By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 21, 2000 at 12:06 PM

A true one-of-a-kind, Dick Bacon was a Milwaukee legend even before his shocking passing on August 18, at age 68. Bacon, who died in his South Side home on Friday, was well-known to anyone who ventured down to the lakefront. Spring, summer, fall or winter, Bacon could be found sitting amongst his reflectors, catching some rays and, well, bakin' in the sun.

Always a darling of the community and the local media, Bacon was featured many times on local television, in the newspapers and in pub conversation. His charming demeanor made him eminently approachable and sealed his position as one of the city's true characters. His work with the Channels 10/36 auction and the American Heart Association attested to his reciprocal love for the community.

His devotion to fitness, bronze skin and nudism helped him nab the Mr. Nude America, Mr. Nude Apollo and Mr. Nude Galaxy titles in the 1970s. Those traits also aided in his work as a nude artists' model.

Bacon strenuously lobbied for a nude beach in Milwaukee or, at least, a clothing-optional one. His activities in this area led to numerous arrests.

Things have been changing quite a bit lately along the lakefront, with the new art museum expansion and the widening of the street. But nothing will change the face of the Milwaukee lakefront as much does the loss of Dick Bacon. It just won't be the same without him.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.