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Another star has fallen from the sky.

Florence Henderson was everybody’s mom when she played the congenial and perky Carol Brady on the popular show the “Brady Bunch” during the 1960s and during the 1970s. Today we say “goodbye” to Henderson who passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 82 from heart failure.

How did Henderson and Carol Brady become one?

Henderson was filming a movie in Norway when the opportunity to appear in the “Brady Bunch” pilot was offered in 1969.  She was also a soprano on Broadway and stared in musicals like “The King and I,” “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music” and “Fanny” before securing her role in television history. Henderson was the first female guest on “The Tonight Show.” She made appearances on “The Love Boat” “30 Rock,” and was on “Dancing With the Stars” in 2010 after the “Brady Bunch” was cancelled in 1974.

The matriarch of the blended fictional family was often criticized for the show’s plots that were wonderfully cheesy and simple. “It was really a show that was seen through the eyes of a child. It was supposed to have a little soft glow about it.” However, Henderson wanted her character to be more than a stay-at-home mom on the sitcom.  She told “The HuffPost Show” in 2015 that she urged the writers to change the script and to allow Carol to have a career. The reason was Henderson was a working mom with 4 kids. “I begged for a job, because I’ve been a working mother. I have four children. They said ‘No, you can’t.’ So when we started having all of the reunions, I said, ‘I will not come back unless you give me a job. So you know what they made me? A real estate agent!”

We never did know what happened to Carol’s husband before she married Mike Brandy as it was a mystery for years. Did she kill him? Did he leave her and the 3 girls? We almost found out in 1996 on “A Very Brady Sequel” when a man claimed to be her lost husband showed up, but he was a fraud. She later joked that she actually killed her first husband. Christopher Knight played Peter Brady told “Entertainment Tonight” that his television mom was very cool.

“There was one show where we were in the backyard with our mitts and throwing the ball around, and she was dressed like she was ready to play with us, and I think it was at that point I thought she was really cool. She could be one of the guys and very much like mom, like a mom you’d want to have, and America has responded to [her] in the same way.”

Henderson was born in 1934 and was raised a Roman Catholic. She was the youngest of 10 children. The New York Times reported that her father was a sharecropper and the children cleaned other people’s homes for groceries.

Her tough childhood did not harden her heart as Knight described Henderson as a warm person.  “She, to me, was just someone I never wanted to disappoint,” Knight explained. “I admired her so much and respected her as a child… and I’ve lived like that ever since.”

Barry Williams played Greg Brady Tweeted that he was deeply saddened to hear the news of the television icon.

“Deeply saddened,” he wrote. “Florence was one of the most gracious people I have ever known, Proud to call her Mom and lifelong friend #RIPFlorence.”

Henderson was last seen on Dancing With the Stars to support Maureen McCormick (Marsha Brady) competition on the Nov. 21. “You were fabulous,” Henderson told McCormick after her performance. “I’m so proud.”

“Florence Henderson was a dear friend for so very many years & in my <3 forever. Love & hugs to her family. I’ll miss u dearly #RIPFlorence,” McCormick Tweeted.

How did she want to be remembered?  “Probably as someone who survived for a long time in a very tough business and, hopefully, managed to retain a sense of humanity,” she said in 1999.

She leaves 4 children and 5 grandchildren behind.

No one will forget the mother who captivated us and who will continue to mother another generation through syndication.

We say “So long” to another star that has fallen from the sky.

Gwen-Ifill-PromoGwen Ifill broke barriers as a black female journalist and as the news anchor of PBS “NewsHour” and as the managing editor of “Washington Week.” She died from endometrial cancer on Nov.14 at a hospice center in Washington at the age of 61.

Ifill was considered one of the most prominent journalists of her generation and covered a range of stories from politics to foreign affairs. She covered 7 presidential campaigns and moderated debates between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin in 2008. Ifill held numerous round-table discussions called “America After Ferguson,” a discussion on Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo. During the 2016 election season she co-moderated the Democratic primary debate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Ifill became the first African American woman to head a national political show, the “Washington Week in Review,” in 1999. Before joining PBS, Ifill was a chief congressional correspondent for NBC News, a White House correspondent for the New York Times and was a reporter for the Washington Post. When she started in the newspaper business she recalled that the men at the time did not know how to deal with an educated black woman. “never seen anything like me — a college-educated black woman and they didn’t know how to deal with me,” she said according to published reports.

