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"

Alan Sues

Comedian and actor -- via the New York Times. Best known for his membership in the cast of TV's "Laugh-In."

Bill McKinney

Actor -- via E Online. Best known for playing villains and crazy guys in such movies as "Deliverance," "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," "The Outlaw Josey Wales," and numerous Clint Eastwood films.

Noel Cunningham

Chef and restaurateur -- via the Denver Post.

Marion Holmes DeFore

Vocalist -- via the New York Daily News.

Vasily Alekseyev

Champion weightlifter -- via the New York Times.

Sid Smith

Local "character" -- via the Austin Statesman.

Richard Morant

Actor -- via the Telegraph.

Barry Llewellyn aka Barrington Llewellyn aka Bebo

Singer and songwriter; co-founder of the vital Jamaica rocksteady/reggae group the Heptones -- via the Guardian.


Art Hillery

Jazz pianist -- via ejazznews.com.

Walter Doniger

Screenwriter and director -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com.

Robert E. Conot

Journalist and editor -- via the Washington Post.

Horacio Villafane aka Gamexane

Musician; founder of Todos tus Muertos -- via Tiny Mix Tapes.

Gerald Laing

Artist -- via the Telegraph.

Rauf Khalid

Writer, director and actor -- via the Express Tribune.

Tom Wicker

Journalist -- via the New York Times.

Coco Robicheaux aka Curtis Arceneaux

Bluesman -- via the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Yukio Nishimoto

Hall of Fame (Japan) baseball player and manager -- via the Daily Yomiuri. Known as the "Great Tragic Leader" due to his never winning the Japan Series; however, he won eight Pacific League pennants.

Leonid Borodin

Novelist, journalist and dissident -- via russkiymir.ru.

Stephen Robertson

Comedian, actor and lawyer -- via breakingnews.heraldscotland.com.

Ustad Sultan Khan

Musician and singer -- via The Statesman.


Patrice O'Neal

Comedian -- via the New York Daily News. An incredibly funny guy!


Ron Lyle

Heavyweight boxer -- via the Denver Post.

Louis McKee

Poet -- via neastphilly.com.

Hans Reichel

Experimental guitarist, inventor, designer, composer -- via coilhouse.net.

Hassan Abdullah aka Stanley Barber

Jazzman -- via pressofatlanticcity.com.

Karel Hubacek

Architect -- via Yahoo News.

Olga Bayrack Bloom

Violinist, violist and the creator of the profoundly pleasant Bargemusic classic music series in New York City -- via the New York Times.

Bargemusic from GVP Selections on Vimeo.

George Daniels

Master watchmaker -- via the Economist.

Jeno Paulucci aka Luigino Francesco Paulucci

Food magnate; inventor of Chun King prepackaged Chinese food, and the pizza roll! -- via the New York Times. Thanks to the genius of Stan Freberg, the commercial for Jeno's Pizza Rolls will live forever (see below).

Ruth Stone

Poet -- via the New York Times.

Montserrat Figueras

Soprano who specialized in early classical music -- via the New York Times.

Ken Russell

"It is a pity when one, either through force of circumstance or because one is afraid of being ridiculed by others, won't produce and expose to everyone that little spark of something special which is unique to him alone." -- Ken Russell
Film director -- via the New York Times. One of the strangest and most controversial of the "great directors," his most popular works include "Women in Love," "Tommy" and "Altered States." Most people don't like his work -- it is over-the-top, vulgar, graphic, sexually obsessive, blasphemous, deliberately and gratuitously controversial. Even for those who count themselves as fans, his films are extremely problematic, hit-and-miss.

However, his movies are passionate and beautiful, and contain brilliant insights. It's largely forgotten that he reinvented the documentary film in the late 1950s and early 1960s, using devices such as dramatic reenactments and nonobjective passages set to music. He could do commercial, genre film -- "Billion Dollar Brain" and "Lair of the White Worm" -- but his best good-crazy stuff were hallucinogenic runs at the barriers of good taste and consensual reality. My faves: "Mahler" and "Isadora Duncan, the Biggest Dancer in the World."

Here is a link to a good general introduction to his work on video -- it is neither family-friendly nor safe for work! Of course, how could it be -- it's Ken Russell!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpZagdBC8v8

Lasse Brandeby

Actor, comedian and journalist -- via forum.blu-ray.com.

Omer Lutfi Akad

Film director -- via hurriyetdailynews.com.

David Bolstad

World-champion woodchopper -- via stuff.co.nz.

Francis Higginson Cabot

Gardener and horticulturalist -- via legacy.com.

Nisio Gomes

Indigenous leader and shaman -- via the BBC. Forty masked gunmen murdered him after his took his tribe back to ancestral land stolen by Brazilian ranchers.

Maureen Swanson aka Maureen, Countess of Dudley

Actress -- via the Telegraph.

Jackie Leven aka Sir Vincent Lone aka John St Field

Folk musician, singer, songwriter -- via the Telegraph.

Maurice Chase aka Father Dollar Bill

Priest -- via the L.A. Times.

Peter Reading

Poet -- via the Telegraph.

Peter Burton

Writer and publisher; pioneering gay journalist -- via the Guardian.