Richard Erdman, Best Known as Leonard Rodriguez on ‘Community,’ Dies at 93

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Richard Erdman, known among classic film buffs for the war dramedy “Stalag 17” but remembered by millennials for his work on “Community” as Greendale’s smart-alecky Leonard Rodriguez, died Saturday. He was 93.

Film historian Alan K. Rode broke the news on Twitter Saturday, stating simply, “Goodbye pal. Dick Erdman 1925-2019.” No additional information on his passing were given.

Erdman won over a new generation with his debut in “Community”‘s fifth episode “Advanced Criminal Law.” During one of his custom end-of-episode speeches, Joel McHale’s Jeff Winger declared that everyone at Greendale was nuts, to which Leonard yelled from the school’s swimming pool, “Not me!”

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“Oh, come on, Leonard. If you’re gonna argue with me, put on a bathing suit,” said Jeff, to which Leonard only replied “Busted!”

Over the course of the series, Erdman’s performance as Leonard became one of “Community”‘s most beloved gags. He would interrupt a scene with a sarcastic swipe at the main characters, to which one of them — usually Jeff — would shoot him down. Sample line: “Shut up, Leonard! Those teenage girls you play ping-pong with are doing it ironically!”

“Community” cast members have joined with fans in honoring the late actor’s legacy. McHale praised Erdman as “such a good & funny man,” while Ken Jeong posted a highlight reel of some of Leonard’s funniest moments. Check out that reel and more tweets honoring Richard Erdman below.

pic.twitter.com/YxU0uEUYgY

— Ken Jeong (@kenjeong) March 17, 2019

Ugh, awful. I just looked at his IMDb 2 days ago and was reminded about what a legend he was. Sweet, funny and game for anything. Plus great Brando stories. What more was there even left to do? RIP to legend & friend Richard Erdman. #shutupleonard https://t.co/MwuubntCLp

— Charley Koontz (@charley_koontz) March 17, 2019

Thank you Leonard #Community #SixSeasonsandaMovie pic.twitter.com/cqm2SPOm2X

— Blayz (@jusblayz_) March 17, 2019

I guess Leonard did finally shut up ????

R.I.P Richard Erdman#community #greendale #sixseasonsandamovie #shutupLeonard pic.twitter.com/XWubQrLMSO

— Goose is my Spirit Animal (@goatboyuk) March 17, 2019

A proud moment in the history of the AV Club’s Community comments section: this photo of Richard Erdman holding up a copy of @tvoti‘s 2012 article on the “Regional Holiday Music” recap hitting 30,000 comments.

R.I.P. Leonard. pic.twitter.com/jHj8WkHWzi

— Greendale AV Club (@AVClubCZ) March 17, 2019

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Kelly Catlin, US Olympic Silver Medalist in Cycling, Dies at 23

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U.S. track cyclist Kelly Catlin, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro as a member of the women’s pursuit team, has died. She was 23.

Catlin’s father, Mark, told cycling magazine VeloNews Sunday that she died by suicide Friday night.

“There isn’t a minute that goes by that we don’t think of her and think of the wonderful life she could have lived,” Catlin wrote in a letter to VeloNews. “There isn’t a second in which we wouldn’t freely give our lives in exchange for hers. The hurt is unbelievable.”

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“The entire cycling community is mourning this immense loss,” USA Cycling chief executive Rob DeMartini said in a statement. “We are offering continuous support to Kelly’s teammates, coaches and staff. We also encourage all those who knew Kelly to support each other through the grieving.”

Born and raised outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, as the youngest of triplets, Catlin also raced on the road for Rally UHC Pro Cycling Team and was pursuing a graduate degree in computational mathematics at Stanford University.

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Jed Allan, ‘Days of Our Lives’ and ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ Actor, Dies at 84

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Soap opera veteran Jed Allan, best known for playing Don Craig on “Days of Our Lives,” C.C. Capwell on “Santa Barbara” and Rush Sanders on “Beverly Hills, 90210,” died Saturday. He was 84.

“So sorry to post the very sad news of my fathers [sic] passing tonight,” Allan’s son Rick posted on Facebook Saturday night. “He died peacefully and was surrounded by his family and loved so much by us and so many others. Thank you for all who are part of this wonderful tribute to my dad on Facebook.”

Allan’s connection to the daytime drama genre began in the ’60s on the long-gone soaps “Love of Life” and “Secret Storm.” But it wasn’t until he joined “Days of Our Lives” in 1971 as attorney Don Craig and was romantically teamed up with Deidre Hall’s Dr. Marlena Evans that he became a daytime superstar. He remained on the show for 14 years, during which time he earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Actor.

