TIME viral

Golden Girls Star Rue McClanahan’s Death Goes Viral Five Years After It Happened

Ron Galella Archive - File Photos 2010
Ron Galella, Ltd.—Getty Images Actress Rue McClanahan attends 41st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on Sept. 17, 1989, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif.

Going viral from beyond the grave. Twice

This Thursday saw an outpouring of tributes and condolences over social media for actress Rue McClanahan. Facebook and Twitter were flooded with “We will miss you” and “RIP” messages for the actress, best known for playing Blanche Devereaux in hit TV show The Golden Girls.

The only problem? McClanahan died five years ago. As CBS News pointed out, many people did not actually bother to check the date on the obituary from June 3, 2010, before sharing it widely and prompting an unexpected spike in traffic on the story.

What is even stranger is that this is not the first time McClanahan’s passing has gone viral years after it took place. The same thing happened, inexplicably, on June 10 last year.

As is customary across social media, there were more than a few users who didn’t fall for it gleefully making fun of those who did.

TIME remembrance

Big-Band Leader James Last Dies, Aged 86

German bandleader and composer James Last performs live during a concert at the O2 World on April 18, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.
Frank Hoensch—Redferns/Getty Images German bandleader and composer James Last performs live during a concert at the O2 World on April 18, 2015 in Berlin, Germany.

He sold 80 million albums of his trademark easy-listening music during his long career

James Last, the German-born big-band leader and composer, has died in Florida, aged 86.

His manager said Last passed away in his home “peacefully and in the presence of his family” on Tuesday after battling an illness, reports the BBC.

He was known for performing upbeat, easy-listening versions of pop hits with his big band. The critics derided him during his during his music career, which spanned over five decades, but consumers loved his music. Last released more than 200 albums and sold 80 million records worldwide

Born Hans Last in Bremen, Germany, in 1929, he became a musician in dance bands after the war. His career took off in the 1960s when he began making instrumental tracks under the name James Last and His Orchestra.

In March, he appeared at London’s Royal Albert Hall for his final concerts.

“In him, the world loses a unique ambassador whose expressive and all-encompassing language was music,” his manager said on Wednesday.

[BBC]

TIME Media

Writer of Famous Tabloid Headline Dies at 74

The New York Post front page on April 15, 1983.
New York Post New York Post front page on April 15, 1983.

But it wasn't the headline he was most proud of

A former New York Post editor who was widely credited with penning the famous headline “HEADLESS BODY IN TOPLESS BAR” died on Tuesday in New York City. He was 74.

Vincent Musetto had been in hospice care at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, and his death was confirmed by former colleague Myron Rushetzky, the New York Times reports. The New Jersey native was most known for the verbless headline that ran on the Post‘s front page on April 15, 1983. The accompanying report detailed a crime involving a man in Queens who would later be convicted in the shooting death of a bar owner; the man took several women hostage and forced one to cut off the owner’s head.

Despite its popularity, the “HEADLESS” headline wasn’t the one he was the most proud of. His favorite, written the following year, was “GRANNY EXECUTED IN HER PINK PAJAMAS.”

[NYT]

TIME In Memoriam

Charles Harbutt: ‘Mary Ellen Mark Wanted Her Work to Count’

402J 043 03A, 10/14/04, 3:22 PM, 16G, 5088x7328 (415+335), 100%, Eakins, 1/120 s, R62.1, G45.6, B68.5
Mary Ellen Mark Girl jumping over a wall in Central Park. New York, 1967.

Celebrated documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark died on May 25, aged 75.

Mary Ellen Mark’s long-time friend and colleague, the American photographer and former Magnum Photos president Charles Harbutt talks to TIME about Mark’s dedication to photography.

I first met Mary Ellen when she applied to join Magnum, the international photographers’ coop. At the time we were trying slowly to rebuild after losing three founding members. Mary Ellen and her pictures were a perfect fit: as elegant as Inge Morath and as intrepid a journalist as Eve Arnold. We’ve been friends ever since.

Mary Ellen considered herself a portraitist, but her pictures were not just the famous. She wanted her work to count, to be about important things in our world, things we should pay attention to. Ultimately, I think her prime theme was the situation for women in our tired old world: Ward 81 a woman’s ward in an asylum, girl prostitutes in Bombay, Tiny (a lifelong project), a homeless child/woman, Mother Theresa, high school Proms, even the Indian circuses, all talk about life and death in our world.

Mary Ellen was physically brave. Covering the 1968 convention in Chicago, by day she was in the midst of the police breaking up the protesters then, at night, elegantly dressed on the Convention floor being leered at by the male delegates.

A week or so ago, we were talking and she said she hated the new academic work over-Photoshoped perfection, “life without the zits and pimples” she said. For herself she wanted to run into the wall, maybe with a little ‘shopping, to die working. Sadly she did.

Charles Harbutt is an American photographer and an associate professor at Parsons, the New School for Design.

