There are not many philanthropists like Eli Broad, who died on April 30th, 2021 at the age 87. In his lifetime, Broad and his wife Edith amassed a personal collection of over 2,000 works of contemporary art, which they then donated to the city of Los Angeles (and the world), building a namesake museum to house them all for your enjoyment. Who does that? Amazing. You can read more about Eli Broad’s life of service in his obituary from the NY Times at This Link. Read all about my super fun visit to The Broad Museum shortly after it opened in 2015, and see some choice pieces of the collection, at This Link. RIP.
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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.
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!
TV and Music Industry Legend Dick Clark has passed away today, April 18, 2012, at the age of 82 after suffering a massive heart attack. He had a good, long life. For about the first 70 years of his life, say up until he had that devastating stroke in 2004, Dick Clark looked just as he did in the photo above. He was like a modern-day Dorian Gray, staying forever young while an oil painting of his likeness aged in an attic somewhere. Tell me I’m not right about that. The man just never aged. RIP Dick Clark. I wish I knew your secret to eternal youth.
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.
Don Cornelius, creator and host of the legendary Soul Train dance show, passed away early this morning (February 1st) of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Cornelius was 75 years old. The NY Times Arts section has an excellent Obit at This Link. Farewell, Don Cornelius. You were a true original, and you will be missed.
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.