This Day in Death

2.2.13: Philip Seymour Hoffman – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:28 am February 3, 2014

PHILIP_SEYMOUR_HOFFMANSigh. Someday I’ll win a real award, too. Until then, stealing spelling bee participation ribbons from fourth-graders will just have to do.


Philip Seymour Hoffman, considered one of the most talented actors of his generation, was found dead in his apartment yesterday after a suspected drug overdose.

Hoffman was a legit actor whose presence had an actual, measurable effect on the quality of the final product, and that’s entirely too rare. It’s downright bizarre how much credit and attention we give to actors considering how little they tend to contribute to Hollywood films beyond name recognition and Us Weekly Smoochability ratings. Excluding your Michael Caines and your Meryl Streepses and your Daniel Day-Lewi, most actors are pretty much just expected to not fall asleep on camera and they’re rewarded with riches on par with gifts brought to Egyptian gods. There are dozens of people who put more sweat and blood into any given production than your stars ever will; there are screenwriters to write the dialogue, directors to explain how to deliver it, and cue cards stapled to some poor stagehand’s face if Jennifer Aniston is too consumed with her acai berry cleanse to bother learning her lines. Costume, make-up, lighting, and audio departments take care of the rest on set. Editors will cut it together. Marketing will find a way to convince the public that they haven’t already seen this same claptrap a thousand times before. And, hell, you can probably just tie an actor’s torso to a wooden stake like you’re trying to keep a tomato plant from sagging if they can’t even grasp that “don’t fall asleep” thing. If Megan Fox somehow becomes self-aware and decides she can no longer in good conscience appear in a movie about ninja turtles from outer space, positively none of the film’s already-shaky integrity is compromised. Michael Bay just cracks open the clamshell packing on another Blandly Attractive Lady, plugs her into the circuit board, America collectively eats another Choco Taco for lunch, and exactly nothing changes.

But, uh, yeah. Hoffman kept it proper.

[…] he won in the best actor category for “Capote” (2005). As the eccentrically sociable, brilliantly probing and unflappably gay author of “In Cold Blood,“ Mr. Hoffman flawlessly affected the real-life Truman Capote’s distinctly nasal, high-pitched voice and the naturally fey drama of his presence. Writing in The Times, A. O. Scott described the film as being about a writer’s relationship with his work.

Well, it’s time to do what we always do when I’m too squeamish to make fun of a respected figure who died tragically; make fun of celebrities who barely understand computers *or* grammar by checking out some insincere tweets:


Jim Carrey and the Pure Moods album cover he inexplicably uses as his avatar start things out on a pretty classy note, actually. Then he realizes he’s gone 11 words without referencing himself and proceeds to throw some vague existential tortured artist bullshit out there to make sure people realize that he only did Mr. Popper’s Penguins to draw attention to the very real threat of interspecies choreography mishaps. He wraps everything up with an emoticon of… I’m guessing a snooty French waiter with a stye in his right eye.


I have no idea why Whoopi Goldberg thinks that putting dashes between words turns them into links, but it’s kinda adorable. Still, nobody hits random keys with less linguistic cohesion than Cher:


Holy God, Cher. What alien language am I even looking at? How does a person survive the kind of seismic muscle spasm that produced this gibberish without severe nerve damage? This one has the works; sentence fragments! Lack of proper spacing! Letters and numbers replacing words! Random capitalization! Pointless emoticons! Missing apostrophes! Arbitrary line breaks like she thinks she’s E.E. goddamn Cummings! And for some reason a picture of a birthday cake following the kind of meaningless and irrelevant faux-profound simile that makes Jim Carrey’s new age pablum look like the Tao of Hank Hill. I’m tappin’ out, Cher. You done broke my brainbits.


Source: The NY Times (Tweets collected by E Online)

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1.7.14: Chinese Movie Mogul Run Run Shaw – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 9:14 am January 13, 2014

RUN_RUN_SHAWWait, only 60% of your harem are princesses? Get back to me when you’ve learned a thing or two about decadence, Shaw.


