Tag archive for "National Obituary Review"

National Obituary Review

Dead person of the day – January 2 – Ian McKeever

No Comments 02 January 2014


After the NOR staff took a well earned, end-of-year vacation we’re back. It’s true. We feel rejuvenated. Those jerks down the hall at The Shade gave us a bigger office, less oversight and even replenished the K-Cup tree.

Needless to say we’re all excited. But enough about us, lets talk about dead people.

Ian McKeever. A real go-getter and a personal favorite of that nice young man Reins.

An Irish international, moutaineer and devoted member to the human race. In 2004, McKeever set the Five Peaks Challenge world record, climbing and descending all five peaks in 16 hours 16 minutes. He climbed the 26 peaks of the island of Ireland in 98 hours in 2006. McKeever broke the world record for the Seven Summits Challenge in 2007, climbing the highest summit on each of the seven continents in 155 days, 32 less than the previous record

At the very least he should have gotten a trophy with a cool guy on it.

He had one hell of an ending. It makes me wonder what would have happened to those humans building the Tower of Babylon had they reached the heavens and not been scattered by the wrath of God.

Cheers to you Ian.

Adventurer Ian McKeever is killed by lightning on Kilimanjaro

RECORD-breaking mountain climber and adventurer Ian McKeever was tragically killed on Africa’s highest mountain after being struck by lightning. Continue

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – May 31 – Robert Quine

No Comments 31 May 2012


Today’s DPD comes out of the tight-jean wearing, hard drug shootin’ NYC punk scene of the late 70s/ early 80s.

Mr. Robert Quine.

His collaborators include the likes of Lou Reed, Brian Eno and Tom Waits. Not bad eh?

He found his way to NYC via Indiana then law school in St. Louis. After landing in New York he landed a job at a booked store where he worked with Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine and eventually formed the Voidoids. The Voidoids career was brief by Quine stuck around for awhile.

Very much a part of the scene Quine was always an anomaly. Several years older than his contemporaries, law degree from Wash U and nephew to famous philosopher W.V. Quine his contribution enigmatic and thorough.

Hired by Lou Reed to play on his stark 1982 album “The Blue Mask,” Mr. Quine tore it up. Rolling Stone praised the guitar work on the album, saying in a review that “the intuitive responsiveness between Lou Reed and Robert Quine is a quiet summit of guitarists’ interplay: the notes and noise soar and dive, scudding almost formlessly until they’re suddenly caught up in the focus of a rhythm.”

I recommend checking out some of his work. Bring him up to your friends while you’re at it. If you haven’t yet please take a look at the video above. The first comment states:

‘I came here thinking if I watched a video I would know how Quine played that solo but I’m more mystified than ever’

It is pretty sick.

Obits on a Thursday smell like Ben Gay on a Saturday. Hoo-ah!

Robert Quine, 61, Punk Rock Guitarist, Dies


Published: June 8, 2004

Robert Quine, a noted guitarist of the New York rock scene of the 1970’s and 80’s who played with Richard Hell, Lou Reed and others, died last week in his home in Manhattan. He was 61. Continue

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – May 17 – Frank Gorshin

No Comments 17 May 2012


Frank Gorshin – the original Riddler in the 1960s hit show Batman. He was a seasoned Hollywood vet  well before landing the role, having appeared in 18 films before landing The Riddler at age 30. Also, to his credit, Gorshin was the only actor in the Batman series to be nominated for an Emmy (he was later nominated for another for his appearances in Star Trek).

Gorshin was slight but athletic, and his wide mouth and menacing eyes were perfect for roles as henchmen. And if it wasn’t for that prick Don Rickles who knows the heights that Gorshin would have ascended to. Be sure, Don Rickles is on the NOR’s dart board and has been for some time but that’s neither here nor there.

Gorshin was a pro and his career flourished even after Batman was cancelled. He opened for Bobby Darin at the Flamingo in Las Vegas and in 2004 Quentin Tarantino directed him and Tony Curtis in an episode of CSI.

To give even more props to Gorshin, as The Riddler his sidekick was non other than Jill St. John – whom its rumored he had a torrent affair with. If you haven’t clicked on the link of Jill yet please do and you’ll have even more respect for Mr. Gorshin. I’ll bet Rickles never pulled tail like that. Seriously – screw Don Rickles.

