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"

Tom Davis

Emmy-winning comic writer and performer -- via the New York Times. Half of the incredible duo of Franken and Davis, an original writer on "Saturday Night Live," he created much unforgettable laughter. Including his creations are: the Coneheads, Irving Mainway, Theodoric of York, Nick the Lounge Singer, the Continental, and many more.  A genius -- I'll miss him greatly.


Joyce Dannen Miller

Activist and labor organizer -- via the New York Times.

Else Holmelund Minarik

Children's author -- via the New York Times. Most memorably, she wrote the series of "Little Bear" beginning readers.


William Raspberry

Newspaper columnist -- via the Washington Post.

William Asher

TV director, producer and screenwriter -- via the New York Times. Will be best remembered as the cretor of "Bewitched" in conjunction with his then-wife, Elizabeth Montgomery.



Don Brinkley

Prolific television writer, director and producer -- via the New York Daily News.

Robert W. Creamer

Writer -- via Yahoo Sports. An original member of Sports Illustrated's writing staff, he wrote there for 30 years, as well as in the times. He specialized in baseball, and wrote what is considered the definitive biography of Babe Ruth, "Babe: The Legend Comes to Life"; and what is one of my top five baseball books -- "Baseball in '41: A Celebration of the 'Best Baseball Season Ever.'" He will be best remembered as one of the prominent talking heads in Ken Burns' "Baseball" miniseries.


Rajesh Khanna

The first Bollywood superstar -- via the Times of India.







Morgan Paull

Actor -- via the Hollywood Reporter. Best remembered as Holden in "Blade Runner."


Ann Marsden

Photographer -- via the Star-Tribune.

Willie Alexander Harry

Barber -- via the Baltimore Sun.


Willis Edwards

Civil rights activist -- via the L.A. Times.


Maria (nee Marie) Frances Hawkins Ellington Cole

Singer -- via the New York Times.


Val Patterson

Electrical engineer -- via Yahoo News and Legacy.com. Perhaps the best self-penned obituary I have yet read; it includes several opportunely timed confessions as well.

Marion Cunningham

Cook, cookbook writer, and advocate of artful home cooking -- via the New York Times.


Rosemary Furtak

Award-winning librarian who focused on art and artists' books -- via the Star-Tribune. The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis now houses an internationally-recognized collection of these works, thanks to her!

Oswald "Ossie" Hibbert

Organist, keyboardist and record producer -- via the Jamaica Observer.





Mike Hershberger

Former MLB outfielder -- via indeonline.com of Massilon, OH.

Ed Stroud aka The Streak aka The Creeper

Former MLB outfielder -- via the Tribune Chronicle of Warren, OH.


Jon Lord

Organist, keyboardist, composer; founder and long-time leader of hard rock pioneers Deep Purple -- via the New York Times.















Bob Babbitt aka Robert Kreinar

Bassist with the legendary Funk Brothers, the studio band at Motown Records -- via the Detroit News. The master of the funky bottom, rivaled in his time only by Larry Graham of Sly and the Family Stone. A genius.

He played on more than 200 top 40 hits. Think about alllllllllllll the brilliant songs he played the bass line on -- "Ball of Confusion," "Scorpio," "Oh How Happy," "Cool Jerk," "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours," "War," "Mercy Mercy Me," "Midnight Train to Georgia" -- and his ultimate creation, the masterpiece "Just My Imagination." Cannot praise him too highly. He got it.















Kitty Wells aka Ellen Muriel Deason, "The Queen of Country Music"

First female country-music star -- via the New York Times.








Donald J. Sobol

Writer; creator of schoolboy mystery-solver Encyclopedia Brown -- via nj.com.


Maurice Chevit

Actor -- via news.round.co.uk.

Toby Robertson

Former artistic director of the Prospect Theatre Company -- via the Guardian.


Hiren Bhattacharyya

Poet -- via The Hindu.


Ben Kynard

Saxophonist, composer and arranger -- via kansascity.com. He wrote the jazz standard "Red Top."





Gerrit Komrij

Poet, novelist, librettist, translator, critic, journalist and playwright -- via the Volkskrant.nl.

Ruud van Henert

Film director -- via luvgirlgroup.blogspot.com.




Sebastijan Pecjak

Champion darts player -- via pdc.tv.


Mouss Diouf aka Pierre Mustapha Diouf

Actor and comedian -- via Liberation.

Dolphy aka Golay aka Rodolfo Vera Quizon, Sr.

Philippines' King of Comedy; performer on stage, and in film, TV, and radio -- via the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Benedetto Ghiglia

Film composer -- via westernboothill.blogspot.com.



Dennis Flemion

Percussionist and half of the band The Frogs -- via Matador Records.

Lol Coxhill aka George W. Lowen Coxhill

Saxophonist and raconteur -- via the Guardian.




Zhou Ruchang

Literary scholar -- via the Telegraph. His overwhelming focus was the 17th-century novel by Cao Xueqin, "The Dream of the Red Chamber."


Sunil Janah

Photographer -- via the New York Times.

George Stoney

Filmmaker, teacher and innovator -- via the New York Times. A "dean of documentary filmmakers," his "All My Babies" is on the National Film Registry. He taught film at NYU for 40 years; and he founded public-access television. Pretty amazing.





Richard D. Zanuck

Film producer -- via the New York Times. Thanks to and despite his famous film producer father Darryl F. Zanuck, Richard became one of the era's most successful and interesting film producers himself. He worked on, among many others, "Jaws," "Driving Miss Daisy," "Cocoon," "The Sting," "The Sound of Music" . . .




Calvin Marsh

Baritone -- via the New York Times. Another Margalit Fox classic obit -- she writes so wonderfully. The use of "forsaking" in the first sentence is a textbook example of le mot juste.



Philip Fradkin

Memorable writer whose subject was the American West -- via the New York Times.


Celeste Holm

Actress on stage, on film and TV -- via CNN. She was the first Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!"; she won an Oscar for her work in "Gentlemen's Agreement," and did notable work in films such as "All About Eve" and TV roles such as the Fairy Godmother in the second broadcast of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella."