Saturday, October 30, 2010
Filmmaker -- via the Hollywood Reporter. He was in Denver to attend the International Film Festival there, promoting his new film "Casino Jack." He is best known for his documentary "Hearts of Darkness."
Friday, October 29, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Film and television actor -- via the L.A. Times. This ubiquitous character actor can be seen in films such as "The Big Heat," "Exodus," "The Poseidon Adventure," "The Towering Inferno" and "Night Moves." His TV appearances include shows like "The Lone Ranger," "Hopalong Cassidy," "Commando Cody," "Wagon Train," "The Twilight Zone," "The Fugitive," "Star Trek," "Lost in Space," "Hogan's Heroes," "Gunsmoke," Mission: Impossible," "The Waltons," "Dynasty" -- it's a laundry list of TV history. What a life!
An extraordinary person -- a Harvard economist and a Metropolitan Opera singer -- via the New York Times.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I reported Anderson's death on Saturday afternoon, Stein's Monday afternoon. In that time, I anthologized 16 obituaries of folks we felt fit my criteria of "significant and interesting," including those of a Sherpa killed in an avalanche, an educator who stood fast and fought racism even after someone burned her house down; a poet; and three exemplary yet little-known film industry figures. (OK, I threw in one facetious piece saluting the discontinued Sony Walkman.)
So who gets the ink? I issue two types of notice via Twitter when I update this blog -- a periodic summary roundup and an ALERT when I deem that readers would appreciate immediate notification. Did Stein and Anderson merit this approach?
Popular culture rewards those who reinforce it. I love Stein's work, I've performed it; Rocky and Bullwinkle, Boris and Natasha, Dudley Do-Right and Snidely Whiplash helped form the core of my childhood being. The mainstream's criteria rewards the "hook," or the piece that can extrapolate into something beyond just looking at a person's life.
(And no, I can't post Paul's demise. Animals, though cute and fascinating, won't make it into the Obit Patrol, save for tangenital references and/or cheap attempts to boost readership such as this. That's a slippery slope that leads to typing in memorials to Fluffy all day long.
That an octopus should seem to be able to predict World Cup scores is truly amazing, and if a clairvoyant cephalopod shows up again, I will do its bidding. But I won't mix species, for now.)
So, will this change my approach? I don't know. Currently on my plate, getting prepped for posting, are three extraordinary obituaries about three people you've never heard of. Ted Buss of the Wichita Falls TimesRecordNews writes about the tragic life of Bob Packard; Kevin Kirkland of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles a late 104-year-old former Negro Leagues batboy; and Jeremy Smerd in Crain's New York pens a fond and informative tribute to the man who invented the Metrocard.
Pieces such as these are good writing, plain and simple. I encourage you to read them, as well as those of the higher-profile subjects. I hope that the inspiring hidden gems of lives I get to share here make it worth your visits to the blog.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Oscar-nominated art director and production designer -- via Legacy.com. Gave a great look to many films, including "Young Winston," "Ragtime," "The Bounty," "Lifeforce" and "Gorillas in the Mist," to name a few.