TIME remembrance

Grace Lee Whitney, Yeoman Rand on Original Star Trek, Dies

Actress Grace Lee Whitney, best known as Yeoman Rand on the original Star Trek television series, died at the age of 85 in Coarsegold, Calif. on May 3, 2015.
CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images Actress Grace Lee Whitney, best known as Yeoman Rand on the original Star Trek television series, died at the age of 85 in Coarsegold, Calif. on May 3, 2015.

A recovering alcoholic, Grace Lee Whitney spent the last 35 years of her life helping others with addiction problems

Grace Lee Whitney, 85, the futuristic-clipboard-bearing Yeoman Janice Rand on the original series of Star Trek, died this weekend in the town of Coarsegold, California, her family confirmed. No cause of death was reported.

Whitney, a recovering alcoholic, spent the last 35 years of her life helping others with addiction problems, often at women’s correctional facilities or the Salvation Army, her family said. They said she was credited with having helped thousands of people successfully complete 12-step addiction programs.

Until just the last few years, Whitney was also a regular at Star Trek conventions around the world. She titled her autobiography “The Longest Trek…”
TIME remembrance

Crime and Mystery Writer Ruth Rendell Dies at 85

Ruth Rendell
Fiona Hanson—AP Ruth Rendell file photo dated April 23, 1998.

She often wrote under the pen name Barbara Vine

LONDON (AP) — Prolific crime and mystery writer Ruth Rendell, perhaps best known for her Chief Inspector Wexford novels, died Saturday, said her publisher, Penguin Random House. She was 85.

The cause of death was not announced, but Rendell had suffered a serious stroke in January.

She was one of Britain’s most popular crime novelists and authored dozens of books, including many written under the pen name Barbara Vine.

Rendell was a member of the House of Lords who had received wide recognition and many awards throughout her long career. Her Inspector Wexford series was made into a popular TV series, winning her many new fans and accolades.

She began her literary efforts by writing some “very bad” novels that were never published, she told The Associated Press in a 2005 interview.

After these false starts, she found that “suspense and a sort of tension and a sort of mystery was my forte.”

Once she found her way, Rendell produced novels at an astonishing pace — more than 60 books over four decades, including 20 featuring Chief Inspector Wexford.

She brought to the classic mystery a psychological depth that gave readers unusual access to the emotional makeup of seemingly ordinary people capable of foul deeds.

Rendell lived in recent years in the scenic Little Venice neighborhood of London, which is known for its canals and colorful houseboats, but the pleasant surroundings did not alter her hard-eyed view of human nature.

“I don’t think the world is a particularly pleasant place,” said Rendell. “It is, of course, for some people. But it is a hard place, and I don’t think it’s being cynical to say that.”

The author was appointed to the House of Lords by Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Labour government in 1997, and she spent many afternoons attending sessions in Parliament after she had finished her morning writing sessions. Her official title was Baroness Rendell of Babergh.

Rendell was conscious of the strong feelings many of her readers had for the fictional character.

“With a series character like Wexford, people do regard him as a real person that they become extremely attached to,” she says. “Women have written to me over the years and said that they were in love with him and would I kill his wife because they’d like to marry him.”

Rendell told The Independent newspaper in 2014 that her personal hero was South African Bishop Desmond Tutu “because he’s such a good man and he’s had a hard life and always looks so happy.”

The same year, she told an audience at the Cheltenham Literary Festival that she shied away from writing about child murder for fear that writing about it might in some way show criminals how to do it.

“I would rather not be involved, rather not be responsible,” she said.

The same concerns kept her from writing about cruelty to animals, she said.

She would spend long hours walking in London, taking in the sights and conversations and forming impressions for her book, and also was an opera fan.

Rendell’s husband, Donald Rendell, died in 1999.

TIME Music

Listen to 5 of Ben E. King’s Other Classic Songs

'Stand by Me' was just one of his beloved hits

Oldies fans are mourning the death of Ben E. King, the R&B legend who died Thursday at the age of 76.

Although he’ll be forever linked to his 1961 hit ‘Stand By Me’ – which enjoyed a resurgence in the 1980s after being featured in the movie of the same name — King leaves behind a rich legacy of music, with hits from his solo years and his original band, The Drifters (with whom he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame). Here are five of his other greatest hits:

1. “There Goes My Baby”

King was a co-writer on this hit for The Drifters.

2. “Save the Last Dance for Me”

King provides the lead vocals on this end-of-the-night favorite, a number one hit.

