Brian Carman (69) one of five guys from Santa Ana High School—the Chantays—who in the early '60s thought they could maybe play for dances at the community center. Carman and bandmate Bob Spickard wrote “Pipeline,” an instrumental anthem to riding the waves and living the surfing life that became one of southern California’s most recognizable musical exports. Carman suffered from Crohn’s disease and an ulcerated colon; he died in Santa Ana, California on March 1, 2015.
June Fairchild (68) former Manhattan Beach prom queen, go-go dancer, and actress who appeared in more than a dozen films, and, for a time, was an addict and alcoholic who slept in a cardboard box on skid row in Los Angeles. Fairchild made a memorable appearance as a druggie who snorted Ajax soap powder in Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke (1978); she also had parts in Drive, He Said, a 1971 basketball film directed by Jack Nicholson, and Thunderbolt & Lightfoot (1974) with Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges. She died of liver cancer in Los Angeles, California on February 17, 2015.
Lesley Gore (68) singer-songwriter who topped the charts in 1963 at age 16 with her epic song of teenage angst, “It’s My Party,” and followed it up with the hits “Judy’s Turn to Cry” and the feminist anthem “You Don’t Own Me.” Gore was discovered by Quincy Jones as a teenager and signed to Mercury Records; she cowrote with her brother, Michael, the Oscar-nominated “Out Here on My Own” from the film Fame (1980). Although a nonsmoker, she died of lung cancer in New York City on February 16, 2015.
Sam Andrew (73) cofounder of the band Big Brother & the Holding Company, a mainstay of the San Francisco rock scene of the ‘60s, who played a key role in singer Janis Joplin’s (d. 1970) early career. The band was among the first and most successful exponents of the so-called San Francisco sound, a mix of folk, blues, and rock influences fueled by psychedelic drugs. Andrew had a heart attack 10 weeks ago and underwent open-heart surgery. He died in San Rafael, California on February 12, 2015.
Gary Owens (80) mellifluous-voiced announcer on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968–73) and a familiar part of radio, TV, and movies for more than 60 years. Owens hosted thousands of radio programs in his long career and appeared in more than a dozen movies and on scores of TV shows, including Lucille Ball and Bob Hope specials. He also voiced hundreds of animated characters, was part of dozens of comedy albums, and wrote books. He died in Los Angeles, California on February 12, 2015.
Dallas Taylor (66) rock drummer who liked to say that he made his first million—and his last—by the time he was 21. Taylor was a key sideman for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young; he played at Woodstock, appeared on seven top-selling albums, and bought three Ferraris. He also stabbed himself in the stomach with a butcher knife and drank so heavily that he required a liver transplant in 1990, five years after becoming sober. He later became an addiction counselor specializing in interventions and in reuniting alcoholics and addicts with their families. He died in Los Angeles, California on January 18, 2015.
Darren Hugh Winfield (85) one of the last of the Marlboro Men, a macho cowboy whose image in advertising from the ‘50s to the late ‘90s made filtered cigarettes more appealing to men. Previously Marlboros were marketed to women. Winfield’s rugged good looks made him the face of Marlboro cigarettes in magazine and TV ads from the late ‘60s to the late ‘80s. A real-life cowboy, he was discovered in 1968 while working on the Quarter Circle 5 Ranch in western Wyoming. He died in Riverton, Wyoming on January 12, 2015.
Ervin Drake (95) songwriter and lyricist whose hit songs were recorded by such stellar performers as Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, and Frankie Laine. Drake wrote the words and music for the wistful “It Was a Very Good Year” in 1961 for Bob Shane of the Kingston Trio. Sinatra heard it on his car radio, and his recording of it on a comeback album in 1966 hit the Top 10. The Sinatra version has remained a staple on radio and sometimes on TV; as the soundtrack to an extended film montage, it opened the second season of the HBO series The Sopranos in 2000. Drake died of bladder cancer in Great Neck, New York on January 15, 2015.
