Saturday, January 29, 2011

David Frye aka David Shapiro

Comedy impressionist -- via the New York Times. He specialized in political impressions, especially that of Richard Nixon. This meant that his humor was topical -- his fame, though widespread, was brief, and faded with the reputations of those he imitated. His talent, though, was real.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Charlie Callas

Comedian and actor -- via He was old-school -- a high-energy, rubber-faced, slapsticky, Vegas-y kind of talent who would do anything for a laugh, tasteless or not. He often opened for Frank Sinatra, was noted for his many impressions, and appeared in many Mel Brooks films. His signature bit: odd verbal effects and facial contortions. A look into the world of standup before the modern era: back in the days of crushed-velvet tuxedos, chain smoking, martinis, deep tans, golf in the desert and rampant political incorrectness.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Lucas Mebrouk Dolega

Photojournalist -- via the New York Times. He was killed in the course of covering the recent riots in Tunisia.

Carter B. Smith

San Francisco radio personality -- via the San Francisco Chronicle.

L. Terrell "Terry" Gardner

Toronto humanist, family man, mathematician, peace activist, cyclist, bicycle mechanic -- via

David Kato

Gay activist -- via the New York Times. He was beaten to death.

Gladys Horton

Co-founder and lead singer of the Marvelettes -- via the L.A. Times. Their biggest hit: "Please Mr. Postman," also scored with "BEechwood 4-5789" and "Don't Mess with Bill."

Elmer Lee "Buddy" Charleton

Pedal steel guitar genius -- via the Tennessean.

R.F. Langley

Poet and diarist -- via the Guardian.

Paco Maestre

Actor -- via Typically Spanish. He appeared in such films as Almodovar's "Bad Education" and del Toro's "The Devil's Backbone."

Jacqueline David de Romilly

Philologist, classics scholar and writer -- via the Telegraph.

Henrik Ostergaard

Guitarist/vocalist, and leader of the band Dirty Looks -- via

Larry Chesky

Polka great -- via the Republican.

Jim Williamson

Nashville sound engineer -- via He worked with a who's-who of country greats, including Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Lynne Anderson, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, George Jones . . . and Bob Dylan.

Samuel Ruiz

Bishop who worked for the poor, the indigenous, and for peace. He fought corruption and violence. Via the New York Times.

Dora Opoku

Advanced the science, art and status of midwifery -- via the Guardian.

Vincent Cronin

Historical writer -- via the Telegraph.

Stanley Frazen

TV and film editor -- via The Hollywood Reporter.

Barrie Lee Hall Jr.

Trumpeter and bandleader -- via JazzHouston.

Daniel Bell aka Daniel Bolotsky

Sociologist -- via the New York Times.

Maria Mercader

Actress -- via the World Daily News.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Charlie Louvin aka Charles Elzer Loudermilk

Brilliant country/gospel singer/songwriter -- via the Washington Post. He started off as a gospel act with his brother Ira -- they moved into secular music and were a hit act, until Ira's untimely death in a car accident in 1965. Charlie's career moved back into the spotlight with his self-titled 2007 album -- an absolute must-have for music fans.
His artistry was deeply moving, breathtaking. Thank you, sir!

Milton Levine

The man who invented the ant farm -- via the L.A. Times. Also known as Uncle Milton, his invention led to the creation of a popular line of science-related toys --

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Russian poll: let's bury Lenin

The body of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, still resides on display in his mausoleum in Red Square, in the heart of Moscow. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the debate about what to do with his body has slowly built. A news story now states that an informal Internet poll of Russians seems to indicate a consensus of opinion -- remove him from his literal and symbolic place and bury him. For more details on how his body has been preserved and maintained to date, you can click on this story from Depleted Cranium -- beware, however, as it contains graphic photos of the corpse.

Griffith Vaughan Williams

Gay activist -- via the Independent.

Nicholas A. "Tony" Geiss

Writer, composer and lyricist -- via Most notably, he worked on "Sesame Street" for almost 40 years, and also wrote "Follow That Bird," "An American Tail" and "The Land Before Time."

Bobby Poe

Rockabilly musician, and later a player in the music industry -- via Bobby Poe and the Poe Kats were Wanda Jackson's first rock 'n' roll back-up band; they can be heard on her famous original recording of "Let's Have a Party."

Ole Kopreitan

Political activist -- via the Aftenposten.

Anna Yablonskaya aka Anna Grigorievna Mashutina

Playwright and poet -- via the Guardian.

Bernd Eichinger

Film producer and director -- via He wrote the screenplay for "Downfall"; he produced such films as "The NeverEnding Story," "The Baader Meinhof Complex" and the first three "Resident Evil" films.

Bruce Gordon

Actor on stage, in film and on TV -- via He will be best remembered in his role as gangster boss and Eliot Ness nemesis Frank Nitti in the early TV series "The Untouchables." Ironically, his iconic and oft-repeated line from that show was, "You're dead!"

Poppa Neutrino aka William David Pearlman

Adventurer/philosopher --via the Burlington Free Press.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Dagmar Wilson

She co-founded Women Strike for Peace and fought the arms race, and war -- via the Washington Post.

Thongbai Thongpao

Human rights lawyer and activist -- via Yahoo Asian News.

Boleslaw Taborski

Broadcaster, translator, critic, author and poet -- via the Guardian.

Bertram Mandelbrote

Creative psychiatrist -- via the Guardian.

Richard Adeney

Flautist -- via the Guardian.

Tony Boxall

Photographer -- via the Guardian.

Anne Gee

Musicologist, choirmaster and activist for women's rights -- via the Guardian.

Desmond O'Donovan

Larger-than-life, erratic theater director -- via the Guardian.

Hellmut Lange

Actor, journalist and TV presenter -- via Best known for his portrayal of "Old Shatterhand," an extremely popular character of the American West created by Greman writer Karl May.

Novica Tadic

Poet -- via montevidayo. Here's a connection to a book of his poems in English --

Eugenio Arango aka Totico

Singer and percussionist -- via

Jay Garner

Actor on stage and screen -- via Best known for his roles in Broadway musicals, and as Admiral Asimov in TV's "Buck Rogers."

Dennis Oppenheim

Artist -- via the Phoenix New Times. An unfinished project of his stirs controversy --

F.A. Nettelbeck

Poet -- via

Mike Blakley

Master gardener who grew food for his area's hungry -- via the Kalamazoo News.

Bhimsen Joshi

The leading singer of the classical music of India -- via Yahoo News.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Jack LaLanne

Fitness and nutrition expert --via Reuters. He really was the founder of the fitness movement, opening his own health spa/gym in 1936. He emphasized good diet and exercise. His TV show, which I grew up watching, was notable for his bouncy, vital address of the viewer and his boundless good will and good humor.

An evangelist of good health, and the mental and emotional peace it brings. God bless you, Jack!