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Tribute: James Horner

posted by Nell Minow

One of the greatest movie composers of all time, James Horner, died this week in a plane crash. His compositions added enormous depth and emotion to some of the all-time critical and audience triumphs, including the movie that broke the […]

Tribute: Anne Meara

posted by Nell Minow

Today we mourn the loss of actress/comedian Anne Meara, wife of Jerry Stiller and mother of actor/director Ben Stiller. Stiller and Meara were a comedy team who appeared frequently on the Ed Sullivan show. Their humor often focused on their […]

Tribute: Stan Freberg

posted by Nell Minow

The world lost one of the funniest and most creative men in broadcasting, Stan Freberg, who died today at age 88. One of the great thrills of my life was seeing Mr. Freberg at Comic-Con, and seeing the wildly enthusiastic […]

Tribute: Documentary Pioneer Albert Maysles

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of film visionary Albert Maysles, who with his brother David, showed us a new way to see film and a new way to see the world.  They were the first Americans to create intimate, unstructured documentary […]

Tribute: Leonard Nimoy

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of Leonard Nimoy, who created one of the most iconic characters of all time, “Star Trek’s” half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock, with pointed ears and angled eyebrows perfectly designed to convey a wry sense of irony.  The […]

Tribute: Louis Jourdan

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of French movie star Louis Jourdan, who has died at age 93. Best remembered as the handsome, elegant, bored Gaston who lost his heart to Gigi (Leslie Caron), he appeared in a variety of roles opposite […]

Tribute: Rod Taylor

posted by Nell Minow

Today we mourn the loss of the Australian actor Rod Taylor, star of classic films including The Time Machine and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.  He was an affable leading man with the confident physicality of an athlete, comfortable in light […]

Tribute: Edward Herrmann

posted by Nell Minow

The loss of actor Edward Herrmann was a sad end to 2014. His elegant, patrician quality made him a perfect choice to play real-life characters like Franklin Roosevelt in Eleanor & Franklin and its sequel (and in “Annie!”) and fictional characters […]

Tribute: Mike Nichols

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of director Mike Nichols, who died yesterday at age 83, survived by his wife, television journalist Diane Sawyer. Nichols began as part of the 1950’s improvisational movement coming out of Chicago, and rose to fame as […]

Tribute: Joan Rivers

posted by Nell Minow

Joan Rivers has died at age 81. More abrasive than her trademark raspy voice, Rivers wanted to be an actress but became famous as a comedian, in an era when comedy was almost completely all-male. She did act, appearing on […]

Tribute: Don Pardo

posted by Nell Minow

Don Pardo’s face was not familiar.  But his voice was instantly recognizable.  We mourn the loss of one of the great announcers in broadcast history, who died on Monday at age 96. The cast of “Saturday Night Live,” where he […]

Michael Mirasol Pays Tribute to Robin Williams

posted by Nell Minow

My friend Michael Mirasol shares some of his favorite moments from Robin Williams extraordinary range of films.

Tribute: Lauren Bacall

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of Lauren Bacall, who has died at age 89. “Anybody got a match?” With those words, a teenager born Betty Perske from Brooklyn made her first screen appearance, in To Have and Have Not. Her chin […]

Tribute: Robin Williams

posted by Nell Minow

The loss of actor Robin Williams is almost unbearably wrenching.  His boundless gifts could not help him battle depression so devastating that it prevented him from understanding how deeply he was loved or perhaps how deserving he was of love. […]

Tribute: James Garner

posted by Nell Minow

One of my favorite actors has left us. James Garner, handsome, wry, effortlessly masculine, all-purpose leading man for decades on television and in movies, has died at age 84. He had consummate skill in comedy, drama, and romance, and even […]

Tribute: Carla Laemmle, 104-Year-Old Actress

posted by Nell Minow

The actress Carla Laemmle has died at age 104.  She is not widely known, but is well worth remembering for her role in film history and her incandescent spirit.  Her uncle Carl Laemmle, whose name she adopted (her given name […]

Tribute: Mary Rodgers

posted by Nell Minow

Mary Rodgers, writer and composer, died on Thursday at age 83.  She was co-creator of the wonderful musical “Once Upon a Mattress,” based on the Princess and the Pea fairy tale.  It was a breakthrough role for Carol Burnett on […]

Tribute: Eli Wallach

posted by Nell Minow

One of the all-time great character actors, Eli Wallach, has died at age 98.  He leaves behind an extraordinary range of work, from iconic bad guys (The Magnificent Seven), to sweet old guys (The Holiday). He appeared with Clark Gable, […]

