With apologies to the late, great Jim Carroll, here is my 2012 edition of his punk classic “People Who Died”:
Whitney Houston had a voice that was silenced too soon,
Neil Armstrong was the first to set foot on the moon.
Maurice Sendak let us know where the wild things are,
Larry Hagman made us love and hate that nasty J.R.
Michael Clarke Duncan, he walked “The Green Mile,”
While Phyllis Diller’s cackle could always make us smile.
Ernest Borgnine won himself an Oscar playing “Marty,”
Donna Summer sang the “Last Dance” at every party.
Dave Brubeck was cool, taught us how to “Take Five,”
Stephen Covey taught us how to make our business thrive.
Tony Scott put Tom Cruise in a Navy plane,
Don Cornelius told us to board the “Soul Train.”
Dick Clark played the hits and rocked in the new year,
Helen Gurley Brown talked about sex without fear.
Gore Vidal’s books were both catty and smart,
Etta James sang the blues with a whole lotta heart.
Mike Wallace could make crooks and politicians sweat,
Nora Ephron scripted when Harry and Sally met.
Andy Griffith found humor in a small Southern town,
Davy Jones was a guy who could Monkee around.
Andrew Breitbart, on his blog, was on the attack,
Ray Bradbury could take readers to the stars and back.
Celeste Holm sang and acted with a flair that was grand,
Levon Helm kept the beat and was the soul of The Band.
Robin Gibb took the Bee Gees to the top of the charts,
Earl Scruggs brought bluegrass to everyone’s hearts.
Richard Dawson kissed ladies on “Family Feud” a lot,
Andy Williams crooned and made the Osmonds hot.
Alex Karras went from football to playing the clown,
Donald Sobol solved crimes with Encyclopedia Brown.
Andrew Sarris said a director was the king of his set,
Ben Gazzara was an actor, as tough as you could get.
A woman flying up in space, well, that was Sally Ride,
Sherman Helmsley was the guy movin’ up to the East Side.
Jack Klugman played a coroner and a slob on TV,
Charles Durning was in “Tootsie” and “The Muppet Movie.”
Ravi Shankar played the sitar, his style was so fine,
Marvin Hamlisch put the kick in “A Chorus Line.”
Jenni Rivera turned her heartbreak into songs of joy,
Adam Yauch, he kept it cool as a Beastie Boy.