exordia

"By writing or reading obituaries, we can discover ways to make our time on earth more worthwhile, more productive, more meaningful to others."
Alana Baranick, "Life on the Death Beat"


"'I always read the obituaries in The Times,' I explained to her. 'They make me bloody glad to be alive.'"
John Mortimer, "Rumpole's Return"

Dennis Hopper

 Actor and director and photographer had Hollywood career from 1954 to his death. He changed film history with "Easy Rider," his performances, in that film and in other roles in "Hoosiers," "Blue Velvet," "Apocalypse Now," "True Romance," "River's Edge" and "The American Friend" are timeless triumphs -- via the L.A. Times







Eugenia Paul


Actress best known for her early television work in series such as "Zorro" and "The Lone Ranger" -- via The Hollywood Reporter

Robert Muczynski


American composer -- via the Chicago Sun-Times

Slim Bryant


Pioneer country artist was 101 -- via KDKA-TV. His best known composition was "Mother, Queen of My Heart," a hit in 1932; he and his Wildcats played with Gene Autry, Tex Ritter and many many more. He is thought to be the last man living who played with Jimmie Rodgers. He later became a well-known Pittsburgh radio personality.

Rani Dube


Filmmaker, producer and actress best known for making "Gandhi" film happen -- via the Independent

Jack Birkett


British dancer, singer and actor best known for his work with Lindsay Kemp and Derek Jarman -- via the Guardian. Unbeknownst to many, he performed for 20 years despite failing eyesight!

Patricia Stevens


Actress was best known for her TV roles ("M*A*S*H") and as one who voiced the character of Velma in the "Scooby-Doo" cartoons -- via the Worchester Telegram and Gazette

Gary Coleman

 Child actor -- via the New York Times. He had a difficult life -- many of his sitcom co-stars did too. May he rest in peace.

Julius Cesar Giraldi


Restaurateur and violinist was a Denver fixture -- via the Denver Post

Mikhail Shatrov


Soviet playwright exposed audiences to Stalin's abuses -- via the New York Times

James R. "Jim" Van de Walker


Jukebox repairman -- via the Chicago Tribune

Siphio Ntshebe


Opera singer dies at 34, before he had the chance to perform at South Africa's World Cup opening ceremony -- via the BBC

Art Linkletter


TV and radio host -- via the New York Times. It's difficult to remember now, but he was one of the most omnipresent personalities of his time. He hosted "People Are Funny" and "House Party," and was most famous for writing the book "Kids Say the Darndest Things," based on interviews with children. He could also be seen on our home's version of the Game of Life, above the statement, "I Heartily Endorse this Game."

Mary Page Stegner

Mary and Walace Stegner on their wedding day in 1934.
Widow of writer Wallace Stegner -- via the Salt Lake Tribune. The obituary acknowledges that the concept of a woman helping her spouse achieve his artistic goals seems contra-feminist; however, it also includes this quote from Stegner, who obviously treasured her:

"She has had no role in my life except to keep me sane, fed, housed, amused, and protected from unwanted telephone calls, also to restrain me fairly frequently from making a horse's ass of myself in public, to force me to attend to books and ideas from which she knows I will learn something; also to mend my wounds when I am misused by the world, to implant ideas in my head and stir the soil around them, to keep me from falling into a comfortable torpor, to agitate my sleeping hours with problems that I would not otherwise attend to; also to remind me constantly (not by precept but by example) how fortunate I have been to live for fifty-three years with a woman that bright, alert, charming, and supportive."

Theresa Flannery


Soldier who was former beauty queen served with distinction in Iraq, dies at 32 -- via the Bellingham Herald

Keith Jessop


Deep-sea diver and treasure hunter -- via the Telegraph

Joe Schubert


Philadelphia banker (not pictured above) was big part of the city's Mummers tradition -- via the Philadelphia Inquirer

Gabriel Vargas


Mexican cartoonist created the popular "Familia Burron" series -- via ABC News

Raoul Abdul


Opera singer, classical music writer and editor, musicologist, and secretary to Langston Hughes -- via the New York Amsterdam News

David Squibb


Renowned English choirmaster -- via the Times of London

Anneliese Rothenberger


Lyric soprano sang worldwide -- via Yahoo News

Warren Chandler


Longtime weatherman on Denver's Channel 7 -- via the Denver Post. A heck of a nice guy!

Paul Gray


Slipknot bassist was only 38 -- via Entertainment Weekly

Jose Lima


Former Major league pitcher was only 37 -- via the L.A. Times

Beverley Jean Morrison aka Beaver


New Zealand jazz singer and actress -- via TVNZ

Michael Kuchwara


Drama critic and theater writer for the Associated Press -- via the New York Times

Martin Gardner


Mathematical gamesman, debunker of pseudoscience and writer -- via Discover magazine. Here's the New York Times obit, which contains a wonderful summation of his religious philosophy -- "He ultimately found no reason to believe in anything religious except a human desire to avoid 'deep-seated despair.' So, he said, he believed in God."