EmptyTina Mayfield, the widow of blues great Percy Mayfield who became a tireless promoter of the genre, died Dec. 14 of gallbladder cancer at her home in Palmdale, Calif. She was 77.
As the wife of Mayfield, the "poet laureate of the blues" who composed "Two Years of Torture," she acquired the industry savvy for which he was known.
"The Grammy people don't know who she is, but she was queen in this (blues music) community," longtime friend and blues artist Barbara Morrison said.
Tina Mayfield served as a friend and supporter to a variety of blues artists, including singer Big Mama Thornton and master bluesman Lowell Fulson, who wrote "Every Day I Have the Blues." In addition to providing Louisiana red hots to audiences at blues events, she was known for helping artists get royalties and performance opportunities.
Dennis Linde, a prolific songwriter who wrote Elvis Presley's last major hit, "Burning Love," died Dec. 22 of a rare lung disease at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. He was 63.
"Burning Love," with its driving beat and "Just a hunk, a hunk of burning love" lyrics, reached No. 2 on the Billboard chart in 1972. Linde also wrote "Goodbye Earl," a hit by Dixie Chicks in 1999, and "Callin' Baton Rouge," a Garth Brooks hit in 1993.
Mike Evans, who played Lionel Jefferson on the TV sitcoms "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," died Dec. 14 of throat cancer in Twentynine Palms, Calif. He was 57.
Evans, along with Eric Monte, also created and wrote for "Good Times," one of the first TV sitcoms that featured a primarily black cast.
He studied acting at Los Angeles City College before getting the role of Lionel Jefferson in the 1970s sitcom "All in the Family." Evans kept the role of Lionel on the spinoff "The Jeffersons" when it launched in 1975.
Charles Colarusso, a producer of numerous network and syndicated TV talk and game shows, died Dec. 7 of complications from a stroke in Los Angeles. He was 72.
Colarusso launched his television production career in Manhattan, becoming associate producer of such popular shows as "Fractured Phrases," "It's Your Move" and "Picture This," for which he also designed all the logos.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, Colarusso joined the staff of one of the first celebrity trivia game shows, "The Movie Game." In the 1970s, he launched a decadelong relationship with TV icon Dinah Shore, as associate producer of her talk shows "Dinah's Place" and "Dinah!"
Ian Praiser, an Emmy-winning writer and producer on many television shows, died Dec. 4 of a heart attack in Los Angeles. He was 59.
His shows included "Taxi," "Bosom Buddies," "ALF," "Caroline in the City," "Suddenly Susan" and "Style and Substance."
Praiser's Emmy was for outstanding writing on "The Tracey Ullman Show" in 1990. He was twice nominated for the WGA Award in the writing achievement for television category for "Taxi" and "All Is Forgiven," a show he co-created with Glen and Les Charles.
Harold Pedersen, a former carpenter for Paramount Studios, died Dec. 24 of acute leukemia at his home in Camarillo, Calif. He was 89.
Pedersen worked as a set builder and wood-turning specialist at the Paramount mill from the late 1930s until he was drafted into the Army in 1943. He was assigned to the Pacific theater, serving in such places as Pearl Harbor and Okinawa.
He returned to Paramount after the war and worked at the studio with his father, Peter, and brother, Clarence, until the studios locked out members of the Confederation of Studio Unions in September 1946.