"In 1955 "Rock Around the Clock" went to the top of the charts and turned Bill Haley into the king of rock and roll. Twenty-five years later, he was holed up in a pool house in Harlingen, TX, drunk, lonely, paranoid, and dying. After three decades of silence, his widow and his children tell the story of his years in Texas and his sad final days." (Via)
The reclusive 104-year-old heiress has died, but the recent public fascination with her has led to an investigation into the handling of her money. You may remember last year's MeFi post dedicated to Huguette Clark. The hospital in which she lived for the past 22 years confirmed that she died Tuesday morning, just shy of her 105th birthday. The investigation of the people handling her fortune continues.
Jeff Jones, comic book artist, science fiction and fantasy artist, and former member of The Studio, died today of emphysema and bronchitis. [more inside]
Bill Gallo, longtime NY Daily News Sports Cartoonist, is dead at age 88. If you grew up in the NYC area anytime from the the 50s until this April, you've probably seen one of Gallo's cartoons in the Daily News. Although he covered all sports and their fans, blue collar sports like boxing and baseball were his real love. Gallo was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY as part of the Class of 2001 and some of his work hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. [more inside]
Arthur Laurents (wiki), writer of the libretti for West Side Story and Gypsy, among many other things, has died at the age of 93. [more inside]
"A ballet dancer needs a mirror to perfect her style, her technique. A singer needs the same -- an aural mirror."In 1950 and '51, Japan’s first reel-to-reel tape recorders, the "G-Type" (for gov't use) and the "H-1" (for home use) were released by a company named Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. Music student Norio Ohga was unimpressed by the wobbly sound of "Talking Paper," so he wrote a note complaining to the firm's founders, who hired him. Mr. Ohga never achieved his original dream of becoming a baritone opera singer, but the future President of TTK, (later renamed Sony,) would still make an indelible, global impact on the world of music -- including the development and introduction of the compact disc. Mr. Ohga died on April 24, 2011. [more inside]
Louisiana-born, Texas-based record producer Huey Meaux, the so-called "Crazy Cajun", has died. He was the man behind Barbara Lynn's 1962 hit You'll Lose a Good Thing. Three years later, in a move to cash in on the British Invasion, he created a faux-British rock band called "the Sir Douglas Quintet" around San Antonio-born singer-songwriter Doug Sahm, and produced their hit, She's About a Mover. Meaux also produced Tex-Mex rocker Freddy Fender's bilingual hit Before the Next Teardrop Falls as well as Fender's Wasted Days and Wasted Nights. Sadly, however, Meaux had a very ugly darker side: he was arrested not once but twice on child-sex charges, doing prison time in the late 60s, and an 11-year bid from '96 to '07. Some of the ugly details of this side of his life are detailed in this Houston Press article from 1996, shortly after his arrest, which will pretty much make your skin crawl... Well, so long Huey.
"I said that I wasn't a sex symbol and that if anybody tried to make me one I'd shave my head tomorrow". The rumors have been swirling all day, but sadly appear to be confirmed - Marianne Joan Elliot-Said aka punk legend Poly Styrene has passed away after battling breast cancer. Her new album , Generation Indigo is scheduled to be released today. [more inside]
"For the progress of humanity, work alone is not adequate, but the work should be associated with love, compassion, right conduct, truthfulness and sympathy. Without the above qualities, selfless service cannot be performed."On Sunday morning, Indian guru Sri Sathya Sai Baba passed away. He leaves behind a massive empire, several million mourning devotees worldwide, an extensive religious philosophy, a great deal of controversy and a legacy of large-scale philanthropic projects in India, including free hospitals and mobile medical facilities, a free university and schools, and other efforts which included supplying clean water to hundreds of rural villages. [more inside]
Bill Blackbeard, founder of the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art, passed away March 10. The Comics Journal calls him "without question or quibble the only absolutely indispensable figure in the history of comics scholarship for the last quarter century." [more inside]
Hazel Dickens, bluegrass and country singer, daughter of West Virginia, half of the singing group Hazel & Alice, and a voice for American miners, died on Friday at a hospice in Washington, D.C. She was 75. [more inside]
Iraq Vet Who Advocated For Others Kills Himself "Handsome and friendly, Clay Hunt so epitomized a vibrant Iraq veteran that he was chosen for a public service announcement reminding veterans that they aren't alone." - Clay Hunt died March 31 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The article states he had been dealing with "survivors guilt" and frustrated by a difficult disability claim process from wounds received in Iraq.
