mario.cuomoI voted for Mario M. Cuomo, the son of Italian immigrants who became three-term governor of New York, more often than any political candidate. As the New York Times article announcing his New Year’s Day death at the age of 82 noted: “He commanded the attention of the country with a compelling public presence [and] a forceful defense of liberalism.”

He was the Democratic party’s official nominee for lieutenant governor in 1974, but lost in a primary to Mary Anne Krupsak. I happened to have been living in New York City when he ran for mayor in 1977, and he lost again, this time to Ed Koch, who I did not much like.

Cuomo was selected lieutenant governor in 1978, and when Hugh Carey chose not to run for governor in 1982, Cuomo found himself in another primary with Ed Koch. The mayor seemed to be destined to win until he said disparaging things about upstate New York. Cuomo won the gubernatorial primary and the general election.

Mario Cuomo became a national figure when he made the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. “They asked only for a chance to work and to make the world better for their children, and they — they asked to be protected in those moments when they would not be able to protect themselves. This nation and this nation’s government did that for them.” Links to his 1984 and 1992 convention speeches can be found HERE.

I most appreciated his unpopular position against the death penalty, “which he blocked as governor in New York for 12 years, as a ‘stain on our conscience… The death penalty is wrong because it lowers us all,’ he wrote in The Daily News. ‘It is a surrender to the worst that is in us. (It) has never elevated a society, never brought back a life, never inspired anything but hate.'”

He was reelected governor in 1986 and 1990, then got the nickname “Hamlet on the Hudson” when he considered running for President in 1992. He opted against doing so, which was fine by me; Presidential politics were rough, even then.

I was sad, however, that he decided to decline a possible appointment to the US Supreme Court in 1993 by President Clinton. His contemplative style would have been great on the bench.

Moreover, a successful run for a fourth term as governor seemed less than promising to me, and sure enough, he was defeated in the general election in November 1994 by obscure state legislator George Pataki. Interesting that Cuomo died 20 years almost to the day that he ended his term as governor.

He was the father of five, including the current governor, Andrew, who was inaugurated earlier on New Years Day; and Chris, an reporter with CNN. He had been married to his wife Matilda (née Raffa) since 1954.
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Edward Hermann did the patrician man better than almost anyone. He was best known as the well-to-do father and grandfather on Gilmore Girls. He played Franklin Roosevelt several times, and I think I saw them all, including in the 1982 movie Annie. I also saw him in the movies The Paper Chase, The Great Gatsby, Reds, Nixon and others.

Besides being the voiceover guy for programs on the Histoty Channel, he was on several TV shows I watched, including Beacon Hill, The Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife, and especially the haughty priest in flashbacks on St. Elsewhere, and the arrogant surgeon in an episode of MASH.

Ed Hermann died on December 31, 2014 at the age of 71 from brain cancer.
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I found this list from 2009 of the top 100 rated TV shows in the US. There are lots of final episodes of series, Super Bowl football games, the miniseries Roots, the first broadcast of Gone With the Wind, special episodes (how shot JR on Dallas, Beatles on Ed Sullivan). And sprinkled on the list are thirteen regular season episodes of the Beverly Hillbillies, which was the #1 show on American TV in 1962-63, and 1963-64. I watched it, but, hey, I was 10 or so. (Only a handful of shows since 2009 have entered the list, mostly Super Bowls.)

Noting the passing of Donna Douglas, who played goddess of the cee-ment pond, Elly May Clampett, on the program, at the age of 81 or 82.

2 Responses to “Mario Cuomo; Ed Hermann”

  • Lisa says:

    I read yesterday about Donna Douglas. I was a brainslap that so many years had passed! It seems not that long ago I was watching The Beverly Hillbillies…..but they say the mind is the first to go…..:-)

  • Nice recollection of Cuomo, and appreciate seeing the perspective of an “insider” (ans in, inside New York).

    I missed Edward Hermann’s death—or, even that he had cancer. Very sad.

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