Anita Pallenberg RIP


Anita Pallenberg was one of those It Girls of the 1960s. She managed to finagle herself backstage at a Rolling Stones gig, where Brian Jones met her and became besotted. After a brief and violent relationship with him, she and Keith Richards fell in love, had three children (one of whom died at 10 weeks from pneumonia), took enough drugs that it was a miracle both survived, and moved on to become an actress, model, muse, designer, artist.


I met her very briefly during one of the craziest weekends I ever spent back in the day, when Marianne Faithfull was in NYC to do a gig on Saturday Night Live after her brilliant album, Broken English, was released and became a surprise hit. Suffice to say that I can’t quite share the details of what went down…only that it was no surprise Marianne lost her voice for that gig. The appearance she made at the Mudd Club after that, with Anita in tow, has now passed on into rock legend. So when I think of Anita, I can’t help but think of Marianne, who shocked and thrilled me a few months ago when she Friended me on Facebook.


Too many of the It Girls (and Boys) who were It when I was coming of age seem to be leaving us. It’s inevitable, of course, but it still takes your breath away when it happens.




Lurchers who loved the old Saturday Night Live as I did will feel a terrible pang that Jan Hooks has died. She was only 57.

Jan got her comic training with The Groundlings, like so many other SNL performers, and was on the show from 1986-91, part of one of the best ensembles they had after the original cast moved on. She did a fierce Hillary Clinton impression and was most famous as one half of the hilariously inept singing Sweeney Sisters, opposite Nora Dunn.

She didn’t go on to become a huge star like Tina Fey or Kristen Wiig, but she costarred on Designing Women for years and made loads of guest appearances.

Hope she is having a laugh up there, with Phil Hartman at her side.


That voice was unmistakable. Distinctive and playful. So was the name. And it belonged to Don Pardo, who just died at 96. We heard him on the radio, newscasts, and TV shows for 60 years. He became the voice at the end of the original Jeopardy, when the announcer said, “Tell ‘em what they’ve won, Don Pardo.”

He was the first NBC announcer to break into the scheduled programming with the awful news that President Kennedy had been shot:

Most memorably for Lurchers, he announced the cast of Saturday Night Live.

“Nothing is like the moment when Don Pardo said your name,” Jimmy Fallon said. And he kept saying it until the end of last season.

Just hearing his name brings back so many memories. I’m glad he had such a long life and made so many people smile in recognition.

Not many can say that.


If you are a Lurcher and you liked comedy, Gilda Radner made you fall on the floor laughing with her antics on Saturday Night Live. I loved her Roseanne Roseannadanna (sic?) and her Baba Wawa put-down of Barbara Walters and her tap-dancing and her noogies with Bill Murray. She was absolutely unforgettably unique.

Which is why it’s a travesty that the Madison, Wisconsin chapter of Gilda’s Club, founded after Gilda died way too young from ovarian cancer in 1989, wants to change the name because the young women diagnosed with cancer don’t know who Gilda is, and that might prevent them from using its valuable resources and support.

Sorry, that’s just not good enough. How many charities or buildings or societies are named after people long gone and forgotten by most? Are their names changed? How ridiculous to even think about it. Change the name to something with Cancer in it, but leave Gilda alone.  This charity was named after her and it deserves to live on in her honor. In perpetuity, thank you.

Somewhere, I hope Gilda is laughing at the absurdity of this situation, but her memory is sacred. Do it justice, Wisconsin!