Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend John Melendez

John Edward Melendez was born on 4 October, 1965 in Massapequa, Long Island commonly known as “Stuttering John”. John Melendez is an American television/radio personality. Before his present job as announcer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, John Melendez was a regular on-air personality on The Howard Stern Show.

John Melendez attended Plainedge High School. John Melendez began to stutter when he was in the 2nd grade. According to John Melendez, his problem came about because of the psychological mistreatment from his alcoholic father, who also stutters. Both he and his father suffer from a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. During his youth he was often picked on by other children for being Puerto Rican and was called “Stutterface,” “Skip” and “M-C Stammer” (even though MC Hammer was not even around at the time of John Melendez’s youth).

In 1988, John Melendez attended New York University’s film school, and belonged to a band called “Rock Slide”. John Melendez’s college roommate, comedian Mitch Fatel, was on the verge of quitting his internship with The Howard Stern Show, when John Melendez asked him for a recommendation for an internship there. The show’s producer, Gary Dell’Abate, mentioned John Melendez’s stuttering to Howard Stern who, without seeing him and even before he was interviewed, told the producer to hire him.

On Howard Stern’s show, John Melendez conducted outrageous street interviews, premised on the idea that celebrities would not want to look bad by refusing an interview from a stutterer. John Melendez sported long hair and metal t-shirts and would often confront celebrities with puerile questions about their private lives. John Melendez’s interviews were characterised by punchline-free “joke” questions, such as asking Melanie Griffith “how her father, Andy, was.”

The absurdity of the questions John Melendez asked were often amplified by the fact that John Melendez himself lacked common pop-culture knowledge and often did not even know who the subjects of his interview were or what they were famous for. John Melendez notably interviewed Gennifer Flowers, Ringo Starr, and the Dalai Lama. John Melendez asked the Dalai Lama, if anyone ever greeted him with “Hello Dolly!”, in a joking reference to the play and movie; the Dalai Lama’s translator whispered the translation to the Dalai Lama and a delayed chuckle came from the Dalai Lama. It seemed like he got the joke. John Melendez also provided comic interest with his misadventures, poor grammar and sloppy pronunciation.

According to the New York Post, John Melendez says Howard Stern didn’t pay him fairly and “resented me doing any outside work”; Howard Stern replied saying that John Melendez is a “no-talent ingrate” and he should stick to holding up the mug on “The Tonight Show”.

John Melendez received national exposure when Howard Stern’s show began airing on national television. During his 15-year run as Howard Stern’s sidekick/whipping boy, John Melendez also starred in the Off-Broadway show Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding where he met his wife, Suzanna. John Melendez had bit parts in the movies Airheads, Meet Wally Sparks, Dude, Where’s My Car?, and Howard Stern’s movie Private Parts. John Melendez has also appeared on television on episodes of Wings, Baywatch Nights, and the U.S. version of the reality series I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!.

John Melendez worked with a speech coach to overcome his stuttering and was offered the position of announcer for The Tonight Show. John Melendez accepted the offer, debuting The Tonight Show on 29 March, 2004. On this show, he is identified as “John Melendez” (as opposed to “Stuttering John Melendez,” a name he avoids).

On 30 November, 2007 NBC announced The Tonight Show crew including John Melendez were being laid off as a result of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike and that when the strike ended NBC could not guarantee that John Melendez and other staffers would be rehired.

John Melendez plays guitar and sings. John Melendez has released at least 2 hard rock CDs with humorous lyrics, 1 on Atlantic Records and 1 on Razor & Tie Records. In 2004, John Melendez provided the voice of Bob the computer on Tripping the Rift. John Melendez currently lives in the city of Calabasas, California with his wife, Suzanna Keller, and 3 children.

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Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Robert Merrill

Robert Merrill was born Morris (Moishe) Miller on 4 June, 1917 in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, USA and died on 23 October, 2004 at home in New Rochelle, NY, while watching Game 1 of the 2004 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. Robert Merrill is interred at the Sharon Gardens Cemetery in Valhalla, NY, which is a subdivision of the Kensico Cemetery. Robert Merrill’s headstone features an opera curtain that has been drawn open. In keeping with Jewish tradition, small rocks rest on top of the headstone.

Robert Merrill was an American operatic baritone. While there has been dispute of his birth year (some claim he was born in 1919), the social security index, his family, and his gravestone state that he was born in 1917.

Robert Merrill was born to tailor Abraham Miller, originally Milstein, and his wife Lillian, née Balaban, immigrants from Warsaw, Poland. Lillian claimed to have had an operatic and concert career in Poland (a fact denied by her son in his biographies) and encouraged her son to have early voice training: he had a tendency to stutter, which disappeared when singing. Robert Merrill was inspired to pursue professional singing lessons when he saw the baritone Richard Bonelli singing Count Di Luna in a performance of Il Trovatore at the Metropolitan Opera, and paid for them with money earned as a semi-professional pitcher.

