Roger Michell, The 65-year-old British theater and film director best known for ‘Notting Hill’, the hugely popular 1999 romantic comedy that somewhat overshadowed the rest of his vast and diverse body of work, died on Wednesday. No further details were available. Although his success with “Notting Hill” propelled him to the top ranks of English-speaking directors, Michell kept a low profile, preferring to let his actors and writers shine – a quality that may explain why so many actors loved working with him. .
Melvin Van Peebles, 89, the filmmaker hailed as the godfather of modern black cinema and a pioneer of independent American cinema, died Tuesday at his New York home. His death was announced by his son Mario Van Peebles, the actor and director.
A Renaissance man whose work spanned books, theater and music, Melvin Van Peebles is best known for his third feature film, “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song”. The film sizzled with explosive violence, explicit sex, and righteous antagonism towards the white power structure. It was dedicated to “all black brothers and sisters who have had enough of The Man”.
In addition to making films, Van Peebles has published novels, in both French and English; wrote two Broadway musicals and produced them simultaneously; and wrote and performed spoken word albums that many have called the ancestors of rap.
Willie Garson, 57 years old, a versatile actor best known for his work on “Sex and the City” and its spinoff films as one of the best friends of Carrie Bradshaw, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, and who went on to star in “White Collar “and has appeared in numerous other television shows and films, died of an unspecified illness on Tuesday,” People magazine reported.
Sarah Dash, The 76-year-old who co-founded the vocal group Labelle – best known for the raucous 1974 hit “Lady Marmalade” – died Monday. Patti LaBelle and Nona Hendryx completed the trio. They announced Dash’s death on social media on Monday. No cause of death has been disclosed.
Dash brought her church-rooted soprano and high harmonies to Labelle, who started out as a 1960s girl group before reinventing herself as an Afro-futuristic powerhouse and Afro-futuristic rock, clad in science outfits. – scintillating and singing fiction about revolution as well as earthy romance. In 1974, Labelle had a No. 1 hit, “Lady Marmalade,” and gave the first concert of a pop group – and a black group – at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.
George Holliday, 61-year-old plumber whose video of Los Angeles cops beating black motorist Rodney King in 1991 tore apart a city already plagued by racial tensions, died on September 19 of complications from COVID-19 in a Los Angeles hospital.
After hearing the sirens, Holliday used a Sony Super8 Handycam video from his balcony to record the beating. After unsuccessfully offering the footage to the police, Holliday gave the videotape to KTLA-TV. The footage was widely viewed and used to prosecute the officers, who were found not guilty by a largely white jury, sparking violent protests. In a way that couldn’t be seen at the time, the mere act of Holliday hoisting a video camera over his shoulder was likely one of the first flickers of the citizen journalist movement to come.
Ruben Klamer, 99, an inventor who envisioned the game of life and many other toys and games that entertained young baby boomers in the pre-internet 50s and 60s, as well as their children in the 80s and 90s, died on 14 September at his home in La Jolla, California. The Game of Life has sold over 70 million copies in 59 countries. It has become such a part of the culture that he was inducted into the Permanent Archives of Family Life at the Smithsonian Institution in 1981.
Irma Kalish, 96, a television screenwriter who addressed abortion, rape and other provocative issues in many of the biggest comedy hits of the 1960s and beyond as she helped women enter the writers’ room , died September 3 in Woodland Hills, California.
Yolanda Lopez, 78, an artist and activist who created one of the most famous works of art in Chicano history by daringly remaking the Virgin of Guadalupe in her image – as a strong young brunette wearing running shoes and a big smile – passed away September 3 at her home in San Francisco. The cause was complications from liver cancer.