Remembrance

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 …

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 …

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