Boomers Remember Those Who Left Us in 2019

Another year has passed in the annals of Boomer History, and another group of people boomers found fascinating and inspiring have passed on. This is far from a complete listing, but samples some of the people Mister Boomer thinks had the most influence on fellow boomers.

Daryl Dragon (August 27, 1942 – January 2, 2019)
A musician best known for the group Captain & Tenille, which he formed with his then wife, Toni Tenille. They had a string of hits in the 1970s, which included a Grammy Award for Love Will Keep Us Together in 1976. It became their signature song for their musical variety TV show that same year. Many boomers may not know that Mr. Dragon was also a touring keyboardist for the Beach Boys from 1967 to 1972. He co-wrote several tunes with Dennis Wilson through those years as well.

Eric Haydock (February 3, 1943 – January 5, 2019)
A bassist for The Hollies from 1962-66, Mr. Haydock was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, along with the band, in 2010.

Julie Adams (October 17, 1926 – February 3, 2019)
Boomers probably remember Ms. Adams best as an actress in The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954). She also appeared with Elvis Presley in Tickle Me (1965), among others.

Frank Robinson (August 31, 1935 – February 7, 2019)
Considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time, Mr. Robinson began his Major League Baseball career with the Cincinnati Redlegs in 1956, and went on to play for 21 seasons with the Reds, Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians. Robinson became the first black manager in baseball when he managed the Cleveland Indians in 1975. He went on to manage the San Francisco Giants, the Baltimore Orioles and the Montreal Expos, and was also the first manager of the expansion team, the Washington Nationals. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Betty Ballantine (September 25, 1919 – February 12, 2019)
Wife of Ian Ballantine, together they formed the publishing team that created Bantam Books in 1945 and Ballantine Books in 1952. They helped popularize inexpensive paperback books in the 1950s, with a keen interest in promoting top science fiction authors of the day, such as H.R. Lovecraft and Ray Bradbury. By 1953 they were the premier sci-fi publishers in world, releasing the first authorized U.S. edition of J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit and was the original publisher of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

Peter Tork (February 13, 1942 – February 21, 2019)
Long known as a singer-songwriter in the Greenwich Village Folk era that brought us Bob Dylan, among others, most boomers will always remember him as a member of The Monkees, where he played bass and keyboards.

Jerry Merryman (June 17, 1932 – February 27, 2019)
As part of a team at Texas Instruments in 1965, Mr. Merryman is credited as one of the inventors of the electronic handheld calculator. He held more than two dozen additional patents.

Dick Dale (Richard Anthony Monsour) (May 4, 1937 – March 16, 2019)
Dubbed the King of Surf Guitar, Dick Dale and The Del-Tones pioneered the surf rock sound of the early sixties with Let’s Go Trippin’ (1960), considered the first surf rock song. His reworking of a traditional Middle Eastern folk song became a hit as Miserlou in 1963, The song was later introduced to a whole new generation in the film, Pulp Fiction (1994). He also performed music in several beach movies of the early sixties, including Beach Party (1963) and Muscle Beach Party (1964).

Scott Walker (Noel Scott Engel) (January 9, 1943 – March 25, 2019)
When Mr. Engel joined the Walker Brothers band in 1964, he officially changed his name to Scott Walker. As lead singer for the band, he forever became part of boomer history with a version of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s Make It Easy on Yourself (1965), which was previously recorded by Jerry Butler, and later became a hit for Dionne Warwick. The song that gave the band its greatest hit, and boomer notoriety, was The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore) (1966).

Dan Robbins (May 26, 1925 – April 1, 2019)
Mr. Robbins is known as the inventor of paint-by-number kits. See Mister Boomer’s remembrance at Boomers Painted By Number.

Charles Van Doren (February 12, 1926 – April 9, 2019)
Arguably, Mr. Van Doren would not have been a world-wide figure if it weren’t for the 1956 scandal of the TV quiz show, Twenty-One, He earned $129,000 as a contestant on the show, a record at the time. In 1959, he testified before Congress that he was given the answers, and pleaded guilty to lying before a grand jury.

Peggy Lipton (August 30, 1946 – May 11, 2019)
Ms. Lipton captured the imagination of many boomers for her portrayal of a police detective in The Mod Squad (1968). See Mister Boomer’s remembrance at Boomers Say Good-Bye to Two More Influencers.

