Thursday, April 7, 2022

Godspeed Bobby Rydell

One time teen idol Bobby Rydell died on April 5 2022 at the age of 79. The cause was pneumonia.

Bobby Rydell was born Robert Ridarelli in Philadelphia on April 26 1942. He was only six years old when he started playing drums and singing. By the time he was seven years old he was performing professionally in the Philadelphia area. In 1950 he won a talent contest on the TV show Paul Whiteman's TV Teen Club. He went onto become a regular on the show. After three years on the programme he took the stage name "Bobby Rydell" and started playing with such local Philadelphia bands as Rocco and The Saints.

In 1958 his first single, "Dream Age," was released on the independent Veko label. It failed to chart. Bobby Rydell then signed with Cameo Records. His first two singles on the label, "Please Don't Be Mad" and "All I Want is You" also failed to chart. He finally had a hit with "Kissin' Time," which went to no. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was followed by "We Got Love," which went to no. 6 on the chart. With "The Wild One" Bobby Rydell went all the way to no. 2. He continued to have hits in the late Fifties, including 'Volare," which peaked at no. 4 in the Billboard Hot 100. In the late Fifties he appeared on such shows as The Dick Clark Show and The Red Skelton Show. He guest starred on the sitcom The Danny Thomas Show.

Bobby Rydell continued to have hits into the Sixties. the biggest of which was "Forget Him," which peaked at no. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. His career slowed in 1964, with "Forget Him" being his last major hit. His next few singles failed to reach the top forty. His last single to chart was in 1965. "Diana" peaked at no. 98 on the Billboard Hot 100. Bobby Rydell continued to appear on television variety and talk shows in the Sixties, including Tonight Starring Jack Paar, American Bandstand, The Jerry Lewis Show, Sunday Night at the London Palladium, Thank Your Lucky Stars, The Joey Bishop Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, Shindig!, Shivaree, The Perry Como Show, The Jimmy Dean Show, The Milton Berle Show, Hulabaloo, The Merv Griffin Show, Where the Action Is, The Red Skelton Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and The Mike Douglas Show. He guest starred on The Jack Benny Show and Combat!. He made his film debut starring as Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie (1963).

Bobby Rdyell continued to release music into the Seventies. His disco version of "Sway" actually peaked on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart at no. 27. He performed in night clubs and in Las Vegas. On television he appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, In Concert, The Mike Douglas Show, The Wolfman Jack Show, and Sha Na Na. He appeared in the movie The Lady from Peking (1975) and provided the voice of the title character in the animated movie Marco Polo Junior Versus the Red Dragon (1972).

In 1985 Bobby Rydell joined with fellow former teen idols Frankie Avalon and Fabian as part of the Golden Boys stage show. The trio toured ever since and had been planning a tour for the spring and summer of 2022. In 1987 he guest starred as himself on the TV sitcom The Facts of Life. In 2016 he appeared as himself in the feature film The Comedian.

Bobby Rydell was an incredible singer. He was blessed with a voice that had incredible range and the talent to deliver a song in a way that few others could. It was that voice and his talent that allowed him to adapt to changing times. When teen idols were in vogue, he topped the charts. When teen idols went out of fashion with The Beatles, he became a performer in nightclubs and in Las Vegas. He would tour very nearly to the end. Few performers ever had the enduring popularity that Bobby Rydell has.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Late Great Estelle Harris

Estelle Harris, who played George's mother Estelle Constanza on Seinfeld, appeared in the classic movie Stand and Deliver, and played the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies, died on April 2 2022 at the age of 93.

Estelle Harris was born Estelle Nussbaum on April 22 in New York City. Growing up, she took part in school productions, but following her marriage to Sy Harris in 1952 she settled into life as a homemaker and mother. As her children got older, Mrs.Harris returned to acting. She appeared in local productions and found a good deal of success in TV commercials. One year she appeared in 27 different national commercials. The commercials on which Mrs. Harris starred ranged from Handi-Wrap to Transamerica Corporation.

Estelle Harris made her film debut in 1977 in Looking Up. That same year she appeared in Summerdog (1977). In the Eighties she appeared in the movies Once Upon a Time in America (1984) and Stand and Deliver (1988). She found a good deal of success on television, making her television debut in an episode of Night Court in 1985. In the late Eighties she guest starred on the shows Married with Children and Mathnet.