3. “Spanish Harlem”

Another early song from King’s solo career, “Spanish Harlem” is a bit more of a deep cut today.

4. “This Magic Moment”

King sings the lead in another song that gets part of its magic from soaring strings.

5. “I (Who Have Nothing)”

King was the first to record this what-does-he-have-that-I-don’t ballad in English. Recordings by the likes of Shirley Bassey and Tom Jones followed.

And just in case you wanted to listen to King’s biggest hit:

 

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 remembrance

Reflections on the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, 70 Years Later

Belsen Notice
Hulton Archive / Getty Images A British soldier reads a billboard posted at the entrance of the Belsen concentration camp, Belsen, Germany

A report from the Imperial War Museum's seminar on the anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen camp in April 1945

History Today

 

 

 

This post is in partnership with History Today. The article below was originally published at HistoryToday.com.

At the Imperial War Museum in London, academics and survivors assemble on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of 60,000 inmates and the discovery of 13,000 corpses at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Lower Saxony in 1945. The anniversary is marked, too, by a proliferation of articles online discussing the anniversary and its place in the British collective memory. ‘In British memory’, writes Rainer Schulze,

‘Belsen has become an imagined site, largely disconnected from the real place Bergen-Belsen. There’s no doubt that this imagined site still exists in the British memory landscape, ready to be brought to the fore when it becomes useful.’

That the names of the Nazi concentration camps should have a semantic weight extending far beyond a geographical location is clear. As the literary critic James Wood has pointed out, the novelist WG Sebald evoked the constant presence of perhaps the most famous camp of all without even writing its name in his 2001 novel Austerlitz. Since its liberation on 15th April, 1945, Belsen has been subject to direct and indirect representation. William Golding considered his most famous novel, Lord of the Flies (1954), a Belsen parable in the same vein as George Orwell’s Animal Farm. The Nigerian poet Chinua Achebe used Belsen symbolically (if not accurately) in his poem ‘Vultures‘; both works have appeared on the school syllabus in England and Wales.

Belsen, much of the current discourse seems to hold, occupies an elevated place in British collective memory because of its perceived ‘Britishness’. It was the first Nazi camp to be liberated, by the British 11th Armoured Division in 1945, and provided the public with the first visual evidence of Nazi war crimes, images not easily forgotten. At the Imperial War Museum’s seminar (the third to be held since Belsen’s liberation; the last was in 1995) new academic perspectives on Belsen are delivered to a room that includes survivors and their relatives. Dan Stone, author of The Liberation of the Camps (Yale University Press, 2015) suggests that, since the 1990s, there has been a generally held assumption that British collective memory has ‘got Belsen wrong'; that the British public has misunderstood Belsen’s place within the camp system. Belsen was not a ‘death camp'; pre-1944 it was primarily an exchange camp, where prominent Jews were held for exchange with German prisoners of war; it only became a death camp in the final few weeks, after the Soviet offensive in the East prompted the ‘death marches’ west, one of which was described by Elie Wiesel in his memoir Night. Yet, argues Stone, the case against ‘Belsen as a death camp’ is reliant upon top down history. From the perspective of the perpetrators, Belsen was embedded in a strategic system and identified as holding a specific purpose; from the perspective of the victims who arrived after 1944 it was ‘just another camp’. Distinctions between types of camp – faced with the notorious overcrowding and neglect at Belsen – would have proved impossible. ‘Scholarly precision’, says Stone, can ‘mask the true experience of the Holocaust’.

Scholarly precision is one obstacle; absence of testimony is another. Anna Hajkova speaks about the absence of testimonies by Jews who happened to be gay. Homophobia, she says, is rife in testimonies recorded by survivors as late as the 1980s and 1990s. ‘Prejudice determines what is in the archives – but thinking about the gaps can help’. The Imperial War Museum has no shortage of documentary material from the camp’s British liberators; yet the Holocaust is missing a queer history. Such a thing, of course, is near impossible to recover; Hajkova makes a compelling case for identifying the gaps, drawing attention to where they fall and listening to their silence.