Tribute: Casey Kasem

posted by Nell Minow

Casey Kasem, whose Top 40 Countdown was the most popular radio program in history, died today at age 82. People turned in for his long distance dedications, his commentary about the artists and songs, and above all his warm, confiding […]

Tribute: Ruby Dee

posted by Nell Minow

We lost one of the greats today, the actor and activist Ruby Dee. Kennedy Center honoree with her husband, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee is as much a legend for her pioneering work as a leader of the Civil Rights movement […]

Tribute: Ann B. Davis of “The Brady Bunch”

posted by Nell Minow

We bid a sad farewell to the wonderful actress Ann B. Davis, who died today at 88 following a fall in her home.  She is best known as the beloved housekeeper Alice in the blended family sitcom, The Brady Bunch. […]

Tribute: Maya Angelou

posted by Nell Minow

A mighty voice has been stilled. We mourn the loss of the magnificent author, memoirist, activist, and poet Maya Angelou.  Her books include seven autobiographical works, from I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to Mom & Me & Mom. […]

Tribute: Bob Hoskins

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of actor Bob Hoskins, who died today at age 71.  He was an actor of remarkable versatility, appearing in drama, comedy, crime stories, animation, and even an occasional romantic lead.  His breakthrough was his Oscar-nominated performance […]

Tribute: Hurricane Carter

posted by Nell Minow

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter died at home at age 76.  A prize fighter who was wrongly convicted of murder and released after serving 19 years in prison, he devoted the rest of his life to helping others. Denzel Washington portrayed Carter […]

Tribute: Mickey Rooney

posted by Nell Minow

One of the last remaining links to the golden age of Hollywood left us this week when Mickey Rooney died at age 93. That means he was in show business for more than 90 years, from his first performance in […]

Tribute: James Rebhorn

posted by Nell Minow

Today we mourn the loss of actor James Rebhorn, who appeared on “Homeland” and in films like “My Cousin Vinny” (the tire expert) and “Independence Day” (the Secretary of Defense).  He was one of those dependable familiar faces who always […]

Tribute: Harold Ramis

posted by Nell Minow

Today we mourn the loss of writer/actor/director Harold Ramis, who died at age 69.  Ramis began by writing and editing at Playboy Magazine, then based in Chicago. In 1969, he joined the famous improvisational sketch comedy group, Second City, and […]

Tribute: Shirley Temple

posted by Nell Minow

In the darkest days of the Depression, the biggest movie star in the world was a little girl with a dimple and hair in ringlets that bounced when she tap-danced.  We mourn the loss of Shirley Temple Black, a child […]

Tribute: Pete Seeger

posted by Nell Minow

We bid a sad farewell to activist/musician Pete Seeger today.  He has died at age 94.  His songs provided the soundtrack for protest movements over decades, pushing for peace, justice, protection of the environment, equality, and economic opportunity.  His songs […]

Tribute: Two 60’s Television Icons, The Professor and Reuben

posted by Nell Minow

This week we say a sad farewell to two of the best-loved television stars of 1960’s sitcoms, Russell Johnson, who played The Professor on “Gilligan’s Island,” and Dave Madden, who was the long-suffering manager Reuben on “The Partridge Family.”  The […]

Tribute: James Avery of “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air”

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of actor James Avery, who starred with Will Smith as Uncle Phil in Fresh Prince of Bel Air.  Avery was a Vietnam veteran who became a writer, actor, and voice talent. He was a great foil […]

Tribute: Juanita Moore

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of actress Juanita Moore, who died today at age 99. She was one of the first African-Americans to be nominated for an Oscar, and is still best remembered for that role, in “Imitation of Life.” The […]

Tribute: Joan Fontaine

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of one of the last of the great stars of the golden age of Hollywood, Joan Fontaine, an Oscar-winner who co-starred with Cary Grant (Suspicion), Fred Astaire (A Damsel In Distress), and, in the Best Picture […]

Tribute: Peter O’Toole

posted by Nell Minow

I was very sad to hear of the passing of actor Peter O’Toole today at age 81.  The New York Times describes him well as “an Irish bookmaker’s son with a hell-raising streak whose magnetic performance in the 1962 epic […]

Tribute: Nelson Mandela

posted by Nell Minow

Nelson Mandela, one of the most inspiring figures of modern history, died yesterday and the world joins together in mourning his loss and paying tribute to his courage, integrity, and vision.  There are many movie portrayals of this extraordinary man, […]

Tribute: Paul Walker (1973-2013)

posted by Nell Minow

Paul Walker, the handsome and charismatic star of the Fast & Furious series of films, was killed in a car crash yesterday as he was returning from a fund-raiser for his Reach out Worldwide charity, to benefit the survivors of […]

Tribute: Marcia Wallace

posted by Nell Minow

The brave, beautiful, and very funny actress Marcia Wallace has died at age 70 after a long battle with breast cancer.  I loved her as the receptionist on the old “Bob Newhart Show” and as a guest on 70’s game […]

Tribute: Movie Critic Stanley Kauffmann

posted by Nell Minow

The masterful critic Stanley Kauffman, whose writing career stretched over eight decades, died this week at age 97.  Adam Bernstein’s perceptive Kauffman obituary in the Washington Post noted: “He was one of the few critics who could watch a 1997 […]

Tribute: Tom Clancy

posted by Nell Minow

I once boarded an airplane and counted a dozen different Tom Clancy books being read in those pre-Kindle days as I walked down the row.  On another trip, I flew on four planes and on all four was seated next […]

Tribute: “Glee’s” Cory Monteith

posted by Nell Minow

It is with special sadness that we bid farewell to the talented young actor who played Finn on “Glee,” Cory Monteith.  The cause of death is not yet known but he struggled with substance abuse. Here he tells Ellen Degeneres […]

Tribute: James Gandolfini

posted by Nell Minow

Today we mourn the loss of James Gandofini, who died suddenly to day at age 51 while he was vacationing in Italy with his family.  He will always be remembered for his iconic role as Tony Soprano, the mob guy […]

Tribute: Jean Stapleton

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of television great Jean Stapleton, who died today at age 90.  Best known as Edith, the sweet-natured wife of the bombastic Archie Bunker on “All in the Family,” she was often the target of his insults […]

Tribute: Special Effects Pioneer Ray Harryhausen

posted by Nell Minow

One of the greatest thrills of my professional life was the chance to talk to one of the towering figures of film history, Ray Harryhausen, the special effects genius to transformed movie-making in the years before digital technology.  Today, we […]

Tribute: Annette Funicello — Now It’s Time to Say Goodbye

posted by Nell Minow

Once upon a time, there was a young Disney star who grew up to be lovely, gracious, stable, and every bit the sweetheart she always seemed.  That was Annette Funicello, who died today at age 70. Disney’s original “Mickey Mouse […]

Tribute: Roger Ebert

posted by Nell Minow

Today, just one day after announcing he was taking a “leave of presence” to deal with a recurrence of cancer, Roger Ebert died at age 70.   His influence, like his greatness, is incalculable. Ebert was a great critic, a […]

Tributes: Jack Klugman and Charles Durning

posted by Nell Minow

The passing of Jack Klugman and Charles Durning, two actors with decades of fine performances in movies and television, reminds us that they made very significant contributions in other ways as well.  The New York Times points out that both […]

Tribute: Larry Hagman of “Dallas” and “I Dream of Jeannie”

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of actor Larry Hagman, who died this week at age 81.  He starred in two remarkably different television series.  In “I Dream of Jeannie,” he was astronaut Tony Nelson, who landed on a deserted island and […]

Tribute: Michael Clarke Duncan

posted by Nell Minow

The towering, powerful, magnetic actor Michael Clarke Duncan has died at age 54.  Best remembered for his Oscar-winning performance in “The Green Mile” as a prisoner with extraordinary grace and powers of healing, Duncan showed off his skill as a […]

Tribute: Neil Armstrong

posted by Nell Minow

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon […]

Tribute: Phyllis Diller

posted by Nell Minow

Pioneering comedian Phyllis Diller died today at age 95.  My friend Jim Cheng wrote in USA Today about how Diller, who did not begin to perform until she was 37, paved the way for performers like Roseanne Barr and Joan Rivers. […]

Tribute: Director Tony Scott

posted by Nell Minow

We had some very sad news this morning.  Director Tony Scott has died at age 68, an apparent suicide.  Like his older brother, Ridley Scott, Tony will be remembered for a powerfully imaginative visual style.  He is best known for […]

Tribute: Frank Pierson

posted by Nell Minow

One of Hollywood’s most distinguished and influential writers, Frank Pierson, died this week at age 87.  He won an Oscar for “Dog Day Afternoon,” and was nominated for the comic western “Cat Ballou.”  The American Film Institute included his line […]

