Tag Archive | Celebrity Deaths

Eight Favorite Acting Roles by Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs
Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs in Almost Famous (with Patrick Fugit)

By now, everyone with an Internet connection knows that American Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman died early this morning, February 2nd, 2014 of an apparent Heroin Overdose in his NYC apartment. He was just 46 years old. I am currently inconsolable over this tragic news. Hoffman was certainly among my favorite actors and I don’t think I ever saw film he was in where he didn’t blow me away with his ability to transform into his character. He was comparable to a male version of Meryl Streep when it came to his versatility. What a huge loss.

Here are a few of my favorite film roles Hoffman played over the years.

Almost Famous: Hoffman played the late Rock Critic Lester Bangs, who mentors a young William Miller (a character played by Patrick Fugit, and based on director Cameron Crowe) as he takes on a feature assignment for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Boogie Nights: Hoffman was totally believable as Scotty J., a shy, socially awkward, gay film assistant who has a hopeless crush on Porn Star Dirk Diggler (Mark Wahlberg).

Magnolia: In Paul Thomas Anderson’s ensemble drama, Hoffman had the role of Phil Parma, a private nurse who attempts to bring about a reconciliation between his terminally ill patient (played by Jason Robards) and that patient’s misogynistic son (Tom Cruise).

Red Dragon: Hoffman was so good at playing slimeball Reporter Freddy Lounds, you almost hated to see him get brutally tortured and killed. Almost.

Capote: Hoffman won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2005 for his flawless portrayal of the flamboyant author, Truman Capote.

Synecdoche, New York: Hoffman plays ailing theater director Caden Cotard, who sets out to stage a theatrical production of his life story that takes on a life of its own. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you are on LSD without actually taking any drugs, watch this movie.

Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead: Hoffman plays Andy Hanson, one of two brothers (his costar is Ethan Hawke) who plan to execute a “perfect crime” that goes horribly, tragically wrong. The final film directed by Sidney Lumet; highly recommended.

The Master: Playing the part of a charismatic cult leader not-so-loosely-based on L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame, Hoffman earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as Lancaster Dodd.

RIP and Godspeed.

RIP Legendary Music Producer Phil Ramone

Phil Ramone
Image Source

Fourteen time Grammy winning record producer Phil Ramone passed away in New York today, March 30th, 2013. The cause of death has not yet been disclosed. Ramone was 72 years old (though I have seen two sources cite his age as 79, not sure where that is coming from as his year of birth is given as 1941). A brief list of artists Ramone worked with includes Burt Bacharach, Bono, Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Madonna, Paul McCartney, Paul Simon, Frank Sinatra and Stevie Wonder. CNN has more information and celebrity remembrances in a nice obit at This Link. RIP, Phil!

Davy Jones: Dead at 66

Davy Jones of The Monkees

British singer and actor Davy Jones, best known as vocalist for The Monkees, passed away suddenly today, February 29, 2012. Jones reportedly suffered a heart attack Wednesday morning. This is so crazy and unexpected, as I literally just saw Jones and his very excellent band perform at BB Kings night club here in NYC on Saturday, February 18th and he looked and sang great. Davy Jones was 66 years old. RIP Davy.

Director Ken Russell Dies at Age 84


Roger Daltrey as the composer Franz Liszt in Ken Russell’s 1975 film Lisztomania

British film Director Ken Russell – who directed two of my favorite films starring Roger Daltrey (Tommy and Lisztomania) has passed away in a hospital on Sunday (11/27/11) following a series of strokes. He was 84. BillBoard has a nice obit and recap of Russell’s career at This Link.

RIP Steve Jobs

Oh man, what a blow. Steve Jobs has passed away today, October 5, 2011, due to an as yet unspecified causes (read: Cancer), though he was known to be in poor health (Jobs struggled with pancreatic cancer for over a decade and underwent a liver transplant in 2009). He was 56 years old — way too young to go. Steve can at least rest in peace knowing he created the best personal computer in the universe.  The Worley Gig was created on an iMac and the Mac is the only brand of computer I will ever own. Apple Mac Forever! You can read the LA Times Obit on Steve Jobs at This Link.

Amy Winehouse: Dead at 27

I just heard that Singer Amy Winehouse has passed away today, July 23, 2011, at her home in London. Details can be found at This Link.  So many fans wish that she spent more time at the wilderness addiction treatment center. What a sad waste of a life and a true talent. RIP Amy.

RIP Singer & Composer Andrew Gold


From Spinner Dot Com:

Singer-songwriter Andrew Gold, the writer of the 1977 hit “Lonely Boy” and a frequent collaborator of Linda Ronstadt’s, died in his sleep at his Encino, Calif., home on June 3, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 59-year-old had been battling cancer.

Gold seemed destined to find a career in music, thanks to the accomplishments of his family. His mother, Marni Nixon, sang for Natalie Wood in West Side Story and for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady, while his father, Ernest Gold, won an Oscar for his score of the 1960 film Exodus.

Taking up multiple instruments on Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel, Prisoner in Disguise and Hasten Down the Wind, Gold added a charm and robustness to the famous singer’s records. “Andrew was so enormously talented it almost seemed effortless,” Ronstadt told the Los Angeles Times. “He was a real cornerstone of those early records … He was so bubbly and so smart and we were so impressed with what a good musician he was.”

Gold worked as a session musician for James Taylor, Carly Simon and Loudon Wainwright III. His impressive resume also includes the theme song to NBC’s Mad About You and his hits “Lonely Boy” and “Thank You for Being a Friend,” the latter of which was used as the Golden Girls theme.

Gold is survived by his wife, Leslie Kogan, his mother, two sisters and three daughters.

RIP Producer Jack Richardson

I can’t believe I managed to miss this news. I was just on the phone with my friend Neal Smith (2011 R&R Hall of Fame Inductee with the band called Alice Cooper) and he sort of casually mentioned to me, “You know that Jack Richardson passed away a couple of weeks ago, right?” Seriously, I had no idea. Richardson was a studio legend best known for producing over fifteen albums for The Guess Who, but he’s also responsible for sending a young Bob Ezrin to New York to produce Alice Cooper (the band)‘s breakthrough album, Love it to Death (1971). He went on to produce John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Double Fantasy and Alanis Morrisette’s phenomenally successful debut, Jagged Little Pill among many other best selling albums. Jack was considered to be a “Drummer’s Dream Producer” and during the time I wrote for Modern Drummer I interviewed many players who sang Jack’s praises. Jack Richardson is also the father of noted music producer Garth Richardson, who actually mixed the sound for the reunited Alice Cooper Band when they performed at Revolver Magazine’s Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles last month. Richardson was 81 years old when he passed away on May 13, 2011 after years of declining health. You can read more about the life and career of Jack Richardson at This Link.

RIP Jeff Conaway

Actor Jeff Conaway, best known for his role as Bobby in the long-running TV show Taxi and for his role as Kenickie in the musical film Grease, passed away on Friday May 27, 2011, at the age of 60 from complications due to drug and alcohol abuse. A sad and senseless end for a very talented person. RIP, Jeff. May you find peace in the afterlife that you could not find while on Earth.