Greetings from the Odinson
CORRECTION: Before we begin, I must report that on last week’s list I included Rob Reiner when in fact it was his father Carl Reiner who passed in 2020. Some kind of odd mental slip happened on my part. My eyes read Carl, but for whatever reason, my fingers typed Rob. I apologize for the confusion.
The Odinson would like to take a moment to remember those that brought so much joy and entertainment to us who unfortunately passed away in 2020.
See Part 1 HERE.
Here in no particular order are pop culture heroes personalities and icons we lost in 2020 and a brief description of what they meant to the Odinson.
2020 The Year in Review: Remembering: Part 2 of 2
Carl Reiner – He was an actor, director, and writer who appeared in everything from classic comedies like 1963’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World to modern classics like 2001’s Ocean’s Eleven. Of all his many, many astounding television and movie credits over the decades it was Reiner’s fantastic collaborations with the great Steve Martin that stands out to the Odinson the most, including directing one of the All-Time great comedies The Jerk.
Ennio Morricone – Even if you don’t know the name, you most certainly know the man’s work. He was a composer that provided the score for iconic films like The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, John Carpenter’s The Thing, The Untouchables, and The Hateful Eight just to name a few. The music from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is one of the most recognizable movie scores of All-Time and the score from The Thing still haunts my playlist to this day.
Charlie Daniels – He’s a country western music legend whose song The Devil Went Down to Georgia is one of the best and most celebrated storytelling tunes in music history.
Regis Philbin – This diminutive ball of positive energy was a television staple having hosted the morning talk show Live with Regis and Kathie Lee from the 80s up into the early 2000s. Plus, he was the host of the most iconic game show at the turn of the century – Who wants to be a Millionaire.
Wilford Brimley – One of the most recognizable character actors of the modern era with one of the most unforgettable mustaches, Brimley was a standout in such films as John Carpenter’s The Thing, The Natural, and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. But, he is probably best known for his role in the sci-fi classic Cocoon and its sequel Cocoon: The Return.
Kamala – James Harris or The Ugandan Giant, as he was known, was one of the scariest professional wrestlers of my youth. With his painted face and monstrous size, Kamala had a great look and even made a young Odinson fear for heroes like Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter.
Chadwick Boseman – He brought regal King T’Challa, a.k.a. the Black Panther, I believe the first black super hero in Comics History (at the very least Marvel History), to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He left us way too soon.
Mike Sexton – Bracelet-winner and longtime voice and ambassador of the World Series of Poker.
Diana Rigg – She is pop culture royalty. In the 60 she portrayed the super spy Emma Peel in the classic Avengers TV series. Most recently she portrayed the wise and cunning matriarch of House Tyrell in Game of Thrones. And, she is the only woman to ever tame 007 when she married James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Legend.
Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg – The second woman in history to serve on the United States Supreme Court.
Road Warrior Animal – Animal, a.k.a. Joe Laurinaitis, along with kayfabe brother Hawk, a.k.a. Michael Hegstrand, were the Road Warriors. These two monsters were super heroes to me when I was a kid and with their painted faces, Mad Max attire, and hulking physiques, they looked the part. The Road Warriors are the most feared, dominating, and successful tag team in professional wrestling history. The loud cheers of the crowd that erupt when a wrestler makes his entrance is known as a Pop. The loudest of the loud pops is known as the Road Warrior Pop. Legend.
Gale Sayers – NFL Hall of fame running back for the Chicago Bears, Sayers is one of the greatest players to ever play the game. His touching story of true friendship with teammate Brian Piccolo was depicted in the 1971 movie Brian’s Song.
Mac Davis – A singer/songwriter/actor who wrote major hits for Elvis Presley like “In the Ghetto” and “A Little Less Conversation”
Eddie Van Halen – Founding member, lead guitar player, and songwriter for Van Halen, one of the greatest rock bands in history, and he is arguably the greatest and most innovative guitar player in music history. Icon.
Johnny Nash – He wrote and performed one of the Odinson’s All-Time favorite songs “I Can See Clearly Now,” a truly transcendent tune.
Conchata Ferrell – A great character actor with roles and cameos in many beloved TV series throughout the 70s, 80s, and 90s from B.J. and the Bear to Who’s the Boss? to Friends. She’s probably best known for her role as Berta in the long running sitcom Two and a Half Men. The Odinson will always treasure her role as Jan the comedic, albeit a bit overly protective, proprietor of the Mandrake Falls pizza parlor in Adam Sandler’s Mr. Deeds.
Lenard Lakofka – He was a writer and editor that helped develop adventures, settings, and campaigns for the Dungeons and Dragons roleplaying game. The Secret of Bone Hill and The Assassin’s Knot are two D&D adventure modules written by Lakofka.
Alex Trebek – From 1984 to 2020, Trebek, who became a household name and pop culture icon known for his quick wit and improvisation, was the host of Jeopardy, one of the Top 5 greatest game shows of All-Time.