In his early radio appearances as a crooner he was sometimes billed as Merrill Miller. While singing at bar mitzvahs and weddings and Borscht Belt resorts, he met an agent, Moe Gale, who found him work at Radio City Music Hall and with the NBC Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Arturo Toscanini. With Arturo Toscanini conducting, he eventually sang in 2 of the famous maestro’s NBC broadcasts of famous operas, La traviata (with Licia Albanese, in 1946), and Un ballo in maschera (with Herva Nelli, in 1954). Both of those broadcasts were eventually released on both LP and CD.

Robert Merrill’s 1944 operatic debut was in Verdi’s Aida at Newark, New Jersey, with the famous tenor Giovanni Martinelli, then at the end of his long stage career.

Robert Merrill, who had continued his vocal studies under Samuel Margolis made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1945, as Germont in La Traviata. Also in 1945, Robert Merrill recorded a 78rpm record set with Jeanette MacDonald featuring selections from the operetta Up In Central Park; MacDonald and Robert Merrill did 2 duets together on this album. In 1952, his role in the musical comedy film Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick led to conflict with Sir Rudolf Bing and a brief departure from the Met in 1951. Robert Merrill sang many different baritone roles, becoming, after the on-stage death of Leonard Warren in 1960, the Met’s principal baritone. In the late 1950s and early 1960s he appeared under the direction of Alfredo Antonini in performances of arias from the Italian operatic repertoire for the open air Italian Night concert series at Lewisohn Stadium in New York City. Robert Merrill was described by Time as “one of the Met’s best baritones”. The tenor-baritone duet “Au fond du temple saint” from the opera The Pearl Fishers by Georges Bizet, which he recorded with Jussi Bjorling, was always top of listener’s polls for the BBC’s Your Hundred Best Tunes. It was also No 1. in ABC’s “The Classic 100 Opera”, a poll in which Australians voted for the one moment in opera they could not live without. It is regarded as one of the most perfect tenor/baritone performances of all time. Robert Merrill also continued to perform on radio and television, in nightclubs and recitals. Robert Merrill retired from the Met in 1976. For many years, he led services, often in Borscht Belt hotels, on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

In honour of Robert Merrill’s vast influence on American vocal music, on 16 February,1981 he was awarded the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Glee Club Award of Merit. Beginning in 1964, this award “established to bring a declaration of appreciation to an individual each year that has made a significant contribution to the world of music and helped to create a climate in which our talents may find valid expression.”

Relatively late in his singing career, Robert Merrill also became known for singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Yankee Stadium. Robert Merrill 1st sang the national anthem to open the 1969 baseball season, and it became a tradition for the Yankees to bring him back each year on Opening Day and special occasions. Robert Merrill sang at various Old Timer’s Days (wearing his own pinstriped Yankee uniform with the number “1 1/2” on the back) and the emotional pre-game ceremony for Thurman Munson at Yankee Stadium on 3 August, 1979, the day after the catcher’s death in a plane crash. A recorded Robert Merrill version is sometimes used at Yankee Stadium today. Robert Merrill preferred a traditional approach to the song devoid of additional ornamentation, as he explained to Newsday in 2000, “When you sing the anthem, there’s a legitimacy to it. I’m extremely bothered by these different interpretations of it.” Robert Merrill received the National Medal of Arts in 1993.

Robert Merrill married soprano Roberta Peters in 1952. They parted amicably; he had 2children, a son David and a daughter Lizanne, with his second wife, Marion, née Machno, a pianist. Robert Merrill liked to play golf and was a member of the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, for many years.

Robert Merrill wrote 2 books of memoirs, Once More from the Beginning (1965) and Between Acts (1976), and he co-authored a novel, The Divas (1978). Robert Merrill toured all over the world with his arranger and conductor, the world famous Angelo DiPippo who wrote most of his act and performed at concert halls throughout the world. Robert Merrill always donated his time on the Cerebral Palsy telethon with Dennis James.

The opera show “La Traviata” inspired Robert to become an opera singer, this meant fighting his stuttering problems. Robert Merrill found that while he was singing his speech disorder would go away.

Robert Merrill’s epitaph states:

Like a bursting celestial star, he showered his family and the world with love, joy, and beauty.

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Series-Disabled Legend Dennis Day

Dennis Day was born on 21 May, 1916 in New York City, New York, USA and died on 22 June, 1988 of Lou Gehrig’s disease at the age of 72 in Los Angeles, California, USA. Dennis Day is interred at Holy Cross Cemetery. Dennis Day’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6646 Hollywood Boulevard.

