Source: Associated Press, IMDB
Source: Associated Press, IMDB
North Carolina native Bob Mann, honorable mention All-American and All-Big Nine star of the Michigan Wolverines, and the first African American Detroit Lion, passed away Saturday, October 21. Mann played on Wolverines coach Fritz Crisler's national championship and undefeated (10-0) team, and in 1948, he and back Melvin Groomes became the Lions's first African American players. In 1949, Mann set a team record for receptions with 66, and led the NFL in yards receiving with 1,014, making him the Lions's first 1,000-yard receiver. Mann was traded to the New York Yanks for future Hall of Fame quarterback Bobby Layne, and ended his career with the Green Bay Packers (1950-54). Following his football career, Mann earned his law degree and led the Robert Mann & Associates law firm for over thirty years. Mann was 82.
Sources: DetroitLions.com, Associated Press
Trebisonda "Ondina" Valla, the 80-meter hurdles champion at the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin, died of natural causes in her hometown of L'Aquila, Italy. Valla tied a world record when she ran the 80-meter hurdles (no longer an Olympic event) in 11.6 seconds in the semifinals at the Berlin Games. She won the final in the event in 11.7 seconds, with four athletes rushing together at the finish line. A photo finish picture was needed to award the silver and bronze medals. Valla's life-long rival, Claudia Testoni, finished fourth, without a medal. Valla set 21 Italian records during her career until back problems forced her retirement in the early 1940s. She was 90.
Sources: Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, Time.com
Sources: San Francisco Chronicle, Associated Press, Washington Post
Sources: Yahoo News, National Rowing Foundation, Friends of Rowing History
Jerry Belson, an Emmy-winning comedy writer, died of cancer at his Los Angeles home on Tuesday. Belson began his career as a magician, comic book writer, and drummer, before selling his first script to The Danny Thomas Show at age 22. The Thomas script led to work writing for The Dick Van Dyke Show, Gomer Pyle, I Spy, The Odd Couple, and Tracey Takes On. Belson's producing and directing credits included The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda, and The Drew Carey Show. Screenplay credits included the original Fun with Dick and Jane, The End, and Smokey and the Bandit II. Former writing partner Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Laverne & Shirley, et al.) said Belson "added dark, wild thoughts and lines," inserting bon mots he thought were funny even if only a few in the audience would understand or appreciate them. Belson was 68.
Sources: Yahoo News, IMDB, The Museum of Broadcast Communications
Sources: Cartoon Brew, Don Markstein's Toonopedia, Associated Press, Wikipedia
Sources: The Canopy Group, Associated Press
John Jordan O'Neil Jr., the grandson of a slave, was born in 1911 in Carrabelle, Florida, and was playing semipro baseball by age 12. In 1938, following semi-professional "barnstorming" experiences with the Miami Giants, New York Tigers, Shreveport Acme Giants, and Zulu Cannibal Giants, O'Neil joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League.More »
Sources: Associated Press, IMDB, WebMD