RIP Tyrus Wong, unsung Chinese-American Disney legend who had to lie to come to America and save his life

Nagurski writes, "Tyrus Wong was a brilliant Chinese-American artist who designed the look of the landmark 'Bambi' cartoon for Disney. Due to racial attitudes and at the time, he received limited recognition for his contributions, but was belatedly named a Disney Legend in 2001. He also was an accomplished painter and made fantastic kites, which he flew on the Santa Monica beach, continuing to do so past the age of 100." Read the rest

Pan Pan, 1985-2016

The world's oldest male panda, Pan Pan, has died in China.

Pan Pan, 31, was diagnosed with cancer six months ago, having lived almost all his life in captivity. He was captured in Sichuan as a six-month old cub. The BBC reports that his name means "Hope."

The centre described the news of the death of the "hero-father" panda as "heart-wrenching". Keepers said he had stopped moving and eating, and lost consciousness, as his health had deteriorated rapidly over the preceding three days.

In September, the International Union for Conservation of Nature announced that the status pandas had been changed from "endangered" to "vulnerable", as numbers had begun to increase.

The latest Chinese estimates show a population of 1,864 adults, as well as - according to China's State Forestry Administration - 422 in captivity.

Pan Pan is survived by 130 descendants — reportedly a quarter of the world's captive-bred pandas — with family in California, Washington D.C., Edinburgh, Brussels, Ya'an, Chengdu, Chiang Mai and Taipei. Read the rest

General Organa's obit

Leia Organa's commitment to the cause placed her at the heart of the Rebellion, the Republic and the Resistance.

Her uncanny ability to predict the actions of enemies and allies alike made her essential, but the Alliance treated her warily, concerned she might manipulate its forces for her own ends. ... Operation Rogue One remains controversial; critics note that Organa sacrificed the entire volunteer cadre, hundreds of troops and much of the Alliance fleet to acquire Designation Stardust intelligence, and that its ultimate success owed itself to her activation of a Jedi asset, Obi-Wan Kenobi, as she was captured by Imperial forces. Indeed, the coincidences behind her subsequent escape and organization of the defense of Yavin IV have been ascribed to the Force, singular tactical genius or pure luck – all ideologically fraught options.

Read the rest

Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher dead at 60

Last weekend, actor Carrie Fisher had a heart attack while flying to Los Angeles. She was rushed to UCLA Medical Center as soon as her flight landed, and was under medical care since. Earlier today, Tuesday, December 27, 2016, Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60.

Read the rest

George Michael, 1963-2016

English singer-songwriter George Michael died December 25 at his home in Oxfordshire, reports the BBC. His publicist said he died peacefully. Born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, Michael rose to fame as part of the duo Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley, and sold more than 100 million records worldwide, specializing in soulful mainstream pop.

Thames Valley Police said South Central Ambulance Service attended a property in Goring in Oxfordshire at 13:42 GMT.

Police say they were treating the death as unexplained but there were no suspicious circumstances.

In a statement, the star's publicist said: "It is with great sadness that we can confirm our beloved son, brother and friend George passed away peacefully at home over the Christmas period.

"The family would ask that their privacy be respected at this difficult and emotional time. There will be no further comment at this stage."

Read the rest

Zsa Zsa Gabor, 1917-2016

Actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor is dead at 99, her publicist said Sunday. The Hungarian-born American actress appeared in more than 73 films and married nine times. Here she is ripping off Johnny Carson's pants in 1964. Read the rest

Fidel Castro, former Cuban president, is dead at 90

Fidel Castro, the former president of Cuba and leader of the Caribbean nation's Communist revolution, has died, state TV announced tonight. He was 90. His brother Raúl Castro, who is the current President of Cuba, announced Fidel's death on state television tonight.

"The historical leader of the Cuban Revolution died on the night of Friday, November 25, at 22:29 hrs., and his remains will be cremated, in accordance with his will," said the Cuban president.

BBC:

Fidel Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century before handing over the powers to his brother Raul in 2008. His supporters praised him as a man who had given Cuba back to the people. But his opponents accused him of brutally suppressing opposition.

A woman carries a portrait of Cuba's former president Fidel Castro during a May Day rally in Istanbul, Turkey, May 1, 2016. REUTERS

The funeral details for Fidel will be announced in the coming hours, said Raúl. Fidel was last seen on November 15, when President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam visited the longtime Cuban leader's residence.

[El País] Read the rest

RIP Brady Bunch mom Florence Henderson

Actress Florence Henderson, most famous as "iconic matriarch" Carol Brady and recent turns on Dancing with the Stars, is dead at 82.

"We are heartbroken to announce the passing of our dear mother Florence Henderson from Heart Failure," the Henderson family said in a statement. "On this day of thanks, our beloved mother was surrounded by her devoted children and dearest friends. We thank all of her fans for their many years of love and ask that we be allowed to grieve in private.

Read the rest

RIP science fiction great Sheri Tepper

Science fiction great -- and 2015 World Fantasy Convention lifetime achievement honoreee -- Sheri Tepper died yesterday, at the age of 87. Read the rest

RIP Jack Chick, father of the Satanic Panic

Things Jack Chick hated (a partial list): Dungeons and Dragons, Roman Catholics, Freemasons, Muslims, Jews and Satan. Read the rest

RIP, Tom Hayden: Yippie, radical, politician, author

Hayden (previously) was a political radical who was tried alongside Bobby Seale, Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin during the notorious "Chicago Seven" (nee "Chicago Eight") trials following on the 1968 Democractic Party Convention. He went on to serve honorably in the California state assembly and senate. Read the rest

RIP, science fiction author MK Wren

MK Wren was the pen-name of Martha Kay Renfroe, whose novels we featured in 2014. Martha died at age 78 last August, but I've only just found out. She was 78. Read the rest

Computer-mining poetry from the New York Times's obituary headlines

The standard format for a New York Times lead obit headline goes NAME, AGE, Dies; STATEMENT OF ACCOMPLISHMENT (e.g. "Suzanne Mitchell, 73, Dies; Made Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders a Global Brand. Read the rest

How haunters remember their own among 2016's deaths

Dan Howland from the dearly departed Journal of Ride Theory snapped these all-the-feels tombstones at this year's Davis Graveyard (previously) haunt. Read the rest

RIP, MAD Magazines's Jack Davis

Davis had been with MAD since its first run in 1952, and his illustrations helped define the look of satirical art for generations. Read the rest

Where Muhammad Ali's public persona came from

When Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) first witnessed a Gorgeous George match, he saw the path to stardom. The provocative professional wrestler walked down the aisle to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” while dressed in a formfitting red velvet gown and a lush white satin robe. With his nose held high, George surveyed his domain and addressed the crowd: “Peasants!” He relished the insults, screams, and foot stomping. “Oh, everybody just booed him,” Clay recalled. “I looked around and I saw everybody was mad. I was mad! I saw 15,000 people coming to see this man get beat, and his talking did it. And I said, ‘This is a gooood idea.’”

UPDATED RIP Ray Tomlinson, email inventor and at-sign popularizer

UPDATE This is a couple months old -- I read "Mar 5" as "May 5." My apologies.

Ray Tomlinson created the first networked email system in 1971 while working on his MIT doctorate and collaborating on the early ARPAnet at BBN; he used @ -- the at symbol -- to separate the username from the machinename because "it did not appear in user names and did not have any meaning in the TENEX paging program." Read the rest

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