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MovieGeek's Roundup for 2017

A year in memoriam

We've all joked not-so-lightly that when they run the Oscars obit reel this year, we will need a separate telecast. And those that claimed TIME's Person of the Year should be the Grim Reaper aren't that far off.

Maybe it wasn't more than usual. But it surely felt that way. From David Bowie to Debbie Reynolds, my count stood at 150, not including those lost in the Brazilian plane crash, and there's still a number of hours left in this misbegotten year. (This excellent piece in TIME detailing the photographers lost this year added several more names to my list.) There's actually been a backlash against the mourning - proving that the internet as a whole gets more soulless by the year - but here's what I have to say to that: pfffthftft

I actually found a meme that encapsulates this idea more eloquently than my raspberry: "We do not mourn artists we've never met because we knew them. We mourn them because they helped us know ourselves."

When we enjoy the work of an artist, they enrich our lives, and we are sad because we know there will be no more art and beauty coming from that person. The world is a darker, poorer place without art and beauty, and we are right to mourn that loss.

This, therefore, is my attempt to remember all the artists, scientists and other notable people who passed this year. I  started keeping this list about the time we lost Elie Wiesel. I am quite sure I will miss someone, and I hope you will let me know (nicely) so that I may add whoever escaped my notice. 

In memoriam.

• Lennie Bluett, actor, Gone With the Wind, A Star is Born

• Frank Armitage, artist/animator, Mary Poppins, Lady and the Tramp

• Otis Clay, musician, "Tryin' to Live My Life Without You"

• Leila Alaoui, photographer, New York Times, Amnesty International

• Angus Scrimm, actor, Phantasm, Alias

• David Bowie, musician/actor, Labyrinth, Rise of Ziggy Stardust, and much more.

• David Margulies, actor, Ghostbusters, The Sopranos

• Brian Bedford, actor, Robin Hood, Nixon

• Dan Haggerty, actor, Life and Times of Grizzly Adams

• Franco Citti, actor, The Godfather

• Alan Rickman, actor, Die Hard, the Harry Potter series, and much more.

• Jo De Winter, actor, Dirty Harry, Gloria

• Glenn Frey, musician, The Eagles

• Peter Marlow, photographer

• Michole Mercurio, actor, Flashdance, The Client, While You Were Sleeping

• Abe Vigodaactor, The Godfather, Barney Miller

• Paul Kantner, musician, Jefferson Airplane

• Dan Gerson, screenwriter, Monsters Inc., Big Hero 6

• Antonin Scalia, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

• Drewe Henley, actor, Star Wars

• George Gaynes, actor, Police Academy, Punky Brewster

• Umberto Eco, author, The Name of the Rose

• Harper Lee, author, To Kill a Mockingbird

• Cara McCollum, journalist

• Louise Plowright, actor, EastEnders

• Martha Wright, actor, Sound of Music, South Pacific

• Maurice "Moe" White, musician, Earth Wind & Fire

• Pat Conroy, author, The Prince of Tides

• Denise Matthews, a.k.a. Vanity, musician

• Paul Ryan, comic artist, Fantastic Four, Superman

• Nancy Reagan, actress, First Lady 

• Robert Horton, actor, Wagon Train

• Frank Sinatra Jr., musician, "Believe in Me," "Black Night"

• Bob Adelman, photographer, TIME, LIFE, Mine Eyes Have Seen: Bearing Witness to the Struggle for Civil Rights

• George Kennedy, actor, Cool Hand Luke, Airplane!, The Naked Gun

• Larry Drake, actor, L.A. Law

• Joe Santos, actor, The Rockford Files, The Sopranos

• Garry Shandling, actor/comedian, The Larry Sanders Show, It's Garry Shandling's Show

• Merle Haggard, musician, "The Fightin' Side of Me," "Carolyn"

• David Smyrl, actor, Sesame Street; writer, Benson, Cosby Show

• William Schallert, actor, Star Trek, Dick Van Dyke, Wild Wild West, Bonanza, etc.

