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04/19/2007


British Journalist, Model, and LGBT Ally Peaches Geldof Dead at 25

Peaches Geldof, the second daughter of musician Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates, has died at the age of 25, the BBC reports:

GeldofPolice say they were called to an address near Wrotham, Kent following a report of concern for the welfare of a woman on Monday afternoon.

The woman, aged 25, was later pronounced dead by South East Coast Ambulance Service.

"At this stage, the death is being treated as unexplained and sudden," said a statement from Kent Police.

Geldof was a tv host and former journalist with The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. She also worked as a model.

Geldof was also a staunch LGBT ally. Among her statements for equality was one she made in 2012 in a column in The Independent:

"For a country and culture that declares ourselves so progressive, our governments, citizens and, of course, our churches, can be small-minded bigots at the best of times. One day we'll look back on the gay marriage ban as we look back on historical events like apartheid. Because in the end, that's what it is - pointless, futile segregation."

Read her full column here.


Hollywood Legend Mickey Rooney Dead at 93

Rooney

Mickey Rooney, who began as a child actor and spent eight decades in entertainment, died at 93 at home in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon, the L.A. Times reports:

One of the most enduring performers in show business, he made his debut on the vaudeville stage in 1922 as a toddler and toured into his late 80s in a two-person stage show with Jan Chamberlin, his eighth wife. They were married in 1978 and later separated.

Jokes about his propensity to walk down the aisle were once a staple of pop culture. Even Rooney told them. "My marriage license reads, 'To whom it may concern,'" he chortled to The Times in 1981. The first and most famous of his wives was actress Ava Gardner, whom he married in 1942.

When the 90-year-old Rooney testified before Congress in 2011 about elder abuse, the actor said he spoke from personal experience. A family member who took and misused Rooney's money had left him powerless, he said.

Watch a reel on Rooney's career, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hollywood Legend Mickey Rooney Dead at 93" »


'Godfather of House Music' Frankie Knuckles Dead at 59

It's a terribly sad day for music as House music pioneer Frankie Knuckles has died at 59, Rolling Stone reports:

KnucklesNobody can agree on who invented the blues or birthed rock & roll, but there is no question that house music came from Frankie Knuckles, who died Monday afternoon of as-yet-undisclosed causes at age 59. One of the Eighties and Nineties' most prolific house music producers and remixers, Knuckles is, hands down, one of the dozen most important DJs of all time. At his Chicago clubs the Warehouse (1977-82) and Power Plant (1983-85), Knuckles’ marathon sets, typically featuring his own extended edits of a wide selection of tracks from disco to post-punk, R&B to synth-heavy Eurodisco, laid the groundwork for electronic dance music culture—all of it.

Knuckles made an abundant number of dance classics, including early Jamie Principle collaborations "Your Love"(1986) and "Baby Wants to Ride"(1987); "Tears"(1989), with Satoshi Tomiiee and Robert Owens; "The Whistle Song"(1991); and his remixes of Chaka Khan’s "Ain’t Nobody"(1989), Sounds of Blackness’s "The Pressure" (1992), and Hercules and Love Affair’s "Blind" (2008).

More from the Chicago Tribune here.

 

Frankie Knuckles - WBMX Friday Night Jams 1986 by Sarah Davies on Mixcloud


Westboro Baptist Church Pastor Fred Phelps is Dead at 84

 Phelps

Westboro Baptist Church pastor Fred Phelps Sr. died late Wednesday night, WIBW reports:

"Timothy Phelps, son of former Westboro Baptist Church leader Fred Phelps, told WIBW that his father died before midnight."

Phelps had been reported "on the edge of death" by his estranged son Nate earlier this week. Reports subsequently emerged that  the "God Hates Fags" pastor had been excommunicated after an internal power struggle at Westboro in which a board of elders - Steve Drain, Timothy Phelps, Jonathan Phelps, Samuel Phelps-Roper, Charles Hockenbarger and Fred Phelps Jr - also took down Shirley Phelps Roper from a position of authority.

Following the news that Phelps was near death, Lucien Greaves, the leader of the New York-based Satanic Temple, promised to hold a "pink mass" over Phelps' graves and turn him posthumously gay.

UPDATE:

Westboro Baptist has posted a statement in response to Phelps' death. Read it HERE.


Gay Rights Activist Vernita Gray, Who Was First to Marry in Illinois, Dies at 65

Gray

Vernita Gray (left), who married her wife Patricia Ewert last November in Illinois' first legal gay marriage, has died of bone and brain cancer at 65.

Gray was allowed to marry Ewert before marriage equality's then effective date of June 1 after an order from the U.S. District Court in Chicago allowed it, given Gray's terminal illness.

Marriage equality has since been allowed statewide after Attorney General Lisa Madigan published guidance in early March.

The AP reports:

[Family friend Jim] Bennett says Gray advocated for same-sex marriage long before many gay rights activists saw it as a possibility, and she had a knack for working with people across the political spectrum.

Our thoughts go out to Gray's wife, family, and friends.


Gay Former NFL Player Roy Simmons Dies at 57

Roy Simmons, a former offensive lineman for the Giants and the Washington Redskins who came out of the closet after his career had ended, has died at the age of 57, the NYT reports:

SimmonsThe cause was complications related to pneumonia, his brother Gary said. Simmons learned he had H.I.V. in 1997 and had other health problems, his brother said.

The paper adds:

By his own account, Simmons (pictured, during his career) abused his opportunity in the pros, falling quickly into heavy alcohol and drug use. The night before he played with the Redskins in the 1984 Super Bowl, his last game in the N.F.L., he snorted cocaine. In the stands that Sunday, he said, were friends he had invited, including three lovers — two female, one male. Somehow, he continued to keep his complicated sexuality a secret.

Years later, in 1992, appearing on “Donahue,” Phil Donahue’s television talk show, and with a former girlfriend and family members watching, Simmons made a stunning, awkward disclosure: He was gay. At the time, Simmons was the second former N.F.L. player to declare that he was homosexual. Dave Kopay, a running back who played nine seasons, was the first, in 1975.

Read the full report here.


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