People - D
Famous and Infamous People, Leaders & Luminaries in Colorado Arts, Culture & Folklore
- Jack Dempsey
One of America's all time sports heros, power slugger Jack Dempsey was born in Manassa, Colorado in 1895. By 1923 he was the heavyweight champ at age 28. He kicked a lot of ass and the rest is history. Jack was aka "The Manassa Mauler."
- James Denver (historical guest entry)
Back in 1858 some settlers decided to start a town at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River. There were only a few natives in teepees watching peacefully. This event is often looked upon as one of the great moments in American history as here would become a fast booming city in the vast expanse of the high plains. Legend has it the natives watching from across the Platte commented with great sadness that they could never camp here again. The claim was not called Denver. It was called Saint Charles. In just a few short weeks a second party of palefaces came along and laid claim to the same exact spot before it was even developed. They decided to call it Denver in order to earn favor with Governor James Denver in a hurry while the original claimants were momentarily absent. This was Kansas territory then. Boulder was in Nebraska territory. The scheme worked even though James Denver was no longer the guv. In all his years Mister Denver never once lived in Denver. Then there's also the story about the corrupt vice president named Colfax. We're not in Kansas anymore.
- John Denver
born: Henry John Deutschendorf Junior in Roswell,NM 1943 Dec. 31
died: 1997 October 12 in California near Monterey Bay (age 53)
John Denver wrote and strummed Colorado into top 40 folk history with songs like Rocky Mountain High and Sunshine On My Shoulders and Take Me Home Country Roads. But the one song he wrote which sticks in my head comes from the 1960s. It was Leaving on a Jet Plane, which was the epitome of sensitive folk love songs receiving airplay at the time, when I was in my late teens. It was best known in the version recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. John also was often seen in commercials promoting Grape Nuts cereal at one time. He had long been a resident of Aspen.
Back in April of 1978 this editor was a skinny 26 year old hitch-hiking in the pitch dark of eastern Colorado when a good Samaritan coming from Aspen gave me a ride all the way to suburban Chicago. I believe it was none other than John Denver himself although I would not have recognized him right away. During that journey rain fell and bccame a monsoon. At one point in the rural dark night of mid-America, it was a harrowing experience on I-70 as the Saab windshield was hit by a massive profusion of thick waves while passing a trailer rig. The driver's expression was solemn and somewhat stonefaced, as if on a military mission. Somehow he kept his eyes on the unseeable road and passed the speeding 18 wheeler, coming out of the wave like a master surfer just as I expected to die. I was en route to Akron, Ohio to pay respects to my godfather who died days earlier. The driver and I had breakfast at dawn. Seems I recall he had eggs but no Grape Nuts. While at a gas station I could not help but notice an unseemly large wad of currency the driver pulled out of the door pocket to pay for gas. Some time after the journey I saw a picture of John Denver and was all but certain he was the Samaritan who had plowed me through the monsoon darkness to get me a thousand miles closer to Akron.
In 1997 John was taken in a crash while flying his own small plane along the coast of California. True to his word, he left on a plane. It is also noteworthy that he reportedly came from an Air Force family. Prior to John's death he had received considerable news coverage over his extended court battle over a DUI (driving under influence) charge resulting from a rural accident near aspen. (Nobody else was involved). By the time of his death the matter was probably resolved or under court appeal. Alcohol was ruled out as a factor in John's fatal plane crash.
footnote: News coverage of John's passing revealed several of his relatives living in metro Denver including Ron Deutschendorf (brother) and Abraham Lincoln Deutschendorf (an uncle).
- Jimmy Durante
born: 1893 Feb. 10, New York, NY
Legendary comedian, songwriter and ragtime piano player Jimmy Durante reportedly lived on Capitol Hill in Denver at Montgomery Court apartments on the 200 block of East 11th Avenue before he broke a leg in show business. If you have any archives to confirm or refute this tip, please contact the editor. Is this where Mrs. Calabash lived too?
Indirect Survey: 950831SBHolle.
bib: Baseline's Ency. of Film; Microsoft Cinemania
- Bob Dylan - One day back in the sixties some relatively unknown scrawny kid living in the Capitol Hill neighborhood wandered over to the Satire Lounge at 1920 East Colfax Avenue to play some Woodie Guthrie music. The story is that he got "hissed" right out of there. That kid was none other than Robert Zimmerman who had renamed himself Dylan after poet Dylan Thomas. Bobbie later became the idolized troubadour of an entire generation with lightning quick twisting lyrical metaphors of great complexity and social importance. Dylan lived for a brief time at 1736 East17th Avenue in a tiny wood house near Williams Street.
ref: Phil Goodstein, book title: "The Ghosts of Capitol Hill" (96)
recommended site with plenty of Dylan links:
(formerly Web Spinners)
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