Tribute: Sherman Hemsley

posted by Nell Minow

Sherman Hemsley, best known for playing the outspoken George Jefferson on the classic Norman Lear sit-com “The Jeffersons,” died this week at 74.  It was a challenge to play the role of George Jefferson, who was often referred to but […]

Tribute: Ernest Borgnine

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of Oscar-winning actor Earnest Borgnine, who died today at age 95.  As the title character in the Best Picture winner, “Marty,” he was heart-wrenchingly poignant, a man who feared that his romantic soul and yearning for […]

Tribute: Andy Griffith

posted by Nell Minow

Andy Griffith, beloved star of the long-running television series about the small-town sheriff and single father, died today at age 86.  Griffith first became known for his gentle, countrified story-telling and singing and then had a brief but notable film […]

Tribute: Nora Ephron

posted by Nell Minow

We all mourn the loss of the warm, wise, and witty writer/director Nora Ephron.  As Adam Bernstein noted in his perceptive obituary for the Washington Post, she was always guided by the advice of her screenwriter parents to “take notes […]

Tribute: Ray Bradbury

posted by Nell Minow

The world of science fiction and fantasy mourns the loss of the great Ray Bradbury, who died today at age 91. The author of classics that helped defined the genre, his works included books like Farenheit 451, Something Wicked This […]

Tribute: Donna Summer

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of disco diva and five-time Grammy winner Donna Summer, whose anthems like “Last Dance” and “Hot Stuff” helped define an era.   She died at age 63 from cancer.  Her songs were featured in a number […]

Tribute: Maurice Sendak

posted by Nell Minow

A sad farewell to children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who has died at age 83. Where the Wild Things Are is one of my favorite books for any age, from its magnificent first line “The night Max wore his […]

Tribute: Dick Clark

posted by Nell Minow

“The world’s oldest teenager,” Dick Clark, passed away this week at age 82.  He is best remembered as the host of “American Bandstand” and the Pyramid game show, but the scope of his influence on broadcasting and entertainment goes much […]

Tribute: Disney Songwriter Robert Sherman

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the passing of Robert Sherman, who, with his brother Richard, wrote some of Disney’s most unforgettable songs, including the Oscar-winning “Mary Poppins” soundtrack and the “It’s a Small World”and “Tiki Room” songs from the theme park attractions.  The […]

Tribute: Davy Jones of The Monkees

posted by Nell Minow

I loved The Monkees. Sometimes referred to as “the pre-fab four” because they were artificially created to imitate the “Fab Four” Beatles, Mike Nesmith, Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, and Davy Jones soon became more than four actors in a television […]

Tribute: Whitney Houston

posted by Nell Minow

Was there ever anyone more gifted than Whitney Houston?  She had the face and voice of an angel.  She had beauty, talent, and success including an unprecedented seven number one songs in a row and with Dolly Parton’s song “I […]

Tribute: Don Cornelius

posted by Nell Minow

A sad farewell to Don Cornelius, television pioneer and the host of the popular music and dance series, “Soul Train” for two decades.  There were very few opportunities for audiences to see African-American culture in its own context when “Soul […]

Tribute: The Movie Makers We Lost in 2011

posted by Nell Minow

Tribute: Harry Morgan

posted by Nell Minow

Harry Morgan, who died today at age 96, is best remembered as the crusty but fair Colonel Potter in the later years of the television series M*A*S*H. But I remember watching him as the next-door neighbor on reruns of the […]

Tribute: Steve Jobs

posted by Nell Minow

I like President Obama’s observation on the passing of Steve Jobs: “The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a […]

Tribute: Cliff Robertson

posted by Nell Minow

Oscar-winner Cliff Robertson died today at age 88.  He is best remembered for his portrayal of a young John F. Kennedy in PT-109 and for the role that won him the industry’s top acting prize, Charly, a mentally disabled man […]

Tribute: Nick Ashford and Jerry Lieber

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the passing of two greats who contributed to the soundtrack of our lives.  Nick Ashford, with his partner Valerie Simpson, wrote some of Motown’s most romantic and best-loved hits, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “You’re All I […]

Tribute: Sherwood Schwartz, creator of ‘Gilligan’s Island’ and ‘The Brady Bunch’

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the passing of Sherwood Schwartz, who helped define a generation with his enduringly popular if very undeniably silly television series, especially “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Brady Bunch.” He named the sinking ship on “Gilligan’s Island,” the S.S. Minnow, […]