Doris Day (Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff) (April 3, 1922 — May 13, 2019)
Starting as a dancer, it was a car accident at the age of 12 that steered the young Ms. Kappelhoff toward music, and later, acting. See Mister Boomer’s remembrance at Boomers Say Good-Bye to Two More Influencers.

Tim Conway (December 15, 1933 — May 14, 2019)
Actor, comedian and six-time Emmy Award winner, boomers will recall Tim Conway for his long run on The Carol Burnett Show (1967-75). Mister Boomer liked him better as Ensign Charlie Parker in McHale’s Navy (1962-66).

Bart Starr (January 9, 1934 – May 26, 2019)
Known as Mr. Nice Guy, Bart Starr was an NFL quarterback for the Green Bay Packers, where the team won five league championships in the sixties, including winning the first two Super Bowls. He was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) (November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019)
Mr. Rebennack started his musical career as a guitarist, but an injured finger made him switch to keyboards. He became a member of the famous group of studio musicians, the Wrecking Crew, in the mid-60s, backing several Top 40 hits. Winner of six Grammy Awards, he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2011. Boomers may best remember his hit, In the Right Place (1973).

Franco Zeffirelli (February 12, 1923 – June 15, 2019)
Italian actor turned director, designer and opera producer is best known by boomers for his romantic interpretations of Shakespeare plays on film; most notably, Taming of the Shrew (1967) with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, and Romeo and Juliet (1968) starring Olivia Hussey.

Gloria Vanderbilt (February 20, 1924 – June 17, 2019)
As the great-great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Ms. Vanderbilt was caught in the middle of custody battle and control of her multi-million dollar trust fund in the 1930s between her mother and aunt. Through the trial she was called the “poor little rich girl.” After having some minor success as a writer and actress in the 1950s, she went on to form a fashion empire based on designer jeans in the 1970s.

Lee Iacocca (October 15, 1924 – July 2, 2019)
The inventor of the Ford Mustang was known to boomers from the ’60s through the ’80s. See Mister Boomer’s take on his influence at Boomers Lose More Cultural Influencers.

Arte Johnson (January 20, 1929 – July 3, 2019)
Mr. Johnson is best known to boomers for his stint on the TV show, Laugh-In (1968-73). See Mister Boomer’s exploration at Boomers Lose More Cultural Influencers.

H. Ross Perot (June 27, 1930 – July 9, 2019)
Boomers best remember Mr. Perot as the multi-millionaire businessman who ran for president as an independent in 1992. Many blamed his candidacy for George H.W. Bush’s defeat, by filtering off votes for the incumbent president. He picked up 18.9 percent of the vote, a record for an independent candidate. After his loss, he created the Reform Party and ran again in 1996.

John Paul Stevens (April 20, 1920 – July 16, 2019)
A retired Supreme Court Justice, John Paul Stevens was nominated by President Gerald Ford in 1975.

David Hedison (May 20, 1927 – July 9, 2019)
An actor boomers will recall in many movie and TV roles, he is probably best remembered as the scientist in The Fly (1958) and as Captain Lee Crane on the TV series, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (1964-68).

Art Neville (December 17, 1937 – July 22, 2019)
Known as Poppa Funk, Mr. Neville was a keyboardist, vocalist and songwriter who toured with the Rolling Stones in the band, the Meters. In 1977, he joined forces with his three siblings to form the Neville Brothers, in New Orleans.

Peter Fonda (February 23, 1940 – Aug. 16, 2019)
Best known to boomers as an actor in Easy Rider (1969), Mr. Fonda was also an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for the film.

Valerie Harper (August 22, 1939 – August 30, 2019)
Ms. Harper was a Broadway dancer with Lucille Ball before she broke into television as Mary Tyler Moore’s best friend on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-74). She got a spinoff of her own based on her character, Rhoda (1974-78).

Carole Lynley (February 13, 1942 – September 3, 2019)
An actress known to boomers for a variety of roles, Ms. Lynley appeared in Bunny Lake is Missing (1965) with Kirk Douglas, and as Jean Harlow in Harlow (1965). She played a performer onboard the ship in The Poseidon Adventure (1973), singing The Morning After, which won the Oscar for Best Song that year. Years later, however, it was revealed that the song was dubbed and the voice heard onscreen was that of studio singer, Renée Armand.

