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Tab Hunter

August 10, 2001
Billy Byrd, 81, who once played lead guitar for Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours, died Tuesday in Nashville. William Lewis Byrd was born in Nashville, and taught himself guitar by copying the records of Charlie Christian and Django Reinhardt. In the 1940s, Byrd backed the Oak Ridge Quartet (the predecessor of the Oak Ridge Boys), Little Jimmy Dickens, George Morgan and others. In 1949, Byrd succeeded Tommy "Butterball" Paige as the lead guitarist with Tubb.
December 28, 1994
Robert Lowry, 75, a post-World War II author whom Ernest Hemingway once called "one of America's best" but whose frail health forced interruptions in a sporadic writing career. His battlefield experiences during the war formed the basis for many of his novels and short stories, as did his life as an artist in Greenwich Village. His best-known works included "Casualty" in 1946, "Find Me in Fire" and "The Big Cage" in 1949, "The Violent Wedding," in 1953 and three collections of short stories.
January 12, 2006 | Dennis McLellan, Times Staff Writer
Phyllis Gates, the onetime talent agency secretary who married Hollywood heartthrob Rock Hudson in the 1950s and later insisted that she married him out of love and not to cover up his homosexuality, has died. She was 80. Gates, who had a career as an interior designer after her brief marriage to Hudson, died of complications of lung cancer Jan. 4 at her home in Marina del Rey, said Mark Waldman, her attorney. "She was a lovely, very dignified woman," Waldman said Wednesday.
July 13, 2009 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
Ric Hardman, 84, a writer of screenplays, TV scripts and novels, mostly in the western genre, died in his sleep June 29 at his home in Los Angeles, his son Chris said. He had cancer. For the big screen, Hardman wrote "Gunman's Walk," a 1958 western starring Van Heflin and Tab Hunter, and "The Rare Breed," another western from 1966 featuring James Stewart. In the early 1960s, Hardman wrote for the western TV series "Lawman" using his name as well as a pen name, Bronson Howitzer. He later turned to writing novels, including "Fifteen Flags," a 1968 story about American troops fighting in Siberia during the Russian Civil War of 1919-20, and "Sunshine Rider," a 1998 novel that Hardman called the first vegetarian western and a Boston Globe reviewer called "delicious whimsy."
John Smith, a popular actor in the 1950s who humorously adapted the common name as his stage name, has died. He was 63. Smith died Jan. 25 in his Los Angeles home, said Richard Lamparski, a Hollywood historian who had profiled Smith in one of his volumes titled "Whatever Became of . . . ?" The cause of death may have been a combination of cirrhosis and heart problems, said Smith's former wife, actress Luana Patten Smith. Smith shared top billing with Robert Fuller on the television series "Laramie", which ran from 1959 to 1963.
June 25, 2003 | Elaine Dutka
In the wake of the box office success of "Chicago," winner of this year's best picture Oscar and Miramax Films' highest-grossing movie ever, the studio plans to turn the 1955 Broadway hit "Damn Yankees" into a feature film. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, executive producers of "Chicago," are set to produce the musical.
April 21, 1985
The Calendar Letters Page on April 14 appealed--in all semi-seriousness--to the reader-masses for fresh, new ideas to help save network television. The generosity of readers has been ample and heartwarming. The least frivolous contributions are segregated in the box at the right. The rest follow. "Snort"--Each episode explores the recreational activities and hi-jinks of the upper levels of the entertainment industry. A profusion of parties, starlets and just plain fun make this series sparkle.
June 1, 1986 | RUTH RYON, Times Staff Writer
Rock Hudson's house, just north of the Beverly Hills city limit, where the actor lived for about 20 years before he died last October, has been put on the market for $2.95 million. (Court papers describe the value of Hudson's assets only as "exceeding $10,000," although a bond of $8.6 million was posted for the estate, which Hudson willed to a trust he established in 1974.
September 6, 1987
A sampling of personalities with hit singles: Edd (Kookie) Byrnes and Connie Stevens, "Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb." Produced by Irving Taylor of "77 Sunset Strip," this record reached No. 4 on the 1959 charts. Stayed on charts for 13 weeks. Estimated sales: (Billboard, Cashbox, etc.) 2 million. Shelley Fabares, "Johnny Angel." A song used on a segment of "The Donna Reed Show" and recorded to push the show. It reached No.
May 25, 1989 | CHRIS WILLMAN
"Cameron's Closet" (citywide) never should have come out of the closet. It's been locked in for about two years, if the 1987 copyright date is any indication, and lead actress Mel Harris, now a star thanks to TV's "thirtysomething," is probably praying no one noticed this shelved horror oldie slipping quietly into theaters over the weekend. It's a good bet she's safe on that account. The Cameron of the title is a 10-year-old boy with telekenetic powers who, in the course of some experiments conducted by his dad, has accidentally loosed a loudly gargling demon.
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