Yesterday, we were more or less devastated by the news of Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s death at 47. A nearly universally-loved figure across ages and tastes, he was not only part of a game-changing (and flippin’ awesome) band, but was incredibly active in the Free Tibet movement and founded film production company Oscilloscope Laboratories. At Flavorpill HQ, we not only spent the day listening to some of our favorite MCA songs, but trading emails about our memories of Yauch and the Beastie Boys and the way they’ve impacted our lives. We’ve collected some of our initial reactions and remembrances here — click through to read a few, and then add your own in the comments. … Read More
As Levon Helm, the drummer and singer for the Band, once famously wrote, “If it doesn’t come from your heart music just doesn’t work.” It was just a few days ago that his family publicly announced that he was in the final stages of a long battle with throat cancer; today we’re saddened to learn that the Arkansas-born roots-music patriarch has died at the age of 71.
“Mr. Helm’s drumming valued space over showiness,” reads his New York Times obituary. “He gave his drums a muffled, bottom-heavy sound that placed them in the foundation of the arrangements, and his tom-toms were tuned so that their pitch would bend downward as the tone faded.”
Click through to watch one of our favorite clips of Helm from The Last Waltz — a film which he apparently hated, believing that it glorified the Band’s guitarist, Jaime Robbie Robertson, while slighting the rest of the group. Funny, as he was always the one who we couldn’t take our eyes off of. How about you? … Read More
There are some celebrities who for whatever reason seem immortal. Richard Wagstaff Clark, who we just learned has died of a massive heart attack at the age of 82, was certainly one of them. The American Bandstand host and legendary TV producer, whose health had been on the decline since a 2004 stroke that left him partially paralyzed and his speech impaired, suffered the attack following an outpatient procedure that he underwent last night at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica.
“The key ingredient is giving the audience what they expected to get,” Clark explained of his success in TV. “If I’m there to escape, let me escape. If I’m there to be taught, teach me. But, don’t suck me in, thinking I’m going to escape and then teach me. You’ve caught me off guard. You’d say, ‘I’ve been had,’ and you’d leave.”
While he racked up an impressive list of accolades over the course of his long career in show business — Emmys, Grammys, a Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — and played a large part in bringing rock ‘n’ roll into the mainstream, Clark will probably be best remembered for maintaining an impossibly youthful appearance, even in his later years. As the man known as “the world’s oldest teenager” once famously quipped, “if you want to stay young looking, pick your parents very carefully.”
Click through to watch a clip from a 1999 interview for the Archive of American Television in which Clark discusses his legacy. … Read More
Whitney Houston, the superstar singer and actress who won a Guinness World Record for the most-awarded female act of all time, was found dead in her room at the Beverly Hilton in LA yesterday afternoon, on the eve of the 54th Grammy Awards, and just hours before the annual pre-Grammy gala where she launched her… Read More
Some sad news for those of us who grew up reading the hugely popular Dragonriders of Pern series: The Cambridge-born author of those beloved books, Anne McCaffrey, passed away earlier this week at her home in Ireland after suffering a stroke. She was 85. The first woman to win both a Nebula Award and a… Read More
The Associated Press reports that Bil Keane, whose timeless, one-panel Family Circus comics ran in newspapers for more than half a century, died of congestive heart failure yesterday at age 89.
“I never thought about a philosophy for the strip — it developed gradually,” Keane explained in a 1998 interview. “I was… Read More
In shocking and sad news, Back to Black singer Amy Winehouse was found dead at 4pm today in her London home. She was 27. There are currently no details as to the cause of her passing, though we imagine these will become available as the story develops. Though she struggled in recent years with health… Read More
The AP reports that Cy Twombly, an American painter and sculptor famed for his large-scale scribbles and doodles, has died in a hospital in Rome at the age of 83. The polarizing artist, who emerged alongside his friends Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns as an important figure in New York’s 1950s art scene, created abstract work that defied classification or theorizing by critics and elicited a primal response from the viewer. As Lee Siegel at Slate once wrote of Twombly’s images, which were often inspired by mythology, poetry, and history, “They are not just products of the imagination; they do not exist as correlatives to ideas, let alone to things. Done in pencil and crayon, Twombly’s trademark images capture the transient, universal sign of distraction: the doodle. Twombly inverts both Pollock’s and LeWitt’s seriousness. He does not make art. He makes pre-art.” In 2008, Guardian art critic Jonathan Jones referred to Twombly as “the thinking person’s Banksy,” and called his career retrospective at the Tate Modern “a victory march by the greatest artist alive.” Find a small sample of the beloved artist’s work after the jump. … Read More
Emmy-winning TV writer Leonard Stern, who worked on classic shows like The Honeymooners and Get Smart — but is perhaps best known as the creator of Mad Libs — has died at the age of 88.
Stern came up with the idea for the fill-in-the-blank books while writing a scene for The Honeymooners.… Read More
Veteran character actor Len Lesser, probably best known for playing Jerry’s greetings-obsessed Uncle Leo on Seinfeld, died yesterday at the age of 88 after suffering complications from pneumonia. “He’s the kind of guy who is a total nuisance at times and the kind of guy you avoid,” Lesser once explained in a 1998 interview with the LA Times. “He’s a very expansive character, and that has an attraction to it.” The scene stealing Leo (we’re never told his last name) was also a close talker, an extremely proud father, and a part-time shoplifter. Celebrate the man that Jerry once avoided saying “hello” to on the street (the horror!), by clicking through for some of our favorite Uncle Leo moments. … Read More