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"Mr. Koch is survived by New York itself."

"He was fiercely proud of his Jewish faith. He fiercely defended the City of New York, and he fiercely loved its people. Above all, he loved his country, the United States of America, in whose armed forces he served in World War II." - a self-written epitaph by the former 105th Mayor of New York City: Edward Irving Koch.
"Hizzoner" passed away on Friday morning at the age of 88, and the New York Times City Room blog spent the day collecting and posting stories about him. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 1, 2013 - 53 comments

RIP Ronald Francis Watts

Peter Watts eulogizes his gay Baptist father.
posted by infinitewindow on Jan 18, 2013 - 21 comments

To tell the story to someone else...

In 1974, Leon Leyson was one of a group of Jews who greeted Oskar Schindler when he visited Los Angeles. It was the first time the two had seen each other since the war. He began to introduce himself, but Schindler interrupted: "I know who you are," Schindler said, grinning at the middle-aged man before him. "You're Little Leyson." On Sunday, the youngest name on Schindler's List passed away at the age of 83. "The truth is, I did not live my life in the shadow of the Holocaust," he told the Portland Oregonian in 1997. "I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 14, 2013 - 35 comments

Open access, open internet, closed book

Aaron Swartz, web technologist, has committed suicide. First mentioned on Metafilter for his involvement in the standardization of RSS in 2001 as a ninth-grader, most of Swartz's 26 years were devoted to leaving a lasting impact on the web. Swartz co-founded Infogami, which merged with the internet aggregator Reddit, and also founded the Internet activist organization Demand Progress which fought against the SOPA/PIPA legislation. His framework for web servers, web.py, was first released in 2006 when Reddit switched from Lisp to Python and continues to be actively used and updated. In a 2008 attempt to make a public version of the contents of the PACER public court records database, Swartz angered government officials when they learned he had downloaded 20 million articles, which he subsequently made freely available. In 2011 he was indicted for data theft for downloading large amounts from the academic article repository JSTOR. Despite JSTOR's statement indicating "no interest in this becoming an ongoing legal matter," the US case continued with additional charges, to which Aaron pled innocent in September of 2012. [more inside]
posted by Llama-Lime on Jan 12, 2013 - 528 comments

RIP Sol Yurick

Sol Yurick, author of the book that was the basis for Metafilter favorite film The Warriors, has died at 87.
posted by rhiannonstone on Jan 9, 2013 - 15 comments

She was my mother

Jeanne Manford, the former schoolteacher and founder of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays , has died at 92 years old. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jan 8, 2013 - 73 comments

"the arts are just a part of the weapons of life"

The poet Jayne Cortez passed away this past December 28th in New York City (New York Times obituary). She started publishing her poems in the late 1960s and in the 70s began performing her poetry backed by music, first in collaboration with bassist Richard Davis, and then backed by her own band The Firespitters. Some of their tracks have found their way to YouTube: I See Chano Pozo, If the Drum Is a Woman, There It Is, Maintain Control & Economic Love Song I, Everybody Wants to Be Somebody, Takin' the Blues Back Home, Talk to Me (for Don Cherry), I've Been Searching, You Can Be and Endangered Species List Blues. Just two years ago she performed solo with her son by Ornette Coleman, drummer Denardo Coleman: Find Your Own Voice, I'm Gonna Shake and She Got He Got. In 1997 she was featured on University of California television network in the series Artists on the Cutting Edge where she read poems and discussed her work. Finally, here's a brief clip from the 1982 documentary Poetry in Motion, where she was interviewed.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 5, 2013 - 4 comments

Sounds like a mountain range in love

Mike Auldridge, the influential dobro player has died. While he played with many people over the years (Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, etc.), he was a long standing member of bluegrass band The Seldom Scene (caution, autoplay music). Here is The Seldom Scene playing 'Rider,' Mike takes a solo at about 6:40. [more inside]
posted by OmieWise on Dec 31, 2012 - 10 comments

Charles Durning has died.