In her talk on Soldier’s Perspectives, Myfanwy Lloyd presents testimonies recorded by members of the Oxfordshire Yeomanry which foreground the effect of the camp’s discovery on the liberating soldiers. One account, by Ronald Payne, describes how there was ‘very little chatter’ among the British soldiers after Belsen’s liberation, a detail that calls to mind an anecdote relayed by WG Sebald in his 1995 novel The Rings of Saturn (subtitled, in the original German, ‘An English Pilgrimage’). Discussing representations of Belsen at the seminar, Robert Eaglestone highlights Sebald’s work as an example of what he considers the ‘third phase’ of the camp’s literary representations in which literature shows both an educated awareness and a direct approach when dealing with the subject (missing from the symbolic works produced by Golding, Achebe and others in the 1950s, 60s and 70s). Sebald’s narrator (often considered to be the author himself) recalls reading an article from the Eastern Daily Press on the death, at 77, of a Major George Wyndham Le Strange, who served in the anti-tank regiment that liberated Belsen in April 1945. Sebald includes the clipping, and a photographic image of bodies scattered among trees in the liberated camp, within the text. The clipping, titled ‘Housekeeper Rewarded For Strange Dinners’ relays a story told by Mrs. Florence Barnes that she was employed by Le Strange in 1955 as his housekeeper and cook, on the condition that she dine with him every day ‘in complete silence’. On his death, Le Strange left his estate, worth several million pounds, to his silent housekeeper.

If Sebald’s work does indeed belong to a developed, direct and educated sphere of literary responses to Belsen, as Eaglestone suggests, it’s worth considering its place within the novel. To Sebald’s narrator Belsen is a collective memory, and a simple walk around the Sussex coast is enough to trigger it. It appears in the text overtly and factually but its meaning, or symbolic literary value is ambiguous and unclear: ‘To this day I do not know what to make of such stories’, he concludes.

Belsen: Seventy Years On was held at Imperial War Museum in partnership with Royal Holloway University of London, the University of Sheffield and the University of Warwick.

Rhys Griffiths is editorial assistant at History Today.

TIME remembrance

‘Louie Louie’ Singer Jack Ely Dies at 71

Jack Ely, co-founder of The Kingsmen and best known for his 1963 rendition of "Louie, Louie", plays his Fender bass guitar at his small horse ranch in Terre Bonne, Ore. on April 16, 2009l.
Don Ryan—AP Jack Ely, co-founder of The Kingsmen and best known for his 1963 rendition of "Louie, Louie", plays his Fender bass guitar at his small horse ranch in Terre Bonne, Ore. on April 16, 2009l.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) — Jack Ely, the singer known for “Louie Louie,” the low-budget recording that became one the most famous songs of the 20th century, died at his home in Redmond, Oregon, after a long battle with an illness. He was 71.

His son, Sean Ely, confirmed the death Tuesday.

“Because of his religious beliefs, we’re not even sure what (the illness) was,” he said.

Jack Ely was original member of the Kingsmen, a band formed in 1959 that mostly performed cover versions of songs. Four years later, the group recorded “Louie Louie” at a studio in its home city of Portland. According to lore, it cost $36.

The song was written in the mid-1950s by Richard Berry, a Los Angeles musician with roots in doo-wop music. As he recorded it in 1957, the tune had a calypso feel and described a patron telling the barkeep he had to go, to get back to his girl waiting across the sea in Jamaica.

“Louie Louie” has been covered hundreds of times, a three-chord, garage-band classic anybody could play soon after picking up an electric guitar.

Ely and the Kingsmen picked it up along with other Northwest figures such as Rockin’ Robin Roberts and Paul Revere. The Kingsmen’s version was recorded in 1963 and is the definitive version, going from cult classic to rock-and-roll standard. It has inspired more than a thousand cover versions and there’s no reliable estimate for how many times it’s been drunkenly sung at parties.

In addition to the song’s fame, Ely’s incoherent singing also made it one of the most misunderstood. The FBI was so mystified by the hard-to-understand lyrics that it conducted an investigation into whether the song was obscene. They found it to be “unintelligible at any speed.”

Over the years, Ely and other band members attributed the indistinct lyrics to the microphone suspended from the ceiling, forcing Ely to shout up at it. Sean Ely said his father got “quite the kick” out the FBI’s 455-page investigative report. He said his father certainly knew the words, and wasn’t just slurring nonsense.

“Right of his mouth, my father would say: ‘We were initially just going to record the song as an instrumental and at the last minute I decided I’d sing it. It’s all of this is in a 10-by-10 room with one microphone. I’m standing on my tippy toes yelling into the microphone: Louie Louie! Louie Louie! We gotta go!'”

Ely had a falling out with the band shortly after the song was recorded. He later trained horses in Central Oregon and, according to his son, was content with his legacy as a one-hit wonder — a massive one-hit wonder, to be precise.