In 1994 she made the leap into broadcasting and covered the Clinton White House and the impeachment proceedings. She joined Judy Woodruff in 2013 where they became the first all-women anchor team to broadcast the news on PBS “NewsHour.” She learned to not accept the limits placed upon her by society, but learned how to transcend those limits by telling the stories that needed to be told, NPR reported. “Personally, I have a flat spot right in the front of my head from trying to break down walls my entire career, forcing diversity of thought and opinion into newsrooms and onto the air. Whatever else you do with your lives, I hope you remember to fight those battles, too.”

Ifill’s impact was felt so much that before he left on his last foreign trip as president, President Obama said the reporter was an inspiration. She was a journalist with integrity and blazed a trail for women. However, Ifill was not one to pose soft questions, he recalled. “I always appreciated Gwen’s reporting, even when I was at the receiving end of one of her tough and thorough interviews–whether she reported from a convention floor or from the field, whether she sat at the debate moderator’s table or at the anchor desk.”

Woodruff described her co-anchor as a  person who loved storytelling and “loved helping people understand what was going on in the world around them. For young women of color looking for a role model, she was it.” Woodruff  also said that her colleague was able to be stern, but had a sense of warmth. This separated her from other people in the profession.

 

640px-Israeli_President_Shimon_Peres_speaks_during_a_meeting_with_Secretary_of_Defense_Chuck_Hagel_in_Jerusalem,_April_22,_2013

Shimon Peres has passed away at age 93. Peres was the Israeli elder statesman who shared a Nobel Prize for forging a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians. He served as a constant force for generations in Israeli politics.

Peres died after suffering a massive stroke two weeks ago. He had been making progress but doctors said he took a turn for the worse on Tuesday.

Peres held many top leaderships roles including Prime Minster and President. The Labor Party veteran was the face of the Jewish state and was well-respected in Israel and across the globe. Peres retired from public office in 2014 after the end of his seven-year term as President. He was in Israeli politics for more than half a century.

“There’s no corner of this country that he hasn’t touched,” Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog once said. “Everywhere he goes around the world, people listen to him.”

Shimon Peres battled Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin for Labor Party leadership in the 1980s and 1990s but eventually became Rabin’s foreign minister.

In that role, Peres concluded the Oslo Peace Accords, for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 with Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

“I am very grateful to him for a lifetime of thinking big thoughts and dreaming big dreams and figuring out practical ways to achieve them,” President Bill Clinton once said of Shimon Peres.

After Rabin was assassinated in 1995, Peres became Prime Minister, a position he held three times. Peres called early elections so that the government would have a mandate to pursue a two-state solution.

Peres faced a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings and other attacks that tarnished his peace process during this time as Prime Minster. The violence ultimately cost Peres the ensuing elections; however, he never stopped believing in peace. He continued to carry on the work of Rabin.

“Peace is costly,” Peres said in 2015. “Only thing is, war costs more.”

Shimon Peres was no stranger to making history. He became Israel’s ninth President. In 2007, he addressed the Turkish Parliament becoming the first Israeli President to speak to a Muslim country’s legislature. He called for peace talks in 2011 with the Palestinians, and warned the United Nations against recognizing Palestine as an independent state outside a peace plan. He received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012 from Barack Obama.

After leaving office in 2014 he remained in the public eye, continuing his work for peace in the Middle East.

When asked how he wanted to be remembered, Peres mentioned his dedication to peace.

“I feel like a person that has served this country rightly and properly,” he said. “And that is, in my judgment, the highest degree a person can feel.”

On this day, there are few Israelis who would disagree.

Legendary golf pro Arnold Palmer passed away from heart failure. He was 87.  Palmer was admitted to a Pittsburgh hospital on Thursday after having complications, and the condition became progressively worse over the weekend, according to published reports and Arnold Palmer Enterprises.  Palmer is and will always be touted as one of the most successful golfers to ever step onto a course. His legacy dates back to 1954 after winning the United States Golf Association Amateur Championship. A year later, he started picking up numerous awards on the PGA Tour and Champions Tour. Interestingly, he signed a deal with a management firm, which led to endorsements. This marketing made Palmer the face of golf. “It is not an exaggeration to say there would be no modern day PGA TOUR without Arnold Palmer,” said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem in a statement. “There would be no PGA TOUR Champions without Arnold Palmer. There would be no Golf Channel without Arnold Palmer. No one has had a greater impact on those who play our great sport or who are touched by it.”

