ObitsLatest News and Opinion
Posted Tuesday 8/21/18 at 5:47PM EDT
LazyTown star Stefan Karl Stefansson dies after cancer battle at age 43
The puppeteer and actor, 43, rose to fame playing the villain Robbie Rotten on the Nickelodeon early 2000s kid series LazyTown. "In celebration of Stefan Karl and his contribution to the world of humor and joy of heartfelt expression that unites us all, The Stefan Karl Academy & Center for the Performing Arts will launch in 2019 in Switzerland, hosted by HIAG Immobilien," Stefansson's manager said in a statement.
Posted Thursday 8/16/18 at 1:39PM EDT
Aretha Franklin dies: Remembering The Queen of Soul's most memorable TV performances
"Aretha Franklin's was the voice of the 20th century," says Jack Hamilton in a tribute to the iconic performer. "No other singer left such a definitive mark on the course of popular music—simply put, there is singing before Aretha Franklin, and there is singing after her." Franklin's voice made its TV debut at age 19 on Jack Paar's Tonight Show. By her third TV appearance, singing "Won't Be Long" on The Steve Allen Show in 1964, "her mastery of both the piano and her performance was captivating," says Naima Cochrane. In 1973, Franklin became one of the rare performers to sing live on Soul Train (most performers used lip-sync tracks), singing "Day Dreaming." Introducing this performance, host Don Cornelius said, “I consider myself very fortunate to have lived on earth during her career, and that I was able to see and hear what she has done. She deserves all the titles she has been given, for she is the Queen.” In 2014, Franklin showed that her voice was still great while performing a cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" on The Late Show with David Letterman. "In this Letterman performance," says Cochrane, "Franklin brought back longtime backing vocalist Cissy Houston (who possibly didn’t care to be there, judging from her expressions during the performance), and proved she hadn’t lost a step or a note, nor had her unique gift for transforming and elevating already iconic songs faded. In her style of transforming the end of a song, she transitions into 'Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,' playing to the audience with her hand on her hip as though to emphasize her continued reign."
- Longtime Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich recalls Franklin saving him in 1998 when she agreed to sing "Nessum Dorma" at the last minute because Luciano Pavarotti was too ill
- Franklin singing "Nessun Dorma" at the Grammys was the greatest awards show performance ever
- Franklin made only one TV acting appearance, on Room 222 in 1971
- Watch Franklin playing herself on a 1991 episode of Murphy Brown
- Watch Franklin's 60 Minutes profile from 1990
Posted Tuesday 8/14/18 at 9:52PM EDT
Former E! reality star Lyric McHenry dies of a suspected drug overdose
McHenry, who appeared on Magic Johnson's son EJ Johnson's 2016 E! reality show EJNYC, was found dead on the sidewalk in New York City early this morning. McHenry, 26, was reportedly 20 weeks pregnant. The New York Daily News reports that she was found with a small Ziplock bag of cocaine, and police suspect she died of an overdose.
Posted Monday 8/13/18 at 2:35PM EDT
WWE legend Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, father of Total Divas star Natalya, dies at 63
Neidhart was best known for teaming up with brother-in-law Bret Hart for the two-time tag team championship-winning Hart Foundation. Neidhart also appeared several times on his daughter Natalya's E! reality show. His last appearance on Total Divas was last year.
Posted Saturday 8/11/18 at 4:53AM EDT
Patrick Williams, who composed background music for many iconic TV shows, dies at 79
"Anyone who watched television from the 1970s through the early 2000s had a fair chance of encountering Mr. Williams’s work," writes Daniel E. Slotnik. "He wrote music for The Bob Newhart Show, The Streets of San Francisco, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, The Simpsons and Monk, among others, and for more than 100 television movies. He was nominated for 22 Emmys and won four. His background music for the Mary Tyler Moore Show spinoff Lou Grant won him the Emmy for outstanding music composition for a series; he also wrote the show’s title theme."
Posted Monday 8/06/18 at 3:26AM EDT
Charlotte Rae dies: Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life stars pay tribute to "Mrs. Garrett"
Rae died Sunday afternoon at age 92 after a battle with cancer, two days after a Facts of Life reboot was reported to be in the works. Rae played Mrs. Garrett from 1978 to 1986 on Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life. Her housekeeper character on Diff'rent Strokes proved to be so popular that after 1 1/2 seasons, she left to star in the spinoff The Facts of Life as the house mother at an all-girls' boarding school. The Facts of Life stars were quick to pay tribute on Sunday night. "You all already know my heart is heavy yet.... sorry, no words at the moment just love and tears... and yeah, smiles," tweeted Kim Fields. "she was my champion, a teacher, a proud example of the tenacity and perseverance needed to live an actor’s life," added Mindy Cohn. "i love you char. i will continue to make you proud." Meanwhile, Diff'rent Strokes' Todd Bridges tweeted: "Different Strokes would not have been the same without you #CharlotteRae. You were loved by everyone on our show and you were loved by everyone on the facts of life will miss you 'My heart is full of Pain" Rest in peace my friend."
