Young joined Houdini's company as a teenager after attending an open casting call during a family trip to New York. During her year with Houdini's stage show in the mid-1920s, she played the role of "Radio Girl of 1950," emerging from a large mock-up of a radio and performing a dance routine.
Young went on to become a professional dancer, performing in several movies. She also published a novel inspired by her career.
Bill Monroe, 90, who hosted the long-running Washington political television show "Meet the Press" for nearly a decade, died Thursday at a Washington-area nursing home.
Monroe was the NBC show's fourth moderator, from 1975 to 1984, and interviewed prominent political figures including President Jimmy Carter and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Tim Russert, the best known host of "Meet the Press," assumed the host's chair in 1991 after a series of short stints by others after Monroe's departure.
Monroe's daughter, Lee Monroe, said her father had taken a fall in December that put him in a nursing home and he had not been well since.
Bill Monroe was born in New Orleans on July 17, 1920. He graduated from Tulane University, served in World War II and later began his career in television journalism at the New Orleans NBC affiliate, WDSU.
In 1961 he moved to Washington, where he became NBC's bureau chief. He worked on the "Today Show," winning the Peabody Award in 1972, and succeeded Lawrence Spivak as host of "Meet the Press" in 1975.
On his first day as the show's permanent moderator he interviewed Gov. George Wallace of Alabama, the staunch segregationist who was at the time running for president.
"Have you personally changed your views about segregation?" Monroe asked.
When Wallace didn't respond directly, Monroe cut him off and repeated the question. Wallace began to stumble through his next response, and Monroe asked a third time: "Have your views changed?"
Wallace finally claimed that race relations were better in Alabama than other parts of the country.
Marvin Kalb, who with Roger Mudd co-hosted "Meet the Press" after Monroe left, called him a "consummate interviewer" and a "gracious host."
"I think fairness was the word that would best describe him as host," Kalb said.
Monroe talked about his career in an interview for the Archive of American Television seen in the YouTube clip above. Listen to the entire interview here.
Jack Popejoy, a longtime Los Angeles radio anchor and reporter most recently with KNX-AM (1070), died Saturday of cancer at his home in Sherman Oaks, the station announced. He was 63.
Popejoy was a morning news anchor on KNX since February 2009 and was on the air until late January. He also worked at KFWB-AM (980) from 1986 to 2009.
Born in Austin, Texas, in 1947, Popejoy began his professional broadcasting career after graduating from Amherst College with a degree in astronomy.
He worked at stations in Boston and Philadelphia before starting to work in radio in Southern California during the 1970s. He also was a television news director and anchor in San Francisco before joining KCOP-TV Channel 13 as a reporter and fill-in anchor in 1983.
Fred Foy, the radio announcer best-known for calling out "Hi-Yo, Silver!" in his passionate lead-in to "The Lone Ranger" radio program, died Wednesday at his home in Woburn, Mass., of natural causes. He was 89.
His daughter, Nancy Foy, said her father began his career as an actor before landing the job as the announcer on "The Lone Ranger" show in 1948. Radio historian Jim Harson said Foy's dramatic introduction, performed over and over for the live program, was so good it "made many people forget there were others before him."
Nancy Foy said to the end of his life, her father never tired of repeating the intro to anyone who would ask.
Schudel starts off by discussing former pro basketball star Manute Bol and his ties to the Sudan, and then explains how all obit writers approach their assignments:
We're looking for the things that really make someone human. It's not just that we want to record the big events in a person's life, whether the person was a movie star, appeared in movies or on television or in case of a congressman, passed a bunch of laws. We're looking for the things that kind of set a person apart, that show both the extraordinary qualities and sometimes the foibles and the problematic character issues that you might say can sometimes lead to the downfall of a significant figure.
Ann Wroe had a memorable account of the life of Texas Rep. Charlie Wilson, a colorful character who died in February. She reads from the Wilson obituary she wrote:
He was Texas loud, 6'7" in his cowboy boots with bright suspenders, a rowdy laugh and a rugged western face. Other people in Washington might go around looking like constipated hound dogs, but he was having fun and sharing it. Partying and junketing first class all over the country on the federal dime. The apogee came in 1980 in a hot tub at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas with two strippers, naked but for their high-heeled shoes, each equipped with 10 red fingernails filled with beautiful white powder which they wafted onto his nose.
The Feds later spent a million bucks investigating whether he had inhaled it. He wasn't telling. He reviewed, however, that he wore a robe, at first, because he was, after all, a congressman.
Soupy Sales was a slapstick comedian whose signature pie-in-the-face antics in the 1960s and '70s earned him national fame and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
As the star of "The Soupy Sales Show," he performed live on television for 13 years in Detroit, Los Angeles and New York before the program went into syndication in the United States and abroad.
The show contained a cast full of puppets with names such as Wyatt Burp and Marilyn Monwolf. The high point of every episode came when a sidekick launched a pie into Sales' face. Sales once estimated that he was hit by more than 25,000 pies in his lifetime.
Before the days of his fame, Sales fought in the Pacific theater in WWII and worked as a disc jockey and scriptwriter. After his show ran its course, he had a variety of TV and radio gigs, including frequent appearances on a game show called "What's My Line?"
Larry Gelbart, who developed the Korean War comedy "MASH," was called a comedy progidy by some of the very best comedians out there. He died one year ago at his Beverly Hills home.
"Larry Gelbart was among the very best comedy writers ever produced in America," said Mel Brooks, whose friendship with Gelbart dated to when they both wrote for Sid Caesar's comedy-variety show "Caesar's Hour" in the 1950s. Gelbart "had class, he had wit, he had style and grace. He was a marvelous writer who could do more with words than anybody I ever met," Brooks said.
The award-winning Gelbart shared an Emmy for "MASH" in 1974 and shared three Emmy nominations during his time on Caesar's show. He also made a mark on Broadway, co-writing the book for the hit musical "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," which won a Tony for best musical.
In his 1998 memoir "Laughing Matters," Gelbart said the challenge of "MASH," which became the work for which he is best known, was being funny without ignoring the human suffering of war.
Gelbart's more than 60-year career began in radio during World War II when he was a 16-year-old student at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles. He made an impression writing for comedy shows, even being allowed to continue that work during a stint in the military.
Buddy Blattner, who played in the major leagues before and after serving in World War II, had a long career as a sportscaster, mainly in his native St. Louis. He was a radio announcer for the St. Loius Browns and St. Louis Cardinals baseball teams and the St. Louis Hawks NBA team. Paired with the distinctive Dizzy Dean, Blattner could also be heard in the 1950s on the Liberty and Mutual radio networks' "Game of the Day" and on ABC and CBS' television broadcasts of the "Game of the Week."
Author Curt Smith described the on-air team of Blattner and Dean, the Hall of Fame pitcher turned down-home announcer in his 2005 book "Voices of Summer":
"Dean was, yes, Falstaffian. Bud Blattner liked fact and strategy. Diz shunned biography. 'People liked him giving everything but the score' -- fishing, hunting, thanking Grandma's Biscuits for meals, said Bud -- 'but wanted me to restore sanity.' Some voices script a program. Diz was the program. 'He created the audience before we said a word.' ''
Baseball fans in Southern California remembered Blattner for his years calling Angel games in the KMPC radio booth with Don Wells. He was an Angels announcer from 1962 to 1968, when he left for a job with the Kansas City Royals and Dick Enberg replaced him in the booth.
Adam Goldstein, better known as DJ AM, was a disc jockey and Los Angeles club owner sought after by celebrities. He was found dead in his New York apartment one year ago, a result of an apparent accidental drug overdose.
Goldstein spun records at some of the world's most exclusive parties, including private events for Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lopez and Ben Stiller, among many others, and could command more than $25,000 for a three-hour set. He was once engaged to socialite/reality TV star Nicole Richie and dated actress/singer Mandy Moore.
The DJ had struggles in his 20s with drugs, depression and his weight. In 1997, however, he underwent gastric bypass surgery, resulting in a drastic weight reduction, and gave up drugs and alcohol. Just a month before his death, he announced his participation in a reality TV show for MTV called "Gone Too Far," in which he helps the loved ones of drug addicts stage interventions.
Goldstein, who survived a Learjet crash in 2008 that killed two other passengers and left him with burns over his body, counted himself lucky for surviving the crash and the bouts of depression that brought him close to suicide earlier in his life.
"There's no reason why I should have lived or why I lived and they didn't," Goldstein said at a news conference a month before his death. "I'm alive and I'm here and I have another chance. So I have to do something better with my life this time."
Times staff writer Bill Shaikin's obituary on Bobby Thomson, who helped the New York Giants beat the Brooklyn Dodgers with his ninth-inning home run in the deciding game of a three-game playoff for the National League pennant in 1951, notes that the home run, later called the "shot heard 'round the world," inspired one of the most famous moments in sports broadcasting.
Here is Giants announcer Russ Hodges, calling the action for WMCA radio in New York:
"Hartung down the line at third, not taking any chances. Lockman without too big of a lead at second, but he'll be runnin' like the wind if Thomson hits one.
"Branca throws. There's a long drive. It's gonna be, I believe — the Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!
"Bobby Thomson hits into the lower deck of the left-field stands! The Giants win the pennant! And they're going crazy! They're going crazy!"
Photo: Bobby Thomson gets mobbed and has his head rubbed by his New York Giants teammates after hitting a home run to eliminate the Dodgers and advance to the 1951 World Series. Credit: Associated Press
Conservative radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh credited Dr. Antonio De la Cruz with saving his career.
De la Cruz, a renowned neurotologist at the House Ear Clinic who died one year ago, performed cochlear implant surgery on Limbaugh in 2001, restoring the talk-show host's hearing, which had rapidly worsened due to an autoimmune inner-ear disease.
"I wouldn't have been able to continue my career," Limbaugh said. "For a month before I had the implant surgery, I did my show totally deaf."
As director of education at the House Ear Institute, De la Cruz led professional training programs for hundreds of visiting physicians in otology/neurotology surgical procedures and practices.
Fluent not only in English and Spanish but also in French, Italian, Portuguese and other languages, he frequently lectured and taught around the world.
De la Cruz served as president of the American Academy of Surgery in 1997 and 1998 and received the academy's presidential citation in 2004 and its Distinguished Service Award in 2007.