/ / R | | P \ \ for the recently departed John McCracken (1934 – 2011), a West Coast artist who brought a New Age openness to Minimalist sculpture, along with a vocabulary of bright, sleek slabs, blocks and columns that balanced teasingly between painting and sculpture. [more inside]
I'll never forget the day that I realized that over half of the movies I truly loved were all directed by one guy. To name just a few of his brilliant films: 12 Angry Men, Anderson Tapes, Dog Day Afternoon (NSFW), Serpico and of course, the grand-daddy of conspiracy love stories Network. Sidney Lumet. RIP (prev)
Boat builder, model enthusiast, author, World War 2 veteran, and all-around fascinating character Harold H. "Dynamite" Payson passed away last week at the age of 82. [more inside]
Still the spring winds come and the young girls walk by in their beautiful way. All is never lost. And in the face of eternity, what we consider all and everything is truly nothing
Joe Bageant, influential voice of the silent underclass and cartographer of the American Hologram, has died at 64. Bageant, author of Deer Hunting With Jesus: Dispatches From America's Class War and a prolific essayist known for his humor and irreverent style (shades of Thompson at his most human echo), spent a career reporting the rise and fall of the American working class and documenting the colorful lives of the people therein. [more inside]
Film legend Elizabeth Taylor died today at the age of 79. The two-time Oscar winner, who was admitted to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in February for symptoms of heart failure, was reported to be feeling stronger as recently as late February. She celebrated her 79th birthday on February 27th. [more inside]
RIP Joe Willie "Pinetop" Perkins - "It is with deep sadness that we announce Pinetop Perkins passed away peacefully at home on Monday, March 21, 2011 in Austin, TX at the age of 97." One of the last great Mississippi bluesmen, having played with Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Nighthawk, and for a number of years, the great Muddy Waters. Pinetop & friends at his 95th birthday; Pinetop Perkins with Willie Big Eyed Smith; Muddy Waters with Pinetop Perkins, 1970s [more inside]
Knut, who charmed visitors to the Berlin Zoo as an orphaned cub in 2007, died in his enclosure today in front of a crowd of 600-700 people. Knut was only four years old, as opposed to the typical polar bear lifespan of 15-18 years. Tragedy seems to have followed Knut for his entire brief life: his twin died at only four days old, and the zookeeper who hand-raised him died in 2008. As Knut grew, he stopped being the cute cuddly cub everybody loved; like many zoo animals, his behavior became problematic, and people avoided visiting him. A post-mortem is scheduled for Monday.
Korg founder Tsutomu Katoh has died of cancer. Korg has been an enormously influential maker of electronic musical instruments as well as tools like tuners and metronomes. There has rarely been a time when I've been involved in making music without some sort of Korg gear around. Tsutomu will be missed by many. [more inside]
Agnes Milowka, vivacious and courageous cave diver, was found dead last week in Australia's Tank Cave. [more inside]
I am a stand-up comic. Before that, I was a drug counselor. Before that, I was a drug addict. Before that, I was 12.
Comedian Mike DeStefano has died of a heart attack at 44. DeStefano told wrenching tales from his life as a recovering drug addict, like the MOTH monologue in the title link, which begins with a very bad day he had while caring for his wife as she was dying of AIDS (NSFW language). [more inside]
Harvey Dorfman, author of The Mental ABCs of Pitching and The Mental Game of Baseball, died on February 28th. A sports psychologist, Dorfman counseled hundreds of baseball players, mentoring some of the best players in the modern era. Mike Pelfrey called Dorfman after nearly every start. Roy Halladay, before he was "Doc," went to see the Dorfman and continues to give his book on pitching to all young pitchers. A 2009 profile of "Dr. Baseball" explained how Dorfman worked, "One week I’m Hamlet, the next week I'm Bozo. You come to me with a certain disposition; I better know who to play…. I am neither an asshole nor a saint, in totality. I am whatever is required at the moment."
R.I.P., Frank Buckles, last American World War I veteran, who just passed away at 110 years old. Previously.
Dwayne McDuffie has died. If you recognize the name, odds are you already know his resume, but here goes: founder of Milestone Media, creator of Static, executive producer of Justice League Unlimited, writer of many comics and perhaps the most visible advocate of minority engagement in comic books. Details are non-existent at this point, but McDuffie was said to appear healthy and happy within the last week at appearances for the just-released All-Star Superman DVD.
Perhaps you remember him as the esteemed author of sure-fire flop Springtime for Hitler, or as an inspector with an artificial arm in Young Frankenstein, or maybe even for his impersonation of Henry Kissinger singing Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Takin' Care of Business ( I must hear this. I must.) Maybe you don't remember him at all, as he was a prolific voice actor and character actor. A That Guy. But if you do remember him, you probably remember him making you laugh really, really hard, which is a wonderful thing to be remembered for. I am sad to report that Kenneth Mars passed away on Saturday, February 12th, from pancreatic cancer.
"The "chitlin' circuit" sounds like something that's gone, and with good reason. After all, the name itself derives from the "soul food" of chitterlings (fried pig intestines) that was a staple at early performances. But from CC Blues Club on Thomas Street to the Cannon Center downtown, thousands of Memphis music fans flock to hear stars like Marvin Sease and Bobby Rush sing what's too risqué for radio play, and to watch dancers shake what's too big for TV. That's both the beauty of the chitlin' circuit and the reason for its survival. While its roots run back to racial segregation, it thrives today because performers give audiences what they can't get through mainstream media. It's called "grown folks music," and it's all in the name of the blues."Soul-blues singer Marvin Sease has died at age 64. Here's a comprehensive playlist of his (sexually-explicit/NSFW) songs on YouTube, including the one that never received any radio airplay but whose title the former gospel singer took as his professional nickname: Candy Licker [more inside]
Eugenio Arango, better known as Totico, a Cuban-born percussionist and singer who was one of the most celebrated figures in the drumming, dancing and singing culture of New York rumba, died on Jan. 21 in the Bronx, where he lived. He was 76.
