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"

Thomas Sidney Downing

General-store owner and a nice guy -- via the Anniston Star. Kudos to writer Laura Camper for the wonderfully well-written piece!

Claude Stanley Choules

Last combat veteran of World War II -- via MSNBC. His experience made him a pacifist.

Marian Mercer

Actress in a splendid variety of roles -- via the New York Times. A wry comedian, she specialized in sassy, energetic and arch roles. She won a Tony for her work in the original production of "Promises, Promises." She did improv, Shakespeare, Williams, TV commercials, all with impeccable, crisp professionalism.

Jackie Cooper aka John Cooper Jr.

Actor, director and producer in film and television -- via TMZ. Best known as a child actor in part of the Our Gang series, and in a string of films with Wallace Beery ("The Champ," "Treasure Island"). On growing up, he worked on TV and eventually began producing and packaging shows. Later, he directed many TV episodes. He had one last memorable series of outings as editor Perry White in the original Superman feature film series.

Yvette Vickers aka Yvette Vedder

Actress -- via the L.A. Times. Her period of stardom included an early spread in Playboy, and roles in cheesy sci-fi classics "The Attack of the 50-Foot Woman" and "Attack of the Giant Leeches."

Peter Moss

Travel writer, broadcaster, comedian and novelist -- via Sky News.

Jonathan Rands

Actor -- via Times Live.

Denis Mahon

Art collector and scholar -- via the Telegraph.

Bill Blackbeard

"Author, editor, anthologist and ardent accumulator" -- via the New York Times. He did much to preserve and analyze comic strips.

Joanna Russ

Science fiction writer, critic and scholar -- via locusmag.com.

Emilio "Millito" Navarro

Former Negro League player -- via the Latin American Herald Tribune.

Richard Holmes

Historian -- via Digital Spy.

Roger Gimbel

TV producer -- via the L.A. Times.

Apoostolos Santas

Resistance hero -- via the Sydney Morning Herald. He and another tore down the Nazi flag atop the Acropolis in December of 1941.

Ernesto Sabato

Writer, painter and  physicist -- via the New York Times.

Anita Valkki

Soprano -- via http://en.yle.mobi/w/news.

Sidney Michaels

Playwright and screenwriter -- via the New York Times.