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In 1986, he joined the NBC show “Santa Barbara” as patriarch of the Capwell family, playing Robin Wright’s father, where he remained until 1993. Although he had numerous guest appearances on primetime shows up to that point, Allan endeared himself to a whole new audience when in 1994 he was cast in the recurring role of Rush Sanders, father of Ian Ziering’s character, Steve.

Allan stepped into the role of Edward Quartermaine on “General Hospital” for two years beginning in 2004 to fill in for an ailing John Ingle. Among his many other roles, Allan also appeared on “CSI: Miami,” “Six Feet Under,” “CHiPs” and “The Streets of San Francisco.”

Allan is survived by his sons Mitch, Dean and Rick.

Here are a few of Allan’s co-stars paying their respects on social media:

Goodbye for now to one of a kind, #JedAllen. His heart was as big as his fabulous swagger. Lots of laughs shared with him on #SantaBarbara & best of all my Kate was made in his stunning beach house that he let me rent for cheap the summer of 1997. I won’t ever forget that or him. https://t.co/mgAuzRbwPv

— Nancy Lee Grahn (@NancyLeeGrahn) March 10, 2019

“His gift was a formidable blend of professionalism and inspiration — a perennial rock in his preparation and a force of nature once the cameras rolled. He was also generous and kind and funny and fierce, and God knows he was beloved by those lucky enough to share a stage with him. I count it one of the great blessings of my career that I got to be one of those, and one of the great blessings of my life that I got to be his friend.” — A Martinez

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Keith Flint, Lead Singer of The Prodigy, Dies at 49

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Keith Flint, the lead singer of the pioneering 1990s British electronica band The Prodigy, has been found dead on Monday in his U.K. home, the BBC reported. He was 49.

Police in Dunmow, Essex, said they were “called to concerns for the welfare of a man” but that he was”pronounced dead at the scene.” Cause of death is awaiting a coroner’s report but the police statement noted, “The death is not being treated as suspicious.”

The band had just completed an Australian tour on its new album, “No Tourists,” and was due to launch a U.S. tour in May.

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Flint, who initially joined The Prodigy as a dancer, became the band’s lead singer and performed on No. 1 singles such as “Firestarter” and “Breathe.”

With his spiky shock of hair and eyeliner-enhanced stare, he became a dynamic frontman of the group.

The deliberately in-your-face black-and-white video for the 1996 hit “Firestarter” — which focused on a headbanging Flint singing “I’m the bitch you hated / filth infatuated” — was banned by the BBC after parental complaints, according to The Guardian.

Tributes to Flint soon flooded the internet.

“RIP Keith. Burn bright up there,” wrote Paul Arthurs, the guitarist and founding member of Oasis.

Devastated to hear Keith Flint has passed away. The greatest front man to a band that has inspired me for as long as I can remember. A fire starter that will be missed forever. His legend will live on. ???????????? RIP pic.twitter.com/usShksHDpn

— Wilkinson (@WilkinsonUK) March 4, 2019

RIP Keith. Burn bright up there. X

— Paul Arthurs. (@BoneheadsPage) March 4, 2019

Oh gosh, so sad to hear about Keith Flint, he was always great fun to be around and very kind to Tom and I when we first started doing shows together..great man.

— ed simons (@eddychemical) March 4, 2019

RIP Keith Flint. Very sad to hear the news that he’s passed away. I wouldn’t do what I do without him and The Prodigy in my life. A huge inspiration to me and many others ???? pic.twitter.com/gXb8cHJGbW

— Friction (@friction) March 4, 2019

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Andrew Berends, Cameraman on Oscar-Winning ‘Free Solo,’ Dies at 46

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Free Solo” cameraman and documentary filmmaker Andrew Berends has died. He was 46.

Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, co-director of the Oscar-winning film, posted a tribute to her “wonderful friend” on Instagram Sunday.

“We have lost a wonderful friend and an important filmmaker,” wrote Vasarhelyi, whom he collaborated with on several films, including, “Incorruptible,” “Little Troopers” and most recently on “Free Solo,” which won the Best Documentary Feature Oscar earlier this year.

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“You touched so many lives,” she continued. “I know the pain you felt was profound, real and relentless. I know you suffered. I can only hope you have finally found some peace and justice as you so deserve it. I’m sorry it was this way. Our community lost an amazing person. I will always love and remember you Andy.”

There is no indication that his death was connected to climbing or production on a documentary project.

Berends made several films that shed light on conflicts across the globe, particularly in Africa. During the filming of “Delta Boys,” which explored the militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria, he was arrested, detained for 10 days, and expelled from the country by the Nigerian government in a bid to suppress media coverage of the conflict.