Anita Ekberg (83) Swedish-born actress and sex symbol of the ‘50s and ‘60s who was immortalized bathing in Rome's Trevi fountain in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (1960). The scene where the blonde bombshell, clad in a black dress, her arms wide open, calls out “Marcello,” remains one of the most famous images in film history. Ekberg never starred in a Swedish film and was often at odds with Swedish journalists, who criticized her for leaving the country and ridiculed her for adopting an American accent. She remained in Italy for years, appearing in scores of movies, many forgettable. She was hospitalized after Christmas and died in Rome, Italy on January 11, 2015.
Don Harron (90) Canadian comedian who entertained TV audiences in Canada and the US with his comic alter ego Charlie Farquharson, a regular feature during the first 13 years (1969–82) of the long-running rural comedy series Hee Haw. Harron started his career as an actor, appearing regularly on US TV shows in the ‘60s, including The FBI, Mission: Impossible, 12 O’Clock High, The Outer Limits, and Dr. Kildare. He died in Toronto, Canada after choosing not to seek treatment for cancer, on January 17, 2015.
Lew Soloff (71) trumpet player, an early member of Blood, Sweat & Tears whose later jazz career included performances with his own ensembles and with Gil Evans, Ornette Coleman, Chuck Mangione, Maynard Ferguson, and other giants of the genre. Soloff joined Blood, Sweat & Tears in 1968, about a year after the megagroup formed, and played trumpet and flugelhorn on numerous recordings, being featured on the group’s eponymous album that in 1970 won a best-album Grammy. He traveled the world with the jazz/rock band until leaving in 1973. He died a day after suffering a heart attack while walking on a New York City street, on March 8, 2015.
Al Delugach (89) newspaper “rewrite man” and investigator who defied his own publisher to help expose corruption in a St. Louis labor union in the ‘60s. Delugach and fellow reporter Denny Walsh of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat spent three years investigating the Steamfitters union, Local 562. In more than 300 stories they revealed a pattern of labor racketeering that led to multiple federal indictments for a kickback scheme related to the sale of insurance to the union’s pension fund. The two reporters shared a 1969 Pulitzer Prize for local investigative reporting. Delugach died of mesothelioma in Los Feliz, California on January 4, 2015.
Rod Taylor (84) ruggedly handsome Australian-born actor who helped actress Tippi Hedren to battle swarms of vicious birds in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds. Taylor’s first leading role was in the 1960 film version of the H. G. Wells classic The Time Machine, but he was best known for costarring in the Hitchcock film about a massive bird attack on a small northern California coastal town (Bodega Bay). He also appeared in The Train Robbers and, most recently, in an almost unrecognizable cameo role as the late British wartime prime minister Winston Churchill in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009). Taylor, who would have turned 85 on Jan. 11, died in Los Angeles, California two weeks after suffering a fall, on January 7, 2015.
Donna Douglas (81) actress who played the buxom tomboy Elly May Clampett on the hit ‘60s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, the CBS comedy about a backwoods Ozark family who moved to Beverly Hills after striking it rich from oil discovered on their land. The series, which ran from 1962–71, also starred the late Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan, and Max Baer Jr., who turned 77 on Jan. 4. Douglas died of pancreatic cancer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 1, 2015.
Rev. Willie Barrow (90) longtime civil rights activist. For decades Barrow was on the front lines of the civil rights movement, working for Rev. Martin Luther King, participating in the 1963 March on Washington, and in later years working to stem Chicago’s gun violence. She died at a Chicago, Illinois hospital where she was being treated for a blood clot in her lung, on March 12, 2015.
Frankie Randall (76) singer and pianist, a Rat Pack favorite in the swinging ‘60s and a staple of TV variety shows of that era. Besides his TV appearances with Dean Martin and others, Randall recorded several songs, bringing his jazz-inflected, supper-club approach not only to standards like “It Had to Be You,” but also to the TV theme from Flipper and The Who’s rock anthem, “I Can See for Miles.” Randall, who was closely identified professionally and socially with Frank Sinatra (d. 1998), died of lung cancer in Indio, California on December 28, 2014.