Just when I think I’ve somehow gotten used to writing these “In Memory of” articles, Heaven summons away one of the very best. Yes, Saturday morning I was completely stunned to learn that Adam West had passed away the night before following a short battle with leukemia. I think most of us are in agreement that for us, Adam West was “our” Batman. Though his run as the Caped Crusader only lasted for a few years in the 1960s, it has never been forgotten, and it has always held a special place in my heart.
Adam West was literally the first Batman I ever knew (I wasn’t allowed to watch Michael Keaton Batman until I was MUCH older, and I hadn’t seen Batman: TAS yet) and I was enraptured from the start. Seeing the adventures of Batman and Robin as they fought Catwoman, The Joker, Penguin (Burgess Meredith’s interpretation of the character is my favorite), Egghead, King Tut (an underrated villain, I loved him!) and more, was an awesome part of my childhood.
While he remained known as Batman for the rest of his life, Adam West also did voice over work in The Fairly OddParents, The Simpsons and Family Guy, and in my favorite example, played a fictional version of himself in Batman: The Animated Series (he played an actor who used to play “The Grey Ghost”, revealed to be part of Bruce Wayne’s inspiration to become Batman following the death of his parents).
The world is a much darker place now that Adam West is no longer in it. Rest in peace, we miss you so much.
I was naturally sad to learn that musician Chris Cornell had died at the age of 52, and it got even worse when it got out that he’d committed suicide. But it wasn’t until late in the afternoon that I realized I knew this musician better than I’d thought.
The whole day it had been wiggling in my brain that I recognized this name, I just didn’t know from where. Then someone referenced James Bond and I remembered: Cornell had written and performed the opening song “You Know My Name” for the 2006 Bond film Casino Royale. It is by far one of my favorite Bond themes, and the song I knew Cornell best for.
I can’t imagine what he was going through that led him to commit suicide, but I hope that wherever he is, he is at peace now. Seriously, if you struggle with depression or suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is always open at 1-800-273-8255
Rest in Peace Chris Cornell, we miss you.
I was so sad to learn of the death of Robert Osborne, the longtime host for Turner Classic Movies. TCM was far and away my favorite channel to watch growing up and I always looked forward to hearing what tidbits Mr. Osborne would share before the film started playing.
I had no idea that Mr. Osborne had such a long history with Hollywood, nor did I realize that he’d hosted TCM from the very beginning. The film world is now a much darker place for his absence. RIP Robert Osborne, we all miss you.
(My Oscar thoughts are regretfully delayed, but they should be out by Wednesday at the absolute latest, my head is still spinning over how it ended last night).
Like everyone else, I was sent reeling when word broke that actor Bill Paxton (of Aliens, Titanic, Twister and Apollo 13 fame, among others) had unexpectedly died due to complications from surgery. When I saw the news my first thought was “Well this has to be a mistake, he can’t be dead!” But the more I looked, the more I saw news sites confirming his passing, until finally I had to accept it as reality.
Bill Paxton had this knack for creating a memorable screen presence, even if he wasn’t anywhere near top billing (like his appearance in The Terminator). And he didn’t play just one type of character either, he played the whole gamut from cool and calm to downright hysterical (definitely thinking of Hudson from Aliens for that last one).
I admit I haven’t seen anything he’s done lately, but now, whenever I put Aliens in, it won’t feel the same ever again. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I know that life happens, people die for all kinds of reasons. But just like when we lost Carrie Fisher, losing Bill Paxton at such a (relatively) young age is just…wrong!!
Rest in Peace Bill Paxton, you are sorely missed.
Yesterday the sad news broke that Gene Wilder, legendary actor of stage and screen, had passed away at the age of 83. I freely admit I did not see many of the films that he starred in, but what I did see, I loved.
The first film I remember seeing him in is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and I will forever love his performance as the eccentric candy man. In fact, I sat and watched it performance of “Pure Imagination” and it made me really sad (because I forgot how amazing that scene was).
We’ll not see his like again
I had seen his work in Blazing Saddles (when I was too young to properly appreciate it), but the performance I really came to love him for was his role as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (that’s “Fronkensteen”), the grandson of THE Dr. Frankenstein, in the Mel Brooks film Young Frankenstein. That film is a brilliant parody of the classic Universal horror films (it’s even shot in black and white) and features a command performance from Gene Wilder. If you haven’t seen any of his films, I highly suggest starting with that one.
It’s true that very few people could portray panic/crazy on screen quite like he could, I don’t think they make actors like him anymore. The world is suddenly a lot less funny now that he is gone. Rest in peace Gene Wilder, you are sorely missed.
I am saddened to announce that Marni Nixon, one of the great sopranos of the 20th century, has passed away. Marni lent her voice to many movie musicals, dubbing over the leading ladies seen onscreen, sometimes for the whole song, sometimes for that one high note they couldn’t hit themselves. Marni Nixon is the actual singing voice in the film versions of The King and I (Anna), Maria in West Side Story and Eliza in My Fair Lady. Those three are her most well-known, but she worked for a large number of films, rarely if ever receiving screen credit for her work. One of her later credits involved being the singing voice of Grandmother Fa in Mulan.
Marni Nixon died due to breast cancer at the age of 86, and she will be greatly missed.
The hits just keep on coming this year: yesterday it was reported that longtime director and producer Garry Marshall had passed away at the age of 81 (due to complications of pneumonia after a stroke). Marshall was responsible for producing the Happy Days television series (and its spinoffs) and created such films as: Pretty Woman (1990), Runaway Bride (1999), The Princess Diaries (2001) and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004). His final film was Mother’s Day (2016).
I loved the Princess Diaries films growing up, and it saddens me that such a great director is no longer with us. Rest in Peace.