Friday, January 15, 2016

“By Grabthar’s hammer, by the Sons of Warvan, you shall be avenged!” – RIP Alan Rickman

The death has sadly occurred of London-born actor Alan Rickman at 69 due to cancer. Rickman was a Tony Award nominated member of the Royal Shakespeare Company who achieved significant notoriety for his silver screen acting performances winning Golden Globe, BAFTA and SAG awards.

He first found significant fame as Hans Gruber, nemesis to Bruce WillisJohn McClane in the 1988 classic Die Hard. Rickman's Gruber was an evil and sardonic foil to to Willis' wisecracking hero cop and the character was ranked by the AFI as the 46th best villain in film history. Rickman continued to master a portrayal of evil by becoming the Sherriff of Nottingham in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves delivering perhaps the most over the top performance of his career. He objected to being constantly referred to a villain up to his later years citing that he hadn't actually played one since the Sheriff.

Rickman was someone as much at home with serious drama as he was with comedy delivering dozens of roles since the 90's. In 1996 he delivered a well acted albeit almost entirely inaccurate portrayal of Éamon de Valera in Neil Jordan's Micheal Collins which loosely depicted the events surrounding Ireland's struggle for independence from Britain. Later in 1999 he had comedic roles - as The Metatron in Kevin Smith's Dogma and a somewhat self-parodying role as the fictional method actor Alexander Dane who in turn portrayed the alien Dr. Lazarus on a fictional TV show Galaxy Quest.

In the 2000's Rickman adopted his most most common role and for which he acquired legions of fans; during the 10 year period of the Harry Potter film adaptations from 2001 to 2011. Rickman played the somewhat enigmatic Prof. Severus Snape in eight Harry Potter adventures for which his performance garnered universal praise.

Rickman will appear in and lends his voice to two projects which have yet to be released. Gavin Hood's suspense drama Eye in the Sky due for release in April and he most recently completed voice work for a reprisal of the character Absolem, the Caterpillar in Through the Looking Glass the sequel to the 2010 movie Alice in Wonderland

May he rest in peace.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

And now we say goodbye to 2015. A year that redefined marriage as The Supreme Court of the US makes same-sex marriage legal while in Ireland a marriage equality referendum is passed in a landslide victory that hammers yet another nail in the coffin against the most archaic and outdated form of the Catholic establishment which will soon fade into history.

It was also a year of terror attacks felt notably in Kenya and France, of migrant swarms, Iran's nuke deal, Hilary's E-mail, an Earthquake in Nepal and Volkswagen's lies. Bruce becomes Caitlyn, Trump dominates Election 2016, Germanwings 9525, Kogalymavia 9268, the U.S. shakes the hand of Cuba and Ramadi is retaken.

The FCC reclassified retail broadband Internet service as a telecommunications service, a victory for Net Neutrality for now. New Horizon flies by Pluto, Birdman wins Oscars but The Force Awakens wins all.

Many greats are lost including Harve Bennett at 84, producer and writer, the man who saved Star Trek. Leonard Nimoy, 83, actor and director best known for his portrayal of Mr. Spock in many incarnations of Star Trek. Herb Trimpe at 75, a comic book artist who visualised The Incredible Hulk and G.I. Joe and co-created Wolverine. Sir Christopher Lee at 93 the British actor known as Dracula, Saruman and Count Dooku. And most sadly James Horner, untimely at 61, Oscar-winning composer of musical scores for "Titanic", "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", "Aliens" and "Apollo 13".

We also remember others we have lost this year.