Eddie Money (March 21, 1949 – September 13, 2019)
A boomer himself, Eddie Money had a string of hits in the ’70s and 80s, most notably, Two Tickets to Paradise (released as a single in 1978).

Rick Ocasek (March 23, 1944 – September 15, 2019)
A co-founder of The Cars, boomers of many stripes enjoyed his music, starting with the band’s debut album in 1978. He and the band were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018.

Cokie Roberts (Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne) (December 27, 1943 – September 17, 2019)
A pioneer female broadcaster in a world of mostly men, boomers recall Ms. Roberts as a consummate journalist and political commentator. She worked for ABC News and then PBS, and won three Emmys. She was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2008.

Diahann Carroll (July 17, 1935 – October 4, 2019)
Ms. Carroll is known for acting and singing on stage and in movie and TV roles, to be sure, but she was also the first black woman to have a middle-class female role on TV in Julia (1968). She was also the first black woman to win a Best Actress Tony Award (in Richard Rodgers’ No Strings, 1962).

Karen Pendelton (August 1, 1946 – October 6, 2019)
A true boomer herself, Ms. Pendelton was one of the original Mouseketeers on The Mickey Mouse Club (1955-59) TV show. She was one of only nine kids chosen for the group that included Annette Funicello. She was often paired for duets with Cubby O’Brien to finish shows.

Alexei Leonov (May 30, 1934 – October 11, 2019)
A Soviet Cosmonaut, Mr. Leonov became the first person to perform a spacewalk. See Boomers Greeted 1969 With Hope and Trepidation.

Ginger Baker (August 19, 1939 – October 6, 2019)
Considered by many to be among the best drummers who ever lived, boomers will forever remember him as the drummer for Cream, the band he co-founded with Eric Clapton in 1966.

Elijah Cummings (January 18, 1951 – October 17, 2019)
Another boomer who rose to prominence, Representative Cummings was born the son of sharecroppers. He was a civil rights activist and a lawyer who practiced in Maryland from the time he passed the bar exam in 1976 until he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1996. In 2010 he was named chairman of the House Oversight Committee, a position he held until his death.

Bernhard Slade (May 2, 1930 – October 30, 2019)
Mr. Slade wrote the play, Same Time Next Year (1975), but his influence on boomers came from his TV work. He created The Flying Nun (1967) and The Partridge Family (1970), and also wrote for Bewitched (1964), among other movies, plays and TV shows.

Michael J. Pollard (May 30, 1939 – November 20, 2019)
A character actor, Mr. Pollard debuted on Broadway in Comes the Day (1958), which starred George C. Scott. His unique looks and speech mannerisms often got him roles of mischievous or eccentric characters. He appeared in dozens of top boomer TV shows along the way, including Star Trek, The Virginian, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Gunsmoke and I Spy, to name a few. Boomers may best remember him for his role in Bonnie and Clyde (1967), for which he received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor.

Edward Dee (October 2, 1924 – November 18, 2019)
While boomers may not know his name, they know his creation. Mr. Dee was the inventor of Smarties and founder of Smarties Candy Company shortly after immigrating to the U.S. in 1949. Smarties was always one of Mister Boomer’s favorite Halloween candies.

Robert Walker Jr. (April 15, 1940 – December 5, 2019)
The son of Robert Walker and Jennifer Jones, boomers will recall Mr. Walker for a variety of his acting roles. He appeared in Easy Rider (1969) and Ensign Pulver (1964), and certainly Mister Boomer remembers his role in the second episode of Star Trek (1966), the original series.

George J. Lauer (September 23, 1925 – December 5, 2019)
A senior engineer for IBM, Mr. Lauer was the co-inventor of the Universal Bar Code (UPC) symbol in 1973. His fellow employee, Norman Woodland, had patented the concept in 1952, but no low-cost lasers and computers existed to read the code. Lauer helped develop a scanner to read it. In addition, he held 25 patents.

Allee Willis (November 10, 1947 – December 24, 2019)
A boomer herself that may not have been a household name for boomers, Ms. Willis wrote September for Earth, Wind & Fire (1973) and the original theme song for TV’s Friends (1974). She was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame in 2018, and nominated for co-writing the Broadway musical, The Color Purple (2005). She also wrote for Gladys Knight and the Pips, Jennifer Holiday, Pattie LaBelle, Herbie Hancock, Rita Coolidge and more.