Charles Durning has died. (NYT)
Charles Durning grew up in poverty, lost five of his nine siblings to disease, barely lived through D-Day and was taken prisoner at the Battle of the Bulge. His hard life and wartime trauma provided the basis for a prolific 50-year career as a consummate Oscar-nominated character actor, playing everyone from a Nazi colonel to the pope to Dustin Hoffman’s would-be suitor in “Tootsie.” (WashPo)
posted by OmieWise on Dec 25, 2012 - 58 comments

Sen. Daniel Inouye, 1924-2012

Senator Daniel Inouye, Democrat and senior senator from Hawaii, has died at the age of 88 from respiratory problems. [more inside]
posted by Rangeboy on Dec 17, 2012 - 109 comments

The Real Dr. House, R.I.P.

William F. House, known by many in the field as the "Father of Neurotology," has died at the age of 89. Dr. House is credited with developing the cochlear implant, pioneering the use of the operative microscope in ear and brain surgery, and, with his brother Howard, establishing the House Ear Institute. [more inside]
posted by robstercraw on Dec 13, 2012 - 2 comments

Fyodor Khitruk (1917-2012)

The great Russian animator Fyodor Khitruk passed away on December 3rd at the age of 95. You might know him as the director of the delightful Vinni Puh. (Parts one and two can be seen here with subtitles, for part three see this previous post.) [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio on Dec 7, 2012 - 15 comments

RIP Jazz master Dave Brubeck.

I am devastated to read that jazz master and Kennedy Center honoree Dave Brubeck has died. His influence on jazz was wide and profound. His frequent collaborator and the composer of one of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s best known tunes, “Take Five,” Paul Desmond, said of the sound of his alto sax, “"I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini." Brubeck was well-known for his use of differing time signatures, again referencing “Take Five” which was in 5/4 time and another example, “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” in 9/8 time. Desmond passed away in 2005, and Brubeck has left the earthly plain to join him in the Heavenly Jazz Band. RIP. (MLYT)
posted by Lynsey on Dec 5, 2012 - 182 comments

Trashman Forever

Spain Rodriguez Fought the Good Fight - underground comics artist Spain Rodriguez, most famous for his violent antihero Trashman, passed away yesterday.
posted by Artw on Nov 29, 2012 - 30 comments

"HAPPINESS FOR EVERYBODY, FREE, AND NO ONE WILL GO AWAY UNSATISFIED!"

Boris Strugatsky passed away Monday, 19 Nov 2012. [more inside]
posted by wobh on Nov 20, 2012 - 22 comments

The Loss of One Classy Republican

Helen Wallbank Milliken, former Michigan First Lady and strong supporter of women's rights, passed away late yesterday. Married to William Milliken, Republican governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1983, Helen Milliken was both a strong proponent of both the ERA and of abortion rights. [more inside]
posted by still_wears_a_hat on Nov 17, 2012 - 18 comments

"Here is the map. Where you go is up to you."

Pete Namlook, electronic music producer and ambient pioneer, has died. [more inside]
posted by Otherwise on Nov 15, 2012 - 39 comments

RIP, Lucille Bliss: Voice of Smurfette and Crusader Rabbit

'TV historians will tell you that “Felix the Cat” was one of the first images ever broadcast on television (when RCA broadcast a Felix doll in 1928 on experimental station W2XBS) — but it wasn’t until the late ’40s that the first animated character was created expressly for TV. Crusader Rabbit appeared for the very first time on KNBH (Los Angeles) on August 1, 1950, and featured a Don Quixote-like title character aided by his friend Ragland T. “Rags” Tiger as they pursued adventures in serial (i.e. cliffhanger) installments.' On November 8th, the voice of Crusader Rabbit, Lucille Bliss, passed away at the age of 96. Ms. Bliss may be more familiar to younger fans as the voice of Smurfette, from The Smurfs, or as Ms. Bitters on Invader ZIM. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 15, 2012 - 18 comments

Dennis Avner has died.

RIP to internet and body-mod legend Stalking Cat Known as "the cat guy" on many parts of the internet, Dennis had spent money to shape himself in the form of his totemic animal, which he described as "a stalking cat". He held the world record for "most permanent transformations to look like an animal" by a single person No note or reason has been shared by the family.
posted by boo_radley on Nov 14, 2012 - 66 comments

Bill Hill, digital typography and e-book pioneer, died Wednesday.

