Charlie O’Donnell was an American radio and television announcer, primarily known for his work on game shows. Among them, he was best known for Wheel of Fortune, where he worked from 1975 to 1980, and again from 1989 until his death he died from heart failure he was , 78.
(August 12, 1932 – November 1, 2010)
O’Donnell, a native Philadelphian, began his career as a teenager at WCHA in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. In 1956, he worked as program director at WHAT, a 250-watt R&B station in Philadelphia, where he discovered and launched the career of future Philadelphia radio legend Hy Lit. http://www.youtube.com/v/jVOaUMsIzg0?fs=1&hl=en_US When WIBG became top-40 in 1957, O’Donnell was named news director. In 1958, he became the sidekick of Dick Clark on WFIL-TV’s afternoon dance program, American Bandstand. This led to several stints as a disc jockey on Los Angeles radio (most notably on legendary Pasadena station KRLA, 1964–67), and later as news anchorman on Los Angeles television station KCOP-TV. http://www.youtube.com/v/UJ7JEBCVB4M?fs=1&hl=en_US
His newscasts perhaps precipitated the joke where Announcer Charlie O’Donnell introduced Newscaster Charlie O’Donnell with the news. “Thank you Charlie, and here, now, the news…” KCOP was the home of The Joker’s Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough during its initial syndicated reigns. He is also featured on the Simon and Garfunkel song 7 O’Clock News/Silent Night as the news announcer.
He also made a full-time career as an announcer on many television shows throughout the decades, with such series as The Joker’s Wild, Tic-Tac-Dough, Bullseye and The $100,000 Pyramid (again working with Dick Clark). He also served as announcer for the American Music Awards, the Emmy Awards and the Academy Awards.
Wheel of Fortune and other game shows
O’Donnell was also known as the announcer of the game show Wheel of Fortune. He filled this role from 1975 to 1980, acted as a substitute for his successor, Jack Clark, and returned to the show permanently several months after Clark’s death in 1988. O’Donnell continued with the show until his own death in 2010. M.G. Kelly briefly served as announcer between Clark and O’Donnell.
Among the game show companies O’Donnell had worked for as a primary announcer were Stefan Hatos-Monty Hall Productions (1973–1977), Merv Griffin Enterprises/Sony Pictures Television (1975–80 and 1989–2010), Barry & Enright Productions (1981–86), and Barris Industries (1986–89 and earlier on occasion). He has also announced game shows for Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Productions (Card Sharks, Trivia Trap, Family Feud, To Tell the Truth); Bob Stewart Productions, and for Hill-Eubanks Group’s All Star Secrets and The Guinness Game. He and John Harlan filled in for Rod Roddy on different occasions on Press Your Luck.
On November 1, 2010, O’Donnell was reported to have died in his sleep overnight from heart failure at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. He is survived by his wife, Ellen. Shortly before his death, Jeopardy! announcer Johnny Gilbert began filling in for O’Donnell on Wheel of Fortune, and was later joined by former The Price Is Right announcer Rich Fields and radio personality Jim Thornton. Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajak described O’Donnell as “the perfect voice of the show.” O’Donnell’s last announced episode aired on Friday, October 29, 2010, three days before his death.
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Shannon Skye Tavarez was an American child actress died from leukemia she was , 11. She appeared in the Broadway theatre production of The Lion King by Walt Disney Theatrical, where she played the role of the young lion cub Nala.
(January 20, 1999 – November 1, 2010)
http://www.youtube.com/v/1sxrAZvd01A?fs=1&hl=en_USShe became one of two girls who split the role, with each girl performing four shows weekly. Several months after debuting in the show in September 2009, she was forced to leave the production after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. The daughter of an African American mother and a Dominican father, Tavarez faced much greater difficulty in attempts to find a match for a bone marrow transplant as minorities are significantly underrepresented in donor registries, despite efforts by such performers as Alicia Keys, Rihanna and 50 Cent to recruit prospective donors from among their fans. Unsuccessful in finding a bone marrow donor, Tavarez underwent an umbilical cord blood transplant in August 2010.
