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"

Andre Hodeir

Violinist, composer, arranger and musicologist -- via Arts Journal.

Bruno Weber

Sculptor, architect and outsider artist -- via the Telegraph.

Dolores Duffy

Actress -- via voy.com.

George Ansbro

Announcer on radio and television -- via musicradio77.com.  He was the longest-tenured employee in the history of American broadcasting -- from May 18, 1934 to January 14, 1990.

Sam Fink

Calligrapher and illustrator -- via the New York Times.

Harry Pachon

Latino scholar and activist -- via the L.A. Times.

Gordon Beck

Jazz pianist -- via Jazz News Magazine.

Reese Palmer

Vocalist -- via he Washington Post. He was the lead singer for the Marquees (one-time member? Marvin Gaye) and also sang with the Legendary Orioles. Can be heard as a backup singer, along with his group and Etta James, on Chuck Berry's "Back in the U.S.A." . . .


Theadora Van Runkle

Costume designer -- via the L.A. Times.

Alan Fudge

Character actor -- via Variety.

Margaret Morlan O'Mahoney Field

Actress -- via the New York Times.

Lisbeth Movin

Actress -- via dr.dk. She appeared in at least two great films -- Carl Dreyer's "Day of Wrath" and Gabriel Axel's "Babette's Feast."

Cynthia Myers

Model and actress -- via Alt Film Guide.

Allen Mandelbaum

Professor of literature, poet and translator -- via the New York Times. Thanks to him, I finally read Virgil's "Aeneid." (I still prefer the Ciardi translation of "The Divine Comedy.") Thank you, sir, for helping me to understand and enjoy this classic work!

Wyatt Knight

Actor -- via the L.A. Times.

Gary Holcombe

Actor -- via the Kansas City Star.

Les Daniels

Writer -- via the Comics Reporter.

Phyllis Love

Actress -- via the New York Times.

Norman Ramsey

Physicist -- via the New York Times. His Nobel Prize-winning work led to the creation of the super-accurate atomic clock.

Alex "Spunk" Pitko

Former outfielder for the Phillies and the Senators -- via Bill Schenley, http://groups.google.com/group/alt.obituaries, and legacy.com.

Heavy D aka Dwight Arrington Myers

Rapper and actor -- via Rolling Stone.

Hal Kanter

One of the great old-time comedy writers and directors -- via the L.A. Times. He started writing for radio -- he was so old, he wrote gags for Olsen and Johnson! He broke into TV writing for Ed Wynn. He created the sitcom "Julia," and was the head writer for the Oscars for 30 years. He father created Classics Illustrated! My favorite joke of his involves his teasing of Sherwood Schwartz, the creator of "Gilligan's Island": "Sherwood Schwartz. He sounds like Robin Hood's rabbi."

Sarah Watt

Filmmaker -- via abc.net.au.

James Van Doren

Co-creator of the classic Vans skateboard shoes -- via the New York Times.

Patrick Collinson

Historian -- via the Guardian.

Joe Frazier

Former heavyweight boxing champion; one of the greatest fighters ever -- via the New York Times. Here's a great meditation on his character from Dave Anderson in the Times. "I'll forgive, but I'll never forget."



From Listverse: "Top 10 Bizarre Premature Obituaries"

"You'll be stone-dead in a minute" -- from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."
This may bring you a chuckle -- or not. I larfed. Ten cases of people thought dead when, actually, they weren't. Quite.

Papa Bue aka Arne Jensen

Trombonist and bandleader -- via the Washington Post.

Cory Smoot

Guitarist for heavy metal band GWAR -- via the Huffington Post.

Bhupen Hazarika

Singer, composer, lyricist, music director, and filmmaker -- via rediff.com.

Christiane Legrand

Vocalist -- via forum.bcdb.com. Original soprano for the Swingle Singers, and member of Les Double Six.

Liz Anderson aka Elizabeth Jane Haaby

Country singer/songwriter -- via the New York Times.

Arthur Johnson

Civil rights leader -- via the Detroit News.

Rijk de Gooyer

Actor, writer, comedian and singer -- via Dutch News. Part of the comedy team of Johnny and Rijk.

Walter Norris

Jazz pianist and composer -- via artsjournal.com/rifftides.

Mohan Raghavan

Screenwriter and director -- via The Hindu.

Morio Kita aka Sokichi Saito

Novelist, essayist and psychiatrist -- via House of Japan.

John Makin aka Mister John

Singer-songwriter -- via the Telegraph. Best known for his novelty song "Potverdekke!"

Ruby Burman Cohn

Theater scholar and the one who "discovered" Samuel Beckett -- via the New York Times.

Tom Donovan

TV director -- via Variety.

Lloyd "Tommy" Doss

Musician -- the last of the legendary Sons of the Pioneers -- via Oregon Public Broadcasting. He replaced original baritone Bob Nolan, and sand with the group from 1949 to 1972. Their sound is an intergral part of my consciousness; you can hear them in John Ford's "Rio Grande," "The Searchers" and "Wagonmaster." A beautiful and essential part of the mythos and culture of the American West. My memory of the first film excerpt led me to name my first child Kathleen!


Bill Hale aka William Ely

Actor -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com.