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Author Archives: celebrityarchaeology


Love her or hate her, Jane Fonda (our episode cover photo from 1979) has managed to look ageless even at 80! The former model, actress, political activist and exercise guru is still very much on the scene after she vowed to retire from films in the early 1990’s.

Early Years

Jane was born part of a Hollywood dynasty. Her father is the late legend Henry Fonda , Peter Fonda who broke ground with “Easy Rider” is her brother and her niece is the actress Bridget Fonda. Jane’s upbringing was tough with a distant father and the suicide that claimed her mother’s life when she was 12. She attended Vassar, worked as a model and appeared as a Vogue cover girl twice, studied art in Paris and then was encouraged by acting coach Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York who recognized her talent.…

PODCAST EPISODE 15 – Dion DiMucci and Bobby Rydell

Dion DiMucci and Bobby Rydell are our cover subjects photographed in 1984 for this episode. The two former teen idols were at the top of their game in the 50’s and 60’s and are a big part of American music history.


Dion DiMucci is a Bronx-born Italian-American singer/songwriter who perfected his craft singing on street corners. He pulled three of his best buddies to back him up in a group called The Belmonts. 

Dion was the master of the doo-wop sound. Churning out 30 top hits in the late 50’s and early 60’s, he is best remembered for “The Wanderer,” “Runaround Sue,” and later “Abraham, Martin and John.”…

PODCAST EPISODE 14 – The Jiggler, the Jingler and the Mermaid


Today’s trifecta. The jiggler, the jingler and the mermaid together in 1982. Pictured are Suzanne Somers, Barry Manilow and the late Esther Williams.

This unlikely threesome is just one of the many odd couplings of celebs that you’ll find at Celebrity 

Suzanne Somers.

She’ll be forever remembered as the blonde in the white Thunderbird in American Graffiti. After playing many dumb blonde roles, Suzanne has lasted in show business by taking detours.…

PODCAST EPISODE 13 – John & Yoko, A Love Story

The cover photo of this episode was taken in 1980, but no one could have imagined that on December 8 of that year Yoko Ono would become a widow and the world would never recover from the murder of one of its greatest musicians and peace activist . Shortly before John Lennon’s murder, he resumed his songwriting career following a break as househusband and caretaker to their son Sean. Their “Double Fantasy” album was in the works and was released just three weeks before his cold-blooded killing in front of his apartment house-The Dakota-in New York City. The album gave us such memorable songs as “Woman,” and “(Just like) Starting Over.”

Yoko Ono was known as”The woman who broke up The Beatles.” John insisted on her attending the recording sessions that had been off limits to girlfriends and wives. 

PODCAST EPISODE 12 – Well, Hello, Dolly!

Well, Hello Dolly! 

This episode photo of bootylicious Dolly Parton was taken in 1978. The five foot tall singer, songwriter and actress with the hourglass figure and big bouffant hair has been churning out hits for decades.

“I like the big hair and the gaudy clothes. I’ve never thought of myself as being a sex symbol and I don’t want to have to be a beautiful woman, like Raquel Welch.

‘I want people to know it’s me when they see me coming and when they see me leavin’… ‘so I figured
I might as well look even more extreme,'” she said in an interview.”

The New Yorker described her voice as “baby-high soprano.” It can be heard on such hits as “Jolene” and “Here You Come Again,” which earned Dolly her first Grammy Award.

In 1983, she wrote and recorded “I Will Always Love You” about her professional split with country legend Porter Wagoner. They were a successful vocal duo who recorded such songs as “The Last Thing On My Mind,” and “Please, Don’t Stop Loving Me.”

In 1992, Dolly’s “I Will Always Love You” would be recorded again but by Whitney Houston for the soundtrack “The Bodyguard.” It would turn out to be one of the best-selling singles of all time.”

When asked what she did with all of the profit from that song she said she just went out and bought more wigs!

Dolly has appeared on the screen in a list of duds but also had some great success with “Steel Magnolias,” and “9 to 5” which she (again) wrote and recorded the theme song.

Dolly was born into poverty on January19, 1946 in Sevierville, Tennessee. 

Her childhood home in the Great Smokey Mountains was a log cabin with no running water or electricity. She was one of 12 children born to her tobacco farmer father and her mother who was a housewife. She was also the first in her family to graduate from high school.

At age seven, Dolly started strumming on a homemade guitar and at age 10, she began performing in local TV shows and radio in Knoxville.

To this day, she says her most favorite song is “A Coat of Many Colors,” which she wrote and recorded in 1971. The song tells how her mother stitched a colorful coat for her out of rags.

“…nothing is as precious as my mama’s memory and my coat of many colors that she made for me.”

In the beginning of her career, Dolly began churning out songs for other country artists such as Hank Williams, Jr. and Kitty Wells. She has composed over 3,000 songs to date and her worth is over $600 million. This is thanks to her early decision to publish her own music, concerts and royalties. She also has “Dollywood Theme Park” in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee which attracts over 2.1 million visitors a year.

