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Big Chuck

December 30, 2013

Lesser known greats that passed away in 2013

The year 2013 is drawing to a close and as it does I would like to give a tip of the hat and a fond goodbye to a group of famous people who left the world stage. Their departures will be noted here in this column although they may have missed a final adios in the major media outlets. Let’s give them their moment in the sun.

Long before Billy Fuccillo was “huuuuge” in Central New York there was a guy named Cal Worthington on the West Coast. He was the most ubiquitous, well-known and obnoxious car advertiser of them all. In 1988, he grossed more than $300 million in his Southern California car dealership, more than anybody else in the U.S. “Go See Cal” and his little dog “Spot” spent a record $15 million on TV commercials annually, an unheard-of amount. He died on Sept. 8 at the age of 92.

Rex Scouten died in 2013 at the age of 88. He was the White House Chief Usher from Harry Truman to Bill Clinton. I don’t mean to denigrate this famous man, but whom did he usher? And to where? An aisle seat somewhere in the Oval Office? Is this job akin to the Queen having a footman? I mean an usher? In 2013? Really?

Michael Ansara was a favorite for all baby boomers. We loved him as Cochise in the TV show “Broken Arrow.” It was also nice that our kids would come to love him as Commander Kang 30 years later in a series of Star Trek episodes. Ansara made it to 91 years old.

Mavis Batey was a tiny Englishwoman who was pressed into military service during World War II. She went to work trying to decode Hitler’s most secret messages.

 Her work earned her the accolade of being “one of England’s greatest code breakers.”

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