Phyllis Dorothy James, Baroness James of Holland Park, OBE, FRSA, FRSL, best known as crime writer P.D. James, died today at the age of 94.
Marion Barry, former 4-term mayor of Washington DC, has died at the age of 78.
Prolific television producer Glen A. Larson has died. Mainstream audiences might remember him as the creator of Alias Smith and Jones, his first hit series; and of such shows as Quincy M.E., Magnum, P.I., and The Fall Guy. But to science-fiction fans, he will always be remembered as the man behind TV's first million-dollar-per-episode series, Battlestar Galactica, and as a Consulting Producer on Syfy's highly regarded remake of the series. He also brought us Knight Rider; The Six Million Dollar Man, which may soon be getting a reimagining of its own; and Buck Rogers in the 25ᵗʰ Century, along with a handful of less successful, but still fondly remembered, sci-fi TV adventures. [more inside]
Alexander Grothendieck, who brought much of contemporary mathematics into being with the force of his uncompromising vision, is dead at 86, some twenty-five years after leaving academic mathematics and retreating into a spiritual seclusion in the countryside. "As if summoned from the void," a two-part account of Grothendieck's life, from the Notices of the American Math Society: part I, part II. [more inside]
The poetry and brief life of a Foxconn worker: Xu Lizhi (1990-2014) is an article about a 24-year old Chinese assembly line worker and poet who committed suicide last month. He worked for the electronics manufacturer which makes products for a range of companies, including Sony, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Nintendo. The post includes Chinese originals and English translations of Xu Lizhi's poems. His death and poetry have garnered much attention, such as these blogposts from The Wall Street Journal and The London Review of Books.
Big Bank Hank, one-third of the Sugarhill Gang, the unlikely ambassadors who took hip-hop out of Bronx parks and onto the pop charts, died on Tuesday in Englewood, N.J. He was 58. [more inside]
Tom Menino, Boston's 53rd and longest-serving mayor, dies at 71. He had recently published his memoirs, but announced last week that he was suspending both his book tour and his cancer treatments. "Because of his leadership," current Mayor Marty Walsh said in a released statement, "Boston is a better place today." That is an understatement -- some polls showed that more than fifty percent of Bostonians had met him at one time or another; Tom Menino was the People's Mayor. [more inside]
Marcia Strassman most famous as Mrs. Kotter, but also known for roles on M*A*S*H, Honey I Shrunk The Kids, and her brief foray into music recording has died of breast cancer at 66. [more inside]
Jack Bruce, best known as bass player and vocalist for 60s supergroup Cream has died of liver disease at the age of 71. [more inside]
Zilpha Keatley Snyder, author of 43 books for children and young adults, died from complications of a stroke on October 7, 2014.She won three Newberry Honor Awards
The great Geoffrey Holder died on Sunday at the age of 84 Mr. Holder was born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad on August 1st, 1930 and danced with his brother Boscoe’s dance troupe as a child. He arrived in New York in 1952 at the invitation of the legendary choreographer, Agnes de Mille and, to pay his fare, he sold 20 of his paintings. [more inside]
NOLA bounce artist and rapper Nicky Da B is dead. Nicki was best known for his colorful, aggressively infectious music and videos, including Hot Potato Style (previously), Express Yourself with Diplo (previously), and his collaboration with photographer Clayton Cubitt Go Loko (NSFW, strobe and flashes warning)
Don Pardo, announcer for Saturday Night Live, The Price Is Right and Jeopardy!, has died. [more inside]
Lauren Bacall, the film and stage actress and model who was known for her distinctive husky voice and sultry looks, died Tuesday at the age of 89. IMDB, Wikipedia, An interview from 1994. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? Previously
Red Klotz, who led basketball’s biggest losers, the Washington Generals, dies at 93. In his time with the Generals, Mr. Klotz lost at least 14,000 games, or 15,000, or, according to some estimates, more than 20,000. “That sounds about right,” Mr. Klotz would shrug whenever someone tried to calculate the number. “I don’t count the losses,” he told the Washington City Paper in 2007. “It’s easier to keep track of the wins.” Mr. Klotz won six games, his biographer concluded. Or maybe it was four. Possibly just two. But definitely, beyond the shadow of any doubt, his team won one game for sure.
