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"

Sir Charles Mackerras


One of the greatest conductors of the past 50 years -- via AP. I have listened to dozens of his recordings over and over, especially his wonderful treatments of Janacek. He really opened my  eyes and delighted my ears! Thank you, Sir Charles!

Alan Hume


Cinematographer -- via MI6. Talk about a career! He started in film during WWII, pulling focus on movies such as "In Which We Serve." He did the David Lean Dickens films, then a lot of the silly "Carry On" series. Some Hammer horror fare, many episodes of "The Avengers," the Edgar Rice Burroughs sci-fi adaptations of the 1970s with Doug McClure, culminating with exceptional D.P. work in some of the best of the Moore Bond films, as well as "Life Force," "The Return of the Jedi," "Runaway Train," and "A Fish Called Wanda." Wonderful work! What a lot of anecdotes he must have had. All of his children followed him into the business.

George Steinbrenner


New York Yankees owner -- via AP. Here's the whole megillah from the NYT -- and a hilarious sketch from Steinbrenner's appearance on Saturday Night Live in 1990.

Mau Piailug


Master navigator revived the ancient art of steering by the stars -- via KITV Honolulu

Kohei Tsuka


Japanese playwright -- via the Japan Times

Eloy Gil


Baseball scout -- via the South Florida Sun Sentinel

Marco Aurelio Martinez Tijerina and Guillermo Alcaraz Trejo


Journalists killed in Mexico in the line of duty -- via the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas

Maje McDonnell


Long-lived and faithful member of the Phillies organization -- via Philly Sports

Walter Hawkins


Gospel music great -- via the Washington Post

Paul Sawyer


Minister and social activist -- via the Los Angeles Time

Suzanne von Paczensky nee Czapski


Journalist and activist -- via the Independent

Sugar Minott


Reggae star who pioneered dancehall style -- via the Guardian

Aldo Sambrell aka Alfredo Sanchez Brell


Spanish actor -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com. If you have ever seen a spaghetti Western, you have seen him -- he was a ubiquitous baddie in dozens of films.

David Fanshawe


Composer who also championed and recorded indigenous music -- via the Bournemouth Daily Echo

Ramon Eduardo Ruiz


Historian and teacher -- via the Los Angeles Times

Basil Davidson


Journalist, activist, historian, writer, soldier -- via the Guardian

Richard Darwin Keynes


Neurophysiologist and writer -- via the Telegraph

Tuli Kupferberg


Poet, rebel and co-founder of the Fugs -- via the New York Times. He co-wrote one of the funniest books ever written, "1001 Ways to Avoid the Draft," and he created the song "Kill for Peace." So I love him.

Harvey Pekar


Great graphic novelist and jazz expert -- via Cleveland.com. He identified the profound in the mundane. He was laceratingly honest about himself. He celebrated "ordinary" lives. I loved him! Thanks Harvey!