Ennio Morricone, 1928-2020

Italian composer Ennio Morricone is dead at 91.

Morricone acquired fame scoring Westerns but transcended genre to become one of the world's masters of the form.

"His music was always outstanding," writes Hans Zimmer, "and done with great emotional fortitude and great intellectual thought."

His 1960s scores for Sergio Leone, backing a moody Clint Eastwood in the Dollars trilogy, were huge successes and came to define him: with their whistling melodies, and blend of symphonic elements with gunshots and guitars, they evoke the entire western genre. “The music is indispensable, because my films could practically be silent movies, the dialogue counts for relatively little, and so the music underlines actions and feelings more than the dialogue,” Leone has said. Morricone has said his own best work was for Leone’s 1984 film Once Upon a Time in America.

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Annie Glenn, widow of astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn, dies age 100 of COVID-19

Annie Glenn, the wife of the late astronaut and U.S. Sen. John Glenn and a communication disorders advocate, is reported to have died at age 100. Read the rest

Paul 'Double Rainbow' Vasquez dead at 57

Paul L. Vasquez, whose awestruck reaction at a rare double rainbow made him an internet sensation in 2010, died Saturday at 57. Read the rest

Little Richard dead at 87

"Little" Richard Penniman, singer of Tutti Frutti and countless other hits, died Saturday morning. He was 87 years old. Rolling Stone reports that he died of cancer.

Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits – “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” that same year, “Lucille” in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958 – driven by his simple, pumping piano, gospel-influenced vocal exclamations and sexually charged (often gibberish) lyrics. “I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it,” Elton John told Rolling Stone in 1973. “I didn’t ever want to be anything else. I’m more of a Little Richard stylist than a Jerry Lee Lewis, I think. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, but Little Richard is more of a pounder.”

Photo: Anna Bleker (Public Domain) Read the rest

Roy Horn, of Siegfried and Roy, dies at 75 of Covid

Magician Roy Horn, 75, died Thursday after developing symptoms of Covid-19 several days ago. Horn and partner Siegfried Fischbacher ran the most popular stage show in Vegas throughout the 1990s, featuring hundreds of performers, pyrotechnics and a coterie of white tigers at the Mirage hotel. Horn was forced to retire after suffering a stroke before or as a tiger dragged him from the stage by the neck.

TMZ received a statement from Fischbacher:

"Today, the world has lost one of the greats of magic, but I have lost my best friend. From the moment we met, I knew Roy and I, together, would change the world. There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried."

Siegfried goes on ... "Roy was a fighter his whole life, including during these final days. I give my heartfelt appreciation to the team of doctors, nurses and staff at Mountain View Hospital who worked heroically against this insidious virus that ultimately took Roy's life."

My first visit to the U.S. was a trip to Vegas in 1999. The first thing I remember seeing of America, stepping blearily out of the taxi at the Mirage Hotel after 15 hours in the air, was a colossal fiberglass statue of Siegfried and Roy. God bless America.

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Trump is asked, if he loses more Americans in 6 weeks than died in Vietnam War, does he deserve to be re-elected?

That's what I'm talking about. Read the rest

Significant undercount in U.S. coronavirus deaths: report

“An analysis of federal data for the first time estimates excess deaths -- the number beyond what would normally be expected -- during that period.” Read the rest

Tommy Boy and First Blood actor Brian Dennehy has died

Actor Brian Dennehy, best known for his role in the movies 'Tommy Boy' and 'First Blood', has died.

He was 81.

The Golden Globe and Tony award winner's career spanned 50 years on stage and screen.

Above, one of the great scenes with Dennehy and Chris Farley in 'Tommy Boy.'

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NYT chart shows all causes of death in NYC over past 20 years, then coronavirus spike

“[D]eaths over the last month dwarf what would be expected from seasonal variations, and look more like a mass casualty event.”

