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Wednesday, May 6, 2009


For writers, the subject of inspiration comes up a lot when we are being interviewed or commenting on blogs. Most times, it is in reference to what inspired a story or what inspires us to write. But this is only a small sampling of what can be considered inspiration. For me, inspiration can come in many forms, but one of the things that most inspires me is talent. The talent to draw, the talent to sing, the talent to act. But perhaps the most powerful of those talents to me is the talent to make people laugh, especially in times of strife.

It is with a heavy heart that I remember three phenomenal talents of comedy, all lost to us within the past two weeks. Two of the names you will no doubt recognize immediately and the third you might not know unless you've been to Vegas or caught him on the Bonnie Hunt Show, as I did. I am talking about Bea Arthur, Danny Gans, and Dom Deluise.

When I think of Bea Arthur, I immediately remember her in Golden Girls, which I watched voraciously when it was first on and still catch in reruns to this day. The way she interacted with her costars and delivered her lines...I always wondered how she could deliver her lines with a straight face when up against the zingers of her costars. But she got in a few of her own and made that a memorable show that is as funny today as it was when it first aired. Watching a Golden Girls marathon this past Sunday, I often found myself laughing out right at some one-liner, joke or antic. Just as I did then.

Dom Deluise. Robust. Full of life. The funny man who couldn't stop laughing himself. Some of my fondest memories are of watching him in movies with Burt Reynolds. And the outtakes! They were often funnier than the material left in the movie and I rejoiced at the silliness and joy he shared with his good friend, Burt. He was just a lovely man who loved life and his family and his laughter will be missed.

Perhaps the lesser known - but not less talented - of the three, Danny Gans, was billed as "the man of a thousand voices" and he truly lived up to that name. When I first saw him on the Bonnie Hunt Show a few months back, I literally stopped what I was doing and sat, enthralled, by his talent. He very easily went from impersonating Dean Martin to Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett to telling an inspirational story about how he came to be in the business. And the whole time, thorughout the entire interview with Bonnie, his eyes just sparkled with a joy fior life that could scarcely be contained. Do yourself a favor. Find the video online and watch this amazing man and you, too, will think he was lost too soon.

Three amazing talents. Three great resources for inspiration.

To Bea, Danny and Dom, thank you for being a friend.


4 Moonbeams (comments):

Molly Daniels said...

I saw that Dom had passed away peacefully. I'm glad he didn't suffer, and now I want to watch Smoky and the Bandit again...I think he was in the second one?...and the CannonBall Run. Plus whatever else I can find of his. You're right; the outtakes were hilarious!

I wonder if Bea Arthur's Maude will ever make it to DVD? I only remember watching 2 episodes, and I was surprised when I learned it was on from '72-'78! Course, I was a youngling at the time...

And I sort of remember hearing Danny Gans' name. But if he was that great of an impersonator, the world of entertainment has indeed suffered great losses this week.

Sheila Deeth said...

You've taken me from knowing none of them to wanting to know more. Thanks.

Carrie said...

I knew all of them!

Okay, Bea from Maude and Golden Girls and she was on something else I think too... Golden Palace - the follow up to GG which I did watch, but what I was thinking of (I had to go look this one up) is when she played her character Dorothy of GG on Empty Nest. I loved that show!

Dom DeLuise always had me cracking up, no matter what he did from his movies to the time I saw him on some show (the Today show [I think] with Willard Scott and Fred Willard - so that is a while ago) when he was demonstrating his cooking talents. It's not listed on IMDB, so I'm not sure if that's even the right show, but I remember him in that Chef's hat and him talking about how to cook pasta and all kinds of other stuff. Not to mention all the times he played himself in TV programs but all the times we've heard his voice in movies like All Dogs Go to Heaven.

Not only do we have wonderful memories of him, but he left a wonderful legacy behind in his three sons, Peter, Michael and David. I've seen all of them act (21 Jumpstreet, SeaQuest DSV, CSI:Miami to name a few) and they will carry on his tradition with class. I didn't even know he had a third son until I saw him on a CSI and with his looks and voice, there was no doubt that he was a DeLuise boy. I hope they're very proud of the legacy their father left for them!

As for Danny Gans, I did see him once. At one time, I used to be an Independent Professional Decorator representing Home Interiors. It was the first year I had gone to seminar and he was part of our Saturday entertainment. Because that whole weekend was so long ago and such a flurry to overwhelm my senses, I can't remember what he actually did, just that I saw him and that I liked him.

I feel sad for his wife. They're not saying yet, or they really don't know, why he died. I think that makes it even harder, to lose someone and not know why. I've lost many people, and it's never easy losing someone close to you, but if there wasn't some explanation, then it would be so much harder to take. I would be so angry because it made no sense... That's me anyway.

I didn't even realize that they had passed yet.

As Bob Hope would end his show, so I end my post:

Thanks for the memory:
Of things I can't forget, journeys on a jet,
Our wond'rous week in Martinique and Vegas and roulette.
How lucky I was.

And thanks for the memory:
Of summers by the sea, dawn in Waikiki.
We had a pad in London but we didn't stop for tea;
How cozy it was.

Now since our breakup I wake up
Alone on a gray morning-after.
I long for the sound of your laughter,
And then I see the laugh's on me.

But, thanks for the memory:
Of every touch a thrill. I've been through the mill.
I've lived a lot and learned a lot, you loved me not and still;
I miss you so much.

Thanks for the memory:
Of how we used to jog even in a fog,
That barbecue in Malibu, away from all the smog -
How rainy it was.

Thanks for the memory:
Of letters I destroyed, books that we enjoyed,
Tonight the way things look, I need a book by Sigmund Freud -
How brainy he was.

Gone are those evenings on Broadway.
Together we'd go to a great show.
But now I begin with the Late Show,
And wish that you were watching, too.

I know it's a fallacy:
That grown men never cry, baby, that's a lie.
We had our bed of roses, but forgot that roses die.
And thank you so much.

[I found the lyrics here: ]

Margay Leah Justice said...

Molly, he was that good. Do yourself a favor and go on to pull up his interview with her (they just repeated it yesterday) or search for him on Youtube. He was an amazing performer and even won Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year 11 years in a row.

Sheila, I'm so glad my post had that impression on you. These are three talents that should not be forgotten. They will be greatly missed.

Carrie, wonderful comments! And what a way to close it out with words from another of my favorites. Still miss you, Bob!