By Bill Vaughan
A trio of show business giants have died this week and your Tasty Clips writer had personal connections with each of them.
Taurean Blacque (born Herbert Middleton, Jr.) was an accomplished actor with beginnings in New York’s famed Negro Ensemble Company. His resume included guest spots on the TV shows of the 1970s such as “Sanford and Son,” “Good Times,” and “The Bob Newhart Show” to name a few.
His breakthrough role was as cool detective Neal Washington on “Hill Street Blues” for seven seasons, earning him an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor in 1981.
He followed that with the landmark African-American-led soap opera “Generations” with the late Kristoff St. John, Vivica A. Fox, Jonelle Allen, Joan Pringle, Lynn Hamilton and Debbi Morgan.
I knew Taurean as a neighbor upon moving into an Atlanta high rise in the 1990s.
We became fast friends after discovering we were both kids from Newark, New Jersey. He was a strong advocate for adoption recognized by President George H.W. Bush for taking on 11 kids in addition to his two biological sons. I was an adoptee.
Many good times were had as he shared stories about acting, his love of real estate and so much more.
I’ll always remember Taurean’s huge heart. He had this van that he would leave unlocked in the parking lot so a homeless family he noticed would have a sheltered place to sleep. He was that kind of guy.
He died in Atlanta at the age of 82 after a brief illness. A memorial is in the planning stages.
Bassist/singer/composer Michael Henderson died in his Atlanta home July 19 at the age of 71.
The Detroit native played or recorded with greats such as Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, Norman Connors, Phyllis Hyman and many others. He’s been nominated for four Grammys with pipes that ruled the airwaves on R&B classics like “You Are My Starship,” “Valentine Love,” “Take Me I’m Yours,” “At The Concert” and “Can’t We Fall In Love Again.”
We first met around 1979-80 when photographer Don Fleming and I took a road trip from New Jersey on a rainy night to see him play a small club in Philadelphia.
Imagine our thrill to be able to hang out after a great show where he introduced us to his band consisting of Detroit legends Eli Fontaine, Marilyn Scott and young guitarist Randy Jacobs.
We got to reconnect in 2019 when he headlined a show at City Winery Atlanta.
I remember him announcing “Every record we do, I played on. This ain’t somebody saying, ‘Y’all do some Johnny Taylor.’ No, I’m on the damn record. ‘Y’all do some Marvin Gaye.’ No, I’m on the damn record. ‘Do some of The Dramatics.’ I’m on every one of their records!”
Yet, he didn’t feel he was getting his props.
“I don’t know why they’re trying to forget me,” he said, citing shows like “Unsung” refusing to do his story and awards shows reluctant to give him musical tributes. “They try to erase me. They say, ‘Oh you’re still here? Your time has come and gone.’”
To that he said, “Hell to the naw. I have Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg taking my music. And they paid me!”
Details for the Michael Henderson Celebration of Life are to be announced, but in the meantime, there is a GoFundMe page created by his family under his name.
Also wishing a fond farewell to Larry Storch, the gifted comic/actor who recently died in New York City at the age of 99. He was the voice of Koko The Clown, The Joker in many Batman animated series and other cartoon characters, in addition to acting in many sitcoms. But he was best known as TV’s loveable sidekick Corporal Agarn on “F Troop.”
We met during my first trip to L.A. in the early 1980s. I randomly found myself in a hotel where the wrap party for a film called “Medium Rare” was happening. He motioned for me to come in and asked my name. I told him Bill. He said, “Well Billy, it’s good to meet you! Come on in and have a good time!”
I was soon in the ballroom having drinks and hors d’oeuvres with the likes of Burt Young (Paulie from the “Rocky” films), acting guru Sy Richardson (“Repo Man”), Brad Dourif (the “Chucky” films), singer Lanie Kazan and Dr. Timothy Leary. Talk about a welcome to Hollywood!
Some years later, I ran into Larry on the streets of Manhattan. He was as warm as ever and still calling me Billy.
Visit his official Facebook page for updates on a future memorial.
