TIME obituary

Mickey Rooney: A Look Back at His Early Life in Pictures

The life of silver-screen legend Mickey Rooney, who has died at 93, began in New York City in 1920. His nine-decade performance career began at the tender age of just 17 months

TIME obituary

Kate O’Mara, Former Dynasty Star, Dies at 74

KATE O'MARA
Kate O'Mara, in a publicity photo for Dynasty, January 15, 1986. ABC/Getty Images

The actress who played Cassandra "Caress" Morrell on the famous soap opera and starred in the original run of Doctor Who died Sunday morning after a short battle with an illness, according to her agent. She was 74

Kate O’Mara, the former star of the hit American soap opera Dynasty, died Sunday morning at the age of 74.

The actor played Alexis Colby’s scheming sister Cassandra “Caress” Morrell in Dynasty. She also had roles in British series Doctor Who, Howards’ Way and Triangle. Her agent said she died on Sunday morning in a Sussex nursing home after a short battle with an illness, the Guardian reports.

She appeared in the original run of Doctor Who along with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy as renegade Time Lord The Rani.

O’Mara’s first television roles were in the 1960s, but she landed her biggest gigs in the 1980s.

[The Guardian]

TIME obituary

Good Riddance, Fred Phelps

Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church
Ryan Pfluger for TIME

He was the kind of person no one wanted to be around

Fred Phelps, a colossal jerk, died Thursday in Topeka, Kansas, at 84, after a long life in which even his few admirable achievements (a series of civil rights cases that he filed as an attorney) stemmed from a deeply disagreeable personality (he loved to pick fights with his neighbors). He was the kind of person no one wanted to be around: a lawyer disbarred by his colleagues, a preacher disowned by every denomination he ever espoused, a father rejected by his children—even, in the end, the children who emulate his worst characteristics.

Ordinarily, such an unpleasant and despicable man would not make much of a stir by dying. But Phelps was different from the garden-variety grinch in one important way: He had a thirst for notoriety and a genius for getting it.

His so-called Westboro Baptist Church—which was not in any meaningful sense “Baptist” or even a “church”—was a brutal but highly effective tool for compelling the attention of the world’s media. For most of the history of Westboro, it had few, if any, members beyond Phelps’s own family, which (according to at least one of his sons) the “pastor” kept in line with fists and a club.

But Phelps understood that the engine of news is conflict, and the sharper the conflict, the better. So he made a life of showing up at newsworthy events to shout vile abuse and attack innocent people he had never met. By bringing his family along, he gave the impression of numbers, and by calling this vile façade a “church,” he tapped into poisonous millennia of religious conflict to turbocharge his egomania. A man waving a sign that says “I Hate Fags” is pathetic; a man waving a sign that says “God Hates Fags” is news.

As a reporter and editor in some big newsrooms over the past 30 years, I watched as one journalist after another took Phelps’s bait, then tried to spit out the hook once the dishonesty and shabbiness of the man’s enterprise grew clear. You could fill a gymnasium with the scribes who swore off coverage of Westboro over the years. The only problem was, new and naïve reporters were being minted all the time, ready to believe that Phelps represented some larger darkness beyond the pit of his own person.

Ultimately, however, even Phelps could not keep this going forever. Westboro has been caught between two forces. One is the small group of journalists who went beyond the inflammatory picket lines to show the Phelps family as it really is: representative of nothing more than their own dysfunction. The other is the larger community of decent individuals who decided to give the media another, fresher story. Starting with the motorcycle riders of the Patriot Guard and quickly spreading to high schools, college campuses, and legitimate churches, a movement arose to build human walls between the Phelpses and the cameras. Though the family has tried desperately to regain its leverage by picketing celebrities, in fact, its day is done. The clan is devouring itself from within: even Fred was “excommunicated” in his last days.

This is the bright side of a gloomy life, and the reason not to despair over a life like Fred Phelps’s. Such a man can bend, but not break, the spirit of an open society. Too many spotlights were cast in his direction, but at least they illuminated his fall.

TIME obituary

The House That Fred Built: Exclusive Photos of Fred Phelps and the People He Left Behind

Fred Phelps Sr., the founder of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church most widely known for picketing U.S. military funerals, died at the age of 84, Thursday, March 20. Photographer Anthony S. Karen captured these behind-the-scenes images of Phelps, his family and his church between 2008-2011, giving a remarkable inside look at the secretive and oft-despised group.