Charlie Haden, one of the most influential jazz musicians of our time, is going home Here is Charlie, singing the old ballad Wayfaring Stranger - a fitting song for this occasion. Previously (somewhat repetitive, for background [more inside]
Bob Abrahamian was a Chicago DJ, record collector, and chronicler of Chicago's soul history whose death in June at age 35 shocked soul music lovers around the world. The Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Guarino says: "He left behind tens of thousands of 45-rpm records, but to those who knew him, it was the generous spirit in evangelizing the music that made the greatest impact." His work lives on on the site for his radio show, Sitting in the Park, which features exclusive music from and extensive interviews with 60s and 70s Chicago soul musicians. [more inside]
BBC: Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano, regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, has died. The 88-year-old suffered a heart attack on Saturday and had been in an induced coma in Madrid's Gregorio Maranon hospital. Real Madrid confirmed the news, saying Di Stefano, their honorary president, died at 17:15 CET (16:15 BST). The forward won five straight European Cups, scoring in each final between 1956 and 1960. Tim Vickery Article on Di Stefano.
Stephen_Gaskin founder of The Farm, husband of renowned mid-wife, Ina May Gaskin died July 1st. Here's a good obituary. The search for the spiritual community life that culminated in the purchase of land outside Summertown, Tennessee began with Gaskin's Monday Night Class held in San Francisco in 1969 & 1970. [more inside]
Trampas, aka StudBook 424, passed away this week, leaving behind over 770 descendants, at the ripe old age of 13, the longest life known for a loggerhead shrike. [more inside]
Bobby Womack--one of the last surviving soul greats from the Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding generation--has died. Nicknamed "The Preacher" for his authoritative, church-trained voice and the way he introduced songs with long discourses on life, Womack never had the success of contemporaries like Marvin Gaye, Al Green or Otis Redding. For a good part of his career, he was better known as a songwriter and session musician. [more inside]
Casey Kasem, the resonant voice of Top 40 radio and a vocal fixture on cartoon programs for the past 40 years, has died, according to his daughter. He was 82. [more inside]
Alain Resnais, the French filmmaker who helped introduce literary modernism to the movies and became an international art-house star with nonlinear narrative films like “Hiroshima Mon Amour” and “Last Year at Marienbad,” died on [March 1] in Paris. He was 91. NYTimes Obit [more inside]
Knowlton Nash, former long-time host of CBC's flagship news program The National, died yesterday, aged 86. [more inside]
Alistair Macleod, one of Canada's greatest writers, has passed away. With just one novel, and two collections of short stories to his name, Macleod left an indelible mark on Canadian, and modern, literature. Other writers share their memories at the National Post (skip the first, Joyce Carol Oates' completely bland and characterless effort). At the Globe and Mail, Steven Galloway shares his own stories with Alistair. [more inside]
Swiss media report that HR Giger, famous for his dark and iconic Alien design, has died. He leaves behind a large body of work, much of it displayed in his own museum.
Author, environmentalist, and activist Farley Mowat, OC, died Tuesday at his home in Port Hope, Ontario, six days short of his 93rd birthday. [more inside]
Rabbi Myer Kripke, of Omaha, dies at 100. The New York Times obituary tells the story of the Kripkes and a couple they played bridge with and became friends with, Susan and Warren Buffett. In 1966, they approached Buffett to manage their savings, and they wound up making $25 million, all of which they gave away. The Times piece also devotes a half a sentence to Rabbi Kripke's son, "Saul Kripke, a Princeton scholar who has been called the world’s greatest living philosopher" (cynics should note that Saul Kripke shot to prominence before his parents were rich).
"When you say ‘war photographer’ the first image that comes to mind is someone crazy for the bang bang. Not Anja. She was an artist. She used her sensitivity and sense of understanding to access the human side of war." In Memoriam: Anja Niedringhaus (1965—2014). Her photographs are powerful and beautiful.
Legendary old school tabletop RPG artist David Trampier (mentioned previously a few times on the blue) created some of the most striking iconic art which helped define the look of 1st edition Advanced D&D. He grew disillusioned with the business in the late eighties and cut off all contact with his former employers (ceasing cashing royalty checks), disappearing with such finality that Dragon Magazine assumed he was dead. By chance, some fifteen years later he appeared in a local news story in Carbondale, Illinois where he was working as a taxi driver. He politely but firmly rejected all invitations to step back into his previous career. This week he passed away at the age of 59. [more inside]
Ralph Wilson, owner of the Buffalo Bills since 1959, has passed away at the age of 95. Wilson was the last of the eight AFL team owners known as the "Foolish Club," and is notable for his continued support of other small market teams, including voting against moving the Cleveland Browns in 1995 (one of only two to do so), and subsequently hosting a Browns Day in Buffalo. He saved the Oakland Raiders from bankruptcy, and insisted that the AFL postpone their games the day after JFK's assassination. As positive memories were shared on twitter from around the league, Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, NY, has left a light on in his honor.