Bill Hill, digital typography and e-book pioneer, died Wednesday. A pioneer in using science to explain how our brains let us read, he was at Microsoft in the 1990s, and was one the inventors of ClearType, a technology for improving online reading on Windows. His passionate and entertaining lectures include Homo Sapiens 1.0 (transcript) which advocated that programmers need to learn as much about how their user's brains work rather than just OSes and programming languages, Why you only need one space after a period and the section of that talk on Why underlining hurts your brain. He died Wednesday from a heart attack.
posted by Berkun on Oct 20, 2012 - 42 comments

(Noun) (Adverb) (Verb) RIP

Larry Sloan, the ____(adjective)____ publisher of the ___(adverb)___ ___(adjective)____ "Mad Libs" died on October 18th. His family and friends described him as ____(adjective)_____, ____(adjective)_____, kind to his pet ____(animal)____, and very interested in his hobby, collecting _____(plural noun)____.
posted by xingcat on Oct 19, 2012 - 54 comments

"That combination of brilliance and generosity, mischief and courage"

It has been a bad week for contemporary Marxist scholarship [earlier this morning]. This past Saturday, the geography world lost Neil Smith, versatile theorist, advocate for social justice, LA Times Book Award winner, and founder of the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at CUNY. Best known for his theory of the uneven spatial development of capitalism and for changing the way we think about gentrification, his numerous contributions to the field of critical human geography include a sustained critique of neoliberalism, a history of American empire, and the declaration that there's no such thing as a natural disaster. Here's Neil on Occupy Wall Street, urban securitization, deconstructing USA Today in 1984, and singing the Socialist ABCs.
posted by avocet on Oct 1, 2012 - 12 comments

The Spirit Catches Lia Lee, RIP

First published in 1997, Anne Fadiman's book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, a chronicle of a Hmong refugee family's interactions with the American medical system in the face of a child's devastating illness, has become highly recommended, if not required, reading for many medical students and health care professionals, over the past 15 years quietly changing how young doctors approach patients from different cultures. On August 31, with little publicity, Lia Lee, the young girl who inspired the book, after living most of her life in a persistent vegetative state, quietly died [NYT obit].
posted by Slarty Bartfast on Sep 15, 2012 - 79 comments

RIP Bill Brent

Bill Brent was the publisher of the zine Black Sheets and the alternative sexuality directory The Black Book and the author of the book How To Make a Zine (recently republished in a revised edition) as well as a lot of erotica writing. He was very active in the San Francisco Bay Area sexuality, kink, and zine scenes from the early 90s onward. Unfortunately, he committed suicide in August 2012; Liz Highleyman penned an in-depth obituary of Bill.
posted by larrybob on Aug 30, 2012 - 13 comments

Malcolm Browne, 1931-2012

Malcolm Browne, the war correspondent who took one of the most iconic and disturbing photographs of the Vietnam conflict, has died. He was 81. [more inside]
posted by Rangeboy on Aug 28, 2012 - 18 comments

A photograph isn’t necessarily a lie, but nor is it the truth. It’s more of a fleeting, subjective impression.

Goodbye Martine Franck.
My grandfather killed himself falling off the dike in Ostend while photographing my two cousins.
This can happen so easily when looking through a lens: for a split second nothing else exists outside the frame

Here she explains her choice of an iconic photograph.
She followed the Theatre du Soleil from it's conception and sought out the Tibetan Tulkus.
Here is a Magnum slideshow and her Magnum Albums.
posted by adamvasco on Aug 25, 2012 - 2 comments

They had a Carl Sagan, too

Sergey Petrovich Kapitsa (1928-2012), scientist, television personality, pacifist. The son of a Nobel Prize in Physics laureate, Kapitsa's research drifted from physics into demography and mathematical population modeling, having spoken alongside Sagan in the Club of Rome. Kapitsa is better known, however, as the host of Evident, but incredible, which catapulted him into the figure of a public ambassador of science and eventually the longest-running television host in the history of Russia. Kapitsa also left a minor mark as a filmmaker, with his "Sea of Japan" arriving second to Jacques Cousteau in Cannes.
posted by syntaxfree on Aug 21, 2012 - 2 comments

Guess St. Peter needed a good laugh

Phyllis Diller, dead at 95 I encountered her first on Scooby Doo and I discovered how funny she really was as an adult. She was on the Ed Sullivan show in 1969 and she sounded just as fresh and full of sass in an interview I heard taped last year.
posted by peppermind on Aug 20, 2012 - 131 comments

Tony Scott, 1944-2012

Tony Scott, younger brother of Ridley Scott, is perhaps best known for directing True Romance, but he had a long career making action films that had verve and a pulse, including an ongoing collaboration with Denzel Washington. His last film, Unstoppable, was one of his biggest critical and commercial hits, earning him widespread praise as the consummate mainstream Hollywood stylist. He committed suicide today at age 68.
posted by eugenen on Aug 19, 2012 - 171 comments

"The latest victim of the tumor has been my facial nerve."

