Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another who will be missed

A lovely remembrance by Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast, paying appropriate tribute to Paul Newman, who was by all accounts a truly class guy, and a heckuva actor. I can't add too much to that, so I won't try.

However, this really has been a tough year for the obituary column. I'm not going to pore through the past twenty years of deaths, but it seems to me we've lost a ton of well-known, significant people this year, more than other recent years.

One starts with the two Hollywood giants, Paul Newman and Charlton Heston, pushing the great Richard Widmark, Paul Scofield, and Roy Scheider to the supporting cast. Then there are a bunch of folks who were the kind of solid performers who brighten up our films, and they'll be missed: Bernie Mac foremost among them. And two great directors, Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella.

We cannot forget two great young talents who had more to offer, if only they could have escaped their personal demons: Heath Ledger and Brad Renfro.

Television brings its own kind of intimacy, and, even though many of these folks were not front-burner any more, they still occupy a special place in many of us: Allan Melvin, Lois Nettleton, Barry Morse, Ivan Dixon, Harvey Korman, Estelle Getty, and, a particular favorite of mine, Suzanne Pleshette. And, of course, we lost the unclassifiable George Carlin.

Two of the truly great writers, similar only in their talent, are gone: Arthur C. Clarke and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. William F. Buckley, Jr. has left the building, not one of my top choices, but a large figure. And Robin Moore, and Tasha Tudor, and Gregory McDonald.

In music, Eddy Arnold, little-remembered today but a giant in country music, Bo Diddley (and how many people get a rhythm named after them?), Isaac Hayes, Jerry Reed, Jeff Healey, all gone.

And some other big names, Edmund Hillary, Bobby Fischer, Robert Jastrow, no longer with us (though, in so many sad ways, Fischer left us years ago). And Christopher Bowman, who seemingly yesterday brought a unique quality to a sport which constantly threatens to devolve into a bland sameness.

Too many folks, some before their time, others after long and productive lives, have passed away. While I don't like to write major downer posts, I didn't want to let these folks get away without saying something.

So put on a Newman movie, or catch the relentless Lt. Girard on a Fugitive rerun, or watch Bob Hartley and his lovely wife Emily, read 2001: A Space Odyssey, listen to the remarkable Theme from Shaft, take a look at a picture of Mount Everest, and remember.

No comments:

Clicky Web Analytics