Archive for the ‘Obits’ Category

Obit watch: March 22, 2017.

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Chuck Barris, “Gong Show” host and noted CIA assassin, has passed away.

Or has he? You know, a conspiracy to fake his own death and go on one last mission for The Company is exactly the kind of thing that would appeal to Mr. Barris…

Colin Dexter, mystery writer. I haven’t read any of the Inspector Morse novels yet, though they are on my big list to read someday, so I can’t offer much about Mr. Dexter. However, The Rap Sheet has a good round-up and I would expect more tributes there as time goes by.

Obit watch: March 20, 2017.

Monday, March 20th, 2017

David Rockefeller.

After the death in 1979 of his older brother Nelson A. Rockefeller, the former vice president and four-time governor of New York, David Rockefeller stood almost alone as the remaining family member with an outsize national profile. Only Jay Rockefeller, a great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, had earned prominence as a governor and United States senator from West Virginia. No one from the family’s younger generations has attained or perhaps aspired to David Rockefeller’s stature.

Obit watch: March 16, 2017.

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Bob Bruce. Mr. Bruce joined the Colt .45s in 1962 (he’d previously been with the Detroit Tigers) and pitched for them, winning 15 games during the 1964 season.

Of greater historical significance: when the Astrodome opened and the Colt .45s became the Houston Astros, Mr. Bruce was the starting pitcher for their opening game in the Astrodome.

In five seasons in Houston, Bruce went 42-58 with a 3.78 ERA.

Royal Robbins, noted climber. He was most famous for his advocacy of “clean” (“leave no trace”) climbing.

“I think that we were drawn to our ethical stance because it was harder that way, frankly, and I think whatever’s harder has to be better,” Robbins told Outside magazine in 2010. “That’s why I have so much respect for free soloists these days.”

I’m not sure that I buy the “whatever’s harder has to be better” philosophy, but there is a certain resonance to the meta-idea:

He added of Robbins, “His philosophy was that it’s not getting to the summit but how you do it that counts.”

Welles. Welles Welles Welles. Welles.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Netflix has signed on to help complete and release “The Other Side of the Wind”, Orson Welles’ legendary last and unfinished film.

I do want to see this, even though I don’t have Netflix (and won’t pay for it just for this). I have a pretty strong suspicion that this is…not going to be good. But hey, Welles! (What I’m really hoping for is a Criterion package like they did for “F Is For Fake”.)

(And can someone explain to me why I keep confusing “The Other Side of the Wind” with The Wind Done Gone?)

Other unrelated stuff:

By way of Lawrence, follow-up on Captain Bill Dowling and his funeral. (Previously.)

“He was a mean son-of-a-buck, but very tender-hearted … and very competitive,” John Dowling said Tuesday of his older brother. “He made the best out of it. He didn’t get sour, he didn’t get upset. The life lesson he could teach the world – no matter what your situation, you can choose to be happy.”

From the WP: a summary of the players in the “Fat Leonard” scandal, including the eight recent indictments.

Edited to add: One other minor follow-up that I forgot to add: the NYT obit for Mother Divine. I don’t think it adds much over the WP obit, but I did want to note it for the historical record.

Obit watch: March 13, 2017.

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Robert James “Bridges of Madison County” Waller.

I sort of lost track of Waller. I remember hearing that Slow Waltz in Cedar Bend was not good, and I didn’t hear much about him after that. But The Long Night of Winchell Dear (which I hadn’t heard of) sounds like it could be interesting.

Obits and firings: March 10, 2017.

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Sweet Angel Divine, aka “Mother Divine”, passed away a week ago Saturday.

She was about 91. (One of the tenets of her religious movement was a disregard for chronological age.)

Mrs. Divine was the widow of Father Divine:

A charismatic preacher since the early 1900s, Father Divine — or the Rev. Major Jealous Divine, to give him his full title — declared in 1932 that he was God and attracted legions of devotees drawn by his message of racial equality, clean living, communal living and cash-only financial transactions.

