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-   -   Who were the most famous people when you were growing up who have completely disappeared? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=811720)

MorrisCody 11-22-2016 01:33 PM

Who were the most famous people when you were growing up who have completely disappeared?
 
A waiting room I was in had a very old copy of People featuring Heidi Montag, and now there are so many teenagers who will never understand who she was or why she was so famous. I'm curious to take a trip down memory lane and remember all those celebrities who used to be so important.

Casey1505 11-22-2016 01:50 PM

Burt & Loni.

Loach 11-22-2016 01:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Casey1505 (Post 19801485)
Burt & Loni.

Farrah and Lee. Of course Farrah is dead now but she never reached that level of saturation that she did then.

iiandyiiii 11-22-2016 02:00 PM

Cyndi Lauper

Cartoonacy 11-22-2016 02:03 PM

I was stunned when my cousin's kids had no idea who Clark Gable was. He was just a little bit before my time, though.

About 25 years ago, I met a couple of teenagers who thought that Mel Brooks was the voice of Bugs Bunny. I might have been slightly impressed by the fact that they confused him with Mel Blanc, except that Blanc's death had been in the news not too long before.

kenobi 65 11-22-2016 02:26 PM

I had to look up Heidi Montag, as I vaguely recognized the name, but had no idea who she was. Reality TV stars are, generally, among the most ephemeral of celebrities, save for the very few who managed to leverage it into something bigger. So, I don't find it surprising at all when their fifteen minutes of fame evaporate.

A lot of the people who were celebrities when I was growing up aren't in the public eye any more, largely because they're dead or retired. :)

Tom Tildrum 11-22-2016 02:48 PM

Not really sure what the OP is getting at. Lots of the celebrities from my youth are retired or dead. Names like Tony Randall, Paul Lynde, or Christopher Lloyd might be losing hold on the public consciousness, but people of the present day would understand if we said they were in movies or TV. Are we looking for the inexplicably famous for being famous?

Charo
Art Linkletter
Susan Sontag

Quote:

Originally Posted by Loach (Post 19801502)
... she never reached that level of saturation that she did then.

What exactly did you do with that poster? :eek::D

NDP 11-22-2016 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 19801512)
Cyndi Lauper

Really? I still see her doing concerts and popping up on talk shows so, while she's not as omnipresent as she seemed to be in the 80s, it's not like she's dropped off the face of the earth. A better example from the 80s would be Shelley Long (who, to my chagrin, I used to have a bit of crush on). In terms of where she was fame-wise when she left "Cheers", her career has fallen the hardest compared with the other cast members of the show. Even John Ratzenberger (Cliff) is still active doing Pixar movies and occasional guest shots.

bobot 11-22-2016 02:53 PM

Shaun Cassidy was all over the place when I was growing up. Is he dead now?

kenobi 65 11-22-2016 02:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NDP (Post 19801644)
Really? I still see her doing concerts and popping up on talk shows so, while she's not as omnipresent as she seemed to be in the 80s, it's not like she's dropped off the face of the earth.

She also won a Tony in 2013, for her score for "Kinky Boots," and has been a prominent activist for LGBT causes.

kenobi 65 11-22-2016 02:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobot (Post 19801653)
Shaun Cassidy was all over the place when I was growing up. Is he dead now?

Nope. He moved into stage acting, then writing and producing TV series. He's still very active, but on the other side of the camera.

MrAtoz 11-22-2016 02:58 PM

I am, I suspect, older than you, since I had no idea who Heidi Montag is, and it certainly ain't because I'm too young. :)

My contribution: For about two years in the late 1970s, one of the hottest entertainment acts in the country was the husband and wife mime team of Shields and Yarnell. Apart from Marcel Marceau, it may be difficult to imagine a celebrity mime act. But trust me, for awhile there, Shields and Yarnell were everywhere. They guest-starred on everything from The Muppet Show to The Tonight Show to Wonder Woman, performed for presidents and Queen Elizabeth II, and even had their own variety show for about a month. But who remembers them now?