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His first documentary, “Urk,” about Dutch fishermen on the North Sea, was nominated for the International Documentary Association’s Pare Lorentz Award, and was awarded the International Documentary Association “Courage Under Fire” award for his film “The Blood of My Brother” about an Iraqi family whose son was killed by an American patrol.

Read Vasarhelyi’s complete tribute in the post below.

View this post on Instagram

We have lost a wonderful friend and an important filmmaker – Andrew Berends. I first met Andy in 2006 when I saw his film Blood of my Brother. I was taken by his poignant and human images and asked our mutual friend Gwyn Welles to introduce us. We found that we had a lot in common including our passion for Africa. Andy and I went on to make 2 films together, Incorruptible and Little Troopers. We also collaborated on many other projects. We traveled throughout West Africa, Europe, Kosovo, the US and most recently he filmed with jimmy and my team on Free Solo. Andy’s intelligence, sensitivity, bravery, loyalty, strength, perfectionism and fierce sense of justice made him an excellent filmmaker and a trusted friend. Andy the images you captured and the stories you told are beautiful and critical and they will live on. Thank you for being my friend and collaborator all these years. I will miss your goofy sense of humor, your infectious hope, your gravely voice, your sensitivity, your great notes giving, your creativity, your biking outfits, your unique morning routines, your fraught but hilarious relationship stories, your unbridled passion, your exacting perfectionism, your love and your friendship. You protected me when things got tough both in and off the field. Your work was so so good. You accepted me and other friends worts and all — yet always demanded that we rise to our best selves. You required the same of yourself and that’s why you were such a good filmmaker and such a complex friend. You touched so many lives. I know the pain you felt was profound, real and relentless. I know you suffered. I can only hope you have finally found some peace and justice as you so deserve it. I’m sorry it was this way. Our community lost an amazing person. I will always love and remember you Andy. I encourage everyone to watch Andy’s remarkable films. Urk (2003) The Blood of My Brother (2005), Delta Boys (2012), Madina’s Dream (2015)

A post shared by Chai Vasarhelyi (@chaivasarhelyi) on

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Janice Freeman, Former ‘The Voice’ Contestant, Dies at 33

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Janice Freeman, a contest from Season 13 of NBC’s “The Voice,” died Saturday from “complications of lupus and a bronchial infection,” the singer’s family announced on Facebook. She was 33.

“We are heartbroken to confirm the news that Janice Freeman unexpectedly passed on to a much more glorious incarnation yesterday,” reads the post on her official Facebook page. “Doctors believe a blood clot had formed in her lungs, which led to her quick demise.”

Freeman — whose health issues had included lupus, meningitis and cervical cancer — was at home in Pasadena with her husband Dion Saturday when she complained that she was having trouble breathing. He performed CPR until the arrival of paramedics, who transported her to the hospital, where she later was pronounced dead.

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Freeman was on “Team Miley” in Season 13 of the NBC talent show and placed in the top 11. Cyrus posted a tribute to her on Instagram Sunday, saying, “Thank you @janicefreeman…for everything. This represents you perfectly.”

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Several months ago, doctors had inserted a port-a-cath to ease her ongoing lupus treatments, but her immune system continued to remain depressed, with even common colds threatening more serious repercussions.

“She struggled every single day,” Dion said. “She was constantly in pain – literally, for years – but was sure she would conquer it all. She just kept on fighting.”

Freeman is also survived by her 12-year-old daughter, Hannah.

Watch Freeman’s performance on “The Voice” in the clip below.

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Brody Stevens, Stand-Up Comedian and Actor, Dies at 48

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Brody Stevens, the stand-up comedian and actor, was found dead on Friday afternoon in Los Angeles. He was 48.

The cause of death has not been made public at this time.

“Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community. He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious,” Stevens’ representatives said in a statement. “He was beloved by many and will be greatly missed. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time.”

Rising to popularity with his appearances on late night programs including “Late Night with Conan O’Brien, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and “Comedy Bang Bang!,” Stevens built a following with his “The Brody Stevens Experiment” podcast, which included interviews with his friends and commentary on his own life, and “Brode & Esther” that he co-hosted with Esther Povitsky and Brian Redban. He was also a frequent podcast guest, including on “The Adam Carolla Show,” “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Doug Benson’s “Doug Loves Sports” and “WTF With Marc Maron.”

Stevens also appeared in films such as “The Hangover,” “The Hangover Part 2,” and “Due Date.”

In 2011, Stevens starred in and produced a documentary comedy series for HBO called “Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!” which was executive produced by Zach Galifianakis.

