Alex Rocco, Whose Scene-Stealing Moments In ‘The Godfather’ Left An Indelible Impression, Dead At 79


“Mr. Rocco had fairly limited screen time in ‘The Godfather’ (1972), but he emerged from that film with a collection of signature lines, including ‘You don’t buy me out. I buy you out’ and ‘Do you know who I am?’ (both spoken to the Godfather-in-waiting, played by Al Pacino), and a Hollywood reputation for stealing scenes with little more than a Boston attitude and his eyebrows.”

Alan Curtis, 80, Leader Of Baroque Music Revival

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As a harpsichordist, scholar, conductor, and founder-director of the ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, Curtis brought an enormous amount of neglected music – opera and vocal works in particular – from the 17th and 18th centuries to modern ears. In recent years he was known for a series of Handel opera recordings funded by mystery author Donna Leon.

Actor Roger Rees Dead At 71


He made his name in the RSC’s marathon production of Nicholas Nickleby in 1980, became known to millions through roles in the series Cheers and The West Wing, and (between the occasional major film) maintained a long and successful career as a stage actor and director on both sides of the Atlantic.

Leonardo Da Vinci Invented A Refrigerator

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“The design, which has been dated to around 1492, included both a drawing of the machine and a theoretical explanation of how it would work … It was likely designed for drinks, or perhaps sorbets and desserts, the report says.”

Coroner: BB King Was Not Poisoned

FILE - In this Aug. 8, 2013 file photo, Blues music legend B.B. King performs on Frampton’s Guitar Circus 2013 Tour at Pier Six Pavilion, in Baltimore. The coroner in Las Vegas says there’s no evidence King was poisoned before he died of natural causes in May 2015. Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg said Monday, July 13, 2015, that an autopsy sought by two of the musical icon’s 11 adult children came back cause of death alzheimers disease with other significant conditions. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)

“Tests conducted after two of the musical icon’s 11 adult children said their father had been murdered showed the cause of death was Alzheimer’s disease, plus physical conditions including coronary disease, heart failure and the effects of Type 2 diabetes, Clark County Coroner John Fudenberg told The Associated Press.”

It’s True: Le Corbusier Was An Anti-Semitic Fascist


“[He] was involved from the 1920s until the mid-1940s with a series of far-right fascist publications that were anti-Semitic, often racist, and always totalitarian and ultra-nationalist. … [ He] attended fascist rallies in the 1920s, privately supported the Nazis, and sought work between 1940 and 1942 in Marshall Pétain’s Vichy. (Albeit Le Corbusier, intriguingly, also sought employment in Soviet Russia, but was turned down.)”

After 40 Years Of Fame, An Artist Finally Gets A Solo Show At Home


Marcia Hafif, now 86, “speaks softly and moves gracefully. But the unassuming manner belies a bold adventurousness. A discussion about painting might segue nonchalantly to talk about ‘a little affair’ in Mexico, her journeys through Iran or her larger-than-life Circassian great-grandfather, who fought against the French in Mexico in the late 19th century.”

The Man Who Sculpted Disneyland – And Made Pirates Out Of Churchgoers


“Gibson’s handiwork includes the buccaneers of the popular Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, the fearsome ghosts and goblins of the Haunted Mansion, the colorful birds of Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and the global village children of It’s a Small World. He created the sculpture of Abraham Lincoln that became the first Audio-Animatronic figure.”

Making History While Writing Late Night Comedy


Robin Thede, the first African-American woman to head a comedy writing team for a late night host: “The thing about tragedy is that it causes people to react in a myriad of ways … [and] some of them are very hilarious. You don’t make fun of the actual tragedy. You make fun of the ridiculous ways people react to it.”

Actor Omar Sharif, 83

FILE - In this Jan. 15, 1969 file photo, Britain's Princess Margaret, right, talks with American singer Barbra Streisand, left, and actor Omar Sharif, center, at the premiere of the film "Funny Girl," at the Odeon Cinema, London. Sharif has died in a Cairo hospital of a heart attack, his agent said on Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo, File)

“Sharif died of a heart attack in a Cairo hospital, his longtime agent, London-based Steve Kenis, and the head of Egypt’s Theatrical Arts Guild, Ashraf Zaki, told The Associated Press. The actor had been suffering from Alzheimer’s.”