All celebrities will fade from the public consciousness eventually. But Shields and Yarnell are the only ones that I look back on from my childhood and wonder how they managed to get so famous in the first place. It's hard to imagine an act like that getting that sort of attention today.

Procrustus 11-22-2016 02:58 PM

I don't believe I ever heard of Heidi Mnotag, and after a google search, can confirm that.

"So famous" doesn't seem to be accurate for this woman. "Sort of famous" maybe.

Still, I'll play:

Alan Alda and Mary Tyler Moore.

Rick Kitchen 11-22-2016 03:16 PM

Rick/Ricky Schroeder, who is now playing Dolly Parton's father in her movies.

Tread 11-22-2016 03:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrAtoz (Post 19801676)
. But Shields and Yarnell are the only ones that I look back on from my childhood and wonder how they managed to get so famous in the first place. It's hard to imagine an act like that getting that sort of attention today.

Raymond J. Johnson Jr, was the one I found most hard to fathom how fame was ever achieved. S & Y, did have a talent, not one most would find entertaining, but they were good mimes.

But.
You don't have to call me Johnson, You can call me Ray, or you can cal me J, you can call me RJ... etc ad nauseam, But you doesn't have to call me Johnson

kunilou 11-22-2016 03:41 PM

Patricia Hearst

Bobby Riggs

Julie Nixon and David Eisenhower

Annie-Xmas 11-22-2016 03:47 PM

Donovan is appearing at our local PAC next week. He was all over the place in the 1960's, hailed as the new Dylan. I was amazed when I realized how long its been since I heard anything about him.

Grrr! 11-22-2016 04:00 PM

Has anyone ever done a better disappearing job than Johnny Carson after retirement?

Mean Mr. Mustard 11-22-2016 04:05 PM

Morton Downey, Jr. (dead, I know, but still)

Morganna the Kissing Bandit

Charo

Phil Donahue


mmm

SpoilerVirgin 11-22-2016 04:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Procrustus (Post 19801678)
Still, I'll play:

Alan Alda and Mary Tyler Moore.

I was going to suggest Alan Alda. I mean, I will always love him and follow his career, which more recently has included a role on The West Wing, hosting Scientific American Frontiers, and writing several books, but I'm fully aware that he isn't known the way he once was.

Back in the mid-seventies, pre-Internet, People Magazine used to have an annual readers' poll about celebrities. After the first few years, they had to change the format of the questions like this:

Other than Alan Alda, who is your favorite actor?

Other than Alan Alda, what celebrity would you most like to have dinner with?

Skywatcher 11-22-2016 04:15 PM

"Weird Girl" character actress Michelle Meyrink.

Robot Arm 11-22-2016 04:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrAtoz (Post 19801676)
My contribution: For about two years in the late 1970s, one of the hottest entertainment acts in the country was the husband and wife mime team of Shields and Yarnell. Apart from Marcel Marceau, it may be difficult to imagine a celebrity mime act. But trust me, for awhile there, Shields and Yarnell were everywhere. They guest-starred on everything from The Muppet Show to The Tonight Show to Wonder Woman, performed for presidents and Queen Elizabeth II, and even had their own variety show for about a month. But who remembers them now?

All celebrities will fade from the public consciousness eventually. But Shields and Yarnell are the only ones that I look back on from my childhood and wonder how they managed to get so famous in the first place. It's hard to imagine an act like that getting that sort of attention today.

They were the subject of a joke on Futurama once, so not totally forgotten. I looked them up after reading your post; Lorene Yarnell died a few years ago, was only 66.

In a similar vein, I'd nominate Rod Hull, an English comedian whose act was to appear with a fake emu under his arm who would then proceed to wreak havoc. Something reminded me of him a year or so ago and I watched a show about him on youtube. Sounds like he wasn't terribly happy, being overshadowed by a puppet and all, and fell on rather lean times. Died in 1999 adjusting the TV aerial on his roof.