TIME obituary

Actress and Comedian Anne Meara, Mom of Ben Stiller, Dies at 85

Anne Meara attends the 2011 Players Foundation for Theatre Education Hall of Fame Inductions at The Players Club on May 1, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Anne Meara;
Dave Kotinsky—Getty Images Anne Meara at the 2011 Players Foundation for Theatre Education Hall of Fame Inductions at The Players Club in New York City on May 1, 2011.

Survived by her husband, two children and several grandchildren

Actress and comedian Anne Meara, who gained fame as half of the comedy team Stiller & Meara and went on to star in TV and film, has died. She was 85.

Her husband, Jerry Stiller, and son Ben Stiller say Meara died Saturday. No other details were provided.

The Stiller family released a statement to The Associated Press on Sunday describing Jerry Stiller as Meara’s “husband and partner in life.”

“The two were married for 61 years and worked together almost as long,” the statement said.

The couple performed as Stiller & Meara on “The Ed Sullivan Show” and other programs in the 1960s and won awards for the radio and TV commercials they made together.

Read the rest of the story at NBCNews.com.

TIME remembrance

Food Writer Joshua Ozersky Dies at Age 47

Award-winning food writer and host Josh Ozersky goes on a spirited journey across the country, and back in time, to explore the science, anthropology, and history of alcohol in United States of Drinking
Smithsonian Channel Award-winning food writer and host Josh Ozersky goes on a spirited journey across the country, and back in time, to explore the science, anthropology, and history of alcohol in United States of Drinking

The prolific author, former TIME contributor and meat evangelist wrote as much about why we eat as what we eat.

Joshua Ozersky, one of America’s most passionate and eloquent food writers, died on Monday in Chicago, where he was attending the James Beard Awards. The cause of death was undetermined.

Ozersky, 47, was a Beard winner himself, the author of several books on food, a columnist for Esquire and a former contributor to TIME and many, many other publications. He was also my friend. I met Josh in 1998. I was writing for Salon then, and I knew and admired his writing from around the web. He was living in Corning, N.Y., doing corporate writing as a day job, and he invited me out of the blue to get a drink in Manhattan and ask my advice on taking his freelancing full-time.

I don’t remember what advice I gave him, and whatever it was, he didn’t need it. Within a few years, he was embedded in New York’s food and restaurant culture. He was expansive, gregarious, a character of his own authoring: he wrote his “carnivore’s guide to New York,” Meat Me in Manhattan, under the name Mr. Cutlets, a pseudonym cribbed from Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener.” He got to know the people who ran restaurants and learned how they work. He was a polymath and a performer; he produced a series of web videos, appeared on TV, and created Meatopia, a traveling, growing celebration of the fatty, sanguineous vittles he loved. (I remember a very early incarnation, in the back of a New York bar, which Josh kicked off with the benediction that became his personal credo of lusty eating: “The fat is the meat, and the meat is the vegetable!”)

Josh didn’t start out as a food writer, though. He wrote about pop culture, art, media; in 2003, he published Archie Bunker’s America, a sweeping, historically astute study of TV in the 1970s. It made sense that he would turn to food writing, though. Not only did he love to eat, he realized that food was culture that you engaged with, literally, on a gut level.

When Josh wrote about food, it was personal and forceful. Sometimes that meant controversy and feuds, but it elevated his writing above trend-chasing and meal-description. (Though he wrote about restaurants and loved to discover them, he always stressed that he was not a “restaurant critic” and didn’t want to be one.) He liked what he liked, whether it was high-end restaurant cuisine or Kozy Shack pudding. Josh didn’t just write about what to eat, but how to eat, why we eat, what needs eating fills.

If a journalist is good enough, it doesn’t matter what his or her subject is. Even if you eat peanut butter on saltines for three meals a day, Josh’s work still has something to say to you. For Saveur, he wrote about connecting with his father, an unrecognized artist, over souffles and Chinese takeout ribs. When he was cropped out of a photo on the wall of Katz’s Deli, he cut a hilariously confessional video rant on the hustle for fame. He rebelled against the MFK Fisher school of writing, arguing that our popular, romanticized food-lit leaves out the truth of many people’s lived experience: “My own formative encounters with food had exactly no connection to the seasons, to romance, to good times or for that matter bad ones. I self-medicated with it.”

One of Josh’s pieces that sticks with me is a simple list he wrote for Esquire of rules for dining out. It’s practical, funny, and typically impatient with pretense (“6. Life is too short for platonic love affairs or savory desserts”). But it’s also, when you get down to it, a wise, succinct guide on how to live. It ends by addressing the question of “ethical dining” with a perfect note about morality and humility:

“Feeling ethical?” he writes. “Tip well and take home what you don’t eat. And don’t talk about your moral choices. It’s boorish and contrary to the spirit of morality. Pipe down and do the best you can. That’s all that can reasonably be expected of anybody.” RIP.