Playwright Terrence McNally dies of complications from coronavirus

Four-time Tony Award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, who was known for plays including "Ragtime" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman," has died due to complications from coronavirus, his publicist said Tuesday. He was 81, and a lung cancer survivor who had chronic COPD. Read the rest

Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo dead at 92

French artist Albert Uderzo, co-creator of legendary comic book characters Asterix and Obelix with writer René Goscinny, died at home ‘from a heart attack unrelated to the coronavirus.’ He was 92 years old.

One of the best-loved characters in French popular culture, with more than 370m albums sold worldwide, 11 films and an Asterix theme park, the small-statured Asterix is a warrior from Roman-occupied ancient Gaul, who together with his best friend Obelix and dog Dogmatix – Idéfix in the French original – takes pleasure in outwitting Roman legionnaires. Fortunately for Asterix, Obelix fell into a cauldron of magic potion as a child, making him invincibly strong.

Photo: Christian Koehn (CC BY 2.5) Read the rest

Kenny Rogers, 1938–2020

Kenny Rogers is dead at 81. The famed country singer was one of the best-selling music artists of all time, developing his signature song The Gambler into an enduring media franchise and even a restaurant chain.

Rogers passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family.

In a career that spanned more than six decades, Kenny Rogers left an indelible mark on the history of American music. His songs have endeared music lovers and touched the lives of millions around the world. Chart-topping hits like "The Gambler," "Lady," "Islands In The Stream," "Lucille," "She Believes In Me," and "Through the Years" are just a handful of Kenny Rogers' songs that have inspired generations of artists and fans alike. Rogers, with twenty-four number-one hits, was a Country Music Hall of Fame member, six-time CMA Awards winner, three-time GRAMMY® Award winner, recipient of the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award honoree in 2015 and has been voted the "Favorite Singer of All Time" in a joint poll by readers of both USA Today and People.

The family is planning a small private service at this time out of concern for the national COVID-19 emergency. They look forward to celebrating Kenny’s life publicly with his friends and fans at a later date.

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Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden, who circled moon, dies at 88

Twenty-four human beings have traveled from Earth to the moon. Fewer than half of them remain.

Astronaut Al Worden, who flew to the moon in 1971 as a member of the Apollo 15 crew, has died. The retired astronaut was 88.

Worden circled the moon alone on that mission, while his two crewmates test-drove the first lunar rover. Read the rest

Max Von Sydow, 1929-2020

Max Von Sydow is dead at 90. The Swedish-born actor appeared in more than 100 films and TV shows, with famed roles playing chess with death in 1957's The Seventh Seal, dressing down demons in 1973's The Exorcist and dressing up as Ming the Merciless in 1980's Flash Gordon.

He was often typecast in Hollywood as the sophisticated villain, which the Associated Press said was down to him being "all and lanky, with sullen blue eyes, a narrow face, pale complexion and a deep and accented speaking voice".

But, he once said in an interview: "What I as an actor look for is a variety of parts. It is very boring to be stuck in more or less one type of character."

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Konami Code creator Kazuhisa Hashimoto has died

Kazuhisa Hashimoto, who created the famous ‘Konami Code,’ has died.

He was 79. Read the rest

The silk shirt Charles I of England wore to have his head chopped off

The Museum of London will soon publicly display Charles I's execution vest for the first time. The doomed king wore the silk garment to the chopping block after his defeat in the English Civil War of the 17th century; 30 January is the 371st anniversary of his death at the Banqueting House on Whitehall.

The stains are said to be vomit, not blood. Read the rest

Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame, dead at 77

Monty Python star Terry Jones, master of countless characters such as Mr. Creosote and Cardinal Biggles, director of Life of Brian , is dead at 77. The BBC reports he was suffering from dementia.

Life of Brian was viewed as controversial for its comedic depiction of a young Jewish man who is born on the same day as and next door to Jesus Christ, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah.

"I think we'll get into a lot of trouble," explained Jones at the time. "I think there'll be a lot of hackles raised, but it isn't a spoof on the life of Christ, in fact. It started off as, 'Let's do a life of Christ' and we thought, 'That's a very outrageous thing to do'.

He added: "So in fact, we did the life of someone who was born in the stable next to Christ and who wasn't Christ and didn't have quite such a glamorous life."

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