‘Sleepless In Seattle’ Writer/Director Nora Ephron Dead At 71 (May 19, 1941 – June 26, 2012)

Nora Ephron, an accomplished directer, author, playwright and screenwriter, died yesterday from pneumonia, a complication of the leukemia she was diagnosed with in 2006.

She directed Sleepless In Seattle, Mixed Nuts, You’ve Got Mail, Julie & Julia and wrote those plus When Harry Met Sally and Silkwood, which was nominated for five Academy Awards in 1983 and would have won some if not for Terms Of Endearment.

Ephron lived a very interesting life. Born to screenwriting parents in New York and raised in Los Angeles, she interned briefly at the White House in 1961 under John F. Kennedy before graduating from college.

She later worked at Newsweek in the mailroom but by the 70’s she moved on and became a Carrie Bradshaw of that era, writing regularly for The New York Post at first and then Esquire about “sex, food and New York City.”  Continue reading “‘Sleepless In Seattle’ Writer/Director Nora Ephron Dead At 71 (May 19, 1941 – June 26, 2012)”

Desperate Housewives’ Kathryn Joosten, Dead At 72

Kathryn Joosten, best known for her hilarious roles as Mrs. McCluskey on Desperate Housewives, secretary Dolores Landingham in The West Wing, and “old lady god” in Joan of Arcadia, passed away on Friday of lung cancer.

Joosten had struggled with the illness two separate times, once in 2001 and then again in 2008. She won two Emmys for Housewives and a story arc focusing on cancer was included for her character.

Besides her three most notable television gigs, she played small parts in every show you can name – everything from Will & Grace to Monk, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Closer, and General Hospital.

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Video: Donna Summer – “Bad Girls/Hot Stuff” Live @ Nobel Peace Prize Concert 2009

As you probably know, Donna Summer passed away yesterday at the age of 63. The queen of disco, who transcended the genre, was taken by cancer in her home in Florida.

In honor of her, I wanted to just post this video and direct you the her obituary from The New York Times, which is (obviously) better and more comprehensive than anything I could write.

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Beastie Boy Adam Yauch Succumbs To Cancer (August 5, 1964 – May 4, 2012)

The first time I ever heard and recognized rap, it was from the Beastie Boys. Since I’m old but not that old, this was in the 90’s, after the release of the B-Boys’ first two albums.

Granted, my era of Ill Communication and Hello Nasty is nothing to disregard.

Mix Master Mike, Adam Horovitz, Mike D, and Adam Yauch kept their eclectic music train going well into this decade.

All the members of The Beastie Boys are pivotal, and writing about the demise of one does not come easily.

Adam “MCA” Yauch was a practicing Buddhist, philanthropist, and one hell of a bassist and rapper. And not just a white rapper. A rapper, period (check out Stereogum’s list of his greatest moments).

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Junior Seau’s Suicide Raises More Questions About CTE

Ten-time all-pro NFL linebacker Junior Seau was found in his Oceanside home by his live-in girlfriend, Mary Nolan, with a revolver by his side and a fatal gunshot wound to the chest on May 2.

Police ruled out Nolan as a suspect and the death has been ruled a suicide.

In late 2010 he survived a 100-foot fall off a cliff in his Escalade, saying he’d fallen asleep at the wheel.

Seeing as it was right after he’d been arrested for domestic violence (Nolan was his partner then too) many believed that incident to not have been an accident, even though Junior was adamantly against that theory.  Continue reading “Junior Seau’s Suicide Raises More Questions About CTE”

Contributing Factors To The Cancellation Of ‘Luck’ And The Three Equine Deaths

You may have heard that the HBO drama Luck, starring Dustin Hoffman, Nick Nolte, Joan Allen and Michael Gambon (Dumbledore) has halted production after the real-life deaths of no less than three horses that were involved with the race and stable scenes.

“It is with heartbreak that executive producers David Milch and Michael Mann together with HBO have decided to cease all future production on the series ‘Luck,'” the network said in a statement.

For fans, there is hope. Mann and Milch expressed interest in furthering the show, “The two of us loved this series, loved the cast, crew and writers. This has been a tremendous collaboration and one that we plan to continue in the future.”  Continue reading “Contributing Factors To The Cancellation Of ‘Luck’ And The Three Equine Deaths”

Berenstain Bears Co-Creator Janice Berenstain (July 26, 1923 – February 24, 2012)

Janice Berenstain, passed away last Friday at age 88 after suffering a stoke in Solebury, PA. Her collaborator and husband Stanley died of  lymphoma six years earlier. The two met at Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art at age 18 and married five years later.

They wrote and illustrated over 300 children’s books, putting their work in a league beside other mammal-themed hits like Norman Bridwell’s Clifford The Big Red Dog and Jean de Brunhoff’s Babar.

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Whitney Houston (Aug. 9, 1963 – Feb. 11, 2012)

As you probably already know, Whitney Houston passed away on Saturday afternoon at age 48. She was discovered in the bath tub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Reports indicate that water was found in Houston’s lungs and that there may have been prescription drugs and alcohol involved.

Her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown was taken to the hospital on Sunday after suffering from a severe anxiety attack. Bobby Brown pulled out from performing a concert with New Edition to spend time with her.  Continue reading “Whitney Houston (Aug. 9, 1963 – Feb. 11, 2012)”

Ian Abercrombie Of Quirky Seinfeld Fame (September 11, 1934 – January 26, 2012)

The man whose character managed to stand out for his eccentricities on a show already centered around peculiar behavior passed away yesterday at age 77.

