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People who died in 2011

Lesser-known but significant figures

Photo: Illustrations by Ben Claassen, License: N/A

Illustrations by Ben Claassen


Satana landed a few more acting gigs, either small parts in bigger projects or starring roles in shoddy exploitations before she gave up acting and then dancing. While her life after her minor fame as a performer was not without drama – she was shot in the stomach by an ex in the mid-’70s and broke her back in a car accident in 1981 – she lived quietly for the most part, working as a nurse and in hotel security while settling down with her third husband, a former police officer. She also made the usual rounds of fan conventions and fanboy interviews, game and forthcoming to the last. She died Feb. 4, 2011, at age 72, but thanks to Meyer, she will always be kicking ass in brutal black and white on some screen somewhere. – Lee Gardner

Owsley Stanley

The king of LSD

If you want to understand about half the reason nice, middle-class white folks shit themselves in the ’60s, it will help you to remember that Augustus Owsley Stanley III was the financial force, sound engineer and acid dealer behind the Grateful Dead, and that he also supplied the LSD that stoked the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour, fueled Ken Kesey’s band of Merry Pranksters, aided Hunter S. Thompson’s (and, by extension, the Hell’s Angels’) brand of bad craziness and inspired Jimi Hendrix.

He made at least a million doses of the stuff, by various estimates. Maybe 5 million. As Rolling Stone asked in its 2007 reprisal of that time, “Would the Summer of Love have ever happened without Stanley … ?”

Stanley, who was known as “the Dancing Bear” to the Dead and its army of followers, and (in the Steely Dan lyric) as “Kid Charlemagne,” began life in Kentucky in 1935, the grandson of a U.S. Senator. His parents divorced and were living a continent apart when he got himself thrown out of Charlotte Hall, a military prep school in Maryland, for smuggling booze into the homecoming soiree. He spent some time in a mental hospital, then studied engineering at the University of Virginia, where he’d sell his textbooks back to the store at full price a week after their purchase – having, he said, memorized their contents. He was a radio operator and, for a time, a ballet dancer.

In 1963, Stanley moved to Berkeley, Calif. He sold pot and other drugs before scoring some Sandoz Laboratories acid in 1964. Three weeks later he’d figured out how to make it better than the venerable Swiss lab did, and a legend was born.

But making the purest LSD was not Stanley’s only trick. He also joined the Grateful Dead as a sound engineer, building some of its equipment, designing its lightning-bolt-with-skull logo and shaping the famous “wall of sound” that brought throngs to the band’s shows. Stanley’s early recordings of the band are still being released.

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