Archive for the ‘Obits’ Category

Obit watch: January 26, 2015.

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Alice K. Turner, fiction editor of Playboy.

I know the joke: “I just read it for the articles”. But as fiction editor, Ms. Turner was hugely influential:

Ms. Turner helped keep literary short fiction on life support in the late 20th century, when few other publishers would or could. And writers like Terry Bisson, Ursula K. Le Guin, Joyce Carol Oates, Bob Shacochis, Robert Silverberg, Dan Simmons, John Updike and David Foster Wallace were not shy about having their words abut illustrations of naked women.

I was tied up most of the weekend, so for the record:

Joe Franklin
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Edgar Froese, founding member of Tangerine Dream. How about a little musical interlude?

And Ernie Banks. Related.

You know, I have a good feeling about the Cubs this year. I think they’re going to do the memory of Mr. Banks proud. As a matter of fact, I think there’s a good chance they will win the World Series this year.

Obit watch: January 22, 2015.

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

John Bayley, literary critic and husband of Iris Murdoch. Bayley wrote Elegy for Iris about his life with Murdoch and her decline from Alzheimer’s disease.

Alan J. Hirschfield, former president of Columbia Pictures.

Hirschfield was the studio president during the David Begelman affair, and is one of the central figures in David McClintick’s excellent book Indecent Exposure.

Random notes: January 15, 2015.

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Obit watch: Phil Africa, “a high-ranking member of the Philadelphia-based black-liberation group Move”. You may remember MOVE from the 1985 Philadelphia police stand-off and bombing. Phil Africa was not involved in that, as he was already serving time for killing a police officer in the 1978 shootout.

It was unclear why the man was wearing body armor.

I’m just going to take a wild guess here and suggest he was wearing body armor because HE DIDN’T WANT TO GET SHOT!

(Oh, and for the record: both the gun and body armor were stolen from a sheriff’s deputy.)

Neat story:

Archaeologists conducting surveys in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park came upon a gun frozen in time: a .44-40 Winchester rifle manufactured in 1882. It was propped up against a juniper tree.

Some more detail here and here. (Interestingly, at the time I’m writing this, that story is the most-read one on the WP website.)

Norts spews.

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

Well. Well well well. Well. Yes, I am happy about Ohio State winning; as my regular readers know, I have ties to the Ohio area.

Since I don’t have cable, I mostly followed the game on FARK until I dozed off after halftime (yesterday was a rough day at work). From what I can tell, it might be a good idea for Ohio State to spend some time in the off season working on HOLDING ON TO THE DAMN BALL!

I don’t have a lot to say about the John Fox “firing” right now, except that I think it will be interesting to see how things play out after the Superb Owl. I may have more to say once this week’s TMQ goes up.

Obit watch: Roy Tarpley, former center for the Dallas Mavericks. As my regular readers know, I’m not a basketball fan, but the Tarpley story is sad and worth noting:

He was suspended by the NBA after five games in the 1989-90 season after being arrested for driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest. In 1991, he drew another suspension after a second DWI arrest and, a few months later, had a third violation and was banned from the league for violating the NBA’s drug-use policies.
He returned to the Mavericks briefly in 1994 but then was permanently barred in December 1995 for violating terms of his aftercare program.

Obit watch: January 12, 2015.

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Robert Stone, noted novelist (“Dog Soldiers”, “A Flag For Sunrise”).

Anita Ekberg.

Enough said.

Obit watch: January 9, 2015.

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Jethro Pugh, former player for the Dallas Cowboys.

No. 75 became a fixture in the Cowboys’ defensive line, playing for 14 seasons, from 1965-78. Only three players had a longer run with the Cowboys than Pugh. The defensive tackle finished with 95.5 sacks for his career and led the team in that statistic for five consecutive seasons (’68-72) before it became an official category.

And yes, he did play in the Ice Bowl.

I missed this one, so I’ll direct you over to Lawrence for Lee Israel.

Obit watch: January 5, 2015.

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Bess Myerson, Miss America 1945, television personality, and political figure, passed away on December 14th, though her death was not widely reported until today.

Obit watch: January 2, 2014.

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Your Mario Cuomo obit here.

More obit watch.

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

The LAT is reporting the death of Luise Rainer at the age of 104.

I’d never heard of Ms. Rainer until I read her obit, but she’s one of those interesting Hollywood stories. She started out acting on the stage in Germany, was signed by MGM and came to Hollywood in 1935, won two consecutive Academy Awards (Best Actress, 1936, “The Great Ziegfeld”, and Best Actress, 1937, “The Good Earth”)…

…and then pretty much disappeared from Hollywood.

Rainer, however, didn’t like the trappings of being a movie star. She refused to wear make-up or glamorous clothes and demanded a say in what roles she would play, which didn’t go over well with dominating Mayer. She disparaged Hollywood people, finding them more interested in clothes than in important issues of the day. Her friends included composers George Gershwin and Arnold Schoenberg, writer Thomas Mann and architect Richard Neutra — not exactly a Hollywood crowd. She struggled to find roles that were worthy of her talent.

She was unhappily married to Clifford Odets for a time.

Edited to add: Very nice McFadden obit from the NYT.

Obit watch: December 30, 2014.

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Timothy J. Dowd.

Mr. Dowd was the NYPD detective who led the task force that caught David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz.

This brought a smile to my face:

Ms. Begg [Mr. Dowd’s daughter – DB] said in an interview on Monday that her father had disdained television dramas about the police because they were unrealistic about police work — all except one, she said: “Columbo.” That series, especially popular in the 1970s, starred Peter Falk as an untidy, seemingly distracted detective in Los Angeles who solved cases by poking around in a practiced but random fashion and stumbling in the direction of a solution.
“That’s how it’s done,” she said her father explained to her.

Obit watch: December 24, 2014.

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014

Lawrence forwarded this really nice appreciation of Margot Adler, who passed away in July. Awful lot of dust in the room today.

(No, really. I’ve been sneezing my ass off the past couple of days.)

A/V Club obit for Joseph Sargent, who I mentioned yesterday. Also: NYT.

I missed this over the weekend: former Houston mayor Bob Lanier.

Finally, one I missed until late yesterday: Billie Whitelaw. You may know her as the nanny in the original “The Omen”, but she was very famous in England. She may have been best known as Samuel Beckett’s muse and collaborator:

She accepted his artistic vision without always understanding its explicitly rendered ambiguities. They read his plays together, discussing not their meaning but the most minuscule elements of the text — the pauses and sighs and guttural sounds as well as the words, the inflections demanded by the language, and his need, as she said in interviews, to remove the acting from the performance. “Flat, no emotion, no color,” he would often caution her, she said.

Obit watch: December 23, 2014.

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Yesterday was a bad day for the Joes.

Joe Cocker: LAT. NYT. A/V Club.

This is the only story I’ve found so far, but prolific television and movie director Joseph Sargent also died yesterday. Among his credits: the original “Taking of Pelham 123″ and “The Marcus-Nelson Murders” (the pilot for “Kojak”).