Posts Tagged ‘obituaries’

Patrick McNee is dead

Thursday, June 25th, 2015


Patrick McNee the actor famous to most of us for playing John Steed on the original Avengers television show, passed away today. From Variety:

Patrick Macnee, famous for his role on “The Avengers” British TV series, died Thursday of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 93.

Macnee, who played John Steed in the spy-fi show, died with his family at his bedside.

“Wherever he went, he left behind a trove of memories,” a statement on the actor’s website read. “Patrick Macnee was a popular figure in the television industry. He was at home wherever in the world he found himself. He had a knack for making friends, and keeping them.”

“The Avengers” initially focused on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry) and his assistant (Macnee), but Macnee’s famously bowler hat wearing, umbrella-wielding intelligence officer (he never used a gun) became the protagonist when Hendry exited the series. Macnee played the part alongside a succession of strong, female partners, including Honor Blackman, Diana Rigg and Joanna Lumley. The show ran from 1961 and 1969 and was reprised in the 1970s.

Condolences to his family. I’m sure he will be missed.

I never watched the show myself, but it is on my list and I appreciate the actor’s contribution to our popular culture and our niche culture.


Comedian John Pinette dies at 50

Monday, April 7th, 2014
Stuart Ramson/AP

Stuart Ramson/AP

Chubby comedian John Pinette, who jokes about buffets and Italian food, acted in “The Punisher,” Dr. Katz, the last episode of Seinfeld, and on stage in Hairspray, has been found dead in his hotel room at age 50.

I’m going to miss him a lot.  I own his album, a DVD, I caught his latest show on Netflix, and I always liked him.  R.I.P.

James Rebhorn, SecDef in ID4, dies of skin cancer at 65

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
James Rebhorn along with his two sidekicks in INDEPENDENCE DAY (20th Century Fox)

James Rebhorn along with his two sidekicks in INDEPENDENCE DAY (20th Century Fox)

A farewell to James Rebhorn, who was in a ton of stuff, but I will always think of him as the SecDef in Independence Day.  Turns out he had been fighting cancer for 22 years. R.I.P.



Harold Ramis passed away at 69

Monday, February 24th, 2014

It’s pretty simple, his movies were funny and most today are not. RIP.

— Rob Macomber, February 24


Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis. May he now get the answers he was always seeking.

— Dan Aykroyd, February 24

Actor and Director Harold Ramis, who brought us Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Stripes, and directed wonderful films like Groundhog Day, passed away in front of his family, from complications of an autoimmune diseases.

Given the contributions he has made to our entertainment growing up, injecting fun into our lives, it’s not inappropriate to be saddened by his passing.  Our condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones

Farewell to the great Dwayne McDuffie

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I think it’s fair to say that most everyone in the comic book industry is in shock right now.  Dwayne McDuffie has passed away, reportedly due to complications during surgery.  We still don’t know too much about what happened. Through this last weekend he was still posting on his blog about the debut of his next animated film, “All-Star Superman” (which debuted yesterday) and the announcement of an action figure based on his creation, Static.  (Or as he put it, “From the Department of Oxymoronica: Static Action Figure Has Arrived“)

And then he was gone, one day after his 49th birthday.

I wish I could say I knew Dwayne personally.  I didn’t.  Indeed, I had seen him at the local Midwest Comic Book Association Convention and yet I didn’t talk to him, for the same reason I often don’t talk to creators I have a lot of respect for:  I don’t know what to say that doesn’t sound like what he must hear all the time.  Just one more “I loved your writing on Icon” or “Justice League Unlimited was awesome and it should have never ended” or… even my examples sound trite.  And now that I know I’ll never get another chance, I’m filled with regret that I didn’t talk to him even if I came off as bubbling with unoriginal geeky praise.  For all I know, it was a slow day and he could have used the boost.  Or maybe he had already heard it a lot, but what could one more accolade hurt?

I don’t know if Dwayne saw himself as a mover and a shaker, but he certainly was.  He created a comic book imprint at DC, Milestone, that drew a lot of critical praise and had a good run in the mid-1990s.  He was the creator and writer for the animated show “Static Shock” based on one of his Milestone characters.  He has been the staff writer/producer and/or show-runner for the Justice League animated series and for the series of animated movies that have been hitting the DVD market in rapid succession since JLU ended.  He returned to writing comic books while continuing to work as a producer, though it often seemed as if he got a raw deal here and there…writing Firestorm for the last few issues before it was canceled, and Justice League of America during yet another era when DC dictated which big icons couldn’t be in the JLA (hint: most of them).

Dwayne pushed for increased ethnic diversity in comic book characters, and in his writing he demonstrated how to achieve it without simply racial bean-counting.  I’ll freely admit, I bristled at the pitch for his book “Icon”.  A conservative black superhero meets a street-wise girl who tells him he’s out of touch and she pushes him to get active in his community.  Sounds like a  “The Wiz” version of “Green Lantern/Green Arrow”, right?  In actuality, the book is far subtler and more politically fair than I ever would have expected.  Icon is a fully-developed character who imparts as many lessons as he learns from his young sidekick, Rocket, and she urges him to play a role in his community not so that he can learn the error of his political ways but so that he can be an inspiration to others, which he isn’t doing when he hides out in his big house.  Dwayne McDuffie had a way with clever dialogue, such as “it’s easy to tell others to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when you can fly” (that’s quoted from memory almost two decades later, so hopefully I’m getting it right).  Dwayne handled hot-button issues like teen pregnancy and abortion without being preachy or unfair.

His approach to diverse characters worked well because he never saddled any character with being a positive representative of his or her entire race, something which often plagued black characters in media.   As he put it,  “If you do a black character or a female character or an Asian character, then they aren’t just that character. They represent that race or that sex, and they can’t be interesting because everything they do has to represent an entire block of people. You know, Superman isn’t all white people and neither is Lex Luthor.”

Dwayne McDuffie, February 20, 1962 – February 21, 2011.  R.I.P.

Abe Vigoda 1921-2009, R.I.P.

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Abe Vigoda was once declared dead by People Magazine, which he took in good humor by photographing himself reading the issue in a coffin. Unfortunately, his days of cheating the reaper have caught up to him.

Last night, Abe Vigoda expired peacefully in a fiery car crash after a high speed chase with 30 police vehicles. A premortem found high levels of barbituates, PCP and a fish tranquilizer in his system. The five FHM models in the car with him were thrown clear and were cushioned by various implants.

R.I.P. Abe Vigoda, you crazy bastard.

Ron Silver, RIP

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Actor Ron Silver has passed away at the age of 62 after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer.

Ron had many dramatic roles, but my favorite was always his playing the bad guy (as Ron Silver, an actor who was also the head of N.A.S.A.) on Ben Stiller’s aborted TV Series “Heat Vision and Jack.”

I was also fond of Lifepod, a TV-movie he directed and starred in.  It was a science-fiction reworking of Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat.

As an activist, Ron swung wildly from being a major liberal in Hollywood to speaking at the Republican convention in 2004, a changeover which happened after September 11th.  That can’t have been an enjoyable transformation in Tinsel Town, yet Ron seldom complained.

I have tremendous respect for the man, and I’m saddened by his passing.  RIP, Ron.

Update: Breitbart’s obit for his friend.