Are These Baby Boomer Icons Dead or Alive?

  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.


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