Category Archives: obituary

Johnny Hallyday died

If you’re not European you probably haven’t heard of Johnny Hallyday, but think of him as the French Elvis with a decidedly French romantic strain. Having lived in France for a year in total, I know of him, though I wasn’t a huge fan. But many, many people were, and I’m saddened to report that […]

Charles Manson died

Charles Manson, the most hated and feared criminal of our time, who, curiously, attracted many followers, died yesterday of “natural causes” at age 83. If you’ve followed the news, this was almost inevitable, for he’d been hospitalized since November 15 and reported on the brink of death. He died at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield, California […]

Paddles is dead

The one year old polydactylous cat Paddles—staffed by recently elected New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford—is dead. She was hit by a car.  Paddles had recently assumed her status as First Cat of New Zealand, and had a Twitter account that was hilarious.  In fact, Paddles was the only creature […]

Fats Domino died

Actually, there were two deaths on Tuesday. One was Mel Green, an old friend and sort of a mentor to me in genetics when I was a postdoc (more on that tomorrow), who died in Davis at 101. The other was  Antoine “Fats” Domino, who died yesterday in Harvey, Louisiana (right near New Orleans) at the […]

Tom Petty died (UPDATE: maybe. . .)

UPDATE: The early reports of Petty’s death have now been altered; the police “cannot confirm” his death after mistakenly announcing it, but we do know he was found not breathing after a cardiac arrest. That probably means he’s brain dead. Other reports say he was on life support, but that has been removed. In effect […]

Steve Gould’s last class

Matthew found this on his Twi**er feed, which recounts Stephen Jay Gould’s last classes at Harvard before he died of cancer on May 20, 2002 at age 60.  As you may know, Gould had survived peritoneal mesothelioma, an almost invariably fatal form of cancer that struck him in 1982. Amazingly, he beat the odds on […]

Walter Becker died today

Oh dear, the rock icons are dropping all over the place: a sure sign that I’m getting old. (As one of my friends says, “We’re moving up to the front lines.”) But this one is especially sad, as it’s Walter Becker, co-founder and lead guitarist of one of my favorite groups, Steely Dan. As Rolling […]

Jerry Lewis died

Jerry Lewis,  comedian, actor, director, writer, and raiser of more than $2 billion for muscular dystrophy, passed away peacefully this morning at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91. I emailed the news bulletin to a friend who was a huge fan of Jerry Lewis (and did a credible imitation); his response was this: All […]

Dick Gregory died

Yesterday the comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory died in Washington, D. C. He was 84; the cause was heart failure. Although he started his comedy career as a convention funnyman, he gradually incorporated more material about racism into his routines. The New York Times gives some of his bon mots: He would plant […]

Glenn Campbell died

Glenn Campbell, 81, just died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease (is “battle” the right word for something like this?). But even though the outcome was inevitable, he accepted it bravely. As CNN reports: During the “Ghost” tour, there were times he would forget lyrics or find himself suddenly unfamiliar with a chord change. […]