Frank Olivo died last Thursday at the age of 66.
Mr. Olivo’s claim to fame? He was the Santa Claus who got booed and hit with snowballs at an Eagles game in 1968.
Monastra recalled that after his cousin was pelted with snowballs, as a thank-you for his trouble the Eagles’ general manager sent Mr. Olivo a “very nice letter” and “a pair of lousy cuff links.”
I haven’t found an obit that I like yet, but various reliable sources are reporting the death of Grace Lee Whitney, also known as Yeoman Janice Rand on the original Star Trek.
Whitney, a recovering alcoholic, spent the last 35 years of her life helping others with addiction problems, often at women’s correctional facilities or the Salvation Army, her family said. They said she was credited with having helped thousands of people successfully complete 12-step addiction programs.
(Edited to add: A/V Club. NYT.)
Finally, and most personally upsetting to me, Ruth Rendell passed away over the weekend.
I got into a conversation with Lawrence a while back about who I would put into the first rank of mystery writers: I need to write up that conversation at some point. Honestly, there are large gaps in my knowledge of Rendell – I haven’t read very much of Inspector Wexford, for example. But the Rendell I have read has made a huge impression on me: I think I would put her into that first rank, even with the gaps.
I want to specifically mention one book of Rendell’s that just blew me away when I read it, and which seems undeservedly obscure: A Judgement in Stone. Rendell pulls off one of the greatest tricks ever in this book:
Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write.
That is the first line of the novel. Rendell has just told you who the murderer was, who was killed, and even why the crime took place. What else is there to tell? She has literally spoiled the entire novel in the very first sentence.
Except she hasn’t. The rest of the novel explains how Eunice Parchman’s illiteracy and ignorance inevitably leads her to shotgun a happy family to death. It is like a train that you see coming, but can’t get out of the way of.
The world is a lesser place for Ms. Rendell’s passing.