Sue Lyon (July 10, 1946 – December 26, 2019)
A boomer who had small parts on the TV shows Dennis the Menace (1959) and The Loretta Young Show (1953), she landed a starring role in Stanley Kubrik’s Lolita in 1962 at the age of 16. Five years later, she appeared in boomer-known films, Tony Rome (1967) with Frank Sinatra and The Flim-Flam Man (1967) with George C. Scott.

Which of these illustrious people will you remember best, boomers?

Boomers Mourn the Loss of More Influencers

It is tradition at the New Year for Mister Boomer to salute the men and women who have passed on in the previous year. Here are just some of the people who had an influence on boomer culture and are now gone:

Ray Thomas (December 29, 1941 – January 4, 2018)
Mr. Thomas was a flautist, singer, composer and founding member of The Moody Blues, best known for lush orchestral arrangements mixed with rock guitar. Mister B was introduced to the band first from the single, Go Now! (1964), then by his brother playing Nights in White Satin (1967) over and over again after a breakup. Ray Thomas (and fellow bandmate Mike Pinder) contributed background vocals on The Beatles’ I Am the Walrus, and harmonicas on The Fool on the Hill (1967). Along with the remaining living members of The Moody Blues, Mr. Thomas was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year.

Jerry Van Dyke (July 27, 1931 – January 5, 2018)
To some boomers, Jerry Van Dyke was the younger brother of Dick Van Dyke. Yet he was an actor, musician and comedian in own right, making many guest appearances on TV, including The Dick Van Dyke Show. After turning down several TV offers, Jerry finally agreed to appear in a scripted show of his own in 1965: My Mother the Car was beloved by some boomers, and reviled by others. In later years, he had a successful run in the TV series, Coach (1989-97).

John Young (September 24, 1930 – January 5, 2018)
Unknown to many boomers by name, John Young was selected for the second group of NASA astronauts and, for 42 years, became the longest serving astronaut. He flew in the Gemini, Apollo and the Space Shuttle programs. John Young flew in the first manned Gemini mission (along with Gus Grissom, 1965). He then became the first person to fly solo around the moon and one of only three people to have flown to the moon twice. In 1972, he was ninth person to have walked on the moon in Apollo 16 (Note: Alan Bean, fourth person to walk on the moon, died May 26, 2018).

Hugh Masekela (April 4,1939 – January 23, 2018)
Mr. Masekela’s biggest break came in 1968, with the release of Grazing in the Grass, an instrumental composed by Philemon Hou. The song reached number one on the Billboard charts, crossing all boundaries between rock, jazz and pop. (See: Two More Giants of Boomer Music Are Gone)

Dennis Edwards (February 3, 1943 – February 1, 2018)
In the early sixties, Mr. Edwards was a member of the Contours, best known for Do You Love Me (1962). After the Temptations fired David Ruffin in 1968, Edwards became the lead singer. His gritty vocal moved the band’s sound to a more bluesy, soulful direction, inspiring the group to pen more socially-conscious songs. (See: Two More Giants of Boomer Music Are Gone)

Billy Graham (November 7, 1918 – February 21, 2018)
Dubbed “America’s Preacher,” Graham was an evangelical minister who took his early radio broadcasts into “crusades” in the 1940s and ’50s, where he would preach to thousands over several weeks under tents pitched in parking lots. Those events drew media coverage, which landed him on television. He would arguably become the most successful evangelist ever to appear on broadcast TV. Reverend Graham became the spiritual advisor to every U.S president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. He became close personal friends with Lyndon Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower, and was an early opponent to racial segregation. His friendship with Richard Nixon was said to allow him to be one of the first to advise the former president he should resign.

Roger Bannister (March 23, 1929 – March 3, 2018)
Sports-minded boomers recall Roger Bannister’s feat of becoming the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. He did so in his home country of England on May 6, 1954, wearing leather track shoes with metal spikes on a dirt track.

Gary Burden (May 23, 1933 – March 7, 2018)
Though boomers may not have known him by name, they surely knew his work as an album cover artist. Gary Burden designed covers for Joni Mitchell, Mama Cass, The Doors, The Eagles, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, and went on to design Neil Young’s album covers for 35 years.

Tom Wolfe (March 2, 1930 – May 14, 2018)
Author of many popular books during the boomer years, his The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968) about Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters is considered an important look at the hippie movement and an example of New Journalism.