The exact number of tournaments he won is the reason for his legendary status. Palmer won the Masters, the U.S. Open, and piled on 90 wins during his career. This elevated golf into another realm, instead of being looked at as just a hobby in the sports world. Palmer made the sport competitive, fun, and helped enlarge its fan base and television coverage. British Open was never mandated for golfers until 1960 when the Latrobe, Pa., native made his appearance. Only 30-years-old at the time, Palmer made the hassle of traveling to Europe worth the trip. Many golfers frowned upon attending the Open due to the limited purse of 3,500 dollars. Taking on the 36-hole qualifier was simply not with effort since players could make over 14,000 back in the United States. In order for Palmer to pave the way for the sport to go worldwide, he was told he had to go internationally.

His father gave some sage advice on making this a reality, Yahoo Sports reported in 2013. “My father said, ‘If you’re going to be a great player, you’re going to have to play internationally, you’re going to have to win internationally,’ “That was my motivation.” His father, Deacon Palmer, worked at a country club and showed his son how to play. He played with the caddies on a 9-hole golf course as a kid, and before the members would arrive, he would get more practice in, soon he was playing with the older boys and started defeating them on the course, and he gained a reputation until he became a caddie. While in high school, on the Latrobe High School golf team Palmer continued his legacy.  He only lost once, and was convinced that Arnold was a natural after winning Western Pennsylvania Amateur titles. Palmer went on to accept a scholarship at Wake Forest College in North Carolina in 1947, and dominated golf competition. Palmer never finished college as he joined the Coast Guard in 1950. However, he picked up his clubs four years later to begin his journey as a golf legend. Palmer’s shining personality made him a pitchman for products, like Quaker State oil, and becoming the face of his own ice tea. Professional Jack Nicklaus said “Arnold Palmer was the everyday man’s hero, he told CNN. “From the modest upbringing, Arnold embodied the hard-working strength of America.”

After hearing the news, several celebrities tweeted about the legend. John Daly tweeted: The Legends of all Legends in the game of golf! RIP my friend, always loved u and always will! God Bless my Friend! Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacted to the news of Palmer’s death, calling it “really sad news” in a tweet. Even George W. Bush, an avid golfer, released a statement on his hero. For all who love the game of golf and love to see it played, there has never been a sight quite like Arnold Palmer walking down the fairway toward the 18th green. The announcer Vin Scully once said, ‘In a sport that was high society, Arnold Palmer made it ‘High Noon.’ Laura and I are saddened by Arnie’s death and send our sincere condolences to his family, friends, and fellow fans. He was a great American whose friendship – and swing thoughts – will be missed.”

They are not the only ones who will miss Palmer. Fans formed to create “Arnie’s Army” during his illustrious career, a name coined by a reporter from The Augusta Chronicle and it just stuck with followers and the media. “Before I finished my playing career I think every newspaper, magazine, or television station that covered golf used the phrase at least once,” Palmer shared.

Palmer was legend in his charity work with Mountain Mission Schools where he donated money for residential care for children. The school provides food, shelter, and educational opportunities for those who can’t afford it. Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation also provides financial support to institutions and organizations that help children, youth, families, the environment and the communities in which we live. Additionally, since the 1960s Palmer and his wife, Winnie, have been contributing their time and resources in helping others such as being a spokesperson for the March of Dimes, and using the Palmer Foundation as a tool to make a difference in the lives of others. This is truly legendary.

 

This has been a rough year for many fans of celebrities. The loss of Palmer is as equally as disappointing to many. He will be missed for his charisma, heart, and changing the face of golf forever. Tiger Woods also offered his thoughts on a man that helped pave the way for so many others. “Thanks Arnold for your friendship, counsel and a lot of laughs. Your philanthropy and humility are part of your legend.” Humility is a rarity today in sports stars one can only hope the generations that follow Palmer will follow his lead on and off the green. We say “thank you,” and once again “farewell” to another legend.

 

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