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."
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.
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.
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.
Famous for his intriguing villains and staccato voice, English actor Alan Rickman is dead at 69.
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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."
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.
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Dean Jones, the iconic superstar of so many early Disney films, has passed away. The Chicago Tribune shares a wonderful remembrance.
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
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.
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.
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.
Steve shared some amazing conversations with the "First Man," from what I can tell. Here's one:
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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...
David Rakoff, best known as a storyteller, author, and a regular contributor to the radio programs "This American Life" and "Fresh Air," has died of cancer. The news first appeared on the website Third Beat. Rakoff wrote beautifully about the experience of going through treatment here, in the New York Times.
In his lifetime, Vidal received the National Book Award, wrote many novels, short stories, plays and essays. He was a political activist, and received the most votes of any Democrat in more than 50 years when he ran as a Democratic candidate for Congress in upstate New York. Vidal's The City and the Pillar was one of the first American novels to present homosexuality in a direct manner, and outraged many at the time.
Dr. Sally Ride, an American physicist and former NASA astronaut, has died of pancreatic cancer. She joined NASA in 1978, and in 1983 became the first American woman to travel into space. From a statement on her website:
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Sally Ride died peacefully on July 23rd, 2012 after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, joy, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.
Sally was a physicist, the first American woman to fly in space, a science writer, and the president and CEO of Sally Ride Science. She had the rare ability to understand the essence of things and to inspire those around her to join her pursuits.