"There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." RIP Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corporation
"Kenneth Olsen, the computer industry pioneer who co-founded and led minicomputer king Digital Equipment Corp. for 35 years, died at the age of 84 on Sunday in Indianapolis." [more inside]
"I never was one to like to be intimidated. So I just take it off the table. If it's not on the table they can't use it." Charlie, not a man for small gestures, took his secret off the table and put it on the front page of the Houston Post, whose October 7, 1988, edition carried the headline "Transvestite Now Claims Probe Linked to Lifestyle" and a color photograph of McGuire in full drag. [more inside]
Egyptian artist and musician Ahmed Basiony died on January 28 from asphyxiation while participating in the popular uprising. 100radiostation.com has been playing his music continuously ever since. [more inside]
Guitarist Gary Moore, former member of Thin Lizzy and accomplished solo artist, passed away today at the age of 58. [more inside]
Milton Babbitt, the quintessential american academic composer, died Saturday. Whatever you think of his music, he was one of the most significant composers of new music in the second half of the twentieth century. [more inside]
Gladys Horton, a founding member of the pioneering (yet undervalued by Berry Gordy and Motown) girl group The Marvelettes, who sang lead on their 1961 classic Please Mr. Postman has passed on. [more inside]
"He died like he lived: Plans in the works for a boat trip to Cuba the following week, a novel in progress, and $4.44 in his bank account."
Poppa Neutrino (born William David Pearlman) (previously) has died at 77. (His daughter's obituary for him excerpted here). [more inside]
Country music legend Charlie Louvin has passed on. Charlie rose to fame with his brother Ira as the Louvin Brothers, whose career was cut short by Ira's death by automobile accident in 1965. Charlie continued to record and perform solo, and though his popularity never quite reached the heights that it did with his brother he retained a loyal fanbase until the very end. [more inside]
"All my life I’ve focused on the poor. The rich ones have their own photographers."Social documentary photographer Milton Rogovin's 'life was about seeing. In the literal sense, he was an optometrist. In a more figurative sense, through the lens of his camera, he saw things and people that were often ignored — the poor, the oppressed, the "forgotten ones," as he called them.' "A librarian in Buffalo's Communist Party, he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1957, and was named "Buffalo's Top Red" in the Buffalo Evening News. Losing business and facing intense social persecution, Rogovin turned to photography in order to create images that conveyed his desire for a more equal and just society, and to give voice to others who were persecuted, who were invisible to most." Mr. Rogovin died on January 18th at his home in Buffalo at the age of 101. Previously on Metafilter [more inside]
On January 5th, 2011 largely unknown modern composer, and pioneer of long format compositions on early computer systems Roland Kayn "... left this world today from his home". [more inside]
Trish Keenan, vocalist for the group Broadcast, has passed away after contracting H1N1 and pneumonia. [more inside]
Debbie Friedman passed away today. She was the most well known and influential composer of Jewish music and litergy in the United States. The Jerusalem Post says that "Friedman’s music is performed in synagogues around the world more than that of any other modern composer." Her most well known song is a setting of Mi Shebeirach, a prayer for healing.
Interesting profile of a unique person who somehow negotiated a life that fitted them in this world.
One of the 'Dutch' (actually from Aruba and the band from Germany) most prided disco icons, Bobby Farrell, frontman of Boney M., passed away in st. Petersburg. A Crazy Dancer who arguably never got any real money for his success which was the story for this commercial. Most recent appearance of Boney M., a creation of Frank Farian (previously) was probably Ma Baker's sample in Lady GaGa's Pokerface.
19th-century newspaper ads for patented stomach cures and digestive aids [...] foregrounded mince pie as the K2 of digestive summits. But for every published warning on the dangers of mince, the newspapers published a poem, essay, or editorial praising it as a great symbol of American cultural heritage or a nostalgic reminder of mother love and better times bygone—or even, as the State of Columbia, South Carolina, asserted in 1901, a beneficial Darwinian instrument that had "thinned out the weak ones" among the pioneering generations.So wrote Cliff Doerksen in his wonderful, James Beard award-winning article Mince Pie: The Real American Pie. Doerksen not only gives the history of this once most American of foods, he also makes two mince pies from 19th Century recipes to see if they are indeed all that. This is but one of many great articles Doerksen wrote for The Chicago Reader in recent years (links to a selection below the cut). Sadly, Cliff Doerksen passed at the age of 47 just before Christmas. [more inside]
Jayaben Desai passes away. Ms. Desai came to national prominence in the UK for her leading role in the 1976-78 strike at Grunwick Processing's photo processing labs in North London, a dispute that shattered stereotypes about south Asian women workers in Britain, in the face of police violence, the antics of the McWhirter brothers and ambiguous support from the official trade union movement. [more inside]
BBC Correspondent Brian Hanrahan, who rose to fame during his coverage of the Falklands Conflict in 1982, has died at the age of 61. [more inside]