R.I.P. Orson Bean, veteran comic and actor struck by car at 91

Orson Bean on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Orson Bean, frequent guest of Johnny Carson and actor in The Twilight Zone, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, and Being John Malkovich, died in a traffic accident on February 7th. He was 91 years old. As reported by ABC7, Bean was walking near his home in Venice, California, when a car clipped him and he fell in the street. Bystanders tried to stop traffic, but a second driver did not see Bean and struck him fatally. “The car coming westbound did not see him and clipped him and he went down,” according to Captain Brian Wendling of the LAPD. “A second vehicle was coming up, was distracted by people trying to slow him down, and then looked up and then a second traffic collision occurred and that one was fatal.” Bean was born in Vermont in 1928 with the real name of Dallas Burrows. A distant cousin of Calvin Coolidge, he claims to have peed on the sitting president at six months old. He developed the pseudonym Orson Bean in the 1950s, while working as the house comic at New York’s Blue Angel nightclub. This opened the door to appearances on The Tonight Show and The Ed […]

R.I.P. Lee Mendelson, producer of Peanuts TV specials dies at 86

Lee Mendelson, who produced over 50 Peanuts TV specials including A Charlie Brown Christmas, has died after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 86. Mendelson died at home on Christmas Day, his family told the Palo Alto Daily Post. Son Jason Mendelson commented, “It wasn’t great for us, but to have him pass on Christmas really ties into his history and legacy.” Born March 24th, 1933, Lee Mendelson broke into show business with A Man Named Mays, a 1963 television documentary about baseball great Willie Mays. A few weeks later, as Mendelson told Stanford Magazine, he was reading the Peanuts comic strip and was struck by inspiration. He thought to himself, “you’ve just done the world’s greatest baseball player, now you should do the world’s worst baseball player, Charlie Brown.” What began as a documentary about creator Charles Schultz eventually morphed into 1966’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. Mendelson hired animator Bill Melendez to bring the comic strip to life, and brought in composer Vince Guaraldi to create the now iconic Peanuts score. Mendelson pitched in musically as well, penning the lyrics to “Christmastime is Here”. A Charlie Brown Christmas earned Mendelson his first of 12 Emmy wins. Over the course of his career […]