Longtime Simpsons voice actress Marcia Wallace, who voiced schoolteacher Mrs. Krabappel on the show, passed away at 70 last weekend, and yesterday night's episode of The Simpsons included a special tribute to her. The episode, which coincidentally was about the death of a Springfield resident (not Mrs. Krabappel), began with a modified version of the opening credits' chalkboard gag. Instead of writing the same phrase over and over on the chalkboard, Bart just writes, "We'll really miss you, Mrs. K" just once and looks very sad.
The episode's end credits featured a still image of Mrs. Krabappel sitting on her desk with the words "In loving memory of [...]
Prolific television writer Gary David Goldberg has passed away at the age of 68 after a battle with brain cancer, according to Variety. Goldberg got his first TV writing job on The Bob Newhart Show in 1976. After that, he wrote on series like M*A*S*H, Phyllis,The Tony Randall Show, and Lou Grant before getting the chance in 1982 to create his own show, Family Ties, which ran for sevens seasons on NBC. Family Ties made a young Michael J. Fox into a star and became a hit during its third season when paired with The Cosby Show, kicking off NBC's long-running "Must See TV" lineup.
Goldberg created another long-running sitcom [...]
Controlled madness. Laser-keen in bursts. Pointed and precise.
Vulnerability, too. A certain tenderness. His eyes set the tone for his act.
I can't think of an American comedian more revered and respected than Jonathan Winters. (There's Jack Benny, for those who remember him.) Winters created a world where you were welcome, but you had to keep pace. His rapid-fire mind took hairpin turns. The inattentive might be left in his dust.
Winters was one of the more offbeat performers in mainstream comedy. He was as polished as Hope. As graceful as Gleason. As biting as Rickles. Yet Winters pushed it further. Breathed different [...]
Comedian Phyllis Diller passed away in her sleep earlier today at age 95. Diller began as a stand-up in the 1950s and never stopped performing until a few years back. During that time she amassed over 50,000 jokes. She undoubtedly was a legend and a very influential comedian. She was able to combine a unique sort of self-deprecation with an impressively honed comedic persona and touches of absurdity, most notably she devoted much of her act to a fictitious husband named "Fang." And then there was that laugh. Watch a few clips of her below. She will be missed.
Sherman Hemsley passed away today at age 74 in his Texas home. Personally, I associate him with Judge Carl Robertson on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and B.P. Richfield on Dinosaurs; however, he'll likely be remembered best as the moved on up George Jefferson for the 11 wildly popular seasons of The Jeffersons. The role earned him multiple Emmy nominations and tons of popular and critical acclaim. Hopefully, right this second, he is somewhere calling someone "Whitey." Below watch a few videos of the man, including the famous George Jefferson Dance:
Character actor Kumar Pallana, a regular in Wes Anderson's movies, passed away yesterday at the age of 94. Pallana appeared in scene stealing roles in four of Anderson's movies: as Kumar the safecracker in Bottle Rocket, excited janitor Mr. LittleJeans in Rushmore, Gene Hackman's sidekick/valet Pagoda in The Royal Tenenbaums, and in a less memorable part as an old man on a train in The Darjeeling Limited. Pallana transitioned into acting at the age of 76 when he met Wes Anderson and co-writer Owen Wilson at a coffee shop owned by his son, and they insisted on casting him in a small part in their first movie, Bottle Rocket. [...]
Comedy pioneer Bernie Sahlins passed away Sunday in his Chicago home at the age of 90. Sahlins, who co-founded Chicago's Second City theater in 1959, had a vast influence on the careers of the dozens and dozens of brilliant comedic minds that passed through the theater's doors during his tenure there and upon the American comedy landscape as a whole. Sahlins spent three decades at Second City before selling the theater to Andrew Alexander in 1984 and stepping down as artistic director in 1988. During his time at Second City, Sahlins hired a long list of iconic performers that includes Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Fred Willard, John Belushi, Dan [...]
Beloved comedian Jonathan Winters has passed away at the age of 87. TMZ reports that Winters died in Montecito, California, yesterday evening, surrounded by friends and family. Winters, renowned for his stand-up act that showcased his brilliant, rapid-fire improvisational abilities and knack for character work, inspired a ton of comedians who followed in his footsteps, including Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Johnny Carson, Lily Tomlin, Andy Kaufman, Amy Sedaris, and countless others. In addition to releasing a string of popular albums, two of which won him Grammys, the late comedian had an impressive resume of movie and TV credits. Although he amassed hundreds of TV and movie credits, Winters is perhaps best [...]
David Rakoff died last night, far too young at 47. Here's a video that Dave Hill just put online of a "book tour" for Don't Get Too Comfortable that they made together for a reading. It's hilarious and wonderful and makes today that much more sad. Here's Hill on the video: A few years ago, David Rakoff and I, DH, made this video with Keith Aumont Goldberg to play at a reading we did together. In it, we pretend to go on a book tour for David's second book "Don't Get Too Comfortable." In reality, we were just driving around mostly while I tried not to crash [...]
As a friend of Andy Warhol, Timothy Leary, and William Burroughs's, Nelson Lyon was a fixture of the New York City counterculture. The former 1980s SNL writer, however, is probably best known as being John Belushi's sidekick in the 1982 drug binge that lead to the comic genius's demise. Lyon never served jail time for the incident but the events left a black mark on his career that was seemingly impossible for him to overcome. Lyon passed away from liver cancer last week, on Tuesday July 17. He will be missed.
Character actress Eileen Brennan passed away on Sunday in her Burbank home at the age of 80, according to her publicist. The cause of death was bladder cancer. Brennan, who received an Oscar nomination for her performance as tough Army captain Doreen Lewis in 1980's Private Benjamin, was an accomplished actress of stage and screen who was apt at playing both comedy and drama. Comedy-wise, she's known for her roles in Clue, FM, Murder by Death, and for Emmy-nominated guest spots on Taxi, Newhart, and Will & Grace.
Veteran actress Jean Stapleton, best known for portraying Archie's better half Edith Bunker on All in the Family, passed away Friday from natural causes at the age of 90. Stapleton won three Emmys and two Golden Globes for her career-defining performance as Edith, a character she portrayed for the influential show's entire nine-year run (and for an additional year on the continuation series Archie Bunker's Place). In addition to her role in All in the Family, Stapleton played supporting roles in movies like You've Got Mail, Michael, and Klute and guest starred on Everybody Loves Raymond, The Love Boat, and Murphy Brown. She was also an accomplished stage actress [...]
Comedy writer Mickey Rose passed away Sunday from cancer at the age of 77, The LA Times reports. Rose is best known for co-writing Woody Allen's first three movies with Allen: What's Up, Tiger Lily?, Take the Money and Run, and Bananas. Allen and Rose became friends in high school in Brooklyn in the early 1950s, where they played baseball and in a jazz band together. Allen even set Rose up on a blind date with Judy Wolf, the woman who would become his wife of 40 years, until her death in 2003. Rose and Allen stopped writing together in 1970, when Rose and his family moved [...]
This is beautiful and sad and tough and a bit fun. Franken spends a good bit of the speech talking about the process of writing and making comedy with Tom, focusing on SNL and the famous Julia Child sketch. It's a really great watch. While you're spending time with Franken, read this crazy story by a BoingBoing writer about the time he met with Franken for a job interview, minutes after Phil Hartman was killed. Then maybe watch the Julia Child sketch below, for something a bit more upbeat and Friday friendly.
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