ObitsLatest News and Opinion
Posted Tuesday 5/22/18 at 10:30PM EDT
Cheyenne star Clint Walker dies at 90
From 1955 to 1961, the strapping 6-foot-6 Walker played the title character Cheyenne Bodie on the ABC Western series. Walker appeared in a number of Westerns thanks to his rugged look.
Posted Monday 5/21/18 at 6:27PM EDT
The New York Times is developing a scripted anthology series based on its "Overlooked" obituary series
The Times has yet another TV show in the works, partnering with Paramount Television on the 10-episode series Overlooked, which will use each episode to tell the story of a woman who left an indelible mark on history but didn't get a New York Times obituary. The Times' "Overlooked" series, launched earlier this year, aims to give those historical women proper obituaries. They include Charlotte Brontë and Ida B. Wells. Each episode will be written and directed by women. Earlier this month, The Times announced that it would partner with FX on the weekly series The Weekly.
Posted Wednesday 5/16/18 at 11:25PM EDT
Mannix and One Day at a Time vet Joseph Campanella dies at 93
Campanella, who died Wednesday, was nominated for an Emmy for his supporting role as Lew Wickerscham, private detective Joe Mannix's boss on the late 1960s/early 1970s series. He also played the ex-husband of Bonnie Franklin's character on the original One Day at a Time.
Posted Monday 5/14/18 at 12:29PM EDT
Superman's Margot Kidder dies
Kidder, who died Sunday at age 69, wasn't known for her TV work, but she guest-starred on dozens of TV shows, including Mod Squad and two episodes of the Superman series Smallville.
Posted Tuesday 5/01/18 at 11:02PM EDT
"Gumby's Little Brother" dies
Joe Clokey, the caretaker of the Gumby empire that his dad Art Clokey created in the early 1950s, died on March 2 at age 56 -- just eight years after his father. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Clokey remastered the Gumby library and promoted the friendly green guy through new products, productions, museum exhibits, festivals, TV shows, speaking engagements and parades." Clokey was affectionately known as "Gumby's Little Brother."
Posted Tuesday 4/24/18 at 1:12PM EDT
Schoolhouse Rock! composer and performer Bob Dorough dies at 94
Posted Monday 4/23/18 at 5:51AM EDT
Verne Troyer mourned by his Celebrity Big Brother and Surreal Life housemates
The Austin Powers Mini-Me actor, who died Saturday at age 49, made some notable appearances on reality TV, both in the United States and in Britain. In 2006, he appeared on Season 6 of VH1's The Surreal Life, where he famously got "piss-drunk." Adrianne Curry notes that now two of her housemates are dead, including wrestler Chyna. Rapper Da Brat also paid tribute to Troyer. In 2009, Troyer appeared with Coolio on Britain's Celebrity Big Brother, where he drunkenly crashed his scooter. Coolio tweeted a tribute to Troyer: "#sad that my homie @vernetroyer #vernetroyer is gone #rip I #cherish the time we spent together #cuwhenigetthere #love."
Posted Wednesday 4/18/18 at 6:54AM EDT
Recalling when Barbara Bush was pen pals with Marge Simpson
The former first lady and mother to President George W. Bush, who died on Tuesday at age 92, left her mark on pop-culture in 1990 when she found herself embroiled in a controversy with The Simpsons, which was in its second season. The then-first lady, speaking to People magazine, said of the Fox cartoon, “It was the dumbest thing I had ever seen, but it’s a family thing, and I guess it’s clean.” That quote ended up being shortened to the much harsher sounding "the dumbest thing (she) had ever seen," which prompted a letter from Marge Simpson to the first lady. "I recently read your criticism of my family. I was deeply hurt," wrote Marge. "Heaven knows we're far from perfect and, if truth be known, maybe just a wee bit short of normal; but as Dr. Seuss says, 'a person is a person.'" Barbara Bush responded with a "Dear Marge" letter. "How kind of you to write. I'm glad you spoke your mind; I foolishly didn't know you had one," the first lady wrote. "I am looking at a picture of you, depicted on a plastic cup, with your blue hair filled with pink birds peeking out all over. Evidently, you and your charming family — Lisa, Homer, Bart and Maggie — are camping out. It is a nice family scene. Clearly you are setting a good example for the rest of the country." Bush added: "Please forgive a loose tongue," ending her letter with "P.S. Homer looks like a handsome fella!"
- Today's Jenna Bush Hager pays tribute to her grandmother: "I already miss this FORCE of a woman— the “enforcer” because she was the glue that held our family together"
- Watch Barbara Bush hold her own in a 1994 visit to David Letterman's Late Show
Posted Monday 4/16/18 at 7:30PM EDT
Night Court's Harry Anderson dies at 65
Anderson, who is best known for presiding over the NBC hit sitcom Night Court as Judge Harry Stone for nine seasons, was found dead this morning at his home in Asheville, North Carolina. Police say they don't suspect foul play. Anderson's love of magic earned him several appearances on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s, leading to his role of Harry "The Hat" Gittes on Cheers, which was parlayed into his starring role on Night Court from 1984 to 1992. "I guess they figured I was an actor," Anderson, who was nominated for three Emmys for Night Court, told the Bradenton Herald in 2015. "I never auditioned for anything. I had the scripts next to me behind the bench. They named the character Harry so I'd remember to react when someone said my name. By the time they figured out that I couldn't act scared on the subway at 4 a.m., I already had a five-year contract." Anderson also played Miami Herald humor columnist Dave Barry on the CBS sitcom Dave's World from 1993 to 1997. One of his final screen appearances was as himself on 30 Rock in 2008.
Posted Wednesday 4/11/18 at 1:11PM EDT
Iconic Comedy Store owner Mitzi Shore, the "godmother of comedy" in Los Angeles, dies at 87
David Letterman babysat her children, Jay Leno slept on her club's back stairs and Jim Carrey tended bar for her. Shore influenced the careers of everybody from Robin Williams to Garry Shandling, Roseanne Barr, Jimmie Walker, Bob Saget and, of course, Letterman, Leno and Carrey. In fact, Carrey's Showtime series I'm Dying Up Here is inspired by his Comedy Store past, with Melissa Leo essentially playing Mitzi Shore. The Comedy Store released a statement saying Shore, who died after battling Parkinson's Disease, "was an extraordinary businesswoman and decades ahead of her time who cultivated and celebrated the artistry of stand-up comedy. She was also a loving mother, not only to her own four children, but to the myriad of comedians who adored her. She leaves behind an indelible mark and legacy and has helped change the face of comedy. We will all miss her dearly." The Comedy Store was her fifth child. She was, according to Los Angeles Times' Paul Brownfield, "all-powerful, during a remarkably fertile time for stand-up comedy — the 1970s and early '80s — when many of today's comedy stars showed up in L.A. to go onstage at the only place that mattered."
- Son Pauly Shore, Marc Maron, Whitney Cummings pay tribute to Mitzi Shore on Twitter
- The Comedy Store released a star-studded "Thank you Mitzi" video just three days ago
- Kathy Griffin: "Mitzi Shore was a pioneer who gave more comics their start than I can count...I did my first legit comedy gig at the Store"
- Watch David Letterman's The Comedy Store 15-year reunion Top 10 list
- Pauly Shore tweeted his mom's final days -- he took her for her final visit to The Comedy Store on Monday
# TOPICS: Mitzi Shore, Showtime, I’m Dying Up Here, David Letterman, Garry Shandling , Jay Leno, Jim Carrey, Kathy Griffin, Marc Maron, Pauly Shore, Whitney Cummings, The Comedy Store, Obits, Stand-Up Comedy
Posted Thursday 4/05/18 at 1:50PM EDT
MTV Road Rules alum Brian Lancaster dies at 43
Lancaster, who appeared on Season 7 of the MTV reality show in 1999, may have died of heart failure, according to his family.
Posted Monday 4/02/18 at 9:00PM EDT
Steven Bochco helped TV evolve
"Modern television wouldn't exist without Steven Bochco," says Matt Zoller Seitz. "From the early 1980s onward, starting with Hill Street, Bochco pushed relentlessly, some said fruitlessly, to loosen commercial broadcast television’s restrictions on both content and style, and allow showrunners, writers, and directors to create programs as artistically free as the best titles that could be viewed in cinemas or on cable." Bochco also worked closely and helped develop some of the greatest TV minds, from David E. Kelley to David Milch to Dick Wolf. Even his most notable failure, Cop Rock -- considered to be one of the worst shows ever made -- paved the way for musical TV series from Glee to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to Flight of the Conchords. "It’s impossible to imagine modern television existing without him," says Seitz.
