I don’t know whether Ken was well known in the USA, but he was a bit of a hero of mine.
He was an all round entertainer, raconteur, writer and generally very funny and intelligent.
He died unexpectedly at the age of 66, as far as I can tell the cause of death has yet to be determined.
He was a fortean and tv presenter who made some very interesting programmes, one of the best was a short series about cosmology, IMHO one of the best introductions for the lay person.
The world is a poorer place now Ken is no longer in it.
For more on Ken see here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Campbell