3 Celebrities Dead at age 76 – Daryl Dragon of Captain & Tennille – Gene Okerlund: wrestling interviewer and Actor/writer Bob Einstein all died the same day.
Captain & Tennille’s Daryl Dragon is dead at 76. Best known for the cap-wearing “Captain” of “Captain & Tennille” who teamed with then-wife Toni Tennille on easy listening hits “Love Will Keep Us Together” and “Muskrat Love,” died of renal failure at a hospice in Prescott, Arizona, according to spokesman Harlan Boll.
Tennille was by his side.
“He was a brilliant musician with many friends who loved him greatly. I was at my most creative in my life when I was with him,” Tennille said in a statement.
Dragon and Tennille divorced in 2014 after nearly 40 years of marriage, but they remained close, and Tennille had moved back to Arizona to help care for him.
Dragon and Tennille met in the early 1970s and soon began performing together, with Tennille singing and Dragon on keyboards. (He would later serve as Captain & Tennille’s producer). Their breakthrough came in 1975 when they covered the Neil Sedaka-Howard Greenfield song “Love Will Keep Us Together,” which Sedaka himself recorded in 1973 and had been released as a single in Europe.
The Captain & Tennille version topped the charts — and acknowledged Sedaka’s authorship by singing “Sedaka’s back” at the end of the song — and won a Grammy for record of the year.
They followed with a mix of covers such as “Muskrat Love” and “Shop Around” and original songs, including Tennille’s “Do That to Me One More Time,” which hit number one in 1980. They also briefly starred in their own television variety show.
Neil Sedaka tweeted that Dragon was “a great musician” and “friend for over 40 years.”
“He took “Love Will Keep Us Together,” made it his own with the magic of his playing and her incredible voice,” Sedaka wrote.
A Los Angeles native, Dragon was the son of Oscar-winning composer Carmen Dragon and singer Eloise Dragon and was himself a classically trained musician.
Before he was with Tennille, he played keyboards for the Beach Boys and was dubbed “The Captain” by singer Mike Love, who noted Dragon’s fondness for sailor’s caps. He is survived by his older brother, Doug Dragon, and two nieces, Kelly Arbout and Renee Henn.
Dragon’s death comes as Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show vocalist and percussionist Ray Sawyer also died peacefully in his sleep at 81.
Sawyer, the eye patch wearing musician, had battled brief illness according to his wife, Linda.
WWE: Gene Okerlund, wrestling interviewer, dies at 76
The wrestling world has been rocked by the death of “Mean” Gene Okerlund, the veteran interviewer who was as much a part of WWE as Spandex and chokeholds.
Renowned for his announcing, ringside commentary and chats with such stars as Hulk Hogan and Jesse Ventura, his death at 76 was announced by the WWE company.
In a tweet, the company described him as “the most recognizable interviewer in sports-entertainment history.”
“Mean Gene I love you, my brother,” wrote Hogan in his own Twitter tribute.
Others to pay homage included wrestler turned actor Steve Austin, who said he was “untouchable” and “simply the best.”
Wrestler Titus O’Neil called Okerlund “one of the classiest men” he’d ever met, while WWE Women’s Champion Natalya “Nattie,” Neidhart said he was “one of the greatest of all time.”
Born Eugene Okerlund in 1942, “Mean Gene” came to prominence by interviewing the stars of the American Wrestling Association (AWA).
His nickname was coined by Jesse “The Body” Ventura, despite Okerlund being renowned for his friendly disposition.
Okerlund’s long career spanned the AWA, WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
Okerlund, who had kidney transplants in 1995 and 2004, made his last appearance on WWE TV in January 2018.
Yet he continued to make personal appearances and was seen in a soft drinks commercial alongside comedian Kevin Hart last May.
‘Super Dave’ actor and comedy writer Bob Einstein
Bob Einstein, the U.S. comedian, writer, and actor best known for his role as Super Dave Osborne, has died of cancer. He was 76.
Einstein was also known for his roles as “professional surrogate” Larry Middleman on Arrested Development and Marty Funkhouser in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, where he played the aggravating friend of Larry David.
His brother and fellow actor Albert Brooks tweeted the news Wednesday, calling Einstein a “brilliantly funny man” who will be “missed forever.”
Bob Einstein’s manager, Lee Kernis, confirmed to CBC News that Einstein died of cancer.
Einstein was born in 1942 in Los Angeles to actress Thelma Leeds and comedian and actor Harry Einstein, also known as Harry Parke.
In the 1960s, Einstein created the character of Super Dave Osborne, a fearless but accident-prone daredevil who made appearances on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and other comedy/variety shows.
“This character allows me to do anything I want, comedically, and get away with it,” the comedian told The Associated Press in 1995.
Some of Super Dave’s most memorable feats involved jumping off Toronto’s CN Tower and being crushed by an 11-tonne wrecking ball.
Einstein, along with his Canadian partner, Allan Blye, won two Emmy awards for their comedy writing. Their first came for work on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1969, and their second came for their paper on Dick Van Dyke’s Van Dyke and Company series in 1977.
Einstein also wrote for shows such as the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour and Pat Paulsen’s Half a Comedy Hour, and he appeared regularly on late night talk shows with Johnny Carson, David Letterman, and Jimmy Kimmel.
In 1979, Einstein and Blye created Bizarre, a sketch-comedy show filmed in Toronto that aired from 1980-86 on CTV in Canada and Showtime in the United States.
Kernis said Wednesday that Einstein “loved his time in Canada,” where fans watched Super Dave optimistically attempt harebrained stunts for decades. The character became a regular feature on Bizarre and was spun off into several TV series in Canada and the United States, most recently Super Dave’s Spike Tacular in 2009.
Over time, Super Dave even made it into commercials for clothes and athletic shoes. Einstein said he never tired of his alter ego.
We’re all in a state of shock.’
Einstein was scheduled to be part of the 10th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, but his health barred him from filming, HBO said Wednesday.
In a statement, Larry David the star of the long-running series said he’d never seen an actor enjoy a role more than Einstein did playing Marty Funkhouser.
“It was an amazing, unforgettable experience knowing and working with him. There was no one like him, as he told us again and again,” David said Wednesday. “We’re all in a state of shock.”
“What a mind! What a great friend” tweeted comedian David Steinberg, who started out with Einstein on the Smothers Brothers show.
Fellow Curb Your Enthusiasm actor Richard Lewis tweeted that Einstein’s “long career is hard to match. His role on [the show] was excruciatingly brilliant! Our cast and crew will be devastated. He was so loved.”