Passings: Bo Diddley

There are very few of rock and roll’s innovators left. Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis are the only ones I can think of, now that Bo Diddley has gone. His records have always made me happy — the standard riff, the shuffling beat and tumbling bass. The songs were rarely about anything, and that worked out fine, since Bo Diddley found a groove and stayed in it. Music fans never got tired of it. The saddest thing was that most of the tributes I’ve read in the past day or so mentioned that, despite the enormous impact he …

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Passings: Richard Widmark

Richard Widmark died on March 26 at the age of 93. His debut, as crazy gangster Tommy Udo in 1947’s Kiss of Death, won him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and was followed by other film noir roles. Although he starred in a number of other noir classics — including The Street With No Name (1948), Jules Dassin’s Night and the City, Joseph Mankiewicz’s No Way Out and Panic in the Streets (all 1950, quite a year for crime dramas!) — my favorite performance has to be that of the cool Skip McCoy in Samuel Fuller’s Pickup …

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Five Years Ago

My mom passed away five years ago this morning. She died in her sleep at home, in her own bed, the way she wanted to go. As the sun came up that morning, I saw a cardinal¬† outside her window. I don’t believe in the significance of such things, usually, but I’ll make an exception in this case, because everytime I see a cardinal, I think of her. Five years feels like so little time passed, but it also feels like forever. I miss you every day, Mom.

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