Born Steven James Brody on May 22, 1970 in the San Fernando Valley, the comedian used “818,” the area code associated with the Valley, as a part of his routine, in particular, his phrase “818 for life.”

On Thursday, Stevens tweeted that he was ready to get back on the festival circuit. On Wednesday, Stevens performed with a slew of comedians at the Comedy Store as part of the Best of the Store show.

I’m ready to get back on the festival circuit.

— Steven BRODY Stevens (@BrodyismeFriend) February 21, 2019

The comedian was remembered by his peers on Twitter when news of his death broke.

Fucking fuck. Brody Stevens. Ugh. What a unique talent he was. Just so sad. So so sad. I feel terrible.

— )))David Cross((( (@davidcrosss) February 22, 2019

The comedy community has lost one of its funniest, kindest people today. @brodyismefriend I will miss you terribly. https://t.co/otgJ3phAuB

— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) February 22, 2019

I love you so much Brody Stevens. Nobody has been nicer in comedy than you. My heart is shattered. pic.twitter.com/sOl9PLpxsd

— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) February 22, 2019

Nobody made me laugh harder than Brody Stevens and turns out nobody can make me cry harder either. You are my family.

— Whitney Cummings (@WhitneyCummings) February 22, 2019

Brody Stevens was singular. Nobody else like him.

Always sweet and kind.
Always super hilarious.

He said to me last year: “I heard there’s a gif of us fist-bumping. You know computers, link it to me!”.

I searched for it and here it is. #RipBrodyStevens #818 pic.twitter.com/hMGCMvoeD7

— Jonah Ray Rodrigues (@jonahray) February 22, 2019

Another singular force of nature gone. RIP Brody Stevens.

— marc maron (@marcmaron) February 22, 2019

Hoping this news about Brody Stevens isn’t true. One of the sweetest people I’ve ever met and someone who was always incredibly kind to me when I was first entering the LA comedy scene back in the day. What a sad day.

— Peter Atencio (@Atencio) February 22, 2019

RIP Brody Stevens. Nobody else was like him, on or off stage. Seeing him was always a joy. We’ll miss you Brody.

— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) February 22, 2019

Just heard awful news about Brody Stevens. Ran into him at a Cubs game last season. Such a nice guy. REACH OUT if you need help and if you can #RIPBrodyStevens

— Ike Barinholtz (@ikebarinholtz) February 22, 2019

Heart broken at the loss of my friend Brody Stevens. I remember meeting him at an open mic in NY. Unique voice. We lost another great. #RIPBrodyStevens he brought me on stage one time and said “Nick Swardson, alternative comic, alternative lifestyle” pic.twitter.com/pBlPF47bE0

— Nick Swardson (@NickSwardson) February 22, 2019

So sad to hear of the passing of every comedians friend @brodyismefriend. Brody was a true eccentric. The embodiment of a comedian in his passion, anger and joy. I feel like the comedy community lost our mascot. Bye Brody. It was an honor to know you and see you do your thing

— Jim Gaffigan (@JimGaffigan) February 22, 2019

hi ????
i’m so sorry but i just spoke to brody’s manager and it is true that brody stevens is gone.
i love you all and i’m sorry this is happening. there will never be another.

— Esther Povitsky (@littleesther) February 22, 2019

It feels so pathetic to do this on twitter but i don’t know where else to. This is so sad , a real loss of a strange and genuine talent and sweet man. fuck im knocked for a loop. Brody Stevens was one of a kind.

— Moshe Kasher (@moshekasher) February 22, 2019

RIP to Brody Stevens. Truly the funniest, sweetest most unique soul any of us were lucky enough to be friends with. #818
This is unbelievable.

— Kevin Christy (@kevingchristy) February 22, 2019

Brody Stevens ~ Such a funny man. Such a good man. We need you and your comedy. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Loved Brody. Rest In Peace kind soul. @BrodyismeFriend

— bob saget (@bobsaget) February 22, 2019

Brody Stevens was and always will be comedy legend. RIP.

“But I could have told you, Vincent/This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you” Don Mclean

— Doug Stanhope (@DougStanhope) February 22, 2019

#RIPBrodyStevens he was so funny and weird and vulnerable and wild and kind. Every time he was onstage it was an adventure. Here’s some comics talking about what made him so special. https://t.co/wbUNaZgJ2f

— nick kroll (@nickkroll) February 22, 2019

RIP to truly one of the best stand-ups, Steven Brody Stevens. You might not know of Brody, but he likely had an influence on your favorite comic. This was my favorite thing he did: https://t.co/2Ffiq3fD12

— Nikki Glaser (@NikkiGlaser) February 22, 2019

Brody Stevens. This is so heartbreaking. The first time I saw him perform I was laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face. Very few comedians have surprised me and delighted me the way he did.