Born Owen Patrick Eugene McNulty, was an Irish-American singer, radio and television personality.

Dennis Day was born and raised in New York City, the son of Irish immigrants. Dennis Day’s father was a stationary engineer. Dennis Day graduated from St. Patrick’s Cathedral High School, and attended Manhattan College, where he sang in the glee club.

Dennis Day appeared for the 1st time on Jack Benny’s radio show on 8 October, 1939, taking the place of another famed tenor, Kenny Baker. Dennis Day remained associated with Benny’s radio and television programs until Benny’s death in 1974. Dennis Day was introduced (with actress Verna Felton playing his mother) as a young (19 year old), naive boy singer — a character he kept through his whole career. Dennis Day’s
1st song was “Goodnight My Beautiful”.

Besides singing, Dennis Day was an excellent mimic. Dennis Day did many imitations on the Benny programme of various noted celebrities of the era, such as Ronald Colman, Jimmy Durante, and Jimmy Stewart.

Sam Berman’s caricature of Dennis Day for 1947 NBC promotional bookFrom 1944 through 1946, he served in the US Navy as a Lieutenant. On his return to civilian life, he continued to work with Benny while also starring his own show, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day (1946-1952). Dennis Day’s having 2 programmes in comparison to Benny’s 1was the subject of numerous jokes and gags on Benny’s show, usually revolving around Dennis Day rubbing Benny’s, and sometimes other cast members and guest stars’ noses in that fact.

Dennis Day’s TV series, The Dennis Day Show (aka The RCA Victor Show) was telecast from 1952 to 1954. Between 1952 and 1978, he made numerous TV appearances as a singer, actor and voice for animation (such as the Walt Disney feature Melody Time, voicing multiple characters).

In 1948,Dennis Day married Peggy Almquist; the marriage lasted until his death in 1988. The couple had 10 children. 1 of his brothers was wed to actress/singer Ann Blyth.

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Dementia Series-Disabled Legend Abe Burrows

Abe Burrows was born on 18 December, 1910 and died on 17 May, 1985. Abe Burrows was a noted American humorist, author, and director for both the radio and the stage, particularly Broadway. Abe began working as a runner on Wall Street while at NYC, and he also worked in an accounting firm. After he met Frank Galen in 1938, the two wrote and sold jokes to an impressionist who appeared on the Rudy Vallée radio program. Abe burrows later suffered of dementia at an older age.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Series-Disabled Legend Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla was born on 10 July 1856 and died on 7 January 1943. Nikola Tesla was an inventor, physicist, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer. Nikola Tesla is best known for his many revolutionary contributions to the discipline of electricity and magnetism in the late 19th and early 20th century. After his demonstration of wireless communication (radio) in 1893 and after being the victor in the “War of Currents”, he was widely respected as America’s greatest electrical engineer. Much of his early work pioneered modern electrical engineering and many of his discoveries were of groundbreaking importance.

Nikola is stated as being “the man who invented the 20th Century” by some. Nikola was a germophobe, hated touching round objects, disliked hair other than his own, found jewelry repulsive, and tended to do thinks that were either in 3’s or in numbers divisible by 3. For meals he insisted on estimating the mass of everything he was about to consume, always used 18 napkins, and refused to eat alone with a woman.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Series-Disabled Legend John Melendez

John Melendez was born on 4 October, 1965. Commonly known as “Stuttering John” and “Hero of the Stupid”, a Puerto Rican – American television/radio personality. On Stern’s show,  John conducted outrageous street interviews, premised on the idea that celebrities would not want to look bad by refusing an interview from a stutterer. John sported long hair and metal t-shirts and would often confront celebrities with puerile questions about their private lives. John’s interviews were characterized by punchline-free “joke” questions, such as asking Melanie Griffith “how her father, Andy, was.” John also appeared at press conferences and asked off-the-wall questions to Gennifer Flowers, Ringo Starr, and the Dalai Lama. John asked the Dalai Lama, if anyone ever greeted him with “Hello Dolly!”, in a joking reference to the play and movie; the Dalai Lama’s translator whispered the translation to the Dalai Lama and a delayed chuckle came from the Dalai Lama. It seemed like he got the joke. He also provided comic interest with his misadventures, poor grammar and sloppy pronunciation. John also suffers from OCD.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Series-Disabled Legend Howard Stern

Howard Allan Stern was born on 12 January, 1954. Howard is an American radio and TV personality, media mogul, humorist, actor, and author. Howard hosts The Howard Stern Show four days a week (Monday-Thursday) on Howard 100, a Sirius Satellite Radio station. Howard used to suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and now practices transcendental meditation. Howard is also a brown belt in Japanese Shotokan Karate.

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