"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"

Misbach Yusa Biran

Film director, screenwriter, journalist and film archivist -- via the Jakarta Post.

Mohit Chattopadhyay

Playwright, poet and screenwriter -- via the Calcutta Telegraph.

Margarita Lilova

Mezzo-soprano -- via the Daily Star.

Martin Poll

Film producer -- via the L.A. Times. Responsible for films such as "The Lion in Winter" and "Love and Death," he was also instrumental in making New York City industry-friendly in terms of location shooting -- restoring filmmaking to the region.

Lewis Dymeck

Engineer and inventor; best known for creating weightlifting's curl bar -- via the Prescott, AZ Daily Courier.

Levon Helm

Drummer, vocalist, mandolinist; part of the great group The Band and later a renowned soloist and collaborator on traditional-music porjects; actor -- via the Poughkeepsie Journal.

Jonathan Frid

Actor in film, television and on stage -- via We Are Movie Geeks. This fine classically trained actor will be best remembered as the central character, vampire Barnabas Collins, in the wildly popular 1960's ABC daytime "gothic soap opera," "Dark Shadows."

Julio Aleman

Actor -- via Fox.

Ed Savko

Proprietor of biker hangout The Rock Store -- via the L.A. Times.

Cynthia Dall aka Cynthia Meggin Loya

Photographer and singer/songwriter -- via Pitchfork.

Meral Okay

Scriptwriter, actress and producer -- via todayszaman.com.

John Kuenster

Baseball writer and editor -- via the Chicago Tribune.

Dick Clark

Long-time host of "American Bandstand," radio and TV personality, entrepreneur and producer; "the world's oldest teenager" -- via USA Today.

Raymond Aubrac aka Raymond Samuel

A leader of the French Resistance in World War II -- via the New York Times.

Jim McCullough, Sr.

Film producer and director -- via legacy.com.

Ingo Prosser

News cameraman -- via the Guardian.

Brian Morgan

Cameraman and director of photography -- via the Guardian.

Devy Erlih

Violinist, composer and teacher -- via the Telegraph.

Sari Barabas

Coloratura soprano -- via Rheinplatz.

James E. Brodhead

Character actor -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com.

Carol Adams aka Lurline Uller

Actress and singer -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com.

Andy Replogle

Pitcher -- via hosting-19811.tributes.com.

William Finley

Actor -- via the New York Times.

Garry Walberg

Actor -- via the Chicago Tribune. A busy character actor who may be best remembered for his role as Lt. Monahan on the TV series "Quincy." This photo is of him in his appearance as Commander Hansen in the Star Trek episode "Balance of Terror."

Andrew Love

Masterful soul saxophonist -- via the New York Daily News. With Wayne Jackson, he constituted the Memphis Horns -- playing on hundreds of hits and helping define that city's unique sound.

Steven Kanumba

Actor and director -- via dailynews.co.tz.

Ernie Edwards

Restaurateur, museum owner, character and legend -- via www.sj-r.com.

Gabriel Tepelea

Philologist and dissident -- via the Washington Post.

Dora Saint aka Miss Read

Novelist -- via the New York Times.

Roger Caron

Bank robber, escape artist and writer -- via the Montreal Gazette.

Michael "Flathead" Blanchard

A colorful individual who penned his own obituary -- via the Denver Post.

Cosmas Desmond

Anti-apartheid activist -- via the Telegraph.

Jack Tramiel aka Jacek Trzmiel

Computer entrepreneur -- via the New York Times.

From the New York Times: the obit-writing process

A nice story from NYT public editor Arthur S. Brisbane on  the process and criteria of a New York Times obituary -- "Times obituaries go not to the conventionally virtuous but to the famous, the influential, the offbeat and to others whose lives, through writerly intervention, can be alchemized into newsprint literature."

Hal Chester aka Harold Ribotsky

Film producer and actor -- via the Telegraph. He started off as a Dead End Kid -- then moved into the (I'm not kidding) "Little Tough Guy" series. He later produced the Joe Palooka films for Monograph (he got the film rights to be the popular comic strip through his friendship with Palooka creator Ham Fisher). Still later, he went to England, producing two memorable films -- Jacques Tourneur's "Night of the Demon" and Robert Hamer's "School for Scoundrels."

Side notes: 1) Chester infamously contracted someone to create and film the "demon" of the title of Tourneur's film, earning the eternal hatred of the director. Tourneur, who had directed such horror classics as "Cat People" and "I Walked with a Zombie," prided himself on being able to create a superlative atmosphere of dread through suggestion. Chester, however, did not trust Tourneur and overrode him. Anyone who compares the film cuts with and without the "demon" will have to agree with the director.

2) Although Hamer takes the director's credit for "Scoundrels," Cyril Frankel really directed the picture -- as Hamer turned up drunk every morning to work until he was fired.

Val May

Theatre director -- via the Telegraph.

Katherine Russell Rich

Writer -- via the New York Times.

Kenneth Libo

Historian -- via the New York Times.

Reed Whittemore

Poet, editor, publisher, journalist, biographer and teacher -- via the New York Times.