Hugh Ambrose, 48, American historian and author ("The Pacific")
Gen. Earl E. Anderson USMC, 96, American Marine Corps general who at 53 became the youngest active duty Marine to be promoted to the rank of 4-star general in the history of the USMC
Howard A. Anderson, Jr., 95, American visual effects artist ("Star Trek")
Murphy Anderson, 89, American comic book artist (Superman, Green Lantern), creator of Zatanna
Sir Michael Beetham GCB, CBE, DFC, AFC, DL, 92, British marshal of the air force, Chief of the Air Staff (1977–1982)
Theodore Bikel, 91, Austrian-born American actor (Sergey Rozhenko "Star Trek: The Next Generation")
Admiral Sir John Jeremy Black, GBE, KCB, DSO, captain of the HMS Invincible during the Falklands War
General Sir Edward Burgess KCB, OBE, 87, British army general, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1984–1987)
Wesley Burrowes, 85, Irish playwright ("Glenroe")
George Cole, 90, English actor (Arthur Daly "Minder")
George Coe, 86, American actor ("Star Trek: The Next Generation - "First Contact"") Voice Actor (Wheeljack "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" / Doctor Godera "Star Wars: The Old Republic" / various "The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim" and "Guild Wars 2") and original SNL cast member.
Douglas S. Cook, 56, American screenwriter ("The Rock")
Yvonne Craig, 78, American actress ("Batman", "Star Trek") 
Derek Davis, 67, Irish broadcaster
Jim Diamond, 64, Scottish singer-songwriter ("I Should Have Known Better")
Rick Ducommun, 62, Canadian actor ("The 'Burbs", "Die Hard", "The Hunt for Red October")
Brett Ewins, 59, British comic book artist (Judge Dredd, 2000 AD)
Chuck Forsberg, 71, American computer programmer, developer of ZMODEM
Col. James L. Fowler USMC, 84, American military veteran, founded the Marine Corps Marathon
Brian Friel, 86, Irish dramatist ("Philadelphia, Here I Come!", "Dancing at Lughnasa")
Gen. John Galvin U.S. Army, 86, American army general, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1987–1992)
Alan Howard, 77, English actor (Sauron [The Lord of the Rings])
Maurice Hurley, 75, American television writer and producer ("Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Miami Vice")
Bruce Hyde, 74, American actor (Lieutenant Kevin T. Riley ["Star Trek"])
Sgt. Einar H. Ingman, Jr. U.S. Army, 85, Medal of Honor recipient (Korean War)
George Clayton Johnson, 86, American writer ("Logan's Run", "The Twilight Zone", "Star Trek", "Kung Fu")
B.B. King, American blues singer, guitarist, songwriter, and record producer
Alan Kupperberg, 62, American comic book artist (Robocop #1, Transformers, Star Wars, Iron Man
Joseph Lechleider, 82, American, inventor of digital subscriber line (DSL) technology
Grace Lee Whitney, 85, American actress (Yeoman Janice Rand ["Star Trek"])
Lemmy, 70, English rock musician (Motörhead)
Robert Loggia, 85, American actor ("Mancuso: FBI", "Independence Day")
Mick Lynch, Irish indie rock singer (Stump, Bernard)
Don Mankiewicz, 93, American screenwriter ("Star Trek" episode "Court Martial")
Patrick Macnee, 93, English-American actor ("The Avengers", "A View to a Kill")
Bob Minkler, 78, American sound mixer ("Star Wars", "Tron")
Warren Murphy, 81, American author and screenwriter ("Lethal Weapon 2")
John Forbes Nash, Jr., 86, American mathematician (subject of "A Beautiful Mind")
Lt.Gen. William O'Callaghan (DSM), 91, Irish army officer,  Force Commander (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon
Maureen O'Hara, 95, Irish-American actress and singer ("The Quiet Man")
Bill O'Herlihy, 76, Irish sports broadcaster 
Jerry Parr, 85, American Secret Service agent, extricated Ronald Reagan during assassination attempt,
Roddy Piper, 61, Canadian professional wrestler and actor ("They Live")
Wayne Rogers, 82, American actor ("M*A*S*H")
Pvt. George T. Sakato U.S. Army, 94, American soldier, Medal of Honor recipient
Lt.Col. Edward Saylor USAF, 94, American World War II veteran, member of Doolittle's Raiders.
Omar Sharif, 83, Egyptian actor ("Lawrence of Arabia", "Doctor Zhivago")
Roger Slifer, 60, American comic book author (Co-creator - Lobo) and Animation writer ("G.I. Joe Extreme" / "Transformers")
John Stephenson, 91, American voice actor (Kup, Alpha Trion ["Transformers"] / Hawk, General Flagg, General Franks ["G.I. Joe"]),
Percy Sledge, 74, American R&B, soul, gospel, and traditional pop singer.
Rod Taylor, 84, Australian actor ("Inglourious Basterds", "The Birds")
Nigel Terry, 69, British actor ("Excalibur", "Troy")
Fred Thompson, 73, American politician and actor ("Die Hard 2", "Law & Order", "The Hunt for Red October"), U.S. Senator from Tennessee (1994–2003)
Tom Towles, 65, American actor ("Miami Vice", "The Rock", "Star Trek: Voyager")
Mary Ellen Trainor, 62, American actress ("Lethal Weapon", "Die Hard")
Francis Tsai, 48, American comic book, film and video game concept artist (Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Spider-Man, TMNT, Myst 3)
Dick Van Patten, 86, American actor ("Spaceballs", "Robin Hood: Men in Tights")
Daniel von Bargen, 64, American actor ("Shaft", "The General's Daughter", G.I. Jane")
Jason Wingreen, 95, American actor ("Star Trek") and voice actor (Boba Fett - "The Empire Strikes Back")
Bernard Williams, 72, British film producer ("Daredevil", "Flash Gordon")
Christopher Wood, 79, English novelist and screenwriter ("Moonraker", "The Spy Who Loved Me")
Robert Z'Dar, 64, American film actor and producer ("Maniac Cop", "Tango & Cash")

May they rest in peace.

And now 

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