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Sunday, 15 June 2014

Obituaries: June 15th, 2014

Source: The Guardian
A series of brief tributes to a number of recently-lost entertainment legends.
We are hugely saddened to report today the passings of Sue Townsend (1946-2014), Bob Hoskins (1942-2014), Rik Mayall (1958-2014), Sam Kelly (1943-2014), Francis Matthews (1927-2014) and Casey Kasem (1932-2014), all of whom left us over the course of the past two months. Whilst many of these iconic industry figures only departed our world this week and as such are receiving rapid obituaries here at On-Screen, our tributes to both Sue and Bob are long overdue and we sincerely apologize for the delay in their publication.

As ever, reams upon reams of digital space could be filled by details of just how many lives and cultures these fallen idols brought inspiration to during their lives on Earth. So as to ensure that we don't miss out a single one in our strive to pay a fitting tribute to them all, though, we have compiled our Obituaries for Sue, Bob, Rik, Sam, Francis and Casey below:

  • RIP SUE TOWNSEND (1946-2014)- For yours truly to open this compilation of tributes with a piece dedicated to anyone other than Sue Townsend would be to commit a great injustice towards this immeasurably talented novelist and towards myself, since I have had the pleasure of experiencing each and every one of her inspired Adrian Mole texts over the course of my teenage years, and cannot think of a single moment in which I have found them to be anything other than hilarious and gripping. Unlike so many of her modern counterparts, Sue was an author who seemed to know in her mind what her finest literary strengths were, yet who never ceased to subvert her readership's expectations of how she implemented those jealousy-igniting abilities in her countless fictional and non-fictional works, and writers in 2014 (myself included) would do well to consult any of these if they should ever find themselves lacking the spark required to reinvigorate their creative imagination. She left us on April 10th after suffering a fatal stroke in her Leicester household.
  • RIP BOB HOSKINS (1942-2014)- Best known for his work as a variety of working-class and gangster characters on the big-screen, Bob Hoskins' film career spanned over thirty years and culminated with a memorable performance in the 2012 Kristen Stewart blockbuster Snow White and the Huntsman. From Super Mario Bros. to Mona Lisa, from Who Framed Roger Robbit to A Christmas Carol, Bob's filmography list just goes on and on, and for that reason amongst countless others, he'll be sorely missed by cinema-goers the world over. Bob died after an intense bout of pneumonia struck him on April 29th.
  • RIP RIK MAYALL (1958-2014)- One of the most alarming results for our generation of witnessing so many screen legends pass away at once is the realization that we've had such little opportunity in recent years to experience their numerous talents. This couldn't ring truer than with Rik Mayall, a comedic performer whose work on The Young Ones, Blackadder, Blackadder Goes Fourth, Bottom and dozens of other beloved classic BBC productions sparked critical acclaim in abundance upon their initial broadcasts. If nothing else, Rik's tragic passing will inevitably inspire young'uns such as ourselves (relatively speaking) to seek out the aforementioned programmes in order to sample his abilities first-hand in the only way that remains available to us. He passed away (with the cause of death still to be determined) in his home in London on June 9th.
  • RIP SAM KELLY (1943-2014)- Another British comic actor who had certainly been around the block more than once when it came to raking in acclaim from thousands of viewers, Sam Kelly (who starred in the likes of 'Allo 'Allo, Barbara and Porridge, his role as Bunny Warren in the latter likely representing his best-known performance)'s prolonged battle with cancer came to a peaceful but nonetheless disheartening conclusion in the form of his demise on June 14th.
  • RIP FRANCIS MATTHEWS (1927-2014)- Similar to Rik Mayall, Francis Matthews' extensive screen career will probably have passed many of us by during our lifetimes so far, particularly since the majority of his most esteemed performances (in Captain Scarlet, The Avengers- and no, that's not the 2012 superhero blockbuster- and Dracula: Prince of Darkness) took place in the 1960s-1990s, but even a casual search of his name on Twitter will reveal immediately to those interested that he amassed an incredible following of fans who will miss him greatly in years to come. Francis died peacefully earlier today.
  • RIP CASEY KASEM (1932-2014)- News of this beloved American DJ and presenter's passing has literally just broken on Twitter, but what we do already know is that Casey left us earlier today after having suffered from Lewy body disease for a number of years. To those of us who were born in the 90s or the early years of the 21st Century, Casey will be remembered most fondly for his voice work as Shaggy in the Scooby Doo animated TV series, yet older readers will surely recall his work in US programmes such as American Top 40 and Sesame Street.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of Sue, Bob, Rik, Sam, Francis and Casey in these difficult times of grief and necessary cherishing of the years which they spent in each of these individuals' esteemed company.

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