On November 1, 2010, Tavarez died at the age of 11 at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, New York, due to acute myeloid leukemia. The lights at the Minskoff Theatre, where The Lion King was playing, were dimmed the night she died. In a statement released following her daughter’s death, Odiney Brown said that “Shannon’s dream was to perform on stage, and that she did.” To see Shannon singing click here
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Maurice Lucas, American basketball player (Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers), died from bladder cancer.he was , 58
Maurice Lucas was an American professional basketball player died from bladder cancer.he was , 58. The first two years of his postcollegiate career were spent in the American Basketball Association (ABA) with the Spirits of St. Louis and Kentucky Colonels. He then played twelve seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Portland Trail Blazers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knickerbockers, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Seattle SuperSonics. The starting power forward on the Trail Blazers’ 1976–77 NBA Championship team, he was nicknamed The Enforcer because of his primary role on the court which was best exemplified in Game 2 of the NBA Finals that season.
(February 18, 1952 – October 31, 2010)
Lucas played college basketball for head coach Al McGuire at Marquette University for two years, leading it to the NCAA championship game in 1974. Although Marquette did not win the title, Lucas played the full 40 minutes of the game, leading his team with 21 points and 13 rebounds.http://www.youtube.com/v/XjSa1Np5ab0?fs=1&hl=en_US
In 1973, the Carolina Cougars of the American Basketball Association (ABA) obtained that league’s rights to Lucas in the first round of the ABA draft. In 1974, Lucas was also selected by the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the 14th pick of the NBA draft. Lucas chose the ABA over the NBA, joining the Spirits of St. Louis team, which had since supplanted the Carolina Cougars in the ABA. During his first season, Lucas averaged 13.2 points per game, and 10 rebounds per game, and he was chosen for the 1974–75 ABA All-Rookie second team.
On December 17, 1975, part way through his second season with the Spirits, Lucas was traded to the Kentucky Colonels in exchange for Caldwell Jones. Lucas was an ABA All-Star for the 1975–76 season, and he averaged 17.0 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. Lucas remained with the Colonels through that team’s loss in the semifinals of the 1976 ABA Playoffs to the Denver Nuggets and through the ABA-NBA merger in 1976.
After the ABA-NBA merger, Lucas was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the subsequent ABA Dispersal Draft in which the Kentucky Colonels and Spirits of St. Louis players were selected by NBA teams. Portland had traded Geoff Petrie and Steve Hawes to the Atlanta Hawks for the second overall pick, which they used to select Lucas. In the 1976–77 NBA season, Lucas led the Trail Blazers in scoring, minutes played, field goals, free throws, and offensive rebounds. Not only did the team qualify for their first trip to the playoffs that season, but Lucas and teammate Bill Walton led the Trail Blazers past the favored Los Angeles Lakers, sweeping them 4–0 in the Western Conference Finals, and a surprising come-from-behind 4–2 upset victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1977 NBA Finals.
In that NBA Finals series, Lucas asserted his “enforcer” role in Game 2. With the 76ers comfortably ahead late in the game, the Blazers streaked down the floor on a fast break. Lionel Hollins missed the shot, both Bob Gross and Darryl Dawkins went up and wrestled for the rebound, and both came crashing to the floor. The two appeared ready to come to punches before Lucas slapped Dawkins from behind and challenged him to fight him instead of Gross. Both benches emptied and Dawkins and Lucas were ejected. Although the 76ers would go on to win the game and go up 2–0 in the series, Lucas’ actions appeared to alter the momentum of the series in favor of the Blazers. Inspired, Portland won the next two games at home in blowouts, then won at Philadelphia, and closed out the 76ers at home to win the series. Lucas remained with Portland until 1980 when he was traded to the New Jersey Nets.
Lucas next moved through several different teams in several years, playing for the New York Knicks, the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers, helping the Lakers to the Western Conference championship series in the 1986 NBA Playoffs in his only year with that team. Next, Lucas moved to the Seattle SuperSonics for one year, before returning to the Trail Blazers for his final NBA season in 1988.
In his fourteen-year professional basketball career – two in the ABA nd 12 in the NBA – Lucas scored 14,857 points and gathered 9,306 rebounds. He was a five-time All-Star – one in the ABA and four in the NBA. He was named to the 1978 All-NBA-Defense First team, the 1978 All-NBA Second team and the 1979 All-NBA-Defense Second team.