Kathi Goertzen, a TV news anchor on KOMO in Seattle, has died after battling brain tumors for 14 years. In 2011, she candidly discussed how it felt to be in the public eye after a tumor caused one side of her face to become paralyzed. [more inside]
posted by skycrashesdown on Aug 14, 2012 - 18 comments

RIP Joe Kubert

Comic book artist Joe Kubert has died. Kubert, who started a New Jersey school of cartooning that cemented his legacy as an industry great, has died after a hospital stay. He was 85.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist on Aug 12, 2012 - 41 comments

Farewell, Pushcart Queen

Farewell Pushcart Queen: Jean Merrill has passed away from cancer. Many of her 30 books were young adult stories which followed underdogs in conflict with powerful interests. Her most well-known books were The Pushcart War, about a confrontation between New York pushcarts and the trucking industry, and The Toothpaste Millionaire, about a young African American entrepreneur who challenges big business. (previously) [more inside]
posted by honest knave on Aug 12, 2012 - 33 comments

RIP Jason Noble

Diagnosed in 2009 with synovial sarcoma, Jason Noble of Rodan, Rachel's, and Shipping News passed away August 4th. Video: Rodan, Rachel's, Shipping News.
posted by safetyfork on Aug 10, 2012 - 24 comments

"Carlo Rambaldi was E.T.'s Geppetto"

Special effects legend Carlo Rambaldi, most famous as the creator of E.T. and the titular creature in Alien, has died at the age of 86. Here is a montage of his work.
posted by brundlefly on Aug 10, 2012 - 19 comments

Mel Stuart goes to the great chocolate shop in the sky.

RIP Mel Stuart, 1928-2012. Best known for directing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — essentially an elaborate product-placement for Quaker Oats, which funded the whole thing to promote a new chocolate bar — the versatile Stuart was also a committed documentarian whose films for producer David L. Wolper included 1964's Four Days in November and 1973's Wattstax.
posted by Joey Bagels on Aug 10, 2012 - 27 comments

David Rakoff, 1964-2012

David Rakoff, essayist and humorist, died on August 9th. Huffington post obituary; The Awl obituary. If you're not familiar with his writing, a good place to start might be listening to any of of his appearances on This American Life.
posted by Greg Nog on Aug 10, 2012 - 136 comments

"I don't want to die doing drugs. I don't want to be that kid who was the son of the head coach of the Eagles, who was spoiled and on drugs and OD'd and just faded into oblivion."

"Garrett Reid, the oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid, was found dead Sunday morning in his room at training camp at Lehigh University." Garrett's legal troubles and struggle with addiction were widely publicized over the years due to his high profile father. After leaving prison he fought hard to change this legacy and was employed as a trainer with the team at the time of his death. "Garrett’s road through life was not always an easy one. He faced tremendous personal challenges with bravery and spirit. As a family, we stood by him and were inspired as he worked to overcome those challenges. Even though he lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years, we will always remember him as a fighter who had a huge, loving heart." [more inside]
posted by furiousxgeorge on Aug 7, 2012 - 17 comments

What I did for love

Composer Marvin Hamlisch is dead at 68. Mr. Hamlisch was one of only eleven people to win all four major US performing awards: Emmy Award (he won 4), Grammy Award, the Oscar (3 awards) and the Tony Award [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 7, 2012 - 63 comments

Robert Hughes died in New York yesterday.

Influential Australian art critic Robert Hughes, author of The Shock of the New and The Fatal Shore, has died aged 74.
posted by wilful on Aug 6, 2012 - 62 comments

Man, I don't know where we at

When the works of David Simon were translated to television, the job of portraying 15-year-old DeAndre McCullough from "The Corner" was given to Sean Nelson. DeAndre himself, then 23, appeared on screen in a cameo as an officer and in a non-fiction discussion at the end of the miniseries. Later, in the world of "The Wire," DeAndre returned as the bodyguard of Brother Mouzone.