Dolly has been married to the “mysterious” Carl Dean since 1966. They met at a Nashville laundromat called “The Wishy Washy.”

“He’s very private and I’ve always respected that for him and about him,” she said.

However, Dolly shocked her fans when she said she is in an open marriage. She revealed in an interview that she contemplated suicide over a failed love affair. She later took a step back and said there were no sexual relations in her other affairs.

There have been rumors for years that Dolly was in a relationship with her assistant and childhood friend Judy Ogle which she has vehemently denied.

Dolly is a well-known philanthropist who has donated more than 10 million books annually to improve child literacy through her Dollywood Foundation.

Hear the podcast:

PODCAST EPISODE 11 – A Prodigy Named Michael Jackson

This episode photo of Michael Jackson, taken at 19, in 1980 before he became the “King of Pop.” The adorable teen idol, who grew up before our eyes as a member of the Jackson 5, would continue to be embedded in pop culture history throughout his life.

Born in Gary, Indiana, he began performing with his brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon as “The Jackson 5”. 

When Motown got wind of the brothers they were signed to a recording contract where they popped out four number one singles in a row including “I Want You Back” (1969) ,” ABC “(1970) , “The Love You Save “(1970), and ” I’ll be There “(1970) But it was young Michael who emerged as the headliner of the group. 

Rolling Stone magazine called the child performer “a prodigy.” It was at this early stage that Michael began taking on the songwriting duties for the group. He began a solo career in 1971 but in the 1980s had reunited and toured again with his brothers. in 1982, he recorded the album “Thriller.” 

To this day, it is the best selling album of all time! His performance in 1983 for “Motown 26: Yesterday, Today, Forever ” garnered 47 million viewers and is rated up there with “The Beatles” U.S. debut on Ed Sullivan. Music producer Barry Gordy said of it, “From the first beat of ‘Billie Jean,” I was mesmerized.” 

It was after Michael introduce his famous Moonwalk choreography that “Michael Jackson went into orbit and never came down, ” Gordy said. Not satisfied with his already great looking appearance, Michael’s face changed along with his career. His skin tone became paler. He attributed it to a skin condition called vitiligo. Others claimed he was bleaching his skin to appear whiter. The metamorphosis of his face resulted in him looking like a pixieish character. Michael only admitted to two rhinoplasties and a dimple which was created in his chin. His strange lifestyle earned him such titles as “Wacko Jacko.” 

He seemed to play with the press when he carried around his pet chimp Bubbles, offered photos of himself sleeping in a hyperbaric chamber to the tabloids and went on a date with both Brooke Shields and little actor Emmanuel Lewis. Michael’s personal life made front page news when The King of Pop married Lisa Marie Presley, the daughter of the King of Rock ‘n Roll Elvis Presley. ‘Yes, I started falling for him,’ she explained. ‘I wanted to help him, and I felt that I could.’ As he fell further into drug addiction, she stood by him. 

One night, during one of their phone calls, he wanted to know how she would respond if he asked her to marry him. Without hesitation, she replied:”I would do it.” The marriage would last less than 2 years. Yearning for children, he moved on to a nurse from his dermatologist’s office. Debbie Rowe provided him with two children-Prince Michael Jackson and Paris Jackson. After their quick divorce, she turned the kids over to him as planned. 

It is still up in the air as to whether Michael fathered the kids. Rumors are that that distinction belonged to Dr. Arnold Klein, his dermatologist. Michael appeared with a third child (parentage unknown) which he nicked named “Blanket.” Blanket’s legal name is Prince Michael Jackson II. 

There was backlash after a famous scene where he laughed and dangled Blanket over a hotel balcony while everyone below looked in horror. Important to mention is the charitable Michael who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998 and 2003. In 2000, he was included in the Guinness Book of Records as a pop star who supported the biggest number of charity organizations (39 at the time). A 1988 autobiography spoke of his lost childhood and physical abuse at the hands of his father, Joe. 

Jackson’s questionable attraction to children and his purchase of “Neverland” ranch where he would entertain them took on an ugly tone. In 1993, he was accused of child sexual abuse but it was settled out of court. In 2005, he had a trial for similar charges but was tried and acquitted of more sexual abuse allegations. 

Viewers were glued to the TV watching the strange comings and goings including Jackson showing up in pajamas and his “umbrella man” assistant escorting him to the courthouse. The jury found him “not guilty” on all charges. 

Ready for a comeback, Jackson prepared for his final “This is It” tour. But “This is it” would turn out to be really it for him. On June 25, 2009, before making even one stop on tour, he died after suffering cardiac arrest. 

The coroner said he had acute propofol and benzodiazepine intoxication. His personal physician, Conrad Murray, was charged with involuntary manslaughter in his death. Michael Jackson’s longevity continues to this day. Forbes magazine ranked him the top-earning deceased celebrity for 2017.


PODCAST EPISODE 10 – How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?

How can you mend a broken heart?” These lyrics were prophetically written by  brothers Barry and Maurice Gibb with Maurice’s twin Robin joining in on the  group’s vocals. Together they were known as The Bee Gees. 