Sarah Holcombe is worth a mention as well. She appeared in four movies, two of them (Animal House and Caddyshack) were huge successes. Since Caddyshack, nothing.

snowthx 11-22-2016 04:46 PM

Kristy McNichol, and "Mikey" from the Life cereal commercial.

waem 11-22-2016 04:59 PM

Arsenio Hall seemed to be doing pretty well for a couple of years, and then went away seemingly abruptly.

D18 11-22-2016 05:01 PM

Not when I was growing up, but while a young adult, Steve Guttenberg had quite the run, then disappeared.

waem 11-22-2016 05:06 PM

Maybe I should've said Eddie Murphy.

Ulf the Unwashed 11-22-2016 05:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrAtoz (Post 19801676)
I am, I suspect, older than you, since I had no idea who Heidi Montag is, and it certainly ain't because I'm too young. :)

My contribution: For about two years in the late 1970s, one of the hottest entertainment acts in the country was the husband and wife mime team of Shields and Yarnell. Apart from Marcel Marceau, it may be difficult to imagine a celebrity mime act. But trust me, for awhile there, Shields and Yarnell were everywhere. They guest-starred on everything from The Muppet Show to The Tonight Show to Wonder Woman, performed for presidents and Queen Elizabeth II, and even had their own variety show for about a month. But who remembers them now?

All celebrities will fade from the public consciousness eventually. But Shields and Yarnell are the only ones that I look back on from my childhood and wonder how they managed to get so famous in the first place. It's hard to imagine an act like that getting that sort of attention today.

I was in HS and college in the late seventies, perhaps the prime years for Entertainment Awareness, and this act sounds quirky enough to have been especially appealing to my teenage self... and yet I'm sure that I never ran into them!

drad dog 11-22-2016 05:26 PM

Young uns let me tell ya when I was a kid:

There was a whole world of celebs that appeared on talk shows who were from a whole previous generation but which we were all familiar with.

Ethel Merman, Arthur Treacher, Jimmy Durante. Show biz used to have a recognizable evolution.

I'm not sure how that kind of knowledge gets transmitted now or if it will just end and we will all live in the eternal present.

Remember Totie Fields? She had a leg amputated and then when she died it was like she never existed.

drad dog 11-22-2016 05:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrAtoz (Post 19801676)
I am, I suspect, older than you, since I had no idea who Heidi Montag is, and it certainly ain't because I'm too young. :)

My contribution: For about two years in the late 1970s, one of the hottest entertainment acts in the country was the husband and wife mime team of Shields and Yarnell. Apart from Marcel Marceau, it may be difficult to imagine a celebrity mime act. But trust me, for awhile there, Shields and Yarnell were everywhere. They guest-starred on everything from The Muppet Show to The Tonight Show to Wonder Woman, performed for presidents and Queen Elizabeth II, and even had their own variety show for about a month. But who remembers them now?

All celebrities will fade from the public consciousness eventually. But Shields and Yarnell are the only ones that I look back on from my childhood and wonder how they managed to get so famous in the first place. It's hard to imagine an act like that getting that sort of attention today.

I'm totally with you on this.

I also remember around that time that there were famous people named Kelly Monteeth, and Randy Mantooth. I had never known such names existed but I thought there must be something going on somehow.

terentii 11-22-2016 05:31 PM

Steve Allen, Professor Irwin Corey, Foster Brooks, Graham Kerr (the Galloping Gourmet).

Totie Fields lived on in Mrs Wallowitz.

terentii 11-22-2016 05:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cartoonacy (Post 19801520)
I was stunned when my cousin's kids had no idea who Clark Gable was. He was just a little bit before my time, though.

I was shocked not long ago when none of the contestants on Jeopardy! (all thirty-something) could identify either Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, or Jimmy Stewart from their photographs! :eek:

My, my. How quickly we forget! :smack: :(

GuanoLad 11-22-2016 05:45 PM

Judge Reinhold, Fisher Stevens, Steve Guttenberg, and Phoebe Cates.

