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"

Scott McKenzie aka Philip Wallach Blondheim

Singer and composer -- via the Washington Post. Best known for singing "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)"; also co-wrote "Kokomo."



Shane Murphy

Wingsuit jumper -- via coronado.patch.com.

Robert Kuperberg

Documentary filmmaker, and film producer -- via the Hollywood Reporter.





Hugo Bedau

Philosopher -- via the New York Times.


Bob Birch

Musician -- via detroitnews.com.

Danny Roundfield

Basketball player -- via Sports Illustrated. He died saving his wife from drowning.

Bill Tillman

Saxophonist -- via Spinner. Best known for his work with Blood, Sweat and Tears, he also played with Chuck Berry, Roy Orbison, and the Coasters; he also served as music director for Gladys Knight.





Svetozar Gligoric

Chess grandmaster -- via the New York Times.

Brent Grulke

Creative director of the South by Southwest Music Conference and Festival -- via austin360.com.




Douglas Townsend

Composer and musicologist - via artsjournal.com.



Boris Tevlin

Choral conductor -- via artsjournal.com.

Kun Liu

Stuntman -- via the Huffington Post.

Carlo Curley

Organist -- via the Telegraph.

Henning Moritzen

Actor -- via politiken.dk.

Bill Rafferty

Comedian, impressionist, and TV host -- via gameshows.about.com.

Phyllis Diller

Comedian -- via TMZ. A real pioneer -- she got her big break at The Purple Onion in 1955, and did standup, TV and film comedy ever after. Women comics were few and far between. Up to that time, save for exceptions such as Moms Mabley, Jean Carroll, and Rusty Warren, women were stooges or props in comedy. Diller made inroads in a male-dominated industrythat paved the way for a whole new legion of great talent that just happened to be female.









Suresh Dalal

Poet, essayist, columnist, and editor -- via the Times of India.

Carmen Belen Richardson

Actress, comedian, and TV pioneer in Puerto Rico -- via primerahora.com.

Mary Hanes

Producer and writer for TV and stage -- via the Hollywood Reporter.

Ranking Trevor aka Maxwell Grant

Deejay/toaster -- via Rolling Stone.





Erwin Axer

Theater director -- via wprost.pl.


Tony Scott

Film director and producer -- via TMZ. Among his best films: "The Hunger," "Top Gun," "True Romance," "Crimson Tide," and "Man on Fire." My personal favorite -- the bizarre and wildly entertaining "True Romance."






William Windom

Actor -- via tvmediainsights.com. Although his obits will draw in opening adjectives such as "character" and "journeyman," he simply was a very good performer. He racked up hundreds of credits, primarily on TV -- he starred in the 1963-1966 sitcom "The Farmer's Daughter," the Thurberesque "My World and Welcome to It," and was a regular on "Murder, She Wrote," as Dr. Hazlitt, but played good guys and bad guys, creeps and authority figures, on dozens of series. He was at the center of one of Rod Serling's greatest scripts, "They're Tearing Down Tim Riley's Bar," on "Night Gallery"; he memorably played the tragic Commodore Dekker on the Star Trek episode "The Doomsday Machine."

In film, he notably played the prosecutor in "To Kill a Mockingbird," and the killer in "The Dectective." On stage, he took his affection for and effectiveness with the delicate whimsies of James Thurber and did extensive touring with a one-man show of the author's work. He was a craftsperson as well as an artist, willing to do his best with just about any role, big or small. A real inspiration!