It’s sad times for people who enjoy watching half-naked Asian dudes get sweaty with each other in a non-sexual context, because Kung Fu movie pioneer Run Run Shaw passed away last week. Shaw lived to the age of 106, because the Chinese have to be better than us at every goddamn thing. If they ever start making their own “Who Farted?” apparel we might as well concede defeat. You just know those shirts are gonna have some stunning hem work.

Mr. Shaw enjoyed the zany glamour of the Asian media world he helped create. He presided over his companies from a garish Art Deco palace in Hong Kong, a cross between a Hollywood mansion and a Hans Christian Andersen cookie castle. Well into his 90s he attended social gatherings with a movie actress on each arm. And he liked to be photographed in a tai chi exercise pose, wearing the black gown of a traditional mandarin.

Asked what his favorite films were, Mr. Shaw, a billionaire, once replied, “I particularly like movies that make money.”

Alright, so maybe Shaw’s business integrity could’ve been a bit more Russell Simmons and a lot less Gene Simmons, but his empire was still a testament to what you can do with the right amount of dedication and focus. That’s a lesson I’ve applied to this post, which I’ve completed despite having both of my index fingers stuck in a Chinese finger trap as a result of a rather misguided attempt at research. It’s the same way that I got trapped inside those Russian nesting dolls after Mikhail Kalashnikov died. Some days my life would be a lot easier if I didn’t know literally only one thing about every country.


Source: The NY Times

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12.14.13: Peter O’Toole – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:18 pm December 16, 2013

PETER_O'TOOLEHey, remember back when movie posters actually required getting the stars together and taking pictures, forcing them to willfully tolerate being around each other? Seriously, look at this insanity: None of those guys are even in the same time zone, and I’m pretty sure Jet Li isn’t actually a sentient watercolor painting. You really expect me to believe Dolph Lundgren’s schedule was a little too packed for him to swing by for a few snaparoos?


Actor Peter O’Toole, legendary Irish-born and English-schooled star of Lawrence of Arabia, has died at the age of 81. Hey, you know what I don’t get about them Irish? The whole cabbage thing. You’re not lettuce, cabbage, and you never will be. I see a head of you sitting out on the counter and I think that maybe I’ll make myself a delicious BLT. You know, treat myself after a hard day of salting the lawns of my enemies. But then I get close to you and suddenly it smells like someone’s cooking crystal meth in a Louisiana outhouse. You look and taste like wet dollar bills, cabbage. Even your name sounds like some kind of flesh sack for incubating sea lampreys. Anyway, O’Toole was a pretty great actor. I feel like, in hindsight, I could’ve emphasized that a little more here.

O’Toole’s portrayal of Lawrence was followed in 1964 by the role of King Henry II in “Becket,” opposite Richard Burton as Thomas Becket. Both men were nominated for the best actor Oscar for the film, but both lost.

The pattern of Oscar nominations, but no statuettes, for O’Toole is unmatched. “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,” he once said.

Yeah, that’s why you can’t trust award shows to make the right calls. The people casting those votes all trade in political favors and demonic sacrifices. And I have no problem exposing that, even though it’ll probably cost me that AVN Award for my role as ‘Hapless Pizza Boy’ in Dirtpipe Conquistadors 17. Now they’ll probably give it to that guy who played ‘Stressed-Out Business Executive Who Just Needs Someone to Help Him Relax Before the Big Meeting’ instead. Pft. Goddamn Harvard boy; no respect for the working class.


Source: CNN

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11.30.13: Actor Paul Walker – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:59 am December 3, 2013

PAUL_WALKERThese movies may be stupid, but at least Walker had the common sense to stand under his own name. Jesus Christ, Rodriguez, is branding just not important to you at all?