— Sara Schaefer (@saraschaefer1) February 22, 2019

Brody Stevens was unbelievable. So funny, unique, special, inspiring.

— Jake Weisman (@weismanjake) February 22, 2019

Everyone loved Brody Stevens.

— Kristen Schaal (@kristenschaaled) February 22, 2019

He made me laugh every time I saw him perform. I can’t believe he’s gone.

RIP Brody Stevens

818 Legend pic.twitter.com/7GvQOF8q80

— Eddie Della Siepe (@EddieDellaSiepe) February 22, 2019

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Bruno Ganz, Who Played Hitler in ‘Downfall,’ Dies at 77

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Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor whose work ranged from playing an angel in Wim Wenders’ “Wings of Desire” to an on-the-edge-of-defeat Adolf Hitler in the much-memed “Downfall,” has died at age 77.

He died at his home in Zurich on Friday after a diagnosis of colon cancer, his agent told France 24.

In his long career, Ganz appeared in more than 80 films and TV movies, mostly in Europe. He starred as a hit man opposite Dennis Hopper in Wenders’ 1977 film noir “The American Friend,” and then reteamed with the director a decade later for “Wings of Desire,” playing an angel sent to earth to comfort dying humans who begins to long for humanity for himself.

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In Werner Herzog’s 1979 “Nosferatu the Vampyre,” Ganz played the human Jonathan Harker to Klaus Kinski’s otherworldly Dracula. And he starred as a Venice cafe worker who romances a housewife in Silvio Soldoni’s 2000 film “Bread and Tulips,” for which he won a Donatello Award for Best Actor.

But Ganz may be most famous for his portrayal of Hitler in Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Oscar-nominated 2004 drama “Downfall,” in which he alternated between fury and despair as the German fuhrer during his last days in a bunker.

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Clips from his performance delivering an angry tirade became one of the most-viewed internet memes just as social media platforms were spreading worldwide.

Other notable credits include 1974’s “The Boys From Brazil,” Jonathan Demme’s 2004 remake of “The Manchurian Candidate” and Stephen Daldry’s 2008 Oscar winner “The Reader” with Kate Winslet and Barbet Schroeder’s 2017 drama “Amnesia.”

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Ron Miller, Former Disney CEO and Walt’s Son-in-Law, Dies at 85

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Ron Miller, who served as president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, has died at age 85 in Napa, Calif., the company confirmed on Saturday.

Miller, an Army veteran and star athlete at USC who played for the Los Angeles Rams, came to the company by way of his wife, Diane Disney, the daughter of company founder Walt Disney.

He served as a producer on 1960s and ’70s films like “Son of Flubber,” “That Darn Cat!” “Pete’s Dragon” and “Escape to Witch Mountain” — and helped drive the innovative computer animation in the 1982 sci-fi thriller “Tron.”

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In 1978, he was named president of Walt Disney Productions and then promoted to CEO in 1983. He led the creation of Walt Disney Home Video, Touchstone Pictures and The Disney Channel but was ousted the following year by the company’s board in favor of a triumvirate of leaders in Michael Eisner, Frank Wells and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Most recently, Miller served as president of the board of directors at The Walt Disney Family Museum and owner of Silverado Vineyards which he founded with Diane Disney Miller, who died in 2013.

“Everyone at The Walt Disney Company is deeply saddened by the passing of Ron Miller,” current Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “His life and legacy are inextricably linked with our Company and the Disney family because he was such a vital part of both, as our CEO and Walt’s son-in-law.

“Few people had Ron’s understanding of our history, or a deeper appreciation and respect for our company, and he shared it generously with anyone who wanted to know more,” he said. “I was fortunate to have known him, and even luckier to have called him a friend. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

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Russell Baker, Pulitzer-Winning Author and ‘Masterpiece Theatre’ Host, Dies at 93

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Russell Baker, a two-time Pulitzer-winning writer and longtime host of PBS’ “Masterpiece Theatre,” died Monday in his Lessburg, Va., home at age 93, his son Allen Baker told the New York Times.

Baker rose to prominence as a humorist, penning the wry “Observer” column for the New York Times for 36 years beginning in 1962. He won his first Pulitzer for commentary in 1979, and followed that with another for his best-selling 1982 memoir, “Growing Up,” about his boyhood in Depression-era Virginia.

In 1993, he took over for Alistair Cooke as host of PBS’ weekly “Masterpiece Theatre” — introducing adaptations of classic novels and stories until giving up the gig in 2004.