Michael Hobson – Again, another name that might not be that familiar to everybody, but this man’s influencing tentacles stretch far and wide throughout modern day literature. Having had worked at various times throughout his career at Little Brown and Company, Publishers Weekly, Scholastic Press, Parachute Publishing, Cracked Magazine, and Marvel Comics, odds are, even if unknowingly, you’ve crossed his path.
David Prowse – He was a professional bodybuilder who helped the great Christopher Reeve get into shape to play Superman. He was Frankenstein’s Monster in the classic Hammer Horror films. He’s also had small parts in classic sci-fi spots like A Clockwork Orange, Doctor Who, Space 1999 and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. However, he will forever be known as the man that physically brought Darth Vader to life. James Earl Jones may have given the Sith Lord a voice, but it was Prowse that gave the iconic villain his imposing presence. Legend.
David Paul – David and his twin brother, Peter, affectionately known as the Barbarian Brothers, were bodybuilders and 1980s pop culture oddities that would pop up in everything from Knight Rider to INXS’s music video Devil Inside. Their classic cult hits include D.C. Cab, The Barbarians, and Think Big.
Hugh Keays-Byrne – He portrayed two of the major Big Bads in the Mad Max Saga – Toecutter in Mad Max and Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road.
David Lander – A very underrated comedic actor with memorable roles in 1941, The Man with One Red Shoe, and Twin Peaks, but he will forever be immortalized for his role in the beloved sitcom Laverne and Shirley as alongside Michael McKean, Lander formed the Bizarro Dynamic Duo known as Lenny and Squiggy.
Chuck Yeager – A veteran of three wars (World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam), ace pilot, fearless test pilot, and the first man to break the sound barrier and fly faster than the speed of sound. He was a real life Captain America. Legend.
Richard Corben – A fantastic Eisner Award-winning artist known for his work in the anthology magazines Eerie, Creepy, and Heavy Metal. He created the sci-fi hero Den who was voiced by the late great John Candy in the 1980s animated Heavy Metal movie. From the Punisher to Ghost Rider and John Constantine to Conan, he has worked on many comic book icons. Corben also provided the cover artwork for Meat Loaf’s seminal Bat out of Hell album. He was a true inspiration.
Tommy “Tiny” Lister – Whether he was challenging Hulk Hogan for the heavyweight title as the monstrous Zeus or terrorizing the kids in the neighborhood as the bully Deebo, with a hulking six-foot five-inch frame and a wandering eye, Lister is one of the most distinct looking actors of the modern era. As if roles in No Holds Barred and Friday weren’t enough, he has cemented his name among the immortals by also appearing in such pop culture notables as Universal Soldier, Barb Wire, Jackie Brown, and The Fifth Element.
Charley Pride – Country music legend and beloved Texas resident. Pride was also an avid baseball fan and could be seen regularly attending games at the Ball Park in Arlington cheering on the Texas Rangers alongside the Odinson (well, maybe not exactly right next to me, but in the same crowd anyway).
Kevin Greene – With a physique and long blonde mane would make the mighty Thor proud, Greene terrorized quarterbacks for over a decade as one of the greatest pass rushers in NFL History. He even wrestled professionally for a time in WCW. He had an electrifying personality and a motor that never quit.
Brodie Lee – Sporting one of the greatest beards ever cultivated, Lee, a.k.a. Luke Harper, was a towering and skilled professional wrestler. As a member of the macabre Wyatt Family and one-half of the monstrous Bludgeon Brothers (alongside fellow Wyatt Family member Erick Rowan), Lee was an intimidating and highly underrated talent in the world of professional wrestling.
Adolfo “Shabba Doo” Quinones – I was first introduced to this street dancing super hero in the 1984 film Breakin’ and its sequel Breakin’ 2 Electric Boogaloo. I cannot tell you how many times a young Odinson tried to mimic Ozone’s sweet dance moves in the mirror in my bedroom. Quinones would go on to have a huge career as a choreographer for pop singers like Madonna.
Dawn Wells – She was Mary Ann on the beloved sitcom Gilligan’s Island. Coke or Pepsi, the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, Marvel or DC, there are very few debates in pop culture history more heated than Ginger or Mary Ann. For the Odinson? Mary Ann all the way. Legend.
Sean Connery – Iconic actor. His resume includes roles in such celebrated films as Highlander, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and The Hunt for Red October, as well as memorable roles in pop culture darlings like Dragonheart and The Rock. However, his most iconic contribution is as, hands down, the greatest James Bond of them all. His portrayal of the sardonic, charismatic double-oh agent set the bar so very high and made all who followed in his footsteps bring their A-game. Connery’s final Big Screen appearance was as the legendary adventurer Allan Quatermain in the film adaptation of Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In 1989, People Magazine voted Connery the Sexiest Man Alive, and in 1999, he was declared the Sexiest Man of the 20th Century. Iconic Legend.
Whether it was through music television movies or comic books there are 72 names (including Part 1) of people who had a profound effect on pop culture and the Odinson.
They have passed on to the next plane and to them all I bid R.I.P.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews click HERE.