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RIP

The Winters of Robin Williams’ Circus Tent

What is there left to say about the passing of Robin Williams that has not been Google searched already?

While the two most mentioned bits of video in the wake of the comedian’s death August 11 were his 2001 Inside the Actor’s Studio appearance (voted by viewers as the series favorite) and a 2010 podcast conversation with Mark Maron (taped at the comedian’s home in San Francisco), we’d like to gift you on this Christmas Eve with the following bit of October 19, 1991 The Tonight Show hagiography:

Taped not long before Carson retired, the episode had Williams hanging out on the couch with his muse Jonathan Winters. Winters, in a soldier’s uniform, had earlier that year won his one and only Primetime Emmy Award (for Davis Rules.)

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The Poetry of Philip Seymour Hoffman

All these months later, it still seems incomprehensible. Philip Seymour Hoffman is no longer with us.

ShutterstockPhiliSeymourHoffmanVenice2012

Over the weekend in The Guardian, playwright and very good friend David Bar Katz (he and Hoffman used to have coffee every morning after dropping off their kids to school) shared a prose poem about Hoffman. It is a must-read, spanning Katz’s celebration of the actor’s mastery of the “non-coerced and generous apology,” as well as this foreshadowing:

I saw Phil in his first professional theater role. A production of King Lear at a small theater in the middle of New Jersey.

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RIP: LIFE Magazine Photographer Ralph Morse

LIFEmaglogoDuring a career bursting with signature shots, Ralph Morse delivered two of these to LIFE magazine at the turn of the 1960s. In 1961, he assembled for a lively group portrait every then-NFL starting quarterback. And for the February 1962 issue, there was Morse’s iconic shot of astronaut John Glenn, part of a lengthy chronicling of the Mercury Seven.

This past weekend, at age 97, Morse passed away in Florida. From Mary Alice Miller‘s Vanity Fair tribute:

Morse was a portraitist of stars, as well, credited for a particularly tender image of Audrey Hepburn cradling her Oscar for Roman Holiday against her cheek in 1954. His pictures of Jackie Robinson dancing around the bases during the 1955 World Series, and Sugar Ray Robinson jumping rope in 1950, solidified Morse’s status as a noted sports photographer.

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RIP: Lester Bernstein

NewsweekLogoOur most heartfelt condolences go out this holiday weekend to New York Times investigative reporter Nina Bernstein. She has announced that her father Lester Bernstein has passed away at age 94. Eight days after the death of his wife Mimi, Nina’s mother.

The span of Mr. Bernstein’s esteemed journalism career was writ large, encompassing stints as editor of Newsweek, European correspondent for Time and vice president at NBC, where he helped organize the first televised U.S. Presidential debates. Per today’s Times obituary, here’s how it all began:

Lester Bernstein was born in the Bronx on July 18, 1920 to Isidore and Rebecca Axelrod Bernstein, Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Eastern Europe. He graduated in 1936 from DeWitt Clinton High School and in 1940 from Columbia College, where he was the Times campus correspondent.

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Colleagues React to the Passing of Charles Champlin

ShutterstockCharlesChamplinWOFOn Facebook, Los Angeles Times staff writer Susan King shared the impact made during her formative years by Charles Champlin, the retired editor, film and book critic who passed away Sunday at the age of 88. From her post:

Though I only talked to him twice on the phone, he had changed my life as a teenager. He hosted a series on PBS called Film Odyssey, which showed classic films from the Janus catalog.

One of the first films was Truffaut’s Jules & Jim. That film changed my life. The series changed my life and Champlin changed my life. There’s a big chance I would be doing something else if it wasn’t for that show.

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ASU Pays Tribute to a Pillar of Its Journalism School

sylvesterThis coming Saturday afternoon at Arizona State University, a two-hour celebration will be held to honor the memory of long-time journalism professor Edward J. Sylvester. The man who helped shape the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism into one of the nation’s best passed away November 8, at age 72, from cancer.

Prior to joining ASU in 1980, Sylvester worked for the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Arizona Daily Star. Over the years, one of his articles and several books were submitted for Pulitzer Prize consideration. From ASU’s tribute piece:

With former Cronkite School director Douglas A. Anderson, Sylvester helped craft a successful proposal for one of the first Knight Chairs in Journalism, an endowed professorship currently held by Pulitzer Prize winner Stephen Doig, who teaches data journalism.

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The Remarkable Last Column of Village Voice Founding Editor Jerry Tallmer

TheVillagerLogoFrom his room at the DeWitt Rehabilitation & Nursing Center on the Upper East Side in late October, Jerry Tallmer filed a typically frank essay to The Villager. Titled “Blue Moon Johnny; I Wasn’t My Brother’s Keeper,” it now reads, in the wake of the author’s death Sunday at age 93, as a vivid and painful reminder of the fractured family circumstances that the Village Voice founding editor was able to overcome.

From the column:

My mother, Ilona Lowenthal Tallmer Müller-Munk, never really liked my brother, equating him with my father — Johnny’s and my father — whom she had run away from in the 1930s to go live in a flat on Third Avenue, next to the roaring rattletrap Third Avenue el, with Berlin-born artist and silversmith Peter Müller-Munk. I have sharp memories of aristocratic PMM ducking out a window to an adjacent rooftop to comply with a court order whenever Johnny or I came in sight…

The remainder of my memory of Jonathan Tallmer is bathed in tears — his tears — whenever, in or out of public places (like restaurants), he’d have news for me about his starting a new career, getting a job or losing one, and that continued off and on for a few years until the fateful Sunday in 1967 when my mother ran out of things to read, or thought she did, which adds up to the same terrible thing.

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NYT Ethicist Answers an Unusual Robin Williams Question

Well done. Reminding that sometimes 140 characters just doesn’t cut it, Chuck Klosterman in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine offers a thoughtful, intelligent and provocative response to a reader’s lament.

Rita Long, a reader in Oakland, thinks it was cruel and perhaps even immoral for the keepers of Koko the gorilla to inform the primate that Robin Williams, whom she met once, had passed away. From Klosterman’s reply:

Since an ape can’t comprehend the concept of “celebrity,” that [Williams] meeting should be no more intrinsically meaningful than any one-time interaction Koko shared with anyone else. It’s not as if Koko sits around constantly rewatching Moscow on the Hudson.

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Post Critic Hands Column Keys to Kevin Spacey

Wonderful, classy move by Michael Riedel.

JuilliardLogoTo honor the memory of beloved Broadway actress and acting teacher Marian Seldes, who passed away this week at age 86, the Post theater critic enlisted her former student Kevin Spacey to write the words. From today’s Spacey piece:

As we waited for the Walk/Don’t Walk sign to change, Val [Kilmer] suddenly said, “Do you see that woman over there in purple?” Standing directly across the street was a tall, elegant woman, looking around with excitement, as if it were her first day in New York City — not mine — dressed in purple from head to toe.

“That’s Marian Seldes,” Val said. “She’s going to be your first [Juilliard] Shakespeare teacher. Wanna meet her?”…

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Howard Stern’s WNBC Nemesis Passes Away

When allaccess.com broke the news of Kevin Metheny‘s passing at age 60 in the Bay Area from a heart attack, the radio industry website respectfully made no mention of the fact that the 60-year-old heart attack victim was immortalized by Howard Stern in Private Parts as “Pig Vomit.”

However, much of the subsequent coverage – by the New York Daily News, TMZ and others - has bannered the WNBC program-director-days mockery. With TMZ opting for the original, pre-book moniker:

TMZPigVomitTypo

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