Also Meg Tilly, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and Jami Gertz.

Biggirl 11-22-2016 05:48 PM

I remember Shields and Yarnell. How about Rodney Allen Rippy and Pink Lady and Jeff? Unlike many of the people mentioned so far (like Alan Alda, Tootie Fields and Mary Tyler Moore who still have a presence in media even today) these guys have really disappeared from the public eye.

Morbo 11-22-2016 05:56 PM

I'd say the most famous people, to me growing up, were the people on TV shows that I used to love. WKRP In Cincinnatti, Simon and Simon, Magnum P.I.. An astonishing number of them disappeared completely - Andy Carlson, Herb Tarlek, Less Nessman, Bailey Quarters, Venus Flytrap...A.J. Simon...Rick, T.C., Higgins - never saw them again in anything that I can recall.

I get that happens with TV show stars, even today, but back then I assumed they would all be superstars.

cochrane 11-22-2016 05:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by waem (Post 19802013)
Arsenio Hall seemed to be doing pretty well for a couple of years, and then went away seemingly abruptly.

His TV talk show was revived a couple of years ago, but only lasted one season.

Quote:

Originally Posted by waem (Post 19802027)
Maybe I should've said Eddie Murphy.

He hasn't disappeared. Not including the Shrek movies, he still makes a movie every couple of years on average. His latest movie, Mr. Church, came out just a couple of months ago.

terentii 11-22-2016 06:04 PM

Dean Martin. For awhile, he was the hottest thing on TV. Then the Nanny Squad moved in and "sanitized" things. :mad:

You'd think there's something wrong with booze and broads.... :(

astro 11-22-2016 06:04 PM

You could do worse than just take random sample of who appeared on the Hollywood Squares.

List here

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059995/fullcredits/

Biggirl 11-22-2016 06:04 PM

Just in case you were wondering why Pink Lady and Jeff disappeared from the face of the Earth, here's a clip of a running gag from the show.

There was also the guy who was married to Goldie Hawn and produced a few kids. He was also married to Shirly of Laverne and Shirley for quite some time. He and his brothers had two TV shows and also a pop group. Here's there Saturday morning show. The Hudson Brothers were FAMOUS and were pulling down all the hot chicks at the time.

cochrane 11-22-2016 06:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morbo (Post 19802153)
I'd say the most famous people, to me growing up, were the people on TV shows that I used to love. WKRP In Cincinnatti, Simon and Simon, Magnum P.I.. An astonishing number of them disappeared completely - Andy Carlson, Herb Tarlek, Less Nessman, Bailey Quarters, Venus Flytrap...A.J. Simon...Rick, T.C., Higgins - never saw them again in anything that I can recall.

I get that happens with TV show stars, even today, but back then I assumed they would all be superstars.

Tim Reid (Venus Flytrap) was in three more series after WKRP -Frank's Place, Simon & Simon, and Sister, Sister.

kenobi 65 11-22-2016 06:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Morbo (Post 19802153)
I'd say the most famous people, to me growing up, were the people on TV shows that I used to love. WKRP In Cincinnatti, Simon and Simon, Magnum P.I.. An astonishing number of them disappeared completely - Andy Carlson, Herb Tarlek, Less Nessman, Bailey Quarters, Venus Flytrap...A.J. Simon...Rick, T.C., Higgins - never saw them again in anything that I can recall.

WKRP was one of my favorite shows, as well.

Tim Reid (Venus) starred in several series after WKRP, including (ironically, given your post) Simon & Simon, Frank's Place (created by Hugh Wilson, who also created WKRP), and Sister, Sister. He's been consistently working on TV since, though in supporting roles.

Gary Sandy (Andy Travis) found it difficult to get TV roles as he aged, and transitioned to theater.

Gerald McRaney (Rick on Simon & Simon) starred in Major Dad, and he, too, has been consistently working in TV for the past 30 years.

