Miscellany

Peter Graves Dies at 83

Peter Graves, best known for starring as Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible (or, for a later generation, for his appearances in the Airplane! movies and the Biography series he hosted), has died. The original M:I series was before my time, but I’m always impressed, watching it in retrospect, with how much the show and Graves projected a …

Larry Gelbart Dies at Age 81

TV, movie and theater writer Larry Gelbart died today at age 81. The war comedy M*A*S*H was not the sum total of his career—he also wrote for Sid Caesar, wrote the movie Tootsie and the Broadway comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum—but it’s what I’ll remember him for. Because, of course, it was a landmark comedy; it …

60 Minutes' Don Hewitt Dies At Age 86

Don Hewitt, who launched and executive-produced the newsmagazine colossus 60 Minutes, died today. His own news organization remembers him here.

It’s been a sad summer for CBS News, and yet one that’s reminded the world of that network’s huge role in reporting the news of the 20th century. Like Walter Cronkite, Hewitt was of a generation …

Robert Novak Dies at Age 78

Robert Novak, the political columnist and longtime TV pundit, has died of brain cancer. I’m not going to claim to have been a big fan–of his politics, I’ll admit, but also of the style of TV confrontation he and others plied–but I was a big watcher of his, for years. And the man who “relished his ‘Prince of Darkness’ public persona,” …

John Hughes, R.I.P.

It’s not a TV moment, exactly, but an attention-must-be paid moment for pop-culture geeks of my generation (and maybe others): director John Hughes has died of a heart attack at age 59.

The Breakfast Club, actually, figures heavily in Dan Harmon’s pilot for Community, the comedy debuting on NBC next month. And really it’s become a sort …

Walter Cronkite

America’s most renowned news anchor died on Friday. My appreciation of him is on time.com:

Newsman Walter Cronkite, who died at the age of 92, was so thoroughly and uniquely linked with the word “trust” that it is tempting to say that the word should be buried with him. In the generation since he left the anchor desk at the CBS Evening

He Had a First Name. It Was O-S-C-A-R.

Oscar Mayer, the purveyor of meats who shared a name with the company he chaired, died Monday at age 95. It’s a little odd to feel nostalgia for the passing of a man who, I would guess, most of us did not know except for the name attached to his products. But Mayer’s company, and his name (actually his family name; he joined the family …

Farrah Fawcett: Death of an Angel

After a three-year fight with cancer, actress Farrah Fawcett died today at age 62. No one is likely to argue that Charlie’s Angels, the TV series for which she’s best known, was a masterpiece of video storytelling or a landmark for actresses (“There were three little girls…”). But Fawcett herself, as a star during her brief run on the …

Ed McMahon, TV's First Second Banana, Dies

Ed McMahon, best known as the longtime sidekick to Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, died overnight at age 86. I was a kid for most of McMahon’s heyday, so my personal memories of him are as much from his American Family Publishers career as from Tonight. But I have to appreciate what McMahon did for TV by so wholly coming to own the …

David Carradine Dies

Actor David Carradine was reportedly found dead in his hotel room in Bangkok. He was 72.

My memories of Carradine, beyond Kill Bill, are mostly limited to distant foggy memories of seeing Kung Fu when I was three or four years old. I re-watched some of the series when it came out on DVD, however, and what impressed me about his …

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