Tribute: Peter Falk

posted by Nell Minow

A sad farewell to actor Peter Falk, who died this week at age 83.  Perhaps best remembered for his long-running television show, Columbo, his passing reminds us of his  wide-ranging work as everything from a singing gangster to an animated […]

Tribute: Elizabeth Taylor

posted by Nell Minow

Elizabeth Taylor, who exemplified grace, beauty, and stardom, has died at age 79.   In an era of reality show “celebrities” and fame that lasts not 15 minutes but 15 seconds, Elizabeth Taylor reminds us of what it meant to truly […]

Tribute: Jane Russell

posted by Nell Minow

We lost a true Hollywood icon this week when Jane Russell passed away on February 28 at age 89. Russell had brassy, good-natured quality that made her seem like the girl next door — if the girl next door had […]

Tribute: Betty Garrett

posted by Nell Minow

The talented musical comedy star Betty Garrett died this week at the age of 91. She was known for playing brassy, warm-hearted but outspoken roles in musicals like On the Town and My Sister Eileen. She was on television with […]

Tribute: John Barry

posted by Nell Minow

Five-time Oscar-winning composer John Barry has died at age 77. His music includes “Born Free,” and scores for several James Bond films, with perhaps “Goldfinger” the best-remembered. He could evoke a sensual, jazzy contemporary setting, romantic classicism, an intimate romance […]

Tribute: David Nelson

posted by Nell Minow

I loved “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” one of the most enduring sitcoms from the early days of television. Ozzie Nelson, bandleader turned radio and then television personality, played “Ozzie Nelson,” perpetually genial but often befuddled suburban father. His […]

Tribute: Anne Francis

posted by Nell Minow

The lovely actress Anne Francis has died at age 80. She is best remembered for two classic movies in which she had the only female role, the post-WWII drama Bad Day at Black Rock with Spencer Tracy and the first […]

Tribute: Blake Edwards

posted by Nell Minow

I was very sad to hear that writer/director Blake Edwards died yesterday at age 88. He leaves behind his wife, Julie Andrews, and an extraordinary varied body of work. Even his sharpest satires had a glossy sheen of elegance and […]

Tribute: Irvin Kershner, Director of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’

posted by Nell Minow

Irvin Kershner, director of what is generally considered to be the best “Star War” movie, “The Empire Strikes Back,” died last week at age 87. George Lucas issued this statement of appreciation: “The world has lost a great director and […]

Tribute: Leslie Nielsen

posted by Nell Minow

The most unexpected comic superstar of the 1990’s was one-time leading man Leslie Nielsen, who died today at age 84. The son of a Canadian mountie, Nielsen appeared in a number of golden age television dramas before his lead role […]

Tribute: Alex Anderson, Creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle

posted by Nell Minow

Alex Anderson, who came up with the beloved characters Rocky the flying squirrel, Bullwinkle Moose, and Dudley Do-Right, died this week at age 90. While Jay Ward usually gets the credit, it was his childhood friend and partner Anderson who […]

Tribute: Tom Bosley

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the passing of Tom Bosley, one of the all-time great TV dads in the classic series, “Happy Days.” As a young man, he won a Tony playing the much-older mayor of New York City in the musical, “Fiorello.” […]

Tribute to Two Gospel Greats: Albertina Walker and ‘King’ Solomon Burke

posted by Nell Minow

The gospel world and everyone who loves music that lifts the spirit had a double loss this week with the passing of the magnificent Albertina Walker and “King” Solomon Burke. They will be deeply missed. But their glorious recordings will […]

Tribute: Tony Curtis

posted by Nell Minow

Today we mourn the passing of one of Hollywood’s greatest leading men, Tony Curtis. He was born Bernie Schwartz to a very poor and troubled family in the Bronx and became determined to make it as a movie star. He […]

Tribute: Arthur Penn

posted by Nell Minow

Arthur Penn, director of hugely influential films that helped bring a new naturalism to movies, died today at age 88. “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Alice’s Restaurant,” both based on true stories, were very different in look and genre but both […]

Tribute: Harvey Pekar

posted by Nell Minow

Harvey Pekar died today at age 70. He was a writer best known as the subject of a superb biographical film, “American Splendor.” Pekar was an exceptional man who struggled with challenges that made it difficult for him to get […]

