17 10 / 2013
Prolific American character actor, Ed Lauter, died on October 16th of mesothelioma at age 74. Though not someone you may know by name, Lauter was that familiar face in more than 200 films and TV episodes over the last four decades, most notably as Peppy’s chauffeur in the Oscar winning movie The Artist.
Lauter acted alongside many of the Hollywood greats, like Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, and William Devane, and seemed to appear in every TV crime drama, like Kojak, Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii Five-o, Miami Vice, NYPD Blue, and CSI, to name only a few.
From stand-up comedy to Broadway acting to film and TV screens everywhere, Lauter had a knack for entertaining. We’ll certainly miss his kind face and crooked smile.
06 10 / 2013
American author and best-selling novelist Tom Clancy died on October 1st at the age of 66 following a brief illness.
The former insurance salesman traded in his briefcase for a typewriter to write The Hunt For Red October which achieved him immediate literary fame. This was the first of Clancy’s 17 novels which would reach the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Many of his military spy thrillers have gone on to be Hollywood blockbusters, like Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.
Clancy’s latest book, Command Authority, is slated for release this December.
17 9 / 2013
The CDP staffers took a little breather in August/September and are back at the memorial-writing helm as we head into the last part of this contest year. Below are the bodies we’ve collected during our hiatus, may they all rest in peace.
Ray Dolby, American engineer, inventor, and sound poineer,
died September 12th at age 80 after his battle with Alzheimer’s
Cal Worthington, famed California car salesman, died
September 8th at age 92 of natural causes.
David Frost, veteran British broadcaster, died on August 31st
at age 74 from a heart attack.
Elmore Leonard, prolific crime novelist, died August 20th
at age 87 after suffering a stroke.
Lee Thompson Young, American actor, died on August 19th
at age 29 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Eydie Gormé, singing legend, died on August 10th at age 84
following a brief illness.
Karen Black, Five Easy Pieces actress, died August 8th
at age 74 after a long battle with cancer.
Eileen Brennan, veteran actress, died July 28th
at age 80 from bladder cancer.
JJ Cale, musician and songwriter, died July 26th
at age 74 from a heart attack.
24 7 / 2013
Former Chicago police officer and American film and TV actor, Dennis Farina, died on July 22nd in Scottsdale, AZ, from a blod clot in his lung.
Farina’s 18-year stint as a police officer (rumor has it he was a terrible shot, hence his nickname “The Great Wounder”) was proceeded by a prolific acting career where he starred in roles as a police officer (on both sides of the law), and in comedic and dramatic parts as well.
An all-time favorite was his portrayal of a Chicago mob boss swindled by an accountant (Charles Grodin) in 1988’s Midnight Run.
Farina leaves behind many friends and fans in both industries, and will be remembered as a warm-hearted, passionate man. “We hope that he finds a new life where great roles are plentiful and the Cubs are always winning the pennant.”
24 7 / 2013
Pioneering journalist and author Helen Thomas died on July 20th at her home in Washington DC after a long illness. She was 92.
Thomas spent her long career covering the administrations of 11 presidents, and trailblazed the way for women as a “glass ceiling breaking journalist.” She was the first female officer of the National Press Club, the first female member and president of the White House Corespondents’ Association, and the first female member of the Gridiron Club.
Thomas was front and center at most White House news conferences and was known for her blunt questions and sharp tone, always holding leaders to account, and keeping presidents on their toes.
She was an inspiration and an institution.
"I censored myself for 50 years when I was a reporter," Thomas told an audience at MIT in late 2002. "Now I wake up and ask myself, ‘Who do I hate today?’"
15 7 / 2013
20 6 / 2013
My heart breaks a little bit writing my final goodbye to James Gandolfini today. Gandolfini, best known for his portrayal of the lovable yet emotionally unstable mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO’s hit series The Sopranos, died on June 19th of a possible heart attack while vacationing in Italy. He was 51.
Gandolfini was a multiple Emmy award winner, star of stage and screen, and is remembered as a sweet, generous, and remarkably funny man.
As quoted by Tony Soprano himself, “This isn’t painful. Getting shot is painful. Getting stabbed in the ribs is painful. This…isn’t painful. It’s empty. Dead.”
So long, bossman.
02 6 / 2013
Gen-Xers and beyond are perched sadly in their floral-upholstered easy chairs mourning the loss of a television great, Jean Stapleton. Multiple Emmy-winning Stapleton was best known for her role as the bubbly, kooky, and loving Edith Bunker in the groundbreaking ’70s sitcom All In the Family.
Stapleton continued to light up stage and screen for decades after her sitcom stint with roles from Eleanor Roosevelt to You’ve Got Mail's Birdie Conrad, and always brought her signature brightness to actors and audiences alike. She died of natural causes on May 31st at the age of 90 in her New York City home surrounded by family and close friends.
22 5 / 2013
Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s a slow-death-month so the pun-machine is rusty.
Founding member of the ’60s rock band The Doors, Ray Manzarek, died May 20th at the age of 74.
Chicago-born Manzarek attended film school at UCLA, and met the poet Jim Morrison in a chance encounter on Venice Beach. The pair instantly connected and founded The Doors, one of the most controversial rock bands of the ’60s, selling more than 100 million albums worldwide.
After Morrison’s death in 1971, Manzarek went on to become a best-selling author, Grammy-nominated recording artist, and produced albums for a number of musicians.
To quote Billy Idol, “Cheers mate, say hi to Jim.”
14 5 / 2013
Renowned television psychologist, columnist, author, and former actress, Joyce Brothers, died on May 13th from respiratory failure.
Brothers, a former academic psychologist, bridged the gap between ’50s style advice columnists, like Dear Abby, and ‘70’s style self-help advocates, like Leo Buscaglia, giving firm and pragmatic guidance to audiences via radio, television, and writing for decades.
Fun fact: Dr. Joyce Brothers was the only woman to ever win the TV quiz show The $64,000 Question.
We’ll miss you, Doctor.