Saturday, November 26, 2005

two notable deaths

Two obits caught my eye today. The first was for Northern Ireland soccer star George Best, dead at 59. I remember Best past his prime (but still pretty good) playing in the old North American Soccer League, in the 1970s. He was a charming rogue, great player but ultimately died of alcoholism -- he had a liver transplant but couldn't/wouldn't stop drinking. His great line about himself: "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars -- the rest I just squandered."

The second was the death of actor Pat Morita, dead at 73. We all remember him from "Happy Days" and "The Karate Kid." Morita was, with his family, thrown into one of the infamous internment camps during World War II (as "public enemy number one" in Morita's retelling), and became a comedian. A great story: he was asked to fill in for Don Ho in front of a group of World War II veterans in 1966, at a show in Hawaii commemmorating the 25th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Morita opened up with a joke -- "So, I began by telling them I wanted to apologize, on behalf of my people, for screwing up their harbor." Great line. (Maybe some day an American comic will open a show in Baghdad with a similar line...)

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