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"

Stephen J. Cannell

Prolific and successful writer and producer for television -- via E! Online. He created some great series -- "The Rockford Files," "The Greatest American Hero," "Wiseguy," "The A-Team," "The Commish," Silk Stalkings" -- and about 30 others.

Mickey Freeman aka Irving Freeman

Comedian and actor -- via a paid announcement from the Friars Club in the New York Times. He'll be remembered for his role as Private Zimmerman in "You'll Never Get Rich/Sgt. Bilko/The Phil Silvers Show."

Jeanette Bruce

Long-time volunteer cooked for homeless youths -- via the Sacramento Bee

Aaron-Carl Ragland

Techno composer -- via residentadvisor.net.

Neil Alan Smith

Dishwasher -- via the St. Petersburg Times. A rude Web comment by a reader who stated that a 48-year-old dishwasher was "better off dead" provoked this obituary; one about an ordinary guy who did his job and behaved decently toward others.

Georges Charpak

Nobel-winning physicist, nuclear disarmament activist, Dachau survivor, resistance fighter -- via AP

Joe Mantell

Actor in film and television -- via The Wrap. Oscar-nominated for his supporting role in "Marty." As Walsh, he spoke the final, immortal line, "Forget it, Jake -- it's Chinatown" in "Chinatown."

Buddy Morrow

Trombonist and bandleader -- via the Independent. His 1952 recording of "Night Train" is arguably the last hit of the Big Band era.

Tony Curtis aka Bernard Schwartz

Actor -- via the New York Times. A "pretty boy" who could act, Curtis was an action hero, a comic leading man, and a strong supporting player. His best films: "Some Like It Hot," "Spartacus," "The Defiant Ones," "The Sweet Smell of Success." A guilty pleasure? "The Persuaders," an improbable but enjoyable private-investigator series that lasted for a year on British TV.




Greg Giraldo

Standup comic -- via TMZ. Here's an utterly honest discussion he had with a writer at Psychology Today about failure and self-loathing -- the fuel of the comedian.

Robert Trachinger

TV pioneer invented the slo-mo replay, the hand-held TV camera, the underwater TV camera and more, revolutionizing sports coverage on ABC. He worked in early, live TV and earned Emmys for his documentaries and Olympics coverage. Later if life, he taught and mentored many.

Gwen Gaze aka Alta Gwendolyn Gaze Steinhart

Actress of stage, screen and radio -- via Legacy.com

Ed Wiley Jr.

Saxophonist was a key player in the transitional era from R & B to rock 'n' roll -- via the Charlotte Observer

Warren Argo

Old-time music and dance man -- via Centrum

Arthur Penn

Stage, television and film director -- via the New York Times. He was part of the live-television drama era;  hit the trifecta with his TV, stage and film versions of "The Miracle Worker." He also directed Nichols and May on Broadway, and staged the original productions of "Toys in the Attic," "Wait Until Dark" and "Sly Fox." He spearheaded New American Cinema with "Bonnie and Clyde." He made more films, many still severely underestimated -- "Mickey One," "The Chase," "Alice's Restaurant," "Little Big Man" and the breaktaking "Night Moves" among them.

Here's Part One of a fascinating six-part interview with him on his life and work:

Vincenzo Crocitti

Actor in film and television -- via Virgilio

Pierre Guffroy

Production designer for such classic films as "Black Orpheus," "Alphaville," "The Bride Wore Black," "That Obscure Object of Desire" and "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" -- via Le Matin

Van Snowden

Puppeteer of film and television -- via the Hollywood Reporter. He played H.R. Pufnstuf and many other Krofft characters, as well as Chucky in the "Child's Play" movies, the Crypt Keeper in "Tales from the Crypt" and was the lead puppeteer on "Pee-Wee's Playhouse."

Virginia Cruzon Sanders

Model, dancer, Ziegfield Girl, actress -- via the Laramie Boomerang

Art Gilmore

Voice actor, actor, narrator and announcer -- via Variety. From the early days of radio, through hundreds of film trailers, into the television era, his distinctive voice resounds. Here's his opening of "Highway Patrol":

Louis Marks

BBC writer and producer -- via ATV News

Ralph Vicinanza

Literary agent -- via WTOP

Frank Bayer

Stage manager, production manager, casting director, production supervisor and actor -- via Playbill.com

Arthur E. Holch Jr.

Director, producer and writer of TV documentaries -- via Legacy.com and GreenwichTime.com

Romina Yan aka Romina Yankelevich De Giaccomi

Actress, screenwriter, singer and dancer -- via Zona Norte Diario

James Stovall

Theatrical actor, writer and producer -- via Broadway World

Le Sang

Martial arts master -- via Vovinam Frankfurt

Sally Menke

Film editor, best known for her work with director Quentin Tarentino -- via the L.A. Times

Vaishali Kasaravalli

Actress and director -- via the Times of India

Monica Glenshaw

Doctor who dedicated her skills to the less fortunate -- via News Day

Martin Towle King

Inventor came up with ways to enable the disabled to communicate -- via the Seattle Times

Mohammed Arkoun

Islamic scholar -- via Ismalimail

Dick Griffey

S.O.L.A.R. Records founder -- via blackamericaweb.com

Juvemario Tupinamba de Oliveira aka Mario Tupinamba aka 'Professor Raimundo'

Brazilian comedian, writer and broadcaster -- via fofoki

Jimi Heselden

Multimillionaire owner of Segway personal vehicle company -- via the Guardian. The former miner invented the Bastion, a debris-filled wire cage effective in building blast walls protecting people from rocket and mortar attacks. It made his fortune. In an unfortunate irony, Heselden died falling off a cliff at the controls of his own Segway.

Frank Crichlow

Restaurant owner and community activist -- via the Guardian

Felix Kok

Violinist and concertmaster of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra -- via the Guardian

Jessica Moore

Seton Hall student died protecting another during a shooting -- via Fox News

Moshe Lewin aka Misha Levin

Scholar of Soviet history and writer on same -- via the Guardian

Jean Samuel

A Holocaust survivor who later became a pharmacist -- via the Independent. He is made immemorial as remembered by fellow concentration camp inmate Primo Levi in Chapter 2 of Levi's book "If This Is a Man." For the last 25 years of his life, he worked vigorously as a witness and testifier to the horrors he underwent, and the possibility of keeping one's humanity from being extinguished by it.

George Blanda

An amazing athlete -- via the New York Times. He was a gifted, intelligent and enduring part of the NFL from 1949 through 1975. He could pass, he could run, he could kick -- one of the last all-round talents. And, even though I'm a Broncos fan, I admired the way he would tromp us when he was a Raider.

Gloria Stuart

Film actress -- via the Washington Post. She will be best remembered for her role as the present-day Rose in James Cameron's 1997 "Titanic" -- but her film career began in 1932, and included roles in such early Sound Era-gems such as "The Invisible Man," "Gold Diggers of 1935," "The Prisoner of Shark Island" and "Roman Scandals."

George 'Elfie' Ballis

Photographer and social activist -- via the Kansas City Star

Arjun Kumar Sengupta

Economist -- via the Hindustan Times