• Ken Howard, actor, The White Shadow, 1776

• Malick Sidibe, photographer

• Jim Harrison, author/screenwriter, Legends of the Fall

• James Noble, actor, Benson

• Patty Duke, actor, The Miracle Worker, Valley of the Dolls, Patty Duke Show

Morley Safer, journalist, 60 Minutes

• Nicolas Tikhomiroff, photographer, Magnum

• Bob Fitch, civil rights photographer, Southern Christian Leadership Conference

• John Margolies, photographer

• Bill Henderson, actor/musician, Clue, City Slickers

• Muhammad Ali, athlete/activist

• Doris Roberts, actor, Everybody Loves Raymond, Remington Steele

• Chyna, actor/wrestler, WWF, 3rd Rock from the Sun

• Guy Hamilton, director, Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, Man with the Golden Gun

Gareth Thomas, actor, Blake's 7

• Prince, musician/actor, Purple Rain, "Little Red Corvette"

• Madeleine Lebeau, actor, Casablanca

• John Berry, musician, The Beastie Boys

• Alan Young, actor, Mister Ed, The Time Machine

• Ken Graves, photographer 

• Theresa Saldana, actress/author, The Commish, Raging Bull

• Bill Cunningham, photographer, New York Times

• Sir Peter Shaffer, playwright/screenwriter, Equus, Amadeus

• David Gilkey, photojournalist, NPR

• Mary Feik, aviation pioneer

• Ronnie Claire Edwards, actor, The Waltons

• Lois Duncan, author, Stranger With My Face, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Killing Mr. Griffin

• Michu Meszaros, actor, ALF

• Anton Yelchin, actor, Star Trek

• Fan Ho, photographer, 

• Alvin Toffler, author, Future Shock, The Third Wave

• Elie Wiesel, author/Nobel laureate/activist, Night, And the World Remained Silent

• Noel Neill, actor, Superman

• Michael Cimino, director, The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate

• John McMartin, actor, Sweet Charity, Law & Order

Garry Marshall, director/writer/actor, Happy Days, Pretty Woman, Murphy Brown

• Fred Ward, photojournalist, TIME, LIFE, Newsweek, National Geographic

• Sydney Schanberg, journalist who chronicled Khmer Rouge, New York Times

• William Gaines, journalist, Chicago Tribune, Pulitzer Prize

• George Curry, journalist, Emerge, Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis American, and much more

• Thomas Steinbeck, war photographer/author, Down to a Soundless Sea, The Silver Lotus

• Jerry Doyle, talk radio host/actor, Babylon 5

• Kenny Baker, actor, Star Wars, The Elephant Man

• James Woolley, musician, Nine Inch Nails

• John McLaughlin, speechwriter/journalist, National Review, The McLaughlin Group

• Steven Hill, actor, Law & Order, The Firm, Mission: Impossible

• Juan Gabriel, musician, Juanga

• Marc Ribound, photographer

• Gene Wilder, actor, Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and much more

 Hugh O'Brien, actor, The Shootist, Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp

• Phyllis Schlafly, activist/author, A Choice Not an Echo

• James Stacy, actor, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Ozzie & Harriet

• Alexis Arquette, actor/activist, The Wedding Singer, Pulp Fiction

• W.P. Kinsella, author, Shoeless Joe (Field of Dreams)

Edward Albee, playwright, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Pulitzer Prize

• George Odom, actor, The Hurricane, Law & Order

• Bill Nunn, actor, Do the Right Thing, Spider-man, Sister Act

• Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, musician, Buckwheat Zydeco

• Robert Weinberg, author/editor, Pulp, Lovecraft's Legacy

• Jean Shepard, singer-songwriter, "A Dear John Letter," "Slippin' Away"

• Hikaru Carl Iwasaki, photographer, TIME, LIFE

• Arnold Palmer, golf professional, Hall of Fame

• Jose Fernandez, baseball player, Miami Marlins

• Gary Glasberg, showrunner, NCIS, Bones

• Agnes Nixon, writer/showrunner, All My Children, Guiding Light, One Life to Live

• Larkin Malloy, actor, Guiding Light, All My Children

• Gloria Naylor, author, The Women of Brewster Place 

• Patricia Barry, actress, All My Children, Guiding Light, Days of Our Lives

• Jon Polito, actor, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Rocketeer, The Crow

• Tommie Mikal Ford, actor, Harlem Nights, Martin

• Dr. Donald Henderson, physician, helped eradicate smallpox

• Kevin Meaney, actor/comedian, Big, Uncle Buck

• Sheri Tepper, author, The Gate to Women's Country, Beauty

• Jack Chick, conservative cartoonist, This Was Your Life

• Bobby Vee, musician, "Take Good Care of My Baby"

