Eddie Garrett, born on November 19, 1927 in Milwaukee, Wis. to Robert and Anna Gehrt, passed away on May 13, 2010 in Palm Desert, Calif. Sadly, Eddie became aware of the traumas of life at the early age of thirteen years, with the passing of his mother and nine months earlier, the passing of his father. But with the strange turns that life hands us, Eddie was not meant to stay in Wisconsin and be raised by any one of his three older brothers, Bill, Kenny or Raymond, nor his father's sister, his beloved Aunt Rae. Instead, Eddie, who showed a propensity to be a performer at the age of seven, by mastering the voice impression of Bing Crosby to please his father's great love for "Der Bingle", was soon sent west to be raised by his dearly beloved Aunt Clare, husband Ralph and their family in the Sacramento, Calif. area. Again, life taking charge to help the actor-wanna-be, he was sent to the Los Angeles area (Hollywood) to live with another dear aunt, Harriet (he was blessed with a lot of dear, caring aunts on his father's side) to continue to be raised. He was overwhelmed with the thought of being "smack in the middle" of the show-biz world he so wanted to be a part of. While in high school, he soon learned he could hang around the studio lots and radio station sites and snap pictures of "stars", which developed into a life long loving avocation of getting "shots of celebrities". He loved his pictures!! He traipsed all over with his little brownie camera to take pictures. After a stint in the Army, he came back to Los Angeles and got into acting with great determination and a hunger to be a performer. For sixteen years he had a very successful night-club act based around his ability to do voice impressions, with great authenticity which he developed over the previous years. He had mastered around 100 voices depending on "who was in or well known" a time went on. By 1952, he made the determination to be a film actor and went into it with great gusto. He had many parts to his credit in film work and then went into TV work with again, many roles. In time he had the great good fortune to meet actor Jack Klugman, and a great rapport was established through the years. He appeared in the series "The Odd Couple" as a semi-regular and then later, as a regular on the renowned series, "Quincy, M.E.", which he considered his most shining hour. He was ever so proud of the show! He was most proud of being personally chosen by director Richard Brooks to play Steve Goodbar in the classic "Looking for Mr. Goodbar", with Diane Keaton. He often mentioned what a sweetheart Diane was, as a person and a fellow actor. Wanting to try other hats, he conceived an idea and became the producer, director and host of the daytime game show "Your Name's a Winner". As the twilight years started, he finally put together "some" of those pictures taken as a young boy and had it published in a book: "I saw stars… in the 40's and 50's", a book of 148 male stars; the greats of the era. He constantly talked about and envisioned doing the female stars snaps in a follow-up book… Eddie was a tall, vibrant, enthusiastic, and handsome actor, who loved show business and always thought himself blessed to be a part of it. He was passionate about his acting and all the wonderful friendships he formed over the years with many actors, crew members and stunt people. He was a loyal, stalwart friend, always a giving person, and one who was ready to talk to you, to listen to you or reminisce about those years with his love "show biz". Eddie is survived by his dearest darling, Maggie Hartshorn, whom after meeting in 1957 and dating for five years, was reconnected and finally shared a wonderful life and love in Palm Desert, Calif. Eddie is also survived by two step-daughters, C.J. (Carla Jean) Hartshorn of Toluca Lake, Calif., who shared great love and kinship due to their passion for "show biz", and Susan Licursi along with her husband John Licursi of Studio City, Calif.; and two beautiful step-grandsons, Nicholas and Michael Licursi, who loved their "Papa Eddie". Eddie is also survived by a most loving niece, Mary and her husband Dan Henning of Wisc.; grand-niece, Jean Henning of Northern California; nephew, Ken Gehrt, his wife, Liz and their family of Wisc.; Rob Gehrt, his wife Connie and their family, also of Wisc.; cousin, Jo-Ann and her husband Cal Setzer of Northern California; dear cousin, Cinders Hope of La Quinta, Calif.; and other nieces, cousins and their families. In lieu of a funeral service, Eddie's body will be given to The Loma Linda Institute for Research. A memorial is pending. Anyone who wishes to show love and prayers for a much loved actor and one who loved being an actor, are encouraged to watch the "Quincy, M.E." reruns, wherever possible. He played the L.A. Coroner's Office photographer, and was most proud of his role on this show.
Published in The Desert Sun from May 19 to May 24, 2010.