TIME obituary

Actor Bob Hoskins Dies of Pneumonia Aged 71

Here's a video look at some of the British actor's greatest roles, from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Long Good Friday, to Mona Lisa, which earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in 1987. Hoskins died at age 71

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The actor Bob Hoskins has died from pneumonia at the age of 71, his publicist confirmed on Wednesday.

The British actor was best known for his roles in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Long Good Friday and Mona Lisa, for which he was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in 1987. Hoskins was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011 and it wasn’t long before he announced his retirement from acting in 2012. His last role was in Snow White and the Huntsman in 2012.

“We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob,” his wife Linda and their children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack said in a statement, after the actor passed away on Tuesday night. “Bob died peacefully at hospital last night surrounded by family, following a bout of pneumonia. We ask that you respect our privacy during this time and thank you for your messages of love and support.”

[BBC]

 

TIME Boxing

Boxer Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter Dies at 76

Rubin Hurricane Carter
Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, left, knocks out Italian boxer Fabio Bettini in the 10th and last round of their fight at the Falais Des Sports in Paris, Feb. 23, 1965. AP

Boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, who attracted attention for fighting a wrongful murder conviction that sent him to prison for 19 years, was 76

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the famous boxer who served 19 years in prison before his exoneration after being wrongfully convicted of murder, died at home Sunday at age 76.

Carter’s friend and former co-defendant John Artis confirmed the news to the Associated Press. Carter died in his sleep after a battle with prostate cancer.

Carter was twice convicted of shooting three people in a Paterson, N.J., bar in 1966, two years after losing boxing’s middleweight championship. Prosecutorial misconduct involving racial bias and withheld evidence led both verdicts to be overturned in 1985.

Carter’s quest to clear his name attracted international attention. Amnesty International called him a “prisoner of conscience,” and the case inspired Bob Dylan to write the protest song “Hurricane.” The story of Carter’s life was turned into a Hollywood film, The Hurricane, in 1999, starring Denzel Washington.

[AP]

TIME obituary

The Miraculous Life of Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Hamilton—AP

The Colombian author's book One Hundred Years of Solitude established him as the defining member of a movement known as magic realism. A Nobel laureate, García Márquez died on April 17 having inspired an entire generation of Latin literature

When Gabriel García Márquez was born, in 1927, in the sleepy little town of Aracataca, not far from Colombia’s Caribbean coast, there were certain established fixities in the world of letters. The centers of gravity were Europe and North America, with a few auxiliary poles in Wellington, perhaps, or Kolkata. The novel, just beginning to be shaken up by Joyce and Woolf, told mainly of carriages moving under birch trees and conversations on rainy boulevards. Its characters, as often as not, were the people you might meet at dinner parties thrown for Count Tolstoy or Marcel Proust.

By the time García Márquez died at 87 on April 17, all that had changed, and largely because of him. A new continent had been discovered, so it seemed, rich with tamarind trees and “pickled iguana,” and folk cultures everywhere had an epic voice. Villagers could be imagined seeking daguerreotypes of God, and men arriving on doorsteps amid a halo of yellow butterflies. Macondo, a never-never town of almond trees and “banana wars” (a lot like Aracataca) had become as much a part of the reader’s neighborhood as Yoknapatawpha County or St. Petersburg.

The story behind this was, of course, half-miraculous. The eldest of 11 children, “Gabo,” as he was universally called, was born to a telegraph operator and a colonel’s daughter. When his parents moved to another city in search of work, he was left behind, a tropical Pip, to spend his early years with relatives. From his grandfather, he heard tales of fatal duels and his country’s unending civil wars; from his aunts and grandmother, he absorbed all the spells and spirits sovereign in a world in which Arab and Indian and African cultures mixed. Scarcely was he out of his teens than the boy was publishing short stories in a newspaper, while studying law with a view to help the disenfranchised. The newspaper for which he also wrote columns was called — too perfectly — El Universal.

One day, after 18 months of continuous writing, he completed a book, his fifth, so large that his wife Mercedes had to pawn her hair dryer and an electric heater to pay for postage to send it to the publisher. Cien Años de Soledad was published in 1967 (such was the interest in Latin writing then that it did not even make it into English till three years later), and Pablo Neruda, South America’s reigning Nobel laureate, pronounced it “perhaps the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since the Don Quixote of Cervantes.” He could as easily have called it a narrative Alhambra, a palace in the Spanish tradition but fluent with foreign shapes and dizzy curlicues amid the water and the orange trees.

One Hundred Years of Solitude promptly established García Márquez as the defining member of what was called the boom in Latin American writing and a movement known as magic realism; yet, really, he was throwing open the gates for writers from forgotten everywheres — you can see his influence in India’s Salman Rushdie, in Nigeria’s Ben Okri, even in Murray Bail from Australia.

He was, essentially, a trafficker in wonder. “Incredible things are happening in the world,” says a sometime alchemist in the first chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude, as he sees a gypsy’s dentures; García Márquez’s realization was that the world of the alchemist, the dew still on it, could be equally incredible to the denture maker. He spun out his tales of everyday miracles with such exuberance that 30 million copies of the book were not just bought around the world, but read.

Not one to stay put, he followed that imaginative dawn with The Autumn of the Patriarch, an unflinchingly political novel that consisted of just six paragraphs, each 30 pages or more in length, and his tales of unexpected innocence were forever intertwined with more hardheaded stories of the solitude that comes with power. Realistic enough to be a true romantic, he treated dreams and revolutions with equal weight: if his fabulous flights were always, he insisted, just the documentary work of a reporter with an eye for marvels, his nonfiction accounts of corruption such as News of a Kidnapping featured secret messages transmitted on TV programs and kidnappers offering talismans to their hostages. A friend to Presidents as well as revolutionaries, García Márquez never abandoned the public world: even in his 70s, 17 years after winning the Nobel Prize, the most famous man in Colombia was writing articles like a cub reporter.

Though García Márquez lived in Paris, Mexico City, Havana and Barcelona, he was proudly claimed by Colombia — by all South America — as one who had taken an area too often associated with murders and drugs, and infused it with an immortal light: a literary Columbus discovering a New World that would soon belong to us all. When he fell ill, therefore, in the summer of 1999, much of the continent seemed to hold its breath, urging “el maestro” back to health. And when he died on Thursday in his home in Mexico City, it did not seem impossible that a man could open his mouth and songbirds would fly out.

Pico Iyer has written nonfiction books on globalism, Japan, the 14th Dalai Lama and forgotten places, and novels on revolutionary Cuba and Islamic mysticism. He regularly writes on global culture and the news for TIME, on literature for the New York Review of Books and for magazines around the world.

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]

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