December 2021 took Betty White and Vicente Fernandez from the world, two timeless personalities we thought could live forever.
Fernandez, who died at age 81 on Dec. 12, was the king of ranchera known for “Volver Volver.”
White, who was 99 when she died on Dec. 31, began her TV career in the early 1950s and became a pop-culture phenomenon later in life.
Those artists received appropriate adoration after their 70th birthdays, but which elders among us deserve a bouquet today?
Some older Texans are beloved beyond rank — Willie Nelson, Flaco Jimenez, Kris Kristofferson, Sly Stone, Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek and Carol Burnett, for example. Some are under appreciated and under 70, such as Tanya Tucker, 63, and The D.O.C., 53. And of course, it’s too late for an encore from Ornette Coleman, Johnny Gimble or Roky Erickson.
Let us know who you think should be added to this list of Texans who deserve their flowers now:
Irma P. Hall (86, from Dallas, via Beaumont and Chicago)
Hall was raised in Chicago and worked as a teacher in Dallas for years before acting in her first film at age 36. She was cast in TV and movies steadily throughout the ’80s and ’90s, including memorable performances in Soul Food and The Ladykillers. She most recently appeared in a recurring role on the TV show Hap and Leonard. We’d love to see her SNL monologue.
Dabney Coleman (89, from Austin)
He plays the sexist boss in 9 to 5 and a villain in the Muppets Take Manhattan. Dabney Coleman has worked with Dolly Parton and Miss Piggy. Should we say more? His career spans seven decades — he was on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1964 and Yellowstone in 2019. He guest stars in two episodes of Columbo, and he voiced Principal Peter Prickly on Recess. An absolute icon across multiple generations. Start the petition!
Brenda Vaccaro (82, raised in Dallas)
This Thomas Jefferson High School alumna first starred on Broadway in 1962 and appears in the new Sex and the City series, And Just Like That …, on HBO. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in Midnight Cowboy in 1969, and she won for Jaqueline Suzann’s Once is Not Enough in 1975. She’s worked steadily in TV and film since then, including eight episodes as Claire Rogers on Gypsy, and she’s still having a good time.
Belita Moreno (72, from Oak Cliff)
Moreno, a Kimball High School alumna, began her acting career with fellow Texan Robert Altman. He cast her in three of his films: 3 Women, A Wedding, and A Perfect Couple. Playwright Beth Henley, Moreno’s SMU classmate, wrote several roles for her. You might know Moreno from her stint playing George Lopez’s wisecracking mother on the comedian’s namesake TV show.
Rosie Flores (71, from San Antonio)
This rock ‘n’ roll dream girl is the youngest person on our list. Flores fronted the all-female Screamin’ Sirens in post-punk Hollywood. She’s released 13 studio albums as a solo artist and toured with Wanda Jackson and Asleep at the Wheel. She’s appeared in movies and performed on late-night talk shows. She shreds on guitar and has the voice of an angel. And yet, you can still catch her at Poor David’s Pub sometimes.