Time does not go by so slowly, as the old Righteous Brothers song, "Unchained Melody" claims. It actually goes by quickly, and sometimes we get so involved in our own lives, we lose track of what's going on elsewhere in the world -- who is still with us and who has passed on.
Do you think it's morbid to guess whether these people are alive or
dead? All these Baby Boomer icons have seen their time come and go,
whether they're still alive or not. But I think they would be thankful
if we pause -- updated as of 2017 -- and remember
their contributions to our lives in terms of what they did, what they
meant to us, and where they may be today.
So in that spirit, can you guess: Who among these Baby Boomer icons is alive? And who is dead?
1) 1996 presidential candidate Bob Dole Alive or Dead
2) Notorious Washington DC mayor Marion Barry Alive Dead
3) Singer Dion DiMucci Alive Dead
4) Actress Annette Funicello Alive Dead
5) Jurassic Park writer Michael Crichton Alive Dead
6) Actor Kirk Douglas Alive Dead
7) Roots author Alex Haley Alive Dead
8) Actress Julie Andrews Alive Dead
9) Activist Rosa Parks Alive Dead
10) TV host Dick Cavett Alive Dead
11) Singer Diana Ross Alive Dead
12) Psychologist Joyce Brothers Alive Dead
13) Basketball player and politician Bill Bradley Alive Dead
14) 1988 Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis Alive Dead
15) Olympic figure skater Dorothy Hamill Alive Dead
For the answers, check back here later in the week. Meantime, Happy New Year to everybody, and may we all
thrive in 2017!
1) Bob Dole,
wounded World War II veteran, was the Republican presidential contender
who lost to Bill Clinton in 1996. Afterwards he became a Washington
lawyer and lobbyist and also chairman of the campaign to build the World
War II Memorial. He also made a number of TV appearances, including a
celebrated ad for Viagra. Now alive and well at age 93, Dole lives in
Washington and is married to former Cabinet member Elizabeth Dole.
2) Marion Barry was
the only African American in the doctoral program in chemistry at the
University of Tennessee, when he quit to focus on the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He moved to Washington, DC, ran for
school board and then city council. In 1977 he was shot when a group of
radical Muslims took over the District building. Barry recovered and ran
for mayor in 1978, won re-election in 1982 and again in 1986. By then
Barry was plagued by rumors of womanizing, drug abuse and misuse of
public funds. On Jan 18, 1990 he was famously arrested for drugs in a
Washington sting operation. After spending six months in prison, Barry
was back in politics, winning a fourth term as mayor, then in 1998
returning to the city council. He died of cardiac arrest in 2014, after
having dominated Washington, DC, politics for a generation.
3) Dion DiMucci,
grew up in The Bronx singing with his father, a vaudeville entertainer,
and in 1957 formed a group named after Belmont Ave. In February 1959
Dion was on tour with Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holy and others when he was
invited onto the plane out of Clear Lake, Iowa. He elected to stay
behind, and the plane crashed, killing everyone on board. Dion went on
to produce hits such as "Teenager in Love," "Where or When" and as a
solo artist "Lonely Teenager," "Runaround Sue." After his star dimmed in
the 1960s he experimented as a singer/songwriter and later with
Christian music, before returning to his roots, and today at age 77,
Dion continues to perform.
4) Annette Funicello
leaped into our hearts as a Mouseketeer, then went on to become a
teenage idol starring in movies like "Beach Party," "Bikini Beach" and
"Beach Blanket Bingo." In 1992 Funicello announced she was suffering
from MS. She died in April 2013 at age 70, but not before received a
star on Hollywood's walk of fame -- and today in Disneyland Paris, there
is a 1950s-themed restaurant, Annette's Diner, named after her.
5) Michael Crichton was already wildly popular by the time Jurassic Park came out in 1990. He'd written his first medical thriller, The Andromeda Strain, while still a student at Harvard Medical School in
the 1960s. He went on to write a dozen bestselling books, several movie
scripts, and the NBC TV medical drama "ER". Crichton was diagnosed with throat cancer early in 2008
and died on Nov. 4, 2008 at age 66.
6) Kirk Douglas,
born Issur Danielovitch in 1916, won a number of movie awards, but
though he was nominated three times for Best Actor, his only Academy
Award came as an honorary award for 50 years as "a creative and moral
force in the movie industry." He suffered a severe stroke in 1996 but
survived, and celebrated his 100th birthday in December 2016.
7) Alex Haley
learned his craft in the Coast Guard when sailors would pay him to
write love letters home to their girlfriends. Afterwards he (perhaps
paradoxically) wrote for both Playboy Magazine and Reader's Digest and wrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X before he struck gold with Roots,
a novel based on his family history. He died in 1992, at age 70, while
working on a sequel, a novel based on his mother's family that was
eventually published as Alex Haley's Queen.
8) Julie Andrews, born in England, rose to fame doing Broadway musicals, and went on to star in such classics as Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music. She continued working in both theater and film and, and now at age 81, is working on a new TV series called Julie's Greenroom.
9) Rosa Parks
was secretary of the Montgomery chapter of the of the NAACP when in
1955 she refused to obey the order of the bus driver to give up her seat
to a white person. She was not the first African American to resist bus
segregation, but she was certainly the most famous, becoming a symbol
of the modern civil rights movement. She and her husband moved to
Detroit in 1957 where she continued to work for fair housing and racial
justice, and also wrote her autobiography. In her later years she
suffered from dementia, and died in 2005 at age 92.
10) Dick Cavett was a writer for The Tonight Show when he began to develop his own idea for a talk show. The Dick Cavett Show
ran through the 1970s and while it was never as popular as its rival it
did garner critical success as the "thinking man's" late-night TV show.
Today, at age 80, Cavett still appears on TV, and is also working on
Broadway and writing commentary for various publications.
11) Diana Ross
rose to fame as a founding member and lead singer for The Supremes.,
then went on to a successful solo career as a singer and actress. She
has collected an armful of awards for her career and in 1993 was named
Female Entertainer of the Century by Billboard magazine. Today at age 72 she still performs, having just come off a three-year In the Name of Love tour.
12) Joyce Brothers
had a PhD in psychology when in 1955 she went on "The $64,000 Question"
game show and won the top prize answering questions about boxing. She
then went on TV to offer advice about relationships. For years she had a
column in Good Housekeeping and a syndicated newspaper column and wrote numerous magazine articles and several books, including her personal story, Widowed, about the death of her husband. Brothers died at home in New Jersey in 2013 at the age of 85.
13) Bill Bradley
was the Rhodes Scholar basketball player who delayed starting his
professional career for two years after college so he could attend
Oxford University in England. He played for the New York Knicks from
1967 to 1977, then went into politics, serving as U. S. Senator from New
Jersey for three terms. He ran for president in 2000 but lost the
Democratic nomination to Vice President Al Gore. Since then the
73-year-old Bradley has remained active as a corporate consultant and
board member of several companies and charitable organizations.
14) Michael Dukakis
served as governor of Massachusetts from 1975 to 1979, then again from
1983 to 1991. In 1988 he won the Democratic nomination for president,
but was soundly beaten by George Bush in the general election. After
leaving the governor's office Dukakis became a political science
professor at Northeastern University, and after his wife was diagnosed
with depression, he became active in issues regarding depression and
alcoholism. Today he is 83 years old and still living in Boston.
15) Dorothy Hamill
was America's darling when she won the Olympic Gold Medal in figure
skating in 1976. So, come on, we're all not that old! At age 60, Hamill
continues to skate with the Broadway on Ice revue.