      The year was 1971 and the song became their first number 1 on the US’s Billboard Hot 100. The Bee Gees would go on to become the only group in history to have written, recorded and produced six consecutive number one songs.

     Tragically, the last remaining brother is lead singer Barry Gibb. Maurice died in 2003 at age 53 from a twisted intestine and his twin Robin died at age 62  in 2012 from cancer. Younger brother Andy, who was a solo artist with his own string of hits – died in 1988 from inflammation of the heart compounded by drug abuse. He was only five days past his 30th birthday and had recently come clean from an addiction to cocaine and Quaaludes.

     Following his brothers’ deaths, Barry told the UK’s Daily Mirror in an interview that after a performance on Saturday Night Live, also starring Paul McCartney, he looked at his old friend Paul and said: “I’m not sure how much longer I can keep doing this. Paul said, ‘Well, what else are you going to do?’ And I just thought, ‘Well, OK, then’.” 

Throughout their career, The Bee Gees had many comebacks. They also had split up for a time but according to Barry in a Daily Mail interview. How intense was the sibling rivalry in the Bee Gees? ‘Well, I don’t think it’s any different from any other family of brothers or sisters.’ A mix of competition and closeness? Yes. All of those things. You have enormous arguments. Then you become incredibly close and again have really angry moments with each other. Nothing different from any other family except our obsession with music. That’s how it was.”

The Gibb brothers were originally from the Isle of Man off the west coast of England. Their father was a band leader and their mother was a housewife. In their youth, the family moved to Australia. Barry dropped out of school at age 15 and the twins dropped out at age 13.  They practiced their harmonies at home and Barry, known as the good-looking toothy Gibb, perfected his falsetto voice.  They returned to England and had two hits “New York Mining Disaster 1941” and  “To Love Somebody.” 

They would experience 5 years in what Barry called “Pop Wilderness,” before they had another hit.

The group was almost written off until the soundtrack of “Saturday Night Fever” was released in December 1977. 

They wrote the first five songs on side A, which forever defined the Disco era, in just one weekend. Their five original songs were: “Stayin Alive,” “Night Fever,” “How Deep Is Your Love,” “More Than a Woman and “If I Can’t Have You.”

The soundtrack has gone platinum 15 times and earned The Bee Gees a Grammy Award.

The BeeGees sold more than 200 million records worldwide.

In 1997 they were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Besides writing for themselves, they wrote and produced music for Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

Barry has since taken to the stage as a solo artist reviving The Bee Gees’ mega hits, and in the process, has found a new generation of music fans.


Joe Namath is a former American football quarterback and actor known as much for playing on the field as playing off the field. 

The Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania native 1969 Super Bowl III star made headlines while escorting arm candy such as Mamie Van Doren, Randi Oakes and Raquel Welch. He even dated Janis Joplin. But it was in 1984 that Joe’s bachelor days were over when, at age 41, he married 22 year old Deborah Mays. He said at the time: “She caught my last pass.” The marriage lasted almost 15 years and produced two daughters, Grace and Olivia. 

Mays , who said she was “bored” with Joe, took off with a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and left Namath with the two girls in Florida. 

Namath began his football career at the University of Alabama from 1962-1964. Paul “Bear” Bryant said he was the most natural athlete he ever coached. He left Alabama early for a professional football career and didn’t earn his degree from the university until 2007 at age 64. Joe played professional football in both the American Football League (AFL) and National Football League (NFL) for over 13 years during the 1960s and 1970s. He was an AFL icon and played for the New York Jets for most of his professional football life. He finished his career with the Los Angeles Rams. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. In total, he played 143 games in the AFL and NFL. He made it to three division champions (the 1968 and 1969 AFL East Champion Jets and the 1977 NFC West Champion Rams), and earned one league championship (1968 AFL Championship). 

His one Super Bowl victory was Super Bowl III in 1969. Chronic injuries from the game continue to haunt him. In 1992 ,he had knee replacement surgery on both knees. He also says that he has had long term health problems as a result of concussions while playing football. “None of the body was designed to play football,” he told the New York Daily News in 2014. “Excuse me, you know, football, we’re just not designed for.” Joe’s other career paths including nightclub ownership, sports commentator, film star and TV actor. 

You can catch him in such films as C.C. and Company with Ann-Margret or reruns of The Love Boat, The A-Team and Married…with children. He also appeared in summer stock. At the height of his fame, he was seen in a TV commercial wearing Hanes pantyhose and one in which Farrah Fawcett gave him a close Noxema shave. 

An embarrassing on-air moment came for a drunken Namath in 2003. He told sports interviewer Suzy Kolber: “I want to kiss you. I couldn’t care less about the team struggling.” He apologized and two weeks later entered an outpatient alcohol treatment program. In 2013, Namath’s daughter Olivia married her baby daddy at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida. 

She was just 16 when she had Erwin Baker III’s daughter. Baker has a lengthy rap sheet including pleading guilty in 2006 to armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon at a McDonald’s near his home. Namath gave the bride away.

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