Actor Paul Walker, seen above in part of the 40% of that poster that isn’t Vin Diesel’s schnoz, died on Saturday from a tragic bout of irony. You see, Walker was part of the Fa3t and Fur10us film series and he died while riding in a speeding car, which is both sincerely tragic and recklessly dickish. I felt the need to spell that connection out for you because, if you’re anything like me, you have no idea what these movies are: It turns out my brain is programmed to cross-reference Vin Diesel, Ludacris, and The Rock and mentally trashcan any point at which all three converge. So far it’s only happened for the Fa3t &nd 4ur1ŎU$ movies and a really weird sermon I once heard about the three wise men.

Walker and Roger Rodas, who was believed to be driving, died in the wreck on Hercules Street, a wide business park road, in the community of Valencia inside the city of Santa Clarita, about 30 miles north of Hollywood, according to Walker’s publicist and CNN affiliate KCAL.

In a pretty classy instance of C.R.E.A.M., Universal Pictures wasted no time announcing plans to complete the 5ấ3t &nd 4ur1Ŏü$ installment Walker was working on at the time of his death, most likely by throwing some mountain goats and a typewriter in a cement mixer and hoping that an extensively rewritten script eventually falls out. So how will Walker’s absence be addressed? A mid-film sex change/recast to internet crush Jennifer Lawrence? A harrowing return to his home planet? An endless parade of face-obscuring lens flare after face-obscuring lens flare? Universal Pictures CEO James Schamus responded to the rampant speculation by Instagramming a picture of himself sodomizing a bag with a dollar sign on the side of it. At this point the leading theory is that the bag was filled with money, although this cannot yet be verified.

One thing’s for sure: Your dumbass roommate is still gonna go see this mess, “just to make fun of it,” because he doesn’t understand that Hollywood can cash ironic checks just as easily as sincere ones.


Source: CNN

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10.25.13: Stuntman and Director Hal Needham – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 8:22 am November 5, 2013

HAL_NEEDHAMAnd to think that dog had a B.F.A. from Juilliard. Sure, maybe an M.F.A. would’ve opened a few more doors, but when you consider that he only lived 11 years it’s downright miraculous.


Legendary Hollywood stuntman Hal Needham, the man with the passion for crashin’, the Michael Caine of the shoulder sprain, the Eric Schmidt of falling onto shit, has died at the age of 82. Well, not to sound callous, but what did you expect? An 82-year old shouldn’t be performing stunts in the first damn place. Just let today’s young idiots do it, they’re practically invincible anyway. What with their Monster energy drinks and their parkour and their pumpable sneakers those kids are just about superheroes now, pass the torch already.

Needham helped design a number of devices aimed at making stunts both safer and more spectacular, including a pressure-plate gizmo that could hurl an actor into the air as a car seemed to hit him or an explosion went off nearby. In 1986, he and collaborator William L. Frederick received the academy’s Scientific and Engineering Award for developing the Shotmaker Elite camera car and crane, an invention used for more efficient shooting of action sequences.

Despite contributing his own technological innovations to filmmaking, Needham remained a staunch opponent of the rise of CG special effects up until his death. It’s arguably a little hypocritical, and I have to imagine that he would’ve changed his tune had he been following the Transformers franchise. I mean, in some scenes you can kinda tell Megan Fox isn’t a real person, but how the other actors pretend they’re not just talking to a dude in a green suit is pretty impressive. It’s Andy Serkis’ best work, if you ask me.

Needham would go on to direct such films as Smokey and the Bandit, The Cannonball Run, and Stroker Ace, the only film that shares its name with its own porn parody.


Source: The LA Times

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10.1.13: Author Tom Clancy – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 7:58 am October 3, 2013

TOM_CLANCY“And where the hell is my damn ‘World’s Greatest Middle-Aged Man Who Looks Like a Pedophile But Isn’t a Pedophile’ mug, Linda?!”


Techno-espionage author Tom Clancy is dead today at the conspiratorially symmetrical age of 66. Those in the know are keeping mum about Clancy’s cause of death, but if it turns out to be related to him wearing his sunglasses at night I think Cory Hart’s got a pretty solid pillar for his eyewear safety campaign.The man has a lot of hours in the day to fill, it seems.