The Portland Trail Blazers retired his jersey number, 20, in a ceremony on November 4, 1988. Lucas was hired by the team as an assistant coach under Mike Schuler and Rick Adelman during the 1988–89 season. In 2005, Lucas rejoined the Trail Blazers as an assistant coach under Nate McMillan.
On August 23, 1997 at the ABA’s 30 Year Reunion celebration, Lucas was named to the All-Time All-NBA Team along with Hall of Fame members Julius Erving, Dan Issel, George Gervin, Rick Barry, Connie Hawkins and other ABA greats.
Current Los Angeles Lakers forward Luke Walton, son of Lucas’ Portland teammate Bill Walton, is named after him.
Lucas underwent surgery for bladder cancer in April 2009. With his health continuing to be a concern, Lucas resigned his coaching position following the 2009–2010 season.
His son, David Lucas, played for Oregon State University from 2001–2005.
Lucas died at his home in Portland, Oregon, on October 31, 2010. Services were also held in his boyhood home town, Pittsburgh, PA. 
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Theodore Chaikin “Ted” Sorensen was an American presidential advisor, lawyer and writer, best known as President John F. Kennedy’s special counsel, adviser and legendary speechwriter. President Kennedy once called him his “intellectual blood bank.” He was Of Counsel at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
(May 8, 1928 – October 31, 2010)
Sorensen was born in Nebraska, the son of Christian A. Sorensen, a Danish American and Nebraska Attorney General (1929–33), and Annis (Chaikin) Sorensen, who was of Russian Jewish descent. He graduated from Lincoln High School (1945). He earned a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and attended law school there, graduating first in his class.
Sorensen was President Kennedy’s Special Counsel & Adviser, and primary speechwriter, the role for which he is best remembered today. He was particularly famous for having helped draft the inaugural address in which Kennedy exhorted listeners to “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” This call to service is the phrase still most closely associated with the Kennedy administration. Although Sorensen played an important part in the composition of the Inaugural Address, “the speech and its famous turn of phrase that everyone remembers was,” Sorensen firmly states (counter to what the majority of authors, journalists and other media sources have claimed), “written by Kennedy himself.” In later years, when pressed in interviews if he wrote the phrase, Sorenson would reply tongue-in-cheek “Ask not.”
In the early months of the administration the scope of Sorensen’s responsibilities lay within the domestic agenda; however, after the Bay of Pigs debacle Kennedy asked Sorensen to take part in foreign policy discussions as well. During the Cuban Missile Crisis Sorensen served as a member of ExComm and was named by Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara as one of the “true inner circle” members who advised the president, the others being Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, General Maxwell D. Taylor (the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs), former Ambassador to the Soviet Union Llewellyn Thompson and McNamara himself. Sorensen played a critical role in drafting Kennedy’s correspondence with Nikita Khrushchev and worked on Kennedy’s first address to the nation about the crisis on October 22.
Sorensen was devastated by Kennedy’s assassination, which he called “the most deeply traumatic experience of my life…I had never considered a future without him.” He later quoted a poem that he said summed up how he felt: ‘How could you leave us, how could you die? We are sheep without a shepherd when the snow shuts out the sky’. He submitted a letter of resignation to President Johnson the day after the assassination but was persuaded to stay through the transition. Sorensen drafted Johnson’s first address to Congress as well as the 1964 State of the Union. He officially resigned February 29, 1964, and was the first member of the Kennedy Administration to do so.
Prior to his resignation, Sorensen stated his intent to write Kennedy’s biography, calling it “the book that President Kennedy had intended to write with my help after his second term.” He was not the only Kennedy aide to turn to writing; historian and Special Assistant Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. wrote his Pulitzer-winning memoir A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House during the same time span. Sorensen’s biography Kennedy was published in 1965 and became an international bestseller.
Politics after Kennedy
Sorensen later joined the prominent U.S. law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, while still staying involved in politics. He was an important partner of Democratic campaigns and was a key adviser to Robert F. Kennedy in Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign. Over the past four decades, Sorensen had a prominent career as an international lawyer, advising governments around the world, as well as major international corporations.
In 1970 Sorensen ran as the Democratic party’s designee for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senator from New York, but was challenged in the primary election by Richard Ottinger, Paul O’Dwyer and Max McCarthy, and came in third. In 1977 Jimmy Carter nominated him as Director of Central Intelligence (CIA), but the nomination was withdrawn before a Senate vote. Sorensen’s help in explaining Ted Kennedy‘s Chappaquiddick incident was cited as one factor in Senate opposition to his nomination as CIA Director.