Here’s to you Mr. Gorshin.

Obits on a Thursday….gotta love it!

Frank Gorshin

Last Updated: 1:06am BST 19/05/2005

Frank Gorshin, who died on Tuesday aged 72, made many film and television appearances but was most memorable as the frenzied Riddler in the 1960s hit television show Batman.

As the arch enemy of Batman and Robin, his trademarks were an emerald green skin-tight costume covered in pink question marks and a chilling, crazed laugh; his henchwoman was Jill St John. Gorshin was the only Batman actor nominated for an Emmy, and many fans of the series considered that Jim Carrey’s version of the Riddler in the film Batman Forever (1995) failed to match up to Gorshin’s. Continue

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day May 1 – Eldridge Cleaver

No Comments 01 May 2012


A very enigmatic DPD we have ourselves here.

Born in rural Arkansas to a school teacher and musician Eldridge Cleaver’s life was unique. He was a best selling author, radical political activist, religious zealot and drug dealer. Cleaver was also a leading figure in the Blank Panther party – and the civil rights movement in general – during the late 1960s. In a career that included the title of Information Minister of the Panthers its even more astonishing that he ended his life as a registered republican – whom at one time considered him one of the most dangerous men in America.

By the time he passed away good ole Eldridge probably spent time on most American’s shit list. At strong quality we look favorably on at the NOR.

Obits on a Tuesday? You got it!

Obituary: Eldridge Cleaver

Rubert Cornwell, The Independent May 1 1998

HE DIED an environmentalist, a consultant on ethnic diversity, and, most astonishing of all, a Republican. But 30 years ago, Eldridge Cleaver, arguably the most remarkable figure to emerge from the black power movement of the late 1960s, was simultaneously idolised, feared and loathed as few others have been in America.

The nearest he came to formal public office was as “Information Minister” of the Black Panthers, the radical and violent black nationalist movement founded by Bobby Seale in Oakland, California, in 1966. Continue

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day November 3 — Carl Ballantine

No Comments 03 November 2011


This guy would have DEFINITELY been a member of the Fun Club. Anyone that spent THAT much time in Ernest Borgnine’s presence must have had a good amount of awesomeness rub off on him. Kudos to the LA Times for making the DPD because they have been curiously absent of late.

Carl Ballantine (September 27, 1917 – November 3, 2009)

By Dennis McLellanNovember 5, 2009

Carl Ballantine, the “amazing” comedy magician and character actor who was part of the World War II PT boat crew on the 1960s sitcom “McHale’s Navy,” has died. He was 92.

Ballantine died in his sleep of age-related causes Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills, said his daughter Saratoga Ballantine.

As an actor, Ballantine was best known for playing the supporting role of crew member Lester Gruber on “McHale’s Navy,” the popular 1962-66 series that starred Ernest Borgnine.

“He was a natural; everything to him had humor,” said Tim Conway, who played the bumbling Ensign Parker on the show, where he first met Ballantine.

“I only knew him from seeing him on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ which I thought was the funniest thing I ever saw, the magic act that wasn’t working,” he said.

Shades of Gray, National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the day November 2 – Jacques Mesrine

No Comments 02 November 2011

Lets go over some of the facts about this guy eh?

  • He used to kidnap millionaires to bank roll his crime spree
  • After his criminal activity made him toohigh profile in Europe he moved to Canada and carried on being dubbed (with his girlfriend) the French Bonny and Clyde only to escape to the US for the Apollo moon rocket launch at Cape Canaveral because he was interested in it (he was later arrested in Arkansas).
  • Hi signature move was breaking into multiple banks within 10 minutes of each other to capitalize on the hysteria
  • After being the first Frenchman to escape a high security prison He attempted to break back in to release friends
  • He was arrested in March 1973 and escaped from a courthouse in Compiègne by taking the judge hostage with the help of a gun hidden in a courtroom toilet
  • He wrote an autobiography highlighting his exploits saying ” “Some people like golf or skiing. My relaxation is armed robbery.”
  • And finally The Independent’s obit claims he bore a curious likeness to Charles Bronson

Boom, you had me at Charles Bronson. Today’s DPD is another example of the stellar work at The Independent.