- Bochco was a revolutionary when network TV was ordinary -- cable TV made his best work look callow
- Bochco's big, successful swings more than made up for his misses
- How Bochco fought the FCC and brought nudity to mainstream TV with NYPD Blue
- An ode to Bochco's Murder One, the first show to track an entire case over a season
- Bochco was a "showrunner" before the term was in common usage
- Where to stream Bochco's hits: Hill Street Blues and Doogie Howser are on Hulu, but L.A. Law and Cop Rock aren't available for streaming
- Watch Bochco go in-depth in 1989 Later interview with Bob Costas
Posted Monday 4/02/18 at 9:51AM EDT
Steven Spielberg recalls directing Steven Bochco's Columbo series premiere script in 1971
The Sept. 15, 1971 Columbo episode "Murder By the Book" kicked off the Peter Falk series after two previous Columbo TV movies. Spielberg and Bochco, the respective future titans of the movies and television, were still in their 20s when they collaborated on the first episode of a series that would have a 10-season run on NBC and ABC. "Steve was a friend and a colleague starting with the first episode of Columbo in 1971 that he wrote and I directed," said Spielberg in a statement, reacting to Bochco's death. "We have supported and inspired each other ever since and through many deep mutual friendships we have stayed connected for 47 years. I will miss Steve terribly.”
- Joss Whedon calls Hill Street Blues "one of the biggest influences on Buffy (and me)"
- Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady says "NYPD Blue ushered in what was to be a modern golden age of television drama"
- Blair Underwood: "Steven hired me on LA LAW and changed the trajectory of my life and career"
- Debra Messing: "He was a pioneer, a gentleman, and gave me my first job in prime time tv"
- Corbin Bernsen: "I will be forever grateful to Steven Bochco for the key to the lock that opened the door to a career"
- Neil Patrick Harris: "His work ethic shaped mine, his words of wisdom stick with me to this day. I’m so proud of Doogie Howser, mostly for being a Bochco show"
Posted Sunday 4/01/18 at 10:21PM EDT
Steven Bochco dies: Innovative producer behind NYPD Blue, L.A. Law and Hill Street Blues was 74
Bochco, whose three biggest hit shows won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series within seven years of each other, died in his sleep Sunday after battling cancer. Bochco underwent a stem cell transplant in 2014 after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Bochco was nominated for an Emmy 30 times, winning 10, with the multiple series he co-created dominating the TV landscape throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including NYPD Blue, L.A. Law, Murder One, Doogie Howser, M.D., Cop Rock and Hill Street Blues. Bochco, says Cynthia Littleton, "reveled in pushing boundaries and challenging the status quo. Behind the scenes, Bochco ... expertly leveraged his status as an A-list showrunner. In 1987 he commanded a still-unprecedented six-year, 10-series deal with ABC. Bochco in his prime helped usher in the contemporary Golden Age of TV dramas by insisting that NYPD Blue, which ran from 1993 to 2005 on ABC, move the needle on the content restrictions that had traditionally defined broadcast TV. Bochco often used the phrase '… and the Republic didn’t fall' when asked about the controversy stirred by his shows."
- Stars pay tribute to Bochco: "It was his vision, style, taste and tenacity that made me love watching TV," tweeted NYPD Blue's Sharon Lawrence
- Disney CEO Bob Iger called Bochco "a visionary, a creative force, a risk taker, a witty, urbane story teller with an uncanny ability to know what the world wanted"
- Read an excerpt from Bochco's 2016 memoir, Truth is a Total Defense
Posted Friday 3/30/18 at 9:30PM EDT
Suzanne Patmore Gibbs, former ABC exec who championed Grey's Anatomy, dies at 50
As the ABC executive in charge of scripted programming, Patmore Gibbs championed and/or shepherded Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, Once Upon a Time, Ugly Betty and Lost. Shonda Rhimes posted on Instagram that she was "the first exec to say 'maybe Shonda could write a TV show.' Then she fought like hell to get us the chance to make the Grey's Anatomy pilot." Bryan Fuller praised her for helping him out with Pushing Daisies: "She gave thoughtful notes over wine, a true class act and genuine, lovely human," he tweeted.