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"

Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson

Musician and member of Throbbing Gristle and Coil, as well as graphic designer, photographer and filmmaker -- via factmag.com.

Bobby Butler

Former convict dies saving woman from robber -- via the Chicago Sun-Times

Sifiso Mzulwini

Gospel singer shot by police in unclear circumstances -- via iolnews.co.za

Bill Hart

Activist for the homeless -- via beyondchron.org.

Christopher Dylan Shea

Child actor best known as the original voice of Linus in the Charlie Brown TV specials -- via Legacy.com.

Denise Cramsey

TV producer -- via Deadline Hollywood.

Peter Reddick

Artist, engraver and illustrator -- via the Guardian.

John Bulloch

Journalist, writer and editor -- via the Independent.

Lillian Covillo

Co-founder of the Colorado Ballet -- via the Denver Post.

William Hohri

Activist and writer -- via the New York Times. His actions led to at least token reparations for Japanese-American citizens interned in concentration camps in America during World War II.

Tom Underwood

MLB pitcher -- via the Kokomo Tribune.

Joseph Sterling

Photographer -- via the Chicago Sun-Times.

Katherine Lipner

She saved Jewish children from extermination during the Holocaust -- via the Chicago Sun-Times.

Ingrid Pitt aka Ingoushka Petrov

One of the greatest film horror actresses -- via the Telegraph. Her sensual beauty and dark intensity made her the "Queen of Horror." Her real life was far more fascinating. She survived a Nazi concentration camp, she acted with Brecht's famous Berliner Ensemble, then she escaped from East Germany. After small parts in films such as "Doctor Zhivago" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,"a little TV work and and a significant role in "Where Eagles Dare," she hit on her claim to fame: the central villainess in "The Vampire Lovers":



Then "Countess Dracula":



On the strength of those two films, she earned her title, appearing also in "The House that Dripped Blood" and "The Wicker Man."

She went to other projects, including some "Doctor Who" series and various film and TV roles; she became a prolific writer as well. She was funny and charming and sexy -- of course, I had a huge crush on her as a kid, and still do. Thanks, Ingrid -- you had fun, and we had scary fun with you.

Frank Fenner

Virologist who had a key role in the eradication of smallpox -- via The Australian.

Julien Giuomar

Actor in film, TV and on stage -- via Le Figaro. This busy, well-known character actor appeared in films such as "King of Hearts," "Z" and "Leolo."

Stanislaw "Steve" Kuczek

One of only 84 players in Major League history to bat 1.000 -- via the Poughkeepsie Journal. The story of his one remarkable at-bat can be found here.

Chalmers Johnson

An expert East Asia scholar also noted for his exacting critique of what he perceived to be America's decline as a democracy -- via the L.A. Times.

Rob Lytle

Football running back -- via Fox Sports.

Danny McDevitt

MLB pitcher -- via the L.A. Times. He was the starting pitcher for the last game the Brooklyn Dodgers played at Ebbets Field.

Albert "Little Smokey" Smothers

Chicago blues guitarist -- via AP. He played with Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter; he mentored Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop.

Albert "Gentleman June" Gardner

Prominent New Orleans drummer -- via the Louisiana Weekly. He backed Sam Cooke from 1960 to 1964. Remember Lee Dorsey's original version of "Working in the Coal Mine"? That's June handling the rhythm.

Abraham Serfaty

Democracy activist -- via AFP.

Norris Church Mailer aka Barbara Jean Davis

Writer -- via the Telegraph.

Malvina Burstein

She saved 1,500 Jews from the Holocaust -- via the Washington Post.

Elizabeth Cutter

Botanist and educator -- via the Guardian.

Pamela Elizabeth Lane

Stage actress -- via the Guardian. She was the first wife of playwright John Osborne, and served as the model for Alison in "Look Back in Anger."

Rozsika Parker

Art historian, author, psychotherapist and feminist -- via the Guardian.

Rosemary Dexter

Film actress -- via The Wild Eye.

George O'Malley

Director of Colorado State Parks -- via the Denver Post. He established more than 140,000 acres of park land.

Christian Pruchnic

Manager of disaster preparedness for Qwest -- via the Denver Post. A redoubtable traveler and climber, he died ice climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Scott Kay

Wolf Creek Ski Patrol director -- via the Denver Post.

Chuck Davis

Broadcaster, writer and educator -- via the The Province. An expert on the history of Vancouver . . .