TIME remembrance

‘Stand By Me’ Singer Ben E. King Dead at 76

1961, New York City, Ben E. King
Michael Ochs Archives—Getty Images Ben E. King in 1961.

He started his career with The Drifters

The iconic R&B singer Ben E. King, immortalized by his hit song “Stand By Me,” died on Thursday. He was 76.

King was part of the popular 1950s band The Drifters, singing hits like “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “There Goes My Baby” and “This Magic Moment,” all of which continue to be mainstays on oldies radio stations. The group was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988.

King decided to quit the group over a contract dispute—the group’s management paid the performers only $100 a week, despite their massive success. He went solo in the early ’60s and had a huge success in “Stand By Me,” which climbed the charts again more than two decades later when a movie by the same name debuted.

Writing about the song in a 2013 article, he said, “I still perform it in all my shows. I’ll do it as long as I’m breathing. I’m so proud it has stood the test of time.”

[BBC]

TIME remembrances

Everybody Loves Raymond Child Star Sawyer Sweeten Has Committed Suicide

8th Annual TV Land Awards - Arrivals
Jordan Strauss—Invision/AP Sawyer Sweeten, Madylin Sweeten and Sullivan Sweeten, left to right, arrives at 8th Annual TV Land Awards at Sony Studios on April 17, 2010, in Los Angeles, Calif.

He was just 19

Everybody Loves Raymond child star Sawyer Sweeten took his own life at his family’s Texas home on Thursday, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which cited a family statement. He was just 19.

“This morning a terrible family tragedy has occurred,” Sweeten’s family said. “We are devastated to report that our beloved brother, son, and friend, Sawyer Sweeten, took his own life.”

Sweeten appeared in the television comedy Everybody Loves Raymond from 1996 to 2005. He starred as Geoffrey Barone alongside his twin brother from the tender age of just 16 months. The popular sitcom, starring Ray Romano, centered on an oddball family living on Long Island.

Sweeten’s sister Madylin, who played Romano’s on-screen daughter Ally Barone, urged the public in a Facebook note “to reach out to the ones you love,” adding, “Let them have no doubt of what they mean to you.”

[THR]

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TIME Design

Designer Who Created the Iconic ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ Sign Has Died

Tourists take pictures on Feb 12, 2009 in front of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" neon sign in Las Vegas. Betty Willis, the woman who designed the iconic neon sign that has welcomed countless visitors to Las Vegas since 1959 has died.
Jae C. Hong—AP Tourists take pictures on Feb 12, 2009 in front of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" neon sign in Las Vegas. Betty Willis, the woman who designed the iconic neon sign that has welcomed countless visitors to Las Vegas since 1959 has died.

Betty Willis was 91

Nevada graphic designer Betty Willis, who created the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign that became a globally recognized icon of hedonism, died Monday at age 91, according to the Neon Museum.

Her design, gifted to Las Vegas in 1959, is emblematic of Googie architecture, with its characteristic futuristic motifs. Although the sign is formally owned by the Young Electric Sign Co., its image remains perennially in the public domain, with reprints adorning all manner of Vegas memorabilia from coffee mugs to T-shirts.

“Visitors see the sign with the twinkle in it and know they’ve got a license to enjoy themselves,” former Las Vegas mayor Oscar B. Goodman told the New York Times in 2005.

Willis was brought up outside Las Vegas and worked at Western Neon in 1952, after attending school in Los Angeles in 1952. “We thought the town was fabulous, so we added the word,” she once said.

TIME obituary

Prominent Chicago Chef Homaro Cantu Dead at 38

Chef Homaro Cantu in 2010.
Amy Sussman—Getty Images Chef Homaro Cantu in 2010.

He was found in a building where he planned to open a brewery

Chicago chef Homaro Cantu, whose scientific approach to food made him a star in the city’s dining scene, has died at age 38 in what police say appears to be a suicide.

His body was found in the building where he planned to open a brewery, the Chicago Tribune reports. An autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Cantu was an owner of Moto, one of the country’s most prominent restaurants in the field of molecular gastronomy. He said his family’s homelessness during his childhood inspired him to tackle issues of hunger and nutrition creatively, experimenting with edible paper and miracle berries, which turn sour foods sweet. He started a lab in the basement of Moto and dreamed of creating hangover-free beer and vegan eggs.

“I think [I’m] a product developer first and foremost now,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 2012. “I was just taught very early that if I didn’t solve problems, I was headed for a very dark path.”

In March, an investor in Moto and another now-closed restaurant of Cantu’s sued him, alleging that he never received his share of profits and that Cantu used restaurant funds for personal expenses and the promotion of his The Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook, the New York Times reports.

Cantu’s friends mourned his sudden death as word spread on Tuesday.

“I don’t think there’s anybody like Omar,” longtime friend and chef Michael Taus of the restaurant Taus Authentic told NBC Chicago. “I mean, he was shooting for the moon. He didn’t know the word, ‘No,’ and he was just always experimenting. He was a mad scientist.”

[Chicago Tribune]

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