This Day in Death

8.29.16: Gene Wilder – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 2:31 pm September 6, 2016

GENE_WILDERMan, John Cena always looks so weird when they have to put him a suit.


Gene Wilder, star of such beloved comedies as Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles, has passed away at the age of 83 due to complications related to Alzheimer’s. And now you all see what a lifetime of this comedy stuff will get you. Personally I’ve been ramping down the humor around here for some time in order to wean you guys off the stuff. Don’t worry; Stick with me and soon the most amusement you’ll be able to tolerate is nodding politely to Spalding Gray monologues before getting a good night’s rest.

Wilder made perhaps his most lasting impact as the titular star of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a film about a small-business owner who, apparently not giving any kind of a shit about the sanitary requirements of manufacturing consumables, let a bunch of filthy kids run roughshod through his candy factory with their sticky fingers just a-grabbin’ at everything within reach. They were literally swimming around in it at one point, that’s just gross. Unless the real villain of the film turns out to be Typhoid fever you’re just sending a bad message.

Notably, when velour hat enthusiast Tim Burton rebooted the film in 2005 to a somewhat more controversial reception, Wilder himself called it an “insult” and didn’t care for its darker tone. Far be it from me to jump to Burton’s crushed-velvet-ensconced aid, but if you wanna talk cynical Hollywood cash grabs it’s worth noting that Wilder’s film only got funding in exchange for the rights to create actual molar-raping, diabetes-baiting candy as a synergistic tie to the film. Say what you will about modern cinema, but at least nowadays we can go to the movies without anyone trying to convince us that gobs of sugar will fill the dull ache in our mortal souls. Nope, now science has proven that that can only be accomplished by the luxurious yet bold engineering of a 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. That’s Mercedes-Benz: The Best or Nothing!

Mr. Wilder’s rule for comedy was simple: Don’t try to make it funny; try to make it real. “I’m an actor, not a clown,” he said more than once.

With his haunted blue eyes and an empathy born of his own history of psychic distress, he aspired to touch audiences much as Charlie Chaplin had. The Chaplin film “City Lights,” he said, had “made the biggest impression on me as an actor; it was funny, then sad, then both at the same time.”

Hey, did you guys know Wilder was once married to fellow yukchucker Gilda Radner? As a public service announcement, I have to say I highly advise against that kind of thing. You don’t want to marry someone in the same profession as you; It just gets competitive and will likely speed up your already-assured divorce, and you really gotta stick together at least long enough to get on their insurance and have some stuff checked out. See, if you want a strong marriage, what you really need is a mate that does something complementary to what you do without it being too similar. Like let’s say you’re a professional bank robber. Well, see if you can’t find yourself a sleepy security guard to marry. Doomsday prepper? Meet Sam’s Club floor manager. Veterinary tech for an at-capacity animal shelter? Bam! Chef at a fledgling South Korean bistro. Hey, I know it’s not always pretty, but building a stronger society isn’t about aesthetics. It’s like I’ve been saying for years: It’s time to take love out of marriage. And out of our schools, too, come to think of it. When I send my hypothetical children to a public facility I don’t want them coming back with all sorts of twisted ideas about this “compassion” stuff in their heads. It’s against nature, it is!


Source: The NY Times

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1.16.13: Pauline Phillips, AKA Dear Abby – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:44 pm January 18, 2013

PAULINE_PHILLIPSThough no one took any joy in it, eventually someone in 1997 had to tell Phillips that she had been futilely typing her columns onto an inkjet printer for the past six months.

As most of you know, I get almost all of my life advice from a combination of Archie comics and my racist uncle’s speeches about Hispanics. But for those of you less blessed, you may have resorted to the Dear Abby column at some sad, near-suicidal point in what can generously be called your life.

Back when fish wraps were known as “newspapers” and were used to communicate opinions and information about current events, Pauline Phillips wrote the column under the pseudonym Abigail Van Buren. She kept it up until Alzheimer’s Disease forced her retirement in 2002, which means there were people in the age of the internet who were perfectly happy to put important life decisions on hold for 3-5 weeks in the slim hope that an octogenarian that they’d never met would be able to come down from her Ditropan high long enough to pound out 2 lines of snarky advice. If possible, those people should definitely be on a list somewhere. It’s for their safety as much as ours.