Joseph Campanella (November 21, 1924 – May 16, 2018)
Character actors show up time and again, causing viewers to recognize the face if not the name. Joseph Campanella appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows during the boomer era, including Combat, Mission: Impossible, Gunsmoke, The Big Valley, The Untouchables, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mannix and many others.

Robert Indiana (September 13, 1928 – May 19, 2018)
Born Robert Clark, he is best known to boomers as the artist who created his “Love” print for the Museum of Modern Art’s 1965 Christmas card; later it was the basis for his “Love” letter sculpture (1970) and subsequent U.S Postal Service “Love” stamp (1973).

Matt “Guitar” Murphy (December 29, 1929 – June 15, 2018)
A blues guitarist who played with legends like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf in the 1950s, many boomers recall his turn in The Blues Brothers movie (1980) where he played Aretha Franklin’s husband and blues guitarist sideman to Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi’s Blues Brothers band.

Joe Jackson (July 26, 1928 – June 22, 2018)
As the patriarch of the Jackson family, he gave the Jackson 5 (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and of course, Michael) their head start in the music business, but family legal battles and allegations of abuse followed him his entire life.

Steve Ditko (November 2, 1927 – June 29, 2018)
Teamed with Stan Lee, Steve Ditko was the legendary comic book artist and the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

Roy Carr (? 1945 – July 1, 2018)
Another person whose name may not jump out at boomers, but British music journalist Roy Carr wrote reviews of jazz, rock and pop for New Musical Express (NME) and edited NME, Vox and Melody Maker. He also authored or co-authored books on The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac, as well as books on jazz.

Stan Mikita (May 20, 1940 – August 7, 2018)
Before there was a Wayne Gretzky there were guys like Stan Mikita. Remembered as one of the 100 Greatest National Hockey League Players in history, Mikita played his entire career with the Chicago Blackhawks. He led the league in scoring for four seasons, was a nine-time NHL all-star and was part of the team that won the Stanley Cup in 1961. He was inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame in 1983.

Tab Hunter (born Arthur Andrew Kelm) (July 11, 1931 – July 8, 2018)
Actor Tab Hunter became a 1950s heartthrob for his big screen performances in Damn Yankees (1958), The Pleasure of His Company (1961) and Ride the Wild Surf (1964), plus dozens more into the 1980s. In addition to his acting career, Hunter’s recording of Young Love topped the Billboard pop chart in January of 1957. Though closeted during the boomer years, Hunter revealed he was gay in the 1970s, reminding people that there was no way he would have been accepted in earlier decades.

Aretha Franklin (March 25, 1942 – August 16, 2018)
Daughter of a Baptist preacher in Detroit, Aretha Franklin got her start as a gospel singer in her father’s church. She quickly became known as the “Queen of Soul” with a decade-long string of hits in the 1960s, including Spanish Harlem (1960), Respect (1967) and Chain of Fools (1967). A Civil Rights activist like her father, she sang at the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, and the presidential inaugurations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Winner of 18 Grammy Awards, Ms. Franklin became the first female performer inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1987). Mister Boomer became a fan as soon as his brother brought the 45 RPM single, Respect, home.

Aretha sings to Matt “Guitar” Murphy in her memorable scene from The Blues Brothers movie.

Senator John McCain (August 29, 1936 – August 25, 2018)
A Navy pilot who was shot down over North Vietnam in 1967, McCain spent five-and-a-half years as a POW. He became a Republican congressman from Arizona in 1983, then a Senator in 1987. He ran for president in 2000, but George Bush got the GOP nomination. McCain ran again in 2008, securing the Republican nomination, but lost the General Election to Barack Obama.

Bill Daily (August 30, 1927 – September 4, 2018)
An actor and comedian, Bill Daily left a lasting impression on boomers as astronaut Major Roger Healy, neighbor and co-worker to Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden in the TV series, I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70).

Burt Reynolds (February 11, 1936 – September 6, 2018)
An actor who appeared in TV’s Gunsmoke from 1962-65, most boomers will recall his big screen performances in The Longest Yard (1974), Deliverance (1972) and Smokey and the Bandit (1977). For other boomers, he will be remembered as the first male nude centerfold of Cosmopolitan magazine (1972). Still others recall he was married to Loni Anderson, then to Judy Carne, and had well-publicized relationships with Sally Field and Dinah Shore.