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Baker began his career as a news reporter in the 1940s, first for The Baltimore Sun and then as a Washington, D.C.-based writer for the New York Times, where he covered the White House, Congress and the presidential campaigns of 1956 and 1960.

In 1962, he began writing his “Observer” column, which evolved into a wry and often satirical send-up of news of the day as well as cultural phenomena such as Christmas fruitcake.

He published more than 15 books, including collections of his widely syndicated column.

“Thanks to newspapers,” he wrote in his final column, published on Christmas day in 1998, “I have made a four-hour visit to Afghanistan, have seen the Taj Mahal by moonlight, breakfasted at dawn on lamb and couscous while sitting by the marble pool of a Moorish palace in Morocco and once picked up a persistent family of fleas in the Balkans.”

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Andy Vajna, ‘Rambo’ Producer, Dies at 74

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Andy Vajna, Hungarian producer who worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone on some of their most popular films, has died at  his home in Budapest. His death was reported by Hungary’s National Film Fund. He was 74.

Vajna was a producer on several major action films, including Stallone’s “Rambo” series and Schwarzenegger’s “Total Recall” and ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.” He also served as a producer on Madonna’s adaptation of “Evita.”

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More recently, Vajna had served as Hungary’s film commissioner since 2011, working to revitalize the country’s film industry. His work has been credited with a revival in the country over the last decade, peaking with Laszlo Nemes’ “Son of Saul” winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2016.

Schwarzenegger offered his condolences with a tweet honoring Vajna’s life.

“Andy Vajna was a dear friend and a revolutionary force in Hollywood. He proved that you don’t need studios to make huge movies like Terminator 2 or Total Recall,” he wrote. “He had a huge heart, and he was one of the most generous guys around. I’ll miss him. My thoughts are with his family.”

Stallone also extended his sympathy, writing on Instagram: “A very very sad day … Producer ANDY VANYA , the man that Made Rambo happened, died today… LOVED this man’s courage – a pioneer. Believed In making FIRST BLOOD when no one else did….This truly breaks my heart. Rip”

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Carol Channing, Original Star of Broadway’s ‘Hello, Dolly,’ Dies at 97

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Carol Channing, who originated the role of Dolly Levi in “Hello Dolly!” and Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds” on Broadway, has died at age 97.

The Oscar-nominated actress died early Tuesday morning at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., just weeks before what would have been her 98th birthday, her publicist B. Harlan Boll told TheWrap.

Channing came to national prominence as the star of the Broadway musical “Hello, Dolly!” in 1964. Her performance as matchmaker Dolly Levi won her the first of three Tony Awards (including one for lifetime achievement) for Best Actress in a Musical.

She appeared in two revivals of “Hello, Dolly!,” performing the role more than 5,000 times, missing only one show due to food poisoning.

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Channing is also known for her role of Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blonds.” The musical, which premiered in 1973, broke all box office records after six days of performances, selling out within 24 hours.

Her career extended well beyond The Great White Way, appearing in a number of films, including “The First Traveling Sales Lady” (1956) alongside Ginger Rogers.

She also received an Oscar nomination, as well as a Golden Globe award for best supporting actress, for her performance in the 1967 big-screen musical “Thoroughly Modern Millie” opposite Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore.

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Channing was born on January 21, 1931 in Seattle, Washington. She attend Bennington College in Vermont from 1938 to 1941.

In 1966, Channing she got a call from Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz to headline in her own program, “The Carol Channing Show,” where she starred as Carol Hunnicut, a small-town girl trying to make it in New York City show business. But, the show never got get picked up.

For over 40 years, “The Carol Channing Show” was unavailable for viewing until a few years ago when the program was donated to the Paley Center for Media.

Channing was married four times. On May 10, 2003, she married her junior high school sweetheart, Harry Kullijian, who reunited with her after she mentioned him fondly in her memoir. Kullijan died on December 26, 2011, on the eve of his 92nd birthday.

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Mark Urman, Veteran Indie Film Distributor, Dies at 66 (Report)

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Veteran indie film distributor Mark Urman died Saturday following a bout with cancer, IndieWire reports. He was 66.

Urman began his career in the international publicity department at United Artists, followed by publicity positions with Columbia Pictures and the studio’s Triumph Films. In 1997, he left the PR firm Dennis Davidson and Associates to join Cinepix Film Properties as its head of U.S. distribution.

While serving as distribution president at ThinkFilm, Urman steered seven films to Oscar nominations in six years, with “Taxi to the Dark Side” and “Born Into Brothels” winning the gold for Best Documentary Feature.

