Angel Action counters Westboro Baptist Church protesters
Credit: DUke University Laramie Project

You have to wonder if any angels were around when Fred Phelps was buried

He's dead, Jim.

Once a month I like to compile a list of famous, not-so-famous and sorta well-known people (mainly from the US) who died in the past month. Here's this month's tally, for those of you who keep track - perhaps because you have a name or two among them in a ghoul pool somewhere. Or, if you're like me, you're just nosy...

Large and Small Screen

March 1 - Alain Resnais: The French director  of such films as Night and Fog and Hiroshima mon Amour received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. He released his last film, "Vous n'avez encore rien vu" (loosely translated as "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet")  in 2012 and was still working right up to the end. Resnais was 91.

March 2 - Stanley Rubin: Screenwriter and producer for American television and film.  He produced movies in the 1940s though 60s, including Macao (Robert Mitchum) and Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad. On television, he produced "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" and was nominated for an Emmy for "Babe," the Babe Didrikson Zacharias biopic. He was 96.

Sheila Macrae, 1974Credit: wikimedia commonsMarch 6 - Sheila MacRae: MacRae was born Sheila Stephens in London but fled WW2 with her parents, becoming a naturalized U S citizen at age 38. She is best known for her role reprising Audrey Meadows' role of Alice Kramden on the Jackie Gleason Show in the 1960s; and also had a short-lived variety TV show of her own. She was married to Gordon MacRae from 1941 to 1967 and was the mother of Heather MacRae and the late Meredith MacRae, both of whom co-hosted her variety show. She died of natural causes at age 92.

March 7 - Bill McLaughlin: McLaughlin was an award-winning correspondent for CBS television news who cut his teeth as a Vietnam war correspondent before becoming the State Department correspondent in the 1980s. Although he lived in France, McLaughlin died of a heart attack in Connecticut while visiting friends. He was 76.

March 15 - David Brenner: A founder of the "observational style" of comedy, Brenner also had a long career as an actor and producer in addition to headlining a show in Las Vegas. By some accounts, Brenner appeared on "The Tonight Show" more than 150 times and also served as a guest host on several occasions. He died of cancer at 78. [1]

James RebhornCredit: wikimedia commonsMarch 21 - James Rebhorn: Veteran character actor most recently known for his roles as Carrie's father in "Homeland" and as Agent Hughes in "White Collar." Rebhorn appeared in more than 100 films, including Scent of a Woman, Independence Day and The Talented Mr. Ripley. Rebhorn, 65, died after a long battle with melanoma.

March 30 - Kate O'Mara: The English actress, had a long career in both television and movies. In the US, she is probably best-known for the role of Alexis Colby's sister Caress in the primetime soap "Dynasty." She was the sister of Belinda Carroll, also an actress in Britain. O'Mara was 74.


March 3 - Robert Ashley: American composer, mainly operas. His works included In Memoriam… Kit Carson and Your Money My Life Goodbye. He was a pioneer of audio synthesis, the electronic generation of musical tones by devices such as the Moog synthesizer. Ashley was 83.

March 8 - Buren Fowler: James van Buren Fowler, an Atlanta native, was a blues guitarist for the bands Drivin' and Cryin' and R.E.M. Fowler died at his home in Kentucky at age 59.


Gary Bettenhausen at the Pocono 500
Credit: wikimedia commons

Gary Bettenhausen at the Pocono Raceway circa 1984

March 3 - Stan Koziol: Koziol played midfield on six different professional soccer teams in three different leagues from 1988 to 1996, and on the Puerto Rican national team in 1992 during FIFA World Cup qualifying rounds. He died of leukemia at age 48.

March 6 - Frank Jobe, MD: American orthopedic surgeon and special consultant to baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1974, Jobe pioneered the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction procedure, popularly known as Tommy John surgery for Jobe's most famous patient. Dr. Jobe also performed shoulder reconstruction surgery on Orel Hersheiser. Aged 88.

March 16 - Gary Bettenhausen: Racecar driver who competed in Indy Cars, NASCAR, sprints and midgets. He started the Indianapolis 500 21 times, finishing third in 1980. He was the son of Indy driver Tony Bettenhausen, who was killed at Indianapolis in 1961. Bettenhausen was 72.

March 30 - Hobart Alter: A California native, "Hobie" Alter spent most of his life on a beach somewhere. The diehard surfer began shaping surfboards in the 1950s, and later expanded into boats, including the eponymous Hobie Cat catamaran. He was instrumental in skateboards in the 1960s, before Tony Hawk was a gleam in Daddy's eye. Alter was 80.

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March 9 - William Clay Ford, Sr.: Ford was the last surviving grandchild of inventor and industrialist Henry Ford, and the son of Edsel Ford (for whom the 1959 Edsel was named). He served on the board of Ford Motor Company and owned the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. Ford died of pneumonia at age 88.

March 31 - Charles Keating: Keating was a key figure in the Savings and Loan scandal of the 1980s, brought on by the deregulation of the banking industry during the Reagan era. Keating served less than five years after being convicted twice of fraud, racketeering and conspiracy. He as 90.

Pop Culture

Alfred Eisenstaedt's iconic Times Square photo, featuring Glenn McDuffie as the sailor
Credit: wikimedia commons

Glen McDuffie, who claimed to be the sailor in this photo, died in March, 2014

March 9 - Glenn McDuffie: McDuffie, of Dallas, Texas, long claimed to be the sailor depicted laying a wet one on a nurse in Times Square on VJ day, one of the most iconic photos of the 20th century. After a Houston police artist "certified" his identity, McDuffie spent the last ten years of his life earning $10 per shot to kiss strange women. Nice work if you can get it. McDuffie was 86.

March 17 - L'Wren Scott: The  6'-3" model (real name Luann Bambrough)  turned fashion designer was recently a companion of founding Rolling Stones member Mick Jagger. Scott is thought to have committed suicide, age 49.

Smilin' Fred PhelpsCredit: wikimedia commonsMarch 19 - Fred Phelps: Anti-gay activist ("God hates fags!") pastor from Westboro Baptist Church in Westboro, Kansas. Phelps' followers routinely picket the funerals of service members killed in action claiming that their deaths are "God's punishment" because some Americans are gay.  Phelps was 84. [2]


March 10 - Joe McGinness: American political author, his last book was The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin. Better known for his earlier books including Fatal Vision, The Dream Team and Cruel Doubt. Aged 71, of prostate cancer.

March 11 - Nils Horner: The reporter for Swedish radio (Sveriges Radio) was ambushed and shot outside a popular Kabul restaurant. Horner was 51.

World Affairs

March 18 - Dokka Umarov: Chechen separatist and warlord. The militant islamist was known as "Russia's Bin Laden" for his support of terror attacks on civilian targets such as the Moscow Underground. Umarov's death was reported on this date, but it's not the first time someone claimed he was dead…

March 19 - Lawrence Walsh: Best known as the Independent Counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation during the Reagan administration (1986-1993), lawyer and judge. Walsh died of natural causes at 102.

March 27 - James Schlesinger: Director of the CIA  and Secretary of Defense under Gerald Ford, Secretary of Energy under Jimmy Carter. Age 85, pneumonia.

March 28 - Jeremiah Denton: U. S. Navy admiral who also served as Senator from Alabama. Denton was held prisoner by the North Vietnamese for over seven years, when paraded before a camera to say that he was well-treated, he blinked the word "torture" in Morse Code. Recipient of the Navy Cross. Age 89, heart.