he got his start writing jokes for standup comics; he became one himself at 19 under the name Jack Roy, which is what he legally changed his name to.
However, he struggled as a comedian for many years.
So, he decided to come up with an image that audiences could relate to and that would distinguish him from similar comics. He took the name Rodney Dangerfield, which he remembered from a comedy routine on Jack Benny’s radio program in the 40s. He began to develop the image of a lovable but laughable “everyman” who gets no respect and became a nightclub hit in the 60s.

His popularity exploded at the dawn of the ’80s when he starred in 1980’s Caddyshack. He was a standout among fellow comedic actors such as Ted Knight, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray.

He even had a music video for “Rappin’ Rodney” in 1983:
Rodney became the leading man in two more films, Easy Money (1983), and Back to School (1986) which was one of the first comedies to gross over $100 million. His first dramatic role was that of the abusive father in Oliver Stone’s successful film, Natural Born Killers (1994). He made several more films – twenty in all – but most of them went directly to video.

On April 8, 2003, Dangerfield underwent brain surgery to improve blood flow in preparation for heart valve-replacement surgery on August 24, 2004. Upon entering the hospital, he uttered another characteristic one-liner when asked how long he would be hospitalized: “If all goes well, about a week. If not, about an hour and a half.”

In September 2004, it was revealed that Dangerfield had been in a coma for several weeks. Afterward, he began breathing on his own and showing signs of awareness when visited by friends. However, on October 5, 2004, he died at the UCLA Medical Center, from complications of the surgery he had undergone in August. He was a month and a half short of his 83rd birthday. Dangerfield was buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. In keeping with his “no respect” persona, his headstone reads simply, “Rodney Dangerfield… There goes the neighborhood.”:

Here are some great quotes from Dangerfield:

I worked in a pet store and people kept asking how big I’d get.

My mother never breast fed me. She told me that she only liked me as a friend.

I remember the time I was kidnapped and they sent back a piece of my finger to my father. He said he wanted more proof.

I was tired one night and I went to the bar to have a few drinks. The bartender asked me, “What’ll you have?” I said, “Surprise me.” He showed me a naked picture of my wife.

I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown necktie.

When I was born the doctor took one look at my face, turned me over and said, “Look, twins!”

I get no respect at all – When I was a kid, I lost my parents at the beach. I asked a lifeguard to help me find them. He said “I don’t know kid, there are so many places they could hide”.

I’m getting so old my insurance company sends me 1/2 a calendar!

I told my doctor I wanna stop aging, he gave me a gun!

R.I.P. Rodney!!

Dead or Alive: George Gaynes

Although George Gaynes was alive at the time of this original posting 6 years ago, sadly, he passed away at his home in North Bend, Washington on February 15, 2016. He was 98.


6392-15044 George Gaines, best known for playing the eccentric Commandant Eric Lassard in the Police Academy series and Henry Warnimont on Punky Brewster is…ALIVE.

George Gaynes was born in in Helsinki, Finland on May 16, 1917. He played Commandant Eric Lassard, who was in charge of the police academy. He travelled by golfcart, and tended to destroy things while golfing in his office.

He also played John Van Horn in the movie Tootsie, in which he was a horny old soap star, who tried to put the moves on “Dorothy Michaels,” not knowing that Dorothy was really a man.

He was more well known to television viewers for playing the lovable curmudgeon Henry Warnimont, who took in Punky Brewster.

I never watched General Hospital, but Gaines played a mob boss called Frank Smith, who was brought down by Luke Spencer. Maybe fans of that soap could give us more information.

George Gaines has been married to actress and dancer Allyn Ann McLerie since December 20, 1953, and they have two children – Matthew and Iya. George and Allyn live in Calabasas, California.

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Dead or Alive: Conrad Bain (Mr. Drummond)

Conrad Bain is ALIVE. Conrad Bain was Mr. Drummond on Diff’rent Strokes when the show ran from 1978-1986. He was born February 4, 1923, and is 87 years old right now.
He first appeared on regular television when he played a stuffy next-door neighbor Dr. Arthur Harmon on the show Maude from 1974-1978. Then he had his iconic role as Mr. Drummond. His last regular role was as presidential aide Charley Ross on the George C. Scott show Mr. President in 1987.
According to imdb, here is Conrad Bain’s last television appearance, which is from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air:





references: http://www.answers.com/topic/conrad-bain
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0047699/

Dead or Alive: Emmanuel Lewis

Emmanuel Lewis is — STILL ALIVE. Wouldn’t that have been sad if that cute little guy had already died? He was born in 1971, and is best known for playing Webster in the television show of the same name. The show ran from 1983-1987 on ABC. The show was set in Chicago, and revolved around Webster, whose parents were killed in a car accident. He was taken in by retired football star George Papadapolis (Alex Karras) and his wife Katherine (Susan Clark). Webster was often compared to Diff’rent Strokes. According to TV.com, After Webster, Lewis enrolled in Clark Atlanta University and earned his Bachelors of Arts degree in Theatre Arts. He also continued working in television throughout the ’90s, making guest appearances on various series including Family Matters, In the House, Moesha, Malcolm & Eddie and Good vs. Evil.
More recently, he was in VH1’s reality show, The Surreal Life in 2007.