James Rebhorn, an actor often playing a man in a suit, Dies at 65 after a 12-year struggle with skin cancer.
Mr. Rebhorn had memorable supporting roles in major films and worked consistently in television and theater. He appeared in more than 50 films, including “Meet the Parents,” “Independence Day,” “My Cousin Vinny” and “Cold Mountain.”He penned his own obituary which can be read here.
Clarissa Dickson Wright has passed away, aged 66. The surviving half of the BBC cooking show Two Fat Ladies, she "was utterly non-PC and fought for what she believed in, always, with no thought to her own personal cost," her agent said in the announcement. [more inside]
Gary Burger, lead singer and guitarist for seminal proto-punk band The Monks, passed away early Friday morning after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 71. [more inside]
Sherwin Nuland, surgeon and award-winning author who challenged idea of dignified death, has died at age 83. The son of first generation immigrants, Nuland survived a troubled childhood and succeeded in medical school only to face near-paralyzing depression, for which he was successfully treated with electroconvulsive therapy (first-person TED talk). His award-winning book, "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter", included realistic descriptions of the process of death and helped to frame the national debate on assisted suicide. [more inside]
Harold Ramis, SCTV alumni, Ghostbuster, and director of films such as Caddyshack and Groundhog Day (previously discussed on the blue here and here, among other moments), passed away this morning at 69.
Alice Herz-Sommer, the oldest known Holocaust survivor and subject of the film "The Lady in Number Six" has died at the age of 110. Before World War II, Alice was a concert pianist who travelled across Europe. During the war, Alice's mother and husband were sent to Auschwitz where they were murdered, and Alice and her six year old son were sent to Theresienstadt. Alice performed more than 100 concerts at Theresienstadt, and immigrated to Israel with her son after surviving the camp. [more inside]
Ralph Waite has died, at the age of 85. You might know him for his Emmy-nominated performance as Slater in the mini-series "Roots," or from countless other stage and screen roles, or from his three unsuccessful attempts at a Congressional seat in California. But odds are you know him as John Walton, Sr. (the third-greatest television dad of all time, according to a 2004 TV Guide poll) on "The Waltons." [more inside]
Maggie Estep, the writer-poet-performance artist and all-around cool person who came to some fame while living in the East Village in the early 1990s, has died. After suffering a massive heart attack on Monday, Estep died at age 50. Before publishing her first novel, Maggie worked as a horse groom, a go-go dancer, a dishwasher, a nurse’s aide, and a box factory worker. She initially received national attention in the 1990s, when MTV covered the spoken-word movement on an all-poetry episode of "Unplugged." [more inside]
Shirley Jane Temple Black, actress and US Ambassador to Ghana and Czechoslovakia, has passed away, aged 85.
Can you believe he even existed? Did we conjure him up in a strangely unexplainable collective? On January 19th, the animation world lost one of its most idiosyncratic and principled voices, Michael Sporn. Sporn not only gathered accolades for his work, including an Oscar nomination for his short Dr. Desoto (excerpt) and four Emmy awards, he also won the respect of the animation community and the affection and high regard of those who worked with him, and for his wonderful Splog, which has been linked previously, 1 2 High quality clips of his work can be viewed at his website (see link in the comments.) [more inside]
Police say Hoffman, 46, was found dead with a needle in his arm. Hoffman's struggles with substance abuse have been well documented, and he had told 60 Minutes in 2006 that he was grateful to have gotten sober before getting famous.
Inspirational Sam Berns, who suffered from the premature ageing disease progeria, has passed away at the age of 17.
Former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon died at a hospital near Tel Aviv last night, aged 85, after spending eight years in a coma. He was one of Israel's more popular leaders as a fierce defender of the Jewish nation, but was loathed by Palestinians and other regional powers who dubbed him the "the Butcher of Beirut". Israel is in mourning. Twitter is reacting. NPR reflects on his life as being one of a warrior's journey to peace.