"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"

Adam Yauch aka MCA

Founding member of the Beastie Boys -- via the New York Times.

George Murdock

Actor -- via . He was equally at home playing authority figures (such as God, in "Star Trek V"), villains and creeps (Lt. Scanlon on "Barney Miller"). Prolific -- 51 years in the biz, 186 roles on film and TV.

Lloyd Brevett

Bassist for the Skatalites -- via the New York Times.

Rick Parson

He helped others -- via ohio.com.

Zvi Zeitlin

Violinist and teacher -- via the Slipped Disc.

Achala Sachdev

Actress --  the New York Daily News. Over the course of a 64-year career, she appeared in 144 films!

Shanmuga Sundari

Actress and playback singer -- via mgrroop.blogspot.com.

Tufan Minnullin

Playwright and writer -- via russkiymir.ru.

Charles "Skip" Pitts

Soul, blues, funk, R & B and blues guitar great -- via the Commercial Appeal.

Marilynn Lovell Matz

Actress, singer, therapist and AIDS activist -- via Variety.

Kenny Roberts aka George S. Kingsbury Jr.

Singer -- via cmt.com.

Joel Goldsmith

Composer for film and television -- via Variety.

Buddy Saltzman

Drummer -- via artiewayne.wordpress.com. He played on a vast number of recordings, for among others, Peter Paul and Mary, Tim Hardin, Melanie, Ian & Sylvia, Janis Ian, Neil Diamond, Cyrkle, The Coasters, The Four Seasons, Frank Sinatra and Laura Nyro.

Larry Ruiz

Disability activist -- via the Denver Post.

David Weiss

Artist -- via the Guardian. Known for his long-term collaboration with fellow artist Peter Fischli.

Bill Granger

Journalist and novelist -- via the Chicago Sun-Times.

Eric Charden aka Jacques Puissant

Singer and songwriter -- via Le Monde.

Peter Carsten

Actor -- via westernsallitaliana.blogspot.com.

Manfred Richter

Actor -- via westernsalliitaliana.blogspot.com.

Robert O. Ragland

Film composer -- via the Hollywood Reporter. Among his titles: "Q: The Winged Serpent," "Grizzly," and "The Thing with Two Heads."

Gladys Gewirtz

Composer, music director for Camp Ramah, actress -- via the Eulogizer.

Greg Ham

Multi-instrumentalist and mainstay of the band Men at Work -- via the L.A. Times.

Tommy Marth

Saxophonist -- via MSNBC.

Todd Simko

Guitarist, producer and engineer -- via the Vancouver Sun.

Frank Bulkley II

Founder of the Eskimo Ski Club and the Denver-Winter Park Ski Train; taught thousands of children to ski -- via the Denver Post.

Leila Berg

Children's author; journalist and writer on education and children's rights -- via the Guardian.

John Birch

Organist, choirmaster; and director of music at Chichester Cathedral -- via the Telegraph. Most famously, he commissioned Bernstein's "Chichester Psalms."

Joe Muryani

Clarinetist, music producer and writer -- via the New York Times.

Albert Falco

Diver, undersea explorer and ship captain -- via the Telegraph. A long-time associate of Jacques Cousteau; when we were kids and would pretend to be deep-ocean explorers, we would vie to see who would play him . . . as he had the coolest name. "Falco weel now attempt to engage zee elooseeve jiant squeed!"

Walter L. Gordon Jr.

Pioneering African American lawyer -- via the L.A. Times.

Wanda Weiskopf

Singer, voice teacher, poet and writer -- via oregonlive.com.

Robert Miles Parker

Artist and preservationist -- via the New York Times.

Hugo Fiorato

Long-time conductor for the New York City Ballet -- via the New York Times.

Irving Millman

Microbiologist -- via the New York Times. He helped develop the vaccine for hepatitis B, as well as a test for it.

Pete Fornatale

Visionary, pioneer radio dj -- via the New York Times. He invented a new way of listening to radio, and music, crafting long thematic sets of wildly varied musics; playing entire albums; and generally created the "FM sound."

Ernest Callenbach

Writer, editor and futurist -- via the New York Times. His fiction and non-fiction writing on "ecotopias" predicted and called for many of the ideas used in sustainable, selective-tech living today -- recycling, solar power, legalized marijuana, local organic food growth, etc.

Bob Smith

Orthodontist and inventor of ski goggles -- via the Associated Press.

Joshua Micheal McMahon

A free spirit -- via the Ponca City News.

Louis le Brocquy

Artist -- via the Guardian.

Amos Vogel aka Amos Vogelbaum

Cineaste, film society director, co-founder of the New York Film Festival, and writer of the great text "Film as a Subversive Art" -- via the New York Times. "The commercialization of art and entertainment is a negative factor in human development," he said.

Randy Purcell

Trombonist -- via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.