Tribute: Dennis Hopper

posted by Nell Minow

Actor/director/emblem of a generation Dennis Hopper died today at age 74 after a career of extraordinary range that took him from roles in the iconic films Rebel Without a Cause, Easy Rider, Giant, and Apocalypse Now, to a stunning comeback […]

Tribute: Gary Coleman

posted by Nell Minow

Gary Coleman died today from head injuries. He was 42. At one time one of television’s most popular performers, Coleman struggled to find a place for himself after “Diff’rent Strokes” left the air. The show was about a wealthy single […]

Tribute: Lena Horne

posted by Nell Minow

Lena Horne, who graced our planet with her exquisite beauty, smoky sensuality, and stunning musicality, died yesterday at age 92. Ms. Horne was the first African-American to sign a major studio contract, in the 1940’s. It specifically provided that she […]

Tribute: Dr. Dorothy Height

posted by Nell Minow

“She led the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, and served as the only woman at the highest level of the Civil Rights Movement — witnessing every march and milestone along the way. And even in the final […]

Tribute: Dixie Carter

posted by Nell Minow

Dixie Carter, the lovely and elegant star of Designing Women, died yesterday at age 70. I am a huge fan of the show and its portrayal of successful, independent, outspoken women who shared a deep and loyal friendship as well […]

Tribute: Peter Graves

posted by Nell Minow

Peter Graves had the square jaw and deep voice of a leading man. His gray hair gave him an aura of, well, gravitas that made him the perfect choice for the head of the Mission: Impossible team in one of […]

Tribute: Corey Haim

posted by Nell Minow

In “Lucas,” Corey Haim played a smart, sensitive boy who has bravado but struggles to find confidence, ultimately finding the hope of love and a place to be himself. I wish his real life had as happy an ending. For […]

Tribute: Charlie Wilson

posted by Nell Minow

Former Congressman Charlie Wilson, whose top-secret orchestration of the defense of Afghanistan kept that country free and crippled the Soviet Union, died today at age 76. His success in channeling hundreds of millions of dollars to that conflict was revealed […]

Tribute: J.D. Salinger

posted by Nell Minow

J.D. Salinger, author of The Catcher in the Rye, and perhaps the country’s most famous recluse, died at home at age 91. His classic novel narrated by a 16-year-old named Holden Caulfield as he wanders around New York before he […]

Tribute: Jean Simmons

posted by Nell Minow

The sensitive and elegant Jean Simmons died this week at age 80. The Washington Post’s Adam Bernstein wrote a graceful tribute calling her “a beguiling actress of quiet emotional power.” She was exquisite as a teenager in the great David […]

Tribute: Erich Segal

posted by Nell Minow

Erich Segal, who died today at age 72, was a classics scholar who studied ancient literature. He also wrote a blockbuster movie script that became a blockbuster novel, Love Story. We know from the first sentence that its irrepressible heroine […]

Tribute: Teddy Pendergrass

posted by Nell Minow

Soul singer Teddy Pendergrass died of cancer on Wednesday. His music and his courage and dedication will continue to inspire us all.

Tribute: Miep Gies

posted by Nell Minow

Miep Gies was a brave woman who tried to hide Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis. After they were discovered, it was she who found Anne Frank’s diary and kept it, hoping to give it back to her […]

Tribute: Brittany Murphy

posted by Nell Minow

The news about actress Brittany Murphy is shocking and very sad. She died today at age 32. Murphy made her first real impression as the suggestible Tai who got a makeover from Cher (Alicia Sliverstone) in “Clueless.” She had an […]

Tribute: Soupy Sales

posted by Nell Minow

Kids’ television pioneer Soupy Sales died this week at age 83. Back before there were whole channels devoted to children’s programming, and back way before children’s television was certified wholesome and educational, Soupy Sales was just plain deliriously silly, pie-in-the-face […]

Tribute: Patrick Swayze

posted by Nell Minow

Patrick Swayze died today as he lived and performed, with class and grace. Swayze’s association with iconic appearances in Dirty Dancing, Road House, Point Break, and Ghost are so towering that we forget sometimes what range and skill he showed […]

Tribute: Larry Gelbart

posted by Nell Minow

Larry Gelbart, one of the most acclaimed and prodigiously productive writers of almost seven decades died this week at age 81. If you’ve laughed since the 1940’s, you almost certainly know his work. He got started as a teenager writing […]

Tribute: Teddy Kennedy

posted by Nell Minow

The essence of Sen. Kennedy’s political power was crystallized by Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, one of many Republicans who worked with the late senator to forge compromises on bills. Alexander called Sen. Kennedy “at once the most partisan and […]

