RIP, Joan Rivers

Another comedy legend has gone to the two-drink minimum in the sky following a surgery. And yeah, her last years were not her finest, but she remained true to herself until the very end.

It is not an overstatement to say that if there had been no Joan Rivers, there would be nowhere near the number of fearless female comics as there are today. Rivers busted that glass ceiling in such a way that it could never, ever be put back together again.

I hope when she arrived at the Pearly Gates, God said to her, “Can we talk?”

RIP, Lauren Bacall

Giants used to walk amongst us.

Lauren Bacall, one of the all-time legendary sirens, has gone to the silver screen in the sky following a stroke at her home. She was 89.

I saw Ms. Bacall in Company! as a wee tot, and I remember remarking to my mother that she was pretty. Mom arched an eyebrow at my father and said something along the lines of, “He’s your son after all,” so you see I come by it honestly.

She will be missed.

(There’s a nice write-up at Entertainment Weekly — and hey! they used the same picture!)

RIP, Robin Williams – UPDATED

Very sad:

At 11:55 a.m., the Marin County Communications department received a 9-1-1 call reporting a male adult was found in his residence unconscious and not breathing.

“Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late,” said spokeswoman Mara Buxbaum. “This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

His wife, Susan Schneider, added: ”This morning, I lost my husband and my best friend, while the world lost one of its most beloved artists and beautiful human beingsI am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.”

For those of us of a certain age who grew up in SF Bay Area, Williams was (and is) an institution. Whether you loved him, hated him, you couldn’t ignore him. And when he went big, the whole Bay Area rooted for him, and eventually the whole nation.

He will be missed. But the two-drink minimum Open Mic in Heaven will be epic tonight.

Na-Nu, Na-Nu.

MPS will be going dark for the rest of the night out of respect. Everyone should go find something that makes you happy and laugh tonight, it would be the best tribute.

UPDATE: Laffy at Political Carnival worked with him in improv, and has a nice post up. Someday I’ll come clean about my conflicted feelings, too. But not today.

RIP, James Garner

OK, I can now say it: if I could have been any movie actor, I probably would have chosen James Garner.

From Garner’s comedies (Westerns et al and all the rom-coms) to his television shows, he gave his characters such depth and humanity, it was hard to see him as anything but the everyday man. Plus, he was so handsome he always got the girl, but usually through just being a great guy. What more could you want in a matinee hero? But he also had the real acting chops, which he displays so well in The Great Escape and The Americanization of Emily, his characters always seemed so authentic, like they were just reflections of the real man, and that’s no mean feat. He made everything look so easy.

Mr. Garner, thanks for the laughs and all the memories, you are already greatly missed.

RIP Elaine Stritch

One of the true Grande Dames has left the stage:

And now here’s Stritch doing the cast recording, with her own commentary:

She was harder on herself than she ever was on anyone else (and she was a ROYAL. PAIN. IN. THE. ASS), and maybe that’s why she is a Broadway Legend? I’ll go with yes.

There will be a curtain call in heaven tonight, and she will be missed.

(NYTimes covers her career so very well.)

RIP, Tommy Ramone

Oh, man, he was only 62. The Ramones are gonna have a re-union gig in heaven tonight.

I was lucky enough to see The Ramones live and the energy at those shows was just unlike anything I’ve ever experience before or since. The inestimable essayist and supreme stylist James Wolcott (of Vanity Fair) has a chapter in his book Lucking Out that is probably the best thing ever written about Punk in NYC in the ’70s. Highly recommended reading if you want to read about the influence of the Ramones. I assume Mr. Wolcott will blog about Tommy sometime soon, so keep an eye on him.

Anyway, I’m ordering good Scissorheads to bop about where’ere you happen to be today. Energy, people. It’s what the Ramones would want.

Variety has a run-down on Tommy Ramone’s career that’s pretty interesting reading.

RIP, Bob Hoskins

Oh, man, now I’m sure that there will never be a sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, as Bob Hoskins has died at the age of 71 from pneumonia:

The gruff Londoner, who rose to fame in British gangster films in the 1980s and went on to have a long career as a Hollywood character actor, died in hospital on Tuesday night.

Hoskins, who was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for “Mona Lisa” in 1986, retired in 2012 after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

He will be missed.

(Hat tip: Scissorhead B-4 who has a really nice piece up on Mr. Hoskins)

RIP, Mickey Rooney

I was not going to write about him (never saw any of his movies and didn’t like the man much when I saw him on talk shows), but then I got this tweet from my buddy Frank Chow who blogs here:

And the link goes to Breakfast at Tiffanys:

I think I’ll let Frank’s tweet speak for me, too. What a shame he never apologized.

RIP, David Brenner

Another great, funny man is at the two-drink minimum in the sky. I know he’s gonna knock’em dead, er, well, bring down the house.

Brenner was 78, and he continued working doing live shows until the end.