Edit: ninja'd by cochrane! *shakes fist*

Ulf the Unwashed 11-22-2016 06:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by terentii (Post 19802109)
I was shocked not long ago when none of the contestants on Jeopardy! (all thirty-something) could identify either Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, or Jimmy Stewart from their photographs! :eek:

My, my. How quickly we forget! :smack: :(

Fifty something here, and while I know who these folks are I doubt I could've identified them from their photos either.

terentii 11-22-2016 06:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biggirl (Post 19802181)
Just in case you were wondering why Pink Lady and Jeff disappeared from the face of the Earth, here's a clip of a running gag from the show.

Your point being...? :dubious: :confused:

terentii 11-22-2016 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed (Post 19802198)
Fifty something here, and while I know who these folks are I doubt I could've identified them from their photos either.

Your parents wouldn't let you watch movies when you were a kid?!? :dubious: :eek: :confused:

RivkahChaya 11-22-2016 06:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biggirl (Post 19802126)
I remember Shields and Yarnell. How about Rodney Allen Rippy and Pink Lady and Jeff? Unlike many of the people mentioned so far (like Alan Alda, Tootie Fields and Mary Tyler Moore who still have a presence in media even today) these guys have really disappeared from the public eye.

Pink Lady went back to Japan, and Jeff Altman went back to lounges.

My nomination is Richard Carpenter. He was really talented at arranging music. Even after Karen died, you'd think he'd have a career in scoring movies or something. All of his credits are for single songs that are songs from the Carpenters' era, or documentaries on the duo. Apparently, after Karen's death, he married (a cousin, whose brother had been their road manager, which is just a little creepy, if you ask me), and they have five kids. He's just been a family man since Karen died.

RivkahChaya 11-22-2016 06:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulf the Unwashed (Post 19802198)
Fifty something here, and while I know who these folks are I doubt I could've identified them from their photos either.

I could, but I spent my adolescence mooning over Golden Age movies, and silent films. I can recognize Irene Dunne from any angle, but I can barely remember who was famous in the 1980s. I pretty much only went to art films, French films and Merchant & Ivory films that were new in the 80s. I take that back. I also saw sci-fi, and Children of a Lesser god. But I can name Sigourney Weaver, Marlee Marlin, and Jennifer Jason Leigh from my own time. I can name 50 people from the 20s, 30s and 40s without taking a breath.

I always wonder in there are still adolescents who fall in love with those great old films. Once in a while, I do see a recent post on IMDb under Irene Dunne or Katharine Hepburn, that starts "I'm 17, but I love these old films...."

kenobi 65 11-22-2016 06:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MrAtoz (Post 19801676)
All celebrities will fade from the public consciousness eventually. But Shields and Yarnell are the only ones that I look back on from my childhood and wonder how they managed to get so famous in the first place. It's hard to imagine an act like that getting that sort of attention today.

The 1970s were the last hurrah for the TV variety show, and S&Y were part of that -- they made a lot of appearances on other variety shows before getting their own show. It was also the same era that the mime / puppet / mask group Mummenschanz was popular.

I also suspect that S&Y had a very good agent. :)

Lorene Yarnell was in Spaceballs -- she was the actress inside the Dot Matrix droid costume.

jayjay 11-22-2016 06:35 PM

Barbi Benton

terentii 11-22-2016 06:39 PM

Just out of curiosity ... who the hell is Heidi Montag??? :confused: :confused: :confused:

cochrane 11-22-2016 06:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 19802196)
Gerald McRaney (Rick on Simon & Simon) starred in Major Dad, and he, too, has been consistently working in TV for the past 30 years.

Don't forget Jericho.

I saw Gary Sandy in an episode of Diagnosis: Murder.

kenobi 65 11-22-2016 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cochrane (Post 19802277)
Don't forget Jericho.

Aye, and my wife just mentioned that he's now in "This Is Us."


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