Sorensen was the national co-chairman for Gary Hart for the presidential election of 1984 and made several appearances on his behalf.
In addition to his successful career as a lawyer, Sorensen was also a frequent spokesman for liberal ideals and ideas, writing op-eds and delivering speeches on both domestic and international subjects. For several years in the 1960s, he was an editor at the Saturday Review.
He was affiliated with a number of institutions, including the Council on Foreign Relations, The Century Foundation, Princeton University, and the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Sorensen was a board member of the International Center for Transitional Justice and an Advisory Board member of the Partnership for a Secure America, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to recreating the bipartisan center in American national security and foreign policy. He also was chairman of the advisory board to the International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life at Brandeis University. Sorensen also attended meetings of the Judson Welliver Society, a bipartisan social club composed of former presidential speechwriters.
In 2007 a model Democratic presidential nomination acceptance speech written by Sorensen was published in the Washington Monthly. The magazine had solicited him to write the speech that he would most want the 2008 Democratic nominee to give at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, without regard to the identity of the nominee.
On March 9, 2007, he spoke at an event with then-Senator Barack Obama at New York City’s Grand Hyatt Hotel and officially endorsed him for the presidential election in 2008. Very active in his campaign, Sorensen spoke (early-on and) frequently about the similarities between both Senator Barack Obama’s and Senator John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaigns. He also provided some assistance with President Obama’s 2009 Inaugural Address.
Sorensen served on the Advisory Board of the National Security Network.
At the age of 27, Sorensen had an important role in researching and drafting Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize–winning book Profiles in Courage, prompting some controversy over the book’s authorship.
In December 1957, syndicated columnist Drew Pearson, interviewed on TV by Mike Wallace, said, “Jack Kennedy is . . . the only man in history that I know who won a Pulitzer prize on a book which was ghostwritten for him.” Kennedy demanded a retraction. After Kennedy provided handwritten notes and Sorensen signed an affidavit attesting to Kennedy’s authorship, Pearson acceded. Historian Herbert Parmet, in his book The Struggles of John F. Kennedy (1980), concluded that although Kennedy did oversee the production and provided for the direction and message of the book, Sorensen clearly provided much of the work that went into the end product.
In May 2008, Sorensen clarified in his autobiography, Counselor, how he collaborated with Kennedy on the book: “While in Washington, I received from Florida almost daily instructions and requests by letter and telephone – books to send, memoranda to draft, sources to check, materials to assemble, and Dictaphone drafts or revisions of early chapters.” (Sorensen, p. 146) Sorensen wrote that Kennedy “worked particularly hard and long on the first and last chapters, setting the tone and philosophy of the book” and that “I did a first draft of most chapters” and “helped choose the words of many of its sentences”. JFK “publicly acknowledged in his introduction to the book my extensive role in its composition” (p. 147) Sorensen claimed that in May 1957, Kennedy “unexpectedly and generously offered, and I happily accepted, a sum to be spread over several years, that I regarded as more than fair” for his work on the book. Indeed, this supported a long-standing recognition of the collaborative effort that Kennedy and Sorensen had developed since 1953.
He was married to Gillian Sorensen of the United Nations Foundation. He had had three sons by a previous marriage – Eric, Stephen, and Philip – and a daughter with Gillian, Juliet Sorensen.
On February 25, 2010, he received the National Humanities Medal for 2009 in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House. He was awarded the medal for: “Advancing our understanding of modern American politics. As a speechwriter and advisor to President Kennedy, he helped craft messages and policies, and later gave us a window into the people and events that made history.”
Sorensen died on October 31, 2010, following a stroke.
Books by Ted Sorensen
- Decision-making in the White House (1963)
- Kennedy (1965)
- The Kennedy Legacy (1969)
- Watchmen in the Night: Presidential Accountability After Watergate (1975)
- A Different Kind of Presidency: A Proposal for Breaking the Political Deadlock (1984)
- Let the Word Go Forth: The Speeches, Statements and Writings of John F. Kennedy, 1947-1963 (1988)
- Why I Am a Democrat (1996)
- Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History (2008)
In other media
- Sorenson was portrayed by actor Clifford David in the 1974, made-for-TV film, The Missiles of October.
