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Posts Tagged ‘John J. O’Connor’

FishbowlNY’s 2009 Lists: In Memoriam

cronkite.jpgOur favorite part of any award show is the memorial montage commemorating the lives of all those who passed away in the past year. While this year’s headlines were populated by the tragic deaths of celebrities and other bold-faced names — from Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett to Patrick Swayze and Senator Ted Kennedy — our industry lost quite a few of its prominent members in 2009 as well. Here, a look back at some of the media’s brightest stars we said goodbye to this year:

Former anchorman Walter Cronkite was perhaps the biggest name in the media world to pass away in 2009, and he was honored by a star-studded memorial in September.

A number of famous columnists also left us without their prolific narratives about politics, celebrities and the English language in 2009. Conservative columnist Robert Novak died in August from a brain tumor, Vanity Fair‘s Dominick Dunne passed away later that month after a battle with bladder cancer. The New York Times‘ “On Language” columnist, William Safire, died in September from pancreatic cancer. Another columnist who we had the pleasure of working with last year, men’s wear expert Stan Gellers, died suddenly last winter, just a few months after the publication he had contributed to for more than 50 years, DNR, folded.

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New York Times Television Critic O’Connor Dies at 76

o'connor.jpgTelevision critic John J. O’Connor worked for The New York Times for over 25 years.

To put it in perspective, he was around to call David Frost‘s interview with Richard Nixon a program that raised “serious questions about the contemporary crafts of marketing and communication.” He was around to say that the television mini-series “Roots” was a giant step forward for popular entertainment. He debated the merits between the Simpson and Cosby families, and one of his last pieces for The Times involved Ellen DeGenerescoming out on national television, which O’Connor had mixed feelings about, calling it “a promotional tool” for what was once a “a delicate, if not traumatic, rite of passage” for gay men and women.

He died last night in his home, at age 76 of lung cancer, survived by his partner Seymour Barofsky. O’Connor may have left The Times in 1997, but as we discovered while searching for examples of his work, many of his reviews can still be found on the paper’s Web site, so you can take a moment to read back through some of his best works.

John J. O’Connor, a Times TV Critic in Years of Industry Upheaval, Dies at 76New York Times

(Photo courtesy of The New York Times)