CLIPPETTES: Boyz II Men & TLC unite for a show at the Hollywood Bowl on July 29; while Les Claypool’s Bastard Jazz jams at The Ford; Daddy Yankee returns to The Forum; and Michael Franti & Spearhead are at House Of Blues Anaheim, moving to The Ford the following evening …
UCLA Film & Television Archive presents free screenings of “Medea” (1973) and “Dutchman” (1966) by Amiri Baraka (nee Leroi Jones) on July 30 at the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum …
On the music tip, The Sunset Jazz Fest at Malibu Bluffs Park commences July 30 with Will Downing, Najee, Freda Payne and more. Meanwhile, Your Real Life Playlist is on at Microsoft Theater with Naughty By Nature, Coolio, Tone Loc, Color Me Badd, Young MC, Vanilla Ice, All 4 One, and Kid N Play …
Also that evening, Leon Bridges and Little Dragon play The Forum; and The Music Center’s Summer SoundWaves outdoor concert series at Jerry Moss Plaza presents Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble featuring Telmary …
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Thundercat and Beck fill the bill on July 31 at SoFi Stadium on a date that also has jazz great Ronnie Foster at the Lodge Room; and Wonder-Full In The Park: A Tribute To The Music Of Stevie Wonder at Levitt Pavilion with DJ’s Spinna, Monalisa and Cognito …
Aug. 3 has Sheryl Crow at the Hollywood Bowl as Teyana Taylor’s The Last Rose Petal 2 – Farewell Tour lands at the Hollywood Palladium, and the House of Blues Anaheim the next night.
VIEW THIS: The National Geographic Channel has all the ingredients of a highly satisfying show with “World of Flavor with Big Moe Cason.” The award-winning chef who has appeared on “BBQ Pitmasters,” “BBQ Wars,” and “Chopped,” steps up front with a larger-than-life series matching his physique as he travels stateside and beyond like in this week’s “Cowboys and ‘Cue in Colombia” airing Aug. 1. New episodes premiere on Monday nights.
Tasty Clips had the opportunity to sit in on Cason’s demo preparing a Texas favorite: beef brisket. We learned that the Iowa-based former Navy guy prefers savory to sweet in his rubs and mostly uses oak and pecan wood for smoking.
Bring his flavors home by picking up his seasoning line at Ace Hardware, Academy Sports and other stores and cook along for a treat.
TC ON TV: July 29 – “Surface” (Apple TV+): Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“The Morning Show”) who also executive produces with Reese Witherspoon, stars in this series as a woman who after suffering extreme memory loss begins questioning what she is told is her truth. With Stephan James and Marianne Jean Baptiste. “Ready To Love” (OWN): “Nephew Tommy” Miles brings the mixer to Miami this sixth season. “NYC Point Gods” (SHO): A docuseries of the basketball legends to emerge from the streets of New York in the 1980s and 90s including Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, Mark Jackson and Stephon Marbury. Produced by Kevin Durant. “Super Sized Salon” (WE): A new series following the staff of the first beauty salon that caters to the plus size community.
July 31 – “Celebrity Family Feud” (ABC): Boyz II Men vs. Amber Ruffin “City On The Hill” (SHO): The third season of acclaimed Boston drama series starring Kevin Bacon and Aldis Hodge. “United Shades of America” (CNN): “California Is Burning”
Aug. 1 – “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (NGC): “Simu Liu in the Canadian Rockies”
Aug. 3 – “Reservation Dogs” (FX on Hulu): A second season of the comedy series following four Indigenous teenagers in rural Oklahoma as they steal, rob and save to get to the exotic, mysterious and faraway land of California.”Lightyear” (Disney+): The streaming premiere of the animated “Toy Story” prequel with voices by Chris Evans and Keke Palmer.
Aug. 4 – “All Or Nothing: Arsenal” (Prime Video): Daniel Kaluuya (“Nope”) narrates this UK docuseries. “Live with Kelly & Ryan” (ABC): Tamron Hall guest hosts with Jesse Williams.
END QUOTE: “I promise you I can feel his hand on me right now. Chad[wick Boseman] is no longer with us physically, but his passion, his genius, his pride, his culture, and the impact he made on this industry will be felt forever.” – Director RYAN COOGLER at Comic-Con upon unveiling the trailer for “Black Panther” sequel “Wakanda Forever” due Nov. 11
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at email@example.com, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.