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Obituaries

WNYC News

'Family Circus' Cartoonist Bil Keane Has Died, He Was 89

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

His sweet and gentle comic was created in 1960 and now appears in more than 1,500 newspapers. A son, Jeff, is carrying it on.

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The Takeaway

Remembering Heavy Weight Champion Joe Frazier

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Joe Frazier, the heavyweight boxing champion who gave Muhammad Ali his first loss, died Monday night at age 67. A representative said he had liver cancer. Between 1968 and 1973, Frazier won 32 fights — 27 of them by knockouts. In March 1971, Frazier became the undisputed heavyweight champion when he beat Ali in a 15 round decision in what was known as the Fight of the Century. John Hockenberry remembers the champ's life and career.

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WNYC News

Boxer Joe Frazier, Who Beat Ali In The 'Fight Of The Century,' Has Died

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Frazier and Muhammad Ali fought three classic bouts in the early '70s. In the first, Frazier won. Ali came back to win the next two.

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WNYC News

Secretary Clinton's Mother Has Died, Dorothy Howell Rodham Was 92

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

She was "intellectually broad-minded" and instilled in her children "a pervasive sense of family and love for one another," journalist Carl Bernstein wrote of the former first lady's mother.

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WNYC News

Tom Keith, 'A Prairie Home Companion's' Sound Guy, Has Died

Monday, October 31, 2011

Keith worked as a special effects master in public radio since the '70s. He died Sunday in his home in Minnesota. He was 64.

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WNYC News

Alcohol Killed Amy Winehouse, Coroner Rules

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The alcohol in the singer's system was five times the legal drunk-driving limit, authorities say. Winehouse, 27, was found dead on July 23.

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The Takeaway

Remembering Piri Thomas

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Writer and poet Piri Thomas, whose 1967 memoir "Down These Mean Streets" authentically portayed the brutality, racism, and hardship faced by Puerto Ricans in America's urban ghettos, died on Monday. He was 83 years old. Thomas was born in Harlem, and his memoir went on to become a staple of high school reading lists.

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The Takeaway

Radio Legend Norman Corwin Dies at 101

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Norman Corwin, whose 70-year-career as a writer made him a legend in the world of radio, died on Tuesday of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles. He was 101. Corwin wrote, directed, and produced for radio, television, film, and the stage. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his script "Lust for Life," a 1956 biopic about Vincent Van Gogh. During the "Golden Age of Radio" in the 1940s, Corwin was a prolific producer, working in every genre. Two of his radio works, "We Hold These Truths," a 1941 documentary about the Bill of Rights that aired after Pearl Harbor, and "On a Note of Triumph," a 1945 piece that aired on VE Day in 1945, are considered masterpieces of the medium. Corwin remained a writer-in-residence at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

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The Takeaway

Remembering Opera Singer Salvatore Licitra

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Italian opera singer Salvatore Licitra died today at 43, nine days after suffering severe injuries in a scooter accident in Sicily. Licitra was regarded as the greatest tenor since Luciano Pavarotti. Celeste Headlee remembers his storied career and stunning voice.

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The Takeaway

Bluesman David 'Honeyboy' Edwards Dies at 96

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chicago bluesman David "Honeyboy" Edwards died on Monday. He was 96. Edwards was believed to be the oldest member of a generation of Delta blues players like Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Sonny Boy Williamson, and Big Joe Williams. Our partner the BBC prepared this segment, where Edwards, in his own words, recounts his life, and reflects on his legacy.

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Features

Remembering Motown Songwriter and R&B Artist Nick Ashford

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The legendary Motown songwriter Nick Ashford, who wrote "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "I'm Every Woman" and "Solid" with his wife Valerie Simpson, died on Monday after a battle with throat cancer, according to his publicist. He was 70 years old. Watch classic Ashford & Simpson videos here.

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Features

American Painter Cy Twombly Dies at 83

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Cy Twombly, the artist and painter whose sketchy, scribbly style innovated and challenged the art world has died at age 83 in Rome.

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Features

Remembering the Big Man, Clarence Clemons

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The saxophone player for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, Clarence Clemons, died from complications of a stroke on Saturday. He was 69. Check out videos and images featuring the Big Man here.

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The Takeaway

Remembering Gil Scott-Heron: Musical Innovator and Rap Inspiration

Monday, May 30, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron, a Chicago-born poet who many called the "Godfather of Rap," died Friday, at the age of 62. Scott-Heron was a musical innovator, whose spoken-word-over-jazz 1970 debut album "Small Talk at 125th and Lenox," is often credited as year zero of rap music. The record featured songs like "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," which, along with many other Scott-Heron compositions, became heavily sampled and referenced in music that came afterward. The musician and writer often said the accolades were misguided, and preferred to call himself a "bluesologist." 

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Features

Playwright of 'West Side Story' and 'Gypsy,' Arthur Laurents, Dies at 93

Friday, May 06, 2011

Laurents died on Thursday at his home in Manhattan due to complications from pneumonia. Watch videos of his work here.

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Features

Elizabeth Taylor: A Life in Pictures

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor died on Wednesday at her home in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure. She was 79. Taylor started her career onscreen at age 9, and went on to have a career that spanned more than five decades. Taylor received two Academy Awards, for her roles in 1961's "Butterfield 8" and 1966's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" See pictures that capture moments from her life in the slideshow below.

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Features

West Coast Rapper Nate Dogg Dies at 41

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

West Coast rap artist and singer Nate Dogg has died at age 41.

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The Takeaway

Remembering John Barry, 'James Bond' Composer

Monday, January 31, 2011

Composer John Barry wrote the score for eleven James Bond films, transforming the music into one of the most iconic pieces of film music ever written. Barry died Sunday of a heart attack. Barry's mother was a classical pianist and his father owned several movie theaters. "I never sat down at any given moment and said, 'this is what i want to be.' It just kind of grew out of my environment in the cinema and taking music lessons and loving music," Barry told the BBC.

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Features

Broadway Marquees Dimmed in Honor of Ellen Stewart and Romulus Linney

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wednesday night, as theater goers line up to get their tickets at will-call windows, the marquees of Broadway will go dark for one minute, at 8 P.M.

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The Takeaway

Jazz Great Billy Taylor Dies at 89

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pianist and composer Billy Taylor died of heart failure on Tuesday, at the age of 89. The award-winning jazz advocate and scholar is recognized for penning compelling commentary in his jazz compositions during the civil rights era. But he's also known for being a giant in the teaching world of jazz — literally putting some of his peers on a truck and taking them around New York City to perform and teach the world that jazz is America’s classical music.

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