In the last week, many notable Americans have passed away. This week saw the loss of three distinct people in the entertainment industry who brought joy to people via different radio, TV, movies, and literature. It also saw the loss of two Hall of Famers in their respective sports and a trailblazing college basketball player. These amazing people came from various walks of life, helping to shape American culture in some way. May they be put in memoriam forever.


Dick Orkin (1933-2017) was a voice actor who performed many radio advertisements and public service announcements.

He was also a commercial radio producer, best known for creating the series “Chickenman” and “The Secret Adventures of the Tooth Fairy.” Orkin also co-founded Radio Ranch and co-wrote two animated specials, “The Canterville Ghost” and “Christmas Every Day.” He has been inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and Radio Advertising Bureau Hall of Fame among others. Orkin died on December 24 at age 84 from a hemorrhagic stroke.

Rose Marie (1923-2017) was an actress, singer, and comedian, whose career spanned nine decades in radio, TV, film and on stage. She became a star as a child singer at an early age for NBC and by 1934 she already has her own radio show, made numerous records, appeared in shorts for Paramount and had a role in the 1933 movie “International House.” As a young adult, she performed nightclub work, most notably at the Flamingo Hotel in Vegas, and continued to work in radio.

Starting in the late 1950s, she began to get steady roles on TV shows like “The Bob Cummings Show”, “My Sister Eileen” and “The Doris Day Show.” Prior to this, she had roles in films like “Top Banana”, which she had performed on Broadway, and “The Big Beat.” However, her most memorable work came as Sally Rogers on the “Dick Van Dyke Show” for which she was nominated for three Primetime Emmys.

She also appeared in 629 episodes of the game show “Hollywood Squares” during its original 14-year run according to IMDb. From 1977-84 she co-starred in the musical revue “4 Girls 4” and continued to have mostly smaller roles in the TV and film over the decades. In 2001, she received a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Marie died on December 28 at the age of 94 from natural causes.

Sue Grafton (1940-2017) was an author and screenplay writer, best known for The Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Series of detective novels. Prior to her first novel in the series, “A” is for Alibi” in 1982, she spent 15 years writing screenplays. Her most notable work was on TV movies like “Walking Through Fire” and “Love on the Run.” For her novels, Grafton has won three Anthony Awards for Best Novel and three Shamus Awards for Best Private Eye (P.I.) Hardcover Novel. Grafton died on December 28th after a two-year battle with cancer only months after “Y is for Yesterday” released.


Jerry Kindall (1935-2017) was a professional baseball player and college baseball manager. He played second base for the Chicago Cubs (1956-58, 1960-61), Cleveland Indians (1962-64) and the Minnesota Twins (1964-65). Kindall's career was notable as he .213 batting average is the lowest for any player with at least 2,000 career at-bats since 1920. From 1973-96 he was the manager of the Arizona Wildcats baseball team, compiling a career record of 860-579-9.

Kindall led the team to 12 NCAA tournament appearances and five College World Series appearances, where they won the national championship three times.

He was the first person to win the College World Series as a player and manager, as Kindall was part of the Minnesota Golden Gophers 1956 championship team. In 2007, he was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Kindall died on December 24 at age 82, one day after suffering a major stroke.

Orsten Artis (1943-2017) was a college basketball player, who served as co-captain of the Texas Western University basketball team that won the 1966 NCAA championship.

Artis, who played three years at the school, was part of the team whose all-black starting lineup upset the favored Kentucky Wildcats and made history. He later became a police detective in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014 and the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame in 2016. Artis died on December 26 at age 74.

Jack Van Berg (1936-2017) was a horse racing trainer, the son of Hall of Fame trainer Marion Van Berg. From 1959 until 1977, he was the lead trainer at Ak-Sar-Ben Racetrack in Omaha.

In 1976, he set the record for most wins in a North American Thoroughbred racing season by a trainer with 496, which stood until 2004. That year he was also the top trainer in purse money. Van Berg finished the season with the most wins on eight other occasions from 1968-86.

In 1987, he became the first trainer to ever win 5,000 races and is currently fourth-all time with 6,523. Van Berg's best-known horse is Alysheba, who won the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, as well as the 1988 Breeders' Cup Classic. He has been inducted into the Nebraska Racing Hall of Fame, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame and the Fairgrounds Racing Hall of Fame. Van Berg died on December 27 at age 81.