Greetings from the Odinson,
The Odinson would like to take a moment to remember those who unfortunately passed away in 2021. These people made an impact on the zeitgeist of modern day pop culture and in many cases brought so much joy and entertainment to us.
Here in no particular order are pop culture heroes, personalities, and icons we lost in 2021 and a brief description of what they meant to the Odinson.
2021 The Year in Review: Remembering: Part 2 of 3
Jim Steinman – Even if you didn’t know his name you most certainly know his work. Steinman was a composer and songwriter that worked on Meatloaf’s seminal album Bat Out of Hell as well as megahits like Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart, Air Supply’s Making Love Out of Nothing at All, Meatloaf’s I’d Do Anything for Love (But I won’t do That), and many, many other iconic tunes.
Shock G – In the 80s and 90s, Rap and Hip-Hop exploded in popularity and for a window in there right at the forefront was Shock G and his group Digital Underground. His biggest hit was the radio staple The Humpty Dance which he performed as his alter ego Humpty Hump.
Michael Collins – He was a real life Buck Rogers. Collins was an astronaut and along with Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong he was a member of the first crew to ever fly to the moon.
John Paul Leon – He was comic book artist best known for his work on Static Shock and Marvel’s Further Adventures of Phoenix and Cyclops and the Alex Ross epic, Earth X. Here’s something I only recently found out. Leon worked on the style guides that Warner Bros. used for the films Batman Begins, Superman Returns, Green Lantern, and The Dark Knight.
Tawny Kitaen – Actress/model who will forever be immortalized for her appearances in the Whitesnake music videos for Still of the Night and Here I Go Again.
Kentaro Miura – The creator of Berserk, one of the best manga fantasies ever.
Charles Grodin – Actor who starred in many classic movies. Proving he has great range he’s starred in horror/sci-fi films like Rosemary’s Baby and King Kong (1976), comedies like Seems Like Old Times and Midnight Run, and family movies like The Great Muppet Caper and Beethoven.
B.J. Thomas – A singer and fellow Texan whose fantastic cover of the song Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head was prominently featured in the classic film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
Gavin MacLeod – Not only did he co-star on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but MacLeod achieved pop culture royalty with his portrayal of Merrill Stubing, Captain of the cruise ship MS Pacific Princess, a.k.a. The Love Boat.
Clarence Williams III – A great character actor who has stolen many scenes over the decades in films and TV shows like Purple Rain, Tales from the Hood, and Twin Peaks. But he is probably best known for his portrayal of the super cool Linc in the Mod Squad.
Robert Downey, Sr. – An actor, writer, and director whose career spans nearly 50. Plus, he’s the pop of Iron Man himself, Robert Downey, Jr.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff – With a physique like the mythical Hercules, Mr. Wonder Paul Orndorff was one of the most feared heels and beloved baby faces of the 70s, 80s, and 90s. He performed arguably the most devastating pile-driver and headlined the very first WrestleMania with his tag team partner Rowdy Roddy Piper against Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.
Charlie Robinson – A veteran actor who showed up all over the place in the 70s, 80s, and 90s but he will forever be remembered as the level headed Mac in the highly underrated sitcom Night Court.
William Smith – Fantastic character actor with one of the most commanding presences on the screen. He played some of the best heavies in cult classics like Any Which Way You Can, Rumble Fish, Maniac Cop, and Red Dawn. He established pop culture cred on the small screen with roles in Hawaii Five-O, The Dukes of Hazzard, and the A-Team. But his greatest role ever, as brief as it was, is as the father of Conan in Conan the Barbarian where he introduces young Conan and the audience to the concepts of the Riddle of Steel.
Biz Markie – You! You got what I need, but you say he’s just a friend, you say he’s just a friend…OH, BABY, YOU…! ‘Nuff said.
Ned Beatty – “Otisberg? Otisberg?!” With roles in iconic films like Deliverance, All the President’s Men, Network, 1941, and Back to School just to name a few. He was great as Dan Connor’s father on Roseanne, but Ned Beatty will forever be a made man in the Odinson’s book for his portrayal as Lex Luthor’s bumbling, loyal henchman, Otis, in 1978’s Superman: The Movie.
Speaking of Superman: The Movie.
Richard Donner – Alongside Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, Richard Donner, whether writing, directing, or producing, is responsible for some of the best movies of my childhood and early adult life. His filmography reads like a Who’s Who of iconic movies – films like The Omen, The Goonies, Ladyhawke, Scrooged, Maverick, Assassins, the Lethal Weapon franchise, and, of course, Superman: The Movie, to this day, over four decades later, still the greatest Superman movie ever made.
There is another 19 names of people who had a profound effect on pop culture, and the Odinson. Next week, I conclude my list of remembrance with more people we lost too soon in 2021.
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. Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE