Big Death Wednesday!

Gosh! What’s with people dying today?

First, the news hit that Myron Cope, the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers broadcaster, died this morning at the age of 79. Cope was a Pittsburgh icon – as known and loved around the Steel City as Larry Munson is beloved by UGA fans. He was known for either inventing or popularizing many phrases including “the Immaculate Reception”, the “Cincinnati Bungles” (a take off on the “Bengals” football team), “Bee-uti-ful!, “Okel-dokel,” and “Double Yoi”. He is also known as the inventor of the Terrible Towel, a popular Steeler fan accessory and NFL icon. Cope was convinced that Steelers needed a gimmick for a 1975 playoff game against the Baltimore Colts; thinking that everyone could find a yellow dish towel, he urged fans to bring them to the game and wave the team on to victory. The Steelers won the game 28-10, and fans continued to bring dishcloths to the games until the Steelers released the “official” Terrible Towel just in time for Super Bowl X. The Steelers went on to win the Super Bowl, and many Cowboys said it was because of the towels. Cope’s son was born with autism, and so Myron gave the rights to the Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School in 1996. The towel has raised over $1.1 million for the school, which provides care for more than 900 people with mental retardation and physical disabilities. R.I.P. Myron!

William F. Buckley, Jr.Noted conservative commentator William F. Buckley also died today at his home in Stamford, CT. He was 82. Buckley was notable for publishing National Review, a conservative magazine I read religiously as a teenager, and hosting the show Firing Line, which I watched religiously as a teenager. He also played an important part in getting the “right-wing nutjobs” out of the conservative movement, thus making modern conservatism acceptable for mainstream America. Without Buckley’s work, it’s doubtful that Ronald Reagan even would have been elected. It’s also doubtful that politicians would see tax revenues as your money and not their birthright.

Lastly, Paul Tilley died of an apparent suicide last Friday. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, his work definitely will: he was in advertising, and his “Dude, You’re Getting a Dell” was one of the most popular and talked about campaign ads in the history of the IT industry. He was co-creator of McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign as well. Sadly, Tilley apparently jumped from the roof of San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel. No reason was immediately known for the suicide. He is survived by a wife and two children.

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