One of the best things in the St. Clair McKelway collection Reporting at Wit’s End is his profile (with A. J. Liebling) of Father Divine at, more or less, the height of his empire. “Who Is This King of Glory?” might be available online, too, but when I went to the New Yorker website, it looked like you needed a subscription to read it there. In any case, I commend the McKelway/Liebling profile to your attention.

Scot McCloughan out as general manager of the Redskins.

And the Brockster out as quarterback in Houston. Speculation (both in the sports media and from people I know in Cleveland) is that the Browns aren’t going to keep him, either.

The Texans cut their losses with Osweiler after one season. He signed a four-year $72 million contract, including $37 million guaranteed, last year. Even though the Texans won the AFC South and advanced to the divisional round, he played poorly.

Edited to add: Well. The Browns have cut Bobby ThreeSticks now. And nobody thinks His Brockness is going to be asked to hang around. So who’s quarterbacking come fall? The season is closer than you think…,

Obit watch part 2.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Captain William Dowling of the Houston Fire Department passed away on Tuesday.

Captain Dowling was fighting a fire at a restaurant/motel in Houston when the roof collapsed. Four other firefighters were killed: Captain Dowling survived the collapse, but was left badly injured.

…doctors had to amputate both his legs during his six-month hospital stay. When he was released, he had lost his ability to talk and sustained brain damage.

According to the department, Captain Dowling’s death is considered to have been in the line of duty, and he will be honored appropriately.

Obit watch: March 9, 2017.,

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Joseph Rogers, co-founder of Waffle House.

Obit watch: March 8, 2017.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Lynne Stewart.

Quoting the NYT obit:

…a radical-leftist lawyer who gained wide notice for representing violent, self-described revolutionaries and who spent four years in prison herself, convicted of aiding terrorism..

,,,

Ms. Stewart was convicted in 2005 of helping to smuggle messages from the imprisoned sheikh [Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman – DB] to his violent followers in Egypt. Her prison sentence, initially set at 28 months, was later increased to 10 years after an appeals court ordered the trial judge to consider a longer term.

,,,

Ms. Stewart, who had been treated for breast cancer before entering prison, was granted a “compassionate release” in January 2014 after the cancer had spread and was deemed terminal. Doctors at the time gave her 18 months to live.

Ms. Stewart’s critics and supporters did agree on one point about her 30-year career, which ended in disbarment with her conviction: Like William M. Kunstler and other lawyers who were proud to be called radical leftists, Ms. Stewart sympathized with the causes of violent clients who deemed themselves revolutionaries in America.

Some of her other clients included Weather Underground member David J. Gilbert, “convicted of murder and robbery in the 1981 Brink’s armored car robbery in Rockland County, N.Y., in which two police officers and a Brink’s guard were killed”, Richard C. Williams, “convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper and setting off bombs at military centers and corporate offices in the early 1980s”, and the infamous drug dealer Larry Davis.

Obit watch: March 7, 2017.

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Robert Osborne, the Turner Classic Movies guy. I wish I had more to say about him, but I rarely have cable and thus rarely watch TCM.

Dr. Thomas Starzl, noted surgeon. Among other accomplishments, he did the first liver transplants and pioneered the use of anti-rejection drugs.

Dr. Starzl later described those early liver transplants as both a “test of endurance” and “a curious exercise in brutality.” It involved, he explained, “brutality as you’re taking the liver out, then sophistication as you put it back in and hook up all of these little bile ducts and other structures.”

Obit watch: February 27, 2017.

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Judge Joseph A. Wapner, of the Los Angeles Coun6y Superior Court. NYT.

During World War II, he served with the Army in the Pacific and was wounded by sniper fire on Cebu Island in the Philippines, leaving him with shrapnel in his left foot. He won the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his bravery and was honorably discharged in 1945.

Of course, he’s better known to those of us in the older set as the first judge of “The People’s Court”.

For the record: Bill Paxton. A/V Club.

Obit watch: February 24, 2017.

Friday, February 24th, 2017

For the record, and because a bunch of people sent it to me: Alan Colmes.

Slightly surprising, at least to me: the NYT ran a respectful and timely obit for Gary Cartwright.