Archive for the ‘Death notices’ Category

Author, author!

May 12, 2015

In today’s NYT, an obit that began:

Chris Burden, a conceptual artist who in the line of duty had himself shot, pierced, starved, crucified, electrocuted, cut by glass, kicked down stairs, locked up, dropped from heights and nearly drowned, though by no means all at once, died on Sunday at his home in Topanga, Calif. He was 69.

Oh my, that’s wonderful, I thought. Then I looked at the by-line. Yes, the admirable Margalit Fox.

It’s a fascinating story, “Chris Burden, a Conceptualist With Scars, Dies at 69″. There’s a slide show of Burden’s body art.

Note: ethnic names

April 19, 2015

In the NYT on the 17th an obit by Daniel Slotkin, “Ira Lewis, Actor and Playwright, Dies at 82″. Fascinating life in the theater, ending with this familial note:

Mr. Lewis, who lived in Westfield, N.J., is survived by two brothers, Marvin and Seymour.

Lovely: Ira, Marvin, and Seymour, three traditional American Jewish names. Times have changed. A couple of generations ago, such names went out of fashion, to be replaced by more generically “American” (gentile) names — for men, by a collection of Irish-derived names. So Ira, Marvin, and Seymour became Kevin, Sean, and Brady.

Two obits

April 11, 2015

In my print copy of the NYT yesterday, two notable obits, for Ralph Sharon (the musician) and Richard Dysart (the actor).

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Stan Freberg

April 8, 2015

In today’s NYT, an obit by Douglas Martin, “Stan Freberg, Madcap Adman and Satirist, Dies at 88″:

Stan Freberg, a humorist whose sprawling imagination fueled a multifaceted career that included pretty much inventing the idea of using satire in commercials, died on Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif.

… Mr. Freberg was a hard man to pin down. He made hit comedy records, voiced hundreds of cartoon characters and succeeded Jack Benny in one of radio’s most prestigious time slots. He called himself a “guerrilla satirist,” using humor as a barbed weapon to take on issues ranging from the commercialization of Christmas to the hypocrisy of liberals.

Freberg on a 1957 comedy album. Photo: Capitol Records.

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Andrew Porter

April 5, 2015

From a death notice for music critic (and more) Andrew Porter, by Margalit Fox in the NYT today:

Andrew Porter, New Yorker Classical Music Critic, Dies at 86

Andrew Porter, a music critic celebrated for his stylistic elegance, immense erudition and polymathic command not only of the work under review but also of everything else in creation conceivably connected with it, died either Thursday night or early Friday in London.

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Elise Partridge

March 24, 2015

The story starts with this poem about X in the April 2nd issue of the New York Review of Books:

X, a C.V.

I stand, legs astride, a colossus—
or dancer in fifth position, wide port de bras.
Polymorph strayed into English,

sometimes pronounced like Americans’ z,
in French I’m often silent; in Pirahã the glottal stop;
a fricative in Somali.

Vector, Cartesian axis,
chromosome, bowling-strike. Pirate-map cynosure;
at a letter’s close, a kiss.

I do plebeian duty in tic-tac-toe,
range marble façades. Paired with y, I dodge—
variable incognito.

I lend myself to comets of cryptic orbit,
ally with rays that pierce time’s edge.
I’m default sci-fi planets.

In my Roman hours,
I was ten.—Later, the name of millions:
those never granted an alphabet’s power.

Then I read the contributors’ notes in the NYRB.

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Terry Pratchett

March 13, 2015

Announced all over the place, the death of Terry Pratchett. From the BBC site yesterday, with a wonderful photo:

Sir Terry Pratchett, fantasy author and creator of the Discworld series, has died aged 66, eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. [well, an early-onset dementia]

“The world has lost one of its brightest, sharpest minds,” said Larry Finlay of his publishers Transworld.

The author died at home, surrounded by his family, “with his cat sleeping on his bed”, he added.

Sir Terry wrote more than 70 books during his career and completed his final book last summer.

He “enriched the planet like few before him” and through Discworld satirised the world “with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention,” said Mr Finlay.

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Two from BZ

February 10, 2015

I don’t usually pass on postings from other blogs, but on the 5th Ben Zimmer blogged two notable things on Language Log that are worth drawing attention to: one on an amazing headline from Bloomberg News and a death notice for Suzette Haden Elgin.

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Bernard Perlin

January 13, 2015

The January-February issue of the Gay & Lesbian Review alerted me to the death last year of artist Bernard Perlin (11/21/18 – 1/14/14), who had a fascinating life and varied career in art. The beginning of the Telegraph‘s 3/4/14 obit, under the head “Bernard Perlin was an artist who produced both propaganda and reportage in war then turned to Magical Realism in peace”:

Bernard Perlin, who has died aged 95, was an American artist whose wartime work morphed from propaganda to reportage as he confronted the stark realities of the conflicts in Europe and the Pacific. After the war he snubbed the rise of Abstract Expressionism in favour of the good life in Italy and New England.

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Emmon Bach

December 6, 2014

On Language Log yesterday, an obituary for Emmon Bach (6/12/29 – 11/29/14) by Barbara Partee. Briefly: Emmon was born in Japan, gew up in Fresno CA and Boulder CO, finished a Ph.D. in Germanic Studies at Chicago, went on to German and then Linguistics at UTexas-Austin and ultimately to a long career at UMass-Amherst, and retired to an appointment at SOAS (University of London) and then at Oxford.

From Barbara:

As the Oxford linguists write, “Emmon was one of the brightest and most influential figures in formal semantics, and was also well known for his work on morphology and North American languages [notably those of British Columbia].  He also continued to do innovative research on morphology and semantics”

Now a few more personal notes.

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