It was in 1992 that she began playing George Constanza's nagging mother Estelle on Seinfeld, remaining on the show for the rest of its run. Prior to Seinfeld she was a regular on the show Good Advice. She guest starred on the shows Brooklyn Bridge, Mad About You, Chicago Hope, Fallen Angels, In the House, Star Trek: Voyager, Night Stand, Moesha, Living Single, Cybill, The Parkers, Sunset Beach, and Providence. She provided voices for several animated TV series, among them Aladdin, Timon & Pumbaa, The Mask, and Godzilla: The Series. She appeared in the movies This is My Life (1992), Perfect Alibi (1995), Ski Hard (1996), Out to Sea (1997), Chairman of the Board (1998), The Odd Couple II (1998), My Giant (1998), Lost and Found (1999), What's Cooking? (2000), Dancing in September (2000), and Playing Mona Lisa (2000). She was the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 2 (2000).

In the Naughts Estelle Harris was a regular voice on the animated series Queer Duck and Dave the Barbarian. She was a guest voice on such animated shows as Family Guy, The Proud Family, Kim Possible, and The Emperor's New School. She was had a recurring role on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. She guest starred on the shows Half & Half, Regular Joe, Mind of Mencia, ER, iCarly, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Sonny with a Chance. Estelle Harris appeared in the movies Good Advice (2001), The Grand (2007), and Movin' On (2010). She was a voice in the animated movies Brother Bear (2003), Teacher's Pet (2004), Home on the Range (2004), and Toy Story 3 (2010).

In the Teens Mrs. Harris was a regular on the TV show Greetings from Home. She was a regular voice on Fanboy & Chum Chum and Jake and the Never Land Pirates. She guest starred on Retried at 35; Are You There, Chelsea?, and The Exes. She was a guest voice on the animated shows The Looney Tunes Show and Futurama.She appeared in the movies CBGB (2013) and Promoted (2015). She was the voice of Mrs. Potato Head in Toy Story 4 (2019).

Estelle Harris was a wonderful actress. I have to think she will always be best remembered as George's nagging mother on Seinfeld and the sweet-natured Mrs. Potato Head in the Toy Story movies, but she played a wide variety of roles in her career. I will always remember her as the sweet, supportive secretary of Garfield High in the classic movie Stand and Deliver. She also appeared in three episodes of Night Court the good natured, kindly hooker Sweet Mary. On Married...With Children she played a customer shopping for she she can dance in. In the TV movie Addams Family Reunion, she played Grandma Addams. Over the years Estelle Harris played many different roles. And whether it was in live action or animation, she always gave a good performance.

Monday, April 4, 2022

Barrie Youngfellow Passes On

Barrie Youngfelllow, who played Jan on the sitcom It's a Living, died on March 28 2022 at the age of 75.

Barrie Youngfellow was born Barrie Sarah Rivchun on October 22 1946 in Cleveland, Ohio. She played in local productions of Peter Pan. She made her television debut in a bit part on Temperatures Rising in 1973. She was a regular on the short-lived show A.E.S. Hudson Street before she began appearing on It's a Living  in 1980. The show aired for two seasons on ABC. It was then revived in original syndication in 1985 and ran for another four seasons. In the Seventies she also guest starred on the shows The Streets of San Francisco, Police Woman, Jigsaw John, Fernwood 2 Night, Carter Country, Emergency!, Barney Miller, The Eddie Capra Mysteries, WKRP in Cincinnati, The Jeffersons, Three's Company, Paris,and Good Time Harry. She played Joan Crawford in the TV movie The Scarlett O'Hara War. She made her film debut in the movie Nightmare in Blood in 1977. She also appeared in the film 3 Women (1977).

In the Eighties Barrie Youngfellow continued to appear on It's a Living. She guest starred on the shows Filthy Rich; It Takes Two; Trapper John, M.D.; ABC Weekend Specials; and Murder, She Wrote. She appeared as the title character's mother in the pilot of Blossom, but she did not continue on the show. Her last appearance was on an episode of Law & Order in 1998.