Archive for the ‘Death notices’ Category

Diversity on screen

September 4, 2016

In the New York Times yesterday, an obituary, “Jon Polito, a Favorite in Coen Brothers Films, Dies at 65” by Daniel E. Slotnik. Beginning:

Jon Polito, a character actor who often played law enforcement figures and gangsters and had memorable turns in many films by Joel and Ethan Coen, died on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 65.

The cause was complications of multiple myeloma, his husband, Darryl Armbruster, said.

A mustached, balding, husky and burlap-voiced presence onscreen, Mr. Polito appeared in more than 200 films and television series, often as the heavy. He could convey the swagger and haplessness of a two-bit crook, the authority of a hardened homicide detective, the unctuous ingratiations of a yes man — as well as a sense of vulnerability, desperation and weakness.

… He met Mr. Armbruster, an actor, on Oct. 16, 1999, and they married on that day last year.

Polito in a characteristic role:


Michael Crawford

July 21, 2016

In the July 25th New Yorker, an affectionate brief memorial (by David Remnick, the magazine’s editor) for cartoonist Michael Crawford, “Remembering an adored cartoonist: Michael Crawford was a wry and sensitive artist whose sweet, jazzy personality converged with his work”, beginning:

Michael Crawford was a cartoonist and a painter, a wry and sensitive artist who woke each day with his head full of dreams. Straight from bed he reached for his pencils and pad, the better to get those images and word clusters down on paper. For at least an hour every morning, “Michael was mining his dreams,” his wife, Carolita Johnson, also a cartoonist for this magazine, said. “And when it came to cartoons he just started drawing, without any idea where things might go. Lots of drawings sat around for years without any caption. He was his own one-man cartoon-caption contest in that way. But he was patient.

There was a wild, improvisational streak in Crawford’s work. He loved baseball, and imagined a cockeyed intimacy in the talk between, say, two pros in the dugout: “Why so aloof in here? When you’re on base, you yak your ass off with every Yankee in sight.” A student of American art, he redrew many of Edward Hopper’s moody paintings as cartoons and then provided snappy dialogue for the painter’s lonely souls.


Anatol Kovarsky

June 17, 2016

In the New York Times on the 14th, an obituary by William Grimes, “Anatol Kovarsky, New Yorker Cartoonist for Decades, Dies at 97”:

Anatol Kovarsky, an artist and illustrator whose sense of whimsy and the absurd made him a fixture at The New Yorker from the late 1940s through the 1960s as both a cartoonist and a cover artist, died on June 1 at his home in Manhattan. He was 97.

Mr. Kovarsky, a master of the wordless visual gag, produced nearly 300 cartoons for The New Yorker. His first, published on March 1, 1947, showed two museum visitors peering at each other in surprise as they looked through the hole in a large Henry Moore-like nude.


Frank Modell

May 30, 2016

In today’s New York Times, an obituary “Frank Modell, Longtime New Yorker Cartoonist, Dies at 98” by Sam Roberts:

Frank Modell, a classically trained artist who contributed more than 1,400 cartoons to The New Yorker — customarily, he said, “of angry men and sexy women and dogs” — during an illustrious era for the magazine, died on Friday at his home in Guilford, Conn. He was 98 [born 9/6/17].

Women and dogs and the occasional clown.


The knotted gun

May 8, 2016

(art and twisted phallicity)

From the NYT on the 5th, “Carl Fredrik Reutersward, Known for Knotted-Gun Sculpture, Dies at 81” (by Daniel E. Slotnik):

Carl Fredrik Reutersward with his sculpture “Non-Violence” in Munich in 1996.


María Sol Escobar

May 4, 2016

(About art, but not much about language, though categorization and labeling is a significant subtheme.)

William Grimes yesterday in the New York Times, “Marisol, an Artist Known for Blithely Shattering Boundaries, Dies at 85”

Marisol, a Venezuelan-American artist who fused Pop Art imagery and folk art in assemblages and sculptures that, together with her mysterious, Garboesque persona, made her one of the most compelling artists on the New York scene in the 1960s, died on Saturday in Manhattan. She was 85.

… María Sol Escobar, who adopted Marisol as her name when she began exhibiting in New York in the late 1950s, introduced a distinctive new element to the emerging Pop Art lexicon. Influenced equally by pre-Columbian art and the assemblages of Robert Rauschenberg, she began constructing tableaus of carved wooden figures embellished with drawings, fabric and found objects.

Marisol in 1964 with her sculpture “The Kennedy Family.”:


William Hamilton

April 26, 2016

In the latest (April 25th) New Yorker, a brief appreciation (by Bob Mankoff) of the cartoonist William Hamilton, who died on the 8th

William Hamilton had a lot to say about the nation’s country-club class and how it viewed itself. His cartoons were peopled by ladies and gentlemen of the Park Avenue variety, speaking confidently about their place in the upper crust, even as that crust was crumbling. Hamilton first found a place at this magazine in 1965, when he was only twenty-six. At the time of his death, last week, at seventy-six, he had published more than nine hundred and fifty drawings that lampooned sophisticates and pseudo-sophisticates with dry, incisive jabs. He was that rare artist whose style suits his humor perfectly

(Mankoff had a longer on-line appreciation on the 11th.)


Marian Bush

April 17, 2016

The death of a dear friend — not anyone of great fame, but a fine and delightful person, a mainstay of both the Peninsula Sacred Harp singers (who she often hosted at her house) and the Action League of the Peninsula — our very own Raging Grannies.

Marian in Granny gear — she was funny and ornamental, but also earnest and fierce:

I especially remember coming across her at a protest against the invasion of Iraq, respendent in purple and indignation, in a crowd of Grannies. I haven’t been able to find a photo of her leading Sacred Harp, alas.


Hilary Putnam

April 3, 2016

A few weeks back (I have been preoccupied with many things), the announcement of the death of the great philosopher Hilary Putnam, who was one of my teachers at Princeton and later became an academic friend. From the NYT on 3/18/16, “Hilary Putnam, Giant of Modern Philosophy, Dies at 89” by Bruce Weber, which begins:

Hilary Putnam, a Harvard philosopher whose influence ranged widely across many fields of thought, including mathematical logic, philosophy of mind and language, epistemology and metaphysics, died on March 13 at his home in Arlington, Mass. He was 89.

In the world of contemporary philosophers, Professor Putnam was known for the breadth of his thinking, the vividness of his provocative arguments, and his penchant for self-questioning and willingness to change his mind.

In a field of inquiry characterized by elusive concepts, dizzying “isms” and subtle taxonomies, philosophers are in continual battle to resist simplification. Infinite, or at least enormous, complexity is the nature of things, Professor Putnam argued, writing that “any philosophy that can be put in a nutshell belongs in one.”


Ken Howard

March 26, 2016

From Rachel Hockett on the 23rd on Facebook, a personal note about the actor Ken Howard, who died that day:

I once auditioned with him for a show at the Manhattan Theatre Club (many years ago). He was already well known, I was a newbie. We had both gone to Yale (he to the drama school, which he left before finishing his master’s, to star in a Broadway show [the musical 1776, in which he played Thomas Jefferson], and I to Yale College), and we had a lovely chit-chat waiting for the audition. He put me totally at my ease, and then he got the part (I didn’t). Ken went on to epitomize the life of the working actor.

Howard in the original Broadway show:


(from left) William Daniels as John Adams, Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson, Ron Holgate as Richard Henry Lee, and Howard Da Silva as Ben Franklin

(On William Daniels, see my 4/5/15 posting about him.)