“He wanted to try on different occasions to pursue other endeavors in the music industry, but I think when it was all done and said he was pretty happy that he did ‘Louie Louie.'”

TIME remembrance

Lord of the Rings Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie Dies at 59

Andrew Lesnie on set of 'The Water Diviner' in 2014.
©Warner Bros/Everett Collection Andrew Lesnie on set of 'The Water Diviner' in 2014.

Lesnie worked on all six Lord of the Rings films with Peter Jackson

Andrew Lesnie, who won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for 2001’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, has died at the age of 59 following a fatal heart attack.

“It is with overwhelming sadness that I inform you of the passing of our dear friend and colleague Andrew Lesnie ACS ASC, who after suffering a serious heart condition over the last six months died suddenly on Monday, 27 April,” wrote Ron Johanson, the national president of the Australian Society of Cinematographers, on Facebook. “Words cannot express the absolute feeling of loss, particularly for his immediate family. Andrew gave us many personal cinema moments, moments that will live with us forever, and yet he has been taken from us way too early, and we are now left with those memories.”

Lesnie worked on all six Lord of the Rings films for Peter Jackson—both the original trilogy, and the director’s three Hobbit films, the last of which just appeared in theaters last year. He also shot King Kong and The Lovely Bones for Jackson, as well as a handful of other big-budget blockbusters from the last decade, including I Am Legend and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Lesnie’s final film was Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, The Water Diviner. Following news of Lesnie’s death, Crowe posted a tribute to the late cinematographer on Twitter.

For more on Lesnie, head to The Hollywood Reporter.

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

TIME remembrance

The Best Sports Writing of TIME’s Richard Corliss

TIME's late movie critic also wrote, beautifully, about the games

TIME movie critic Richard Corliss, who passed away on Thursday night, was also our best sportswriter. He only dabbled in sports professionally, but truly loved the games. Corliss was especially passionate about baseball, and his beloved A’s, whom he first started following as a boy in Philadelphia, when the team played at Connie Mack Stadium before moving west.

Corliss didn’t spend much time in our midtown offices; he was too busy attending screenings and writing, so prolifically, and so beautifully, at all hours. But on occasion, he’d pop by my desk and talk baseball. The sports talk show hosts on WFAN, the New York City radio station, really got him going. I’d always exit these conversations wondering how a man who was so productive, who had encyclopedic knowledge of so much, possibly found the time to focus on Joe Benigno.

Whenever Richard did write about sports, he brought the same lyricism and breadth that were staples of his film criticism. He’s a writing hero, word-for-word one of the best, if not the best, to ever work at TIME.

I wish I could write sentences like Richard. And I wish he was still here to talk baseball. We could have a nice chat these days about my Mets. But this year, I’ll be keeping special tabs, in my heart, on Richard’s A’s.

Here’s a sampling of his work in sports.

A Beautiful Season For Baseball: The Great Times and Bad Breaks of 2012
October 14, 2012

Corliss reflects on the first round of the 2012 baseball playoffs:

Upsets galore! Perennial losers vaulting to the top! All-stars benched and no-names turned into heroes! Games so close that anxious fans bite their nails down to the knuckle! One future Hall of Famer who breaks a 45-year-old record for batting supremacy, and another who breaks his ankle and must be carried off the field! Wild melodrama that obliges sportswriters to end every sentence fragment with an exclamation point!

Read the entire article here

A Film Critic On the World Cup – You Call That Football?
July 10, 2010

In the great soccer debate, I’m on both sides. As a fan of “American” sports, I confess that I don’t get soccer. The spectacle of alpha males running around, falling down, pretending to be hurt and, all in all, achieving very little — um, when I was in school, that was called recess.

Read the entire article here

Cat ‘N’ The Pat
February 2, 2004

Corliss previews the Super Bowl XXXVIII coaching matchup between Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and John Fox of the Carolina Panthers:

In pro football, the real game is on the sidelines. There the head coach paces, barking orders into his headset, congratulating or chastising a player, wearing a sociopath’s stern face as he silently prays he’ll be baptized by a tub of Gatorade in the final minute of a winning game. The coach is a chess demon, planning dozens of gambits that depend on whether his quarterback throws for a big gain or gets sacked. He is a video-game whiz kid, and the playing field is his Grand Theft Auto Vice City. He is a field marshal and, sometimes, a counselor—General Patton and Dr. Phil. The quarterback may be the glamour boy, but the coach is the star. The TV camera knows this: during a game it follows Bill Parcells, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, as avidly as if he were J. Lo with her back turned.