Marty Balin (born Martyn Jerel Buchwald) (January 30, 1942 – September 27, 2018)
When Marty Balin met Paul Kantner at a hootenanny in 1966, the two formed the seminal psychedelic rock band, Jefferson Airplane. Balin sang, wrote songs, and played rhythm guitar, backing Grace Slick on vocals. Unhappy with the band’s movement toward the mainstream, Balin left the band he helped form in 1970. He teamed up with Grace Slick for an album in 1972, and by then, members of the former Jefferson Airplane were reforming as Jefferson Starship. Balin officially joined the band on tour in 1974. Jefferson Airplane was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. To this day Mister B marks Surrealistic Pillow (1967) as one of his favorite albums of all time.

Geoff Emerick (December 5, 1945 – October 2, 2018)
Hardly a household name, yet Geoff Emerick’s work was heard by millions as The Beatles’ chief recording engineer on their legendary albums, Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), and Abbey Road (1969), as well as Odyssey and Oracle for The Zombies (1967), Stealers Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle With You (1973) and many more.

Paul Allen (January 21, 1953 – October 15, 2018)
Alongside Bill Gates, Paul Allen was the co-founder of Microsoft. His subsequent wealth gave him the opportunity to become a major philanthropist and owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers. A boomer and guitarist himself, Allen’s favorite musician was Jimi Hendrix. His love of music and science fiction led him to found the Experience Music Project and Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in 2000, which evolved into the current Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) in Seattle.

Don Sandburg (? 1930 – October 6, 2018)
A writer, actor, and producer, boomers will recall Mr. Sandburg’s work in television; most notably as a producer of The Banana Splits for Hanna-Barbera (debut 1970) as well as Cincinnati’s WGN-TV’s Bozo’s Circus (1960), where he portrayed Sandy the Clown.

Dorcas Reilly (July 22, 1926 – October 15, 2018)
While working as the kitchen supervisor for the Campbell’s Soup Company, Ms. Reilly invented the green bean casserole in 1955. Cream of mushroom soup had been used as a binder in casseroles since the 1930s, but she was first to pair it with green beans. Campbell’s reports that 40 percent of their cream of mushroom soup sales are attributed to people making green bean casserole on Thanksgiving. The green bean casserole was not a tradition in Mister B’s home.

Stan Lee (December 28, 1922 – November 12, 2018)
By now every boomer knows who Stan Lee was, but that wasn’t always the case. As the McCarthy era shifted focus from Communism to becoming “crusaders of decency” in the 1940s and ’50s, superhero comics fell out of fashion. Comics were blamed for many of society’s ills, from juvenile delinquency to bad grades. Mr. Lee, then a comics writer for Atlas Comics, leant his talents toward romance comics, Westerns and humor. When the comics industry began its resurgence in the early 1960s, Stan Lee was at the forefront of the next wave of superheroes at Marvel Comics, becoming the writer and co-creator of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Hulk, Black Panther and more.

William Goldman (August 12, 1931 – November 16, 2018)
Boomers will best remember William Goldman as the Oscar-winning screenwriter for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and All the Presidents’ Men (1976). He also wrote the boomer favorite book (and later, the movie), The Princess Bride (1973).

George H.W. Bush (June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018)
A WWII veteran, during the boomer years George Bush served as a Republican congressman from Texas. It was President Richard Nixon who appointed him ambassador to the United Nations. After Gerald Ford became president, he named Bush the chief of the U.S. Liaison Office in the People’s Republic of China. A few years later he brought him back to the U.S. to serve as director of the CIA. Bush ran for president in 1976 and again in 1980. That year, Ronald Reagan got the nomination and named him his vice presidential nominee. After Reagan and his vice president’s eight years in office, Bush ran again and became the 41st President of the United States in 1988, then lost his bid for reelection to Bill Clinton in 1992.

Ken Berry (November 3, 1933 – December 1, 2018)
Many boomers will remember Ken Berry as a TV sitcom star in Mayberry R.F.D. (1968-71) and Mama’s Family (1983-90), but others, like Mister Boomer, will always look fondly on his portrayal of the bumbling Captain Wilton Parmenter on F Troop (1965-67). To this day, when lost physically or mentally, Mister Boomer exclaims, “We’re the Hekawi.”

Of course, there were many, many more, but which of these illustrious people touched your lives, boomers?