Notable Passings: Fond farewell to community members

Since 2000, the area has lost many valuable people, like two Segerstrom ladies and Jan Vandersloot.

December 30, 2009|By Candice Baker

The past 10 years have seen massive growth in Newport-Mesa, but they also have seen the deaths of some of the area’s biggest names.

From firebrands to sparkling stars, each made their mark on the local scene.

Here are a few.



Consummate host, comedian and local legend Joey Bishop died in October 2007 at his Lido Isle home.

Bishop was the last surviving Rat Packer; his death signaled the conclusion of a feted age of martinis and dice. He emceed President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball, and was the most frequent guest on the Johnny Carson show. But he was thought to be the most upright Rat Pack member, who worked to raise money for children through numerous charities.


Locally, Bishop was beloved for his frequent parties and even more frequent smiles. He was heavily involved with the Balboa Bay Club, and always sought to make the people in his life laugh.

Bishop was as committed to his spirituality as his jokes, and had a close relationship with local Rabbi Reuven Mintz of Chabad Jewish Center.


One of the local residents who gave the most to the entire world was legendary animator Chuck Jones, who helped create some of the most memorable cartoon characters — including a certain wascally wabbit.

Longtime Corona del Mar resident Jones died of natural causes in 2002, after a lifetime spent creating and animating characters from Bugs Bunny to Tom and Jerry, and giving life to the Grinch who stole Christmas.

His career began with one of Walt Disney’s own animators in the 1930s, and he moved on to a company that was bought by Warner Bros. later in the decade. He became one of the studio’s most prolific animators in the coming decades, during the “golden age” of cartoons.

Jones’ name is splashed on countless cartoon credits, along with other greats like Tex Avery.


Far from only being one of the area’s best-known arts patrons and educators, Claire Trevor Bren also garnered an Academy Award for her role in the 1948 film “Key Largo.” She also was known for appearances in movies like “Stagecoach,” “Johnny Angel” and “Murder My Sweet.”

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