With the recent deaths of many of my childhood icons — Farrah Fawcett, Michael Jackson, Walter Cronkite, Ed McMahon, John Hughes, Bea Arthur – I got to thinking about the famous people who died this year. Growing up, we watched the Oscars segment honoring those who the industry lost during the year. It seems like there’s more celebrity deaths this year than ever before. Actually, it’s probably more accurate to say I’m now old enough to recognize the famous people who are dying.

Curiously, Wikipedia keeps track of the deaths of “important” or famous people by month and year. I looked over the list for this year, and I was amazed at how many Hollywood people I recognized. I suppose they do every year, but this is the first time I ever took notice. I also noticed that there were great losses to the SF/geek world this year.

Some of the non-celebrity interesting people who passed away this year include:

Alec Gallup – of Gallup Poll fame

Jane Aiken Hodge – writer of gothic, romantic suspense novels that I gobbled up as a tween.

Marilyn French – feminist author of the Women’s Room (I gobbled that one up, too).

Alfred A. Knopf, Jr. – publisher

John Updike – famous American author

Andrew Wyeth – famous American painter

Claiborne Pell – Senator from Rhode Island. Created Pell Grants, the NEA, and the NEH

Shi Pei Pu – gender-bending Chinese opera singer and spy, inspiration for M. Butterfly

Some important academics who I admire:

Peter Kollock – cyberstudies scholar

Edward T. Hall – anthropologist, important figure in nonverbal and intercultural communication

Ronald Takaki – Asian American historian, pioneer of ethnic studies

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick – queer theory scholar

SF&F/Geekdom losses:

Charles N. Brown – founder of Locus Magazine

John Keel – parapsychologist, author of The Mothman Prophecies

David Eddings – author of The Belgariad series

Paul O. Williams – author of the Pelbar Cycle

Tom Deitz – author of the Soulsmith Trilogy

Hans Holzer – paranormalist, investigator of The Amityville Horror

Dave Arneson – co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons

Philip Jose Farmer – prolific SF author

Howard Menger – “contactee” (i.e., alien encounters)

Kim Manners – director of X-Files and Supernatural

Ricardo Montalban – starred in Fantasy Island and in ST II: Wrath of Khan

1 Comment

  1. I’ve watched this show consistently since the first episode begun during September of 1993 and i also have never ever been disappointed. The writing, the fantastic team (especially Gillian Anderson together with Mitch Pileggi), the fantastic plots and also the terrific everything made me enjoy the past 9 years. Even though David Duchovny decide to take his leave from the show, Chris Carter was confident what to do in working with the talent of such actors as Robert Patrick & Annabeth Gish. This particular show continues to impress society and i’m confident it had until it’s very last show. I would like to thank Chris Carter and the total X-Files team for providing me 9 years of enjoyment on Weekend evenings. It’s been one heck of a program, and i am without doubt it will always end up loved.

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