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He also shepherded successful Oscar campaigns for the films “Monsters Ball,” “Affliction,” “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” and “Gods and Monsters,” as well as securing a Best Actor nod for Ryan Gosling in his breakout performance in 2007’s “Half Nelson.”

In 2009, Urman founded and was president/CEO of the independent distributor Paladin Films, whose titles include “What We Do in the Shadows,” “Boy,” “Douchebag,” “Being Charlie” and “Rockaway,” which is in theaters now.

Producer and editor of Filmmaker magazine, Scott Macaulay, paid tribute in a Sunday post:

Sorry to hear about the passing of Mark Urman. I remember well his passionate, engaging and erudite pitches during his days as a publicist, which coincided with the early days of this magazine. He’d keep you on the phone until you too were a believer. https://t.co/0RhuXVTt8K

– Scott Macaulay (@FilmmakerMag) January 14, 2019

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Dame June Whitfield, ‘Absolutely Fabulous’ and ‘Doctor Who’ Actress, Dies at 93

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Dame June Whitfield, the actress known for her work as Edina’s snarky mother on the British ’90s sitcom “Absolutely Fabulous” and as Minnie the Menace on “Doctor Who,” has died. She was 92.

Whitfield passed “peacefully” on Friday night, her agent told BBC.

Born in London, the actress’ career stretched back to the 1940s and included roles in the “Carry On” film franchise and the sitcom “Terry and June,” which ran from 1979-1987. Whitman also had appearances in 2016’s “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie,” “Friends,” “East Enders,” and was featured in more more than 1,300 radio and television shows.

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Fellow “Absolutely Fabulous” actresses lead the tributes to the late actress, who was made a Dame — a title equivalent to the rank of knight — in 2017.

Joanna Lumley, who played Whitfield’s daughter, told ITV News: “I am heartbroken to lose such a darling friend and shall never forget her sensational talent, humour and her generosity to us all who had the joy of working with her on Ab Fab. She will always have a most special place in my heart.”

Helen Lederer wrote, “To add to tributes – June Whitfield during #AbsolutelyFabulous – a wizz at the crossword , perfection with feed lines and kindness itself.”

Julia Sawalha, who played her granddaughter, wrote: “Thank you #damejunewhitfield,for teaching me my craft with such grace and dignity.I always wanted you to know how in awe of you I was, however, you were always far too humble to accept my adoration.You  were a great source of inspiration to me. Bye-bye Gran.”

Whitfield, who was married to Tim Aitchison from 1955 until his death in 2001, is survived by her daughter Suzy.

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Ringo Lam, Hong Kong Director of ‘City on Fire,’ Dies at 63

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Ringo Lam, the Hong Kong director that worked on such projects as the 1987 film “City on Fire,” was found dead Saturday morning, according to the Hong Kong’s Apple Daily. Lam was 63.

An unresponsive Lam was found in bed by his wife, Apple Daily reported on Saturday. After discovering the body, she called an ambulance, but by the time it arrived, Lam had already passed. A cause of death has not been announced, but no foul play is suspected.

Born in Hong Kong in the mid 1950s, Lam originally aspired to be an actor, but eventually shifted his focus to working behind the camera and moved to Canada to study film.

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After returning to Hong Kong in 1981, Lam was commissioned by Cinema City to complete Leong Po-Chih’s unfinished supernatural romance comedy “Esprit D’Amour.” While the film gave the director his first taste of success, it was his work on “City on Fire” that launched his career, earning him his first Hong Kong Film Award in 1987. The film was the first of many collaborations with Chow Yun-fat and has also been credited as the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs.”

After “City on Fire,” Lam had a short stint in Hollywood, where he directed Jean-Claude Van Damme’s “Maximum Risk,” an action movie that was miss at the box office. They worked together twice more, in “In Hell” and “Replicant.” Lam eventually moved back to Hong Kong where directed the 1997 action film “Full Alert,” which garnered five nominations at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

In 2007, Lam teamed up with directors Tsui Hark and Johnnie To to direct “Triangle.” Lam’s last worked on  the 2016 action thriller “Sky on Fire,” which starred Daniel Wu.

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Chris Burrous Appreciation: Why I’ll Miss KTLA’s Citizen Journalist (Guest Blog)

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There used to be a term for people like Chris Burrous, the KTLA news anchor and field reporter who died Thursday at age 43. This term pretty much disappeared when everyone with WiFi and a WordPress blog site considered themselves a communicator. The term is “citizen journalist,” and that’s what Chris Burrous was, and that’s why he will be missed.