- In the 1998 mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, Sorensen was played by Jack Gilpin;
- In the 2000 film Thirteen Days, although he was played by Tim Kelleher, it is widely believed that the lead role played by Kevin Costner was modeled after Sorensen himself: in an interview Robert McNamara claimed the duties performed by O’Donnell in the film are closer to the role Sorensen played during the actual crisis: “It was not Kenny O’Donnell who pulled us all together—it was Ted Sorensen.”
- ABC News online, 2008-02-08. Passing the Torch: Kennedy’s Touch on Obama’s Words
- Clarke, Thurston. 2005. Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America. Macmillan, 304 pp. (Originally published 2004 by Henry Holt and Co., 272 pp.)
- Marcus, Jacob Rader. 1981. The American Jewish Woman, 1654-1980. KTAV Publishing House. 231 pp
- The New York Times, 1983-04-21. NEW YORK DAY BY DAY; Gary Hart Opens Campaign Headquarters
- The New York Times, Sunday Book Review, 18 May 2008, review of Ted Sorensen’s Counselor.
- Sorensen, Ted (as Theodore C.) The New Vision. Washington Monthly, July/August 2007.
- Sorensen, Ted. 2008-07-23. Heir Time: Is Barack Obama The Next JFK? The New Republic
- Sorenson, Ted (as Theodore). 2007-07-25. Barack Obama: the new JFK. Guardian (London, UK)
- Sorensen, Ted. Ted Sorensen on Barack Obama. Video posted on YouTube.
- Wall Street Journal, 9 May 2008, p W3, review of Ted Sorensen’s Counselor.
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Artie Wilson,, American baseball player (New York Giants, Birmingham Black Barons), died from Alzheimer’s disease he was 90
Arthur Lee Wilson was a shortstop in Major League and Negro league baseball who was an all-star for the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro leagues before playing one season in the major leagues for the New York Giants died from Alzheimer’s disease he was 90 He was born in Springville, Alabama.
(October 28, 1920 – October 31, 2010)
Negro leagues and Puerto Rico League
Wilson played for the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League from 1942 to 1948, where he was considered the league’s best shortstop, and was named the starting shortstop of the league All-Star team four times from 1944 to 1948 (missing out only in 1945, when he was beat out by Jackie Robinson, shortly before he broke the baseball color line in 1947). During his time with the Black Barons, the team won the league championship in 1943, 1944 and 1948, advancing to, but never winning, the Negro League World Series.
In the 1948 regular season, Wilson, who was known as an opposite field hitter, batted .402, and is sometimes credited as the last player in a top-level league to bat over .400 (Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941). In 1948, Wilson mentored a young Willie Mays, who was just breaking into baseball.
Following the 1948 Negro World Series, Wilson played for the Mayaguez Indians of the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball League, leading them to their first championship title in 1949.
Pacific Coast League
In 1948, the New York Yankees purchased Wilson’s contract, and he was assigned to their Newark Bears minor league team; but since his salary would have been less than he was making with Birmingham, he negotiated another contract with the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League. The Yankees protested to baseball commissioner Happy Chandler, who voided Wilson’s Padres contract. The Yankees then sold Wilson to the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, where he was the team’s first black player and the roommate of Billy Martin. With Oakland, Wilson won the PCL batting title with a .348 average and also led in stolen bases with 47. In 1950, he led the PCL in runs with 168 and hits with 264, helping the Oaks to the 1950 PCL championship.
Wilson’s accomplishments were noticed by the New York Giants, and he was called up for the 1951 season, where he was used as a utility infielder and as a pinch runner and pinch hitter. But Wilson struggled in the big leagues, hitting only .182 in 22 at bats; when the Giants called up Wilson’s former protege Willie Mays, they sent Wilson back to Oakland, ending his major league career. Back in the PCL, Wilson finished the 1951 season with the Oaks and was sold to the Seattle Rainiers in 1952. Wilson also played with the Portland Beavers and Sacramento Solons of the PCL, winning three more PCL batting titles before ending his career with the Beavers in 1962.
