George Jones: 10 Facts About the Country Music Legend

George Jones, who died on April 26 at age 81 in Nashville, was such a giant in the world of country music that a song Jim Lauderdale wrote about him, “The King of Broken Hearts,” became a hit for George Strait. And that was a fitting appellation. Jones, who possessed a superlative, pitch-perfect baritone – Frank Sinatra reportedly once called him “the second greatest singer in the world” – was royalty as a vocalist. But he also exemplified the tension between …

Richie Havens: 10 Facts About the ‘Woodstock’ Legend

Perhaps the ultimate tribute to guitarist-folksinger Richie Havens, who died on April 22 at age 72 in Jersey City, N.J., is that a Beatle once likened himself to Havens. In a 1971 Rolling Stone interview, John Lennon initially garbled Havens’ name, confusing him with the Mexican-American singer who did “La Bomba.” But it was clear that he dug Havens’ unorthodox, self-taught guitar style. I think there’s a guy called Richie Valens, no, Richie Havens, does he play very strange guitar? …

Al Neuharth: 5 Ways USA Today’s Founder Changed the Newspaper

There are two schools of thought about USA Today founder Al Neuharth, who died on April 19 at age 89 in Cocoa Beach, Fla. Some think he helped ruin the newspaper, an institution older than our country itself, by turning it into a paper-and-ink imitation of TV news. Others think he helped modernized a desperately outdated medium and, in so doing, perhaps staved off its demise. Either way you choose to look at it, though, the former Gannett CEO was …

Pat Summerall: 10 Facts About the Iconic Sportscaster

Pat Summerall, who died on April 16 at age 82 in Dallas, achieved what in some ways is the ultimate accomplishment for an athlete-slash-broadcaster. He was so good in the booth at NFL games that a couple of generations of fans probably never realized that he’d gotten his start down on the field. In fact, the Florida native had a pretty respectable NFL career as a placekicker and two-way end from 1952 to 1961, mostly with the Chicago Cardinals and New …

5 Surprising Facts About Leave It to Beaver’s ‘Lumpy’ Rutherford

Frank Bank, who died on April 13 at age 71, only had a brief acting career in the 1950s and early 1960s. Nevertheless, he made a powerful impression on boomers with his one major role – as Clarence “Lumpy” Rutherford, the hefty, dim-witted teenager who sometimes picked on young Theodore “Beaver” Cleaver in Leave It to Beaver, the popular sitcom that aired from 1957 to 1963. As Lumpy, Bank resonated with audiences because a certain childlike vulnerability peeked out from …

Jonathan Winters: His 5 Most Memorable Characters

“If Jonathan Winters ever gets accused of anything, he’s got the perfect alibi,” Tonight Show host Jack Paar once joked. “He was someone else at the time.” Winters, who died on April 11 at age 87 in Montecito, Calif., was capable of conjuring up a seemingly limitless number of personalities, each accompanied by a cacophony of sound effects and unlikely facial contortions. In a 1999 PBS interview, Winters recalled that as an only child in Ohio, he sat alone in …