Read the entire article here

My Team: The Oakland A’s
October 10, 2003

Every true sports fan is a manic depressive. When our team wins, we’re in heaven; when they lose, we reach for a kitchen knife and stare meditatively at our radial artery. And there is usually more agony than ecstasy. Susan Sontag defined science fiction as “the imagination of disaster”; she might have been describing the mind of a sports fan. We try to live by the old Ukrainian proverb — “Expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed” — but for that ray of hope with which we lash ourselves each spring, then see glimmer turn to tumor as the season plods downward for six months.

Read the entire article here

The Summer Olympics: Gold Medal Grudges
September 11, 2000

A short history of the grudge match: The Hebrews invented it. Cain was the first winner, but God disqualified him on the grounds of poor sportsmanship. Abel was awarded the gold posthumously.

A longer history of the grudge match: The ancient Greeks invented games as a way of allowing men to fight one another without all that messy killing. Sport was literally a lifesaving idea: I hit you, you hit me, and an impartial observer determines who wins. (This became known as boxing.) I insult you, you trip me and the rest of the clan decides who played dirty better. (This became known as politics.)

Read the entire article here

Baseball: Dream Of Fields
August 22, 1994

Corliss imagines that the 1994 baseball strike ends quickly:

Fans packed the stadiums on the first day of the “second season.” Atlantans heralded the return of Greg Maddux by ringing the pitcher’s mound with roses; the Montreal faithful threw small packets of money (Canadian money, but still . . .) toward their low-paid, first-place stars; and a few of Philadelphia’s famously cranky spectators actually applauded their own team. In Kansas City, Vince Coleman was greeted with affectionate firecrackers; Cleveland stalwarts shied welcome-back corked bats at Albert Belle.

Read the entire article here

Going, Going, Not Quite Gone
June 13, 1994

Corliss explains baseball’s offensive explosion

This spring, baseball has been bustin’ out all over. Home runs have increased 26% over last year; runs batted in are up 11%. And a cluster of young stars threatens to smash offensive records set when George Burns was still in Little League. Seattle’s Ken Griffey Jr. is on a pace to hit 65-plus homers. So is Frank Thomas, the Chicago White Sox’s baby-faced behemoth. Thomas scored 59 runs by June 1, a record, and Toronto’s Joe Carter set an April standard for rbi’s. Even pencil-necked pipsqueaks are crushing the ball.

Read entire article here

Not Again!
November 22, 1993

Corliss writes on Notre Dame’s 31-24 win over Florida State.

If Rodney Dangerfield had 109 heads and weighed 11 tons, he would be the Florida State University football team. F.S.U. has won 10 games or more six years in a row; it is undefeated in its past 11 bowl games; it gobbles up most opponents like Homer Simpson at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Yet for years the Seminole team had the reputation of a pigskin bridesmaid because it somehow managed to find a way to lose to those cross-state behemoths at the University of Miami. Even the F.S.U. press book repeats the phrase “can’t win the Big One,” like a mantra. It’s meant ironically but still reveals an open psychic wound.

Read the entire article here

The Last Shall Be First
October 28, 1991

In the American League championship, the Twins shrugged off Toronto in a five-game series that for most TV viewers was overshadowed by a sorrier sporting spectacle on Capitol Hill: the Senators vs. the dodger. Truth to tell, the AL snoozathon didn’t need the Clarence Thomas hearings to upstage it; a church social could have done the job. Here, after all, were two teams from above the timber line playing in domed stadiums of spaceship sterility on synthetic carpets that made the games look like Brobdingnagian billiards. Only one contest was close all the way. Only one rooting interest tickled fans’ fancies: seeing the Twins earn their spot in baseball’s unlikeliest finale.

Read the entire article here

Just Like In The Movies
February 26, 1990

Corliss on Buster Douglas’ upset of Mike Tyson

Two rounds later, Douglas returned the punishment, and then some, to Tyson: an uppercut followed by a sturdy combination that felled the champ. Another slow count could not save Tyson. He rose to all fours, grabbed for his mouthpiece and pathetically placed its end between his teeth, like a dazed dog with an old toy.

Read the entire article here

TIME remembrance

An Appreciation: The Endlessly Curious Richard Corliss

"He loved movies, but he loved them knowledgeably, judiciously, scrupulously"

Richard Corliss was a jovial, bearish man who was almost always to be found in signature footwear – custom-made sneakers imprinted with the logos of the major Hollywood studios. Can there be such a thing as a rumpled dandy? That would be one way to describe him, his nice mix of informality and urbanity.

