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"

Dashrath Patel

Artist, designer and photographer -- via the Bombay News.

Hugo Dixon

Photographer -- via the Guardian.

Frank W. Lewis

Cryptologist and puzzle-master -- via the New York Times.

Sri Daya Mata aka Faye Wright

Hindu leader -- via the New York Times.

Elaine Kaufman

Restaurateur -- via the New York Times.

From Obit Magazine: "A Death Notice for Obituaries?"

A lovely and thought-provoking piece by James M. Naughton on the art, business and significance of obituaries. I hope that The Obit Patrol contributes to the appreciation of this essential part of the journalism world.

Ron Santo

Iconic third baseman for the Chicago Cubs -- via ESPN. He later became a hugely popular broadcaster for the team, despite or because of his vociferous partiality.

James Tyler

Lutenist -- via the Guardian.

William George "Bugs" Werle

Pitcher for the Pirates, Cardinals and Red Sox -- via Legacy.com.

Joyce Howard

Actress, writer and story editor -- via Variety.

Salvador Arias

Voice actor and teacher - via westernboothill.blogspot.com.

Gene Polito

Cinematographer -- via Dignity Memorial. He did a lot of TV work, and helped create such memorable films as "Colossus: The Forbin Project," "Prime Cut" and Westworld."

Sally Stone Guy Worsing

Music educator -- via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Helen Strassburger Boatwright

Soprano -- via the Syracuse Post-Standard. She was a champion of new music, and was the first to record the songs of Charles Ives.

Peter Hofmann

Tenor who appeared frequently at the Metropolitan Opera in Wagner productions -- via the Baltimore Sun. He was equally at home with rock music and music theater.

Walter Soplata

A collector of vintage warplanes who kept and restored them in his backyard airplane graveyard/sanctuary -- via Jalopnik.com.

John William Steakley, Jr.

Science-fiction writer -- via the Dallas Morning News. His novel "Vampire$" was adapted for film by John Carpenter.

Vithal Umap

Poet, composer, singer and actor -- via the Times of India.

Alfred Balk

Journalist and editor -- via the L.A. Times

Irena Anders aka Iryna Jarosiewicz aka Renata Bogdanska

Actress and singer -- via Thenews.pl.

Bella Akhmadulina

Poet -- via the New York Times.

Caroline McNairn

Artist -- via the Guardian.

Maurice Murphy

Trumpeter -- via the Guardian.

Laura Hershey

Writer, poet and disability activist -- via the Denver Post.

Giorgos Foundas

Actor - via the Athens News Agency. He appeared in classic films such as "Zorba the Greek," "America, America," "Stella" and "Never on Sunday."

Eileen (Zimmer) Deneen Yaseen

Soprano and voice teacher who specialized in "mono-operas," which she adapted and in which she played all the parts -- via the Chicago Tribune.

Gil McDougald

Yankee baseball great -- via the New York Daily News. He made the All-Star team five times, at three different positions! His career was marred by the line drive he hit into the face of Indians pitcher Herb Score on May 7, 1957. Although Score recovered, his career was never the same; some say McDougald's wasn't, either. His last game was October 2, 1960 -- the day I was born!

Mario Monicelli

Screenwriter and director -- via the L.A. Times. His biggest hit was the hilarious "Big Deal on Madonna Street," but he also made the acclaimed "The Great War," "Casanova 70," "Brancaleone," and "Amici miei."

Irvin Kershner

Film director and educator -- via the L.A. Times. He will be best remembered for his direction of the best movie in the Star Wars series -- "The Empire Strikes Back." Yet he made a lot of interesting films. Roger Corman gave him his start with "Stakeout on Dope Street" in 1958. He created the Western TV series "The Rebel." He made the silly "S*P*Y*S," the strange "Eyes of Laura Mars," and Connery's final Bond outing, "Never Say Never Again."

Leslie Nielsen

Actor in film and TV -- via the New York Times. After decades as a "serious" actor in films such as "Forbidden Planet," "Tammy and the Bachelor" and, perhaps the nadir of his career, "Day of the Animals," he went against type as the poker-faced idiot doctor on board "Airplane!" This led to a string of vastly more successful and more enjoyable comic performances -- he became one of the best comic actors of his time. His genuine skills, combined with his ability to mock his deadpan seriousness, were priceless.

Here's a masterly analysis of his appeal by A.O. Scott in the New York Times --

And here's a lovely tribute from his friend and co-worker, Robert J. Elisberg -- 

Palle Huld

Danish actor whose world-wide travel as a Boy Scout in 1928, in honor of the 100th birthday of Jules Verne, was the inspiration for the famous "Tintin" comic adventure books -- via kpn.dk.



Here is an explication in English of Huld's connection to Herge's character--

Hazel Plant

Political leader and activist -- via Delaware Online.

Kevin McNicholas

Long-time reporter on government issues in Massachusetts -- via WBUR.org.

Gavin Blyth

TV producer -- via Digital Spy.

Maria Hellwig

Champion yodeler and folk singer -- via unterhaltung.t-online.de. Man, she could yodel!

Ann Southam

Composer -- via CBC News.

Kananginak Pootoogook

Artist -- via CBC News.

Heinz Weiss

Film and television actor -- via welt.de.

Frederick Zenone

Cellist who became expert on resolving labor-management disputes -- via the Washington Post.

Bernard Matthews

Europe's largest poultry farmer -- via the Guardian. Known for his turkeys, he died, ironically, on Thanksgiving.

Mike Craig

Comedy writer and producer, as well as one of Britain's chief experts on the history of its comedy -- via the Telegraph.

Julian Roberts

One of the world's top librarians -- via the Independent.

Robert L. Rands

Archeologist -- via Cryptomundo.com.