For writers, the subject of inspiration comes up a lot when we are being interviewed or commenting on blogs. Most times, it is in reference to what inspired a story or what inspires us to write. But this is only a small sampling of what can be considered inspiration. For me, inspiration can come in many forms, but one of the things that most inspires me is talent. The talent to draw, the talent to sing, the talent to act. But perhaps the most powerful of those talents to me is the talent to make people laugh, especially in times of strife.

It is with a heavy heart that I remember three phenomenal talents of comedy, all lost to us within the past two weeks. Two of the names you will no doubt recognize immediately and the third you might not know unless you’ve been to Vegas or caught him on the Bonnie Hunt Show, as I did. I am talking about Bea Arthur, Danny Gans, and Dom Deluise.

When I think of Bea Arthur, I immediately remember her in Golden Girls, which I watched voraciously when it was first on and still catch in reruns to this day. The way she interacted with her costars and delivered her lines…I always wondered how she could deliver her lines with a straight face when up against the zingers of her costars. But she got in a few of her own and made that a memorable show that is as funny today as it was when it first aired. Watching a Golden Girls marathon this past Sunday, I often found myself laughing out right at some one-liner, joke or antic. Just as I did then.

Dom Deluise. Robust. Full of life. The funny man who couldn’t stop laughing himself. Some of my fondest memories are of watching him in movies with Burt Reynolds. And the outtakes! They were often funnier than the material left in the movie and I rejoiced at the silliness and joy he shared with his good friend, Burt. He was just a lovely man who loved life and his family and his laughter will be missed.

Perhaps the lesser known – but not less talented – of the three, Danny Gans, was billed as “the man of a thousand voices” and he truly lived up to that name. When I first saw him on the Bonnie Hunt Show a few months back, I literally stopped what I was doing and sat, enthralled, by his talent. He very easily went from impersonating Dean Martin to Louis Armstrong and Tony Bennett to telling an inspirational story about how he came to be in the business. And the whole time, thorughout the entire interview with Bonnie, his eyes just sparkled with a joy fior life that could scarcely be contained. Do yourself a favor. Find the video online and watch this amazing man and you, too, will think he was lost too soon.

Three amazing talents. Three great resources for inspiration.

To Bea, Danny and Dom, thank you for being a friend.


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