Ian Abercrombie was best known for his role as Elaine’s boss, Mr. Pitt, on Seinfeld. His candy bar-cutting technique was particularly memorable.

Besides his work with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the rest of the Larry David-born gang Abercrombie appeared in a wide range of projects.

Everything from TV (Days Of Our Lives, Wizards of Waverly Place) to voice work (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Rango) to films like Sam Raimi’s cult classic, Army Of Darkness. 

His career spanned all the way back to 1965. No word yet on the cause of death.

Stars Pay Tribute To Etta James

Etta James touched the lives of many artists, some obvious (Beyonce, Adele) and some not so much (Flo Rida) before and after she lost her battle with Leukemia.

Kelly Clarkson covered “I Go Blind” at Radio City Music Hall four days ago and Adele sang “Fool That I Am” at Somerville Theatre in Massachusetts after learning her idol was ill on January 14, then took to her blog to comment on the loss.

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X Games Medalist Sarah Burke Dies After Skiing Accident (September 3, 1982 – January 19, 2012)

Sarah Burke, a Canadian X Games competitive skier passed away on Thursday at 29 years-old after being hospitalized January 10 during a training session in Park City, Utah.

Burke went into cardiac arrest after a failed superpipe trick (a flatspin 540) in which she landed on her head. She was taken by helicopter to Salt Lake City’s University of Utah Hospital where she went into an induced coma.

On the 11th doctors attempted to repair a vertebral artery but Burke did not improve as she had suffered “irreversible damage to her brain due to lack of oxygen and blood after cardiac arrest.” She died surrounded by loved ones – her parents, sister and husband, fellow skier Rory Bushfield. Continue reading “X Games Medalist Sarah Burke Dies After Skiing Accident (September 3, 1982 – January 19, 2012)”

Legendary Heavyweight Boxer Joe Frazier (January 12, 1944 – November 7, 2011)

Yesterday night was a very sad day for sports, specifically boxing. We lost Smokin’ Joe Frazier, who was a spectacular fighter back when truly explosive rivalries existed within the sport. His confrontations with Muhammad Ali in the 70’s were bigger then than any LeBron vs. Kobe or MMA riff raff of today.

Frazier was a people’s champion, an Olympic gold medalist with a rugged quiet charm and the fiercest left hook you can imagine. The insults he took from Ali were horrendous, something you never saw in 2001’s Ali, starring Will Smith, with James Toney portraying Joe Frazier.

Ali’s racist jabs almost hit harder than anything in the ring, especially during their 1975 “Thrilla in Manila” fight in the Philippines, which Ali won after 14 strenuous rounds. Frazier, in all his brilliance, did defeat his rival (they both lost only four fights in their entire career) earlier, in 1971. Smokin’ Joe could wear Ali out like no one else.

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There Are Cyborgs On ‘Breaking Bad’ Now (Spoilers)

Okay, obviously the thing I’m about to spoil isn’t the fact that there are robots on Breaking Bad, it’s a show about a high school teacher who starts cooking meth, not some Star Wars fantasy.

The season 4 finale of AMC’s hit show had a very surprising ending, our protagonist Walter White finally sees his mortal enemy Gus Fring get what he deserves, though the scene left me visually shocked and perturbed…

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Former Weezer Bassist Mikey Welsh (April 20, 1971 – October 8, 2011)

Michael Edward Welsh, known simply as Mikey Welsh, passed away on Saturday at the age of 40 after foreshadowing his own death two weeks earlier on both Twitter and Facebook.

The musician – who struggled with drugs, attempted suicide and had a nervous breakdown while touring in Europe – left the band in 2001. (He joined in 1998)

Welsh, who pursued art after departing from Weezer, mentioned death when referencing a painting on September 26th via Facebook wall post…

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The Cultural Impact Of Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)

There is hardly a person alive who hasn’t owned an iPod or used a Macintosh computer. Even your grandma has walked past a Mac Store or seen a movie with some celebrity doing important research, intently staring at a screen that slyly depicted some adorable colored fruit icon.

You’d see U2 and other prominent musicians famously dancing through an iTunes commercial.

That upside down glowing white logo, shown on several season of Sex And The City, was Carrie Bradshaw’s sole means of writing her famous sex and advice column.

The villainous characters on early season of Fox’s hit show 24 would use Windows computers, while the “good guys” used Macs. Attractive women in nearly every horror movie I can imagine put in iPod earbuds and start running down the street right before a big kill scene…

Continue reading “The Cultural Impact Of Steve Jobs (February 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011)”

Hip Hop’s Godmother, Sylvia Robinson (March 6, 1936 – September 29, 2011)

Sylvia Robinson, 75, was a woman whose name you may not of heard, but whose work you surely have. She is known as the mother/godmother of hip hop music.

Robinson was the founder and CEO of Sugar Hill Records. She put together The Sugarhill Gang and released their 1979 single “Rapper’s Delight,” which was the first rap song to be commercially recognized by the public.

Sugar Hill Records and Sylvia Robinson also put out Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message,” from the album of the same name, which is unarguably one of the best rap efforts of all time…

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Michael Jackson ‘Death Photo’ Surfaces In Dr. Conrad Murray Trial

The trial for Michael Jackson‘s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, is underway. Murray  is accused of involuntary manslaughter – distributing excessive medications that ultimately caused Jackson’s death.

A morbid photo of the pop singer was shown in the courtroom yesterday morning. It depicts Jackson in a hospital gurney, post-mortem…

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