Jacob’s Pillow Director Leaves For New-Created Position At Mellon Foundation


Ella Baff has been at Jacob’s Pillow, which is home to America’s longest-running dance festival, for 17 years. In a statement, Mark Leavitt, the board chairman at Jacob’s Pillow, wished Baff well. “The Mellon Foundation is an important institution that has been a longtime supporter of the arts and some of the Pillow’s most successful programs,” he said.

Vladimir Nabokov, American Novelist: How A Dispossessed Tsarist Aristocrat Became The Guy Who Got The Dead-On Americana Of “Lolita”


“Nabokov arrived on these shores, penniless and without prospects, in 1941, at the age of forty, having only begun writing in English shortly before his flight from Europe. How could a book so thoroughly – so definingly – American have arisen … from so seemingly unlikely a source?”

Why Steven Soderbergh Quit Making Movies


“The bottom line when people talk about all the reasons, you know the biggest reason? It stopped being fun. It just stopped being fun. It really wasn’t. That’s a big deal to me. It may sound like “Why do you have to have fun to go to work?” I don’t know. I like to be in a good mood. The ratio of bullshit to the fun part of doing the work was really starting to get out of whack.”

The Mindfulness Guru For The iPhone Age


“He is bald, with blue eyes and a deep tan, and he looks as much like a personal trainer as like a personal guru. … He speaks with the kind of Estuary English accent that you might encounter in a London pub.” Andy Puddicombe “trained as a Tibetan Buddhist monk before creating an iPhone app called Headspace, which teaches meditation and mindfulness techniques [and] has been downloaded by three million users.”

Classic Hollywood Producer Jerry Weintraub, 77


“The Brooklyn-born son of a Bronx jeweler, Weintraub rose from the mailroom of a talent agency to become a top concert promoter before shifting into a decades-long career as a top Hollywood producer. Along the way, Weintraub worked with the most famous of stars — Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, George Clooney, Brad Pitt — and was a close friend of former President George H.W. Bush. He relished his insider status, just as they savored the stories that eagerly poured out of him.”

Junot Díaz Remembers The First Time He Got Beaten Up

junot diaz

“As these things go, it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t actually lose any teeth or break any limbs or misplace an eye. … I was furious and ashamed, but above all else I was afraid. Afraid of my assailants. Afraid they would corner me again. Afraid of a second beat-down. Afraid and afraid and afraid. Eventually the bruises and the rage faded, but not the fear.”

Classical Critic Edward Greenfield, 86


“He began his journalistic career in 1953 as a political writer for the Manchester Guardian, taking up reviewing recordings for the paper in 1955 (he was later appointed the Guardian‘s chief music critic in 1977, retiring in 1993).” He also spent 55 years as a contributing critic for Gramophone.

This Is The Woman Who Animated ‘Sesame Street’


“‘Jane dreamed up many innovative techniques — before the age of computers — to bring inanimate objects to life,’ said Christopher Cerf, her collaborator on ‘Sesame Street.’ … To demonstrate the concepts of jam-packed and empty, she sent chirping chickens charging into a room through a door and a window, only to retreat just as swiftly.”

As ‘Maria’ Retires From Sesame Street, A Look At How She Changed TV – And The U.S.


“Manzano’s gift to us, the power of her presence, lies in the fullness of Maria’s humanity. While still being proudly brown and representing Nuyorican excellence in all its glory, Maria never became a caricature, never boxed herself into the facile images of Latinos that American television sometimes still offers up. She slipped easily in and out of Spanish and English, celebrated her culture lovingly, became a feminist, worked as a repair woman, got married and had a baby, and, perhaps most importantly, aged – all before our eyes.”

The Curious Remaking Of David Foster Wallace


“He has become a character, an icon, and in some circles a saint. A writer who courted contradiction and paradox, who could come on as a curmudgeon and a scold, who emerged from an avant-garde tradition and never retreated into conventional realism, he has been reduced to a wisdom-dispensing sage on the one hand and shorthand for the Writer As Tortured Soul on the other.”

Remembering Gunther Schuller


“Although he coined the expression “third stream” in the late 1950s as a suitable epithet for his own amalgam of classical and jazz forms, his music was technically complex and demanding. Hence it never secured a wide and sympathetic audience in his lifetime.”