Posted Friday 8/03/18 at 3:50PM EDT
My 600-lb Life star found dead of a gunshot would months after appearing on the TLC reality show
L.B. Bonner was found dead last night of a gunshot wound in a ditch. My 600-lb Life documented his 316-pound weight-loss on the Feb. 14 episode. Police haven't confirmed Bonner's death as a suicide, but he posted a cryptic message Thursday night on Facebook.
Posted Thursday 8/02/18 at 3:05AM EDT
Howard Felsher, a "game show doctor" who emerged from scandal to make Family Feud a No. 1 hit, dies at 90
Source: The New York Times
Felsher, who was fired for fixing Tic-Tac-Dough in 1959, was a star witness in the 1950s congressional investigation into game show rigging. He emerged from that scandal to make Family Feud a daytime TV hit in the 1970s with host host Richard Dawson. Felsher made Family Feud more appealing to the masses by expanding its contestant pool to include older people, racial and ethnic minorities and disabled contestants.
Posted Wednesday 8/01/18 at 4:00PM EDT
Hell's Kitchen alum Jessica Vogel dies
Vogel, 34, who also appeared on Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen, competed on a 2014 episode of Hell's Kitchen. She was suffering from inflammatory bowel disease colitis at a hospital in southern New Jersey when “her heart gave out.”
Posted Tuesday 7/31/18 at 4:36AM EDT
Freda Black, one of the The Staircase prosecutors, dies
Freda Black, 57, the former assistant district attorney who was part of the team that helped convict Michael Peterson in the 2001 death of his wife, was found dead over the weekend. Police say that her death doesn't appear to be suspicious.
Posted Monday 7/30/18 at 1:49PM EDT
Doug Grindstaff, Star Trek's sound effects maestro, dies at 87
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Grindsaff, a five-time Emmy winner, came up with Star Trek's Tribble coos, communicator beeps and the whoosh of Enterprise bridge doors opening and closing. In a 2016 interview, Grindstaff said Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry "wanted to paint the whole show (with sound) like you were painting a picture. And he wanted sounds everywhere. One time I asked him, 'Don't you think we're getting too cartoony?' Because I felt it should be a little more dignified, but he wanted sound for everything."
Posted Saturday 7/28/18 at 12:28AM EDT
Reality TV pioneer Bill Loud, the patriarch of PBS' An American Family, dies at 97
Source: The New York Times
Loud was the father of five and the first reality TV dad when An American Family shocked audiences in 1973. "As a father figure, Mr. Loud, who ran a company that made parts for heavy equipment, sent what could seem like mixed messages," says William Yardley. "He pressed his children to be responsible and work hard, even as he complained that modern family life had robbed men of their independence." Loud's death was confirmed by his ex-wife, Pat Loud, who famously kicked him out of the house during filming of the show. He later remarried and divorced and moved back in with ex-wife Pat as "roommates." Loud is survived by his ex-wife, four of his five kids -- son Lance Loud died of complications from HIV in 2001 -- and two grandchildren.
Posted Monday 7/23/18 at 11:01PM EDT
Wicked Tuna star Nicholas "Duffy" Fudge dies at 28
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
A cause of death wasn't revealed for the National Geographic Channel reality star, who died unexpectedly on Thursday. Fudge appeared on Wicked Tuna and its spinoff, Wicked Tuna: Outer Banks.
Posted Monday 7/23/18 at 9:27AM EDT
3rd Rock from the Sun's Elmarie Wendel dies at 89
Wendel played the Solomon family’s landlady on the 1990s NBC comedy. She also appeared on Seinfeld and The George Lopez Show.
Posted Monday 7/16/18 at 8:37PM EDT
Nathan for You legal expert Judge Anthony Filosa dies at 78
The retired California state judge made four appearances on Nathan Fielder's Comedy Central show to advise him on his stunts. Filosa died "unexpectedly" on July 4. "Judge Anthony Filosa was very special man," Fielder said in tweeting out his obituary. "Sad to lose a friend and my primary counsel. I’ll never know the law right again."