From Bill Crider, I’ve gleaned the sad news that singer-actor-composer-producer Isaac Hayes has shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 65, which for me is truly devastating to hear. A new generation of individuals knew Hayes as the voice of “Chef” on the stupefyingly popular South Park, but for people of my generation (aka “fogies”) he’ll be remembered for the Grammy Award-winning tune that served as the theme to the popular blaxploitation film Shaft (1971) and for writing many of Sam & Dave’s Stax/Volt hits in the 1960s (I Thank You, Hold On, I’m Comin’, Soul Man). (As a Rockford-phile, I also treasure the memory of his menacing-but-funny turn as ex-convict Gandolph “Gandy” Fitch in three Rockford outings [Gandy, of course, never could seem to get Jim’s name right—often referring to him as “Rockfish”].)
I neglected to mention the passing of actor-comedian Bernie Mac at age 50 the past couple of days not because I hadn’t heard about it but because outside of Get On the Bus (1996) and Bad Santa (2003) I really haven’t seen many of his films and I never did get around to opening up the first season DVD release of his critically-acclaimed sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show (it eventually was hawked on eBay). I suppose all I can say is what Billy Joel has been affirming all these years: “Only the Good Die Young.”
R.I.P., Mr. Hayes and Mr. Mac. You will be missed.