David Simon: "He enjoyed acting, and showed some poise, but the jobs that offered the chance at a real career — the behind-the-camera production work, the path to union wages and benefits — those couldn’t hold him."

DeAndre McCullough was found dead on Wednesday in Baltimore. He was 35.
posted by rewil on Aug 4, 2012 - 38 comments

Gore Vidal October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012

Gore Vidal, arguably one of america's greatest living post-war writers, died Tuesday at the age of 86. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Jul 31, 2012 - 141 comments

Mort de Chris Marker

Chris Marker, director of La Jetée and Sans Soleil, among many others, and co-writer of 12 Monkeys, has died at age 91. English obit. French obit. Article on Chris Marker in the Guardian from 2002. Another appreciation from 2002. La Jetée on YouTube. Previously. Previouslier.
posted by chavenet on Jul 30, 2012 - 68 comments

RIP Margaret Mahy

Acclaimed New Zealand children's and young adult's book author Margaret Mahy died in Christchurch yesterday aged 76. [more inside]
posted by Start with Dessert on Jul 23, 2012 - 24 comments

Bob Babbitt 1937-2012

Bob Babbitt, longtime session musician and member of Motown's house band The Funk Brothers, has died at 74. [more inside]
posted by ricochet biscuit on Jul 20, 2012 - 21 comments

SNL writer Tom Davis, RIP

Comedy writing parter to Sen. Al Franken (the two went to high school together and shared an apprenticeship salary when first hired by Lorne Michaels as two of the first writers for Saturday Night Live), Tom Davis has died at 59 from throat cancer. In 2009 he published his memoir of those years, Thirty-Nine Years of Short-Term Memory Loss.
posted by aught on Jul 20, 2012 - 38 comments

A Writer, and a Friend, of the Highest Class

Journalist and critic AA Gill writes a moving, heartfelt and beautiful tribute to young colleague Amy Turner [more inside]
posted by chris88 on Jul 16, 2012 - 28 comments

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing."

Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, died today at age 79. According to Covey's family, the death was due to "the residual effects of a bike accident he suffered this past April." The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People has sold more than 20 million copies since its initial publication in 1989, and is one of Time Magazine's "25 Most Influential Business Management Books." 7 Habits popularized the concepts of "win/win," "interdependence," and "paradigm shift" in self-help and managerial vocabularies.
posted by catlet on Jul 16, 2012 - 41 comments

When I die, bury me / In my high top Stetson hat / Put a twenty-dollar gold piece on my watch chain / God'll know I died standin' pat.

It is a sad day in New Orleans. At the age of 80, Uncle Lionel has passed on. Uncle Lionel was the long-time bass drummer and sometime singer for New Orleans favorites the Treme Brass Band. (Watch the Treme Brass band playing one of their standards, "It Ain't My Fault".) Known to many as The Best-Dressed Man in New Orleans, he was a legendary and universally-loved fixture of the New Orleans music scene. Here is a video of him partying down at Sydney's Saloon on St. Bernard Ave, age 78. Here he plays drum and sings Let Me Call You Sweetheart at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe, earlier this year. And finally, here he is with Monty Banks singing Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans? at the Spotted Cat in 2009. Funeral arrangements have not been announced, but rest assured there will be one hell of second line the day they lay Uncle Lionel down.
posted by Scientist on Jul 9, 2012 - 29 comments

Andy Griffith Dies at 86.

Take down the fishin' pole and meet me at the fishin' hole: Reports are that entertainer Andy Griffith has died at the age of 86. A comedian, actor, and musician, he created an icon of American decency by portraying sheriff Andy Taylor in his fictional TV town of Mayberry, featured on the Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD. By all accounts, a kind a decent man. You can still visit his museum and peruse his archives.
posted by Miko on Jul 3, 2012 - 157 comments

“Don’t try to lock him up. He escapes, you know."

Born in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, member of the French resistance and the SOE, multiple escapee from Nazi execution, RIP Count Robert de La Rochefoucauld.
posted by Artw on Jun 30, 2012 - 20 comments

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