DCS: zurlon tipton

bang bang my baby shot me down

Zurlon Tipton was a running back for Central Michigan University. Although he was not picked in the 2014 NFL Draft, he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts. He was waived in September 2014, but re-signed to the team’s practice squad. He eventually made the active roster and scored his first touchdown in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on a 1-yard pass. He played in the 2014 playoffs, but was waived again in September 2015, but re-signed (again) to the practice squad on September 17, 2015.  On November 26, 2015, Zurlon was again waived. Once again, he was re-signed by the Colts on November 30, only to be waived again one month later.

On Christmas Day 2015, just four days after he was released by the Colts for the last time, Zurlon was arrested and charged with criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, after firing a single shot from his AR-15 rifle into his girlfriend’s house. He was released on $3,000 bond.

On June 28, 2016, Zurlon was removing a bag containing two guns from his car when he accidentally shot himself in the stomach. He was taken to the hospital in good condition but died soon afterward. He was 26 years old.

 

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DCS: florence ballard

Flo, she don't know

Born in Detroit, the ninth of fifteen children, Florence Ballard was introduced to music by her father. An auto worker by trade, he was an amateur musician and he taught his daughter to sing as he accompanied her on guitar. She and her high school friend Mary Wilson joined up with Betty McGlown and a petite young lady named Diana Ross, who preferred to be called “Diane.” They called themselves “The Primettes” and performed in around the Detroit area.In 1960, they auditioned for Berry Gordy’s Motown Records. Gordy advised the girls to graduate from high school before making an attempt at a singing career. All but Florence obliged.

Gordy wanted the group to change their name and, after numerous choices, Florence picked “The Supremes”,” despite Diana Ross’s fear that they would be mistaken for a male singing group. The Supremes stuck, however they were derisively nicknamed “The Not-Hit Supremes” as they released eight singles without ever charting. McGlown left the group before signing with Motown and the trio finally scored a hit in 1963’s “When the Love Light Starts Shining Through His Eyes.” Diana Ross became the official lead vocalist.

In 1964, The Supremes hit Number One for the first time with “Where Did Our Love Go.” Between ’64 and ’67, the group had ten Number One hits and sixteen Top Forty hits. At the height of The Supremes’ popularity, Florence became disillusioned and was unhappy with the musical direction the group was taking. She resented Ross and soon began to drink heavily to cope with her depression. She missed recording sessions, practices and even performances. Cindy Birdsong, a member of Patti Labelle’s Blue Belles, stood in for Florence on several occasions. One day after here 24th birthday, Florence showed up drunk for the evening’s performance at The Flamingo in Las Vegas. She was abruptly replaced by Birdsong. Soon after, Florence signed with ABC Records. As part of her settlement from her release from Motown, she was not permitted to promote her solo recordings as “a former member of The Supremes.” Both Wilson and Ross believed that a rape Florence suffered in 1960 played heavily on her persona, and although she presented a strong-willed personality, Florence was deeply troubled and fragile.

In 1968, Florence married Thomas Chapman and eventually gave birth to three daughters. Chapman, however, was physically abusive. The couple separated, but never divorced. With her solo career tanking, she unsuccessfully sued Motown for royalties owed. Facing poverty, she moved in with her sister. Mary Wilson invited Florence to rejoin The Supremes, now that Diana Ross had left for a very successful solo career. Florence joined to play tambourine, but told Wilson that she had no interest in singing anymore. Florence applied for welfare and entered a rehab program.

In 1975, after a five-year absense from the stage, Florence appeared with alt-rock band The Deadly Nightshade as part of a charity event. Jet Magazine reported that Florence was in a recovery program and was doing well. In early 1976, Florence entered Detroit’s Mt. Carmel Mercy Hospital complaining of numbness in her arms and legs. Late the same evening, she went into cardiac arrest and passed away. Florence was 32. She was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

 

 

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DCS: janet waldo

daughter Judy

Janet Waldo’s big break came courtesy of Bing Crosby. A talent scout brought the perky teen in for an audition for the crooner and she was signed to a contract soon after. Janet played a slew of vivacious teenage girls on a variety of radio shows, including The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet and  The Red Skelton Show. She played the title character on Meet Corliss Archer, a popular teen comedy. Janet stayed with the series for eight years. Her likeness even graced the cover of “Corliss Archer” comic book adaptations.

At 32, a young-looking Janet was featured in an episode of I Love Lucy as a crazed teen with an insatiable crush on Ricky Ricardo. Ten years later, she reteamed with Lucille Ball on The Lucy Show, playing Lucy’s sister.