Those sneakers used to make me think of NASCAR jumpsuits with corporate logos all over them, with the difference that Corliss wasn’t owned by any of them. He loved movies, but he loved them knowledgeably, judiciously, scrupulously. He could have a fanboy’s enthusiasm for his favorite genres – he was big on Bollywood before Bollywood was cool – but he never checked his brains at the popcorn stand. He was of a generation of critics who disputed cinema the way Lutherans and Papists once faced off over theology. But he was nothing if not a sporting polemicist. He held strong opinions, but he wanted to hear yours, even if — especially if — they differed from his.

Case in point. In 1974, when he was 30, Corliss published his indispensable book Talking Pictures, his definitive study of American screenwriters. (Dedicated, like him, to his beloved wife Mary.) He intended it as a corrective to the rapid rise of the auteur theory and its central belief that a film was almost always chiefly the product of the man or woman who directed it. This may seem self-evident now, when we take for granted that a movie is “by” Stephen Spielberg or Martin Scorsese or Wes Anderson. But in the early 1960s, when auteurism was new to the U.S., imported from France by the great American critic Andrew Sarris, few Americans could name more than a small handful of director-showmen – Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, maybe Otto Preminger. The arrival of Sarris, flourishing his first articles and books, put critics like Pauline Kael on high boil. They thought he was too quick to find profound stylistic and psychological unity in the work of minor directors and to diminish the role of everybody else in what is after all a collaborative art. Corliss, who was open to their points but declined to use them to draw blood, wrote his book to bring the best screenwriters back into the picture. But it was typical of him that the man he invited to supply the introduction was…Andrew Sarris, his friend and former professor. And the book only benefits from the nuanced preface from the very man whose philosophy it sets out to adjust. With Corliss, even earnest controversy was just another big tent.

There was something eternally boyish about Richard, even after he hit 70, and not just because of the sneakers. When he wrote on Time.com most weeks about the box office take for last weekend’s releases, he still seemed like the kid he once was in Philadelphia who used to obsess over major league batting averages. But film criticism isn’t moneyball. It’s a calling that requires judgments where mere numbers may or may not correlate with the quality, nuance, power and, hey, why not, the magic that movies can possess and deliver. Having at his disposal the magnificent resource he once called “that moldy old library of film trivia, my brain,” he was, as a critic, trenchant, vigorous, witty and surprising. His reviews, like his conversations – and he loved to talk almost as much as he loved to write – were free of cant, herd thinking and jargon, full of grace notes, the beau ideal of critical writing. And he was endlessly curious about whatever was coming next. A decade ago, he wrote that “Life is a continuing film education. And I remain a very impressionable lad.” How many of us there are this morning, his countless friends and admirers, who wish he was still here, at the head of the class.

Read more about Richard Corliss here

TIME remembrance

TIME Movie Critic Richard Corliss Remembered by Editor Nancy Gibbs

Richard-Corliss-TIME-Magazine-Movie-Critic-Portrait-Cannes-Festival
Ted Thai—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The influential critic, a fixture at the magazine for 35 years, has died at 71

Richard Corliss, one of the world’s most passionate and influential voices on cinema, died Thursday at age 71. During his five decades as a film critic, 35 years of which were spent at TIME, Corliss reviewed more than 1,000 movies and authored four books.

TIME editor Nancy Gibbs sent the following message to the staff on Friday morning:

It is with great sorrow that I tell you that Richard Corliss died last night, following a stroke.

It’s painful to try to find words, since Richard was such a master of them. They were his tools, his toys, to the point that it felt sometimes as though he had to write, like the rest of us breathe and eat and sleep. It’s not clear that Richard ever slept, for the sheer expanse of his knowledge and writing defies the normal contours of professional life.

Everyone who had the pleasure of working with him has stories of his kindness, his quirks, his humor, his obsessions, the bright, fresh breezes of his head and heart. And the many millions more who had the pleasure of reading him found the most engaging and trustworthy guide not just to what movies were worth seeing, but to the sprawling variety of his interests and passions. Our tributes and a sampling of his writing from his 35 years at TIME allow us to savor the immense range and excellence of his work as one of the world’s most important voices on film, and so many other subjects.

We will miss him terribly, and our prayers are with his beloved wife Mary.

Read more about Richard Corliss’s life and work here

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