Chris was the weekend anchor at KTLA, a Los Angeles-based TV station whose morning news became a juggernaut in content delivery. The news was personality driven, and Chris’ place in the motley crew that occupied living rooms, kitchens and cars every morning was a testament to brilliant programming. He was like the kid brother whose role was eclipsed by the more stalwart, fame-familiar older siblings, and that’s the feeling I got about him when I watched him anchor.

Such is the role of the second-string star whose adeptness at communication was on a par with those who rule morning drive.

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Chris, however, was more than a deliverer of news. During the recent wildfires, I remember watching him through the haze of smoke, his arm around a recently displaced home owner, coaxing information while embers scuttled around him.

He would bond with people — returning military veterans, parents of ill children, immigrants. His microphone, when angled in the direction of his subject, was like a bridge of tolerance and understanding.

When Chris turned back to the camera, and finished with, “Back to you,” the subject of his interview would stay huddled with Chris, not willing yet to break that temporary bond.

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I remember briefly meeting Chris a few years ago. I was in Riverside, sharing a burrito and a plate of stale chips with a friend. Chris was doing a segment called “Burrous Bites,” in which he would promote a local restaurant, often a dive, with an encouraging if not sympathetic review.

“Who is that guy?” asked my friend, nodding in Chris’ direction.

“Dude, that’s Chris Burrous.”

He shrugged, and wiped some congealing salsa from his mustache. “What’s up with the haircut?”

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Chris did present a rather nerdy first impression. The son of a farmer and a NASA engineer, it’s no wonder that there was a duality to Chris. Gushing over some limp taquitos one day, and the next deep into a local tragedy, holding his emotions at bay while reporting dispassionately, professionally… such a loss.

I’m going to miss this guy. When I turn away in disgust at the ungodly news coming from the Oval Office, with the announcement of “Breaking News” heralding a rehash of the same sad story, I would often flip over to KTLA, and see Burrous sitting next to his co-anchor Lynette Romero.

Sam Rubin, the famed entertainment reporter, called Chris “a terrific broadcaster,” and he was.

Rest in peace, Chris. I hear the taquitos in heaven are waiting for your review.

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Amos Oz, Israeli Author Whose Work Inspired Natalie Portman’s Directing Debut, Dies at 79

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Amos Oz, the Israeli author whose acclaimed 2002 autobiographical novel “A Tale of Love and Darkness” inspired Natalie Portman’s 2015 directorial debut, died Friday. He was age 79.

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Oz had been battling cancer.

The Jerusalem-born writer published more than 18 books, including “Black Box” and “In the Land of Israel.”

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But he is perhaps best known for “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” a fictionalized account of his boyhood during the end of the British Mandate for Palestine and the early years of the Israeli state. The book recounts his mother’s battle with depression as well as his teenage years on a kibbutz.

Portman, an Oscar-winning actress also born in Jerusalem, wrote and directed a 2005 film adaptation that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. She also played Fania, the character inspired by Oz’s mother.

Last month, U.S. publisher Houghton Mifflin released Oz’s essay collection “Dear Zealots: Letters from a Divided Land,” in which he denounced the rise of zealtory in Israel and worldwide, and argued for a two-state solution to the ongoing Palestinian crisis.

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Philip Bosco, Tony-Winning Actor and ‘Working Girl’ Star, Dies at 88

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Philip Bosco, a Tony and Emmy-winning character actor who also starred in such movies as “Working Girl,” died Monday at age 88, according to his grandson Luke Bosco.

Bosco received the first of his six Tony nominations for his Broadway debut, the 1960 drama “Rape of the Belt,” and his last for a 2004 revival of “Twelve Angry Men.” He won in 1989 for playing an outrageous opera company head in the comedy “Lend Me a Tenor.”

He also appeared in more than 50 Broadway productions over his storied career.

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Though he told the New York Times in 1986 that he had turned down a seven-year contract with a Hollywood studio early in his career because he did not want to live in California, he did appear in many movies starting in the 1980s.

Bosco had small but crucial roles in films like Mike Nichols’ 1988 comedy “Working Girl,” where he played the corporate honcho who fires Sigourney Weaver’s scheming executive and hires Melanie Griffith’s ambitious secretary instead.

His other big-screen credits included Woody Allen’s 1997 film “Deconstructing Harry,” 1983’s “Trading Places,” the 1986 drama “Children of a Lesser God” and the 1997 rom-com “My Best Friend’s Wedding.”

He also made frequent appearances on TV, from soap operas like “Ryan’s Hope” and “As the World Turns” to “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” in which he had a recurring role as a judge. In 1987, he won a Daytime Emmy for an “ABC Afterschool Special” called “Read Between the Lines.”

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