Phillips died Wednesday in Minneapolis after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, said Gene Willis, a publicist for the Universal Uclick syndicate.

“My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion, commitment and positive social change,” her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now writes the column, said in a statement.

Phillips’ twin sister Esther Friedman Lederer famously wrote the Ask Ann Landers column, and the two competed for the same coveted “invalid shut-ins, cuckolded husbands, and bored suburban teenagers who aren’t very good at pranks” demographic for almost 50 years. 50 years! The conflict resulted in decades of animosity between the sisters as Americans desperately struggled to care. It’s like the time Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman both opened acting schools right across the street from one another. So many have tried to help them patch that up, but neither one looks like they’re ever gonna budge.

Source: The Washington Post

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6.30.12: Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir – DEAD! The TDiD 100th Post Blognniversary!

Filed under: Uncategorized —James @ 9:21 am July 5, 2012

Well, thanks for the enthusiasm, but now I just feel bad for not being able to get through your Wiki entry.


Today’s cheap excuse for me to just say whatever the hell I was gonna say anyway is former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir. But we don’t have time to get bummed out today, because this marks the TDiD’s landmark 100th post, not counting the four times I erroneously reported on the passing of Hugh Downs. What can I say; We’re long overdue for someone to get shot in the dick with a harpoon and then immediately be devoured by a pack of hyenas, so I took an educated guess.

Point is, everyone who said I’d never stick with this thing past the first week can report to the backside of my pimp hand, toot suite. How’s that feel, parents, members of local clergy, and back-talking house pets? Who’s the morbid, antisocial loner trying desperately to mask his clinical depression and self-loathing by mocking the suffering of others now? No, YOU forgot to take YOUR Wellbutrin this morning!

Anyway, since the 100th is the novelty feature anniversary, I got you a “Random Post” button. It’s on the sidebar there, and it’s just one of the many tools you can use to try and pinpoint the exact post where I stopped caring. Hint: His name rhymes with Click Dark.


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Filed under: Dead —James @ 3:39 am March 20, 2012

Hastily Photoshopped Wranglin’ Cowboy Monkey gets way too excited about this stuff.


Here at the old Tee DiD (oh yeah; the shorthand for this blog is now “The Tee DiD,” so get used to that) things occasionally sluice through the netting and end up falling between the cracks, like mixed metaphors being shoehorned into a poorly-constructed post written in the hoary afterglow of a three-day alcopop bender. The point is, I missed a few notables. The afterlife smells a lot more like ganj lately, and here’s why:


3.3.12: Ronnie Montrose – DEAD!

Ronnie Montrose, guitarist for, uh… Montrose… has died at the age of 64 from prostate cancer. Montrose, before forming Montrose, Montrosed all over albums by Van Morrison, Boz Scaggs, The Edgar Winter Group, and Herbie Hancock. Upon going all hardcore eponymous, Montrose gave us the debut of a young firebrand named Sammy Hagar, who would go on to annoy everyone on the goddamn planet by having the kind of on-again/off-again relationship with Van Halen that was historically reserved for late-season episodes of 90210. Jesus Christ, will you guys just hump already?


3.7.12: James T. Ellis – DEAD!

Don’t feel alone; I’m also way too white to have to known who he was by the picture. Ellis was a member of 70s disco act The Trammps. More specifically, he was the “Burn, baby, burn!” guy in the song ‘Disco Inferno.’ Ellis died at the age of 74 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, which isn’t a funny cause of death, and that makes my work here considerably more difficult. Sigh. Nobody ever dies from spontaneous bowel explosion anymore. It’s a very different world we’re living in nowadays.


3.12.12: Michael Hossack – DEAD!

Doobie Brothers drummer Michael Hossack, 65, also died of cancer this month. The cautionary tale of the Doobie Brothers is that if you name your band after interests you developed in your youth that name is probably not going to age too well. It’s a lesson I and the rest of the My Little Pony Sunshine Symphony wish we had taken to heart years ago.


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