Deaths Hub




Broadway Icon Elaine Stritch Dead at 89

Stritch

Elaine Stritch has died, the NYT reports:

Elaine Stritch, the brassy, tart-tongued Broadway actress and singer who became a living emblem of show business durability and perhaps the leading interpreter of Stephen Sondheim’s wryly acrid musings on aging, died on Thursday at her home in Birmingham, Mich. She was 89.

Her death was confirmed by a friend, Julie Keyes. Before Ms. Stritch moved to Birmingham last year, she lived, famously, for many years at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan.

Stritch was recently the subject of a documentary called Shoot Me. Earlier this year, she became a viral sensation on the web after dropping a hilarious F-bomb on the Today show with Hoda and Kathie Lee.

Stritch also said recently that she was just becoming aware that she had a huge gay fanbase.

RIP.


Frank Robinson, Writer Who Helped Craft Harvey Milk's Famous Speeches, Dies at 87

Frank Robinson, an author who also crafted some of Harvey Milk's greatest speeches, died on June 30, the Los Angeles Times reports:

RobinsonRobinson's June 30 death while under hospice care at his San Francisco home was confirmed by Daniel Nicoletta, a longtime friend who, like Robinson, was part of Milk's inner circle. Robinson had a history of heart problems, Nicoletta said.

Robinson met Milk on a random stroll past Milk's camera shop in the Castro, befriended him, and went on to write some of his speeches, the paper adds:

Robinson worked on Milk's stirring "You've Got to Have Hope" speech — a call for gay pride that included Milk's recounting of an anguished call from a confused young boy in Altoona, Pa.

"Harvey polished the speech and used it often," Robinson wrote in his foreword to a collection of Milk's writings, "though the rest of us kidded him because some days the boy lived in Altoona, other times in San Antonio or Buffalo. The boy really got around, we thought."

Eventually, Robinson became such a trusted advisor that Milk, preoccupied with the possibility of his own assassination, left a "political will" designating him as his preferred successor.

"If there were any problems, he would be able to carry on the philosophy and idea of what I stood for," Milk said in a 1977 tape recording he left with his attorney.

Robinson never sought office but wrote more than a dozen books, mainly thrillers and science fiction. He was 87.

Here is the NY Times obituary from July 4.

Nicoletta wrote a touching remembrance of Robinson on Facebook on July 1. Wrote Nicoletta, in part:

Frank’s fondest days were on the set of writer Dustin Lance Black’s film MILK directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Sean Penn, et al. Frank became a kind of Spiritual mascot on set, partly playing himself as he historically was – a more than regular visitor to Harvey’s camera store, but hybridized for Gus’s film to also be this kind of “everyman older gay guy” who was a campaign volunteer… All of the giants on that movie and there were many, too numerous to list here “got” who Frank was to Harvey and they honored him with the respect and adoration afforded to few during the fast track of a feature film being made… that made me profoundly happy to witness and Frank’s enduring kinship with Lance Black became like no other, an eternal source of pride and fulfillment for both men and for those of us who got to share in that friendship.

Back in the day (1976), I snapped Frank and Harvey swapping drafts of a speech across the camera store front desk… later Frank hired me as a budding freelance photographer… I took shots of his epic Sci-Fi pulp magazine collection and also did a couple of author portraits over the years. Frank was always available to proof my own tortured writing and he had boundless enthusiasm for supporting the creativity of those of us who surrounded him, quite a wide swatch of fine human beings from across many oceans and miles.

Black also wrote a remembrance on his Facebook page last week:

This morning FRANK M. ROBINSON left this world. He was Milk's speech writer, an acclaimed sci-fi author and was like a father to me. To say the earth feels made of quicksand lately makes it sound too solid. Frank, I'll miss your thunderous laughter, your protective love and your razor sharp writer's mind.

(photo by Dan Nicoletta)


Gay 'Survivor' Contestant Caleb Bankston Dies in Train Accident

Caleb Bankston, who competed on Survivor: Blood vs. Water with his fiancé Colton Cumbie, died in a train derailment at Birmingham's Alabama Warrior Railway where he worked, according to People.

AL.com adds: Bankston

Cumbie's Twitter account is protected but according to The Daily Mail, he wrote, 'I just wish it was me....'

Details of the accident are not known.

Caleb, who was a Locomotive Engineer/Conductor at Alabama Warrior Railway, according to his Facebook page, finished in the top 10 when he competed with Colton on Blood vs. Water.

"Caleb was an amazing man and friend," fellow contestant Aras Baskauskas told PEOPLE. "One of the sweetest and most sincere humans I've ever come across. I am gutted by his loss. My thoughts and prayers are with his family."

