Geoffrey Holder: Much More than a 7Up Pitchman

TV commercials for 7Up made a powerful impression on us in the 1970s and ’80s in large part because of the pitchman: A handsome gentleman clad in an elegant white suit and hat, who spoke in stentorian tones infused with a Caribbean lilt. Lounging in a straw chair, Geoffrey Holder touted the no-caffeine virtues of the “Uncola” as he poured and sipped a glass of the bubbly beverage, and at the end, drove home his point by leaning back his …

Paul Revere: That Was the Rocker’s Real Name

Boomers are accustomed to rock musicians’ colorful stage names, from Ringo Starr (real name Richard Starkey) to Sting (Gordon Sumner). That’s why it’s surprising to discover that the leader of the campy, colorful Paul Revere and the Raiders actually used the one on his birth certificate, at least the first and middle parts. Dressing in Revolutionary War-style frock coats, breeches, knee-high leather boots and tri-corner hats, Paul Revere, who passed away on Oct. 4 at age 76 in Sun Valley, …

Polly Bergen: An Entertainer Who Did It All

Actresses and singers come and go, but Polly Bergen had a multifaceted entertainment career that stretched from 1949 to 2012 because she was a star at just about everything she tried. Bergen, who died on Sept. 20 at age 84 in Southbury, Conn., won an Emmy in 1958 for her portrayal of alcoholic torch singer Helen Morgan on Playhouse 90, and she made a lasting impression on the big screen as the terrorized wife of a lawyer (Gregory Peck) stalked by a …

Can We Talk About Joan Rivers?

Whether you screamed with delight at her unfiltered caustic commentary or found her a grating loudmouth, Joan Rivers was a unique figure who paved the way for other female comedians. “The Queen of Mean,” who died at age 81 on Sept. 4 in New York following complications from an outpatient procedure, always saved her harshest barbs for herself — her supposed lack of sex appeal, her obsession with plastic surgery, the endless indignities of aging. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in …

Richard Attenborough: Versatile Actor Turned ‘Gandhi’ Director

Richard Attenborough had a pretty good career as a character actor. From the 1940s to the mid-2000s, he appeared in nearly 80 films, including the 1963 World War II epic The Great Escape, in which he played the mastermind of a daring flight from a Nazi prison camp, to 1992′s Jurassic Park, in which he played bioengineering genius John Hammond, the owner of an ill-fated theme park stocked with cloned dinosaurs. But Attenborough, who died on Aug. 24 at age 90 in …

Don Pardo: The Man with the Big Voice

As a staff announcer at NBC for 60 years, Don Pardo was a robust, velvety virtuoso of enunciation, whose baritone resonated like the aftertaste of a full-bodied fine wine. His trademark gig was performing the introductions at the beginning of each episode of Saturday Night Live, which he did for all but one season between the show’s debut in October 1975 and its most recent season finale in May.   Pardo, who died on Aug. 18 at age 96 in …