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Publication: Dead End
Lew Anderson, Johnnie Wilder Jr.

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@@@         DEAD END - Friday, May 19, 2006              @@@
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"Death borders upon our birth, and our cradle stands in the 
grave. Our birth is nothing but our death begun." Bishop Hall

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Welcome to another edition of Dead End.

This week we say goodbye to a variety of talented folks. 
They include Lew Anderson, who played Howdy Doody's best 
friend Clarabell the Clown on the long-running show, and 
child actor Frankie Thomas, who skyrocketed to fame in the 
1950s as TV's "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet." We also remember 
actress Joan Diener, who originated the role of Dulcinea 
in the 1965 Broadway musical "Man of La Mancha," singer 
Johnnie Wilder Jr, and Grateful Dead crew member, Lawrence 
"Ramrod" Shurtliff.

Remember you can comment on any part of this issue or read   
comments by visiting: Dead End Blog


Lew "Clarabell the Clown" Anderson, who played a puppet's 
best friend on TV's "The Howdy Doody Show" from 1954-1960, 
has died in Hawthorne, N.Y., at age 84. Anderson died Sunday 
from complications of prostate cancer, the New York Times 
reported Wednesday. Of the three actors to portray Clarabell 
between 1947 and 1960, Anderson logged the most air time as 
Howdy Doody's best friend. Anderson spoke the series' final 
words when it ended after 2,243 episodes on Sept. 24, 1960. 
With a tear in his eye, Anderson as Clarabell said his first 
and last words: "Goodbye, kids." An arranger, composer and 
clarinetist, Anderson was playing with his band, the Honey 
Dreamers, when Smith hired him to portray Clarabell. After 
the show ended, he went back to his first love and formed 
the All-American Big Band, the Friday night house band at 
New York's Birdland jazz club. Anderson is survived by his 
wife, two sons and five grandchildren.

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Child actor Frankie Thomas who skyrocketed to fame in the 
1950s as TV's "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet," has died of 
respiratory failure at age 85.  Thomas got his start on 
Broadway in the early 1930s and reprised his stage role in 
RKO's 1934 film, "Wednesday's Child," the Los Angeles Times 
said. After that, he split his time between the Big Apple 
and Tinsel Town, appearing on stage in "Remember the Day," 
"Seen but Not Heard" and "Your Loving Son" and on the big 
screen in "A Dog of Flanders," "Boys Town" and "The Major 
and the Minor." He also starred in the 1937 adventure 
serial, "Tim Tyler's Luck" and appeared in four Nancy Drew 
films as the teenage detective's boyfriend, Ted Nickerson.
"Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" debuted in 1950 as a 15-minute, 
three-night-a-week series on CBS and later expanded to a 
half-hour show also seen on ABC, NBC and the DuMont networks 
and heard on radio.


Actress Joan Diener, who originated the role of Dulcinea in 
the 1965 Broadway musical "Man of La Mancha," has died of 
cancer in New York at age 76. The longtime favorite of 
Broadway audiences who reprised her role in "La Mancha" as 
recently as 1992, died Saturday, the New York Times reported.
The Columbus, Ohio, native was majoring in psychology at 
Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y., and moonlighting 
in the theater when she was snapped by a photographer in 
1950 and featured in Life magazine. The feature jumpstarted 
her theater career and she won her first major role in the 
1953 musical, "Kismet." She left a London production of the 
show in 1955 and did not return to Broadway until 12 years 
later in "Man of La Mancha," directed by her husband, Albert 
Marre. Although Sophia Loren played Dulcinea in the film 
version, Diener starred through the years in "La Mancha" 
revivals in Los Angeles and New York. She is survived by 
her husband, a daughter, a son and three grandsons.

Singer Johnnie Wilder Jr., co-founder of the Grammy-nominated 
funk group, Heatwave, has died in Clayton, Ohio, at age 56.
No cause of death was given for Wilder, who was paralyzed 
from the neck down in a 1979 car crash, the Dayton (Ohio) 
Daily News reported. Wilder and his brother, Keith, founded 
Heatwave while stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army and 
took the group to the top of the charts with a string of 
1970s disco/funk hits such as "Boogie Nights" and "Always 
and Forever." The group was recording its third album, "Hot 
Property," in 1979 when Wilder's rental car was struck by a 
van, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down and hospital-
ized for a year, the Daily News said. Keith Wilder said his 
brother was given a week to live and outlasted doctor's 
predictions by 27 years. He eventually returned to recording 
with Heatwave and later released two gospel albums, "My 
Goal" and "One More Day." In addition to Keith, Wilder is 
survived by his wife, a daughter and two other brothers.

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Grateful Dead crew member, Lawrence "Ramrod" Shurtliff, 
described by Bob Weir as "our rock," has died in Petaluma, 
Calif., at age 61. Shurtliff, known simply as "Ramrod," died 
Wednesday only weeks after being diagnosed with lung cancer, 
The San Francisco Chronicle reported. Ramrod started as a 
truck driver for the band in 1967 and was laid off with the 
remainder of the Dead's staff last year. He served as 
president of the Grateful Dead board of directors when it 
incorporated in the '70s until guitarist Jerry Garcia's 
death in 1995. Hart and Weir recalled a vast number of 
instances where Ramrod proved invaluable to the jam band -- 
like the time Hart as so stoned, Ramrod fastened him to his 
drum stool with gaffer's tape so he would not fall off. He 
had a son, Strider Shurtliff, with his first wife, Patricia 
"Patticake" Luft, and a son, Rudson Shurtliff, with his 
wife of 38 years, Francis Whalen.

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Notable deaths this week in history...

In 1973, Jeanette Rankin, the first woman to serve in the 
United States Congress, died at the age of 92.

In 1987, Rita Hayworth, the legendary Hollywood beauty who 
rose to international fame in the 1940's and 1950's, died of 
Alzheimer's disease at age 68.

In 1998, singer, actor, and entertainer Frank Sinatra, known 
as Old Blue Eyes, died at the age of 82. 

In 2003, June Carter Cash, the country singer who married 
Johnny Cash and recorded several hits with him, died at the 
age of 73.

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