Jacque Mesrine ( December 28, 1936- November 2, 1979)

Of all the rumpled margins of Paris, the Porte de Clignancourt is the most unchangingly grim. The tattered stretch of avenue between the end of Metro line four and the Boulevard Périphérique has become depressingly familiar to generations of tourists bound for the largest Paris flea market.

Down this way, on a Friday afternoon 30 years ago this year, there drove a burly, middle aged man wearing a wig and a false beard. His girlfriend and her dog were beside him in a gold-coloured BMW. Like tens of thousands of other Parisians, they planned to escape from the city to spend a weekend in Normandy.

As they drove towards the ring road, a blue truck pulled in front of them. The canvas tail-gate parted, revealing four men holding rifles. They fired 52 shots, 14 of which struck the chest and head of the man in the wig.

His name was Jacques Mesrine (pronounced “Merrine”), then one of the most famous men in France. His assailants, or maybe his assassins, were police officers. They were part of a special squad created especially to combat him or maybe to execute him.

The police chief in charge of the showdown at the Porte de Clignancourt in 1979 swears to this day that he tried to arrest Mesrine. His family and lawyer insist that the police set an ambush and fired without warning. Mesrine had, on several occasions, jovially recommended that the police should shoot first and ask questions later. Continue


Features, National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day October 20 – Ronnie Van Zant

No Comments 20 October 2011


The rock and roll community takes a minute today to genuflect at the altar of therock and roll gods. However, there’s something to be learned from the tragedy of the plane crash that effectively ended Lynyrd Skynrd’s mojo. And that lesson is if its not good enough for Steven Tyler its not good enough for you. FACT. Just read on it’ll make sense.

Ronnie Van Zant (1948-1977)

Lynrd Skynrd were one of the most popular US bands during the 70s. Nobody who was alive during that time can fail to recognize and continue from the opening bars of “Sweet Home Alabama”. Their music appealed to a demographic range that included hardcore rock enthusiasts as well as country fans.

On October 20, 1977, the band was travelling in a chartered plane from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The crew had been running one engine on a slightly richer fuel mixture in order to correct some problems they’d been having with it. Evidently they did not include that in their fuel calculations, because although they took on an appropriate amount of fuel at each stop in their travels for regular engine performance, they actually ran out of gas while still in the air. When they became aware of the potential problem they contacted air traffic controllers to get permission to land at McComb Airport in Mississippi. They were on their way there when the engines stopped and the plane went down in a heavily wooded area near Gillsburg, Mississippi.

Ronnie Van Zant, the band’s founder, frontman, and main lyricist, was killed outright in the crash, as was guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, their assistant road manager and the two pilots. All of the remaining band members were injured, most of them critically. Two interesting points: one, the plane and crew were on a long-term lease to the band. Before being hired by Lynrd Skynrd they had been considered and rejected by the band Aerosmith, who didn’t feel either the crew or plane were up to standard, and were somewhat put off by seeing the two co-pilots passing a bottle of Jack Daniels back and forth while the plane was being inspected. Two, another backup singer (who was not on the flight) had dreamed of a crash and begged one of the band members not to use the plane. Continue 

National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day Oct. 3 – Hugo Kalervo Palsa

No Comments 03 October 2011

Happy Monday out there in the obitosphere! Great DPD today. Sadly, I would have liked to have a legitimate obit to commemorate today’s DPD (as is per usual) but I felt like my brain was seeping out of my ears from looking at too many Finnish websites. In related news, if we have any Finnish speakers as readers the NOR is hiring. Without further ado todays DPD

Kalero Palsa

Hugo Kalervo Palsa (March 12, 1947 – October 3, 1987), or Kalle was a Finnish artist in a style that has been described as fantastic realism.

Long neglected, Kalervo Palsa has enjoyed a revival of sorts since the publication of critical works, a biography and two major retrospectives in Helsinki and Pori.

His life evinced a good degree of northern madness. Among his local contemporaries of Kittilä in Lapland he had the reputation of a drunken artist masturbating at home and painting furiously.

He felt haunted both by his perverse urges and the provincial and narrow-minded mental perimeter of his northern hometown.

While he lived there, his abode was a tiny studio cabin which was closer to a shack than a house. He wired it for electricity by drawing a long extension cable from nearby house. He called it his “Getsemane” after the biblical site, or sometimes his “castle in the clouds”.

