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The Naked Edge

Layton Kor, one of the world's most prolific and admired rock climbers, has died. [more inside]
posted by gruchall on Apr 27, 2013 - 10 comments

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've already kept Jesus waiting five minutes.

"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice — pull down your pants, and slide on the ice." - Dr. Sidney Freedman, M*A*S*H. Allan Arbus, actor, photographer, and amateur clarinetist, passed away last Friday. He was 95. [more inside]
posted by heyho on Apr 25, 2013 - 47 comments

A Compassionate "Human Computer", RIP

Shakuntala Devi, the Indian "human computer," passed away on Sunday. The NY Times first did a profile on her when she visited the US in 1976, during which she computed the cube root of a 9 digit integer in her head, but could not remember that she had been to the US once before -- over 20 years prior. Bob Bemer (inventor of the Escape key previously) remembers meeting her in 1953 on the TV show You Asked For It (which had previously featured a race between an abacus and a calculator). Psychologist Arthur Jensen (who did controversial research on race and IQ) wrote a paper on Shakuntala's exceptional ability in 1990. Shakuntala made her living as an astrologer and authored numerous books mostly on mathematical puzzles and tricks, but also The World of Homosexuals (1977), one of the earliest ethnographic studies of gay people in India. Specifically about gays in her hometown of Bangalore, Shakuntala called for "not only the decriminalisation of homosexuality in India, but also its 'full and complete acceptance' by the heterosexual population so that the Indian homosexual may lead a dignified and secure life."
posted by bluefly on Apr 23, 2013 - 28 comments

How to Live at the Met

If you ever wanted to run away and live at the museum, you probably read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Author and two-time Newbery Award winner E. L. Konigsburg who gave the runaway Kincaid siblings a mystery to solve at the Metropolitan Museum of Art died today at age 83. Konigsburg attended what later became Carnegie Mellon University, majoring in chemistry, and went on to teach science before writing children's books. (previously)
posted by girlhacker on Apr 20, 2013 - 77 comments

I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it.

Jonathan Winters, the wildly inventive actor and comedian who appeared in such films as "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "The Loved One" and played Robin Williams' son on the TV show "Mork & Mindy," has died. He was 87. [more inside]
posted by mazola on Apr 12, 2013 - 128 comments

Les Blank

Beloved indy ethnographic documentarian Les Blank died yesterday. This interview gives a good overview of his background, and this post includes clips. Watch a couple of his public domain films here. Or do yourself a favor and find the complete version of Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Apr 8, 2013 - 19 comments

You don't realize it, but we're at dinner right now.

Prolific and well-respected film critic Roger Ebert has died at 70. [more inside]
posted by Snarl Furillo on Apr 4, 2013 - 499 comments

The Glorious Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is dead. RIP

RT @bijli Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the German-born screenwriter and novelist who, as the writing member of the Merchant Ivory filmmaking team, won two Academy Awards for adaptations of genteel, class-conscious E. M. Forster novels, died on Wednesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 85. Her 1975 novel, “Heat and Dust,” about an Englishwoman exploring a family scandal in India, received the Man Booker Prize, Britain’s highest literary honor. She wrote the screenplay for the Merchant Ivory version in 1983 as well. New York Times obit
posted by infini on Apr 3, 2013 - 26 comments

An obituary to fit the man

Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies' man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013. Harry Stamps' obituary, penned by his daughter Amanda Lewis.
posted by zerobyproxy on Mar 12, 2013 - 27 comments

Hugo Chavez: the revolutionary's final battle

Hugo Chavez dies. Al-Jazeera reported it first on their live stream, while internal media are still holding back. The Vice President, Nicolas Maduro, made the announcement.
posted by moonbird on Mar 5, 2013 - 283 comments

Bob Godfrey 1921-2013

On Thursday, February 21st, influential British animator Bob Godfrey passed away at the age of 91. (Guardian, BBC,Cartoon Brew, Mirror, Rueters, Telegraph, and yes, even the Daily Mail. [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio on Feb 23, 2013 - 12 comments

The Lafcadio Hearn of Our Time

Donald Richie, American author, journalist, critic and expert on Japan, dies at 88.
Smilingly excluded here in Japan, politely stigmatised, I can from my angle attempt only objectivity, since my subjective self will not fit the space I am allotted . . . how fortunate I am to occupy this niche with its lateral view. In America I would be denied this place. I would live on the flat surface of a plain. In Japan, from where I am sitting, the light falls just right – I can see the peaks and valleys, the crags and crevasses.
-- from The Japan Journals, 1947-2004
[more inside]
posted by Ice Cream Socialist on Feb 19, 2013 - 23 comments

Playing with God is indeed playing with fire

Beloved Legal Philosopher Ronald Dworkin Passes Away. Dworkin was described as "perhaps the most influential legal philosopher of the last century" in a 2005 profile. A surprisingly comprehensive collection of his essays for the New York Review of Books are available online. You can also watch his lecture on truth and interpretation. Or you can read about his recent book Justice for Hedgehogs. [more inside]
posted by likeatoaster on Feb 14, 2013 - 20 comments

Jonathan Rendall, 1964-2013

Late last month, the writer Jonathan Rendall was found dead at his home in Ipswich. He was 48. He was the greatest gonzo writer you've never heard of. [more inside]
posted by hydatius on Feb 13, 2013 - 9 comments

"No one noticed, they found, until the cords had lost an entire foot."

John E. Karlin, Bell Labs' first behavioral psychologist and the father of human factors engineering, has died at the age of 94. [more inside]
posted by spitefulcrow on Feb 11, 2013 - 32 comments

Batteries not included

André Cassagnes, the inventor of Etch A Sketch, has died aged 86. [Telegraph] [Guardian] [Washington Post] [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 2, 2013 - 25 comments

"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

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