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.

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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.


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.

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Please donate for Carson Lebkowsky's funeral expenses

I received the shocking and sad news that Jon Lebkowsky's 16-year-grandson Carson died suddenly this week. Jon was one of the early editors at bOING bOING (the zine) and a great supporter of Boing Boing on The Well. He is also one of the founders of EFF Austin and an all around activist for good. Please consider donating to Carson's funeral expenses at Go Fund Me.

I am a family friend of the the Lebkowsky family, and have known Carson since he was a tiny tot. Carson was just 1 month shy of his 17th birthday, November 23rd. He knew and loved God, loved his family and friends, and loved to make others smile. Carson had such a huge heart, and would give whatever he had to help someone. He was so proud of his family and his love for them showed when he was with them. His personality was so outgoing... as long as you were laughing and smiling he was having a great time!

On the morning of October 23, 2016, Carson's family went to wake him up to start the day only to find that he was not breathing. EMS arrived and made every attempt to save Carson, however it was unsuccessful. Carson passed away in their family home in Austin, Texas.

Carson leaves behind his parents, Robert and Dana; his older brother, Colton; grandparents, numerous aunts and uncles, cousins, and a lot of friends. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten.

His death was very unexpected and I have started this fundraiser to help with the funeral expenses.

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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

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Nobel prize laureate and author, dead at 87

Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner, a prolific author, and an outspoken activist for peace and human rights. He died Saturday, at 87 years old.

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Michu Meszaros, who played ALF the extraterrestrial on television, RIP

Michu Meszaros, the circus performer and actor who played Alf the extraterrestrial on the 1980s sitcom, has died at age 76. Maestros also appeared in “Looks Who’s Talking, "Big Top Pee-wee," and episodes of "Dear John” and “H.R. Pufnstuf."

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'Casablanca' actor Madeleine Lebeau dead at 92

Actress Madeleine Lebeau has died. She was 92. She is best known in America for her role as 'Yvonne' in Casablanca. Lebeau was the film's last known surviving cast member, and also performed in a number of classic films including Federico Fellini's 8 ½ and Hold Back the Dawn with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.

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A long list of comedians mourn the passing of Garry Shandling, age 66

Comedy legend Garry Shandling passed away in Los Angeles, today, according to the Los Angeles Police.

Shandling was well respected and loved. E! Online shares a long collection of goodbyes from his colleagues.

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Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner has died at 74

Paul Kantner, founding member of Jefferson Airplane and icon of the sixties San Francisco rock explosion, died today. He was 74. Earlier this week, he suffered a heart attack, and had for years been dealing with serious health issues.

His death was confirmed by longtime publicist and friend Cynthia Bowman, who told reporters he died of multiple organ failure and septic shock.

Paul Kantner and Grace Slick and daughter China of the Jefferson Airplane, photo dated 10/08/1971

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

With Jefferson Airplane, Mr. Kantner pioneered what became known as the San Francisco sound in the mid-1960s, with such hits as “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”

The Airplane was renowned for thrilling vocal gymnastics by singers Marty Balin, Grace Slick and Mr. Kantner, the psychedelic blues-rock sound developed by guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bass player Jack Casady and the LSD-spiked, ’60s-era revolutionary fervor of its lyrics.

Paul Kantner [Wikipedia]

Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock

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Alan Rickman, 1946-2016

Famous for his intriguing villains and staccato voice, English actor Alan Rickman is dead at 69.

The star was suffering from cancer, his family said. He became one of Britain's best-loved acting stars thanks to roles including Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films and Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

He also won a Bafta Award for playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

A family statement said: "The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends."

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RIP Wayne Rogers, 1933-2016

Wayne Rogers, the actor who portrayed M*A*S*H's legendary "Trapper" John McIntyre, has passed away at the age of 82.

Rogers was an incredibly talented individual. In addition to his numerous television and film credits, Rogers became a very successful business person, board member, real estate investor, and continued to produce theater.