TIME obituary

David Brenner, Tonight Show Favorite, Dies at 78

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson -- Season 14
Comedian David Brenner on The Tonight Show, Dec. 5, 1975. Gary Null—NBC/Getty Images

The comic, who appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson over 150 times and gained attention through his anecdotes about daily life, died at his home in New York City at the age of 78

David Brenner, the famed stand-up comedian who was a favorite on Johnny Caron’s Tonight Show, died Saturday. He was 78 years old and at his home in Manhattan, the New York Times reports.

Brenner frequently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson as one of the shows most popular guests, performing more than 150 times. He gained attention through his anecdotes about daily life, but as his career went on, his comedy increasingly focused on current events.

Born in Philadelphia, Brenner graduated from Temple with a communications degree. He began as a writer of television documentaries and started in comedy in the early 1970s, landing his own late-night syndicated talk show, Nightlife, in 1986.

“In David’s final request he asked that one hundred dollars in small bills be placed in his left sock ‘just in case tipping is recommended where I’m going,’” his family said in a statement.

[NYT]

TIME

Hal Douglas, Legendary Movie Trailer Narrator, Dies at 89

You may not recognize his name or face, but you definitely know his voice

Hal Douglas, one of the top voice-over artists of his generation, passed away last week with his family at his side. He was 89 and had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2010.

While the fewest people would recognize his face, his voice has starred in trailers for thousands of movies, documentaries, television series and commercials, including Forest Gump, Meet the Parents and Philadelphia.

Hal Douglas began working as voice-over artist in 1972 and was active in the industry until 2012. He leaves behind his wife, a daughter and two sons.

[New York Times]

TIME remembrance

Video: The Voice of Hal Douglas — A Late, Great Movie-Trailer Master

His voice brought movie trailers to life

+ READ ARTICLE

You may not recognize his face, but you undoubtedly know his voice. Hal Douglas was the artist behind many of the phrases — “In a world…” and “One man…” — that brought gravitas to decades of movie trailers. The New York Times reports this morning that Douglas died on Friday at the age of 89, due to complications of pancreatic cancer.

As Linda Holmes notes over at NPR, the gravel-voiced narration style of trailer no longer has a monopoly on the world of movie advertisements — but voices like Douglas’ still spring to mind as a classic sound of the cinema. And Douglas himself was part of the longevity of the format: he worked until just a few years ago, adding trailers for movies like Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs to a resume that also included Waterworld and Forrest Gump.

Check out his demo reel, above, and it’ll be easy to see and hear why his voice endured so long.

(MORE: Women Want Work Doing Movie-Trailer Voiceovers)

TIME obituary

How We Die Author Dies Aged 83

In this Nov. 16, 1994, file photo, The National Book Awards prize winning writers Sherwin B. Nuland, center, William Gaddis, left, and James Tate greet each other after the awards ceremony in New York. Nuland, has died at age 83 Adam Nadel / AP

Sherwin B. Nuland, who wrote an award-winning book that became central to the ongoing debate regarding assisted suicide, has died from prostate cancer

Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland, the author of the award-winning book How We Die, died in his home on Monday after battling prostate cancer. He was 83.

How We Die was published in 1994 and won a National Book Award for its description of the destructiveness of dying. The book became part of the moral and legal debate over physician-assisted suicide in the U.S.

Nuland leaves behind his wife, four children and four grandchildren. His daughter, Victoria Jane Nuland, is the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian affairs.

[The New York Times]

TIME celebrities

Philip Seymour Hoffman Died of Toxic Drug Mix, Medical Examiner Says

In this Jan. 19, 2014 file photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at The Collective and Gibson Lounge Powered by CEG, during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah.
In this Jan. 19, 2014 file photo, Philip Seymour Hoffman poses for a portrait at The Collective and Gibson Lounge Powered by CEG, during the Sundance Film Festival, in Park City, Utah. Victoria Will / Invision / AP

The actor's death was ruled an accident after examiners determined he took a deadly cocktail of drugs that included heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamines. Hoffman reportedly had a relapse after remaining clean for 23 years

The actor and director Philip Seymour Hoffman died from a toxic mix of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, benzodiazepines and amphetamines, the New York City medical examiner said Friday.

His death was ruled an accident, a spokesperson for the office said, according to the Associated Press.

Hoffman, who struggled with addiction early in his life and spoke candidly about his substance abuse, was found dead in his New York City apartment with a syringe in his arm on Feb. 2.

He reportedly relapsed after remaining clean for 23 years and checked himself into rehab for ten days last year.

Hoffman won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in the 2005 film Capote and earned three nominations for Best Supporting Actor throughout his career, which included roles in The Big Lebowski, Boogie Nights, Charlie Wilson’s War, and The Master.

[AP]

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