Wow, two figures from my youth, that were seemingly everywhere back in the day, have passed.
Harry Anderson, the magician who spent more than a few years acting, passed away at the age of 65.
R. Lee Ermey, old gunny and possibly the most famous on screen drill sergeant in movie history, also passed away. Donald McClarey has a fine tribute here.
Both were iconic images for my generation. Ermey, a marine vet in real life, came to embody that gruff, grizzly soldier wading into whatever problem he encountered with a club in hand and a sparkle in his eye.
Anderson was everyone's cool conman. A magician by trade (and, some suggest, a conman to boot), he stumbled into acting and soon came to demonstrate that level of slick, sleight of hand with a warm heart that anyone might envy.
The funny thing about them both? Nether were actors by first profession. They had excelled in other arenas first. They were not necessarily actors even when they were acting, but were other types who simply played variations of themselves, to a point.
They both stepped out of those confines. For instance, Anderson played in the TV miniseries based on Stephen King's IT, and Ermey had a wonderful turn in the movie Dead Man Walking.
But usually they were variations of themselves. In the hit and critically acclaimed series Night Court (a strange brew of a show to be sure), Anderson basically was Anderson, including his magic and his love of Mel Torme.
Because of that, you can't help but feel you got to know them more than most actors who play a variety of parts. You feel you knew them. And because they both made such a big impact on the pop culture of the day, it's like losing a couple of old friends.
Rest in peace friends, and my the perpetual light shine upon you both.