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"

William Campbell

Character actor par excellence -- via Memory Alpha. Starting with small roles in big pictures such as "The High and the Mighty" and bigger roles in a score of B-movies, including Westerns, war films, prison movies and the like, he made a run in a number of grade-Z horror flicks that later became cult favorites -- "Dementia 13," "Blood Bath" and "Portrait in Terror."

He scored big with two distinctive roles in the original "Star Trek" TV series -- as Trelane in "The Squire of Gothos"
and Koloth in "The Trouble with Tribbles."

Yolande Palfrey

Actress -- via Doctor Who Online. May be best remembered for her role as The Blind Girl in the original BBC TV production of "Pennies from Heaven."

Islwyn Morris

Actor -- via BBC Wales.

Ira Cohen

Poet, photographer, filmmaker, editor and countercultural figure -- via iracohen.org.

Mark McLaughlin aka Slewfoot

Street musician -- via Offbeat.

Harry Jackson

Artist -- via AP.

Elmer Lynn Hauldren

Advertising copywriter and spokesperson -- via the Chicago Tribune. Forever memorable as the "Empire Carpet guy."

John Cossette

Producer -- via the L.A. Times.

Eldon Davis

Architect -- via the L.A. Times. He refined and perfected the Space-Age, Californian, car-culture-friendly "Googie" style.

Matt Cranch aka Matt "the Manx" Crank aka Wiggles

Human cannonball -- via the Guardian.

Phoebe Snow aka Phoebe Ann Laub

Singer, guitarist and songwriter -- via MSNBC. Her absolutely unique and beautiful voice is unforgettable. Her biggest hit was "Poetry Man"; she gave up music full-time in order to take care of her disabled child for more than three decades.

Poly Styrene aka Marian Joan Elliott-Said

Musician, songwriter and lead singer for X-Ray Specs -- via contactmusic.com. Her complete unconventionality and straight-ahead lyrical attack made her a prototypical punk. Like the rest of us, she grew up and went through changes (she was later diagnosed with schizophrenia, and later still became an adherent of Hare Krishna). Still, the album "Germ Free Adolescents" is a perfect artifact of its time, and a musical milestone. Thanks, Marian!

Tom King


Co-wrote pop hit "Time Won't Let Me" for the Outsiders in 1966 -- via WTAM.

WJ Gruffydd

Poet -- via the BBC. He was also an Archdruid.

Matthew "Dutch" Tilders

Bluesman -- via Contact Music.com.

Gonzalo Rojas

Poet -- via Digital Journal.

Joan Peyser

Writer on music and biographer of composers -- via the New York Times.

Alan Champion

Sign-language interpreter -- via the New York Times.

Marie Deans

Opponent of the death penalty -- via the Washington Post.

Marie-France Pisier

Actress and screenwriter -- via Yahoo News.

John Sullivan

One of England's most prominent sitcom writers -- via the Daily Mail.

Moin Ahkter

Actor, comedian, producer and director -- via All Things Pakistan.

Hazel Dickens

Bluegrass artist -- via the New York Times.

Annalisa Ericsson

Actress -- via svd.se.

Mikhail Kozakov

Actor and director -- via interfax.com.

Max Mathews

The father of computer music -- via the New York Times. He also invented the forerunner of the gestural computer controller!

James Eitrheim

One of the most influential high-school drama teachers of all time -- via oakpark.com.

Celia Lipton

Entertainer and philanthropist -- via the Telegraph.

Hubert Schlafly

Emmy-winning engineer -- via Greenwich Time. He invented the teleprompter and made the first satellite transmission of a cable program.