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"

Miriam Hansen

Film scholar -- via the Chicago Tribune.

Yancy Spencer III

Surfer -- via ESPN.

Alan Shallcross

TV producer -- via the Guardian. He produced some great television, including many of the "Complete Plays of Shakespeare" series for the BBC.

Inge Laird

Poet -- via the Independent.

Maureen Lehane

Mezzo-soprano -- via the Guardian.

Eddie Joe Lewis

Singer -- via the Quad-City Times.

Brian Barritt

Writer -- via the Independent.

Cliff Dapper

Baseball player -- via signonsandiego.com. The first player ever traded for a broadcaster (at least it was Ernie Harwell).

Justinas Marcinkevicius

Poet and playwright -- via the Baltic Review.

Edgar Hetteen

The "grandfather of snowmobiling" -- via the Wall Street Journal.

Louis Balta

Social studies teacher, drive-in theater manager, Serbian music expert and radio host -- via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Omer Baumgartner

A man with an unforgettable obituary -- via Defamer.

Kathleen Nez

Potter -- via News from Indian Country.

Sidney Harth

Violinist, concertmaster and conductor -- via the Louisville Courier-Journal.

David F. Friedman

Film producer -- via the New York Times. He pioneered the "sexploitation" film and the splatter film.

Cecil Kaiser

Masterful Negro Leagues pitcher -- via boston.com.

Margaret K. McElderry

Children's book publisher -- via the New York Times.

Jigme K. Norbu

Tibetan activist -- via the Florida Times-Union.

Joanne Siegel

Model for "Superman" character Lois Lane -- via the New York Times.

Manuel Esperon

Composer and songwriter -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com.

Oakley Hall III

Playwright, director and author -- via blog.timesunion.com.

Mato Damjanovic

Chess grandmaster -- via chessvibes.com

Masahiro Katayama

Animator -- via Anime News.

Gino Cimoli

Major league outfielder -- via the L.A. Times.

Frank Whitten

Actor -- via the Otago Daily Times.

Shoichiro Okubo

Screenwriter for live-action and anime films -- via bellaonline.com.

Rick Kulwicki

Guitarist -- via heyreverb.com.

Len Lesser

Actor in film, TV and on stage -- via Yahoo News. He may be best remembered as Uncle Leo on the TV series "Seinfeld," but his 60-year career encompassed many comic and dramatic roles.

Kenneth Mars

Comic actor -- via the Hollywood Reporter. Well, this one really hurts. Mars was one of the funniest performers of the 20th century -- his roles in Mel Brooks films such as "Young Frankenstein" (as the one-armed Inspector Kemp) and "The Producers" (as Franz Liebkind, crazy Nazi playwright of "Springtime for Hitler") make him immortal. He did so much more -- other films, TV, stage work -- nearly 200 IMDB credits alone! He was a voice master as well -- he could do any accent, instantly and with ease and facility. He was eloquently daffy, and somehow subtly slapstick. God bless him! Never forget -- "He vill currrzzz de dey he vasschh borrrrn a Frangeunshhtein!"


George Shearing

Great jazz pianist -- via the BBC. This amazing and prolific performer and composer wrote over 300 tunes, including the standard, "Lullaby of Birdland." He worked with just about everyone of note (so to speak) in nearly 75 years of work.