By Johnny Trlica
This is the final HRH Report of 2016. Thank God! This has been a year we will not soon forget—try as we may. Donald Trump will be sworn in next month as the 45th President of the United States, despite garnering almost three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton.
Final figures show Clinton with 65,844,610 votes for 48.2 percent and Trump with 62,979,636 votes for 46.1 percent. That’s a hard pill to swallow as we face four years of what promises to be nonstop threats to the gains the LGBT community has made over the past eight years. As Bette Davis said, “ Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
Besides the surprising election results, 2016 will be marked by the deaths of some of our most notable individuals. Among those we lost this year, as reported by TVGuide.com, are:
Patty Duke, 69, died from a ruptured intestine. The third youngest Oscar winner ever, Duke won an Academy Award for her performance as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker in 1963 when she was only 16. She went on to star in her own Emmy-nominated sitcom, The Patty Duke Show, and won three Emmys for her performances in three TV movies. In her later years she was an advocate for mental health.
Natalie Cole, 65, died of congestive heart failure due to complications from a kidney transplant and Hepatitis C. Her 1991 album, Unforgettable…with Love, spent five weeks at No. 1, sold 14 million copies and won six Grammy Awards.
David Bowie, 69, died of cancer. He was a musical icon whose most memorable hits included “ Space Oddity” , “ Let’s Dance” and “ Modern Love” .
Glenn Frey, 67, succumbed to complications of severe gastrointestinal problems. He was co-founder of The Eagles whose hits included “ Take It Easy” , “ Tequila Sunrise” and “ Lyin’ Eyes” .
Maurice White, 74, was the founder and horn player of Earth, Wind & Fire. He died after a battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Vanity, 56, Prince’s protégée, died after battling kidney failure and a stomach illness. She was best known for her 1980s hit, “ Nasty Girl” .
Former First Lady Nancy Reagan, 94, died from congestive heart failure.
David Gest, 62, was a music producer and reality TV star. He was best known for his brief, tumultuous marriage to Liza Minnelli.
Doris Roberts, 90, was best known for her role as meddling mother-in-law “ Marie Barone” in Everybody Loves Raymond and her role in the holiday classic, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Prince, 57, was found dead at his Minnesota estate on April 21. His 1984 album Purple Rain included the hits “ When Doves Cry” and “ Let’s Go Crazy” . The film of the same name won him an Oscar for the soundtrack.
Muhammad Ali, 74, died from complications stemming from a respiratory illness. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.
Garry Marshall, 81, is best remembered as the creator of Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley and the TV adaptation of The Odd Couple. Oh yeah, and he directed the films Beaches, Overboard, The Flamingo Kid and The Princess Diaries.
Alexis Arquette, 47, died of cardiac arrest. She was an actress and transgender rights activist best known for her roles in The Wedding Singer and Pulp Fiction. Her transition was the subject of the 2007 documentary Alexis Arquette: She’s My Brother.
Zsa Zsa Gabor, 99, was best known for her larger-than-life personality and lifestyle. Often known as “ the mean Gabor sister,” she was not to be confused with her younger sister Eva Gabor, who starred in the classic sitcom, Green Acres.
Juan Gabriel, 66, was a Mexican superstar singer with sales of more than 100 million albums. Best known as a flamboyant performer, Juan Gabriel liked to wear jackets covered in sequins or dress in shiny silk outfits in hot pink, turquoise blue or canary yellow, and he was known for tossing his head before dancing or jumping around the stage.
Emilio Navaira, 53, was described as the king of Tejano music. Along with Selena, Navaira is widely credited with introducing Tejano music into the mainstream in the 1990s.
Florence Henderson, 82, died of heart failure on Thanksgiving Day. She will be remembered as “ a lovely lady,” the perky mother on The Brady Bunch.
Rebirth of a landmark Not all the news of 2016 was bad. In Houston, Harris County Commissioners have come up with a plan to save the Bayou City’s most recognizable landmark. The Astrodome is being repurposed as a parking garage/convention center, reports HoustonBusinessJournal.com.
Houston-based Kirksey Architecture has been picked to design a multimillion-dollar plan to create parking for about 1400 cars on two levels of the Dome and raise the floor to ground level.
For the latest LGBTQ news and current events in 2017, click on Houston Rainbow Herald.com.
Johnny Trlica is the editor of the Houston Rainbow Herald.com, the Bayou City’s only daily LGBT internet newspaper. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.