"How are we to help those who die and those who have died?"
Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

"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"

Marian Filar

Pianist -- via the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Chris Wedes aka J.P. Patches

Clown and TV-show host -- via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Carmela Sbarro

Pizza-making matriarch -- via The Gothamist.

Gennaro and Carmela Sbarro, and assistants at the original Sbarro's Salumeria at  65th Street and 17th Avenue in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.

Bob Blum

Sportscaster -- via the Las Vegas Sun.

Archer King

Theatrical agent, producer, and actor -- via the Wall Street Journal.

Herbert Vogel

 Art collector -- via the New York Times. He loved art, and very much enjoyed finding and buying art, despite he and his wife's tiny earnings. In the end, he gave it all away to galleries and museums.

Chad Everett aka Raymon Lee Cramton

Actor -- via the L.A. Times. Best remembered as Dr. Joe Gannon on TV's "Medical Center," and for this amazing and disturbing scene in "Mulholland Dr."

Bob Garner

Impresario -- via the Denver Post.

Tsilla Chelton

Actress and comedian -- via the Guardian.

Angharad Rees

Actress -- via the BBC. Best remembered for her role as Demelza in "Poldark." She also featured prominently in the Hammer horror film "Hands of the Ripper."

Sherman Hemsley

Actor -- via Yahoo News. A comedic icon, he will be best remembered for playing obnoxious curmudgeons -- George Jefferson on "All in the Family" and "The Jeffersons," and the deacon in "Amen." A show that lasted 11 seasons, good and bad, the phrase "'Sup, Weezy?" is an indelible part of my vocabulary.

A talented pro -- and hey, did you know he was really into Gentle Giant? That's pretty cool.

Now he's in that dee-luxe apartment in the sky. Thanks, Sherman.

Sally Ride

Physicist and astronaut -- the first U.S. woman in space -- via the New York Times.

Frank Pierson

Screenwriter and director -- via the L.A. Times. He started in television, then wrote or worked on screenplays for "Cat Ballou," "Cool Hand Luke," "The Anderson Tapes," "Dog Dsy Afternoon" (for which he won the Oscar) and "In Country." Unfortunately, the first two theatrical features he made were the Streisand/Kristofferson "Star is Born" and "King of the Gypsies." He did much better in TV films such as "Citizen Cohn," "Truman," and "Conspiracy." Oh, and he was president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Margaret Mahy

Children's author -- via the San Francisco Chronicle.

Stephen Dwoskin

Filmmaker -- via the Guardian.

Sylvia Woods aka the Queen of Soul Food

Restaurateur -- via the New York Times.

Simon Ward

A damn good actor -- via the Telegraph. He didn't work a lot, but I think he was one of the best of our time. He played the lead role in "Young Winston," and actually pulls Churchill off. He was the Duke of Buckingham in Lester's "Three Musketeers" trilogy. He played Vereker in "Zulu Dawn." He even made it into a Hammer film, playing assistant to Peter Cushing in "Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed." More recently he worked in TV series such as "Judge John Deed" and "The Tudors." Always fun to watch --

Ginny Tyler aka Merrie Virginia Erlandson

Voice artist and Mouseketeer -- via the L.A. Times. A Disney Legend, she voiced, among many others -- Olive Oyl, various animals in "The Sword and the Stone" and "Mary Poppins," Jan in "Space Ghost," Polynesia the parrot in "Doctor Doolittle," Casper the Friendly Ghost (TV series), and all the female characters in the first 13 episodes of "Davey and Goliath."

Jacqueline Rebecca Louise de Rothschild Calmann-Levy Piatigorsky

Chess champion, tennis champion, author and sculptor -- via the L.A. Times.

Ramona Parker aka Ms. Melodie

Rapper -- via the New York Daily News.

Bob Gamm

Inventor of the KangaROO shoe, the first shoe with a pocket in it -- via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.