NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nashville producer Fred Foster, who produced some of Roy Orbison’s most popular records and was the first to produce records from Kris Kristofferson and Dolly Parton, has died. He was 87.
His publicist, Martha Moore, said Foster died Wednesday in Nashville, and that a memorial service will be held later.
Born in 1931 in North Carolina, Foster helped launch the careers of many hit country artists and was a major supporter of some of Nashville’s biggest songwriters.
In the 1960s, he moved his record label, Monument Records, from Washington, D.C., to Nashville. Foster was the first to see the potential in a young singer-songwriter from East Tennessee named Dolly and got her songs cut by other artists, as well as recording and releasing her own material. But it wasn’t until she started appearing on Porter Wagoner’s TV show that she became popular.
“It’s a gift, being able to sense something unique in somebody, and that’s what I aimed for, always,” said Foster in 2007. “Anybody that dropped a needle on a groove of a Monument record, I wanted them to immediately know, ‘Oh, that’s Dolly Parton,’ or ‘That’s Roy Orbison.’ It had to be unique.”
Foster also owned a publishing company, Combine Music, and Kristofferson was one of his hires, a Texas-born athlete and Army veteran who loved William Blake. He had been trying to break through as a songwriter, even working as a janitor in a Music Row recording studio. After hearing some of his songs, Foster said he would only hire Kristofferson as a songwriter if he also signed a record deal.
“He was so intelligent, so gifted, so talented and he didn’t sound like anybody I had ever heard,” Foster told The Associated Press in 2016.
Foster is credited as co-writer on Kristofferson’s hit song, “Me and Bobby McGee.” Foster came up with the idea to name a song after a female secretary in his building, whose name was Bobbie McKee. Kristofferson told the magazine “Performing Songwriter” that he was inspired to write the lyrics about a man and woman on the road together after watching the Frederico Fellini film, “La Strada.”
Janis Joplin, who had a close relationship with Kristofferson, changed the lyrics to make Bobby McGee a man and cut her version just days before she died in 1970 from a drug overdose. The recording became a posthumous No. 1 hit for Joplin.
In the early 1960s, Foster helped Roy Orbison become an international star with his recordings on Monument. Orbison was an unlikely star with his falsetto and penchant for wearing dark sunglasses. His singles on Monument were dark and emotional, backed by soaring strings and doo-wop backing vocals. Some of the classic Orbison songs released by Monument include “Only the Lonely,” ″Oh, Pretty Woman,” and “Crying.”
Foster continued to work as a producer throughout his life, never really slowing down. At 85, he worked on a Ray Price tribute album for Willie Nelson, called “For the Good Times,” that was released in 2016.
“If I don’t know more at 85 than I did at 75, I am not learning very fast, am I?” Foster said then. “I think I’m probably a better producer today than I have ever been.”
Father of Sandy Hook School Shooting Victim Dies In Apparent Suicide
(CNN) — A father dedicated to helping prevent mass shootings after his daughter was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre has died of an apparent suicide.
The body of Jeremy Richman was found in his Connecticut office building Monday morning, Newtown police said.
His death is the third suicide in the past week related to school massacres.
Richman, 49, was the father of 6-year-old Avielle Richman, who was among 20 children and six adults killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Police said they “will not disclose the method or any other details” of Richman’s death, other than it does not appear to be suspicious.
Parkland Shooting Survivor Sydney Aiello Dies At 19
(CBS) — On the day a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Sydney Aiello escaped with her life. However, the grief of losing 17 of her classmates and teachers, as well as the long-lasting effects of enduring such a traumatic event, weighed heavily on her. And this weekend, at the age of 19, Aiello took her own life.
Now, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas community is mourning yet another loss.
Sydney’s mother, Cara Aiello, told CBS Miami that her daughter struggled with survivor’s guilt and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the year following the tragedy. And while she reportedly never asked for help, she struggled to attend college classes because she was scared of being in a classroom.
Sydney was also a close friend of Meadow Pollack, one of the students who was shot and killed in the Parkland shooting. Meadow’s father, Andrew, became one of the most visible of the Parkland victims’ parents when he delivered a searing and emotional speech at the White House just a few days after the shooting, arguing for an increase in school safety rather than changes to America’s gun laws.
While the nation’s attention turned to budding young activists like David Hogg and Emma Gonzalez, however, other Parkland survivors were suffering in silence. And the Aiello family’s tragedy is an all too painful reminder that trauma effects teens deeply, often quietly, and for years.
Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina died in the shooting, told CBS Miami he worries that more traumatized Parkland teens will take their own lives. So, he has focused his grief and his efforts into suicide prevention.
“It breaks my heart that we’ve lost yet another student from Stoneman Douglas,” Petty said. “My advice to parents is to ask questions, don’t wait.”
There is now a GoFundMe page to help Sydney Aiello’s parents and brother pay for her memorial services.
If you or someone you know is struggling, call
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.
Actor Luke Perry Dies At Age 52 After Suffering Massive Stroke
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A publicist for Luke Perry says the “Riverdale” and “Beverly Hills, 90210” star has died. He was 52.
Publicist Arnold Robinson said that Perry died Monday after suffering a massive stroke.
Robinson says Perry’s family and friends were with him when he died. Among them were his children, siblings, fiancée and former wife.
The actor had been hospitalized since last week. Robinson said no further details would be released at this time.
The publicist added that Perry’s family appreciates the support and prayers that were offered since Perry was hospitalized on Wednesday.
Born in Mansfield, Ohio, Perry moved to Los Angeles after high school to pursue acting. His TV career began when he was 16, and the actor cut his teeth acting in soap operas like ABC’s “Loving” and “Another World” on NBC, and doing voice work for animated series such as “The Incredible Hulk” and “Biker Mice From Mars.”
However, in 1990 Perry became a household name for playing the brooding loner Dylan McKay on the smash hit teen drama “Beverly Hills, 90210” on Fox. The show became a phenomenon, catapulting Perry to full-blown teen idol status. He appeared on a racy Vanity Fair cover in July 1992.
Perry had two runs on “90210,” one from 1990 to 1995 and another from 1998 to the show’s end in 2000, during which time his character struggled with alcohol abuse and drug addiction, and went through a series of tumultuous relationships with several other main characters including Brenda (played by Shannen Doherty) and Kelly (played by Jennie Garth).
Coincidentally, Perry was hospitalized the same day Fox announced a six-episode revival of the show, featuring returning cast members Jason Priestley, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Gabrielle Carteris, Brian Austin Green, and Tori Spelling. Perry had not been announced to return.
While starring in “90210,” Perry made a brief appearance as Billy Masterson in Luc Besson’s whacky sci-fi pic “The Fifth Element” in 1997. He co-starred in the quirky 2007 HBO series “John from Cincinnati” and had recurring roles on series including “Jeremiah,” “Oz,” and “What I Like About You.”
More recently, Perry made a successful return to the TV drama genre with a regular role on the CW show “Riverdale.” He played Fred Andrews, the conservative, old-fashioned yet soft father of the show’s lead Archie Andrews (KJ Apa).
He will appear posthumously in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” playing the real-life Canadian-American actor Wayne Maunder who starred in the CBS Western TV show “Lancer.”
Perry is survived by his daughter Sophie and his son Jack, a professional wrestler who goes by the ring name “Jungle Boy” Nate Coy. [Variety]