Mr. Clancy’s debut book, “The Hunt for Red October,” was frequently cited as one of the greatest genre novels ever written. With the book’s publication in 1984, Mr. Clancy introduced a new kind of potboiler: an espionage thriller dense with technical details about weaponry, submarines and intelligence agencies.

Yeah, I don’t get this at all. We had to cut out 35 chapters from Moby Dick because people can’t handle a little outdated science about whaling, yet everyone’s eager to trudge through 200 pages of jargon copy-and-pasted from a Mark 46 torpedo manual?

But a lack of boring, left-wing, liberal shit like character development or narrative structure wasn’t gonna stop Clancy’s fans, and the man played to his audience by frantically churning out content with the precision and care of a chocolate factory in a Lucy episode. In fact, the man could write a book in just the time it took to put his name on it. That’s because, in many cases, that was all he did:

Clancy has branded several lines of books with his name that are written by other, acknowledged authors following premises or storylines generally in keeping with Clancy’s works […]

These are sometimes referred to by fans as “apostrophe” books; Clancy did not initially acknowledge that these series were being authored by others, only thanking the actual authors in the headnotes for their “invaluable contribution to the manuscript.” [source]

Now, before you guys call me a hypocrite for pointing that out, I’d like to stress that this is nothing like me stamping Plan B’s name onto my line of multivitamins. There’s currently no class action suit pending against Tom Clancy, that’s one difference right there.

Source: The NY Times

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8.24.13: Broadway Star Julie Harris – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 5:55 pm August 29, 2013

Tarzan - Season 1Harris, on the set of Tarzan in 1966. Pfft. I don’t see what the big deal is; I could’ve played that role, if producers weren’t so close-minded about a Tarzan who keeps his shirt on the whole time.


Famed theater actress Julie Harris died over the weekend, although if you live in a town populated by 18th century fops you probably already knew about it and I’m just reopening wounds right now. Sorry about that, but in my defense, your town sounds awful.

Over the years, Harris’ portrayals of historical women led to her being celebrated as one of the most esteemed performers in the history of Broadway, even surpassing such household names as That One Guy Who Was Most Likely Gay and That Lady Who Died (You Know Who I’m Talking About, the Lady). Wow, wouldn’t it have been amazing to have seen all three of them together in something?!

Sometimes called the first lady of the American theater, she made her first Broadway appearance while she was still in college, and over the next half century-plus earned 10 Tony nominations, more than any other performer. The last was in 1997 for a revival of “The Gin Game,” D. L. Coburn’s mordant comedy about the contentious friendship between two isolated denizens of an old age home that emerges over a card table.

Harris was also an accomplished film star, appearing in films such as 1955’s East of Eden, where she had the honor of sucking serious face with superhunk/white cotton t-shirt aficionado James Dean. I hear, if you do it right, it gives you the power to see in six dimensions.


Source: The NY Times

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7.31.13: Star Trek’s Commander Kang Michael Ansara – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 10:51 am August 7, 2013

MICHAEL_ANSARAAnsara was Syrian, so I guess Roddenberry felt he was just some smeared eyeshadow away from becoming a terrifying space alien. More like Racistberry, yah?!


Michael Ansara, who portrayed Klingon Commander Kang in three iterations of Star Trek, is dead at the age of 91. If only there were 500-plus words about Klingon death rituals that I could link to right nGUESS WHAT THERE TOTALLY IS THAT THING I JUST SAID:

When a Klingon warrior was dying, his or her comrades would hold the eyes open while looking into his or her eyes. Once the Klingon in question had died, the other Klingons would raise their heads and howl for several seconds. This howl was a warning to the dead, that a Klingon warrior was arriving. Afterwards, the body was considered to be only an empty shell, and was unceremoniously disposed of following the ritual. [Source]

Granted, it’s a pretty cool ritual in hindsight, but I’m fairly confident that the first Klingon to do that was just being lazy. Here on Earth that’s basically the “OD’d hooker at a toga party” method of body disposal. An honored tradition in its own right, but not especially labor intensive. At any rate, Ansara’s in a better place now. I mean, not like Six Flags Great Adventure better, but definitely at least two or three rungs above, say, St. Louis. Most leading theologians will advise you that expecting any more from the afterlife is just setting yourself up for disappointment.