TMZ updates:

Bankston -- a contestant on "Survivor: Blood vs. Water" last year  -- was checking on something in the small space between two of the cars when the train went off the tracks. Cops say the rear car slammed into the forward car ... with Bankston caught helplessly in between.

Since this is an industrial accident, Birmingham PD says the Federal Railroad Administration and the railway company’s safety officer will conduct separate investigations.

So far, it is unknown what caused the derailment. We're told there was one oPublishther worker on the train at the time of the crash ...  he was not injured.

Bankston was one of the kindest, most patient Survivor contestants in recent memory.

Watch a scene that displays the devotion to his fiancé Colton, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Gay 'Survivor' Contestant Caleb Bankston Dies in Train Accident" »


Dr. Maya Angelou Dead at 86

Angelou

Poet, author, actress, and civil rights advocate Dr. Maya Angelou has died at her home in North Carolina at the age of 86, according to Piedmont News station MyFOX8.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines confirmed Angelou was found by her caretaker on Wednesday morning. Angelou had been reportedly battling health problems. She recently canceled a scheduled appearance of a special event to be held in her honor.

Angelou was set to be honored with the “Beacon of Life Award” at the 2014 MLB Beacon Award Luncheon on May 30 in Houston.

Angelou's last tweet, published five days ago:

...Angelou is famous for saying, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

"And Still I Rise"


Storme DeLarverie, Who Fought Police at Stonewall Riots, Dies at 93

Storme DeLarverie, a 93-year-old veteran activist who took part in the 1969 Stonewall uprising, died on Saturday morning in her sleep.L

DelarverieThe New York Times did a powerful story on her four years ago. You can read it here.

Wrote Manny Fernandez:

"The woman in Room 609, Storme DeLarverie, has dementia. She is but one anonymous elderly New Yorker in a city with thousands upon thousands of them. And many of those who marched down Fifth Avenue on Sunday would be hard pressed to realize that this little old lady — once the cross-dressing M.C. of a group of drag-queen performers, once a fiercely protective (and pistol-packing) bouncer in the city’s lesbian bars — was one of the reasons they were marching."

I also posted about DeLarverie back in 2009 when she was facing eviction from her apartment in NYC's Chelsea Hotel.

Here is her page on the Stonewall Veterans' Association website.

DelarverieThe Bronx LGBTQ Center sent out this remembrance of DeLarverie:

The Bronx LGBTQ Center is deeply saddened by the loss of a pioneer of the modern-day LGBTQ civil rights movement, Stormé Delarverie. Often referred to as the "Rosa Parks" as the gay rights movement, Stormé was a fierce woman who stood up for our community on countless occasions. She passed away peacefully in her sleep on the morning of Saturday, May 24, 2014.

Stormé was an amazing and warm individual who spent her life taking care of people. It didn't matter if they were lesbian, gay, straight, young, old, transgender, questioning, bisexual, Black, White, Latino -- she treated everyone with the same warmth, compassion, kindness, conviction, courage, strength of spirit, and love. This led her to be dubbed the unofficial mother of our community, especially by those who knew her.

She was not someone who tolerated injustice, though she faced it on an almost daily basis throughout much of her life. Stormé was a Black lesbian who often presented as a Black man, although she could easily have passed for a White woman -- she choose not to do so. Her love of people made Stormé an advocate, and she stood up to all injustice whenever she encountered or heard about it.

It was this conviction that led her to change the world for all of us, for the better. Stormé is credited as having thrown on of the first punches during the Stonewall Uprising in June, 1969. But it was her ongoing effort throughout decades of caring for our community that most people who knew her, remember her.

A celebration of her life and immeasurable contributions to the modern Gay Civil Rights Movement will be held on Thursday, May 29th from 7-9pm at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home, 199 Bleecker Street (@ 6th Avenue), New York, NY. All are welcomed to honor this woman who forever changed our lives and helped launch the movement that will bring us equality.

Thank you Storme, and rest in peace.

(top image via NYT)


Actor Bob Hoskins Dead at 71

Hoskins

British actor Bob Hoskins, seen above portraying J. Edgar Hoover in Nixon (1995), has died at the age of 71, the AP reports:

A family statement released Wednesday by agent Clair Dobbs said Hoskins died in a hospital after a bout of pneumonia. His wife Linda and children Alex, Sarah, Rosa and Jack, said: "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Bob."

In 2012 Hoskins announced that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and was retiring from acting.

Hoskins appeared in dozens of other films including Mona Lisa, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Hook.


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