Wilson settled in Portland, Oregon, in 1955, and with his wife, Dorothy, raised two children. Following his retirement from baseball, he worked at Gary Worth Lincoln Mercury in Portland for more than 30 years, and stayed on there until the fall of 2008 at the age of 88 still greeting customers. He was named to the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, and the PCL Hall of Fame in 2003.
Wilson died in Portland, Oregon on October 31, 2010, three days after celebrating his 90th birthday. He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
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(23 December 1942 – 30 October 2010)
Benson’s long career in football began with Stockport Boys before signing as an apprentice with Manchester City. He turned professional with the Maine Road side in July 1961 and made 44 league appearances before moving to Torquay United in June 1964. He established himself as a regular in the Torquay side and was a member of the 1965–66 promotion side, Torquay finishing 3rd in Division Four. After 240 league games and 7 goals, Benson left for Bournemouth in October 1970 and was appointed captain by manager John Bond. He played four games on loan with Exeter City in March 1973, before moving to Norwich City in December 1973 where he made 37 appearances scoring a solitary league goal. He returned to Bournemouth in January 1975 to become player-manager and made another 57 league appearances. He failed to save the Cherries from relegation at the end of his first season, and led them to 6th place the following year. However, this was the nearest the Cherries would get to winning back their Division Three status under Benson as they finished 13th and 17th the following years. The 1978–79 season looked to be going the same way and he was replaced at Dean Court by Alec Stock.
In January 1979, Benson returned to Norwich City to act as youth team coach and scout, working under his former colleague from Bournemouth and Torquay, John Bond. In October 1980 he turned down the manager’s job at Carrow Road in order to follow Bond to Manchester City as his assistant and briefly took over as manager after Bond’s dismissal on 9 February 1983. At the end of the season, with City relegated after a home defeat by Luton Town (which resulted in Luton manager David Pleat dancing on the pitch), Benson was replaced by Billy McNeill. He rejoined John Bond as coach to Bond’s Burnley team, and again replaced Bond as manager in August 1984. His spell in charge at Turf Moor lasted until May 1985, when he was sacked after Burnley’s relegation.
He subsequently took coaching jobs in Dubai and with Naser in Kuwait. In 1990 he was appointed Chief Scout at Barnsley, a post he held until April 1994 when he returned to Norwich City assisting then manager John Deehan with administrative duties, whilst also coaching the Norwich goalkeepers. Deehan resigned in April 1995, and was replaced by Martin O’Neill, Deehan subsequently being appointed manager of Wigan Athletic. In October 1995, Benson became Deehan’s assistant at Wigan. In the summer of 1998, Deehan left to coach at Sheffield United, with Benson taking over as caretaker. He was offered the job, but declined on the grounds of ill-health, Ray Mathias taking over instead, with Benson remaining in an advisory capacity. With expectations high and Wigan missing out on promotion, Matthias was sacked, and on the 1st of June 1999 Benson was appointed as Wigan’s manager. As Wigan settled into their new home at the JJB Stadium, Benson’s side went 26 league games undefeated, before losing at home to Oldham Athletic on the 7th of January 2000, Benson picking up 2 Manager of the Month awards in the process. Towards the end of the season Wigan lost their form and found themselves in the play-off final at Wembley against Gillingham. A few days prior to the game, Benson had announced he was stepping down but remained to lead his team out at Wembley and ultimately a 3–2 defeat after being 2–1 up with only 7 minutes of extra time remaining. In June 2000 Bruce Rioch took over as Wigan manager, with Benson appointed as general manager. In April 2001, Rioch was replaced by Steve Bruce and Benson’s role changed to that of youth development officer. A month later Bruce also left, and the consequent arrival as Paul Jewell resulted in Benson being given the title of Director of Football. On the 10th of December 2001 he resigned from his post at Wigan to link up again, this time as assistant manager, with Steve Bruce, when Bruce finally completed his acrimonius move from Crystal Palace to Birmingham City. He later became General Manager at Birmingham, but left on 2 June 2006 to rejoin Wigan Athletic, his role described by the BBC as linking the playing and administrative sides of the club He left Wigan to join Sunderland in the summer of 2010.
On 30 October 2010, it was announced that Benson had died, following a short illness.
On 10th November 2010, Wigan vs Liverpool FC Premier League match, there was a well respected minute’s applause in his memory.
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