Category Archives: Obit

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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Gia of ‘The Bachelor’ Takes Her Life

I’m used to writing of contestants losing on “The Bachelor,” but not of suicide deaths. Sadly, that’s what happened to Gia Allemand, 29, the cheery and exotic standout from Jake Pavelka’s season of the dating show. She only finished third that season, but was enough of a fan favorite to return for two seasons of [...]

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Cory Monteith, 1982-2013

The sad death of Cory Monteith this weekend at just 31 became more shocking when contrasted with what we saw of his life. On a show called “Glee,” for heaven’s sake, his was a face of optimism and possibility. At a time when those playing teenaged high schoolers are imbued with unrealistic cool and cynicism, [...]

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James Gandolfini, 1961-2013

Shocking, of course, to hear of the death of James Gandolfini today in Italy at only the age of 51. A great actor with serious gravitas, he played a big part in helping change television with his trademark role as Tony Soprano. It’s likely that David Chase’s “The Sopranos” would have still been a great [...]

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