(h/t Daneel) Read the rest

RIP Dean Jones, 1931-2015

Dean Jones, the iconic superstar of so many early Disney films, has passed away. The Chicago Tribune shares a wonderful remembrance.

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RIP Patrick Macnee, 'The Avengers' John Steed, 1922-2015

The British and American actor is best known for his role as the secret agent John Steed in the TV series The Avengers.

James Horner, 1953-2015

The creator of legendary soundtracks to Titanic, A Beautiful Mind, Aliens and countless other famous movies died yesterday in a plane crash in California.

"We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent," Sylvia Patrycja, his assistant, posted to Facebook. "He died doing what he loved. Thank you for all your support and love and see you down the road."

He was the only occupant of the small, single-seater plane, which went down about 60 miles north of Santa Barbara.

Horner, 61, won two Oscars for his soaring work on Titanic. In scoring Avatar, his work came to define the emotional landscape of the two most successful movies of all time. He was reportedly working on the score for Avatar's forthcoming sequel at the time of this death.

Director Ron Howard wrote that Horner would "live on through the ages." At her website, Titanic collaborator Celine Dion wrote that she was deeply saddened by the loss: "He will always remain a great composer in our hearts. James played an important part in my career. We will miss him."

Investigators are examining the crash site near Ventucopa, an unincorporated community in the upper Cuyama Valley. Read the rest

Maya Angelou, legendary poet and author, 1928-2014

Maya Angelou receives a Medal of Freedom from U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington, February 15, 2011. (REUTERS/Larry Downing)

The great American poet, author, activist, and actor Dr. Maya Angelou died today at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was 86. Read the rest

Dave Brockie, punk artist of GWAR fame, has died. Here's video of the first GWAR show ever.

GWAR creator Dave Brockie has died. He was found in his home, and no cause of death has been released. He was 50 years old.

I knew Dave in the mid-1980s, and crashed at punk/art houses where he and co-creatives practiced and built props for GWAR, and before it, Death Piggy.

Dave Brockie, from the era of "Death Piggy," the pre-GWAR band. For a time, I went to every show. —XJ

RVA Magazine has extensive coverage of his life and death, and a statement from GWAR's manager. Style Weekly broke the sad news. Here's an earlier interview with Brockie from RVA Mag. My old friend from that era, Doug Dobey, wrote a beautiful homage on Facebook.

As Gareth Branwyn said on Facebook today, the comment seen about Brockie so far: "He was a great space Barbarian, and an even better human."

Above, the very first GWAR show. I was there.

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Steve Jurvetson, on the recurring nightmare Neil Armstrong had for two years leading up to Apollo 11

Venture capitalist, photographer, and master-level space fanatic Steve Jurvetson has been digging in to his archives for snapshots and relics related to the life and legacy of the late astronaut Neil Armstrong. For instance: above, a vintage 11”x 14” X-ray of Armstrong's lunar EVA spacesuit boots dated 7-7-69, only 9 days before the launch.

You can scroll through more photos here, on Steve's Facebook page.

Steve shared some amazing conversations with the "First Man," from what I can tell. Here's one:

Tang is a farce. That was the first thing Neil Armstrong told me last night. “We did not use it on the Apollo missions.”

I asked him, of all of the systems and stages of the mission, which did he worry about the most? (the frequently failing autopilot? the reliance on a global network of astronomers to spot solar flares in time to get the warning out? the onboard computers being less powerful than a Furby?....)

He gave a detailed answer about the hypergolic fuel mixing system for the lunar module. Rather than an ignition system, they had two substances that would ignite upon contact. Instead of an electric pump, he wished he had a big simple lever to mechanically initiate mixing.

That seemed a bit odd to me at first. So, I asked if he gave that answer because it really was the most likely point of failure, or because it symbolizes a vivid nightmare – having completed the moon mission, pushing the button...

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