Category Archives: Obit

Remembering Paul Kantner, 1941-2016

My indelible image of Paul Kantner, the bespectacled, bookish co-pilot behind rock’s psychedelic Jefferson Airplane, who died Thursday at 74, was not in the footage from Woodstock or Altamont or even the great playing on the 1968 live album “Bless Its Pointed Little Head.” It was at a restaurant lounge in suburban Avon, Connecticut in [...]

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Remembering David Bowie, 1947-2016

David Bowie has been such a vital figure in the culture for so long, it was impossible for a moment to believe that he had actually died Sunday at 69 of cancer. Only Friday, his 69th birthday, he had released his 27th album, a hailed, complex work that was heralded with its title track a [...]

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Remembering Natalie Cole, 1950-2015

Natalie Cole, who died New Year’s Eve at 65, had a solid R&B career going before she decided to get into the kind of standards popularized by her famous father, Nat “King” Cole. It was an album of such songs that included a made-in-the-studio duet that made her a superstar. “I had been doing `Unforgettable’ [...]

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Remembering B.B. King, 1925-2015

B.B. King, who died Thursday at 89, was the man who made you feel good with the blues, with a distinctive and influential guitar style, powerfully soulful voice and gentle nature, he played hundreds of shows a year well into his old age and spanned the music form from the cotton fields to Memphis (where [...]

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Cry If You Want To: Leslie Gore, 1946-2015

One of the strong female voices in rock ’n’ roll came out of a teenager in Tenafly, N.J., whose very first hit was the anthem “It’s My Party.” “I was a junior in high school,” she told me in an interview in 2000. She died Monday in New York of lung cancer at 68. Her [...]

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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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