Miscellany

Greg Giraldo Dies at 44

Greg Giraldo, whose sharp and searing standup was familiar to fans of Comedy Central and Last Comic Standing, died Wednesday from the effects of a prescription drug overdose. Giraldo, a former lawyer, brought an intelligent and combative style to Comedy Central’s roasts as well as the panel of Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and other …

Mystery Science Theater 2010: Riffer Madness!

The other Thursday, as people walked in early to one of the 500 theaters where the RiffTrax demolition of Reefer Madness was scheduled to play, they found one of those pre-show movie trivia games in progress on-screen. “MOVIE MISTAKES,” one card read. “Furry Vengeance was classified as a movie on the Internet Movie Database.” And: “We

David Wolper, Roots Producer, 1928-2010

David Wolper, a prolific film and TV producer who brought miniseries The Thorn Birds and most notably Roots to TV, died Tuesday at age 82. (In addition to his TV projects, he produced movies including Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and L.A. Confidential.) In the above clip, he attributes the success of Roots in part to the fact …

Mitch Miller, TV Singalong Host, Dies at 99

Mitch Miller, the goateed bandleader who hosted NBC’s Sing Along with Mitch in the early 1960s, died Saturday at age 99. Miller’s music and his show were before my time, but I’ve always found the phenomenon of his show fascinating from the archival footage. Partly because Sing Along with Mitch was, in a way, before its own time.

His …

CBS, NPR Journalist Daniel Schorr Dies at 93

Daniel Schorr, a broadcast journalist with a career in reporting and commentary spanning more than half a century, has died at age 93. I, like many who came to admire him in recent years, knew him best from his comments and interviews on NPR. But he was a giant of TV journalism who began his career with CBS News in the Murrow years of …

Harvey Pekar, RIP

Another loss for Cleveland: Harvey Pekar, the storyteller and jazz critic whose rants and tales of daily life were realized in the American Splendor series of comic books, has died at age 70. TV fans of a certain age—and maybe even under a certain age—will remember him as one of David Letterman’s most notorious regular guests of …

Rue McClanahan, 1934-2010

Actress Rue McClanahan died this morning, reportedly of a stroke, at age 76. McClanahan had a wide and varied career on stage, in film and on television, but she’s most widely remembered for playing the vivacious and bodaciously lusty senior Blanche Devereaux in the sitcom The Golden Girls. With just the right blend of sass, sashay and …

Gary Coleman, 1968-2010

Gary Coleman, best-known for his performance as a child actor as Arnold Jackson in Diff’rent Strokes, died today of a brain hemorrhage. He was 42.

Coleman will be remembered by people who grew up with his catchphrase (“Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?”) and his portrayal of a spunky kid from Harlem who, with his brother, was adopted by …

Art Linkletter, 1912-2010

Art Linkletter died today at age 97. Over his decades as an entertainer, he had many roles—radio host, TV host, celebrity endorser, comic, anti-drug crusader—but his best-known work came in TV and radio shows based on a simple idea: that ordinary people are tremendously entertaining. In People Are Funny, Linkletter gave out prizes …

TV Writer David Mills Dies

David Mills, an Emmy-winning writer and producer who worked on acclaimed shows including NYPD Blue, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Corner and The Wire, died yesterday at age 48, of a brain aneurysm. His death comes less than two weeks before his newest series—Treme, co-created by his longtime colleague and friend David …

Fess Parker, 1924-2010

Fess Parker, star of numerous Disney movies (Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier)—and TV’s Daniel Boone—has died at age 85. I’m a generation too young to have many firsthand memories of him (for some reason, I was never a fan of the old Disney movies as a kid), so most of my recollections of him and his influence are …

That '70s Singer: Alex Chilton, 1950-2010

Alex Chilton, a great American songwriter, died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack in New Orleans, at age 59. First with The Box Tops but most importantly with the Memphis band Big Star, Chilton all but invented American power-pop, even if most people will know him more by the bands he influenced than by his own spectacular …

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