Tribute: Dominick Dunne

posted by Nell Minow

Fallen Hollywood luminary, name-dropper, world-class party-goer, best-selling author, and force for justice Dominick Dunne died of cancer yesterday at age 83. He was the brother of screenwriter John Gregory Dunne (the subject of The Year of Magical Thinking by his […]

Tribute: John Hughes

posted by Nell Minow

John Hughes, writer-director of some of the most successful and influential films of the 1980’s and 90’s, died yesterday at age 59. Fellow Chicagoan Roger Ebert has a thoughtful tribute, calling Hughes “the creator of the modern American teenager film.” […]

Tribute: Budd Schulberg

posted by Nell Minow

Hollywood legend and Oscar-winning screenwriter Budd Schulberg died this week at age 95. His best work documented the anguish and corruption he observed growing up as the son of one of the top executives of MGM at the height of […]

Tribute: Walter Cronkite

posted by Nell Minow

As well as I remember those misty images of Neil Armstrong coming out of the lunar module to put the first footstep on the moon, I remember the look on Walter Cronkite’s face as he reported it. Cronkite died today […]

Tribute: Karl Malden

posted by Nell Minow

Oscar-winner Karl Malden died today at age 97. Read the superb obituaries from Adam Bernstein of the Washington Post and Jim Cheng of USA Today. Bernstein described his appeal very well, saying Malden “excelled in plainspoken, working-class roles.” He had […]

Tribute: Michael Jackson

posted by Nell Minow

I saw Michael Jackson’s first appearance on national television. I was sitting on my parents’ bed with my sisters, watching a variety show called “The Hollywood Palace.” The Jackson 5ive came on stage and I was mesmerized. The lead singer […]

Tribute: Farrah Fawcett

posted by Nell Minow

We mourn the loss of the beautiful and talented Farrah Fawcett, who died this morning after a long bout with cancer. She came to attention as the athletic Jill on “Charlie’s Angels.” Her dazzling smile and girl-you-wish-was-next door look quickly […]

Tribute: David Carradine

posted by Nell Minow

Fans throughout the world mourn the loss of David Carradine. The son of actor John Carradine (“The Grapes of Wrath”), he first achieved success as the star of the television series “Kung Fu,” where he played a mysterious Western character […]

Tribute: Bea Arthur

posted by Nell Minow

A fond farewell to Bea Arthur, best remembered as the strident, ground-breaking “Maude” and as Dorothy on “The Golden Girls.” I loved her duet in “Mame” and I loved her gutsy bravado and brilliant comic timing.

Tribute: Maurice Jarre

posted by Nell Minow

Maurice Jarre wrote soundtracks for movies that became the soundtracks for our lives. The lush romantic score for Dr Zhivago (known as “Somewhere My Love”) is inseparable from the snowy vistas of the story. The sweep of his score for […]

Tribute: Natasha Richardson

posted by Nell Minow

The loss of the lovely, charming, elegant, and talented Natasha Richardson is terribly sad. Her greatest opportunity to show what she could do as an actress was on stage. She won a Tony award for her performance in “Cabaret” on […]

Tribute: Ricardo Montalban

posted by Nell Minow

Mexican-born leading man Ricardo Montalban died this morning at age 88. He may be best remembered now for his commercials for the Chrysler Cordoba (with the “rich Corinthian leather) and for Maxwell House coffee, but that is because even at […]

Tribute: Eartha Kitt

posted by Nell Minow

Eartha Kitt, who died this week, was an electrifying performer. The warm reminiscences about her incendiary performances on and off-stage are as entertaining as the legendary actress/singer was herself. The Washington Post had Will Haygood’s hilarious recounting of the most […]

Tribute: Van Johnson

posted by Nell Minow

Van Johnson, one of the best light comedian/song and dance men of the 1940s-50s, died this week at age 92. His boyish, All-American good looks made him a popular choice for musicals, romantic comedies, and some dramatic roles as well. […]

Tribute: William Gibson

posted by Nell Minow

William Gibson, best known as the man who wrote The Miracle Worker, died this week at age 94. Gibson’s sequel to “The Miracle Worker,” “Monday After the Miracle,” was not a success, but I thought it was a fine play. […]

Tribute: Michael Crichton

posted by Nell Minow

I was very sorry to hear about the loss of author/director Michael Crichton. He was a man of astonishing range and accomplishment. He wrote best-selling novels, including Jurassic Park and the The Andromeda Strain. A graduate of Harvard Medical School, […]

