Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Obituaries of People I'd Never Heard Of

Francis Nicholls, who in true show business style changed his name to "Frankie Knuckles" though it didn't make him any less obscure to me but well known in music circles for something called "house music," whatever that is, died. He was 59 years old and was born three days after I was.

Knuckles was born Francis Nicholls on Jan. 18, 1955, in the Bronx. He worked as a DJ in the early 1970s in New York before moving to Chicago in the late 1970s. In Chicago he was resident DJ at the city's The Warehouse club until it closed in 1983.

It was there that he defined House music's distinct style and took on the role of DJ as tastemaker, said Phil White, co-author of "On the Record: The Scratch DJ Academy Guide." Knuckles "defined really what House music was in terms of style," White said. Knuckles even would cut and tape together pieces of reel-to-reel recordings to make extended tracks, he said.


Kate O'Mara, a British actress whose name simply doesn't ring a bell with me though I am familiar with the 1980s soap Dynasty, died in an English nursing home at the age of 74. She had been suffering from a short illness.

The actress, who began her television career in the 1960s, became a household name for playing Cassandra "Caress" Morrell, sister to Joan Collins' Alexis Colby, in "Dynasty."

If I saw reruns of the show, I'd probably recognize her.

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