Upon his death two rumors spread among the local populace. One that he had in a drunken stupor collapsed into a snowbank, and died from exposure. The other that he had hung himself. The latter was more understandable, since several of his self-portraits featured a hangmans noose around his neck, and several other of his paintings also used the symbology of hanging. Continue

Features, National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day September 28 – Miles Davis

No Comments 29 September 2011

Just an American Legend here folks. Enjoy

Today’s DPD comes from Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald

Miami Herald, September 29, 1991, p. 1A
LEONARD PITTS Jr., Herald Pop Music Critic

He was not all that crazy about the word jazz. Nor did he like the word legend, especially when it was applied, as it often was, to him.

He hated the thought of being considered an entertainer, hated it so much that often, he would turn his back on his audience, point his instrument at the floor or simply leave the stage.

He was prickly, idiosyncratic, had a terrible temper and was quite unpredictable, his career a stylistic scavenger hunt that took him on a winding course through music’s back alleys and rural roads in search of treasure.

He was the greatest jazz trumpeter of his generation. He was Miles.

Miles Dewey Davis, 65, died Saturday morning at 10:46 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., of a combination of pneumonia, respiratory failure and stroke. It seems fitting that they had to gang up on him to bring him down. After all, Davis had battled cocaine and heroin addictions, hip joint problems, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, arthritis, throat polyps, a bleeding ulcer, and an auto accident in which he broke both ankles, and had managed to come back strong each time.

Perhaps because of what he had to come back to: his music. Davis played with a sweet lyricism that belied the turbulence of his life. His tone was intimate, insinuating. When he played, there was no one in the room but him and you, and he laced the air with tendrils of sound that wound themselves around you like a vine on a trellis.

Or maybe not. Because again, spontaneity — that ability to surprise, challenge and provoke — was his signature.

Davis was born in Alton, Ill., and moved to East St. Louis as an infant. He was the second of three children born to Cleota Henry Davis and Miles Davis II, a dentist. As a boy, Davis enjoyed sports usually winding up the smallest person on the team.

But he refused to be intimidated. The inability to back down landed him in street fights when local kids, picking on his small stature and dark skin, called him Buckwheat after the Our Gang character.

Davis refused to tolerate any racial disrespect. In later years, Miles would stir controversy time and again by angrily, bluntly excoriating white America for its racism. His rage was the result, perhaps, of growing up with a strict father who was, in the parlance of the times, a strong “race man” and an admirer of the pioneering black nationalist, Marcus Garvey. continue

Features, National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day September 26 – Paul Newman

No Comments 27 September 2011

Boy oh boy folks! Here at the NOR we normally get excited about the deceased but today – oh man! – today is something special. Fresh off a back-to-back-TO-BACK movie marathon of Cool Hand Luke, The Sting and Slapshot we are amped like its 1995 and we just drank two Jolts.

Enjoy today’s DPD. It comes from Aljean Harmetz from the NYT…..

Paul Newman one of the last of the great 20th-century movie stars, died Friday at his home in Westport, Conn. He was 83.er 28, 2008)

The cause was cancer, said Jeff Sanderson of Chasen & Company, Mr. Newman’s publicists.

IfMarlon Brando and James Dean defined the defiant American male as a sullen rebel, Paul Newman recreated him as a likable renegade, a strikingly handsome figure of animal high spirits and blue-eyed candor whose magnetism was almost impossible to resist, whether the character was Hud, Cool Hand Luke or Butch Cassidy

He acted in more than 65 movies over more than 50 years, drawing on a physical grace, unassuming intelligence and good humor that made it all seem effortless.

Yet he was also an ambitious, intellectual actor and a passionate student of his craft, and he achieved what most of his peers find impossible: remaining a major star into a craggy, charismatic old age even as he redefined himself as more than Hollywood star. He raced cars, opened summer camps for ailing children and became a nonprofit entrepreneur with a line of foods that put his picture on supermarket shelves around the world.

Mr. Newman made his Hollywood debut in the 1954 costume film The Silver Chalice. Stardom arrived a year and a half later, when he inherited from James Dean the role of the boxer Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me. Mr. Dean had been killed in a car crash before the screenplay was finished. Continue reading



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