Category Archives: Obit

Remembering Edward Herrmann

Hearing about the death today of Edward Herrmann at 71, I imagined a slow moving funeral procession, a flag draped coffin on a caisson pulled by a team of horses. But I was thinking of the funeral of FDR, who Herrmann portrayed repeatedly in his career, most recently for Ken Burns’ documentary series “The Roosevelts.” [...]

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Remembering Joe Cocker

  Joe Cocker, who died Monday at 70, was an anomaly in his era of self-expression — a charged, nuanced interpreter of others’ material who threw himself into his material so fully some thought he was palsied. This led him to be easily parodied (and he joined John Belushi when he did so, diffusing an [...]

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Remembering Joan Rivers

Her career was about as long and consistently active as anyone in show business — breaking barriers by being a very funny comedian in the 1960s and doing all she could to stay busy, active and relevant in the last decade or so. Though Joan Rivers, who died Thursday at 81, could be off-putting at [...]

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Robin Williams, 1951-2014

The initial reporting following the shocking death of Robin Williams Monday at 63 concentrated on the usual touchstones of “Mork & Mindy” and “Good Will Hunting” but generally ignored his recent work. One report even erroneously said he hadn’t been in much lately. Yet he hasn’t exactly been invisible. Just last season, he starred in [...]

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Mickey Rooney, Longtime Hollywood Icon, 1920-2014

Mickey Rooney, who began his long film career as a silent movie kid star, became a top Hollywood attraction in Andy Rooney films and a partner with Judy Garland, before stretching his credits into the 90s, died Sunday at 93. An Emmy winner and four time Oscar nominee, Rooney in his time was also a [...]

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Comedy Genius Sid Caesar, 1922-2014

One of the last public appearances for Sid Caesar, the great TV clown who died Wednesday at 91, came at one of the stranger sessions of the TV Critics Association press tour in recent years. The July 2005 session for the first “Pioneers of Television” was overshadowed in degrees of crazy by Mickey Rooney, Rose [...]

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Remembering Shirley Temple, 1928-2014

It was just a few days ago that I saw, on rail of some internet site fraught with clickbait, the familiar picture in pincurls, young Shirley Temple, accompanying a headline that said something like “23 Celebrities You Thought Were Dead.” Imagine: Shirley Temple as the main picture, the lure. Maybe it’s because she began her [...]

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The Sad Shocking Death of Philip Seymour Hoffman

Among the many things dangled before our eyes at the TV Critics winter press tour last month, one of the easy standouts was for Showtime’s planned “Happyish.” It starred Philip Seymour Hoffman as a middle aged ad man getting crushed in an age of young social media savants and billionaires. We only saw a clip [...]

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Remembering Pete Seeger, 1919-2014

The death of Pete Seeger Monday at 1994 brings to an end of one of the great names in American music, a personification of folk music and the folk spirit, whose light shone on his passions and politics for more than 60 years. I was so happy to have a chance to talk to him [...]

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Elmore Leonard, Detroiter, 1925-2013

Elmore Leonard, who died today at 87, was not only one of the great crime writers of the day, whose work was the basis of TV and movie scripts from “Justified” to “Get Shorty,” was also one of his home city, Detroit. “There are cities that get by on their good looks, offer climate and [...]

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