Janet found a niche as a voice actress, giving speech to such classic characters as “Josie” on Josie and the Pussycats and “Penelope Pitstop” on Wacky Races. Her most famous role was that of “Judy Jetson” on the futuristic cartoon The Jetsons. She voiced the teenage Judy in every incarnation of The Jetsons, including the 1990 feature film. However, after her voice work was completed, an executive decision ditched her from the project in favor of pop singer Tiffany. All of Janet’s dialogue was re-recorded by Tiffany. During the recording sessions, the voice director allegedly asked Tiffany if she could sound more like Janet Waldo. The movie flopped at the box office. Many years later, Bill Hanna of Hanna-Barbera Productions, apologized to Janet, saying the decision was wrong.

Sadly, a benign, but inoperable, brain tumor forced Janet into retirement. She passed away in June 2016 at 96. She was the last surviving cast member of The Jetsons and possessed one of the greatest and most recognizable voices.

 

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DCS: dick kallman

hits and misses

Dick Kallman got a break when he joined the touring company of How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying), replacing Warren Berlinger, Milton Berle’s nephew. After appearing in several more stage productions and guest shots in television shows, Dick landed a starring role in his own sitcom. Hank premiered in 1966. Dick, as the title character, was another in a long line of affable TV goofballs. He played the driver of a snack truck that frequented the parking lot of the local college. Hank would secretly sneak into classes to get himself a free education. He was also dating the pretty daughter of the short-fused college dean. Cast from the same preposterous mold as My Mother, The Car, poor Hank lasted a mere single season. Later in the 60s, Dick got a two-episode stint as a Phil Spector-like producer, one “Little Louie Groovy,” in the waning final season of the camp-superhero classic Batman.

Not content on giving up of the musical career he shelved, Dick recorded and album of standards in 1975, behind the orchestral direction of award-winning composer Ennio Morricone. The album was not popular and soon, Dick found himself out of show business. Not discouraged, he partnered in a manufacturing venture, producing a very successful line of women’s’ clothing. The business allowed Dick to indulge in his hobby-come-true calling: antiques.

Dick collected high end antiques — furniture, jewelry, paintings — and ran a business out of his Manhattan apartment. He bought and sold on a regular basis and 27-year-old Charles Lonnie Grosso of Queens obviously took notice.

On February 22, 1980, Dick and his partner were murdered by Grosso during a premeditated robbery. Grosso shot Dick and Stephen Szladek, leaving the pair dead as he collected a number of random items, haphazardly leaving some very expensive pieces behind. Grosso was eventually caught and convicted. He revived a sentence of 25 years to life, next eligible for parole in 2021. None of the paintings, jewelry, and antiques stolen from the apartment were ever recovered.

Dick Kallman was 47.

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DCS: betsy palmer

You see, Jason was my son, and today is his birthday

Betsy Palmer had a long and illustrious career in films, television and on the stage. She was featured in the original teleplay of Paddy Chayefsky’s Marty in 1953, two years before its big screen adaptation. She originated the role of “Alma” in Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale. She was Williams’ personal choice for the role. In films, she starred opposite Tyrone Power and Anthony Perkins. She was well known to television audiences as a panelist on the popular game show I’ve Got a Secret. She is best remembered, however, for a movie role she took only to earn enough money to replace her out-of-commission car. She was offered the part of “Pamela Voorhees,” mother of the iconic killer Jason, in the 1980 slasher film Friday the 13th. She hated the script, saying it was “a piece of shit,” and predicting “Nobody is gonna see this!”  Reluctantly, she took the part. Although the low-budget film did surprisingly well, she distanced herself from it for a long time. Years later, she ultimately embraced the film and regularly appeared at horror conventions to meet fans. She made a cameo appearance in Friday the 13th‘s first sequel, but declined all subsequent sequels.

I met Betsy eleven years ago at one such convention. As a long-time collector of autographed photos, I was anxious to meet Betsy Palmer. She was gracious and charming when she greeted my son and me. I perused the selection of photos displayed on her table and was disappointed when I didn’t see any shots representative of my favorite role of Betsy’s from one of my all-time favorite movies.

I sheepishly asked Betsy, “Nothing from Mister Roberts?” (Mister Roberts was the filmed version of the hit stage show about navy life during World War II featuring an all-star cast including Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon [in a role for which he won his first Oscar], William Powell [in his final role] and James Cagney.)

Betsy smiled, then laughed. She put her arm around my shoulders, gestured to the crowd — a mix of costumed freaks, leather-clad goths and greasy fanboys — and whispered to me, “Do you think any of these people have seen Mister Roberts?

Betsy passed away in 2015 at the age of 88. Despite a successful career that spanned six decades, she was left out of the “In Memoriam” segment at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony the following February.

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