• Kevin Curran, writer, The Simpsons, Married With Children

• Audley Coulthurst, Tuskagee airman 

• Tammy Grimes, actor, The Last Unicorn, The Unsinkable Molly Brown

• Jeroen Oerlemans, photojournalist, 

• Don Marshall, actor, Land of the Giants, Star Trek

• Natalie Babbitt, author, Tuck Everlasting

• Julie Gregg, actor, The Godfather, Batman

• Wolfgang Suschitzy, photographer/cinematographer

• Janet Reno, first female U.S. Attorney General

• Robert Vaughn, actor, The Man From UNCLE, The Magnificent Seven

• Leonard Cohen, singer/songwriter, "Hallelujah," "Suzanne"

• Gwen Ifill, journalist, PBS NewsHour

• Florence Henderson, actor, The Brady Bunch

• Fidel Castro, president of Cuba

• Fritz Weaver, actor, Holocaust, Thomas Crown Affair

• Alice Drummond, actor, Ghostbusters, Awakenings, Doubt

• Ron Glass, actor, Firefly, Serenity, Barney Miller

• 20 reporters and an entire football team in the Brazilian LaMia Flight 2933 crash

• Van Williams, actor, The Green Hornet

• Keo Woolford, actor, Hawaii 5-O, Godzilla (2014)

• Bernard Gallagher, actor, Downton Abbey, Crown Court

• Don Calfa, actor, Return of the Living Dead, Weekend at Bernie's

• Margaret Whitton, actor, Major League

• Rodney Smith, photographer, In the Land of Light: Israel, a Portrait of Its People

• Peter Vaughan, actor, Game of Thrones, Brazil

• Greg Lake, musician, King Crimson

• John Glenn, astronaut

• Joseph Mascolo, actor, Days of Our Lives, Bold and Beautiful, Jaws 2

• Ruth Gruber, photojournalist, New York Times, Herald Tribune

• William Christenberry, photographer, Getty

• E.R. Braithwaite, author, To Sir With Love

• Alan Thicke, actor, Growing Pains 

• Bernard Fox, actor, Bewitched, Titanic, The Mummy

• Craig Sager, sportscaster

• Dr. Henry Heimlich, physician/researcher

Zsa Zsa Gabor, actor, Moulin Rouge, Touch of Evil

• Gordie Tapp, singer/entertainer, Hee Haw

• Dick Latessa, actor, Hairspray, Stigmata

• Alphonse Mouzon, musician, The Eleventh House

• Vera Rubin, astronomer, innovator of dark matter theory

• Liz Smith, actor, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Vicar of Dibley

• George Michael, musician, Wham!, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go," "Faith"

• George S. Irving, actor, Underdog, The Year Without a Santa Claus

• Ricky Harris, actor/comedian, Poetic Justice, Everybody Hates Chris

• Barbara Tarbuck, actor, General Hospital, Short Circuit

Howard Bingham, photojournalist, LIFE, Sports Illustrated

• Tricia McCauley, actor, Step Up

• Richard Adams, author, Watership Down

• Carrie Fisher, actor/author, Star Wars, Postcards From the Edge

• Debbie Reynolds, actor/musician, Singin' in the Rain, Unsinkable Molly Brown, Irene, "Tammy"

• Cyril DeGrasse Tyson, civil rights and anti-poverty activist

• Don "Duck" Edwing, cartoonist, Mad Magazine

• Tyrus Wong, artist/art director, Bambi

• William Christopher, actor, MASH


Thank you for making our world a little more beautiful, a little smarter, or just inspiring us to create that much more. And here's to a much shorter list next year. 



Good, comprehensive list.

Pretty sure Mr. Polito's first name was spelled "Jon," though.

(And I'll admit I was a little surprised to learn he was gay, just because he'd played so many tough guys in his career, to say nothing of the very Catholic cop Steve Crosetti on Homicide.)


And I never knew of Jack Chick to be a columnist -- maybe he was -- but cartoonist, yeah.


Right on both counts; thanks!

Angelia Sparrow

May I add Gareth Thomas, 71, Roj Blake of Blake's 7
Jonathan Frid, 87, Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows


Adding Thomas; alas, Frid died in 2012. I think his obituary re-circulated this year; one of many risen to die again on the internet. :/

Apps 55753818692 1665415604 B18319e81a0a7cd406a2587ff8f3e412

A recent death: Tyrus Wong, 106 - drew the preliminary sketches that became the style of the movie Bambi.

Angelia Sparrow

Glenn Yarborough, folk singer, lead singer for the Limelighters, 86 years old

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