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"

Dara Singh

Wrestler and actor -- via the Times of India.

Berthe Meijer

Writer and Holocaust survivor -- via the Washington Post.


Martin Pakledinaz

Tony-winning costume designer -- via the New York Times.

Maria Cueto

Activist and lay minister who was hounded by the FBI -- via the Episcopal Digital Network.

Mike Hastings aka Michael Abney-Hastings, 14th Earl of Loudoun

Forklift driver and rightful King of England -- via the Herald Sun.

Michael J. Ybarra

Extreme sports journalist -- via the New York Times.


Fritz Pauer

Jazz pianist -- via londonjazz.blogspot.com.

Jacqueline Law Wai Kuen

Actress -- via The Star.


Ivan Seykyra

Rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, director and screenwriter -- via noisecreep.com.

Meera Bandopadhyay



Classical vocalist -- via the Hindustan Times.

Isuzu Yamada

Actress on stage and in films -- via the Japan Times. A leendary performer who made films with Ozu, Mizoguchi, Nakuse and Kurosawa, and many others. Among her best-remembered films: "Osaka Elegy," "Tokyo Twilight," "Throne of Blood" (she played Lady Washizu, the Lady Macbeth character, above), "Yojimbo" and "The Lower Depths." Her range and subtlety were unmatched.







"Uncle" Lionel Batiste

Drummer and vocalist with the Treme Brass Band; a New Orleans music icon -- via the New York Times.





Eric Gaudibert

Composer -- via codexflores.com.





Robert Sabatier

Writer and poet -- via france24.com.


Rosemary Dobson

Poet, illustrator, editor and anthologist -- via the Sydney Morning Herald.


Paul Bargas

Minor-league pitcher -- via CBS Sports. Very sad -- he passed away at the age of 24 from brain cancer.


John Kapualani Koko

Bassist and singer with the Makaha Sons -- via HawaiiNewsNow.

Doris Schade

Actress -- via Der Speigel.


Harekrishna Behera

Classical dance master -- via the Hindu.




Jean Cox

Heldentenor -- via artsjournal.com.

Franz Crass

Bass-baritone -- via hugoshirley.blogspot.com. Hugo Shirley has written a wonderful memorial, survey and evaluation of this remarkable singer -- in words, photos, audio and video. I'm not even going to try to writer my own take on the subject. Go to it and read/watch/listen to it! It is brilliant.

Youssef Dawoud

Actor -- via the Saudi Gazette.


James Grout

Actor -- via the BBC.

Mirjam Polkunen

Writer -- via yle.fi.

Hans Villius

Historian, and TV and radio personality -- via the Aftonbladet.

Mary Fedden

Artist -- via the Guardian.

Ernest Borgnine aka Ermes Effron Borgino

Actor -- via CBS News.

How many 60-year careers in anything you know about? Huh? Much less a performing career, especially one that stayed substantial and interesting to the very end.

Ernest Borgnine first appeared on my radar as the star of the "Bilko of the Navy" TV sitcom "McHale's Navy" (both Pacific and European theaters).





But as I began to work through the great films, I was surprised to find Borgnine in so many of them. Try this list: "From Here to Eternity,"

Borgnine as Fatso Judson, the sadistic prison chief, in "From Here to Eternity."
"Johnny Guitar,"





 "Vera Cruz," "Bad Day at Black Rock,"





 of course "Marty," for which he won an Oscar;





 the original "Flight of the Phoenix,"





 "The Dirty Dozen,"





 "Ice Station Zebra," "The Wild Bunch,"





 "Escape from New York." And some howlers, of course -- "Willard," "The Devil's Rain," "The Poseidon Adventure." A disciplined professional, he elevated even TV movies such as "Legend in Granite," a biography of Vince Lombardi, and the wily Katz in "All Quiet on the Western Front."

"All Quiet in the Western Front," 1979.
To younger viewers he was Dominic Santini in "Airwolf" or Doorman Manny in "The Single Guy" -- and to my kids, he is the voice of Mermaid Man in "SpongeBob SquarePants." 



203 credits worth of pure Borgnine pleasure. Thanks, Ernie.


Jonathan Speirs

Lighting designer, most notably for grand architectural projects -- via the Guardian.

Martin Jenkinson


Photographer -- via the Guardian.

Robert Jean-Marie de la Rochefoucauld

Resistance fighter -- via the Telegraph.


Marjorie Chibnall

Historian and translator -- viu the Telegraph.

Doris Sams

Pro baseball pitcher and outfielder -- via the New York Times.


Norman Sas

Inventor of Electric Football -- via northjersey.com.






Yomo Toro aka Victor Guillermo Toro Vega Ramos Rodríguez Acosta

Guitarist and cuatrista -- via the New York Times.





Jim Drake

Perfector of the sailboard; engineer who worked on the X-15 and Tomahawk missile as well -- via the New York Times.

Ivan Karp

Colorful and enthusiastic art dealer and gallery owner -- via the New York Times.

Takeo Chii

Actor and TV show host -- via aroundtokyo.net. One of the villains in the cult film classic "Lady Snowblood," he later hosted informative programs.

Julian Goodman

Former president of NBC, who stuck up for the First Amendment -- via the New York Times.