Tribute: Paul Newman

posted by Nell Minow

Paul Newman died yesterday at age 83 after a long struggle with cancer. This tribute from Slate by Dahlia Lithwick describes Newman’s unassuming generosity in contributing a quarter of a billion dollars, 100% of the profits from his food companies, […]

Tribute: Don LaFontaine

posted by Nell Minow

I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Don LaFontaine. Few people knew his name but everyone knew his voice. He did the narration for more than 5000 movie trailers. You’ve heard him say it dozens of times: […]

Tribute: Bernie Mac

posted by Nell Minow

What a sad loss in the passing of actor-comedian Bernie Mac. The first time I saw him was in the comedy concert film, The Original Kings of Comedy. He played variations on that his stand-up character in Ocean’s Eleven (his […]

Tribute: Thomas M. Disch

posted by Nell Minow

Science fiction writer Thomas M. Disch, who died on the 4th of July, wrote one movie for families, the wonderful animated film, The Brave Little Toaster. It is the Toy Story-style tale of a group of appliances left behind by […]

Tribute: Cyd Charisse

posted by Nell Minow

USA Today’s Jim Cheng said it best: “Talk about a career with legs.” The beautiful dancer from Hollywood’s golden age died today at age 86. Born Tula Ellice Finklea in Amarillo, Texas, she was a professional ballerina at age 16 […]

Tribute: Mel Ferrer

posted by Nell Minow

Mel Ferrer, who died this week, starred in one of my very favorite family movies, the musical Lili, with Leslie Caron. She is a lonely orphan whose only friends are three carnival puppets. Her natural interaction with them leads the […]

Remembering Harvey Korman

posted by Nell Minow

Jim Cheng of USA Today has a lovely tribute to Harvey Korman of The Carol Burnett Show, who died yesterday at age 81. Korman’s best movie role was as the evil Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles, one of four films […]

Remembering Sydney Pollack

posted by Nell Minow

Actor/director Sydney Pollack died today, leaving behind some enormously beloved films and performances. Here are some of my favorites: 1. Tootsie Pollack directed and appears as Dustin Hoffman’s frustrated agent in this classic comedy about an actor who dresses as […]

Remembering Ollie Johnston

posted by Nell Minow

The people who created the great Disney animation classics were called the Nine Old Men, and the last of them, Ollie Johnston, died last week at age 95. Johnston and his closest colleague, Frank Thomas, was featured in the wonderful […]

Remembering Charlton Heston

posted by Nell Minow

Charlton Heston, who died this morning at age 84, had the screen presence for larger than life, heroic roles, and often appeared in films with religious themes. He will be best remembered for his Oscar-winning performance as Ben-Hur and for […]

Remembering Jules Dassin

posted by Nell Minow

Writer/director Jules Dassin died this week at age 96. He is perhaps most fondly remembered as a key figure in establishing the genres of film noir (Naked City) and the heist film (Topkapi and “Rififi”) and for the marvelous Never […]

Remembering Paul Scofield

posted by Nell Minow

Paul Scofield, who died today at age 86, will be best remembered for his Oscar-winning performance in “A Man for All Seasons.” My favorite moment is when he is saying goodbye to his family shortly before he will be beheaded. […]

Remembering Ivan Dixon

posted by Nell Minow

Ivan Dixon, who died this week, is best known for appearing on “Hogan’s Heroes.” But I believe he will be best remembered for his pioneering work as one of the first African-American directors and for his work on behalf of […]

Anthony Minghella

posted by Nell Minow

It is a terrible loss to the world of film that Oscar-winning director Anthony Minghella has died suddenly of complications following surgery. I am very much looking forward to his final film, based on the best-selling book, The No. 1 […]

Arhur C. Clarke

posted by Nell Minow

Science fiction luminary Arthur C. Clarke has died at age 90. His pioneering theoretical work on orbits made possible the development of communication satellites and the author of over 100 books. His thoughtful interview in 1999 covers his experience writing […]

Remembering Heath Ledger

posted by Nell Minow

Heath Ledger’s death is a terrible loss. He was an actor of great sensitivity and commitment. Most of the appreciations and obituaries focus on his Oscar-nominated performance in Brokeback Mountain

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Tonight on PBS: A Capitol Fourth with Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, and KC and the Sunshine Band
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posted 12:00:57pm Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

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posted 8:38:56am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

The Declaration of Independence -- Happy 4th of July!
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