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7.22.13: Dennis Farina – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 11:54 pm July 25, 2013

DENNIS_FARINAThe man liked consistency.  I heard a photographer once tried to put just one olive into his prop martini. We’re all praying for his family’s safe return someday.


Actor Dennis Farina, who is still not my cool dad despite multiple prayers and sacrifices to the Incan god Inti, is dead this week due to a blood clot in his lung. In his 3-decade acting career Farnia portrayed over a dozen exasperated police sergeants who were sick and tired of that cocksure detective O’Malley playing by his own rules all the time. Goddammit, you’ll bring the Benito crime family down by the book or it’ll be your badge this time, capice!?

The mustachioed Farina was accustomed to playing characters on either side of the law, such Lt. Mike Torello on TV’s Crime Story as well as mobsters like Jimmy Serrano in 1998’s Midnight Run and Albert Lombard on Miami Vice. He had a fruitful partnership with that show’s creator, Michael Mann, having also starred in his films Thief and Manhunter.

I don’t know why everyone’s always so down on typecasting. What’s the big deal? You get really good at a single role and just as soon as you start contemplating eating a bullet from boredom the world at large gets sick of you anyway and the phone stops ringing. Then you open up a putt-putt golf course, do a couple of “Where are They Now?” segments on VH-1, and sit back waiting for some director to pull a Tarantino and remember you from their youth, subsequently casting you in a major motion picture or television show, at which point the internet gets all ironic about you, and BAM! Late-career renaissance. It worked for Neil Patrick Harris and Betty White. Irony even gave Chuck Norris a nice new coat of paint, and that guy’s practically a cartoon supervillain in real life. It’s a decent paycheck for some cakewalk work, and that’s a pretty tender deal if you ask me. Oh, yeah; I’m using the word “tender” now in place of “cool.” Start saying that from now on.


Source: USA Today

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6.19.13: James Gandolfini – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:09 am June 20, 2013

kinopoisk.ruJust for the record, the fact that Tough Guy Actors Playing with Farm Animals still isn’t a show on Animal Planet is the reason I’m disappointed in America. James Gandolfini counting baby ducks! Vin Diesel helping a momma sheep give birth! We could be watching an alpaca getting a bath from The Rock right NOW, what is wrong with you people!?


James Gandolfini, whose name I have no reason not to assume means “son of Gandolf” in Elvish, died suddenly yesterday of a possible heart attack at the age of 51. For six seasons Gandolfini starred in HBO’s The Sopranos, which, for those of you who never watched, predates Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Arrested Development as one of the first ever television shows to make your coworkers get all uppity with you for not watching. Get off my back, Linda! I’m not watching some stupid show about a bunch of dumbass opera singers, I’m a goddamn man.

Mr. Gandolfini, who had studied the Meisner technique of acting for two years, said that he used it to focus his anger and incorporate it into his performances. In an interview for the television series “Inside the Actors Studio,” Mr. Gandolfini said he would deliberately hit himself on the head or stay up all night to evoke the desired reaction.

If you are tired, every single thing that somebody does makes you mad, Mr. Gandolfini said in the interview. “Drink six cups of coffee. Or just walk around with a rock in your shoe. It’s silly, but it works.”

Or try writing a deathblog that nobody reads unless they want to bitch at you for being insensitive about the sax player from Men at Work dying under objectively bizarre circumstances. That shit feels like having splinters in your bloodstream 24 hours a day. Or so I’m told. By my less successful deathblogger friends. At our meetings. That we have. Regularly.

Source: The NY Times

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