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"

Jean Bernstein

Activist -- via the Orange County Register.

Bob Forsch

Former pitcher for the Cardinals and the Astros -- via St. Louis Today. The third-winningest pitcher in Cards history, after Gibson and Haines; the only Cardinal pitcher with two no-hitters.

Alan Meltzer

Founder of Wind-Up Records -- via the Hollywood Reporter.

T. Max Graham aka Neil Moran

Actor -- via the Kansas City Star.

Ricky Adams

Utility infielder -- via ESPN.

Sid Melton

Character actor -- via the L.A. Times. One of the greats, he accumulated nearly 140 credits on film and television between 1941 and 1999. A hilarious comic presence as Alf Monroe in "Green Acres," and Charley Helper on "Make Room for Daddy." He also played Captain Midnight's sidekick, Ichabod Mudd, and appeared in projects as diverse as "Knock on Any Door," "The Steel Helmet" and "Bigger Than Life." A career of almost Storchlike proportions. The highest compliment you pay a comic performer is that you smile when they come on stage or hit the screen, because you know you're going to laugh. Such was the case with Sid Melton.

Here's a link to the "Green Acres" episode, "Alf and Ralph Break Up": http://www.hulu.com/watch/170090/green-acres-alf-and-ralph-break-up

Leonard Stone

Character actor -- via TMZ. Best remembered as Mr. Beauregarde in "Willa Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," he acted extensively in television, on film and on stage. "You're turning violet, Violet!"

Beryl Davis

Big-band singer -- via the New York Times.

George "Tree" Rountree, Jr.

Musical director of the Four Tops -- via Spinner.

Richard Gordon

Film producer -- via the L.A. Times. Made some wonderfully cheesy horror and sc-fi B classics such as "Corridors of Blood," "Fiend Without a Face," "First Man into Space," and "The Haunted Strangler."

Axel Axgil aka Axel Lundahl-Madsen

Gay activist -- via the New York Times.

Matty Alou aka Mateo Rojas Alou

Great MLB batter -- via Dominican Today. With his brothers Felipe and Jesus, one of the great three-sibling combinations in major league history, alongside the DiMaggios and the Molinas. Below is some home-movie footage from 1960, showing Alou and some of his fellow Giants -- yes, the colors really looked like that back then.

James Hillman

Psychologist -- via the New York Times.

Mark Kingston

Actor -- via the Telegraph.

Georgina Cookson

Actress -- via voy.com.

Dagoberto "Dag" "Burt" Concepcion Cueto

Former MLB pitcher -- via the Charlotte, NC Observer, Bill Schenley and groups.google.com/group/alt.obituaries.

Dave Cole

Former MLB pitcher -- via the Williamsport Herald-Mail. One of the wildest pitchers in MLB history -- once recorded three outs without throwing a stirke, somehow.

Dave Donnelly

Musician -- via the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Tom Keith

Radio actor and sound-effects man; one of the leading lights of "Prairie Home Companion" -- via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Proved that radio is alive and well and hilarious in the proper hands!

Gilbert Cates

Producer and director best known for his work on Oscar telecasts -- via the Hollywood Reporter.

Elizabeth Winship

Advice columnist -- via the New York Times.

Jimmy Savile aka Sir James Wilson Vincent Savile

Legendary broadcaster -- via the BBC. "There's nothing wrong with a bit of fun."

Florence Parry Heide

Children's author -- via the L.A. Times.

Be prepared: BBC practices for death of Queen Elizabeth II

Well, here's a bizarre story. Evidently, when the Queen Mother died on March 30, 2002, the BBC was roundly criticized for the fact that the newsman announcing her death was wearing a gray suit and a burgundy tie at the time. This was perceived as being intensely disrespectful. De rigeur for Elizabeth II's inevitable death announcement: dark suit, black tie, white shirt. (Also learned a new British-English folk expression meaning to die via a comment on this story -- "pop her clogs." Lovely.) Let us hope that all decorum is observed when it is time to deliver the obsequies. And such. Via the Daily Mail.

Rose Robertson

World War II espionage agent and gay rights activist -- via the Guardian.

Arnaucuaq aka Maryann Sundown

Yup'ik dance diva -- via the Anchorage Daily News.

Maryann Sundown 2011 from Dean Swope on Vimeo.

Antonio Cassese

Expert in international criminal law and supporter of human rights -- via the New York Times.

John McCarthy

Computer scientist -- via the New York Times. He coined the concept and phrase "artificial intelligence."

Liviu Ciulei

Theater and film director -- via the New York Times.