"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"

Ben Gazzara aka Biagio Anthony Gazzara

Actor -- via the New York Times. Quite simply, one of the best American actors of the second half of the 20th century. He never won a shelfload of awards, but he had integrity, a quiet intensity and an incredibly broad yet subtle palette of emotional expression. He left an indelible impression. On stage, he was the first Brick in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"; and originated the role of Johnny Pope in "A Hatful of Rain." On film, he was amazing in the at least the following "Anatomy of a Murder," "Husbands," "The Killing of a Chinese Bookie," "Opening Night," "Saint Jack," "They All Laughed," the TV series "Run for Your Life," and the TV miniseries "QBVII." OK, he was in "Road House" -- a guy's gotta eat.

Camilla Williams

Soprano -- via the New York Times. The first African American woman to win a contract with a major U.S. opera company!

Patricia Neway

Soprano at home in opera and musical theater -- via the New York Times. She originated the role of Magda Sorel in Menotti's vastly underrated opera "The Consul"; she won the Tony for originating the role of Mother Superior in "The Sound of Music."

Dick Kniss

Bassist and songwriter -- via the New York Times.

Andrew MacNaughtan

Photographer -- via Spinner.

Clare Fischer

Composer, arranger, conductor and pianist -- via the New York Times.

Don Cornelius

Producer and host of the groundbreaking music TV show "Soul Train" -- via USA Today. As always, we wish you love, peace and soul, sir.

Eiko Ishioka

Art director and costume designer -- via the New York Times.

Paavo Berglund

Conductor -- via the New York Times.

Theo Angelopoulos

Filmmaker -- via the New York Times.

Ruthilde Boesch

Soprano -- via the Boston Globe.

Andy Musser

Sports broadcaster -- via the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Dimitra Arliss

Actress -- via UPI.

Walter Kelvin aka Walter Kattwinkel

Actor -- via northjersey.com.

Thet Nwe

Activist -- via democracyforburma.wordpress.com.

Rita Gorr

Mezzo-soprano -- via OperaNews.

Kostas Ostrauskas

Playwright -- via the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Paul Trueblood

Pianist and arranger -- via johnhoglund.com.

Richard Hill

Elevator expert and handyman extraordinaire -- via the Chicago Sun-Times.

Yevgeny Zharikov

Actor -- via news-en.com.

Jenny Tomasin

Actress -- via the Independent.

Errol Scorcher

Reggae DJ -- via the Jamaica Observer.

Beverly McDermott

Casting director -- via the Chicago Tribune.

Colonel Stone Johnson

Civil rights activist -- via al.com.

Anthony Gonsalves

Composer -- via the Times of India.

Nikhat Kazmi

Film critic -- via bollywoodlife.com.

Larry Butler

Music producer, composer and pianist -- via the New York Times.

Salma Mumtaz

Actress -- via the Hindustan Times.

Gerre Hancock, Sr.

Organist -- via the New York Times.

Pio Zamuner

Film director and writer -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com.

Giancarlo Bigazzi

Composer, lyricist and music producer -- via westernsallitaliana.blogspot.com.

Penny Jordan

Prolific romance novelist -- via the Telegraph.

John Levy

Bassist, talent manager and Jazz Master - via the New York Times.

Rogelio Hernandez

Voice actor -- via the Independent.

Julia Carter Preston

Ceramic artist -- via the Guardian.

Robert Nelson

Filmmaker -- via the New York Times.

Mary C. Henderson

Theater scholar, historian, writer and educator -- via the New York Times.